Posted by: CeCe | November 6, 2013

Metal for people who don’t like metal

So I know I’ve done loads of music posts, but I thought I’d do something a little different this time.  My friends on Facebook probably get sick of me sharing videos all the time, and as such, I figured I’d put a few of my favorites here, so that they’re all in one place.  Okay?  Okay!

As the title suggests, these are songs from metal bands.  However, even people who are not fans of metal may find that they actually love these songs/bands, because they also combine elements of folk, classical, opera, and even some spaghetti western and jazz.

So the first band I’m sharing is one of two bands of which I consider myself a fan: Nightwish.  I’ve shared them over and over again on Facebook, so much so that I’m pretty sure that the few friends who are still subscribed to my posts (haha) are sick to death of them.  For a little background, Nightwish was first formed in Finland in 1996, with keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, classically trained vocalist Tarja Turunen, and guitarist Emppu Vuorinen.  Later, they added Jukka Nevalainen on drums and Sami Vänskä on bass.  With that lineup, they released Angels Fall First (1997), Oceanborn (1998), and Wishmaster (2000). However, there began to be serious conflicts with Sami, and so they replaced him with bassist and vocalist Marco Hietala (of heavy metal band Tarot) in 2001, in time for the release of the album Century Child (2002).  The next album, Once (2004), is arguably one of their best, with not a single weak song on it.  In 2005, Tarja was let go, and was replaced by Anette Olzon in 2007; with Anette, they recorded the albums Dark Passion Play (2007) and Imaginaerum (2011), both of which are amazing albums in my humble opinion.  While on tour in 2012, they parted ways with Anette, and quickly called in Dutch vocalist Floor Jansen (formerly of After Forever, currently the lead singer of ReVamp) as an emergency, temporary replacement.

It was apparent to nearly every single person who saw Floor sing with Nightwish that this was a match made in heaven.  In fact, years ago, even before Tarja was booted from the band, I said that Floor joining Nightwish would be absolutely EPIC.  Nice to know I was right.  😉

I was thrilled but not surprised at all when a month ago, it was announced that Floor had officially been made the new lead singer.  She is absolutely magnificent!

So without further ado, here is Floor with Nightwish, singing the song “I Want My Tears Back” from Imaginaerum.  Be sure to check out the duet with Troy Donockley (uilleann pipes) and Pekka Kuusisto (violin) starting a little over 3 minutes in, it absolutely rocks!  And watching Floor dance… she is just adorable.

The second song from Nightwish I’m going to share is one of their most popular; most fans, when asked what their favorite Nightwish song is, will name this one.  It’s not my personal favorite (that title is reserved for “Planet Hell”), but it’s certainly in my top five.  The name of the song is “Ghost Love Score” from the album Once, and trust me when I say that even if you don’t like metal, you may like this song, because it’s just beautiful; the orchestration on it will take your breath away, if you’re anything like me.  And, as much as I adored Tarja (and still do), Floor’s ending is about a million times more awesome than anything Tarja did on this song.  You can hear the entire crowd get behind her when she hits the final notes starting at about 9:25.

To see a comparison of each of the three leading ladies singing this song, check out this link here.

Did you think this post was going to be all about Nightwish?  Well, as much as I would like for it to be, there are a couple other bands whom I don’t want to go without mentioning.  The first is Leaves Eyes, and I’m not going to provide a whole history on them, mostly because I don’t know it.  Remember I did say that I’m only really a fan of two bands (Nightwish and Pink Floyd), though there are many bands that I love.  This is one of them.  Even if you don’t like metal, just listen.  Liv Kristine’s voice is wonderful and ethereal, and the song itself isn’t really all that hard.  The song is called “Into Your Light”, and it’s from the album Lovelorn (2004).

Another band that I absolutely adore is Tristania; I come very close to being a total fan of them, as I’ve got most of their albums, and I know the lyrics for a good portion of their songs.  However, I don’t know everything about their history; I just know they’ve been around for forever (okay, 1995), and were formed by Morten Veland, who is a household name in his native country (Norway).  This particular song is from their album Ashes, which was released in 2005, two years before Vibeke Stene, the female vocalist left; it’s called “Equilibrium”.  She has since been replaced by Italian vocalist Mariangela Demurtas, who is wonderful but definitely not the same.  She’s more edgy than classically trained, like Vibeke.

Just three more bands to go; the first of which is Sonata Arctica.  Unlike the other bands I’ve shared, their lead vocalist is a male, Tony Kakko.  Tony has actually done duets with Nightwish, in the very early days (check out their rendition of the Nightwish song “Beauty and the Beast”, from Angels Fall First, here, and keep in mind that they wrote this song when they were all only 19/20!), and they are immensely talented.  The particular song I’m sharing, “White Pearl Black Ocean”, is one of my personal favorites by them; it’s from their album Reckoning Night, which was released in 2004.  I love the different rhythm changes, and how it really feels like several songs in one.  Plus the lyrics are amazing and tell a story.

The next to last band I’m sharing is The Sins of Thy Beloved, which is a gothic/doom metal band from Norway.  This particular song, however, is a lovely ballad from Lake of Sorrow, which was released in 1998.  Anita Auglend’s soprano voice is ethereally beautiful, and I just love Pete Johansen on violin.  He has a solo beginning at about 3:51 that is just breath-taking.

Okay, final band.  It was really hard to narrow it down to just these six, because there are so many great artists out there (maybe this will wind up being part one of many!), but since I’ve been listening to these guys a lot the last few days, I decided to go with them.  Like Nightwish and Sonata Arctica, these guys are from Finland: HIM.  HIM is mostly known for writing lots of songs about death and love, usually at the same time (example here), and for Ville Valo’s voice, which is melodic, distinctive and dramatic.  I’ve loved their music for years, and I actually have several of their albums, which I listened to nonstop at various times.  This song is called “One Last Time”, from their album Razorblade Romance, which was released in 1999.  The chorus is one of the loveliest I’ve ever heard in any song, but the verses are fantastic too.

Honorable mentions (links attached):
Nightwish: Rest Calm (it starts off kind of hard but doesn’t stay that way, and the children’s choir starting about 4 minutes in is just beautiful), While Your Lips are Still Red (hauntingly beautiful ballad, with Marco singing, Tuomas on piano, and Jukka on drums), and Turn Loose the Mermaids (lovely ballad!)
HIM’s album Uneasy Listening (Yes, the whole album!)
Sirenia: The Other Side (one of two singles with former lead singer Monika Pedersen) and Path to Decay (first single with new lead singer, Ailyn)
Within Temptation: Ice Queen and Our Solemn Hour
Leaves Eyes: For Amelie (such a gorgeous ballad!) and Return to Life (I love the piano during the verses, and the notes that Liv hits just before the chorus are amazing)
Tristania: Destination Departure (a song about loss; Vibeke’s voice on this is just… unbelievable)
Amorphis: House of Sleep and Silent Waters

Jeez, I could name a lot more.  This is enough!

Did you listen to any of them?  Please feel free to tell me about it in a comment!  And thanks, as always, for reading!

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