Best Gothic Metal / Best Symphonic Metal / The Social Media Decade #1

1 Jan

Because there’s a hefty list below, we’ll not comment on every song. Social Media with a music focus (MySpace, Pandora, Last.FM) has been of enormous importance in the past 10 years. As well as being platforms and tools that have liberated music, they’ve become gatherings of fans and lists by the millions.

Web 2.0 allows us to bookmark, collate and re-process information in a wonderful variety of ways. We use Last.FM extensively, not least because we live most of the year outside the US of A (see footnote regarding Pandora). The list below has been gathered from “loved” tracks in people’s playlists.

Rather than say there is one winner or a ranking based on votes for a particular song, we’ve awarded Gold medals to 17 bands/projects. We’ve taken the view that, like the Olympics, it can be difficult to precisely judge styles of music. Is a gold in a marathon of more “value” than the long jump?

After-ForeverThe 54 tracks below are the best we’ve heard and noted over the past few years, representing many albums and changes in line-ups of the various groups of musicians over the past 10 years. They are, we say, among the Best of the Decade for:

  • Femme metal
  • Gothic Metal
  • Symphonic Metal

or whatever other descriptive term you’d like to use. And yes, you’re very welcome to tell us how right or wrong we are!

After Forever – Energise Me
Delain-April-RainAfter Forever – Face Your Demons
After Forever – Imperfect Tenses
After Forever – Life’s Vortex
After Forever – My Choice
After Forever – The Evil That Men Do

Darkwell – Nothingness
Darkwell – The Machine

Delain – The Gathering
Delain – Stay Forever

Draconian-Turning-Season-WithinDraconian – Bloodflower
Draconian – Serenade of Sorrow
Draconian – Silent Winter
Draconian – The Gothic Embrace

Elis – Der letzte Tag
Elis – Devil Inside You
Elis – Heart in Chains

Epica – Mother of Light (A New Age Dawns, Part 2)
Epica – Never Enough
Epica Consign to OblivionEpica – Quietus
Epica – Solitary Ground
Epica – Unleashed

Evanescence – Lose Control
Evanescence – Tourniquet

Lacuna Coil – Heaven’s a Lie
Lacuna Coil – Honeymoon Suite
Lacuna Coil – Senzafine
Lacuna Coil – Spellbound

Lacuna-Coil-ComaliesLeaves’ Eyes – For Amelie
Leaves’ Eyes – Njord

Lunatica – Emocean
Lunatica – Hymn

Nightwish – Feel For You
Nightwish – Planet Hell
Nightwish – Sleeping Sun
Nightwish – Swanheart

Sirenia – Lithium and a Lover
Nightwish-Century-ChildSirenia – The Other Side

The Gathering – In Motion
The Gathering – Nighttime Birds
The Gathering – Rollercoaster

Trail of Tears – Empty Room
Trail of Tears – Poisonous Tongues

Visions of Atlantis – At the Back of Beyond
Visions of Atlantis – Pharaoh’s Repentance

Within-Temptation-Silent-ForceWithin Temptation – Angels
Within Temptation – Ice Queen
Within Temptation – Memories
Within Temptation And The Metropole Orchestra – Jillian (I’d Give My Heart)
Within Temptation And The Metropole Orchestra – Stand My Ground
Within Temptation And The Metropole Orchestra – The Promise
Within Temptation And The Metropole Orchestra – What Have You Done (Featuring Keith Caputo)

Xandria – Calyx Virago
Xandria – Ginger

You can also send tweets to http://Twitter.com/NuGoth

Footnote: We also love Pandora but it cannot be used globally due to the archaic licensing cartels that still control so much of music.

Best Gothic Metal / Best Symphonic Metal / The Social Media Decade #2

1 Jan

This companion piece to The Social Media Decade #1 is our award of Silver medals to bands/projects. Any list of Best Of is subject to discussion (and dispute) and we welcome your comments.

The 30 tracks below grabbed our ears more than once but, for some reason, other songs by the artists failed to impress as much. For example, other Tristania tracks didn’t get added to many lists, while Elis (on our Gold list) received numerous mentions for their 3 tracks.

Amberian-Dawn-River-of-TuoniWe reckon a Silver medal is still fantastic when weighted against the tens of thousands of other tracks out there. Listen and enjoy.

Aesma Daeva – Disdain
Amberian Dawn – Sunrise
Arch Enemy – Saints and Sinners
Astarte – Deviate
Ayria – Pink Dress
Aythis – Aythis
Beseech – Everytime I Die
Bloodflowerz – Season of Love
Crucified Barbara – Feels Like Death
Kittie-Until-the-EndDelight – In Too Deep
Doro – Unholy Love
Exilia – Destroy My Eyes
Flowing Tears – Undying
Holy Moses – End of Time
Kittie – Into the Darkness
L’Âme Immortelle – Fallen Angel
Lumsk – Fagran fljotan folen
Luna Obscura – Dance of Forsaken Souls
Lycia – Silver Sliver
Midnattsol – Enlightenment
Tristania-EPMy Dying Bride – She Is the Dark
Otep – The Lord Is My Weapon
Paramore – Decode
Penumbra – A Torrent of Fears
Season’s End – Innocence
Stream of Passion – Deceiver
The Agonist – Rise and Fall
The Project Hate MCMXCIX – Loveless, Godless, Flawless
Tristania – Midwintertears
Where Angels Fall – Path of Sorrow

You can also send tweets to http://Twitter.com/NuGoth

Floor Jansen and ReVamp update

22 Dec

ReVamp, the new project of gothic metal vocalist Floor Jansen is coming together and signs of new music are starting to emerge.

