Last year was rather eclectic for me musically. I was all over the place like a musical Christopher Columbus, discovering new worlds left and right. (I think it has a bit to do with joining Tumblr.) And after reading my best friends' blog post about her top 5 bands of '11 I got inspired. Seriously, check her out.
The bands I decided on might not have come out with new material or been on tour but they have impacted me greatly for the past year. In no particular order:
1. Oh Land
I first heard Oh Land on youtube. Her video for Wolf & I was suggested after I had been watching a ton of Björk and Lykke Li videos. Unexpected is probably the best word to use for what I felt when I heard Oh Land. Her voice is so melodic and the music is teaming with electronic beats and the jams just make you want to sway. After getting the album I found that I adored every song. She's awkward and beautiful and talented. I suggest you get into Oh Land ASAP to fufil your awesome quota.
2. Rhapsody aka Rhapsody of Fire
My boyfriend knows how much I like power metal. Last year a ton of power metal bands were booked to play Wacken '11, including Rhapsody. I love the epicness of the vocals, think symphonic perfection. Fabio's voice has the power of 200 Seraph. The stories sung through Fabio Lione are tales of mythical beasts, astounding adventures, and mighty warriors fighting for honor. The intricate assemble of thundering guitar riffs and pounding drums all glued beautifully together with the soothing bass lines and peppered with dynamic keyboard numbers.
I've always known about Behemoth. One of my ex-boyfriends got me into Slaves Shall Serve. I thought it was HILARIOUS to say the least when I first heard them. I know black metal bands take themselves seriously, maybe not Immortal, but that is why I think they are so funny. They think of themselves so highly. 2011 we received a mix CD with Behemoth's song Ov the Fire and the Void and I became obsessed. I literally listened to it everyday for weeks. And once I got their albums I became more and more in love with them. Not to mention my boyfriend got me their DVD+CD combo for an anniversary gift. Smart lad. I understand their extreme ideology isn't everyone's taste. They are very angry, and I think that makes their music what it is. The tones are soft and yet epic. Their sound is very death metal and I think that is why I like them so much. I'm not particularly a black metal type of gal, but death metal is...like the essence of Nila. I like how they sound dark and smooth, like evil chocolate. And, honey, Mama's got a sweet tooth.
I honestly can't remember when I got into Kpop. But I did. And 2011 was the year I almost overdosed on Kpop. And it was because of SHINee. I found out about them while watching a variety show with SNSD, a kpop girl band, and they were really cute and funny. I watched their music videos over and over, first and my favorite is Lucifer. UNF! I love love love them And then after watching more reality shows with them, it seriously wasn't healthy. I can honestly listen to them for days. Each member brings something different. Taemin has the snazzy moves, Key's voice brings a lightness to the songs, Minho is the smooth rap talent of Shiny SHINee, Onew has a great voice and a comedic spirit and Jonghyun's voice is what got me obsessing actually. He has the range and passion that every singer should have. I love them. Something about how hardworking Korean artists are makes me respect them fiercely.
credit: Sonata Arctica homepage
Now I don't know how I can summarize my intense love of Sonata Arctica. It's like trying to describe the warmth of fire in the middle of a Swedish blizzard. I first heard SA when I moved to Sweden, their song Flag in the Ground was on a mixtape my boyfriend had in the car. It was just so much epicness poured into 4 minutes I couldn't help but listen to it over and over for the majority of the year. Not only that but the fact Le Boyfriend had most of their albums helped. I realized a few months back that when I hear a band I tend to picture them. Their physical selves tend to be a factor when it comes to certain bands I enjoy, it's sad but true, but with Sonata I don't see them, I feel them and it is intense. I have cried several times from listening to their music. It moves me to much I just can't hold all the emotions they create back. I feel so alive when I listen to Sonata, and I haven't felt that way about a band since Nirvana or Dio. I love bands, but not like I cherish Sonata Arctica.
They are power metal at it's finest. The blending of drums and bass is flawless. The keyboard and guitars entice you as they create their dances of riffs and solos. Then there is Tony Kakko. The genius vocalist of Sonata that makes my heart sing! He has a gift of creating beautiful and creative stories through lyrics. Tales of cruelty and love, of magic and power, of wizards and wolves. It sounds cheesy but think if you could fit an entire action packed fantasy film into 4 minutes. The melodies are so effortless and smooth that it flows like a soft stream through the air.
I was able to go see Sonata Arctica this year at Getaway Festival. I was tired and hot and frustrated but once I had my gut pressed snugly against the barrier at the front of the stage the adrenaline kicked in. And the high had me flying above all the others there. I don't know if nobody really knew much about them or just didn't show it like I did, I think that Europeans are more calm at shows than Americans. We tend to lose our shit at a good show. And I fucking lost it. They played every song I love. And singing along with guys that you idolized, just standing 7 feet in front of you, you feel this paramount force of love fall upon you like a warm fleece. It's a commanding presence in your ear holes. And it demands attention. I suggest you fall in love with Sonata Arctica immediately, just if you are interested in completing your life.