Saturday, 25 February 2012

Porl King used to record under the Rosetta Stone moniker but for a few years now he has used the Miserylab name.
Being the work of one man it's a very singular sound but worth exploring.

The first Miserylab vinyl was made available in January featuring two of his best tracks from the recent Void Of Life album. Whilst we wait for the vinyl to be pressed, Porl included an exclusive 5 track download with every order called the Somewhere Between EP. The first track Say What We Mean has a great melody and Porl's vocals improve on each release. The use of a drum machine can be restrictive and it does mean tracks can begin to sound similar. Lyrically as with all miserylab releases, there is a lot of anger and despair at the modern world and the song Too Big To Fail is a diatribe against the banking system.

The bonus track on the EP is an 8 minute version of People which was a highlight of the Void Of Life album. With a really strong chorus and a great low slung bass driving it along it's one of the best Miserylab songs out there.

On the website, Miserylab offer a whole host of free track to download if you are intrigued to know what it all sounds like -

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Couple of short reviews me thinks.... Firstly a single by My Dying Bride. It's called the Barghest O'Whitby and is one of the most gothic songs ever.
To call it a single is pushing it - It's 27 minutes long, has many changes of pace whilst retelling the story of a hellhound in Dracula country (Whitby for those unfamiliar with the novel). There is a fine range of storm and rain effects and huge swathes of doomy cello. The vocals are an acquired taste but aren't quite as extreme of some of the Scandinavian death metal bands out there.
Well worth a listen but make sure you're wearing black

Pete Trewavas and Robin Boult have got together to record a 5 track EP (which is shorter than the My Dying Bride single) It sounds like the Acoustic Industry EP was recorded one afternoon in a spare studio. The songs are all instrumental and there's nothing wrong with it apart from after listening to it I couldn't even hum any melody let alone remember what song one sounded like. It's inconsequential background noise for Marillion completists only

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Think I'll start with my Christmas gifts last year. I know outside the 2012 time frame I set myself but I really didn't get to hear them properly till the new year.

So Kate Bush returns with 50 Words for Snow and it's a difficult album to embrace from the start... The first 3 tracks last half an hour and move at a glacier pace. The opening track Snowflake uses her son's vocals which follows on from the Director's Cut album and is my favourite of the three tracks - a simple piano / vocal ballad. Some say Ms Bush's vocals are on the decline but they are still a thing of beauty and so full of feeling. Safe to say even now I have no idea what she is singing about half the time but it really doesn't matter. The best two tracks are hidden in the second half of the album... Snowed In At Wheeler Street is a fantastic duet with Elton John about two lovers meeting across the centuries at various times. I'm no fan of Elton but this is the second time I've recently heard him guest on a female vocalist album (first was with Ann Wilson) and perhaps he is improving with age.
And so to the title track which features Stephen Fry counting down those 50 Words For Snow while Kate provides encouragement in the chorus. In places it's funny, in other it conjures up evocative images of winter. It's the most uptempo of the 7 tracks and as such stops the album being too laid back.
Whilst a great album it really is one you'll play in the winter wrapped up warm rather than laying on the beach in the summer

Nightwish have probably constructed one of the most over the top albums in recent years... Not so much throwing in the kitchen sink but included the dishwasher as well.
Orchestra ? check
Children's choir ? check
Uilean pipes ? check
Completely pointless instrumental bonus disc ? check

Imaginaerum is the second album featuring Annette Olzon on vocals and she sounds much more comfortable this time round. The album does disappear worryingly into Lloyd Webber territory at times but is consistently stronger than Dark Passion Play. The lead single Storytime carries a melody that Abba would have killed for and just lodges in the brain. Scaretale is a song teetering on the edge of lunacy but just about stays this side of listenable with a brilliantly deranged vocal delivery. The growls of Marco the bass player are still in place and best used in the chorus of Ghost River where he battles the children's choir for supremacy.....
Where Nightwish go after this is going to be interesting because once you've gone this far over the top, where is left to go ?
OK.... where to start. Two months in to the years and I seem to have a lot of new music to catch up on. The plan is for a year to review all the albums I buy.... Some reviews may be more in depth than others and some may be a bit late but let's give it a go.

Not expecting anyone to worry about what I say or even read it so consider it a bit of a vanity project but lets see what happens....