In releasing a sample Floor explains: “We know you have waiting with great patience for some music! Hereby a short part of our song Head Up High!!! Do realize this is pre-production material, you hear a drum computer and home recorded bass, guitar, keyboards and vocals. We did mix it so it sounds OK enough, but it’s not the quality the album will have!”

ReVamp Head Up High

ReVamp logo

Rage Against The Machine win the race for the No.1 slot on the UK Christmas chart

20 Dec

Initial reports say the Rage Against The Machine song won the race by 50,000 sales for the Number One slot on the UK Christmas chart. Some commentators say the weak version of The Climb by Joe McElderry may have been HELPED by the Killing In The Name campaign.

Decline of Simon Cowell and X Factor

Decline of Simon Cowell and X Factor

One outstanding feature of the #RATM campaign was the remarkable speed of response that was possible due to social media. The combination of Facebook and Twitter, plus many blogs and websites, allowed everyone to check in and find out the details.

Quick update:

  • Rage Against The Machine campaign raised £72,000 in one week for charity
  • Killing In The Name achieved the biggest first week download sales ever
  • Killing In The Name is first ever No.1 based on download sales only
  • 900,000 Facebook supporters helped achieve 502,000 sales
  • 17 million alleged X Factor viewers slumped to 450,000 sales
  • #RATM and #ratm4xmas became trending topics on Twitter

More details at http://clik4music.com/

Rage Against The Machine aka Rage Against the Method of X Factor

16 Dec

There are two sides to the “rage” about the X Factor competition for the Christmas Number 1 in the UK. Some people are anti-Simon Cowell it seems, but there are other issues too. Not least being the question of musical talent.

Miley Cyrus, singer of The Climb, in Elle magazine

Miley Cyrus, singer of The Climb, in Elle magazine

As seen on American Idol and now X Factor, Simon Cowell is in a deep anti-girl phase. So X Factor 2009 has been all about eliminating the girls and favouring the pretty boys. It has not mattered that the girls, especially Lucie Jones, had the best voices. Simon Cowell and his employees (sorry, the other judges) have chosen boys with little or no singing talent to get through the rounds.

The creators of the competitions against the X Factor single are talking more about music than money. Yes Simon Cowell will probably benefit whatever happens – but only in terms of money. X Factor 2009 has far greater ramifications:

  • zero musical integrity left for Simon Cowell
  • proof that Cheryl Cole is jealous of anyone with a good singing voice
  • proof that Dannii Minogue knows little about music

So if your vote is for musical talent, go buy Rage Against The Machine or one of the other suggestions for Christmas No.1. Anything but the limp and weak X Factor version of The Climb. Or you can buy the Miley Cyrus (photo) original of The Climb – a passionate and excellent vocal version of the song.

More proof of girl power if you need it – Top 10 Digital Downloads of 2009

15 Dec

Lady GaGa rocks live

Lady GaGa rocks live

Girls are doing it for themselves in so many ways, not least in the music business. The whole industry has changed and it’s great to see the girls are on top with the new digital streams.

Just as digital has come of age in 2009 so the opportunity for music-lovers to choose their own listening preferences has upset the charts.

Now, for the first time, we see what people want to listen to, not what radio stations or tv channels try to force on us.

Not only did girls lead the Top 10 Downloads of 2009 chart with 4 entries, Lady GaGa (photo) claimed two slots to be the overall winner for digital downloads:

2. Lady Gaga feat. Colby ODonis – Just Dance (4,690,000)
7. Lady Gaga – Poker Face (4,200,000)

Yep, that’s a total of 8.9 million downloads, showing music-lovers are happy to put their money where their ears are. Girls rock!!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo preview from the Swedish movie

4 Dec

Lisbeth Salander played by Noomi Rapace

Lisbeth Salander played by Noomi Rapace

The first novel by Swedish author Stieg Larsson was a best-seller around the world. The second and third volumes of the trilogy have increased the author’s reputation, made even sadder as the books were published after Larsson’s early death from heart failure.

The Millennium thriller series feature Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative business journalist, and Lisbeth Salander, a goth-culture independent plus hacker and real star of the stories.

Here is a link to the preview from the first movie, in Swedish with subtitles:

Movie clip and interview with the director

There are already plans for a TV series spin-off, and a possible American-produced version of the film(s).