Xavier’s Fans, Latin Music Fans Will Appreciate “Everything” On His New LP

Courtesy: Press Junkie PR

Independent performer Carlos Xavier released his latest full-length studio recording Vive Todo Ahora late this past March.  The San Francisco-based artist’s new offering is a work that is certain to appeal to fans of not only Xavier, but fans of Latin music in general.  That is due to musical arrangements within each song that are deeply rooted in Xavier’s own Latin roots.  The songs’ lyrical themes are just as accessible as its musical arrangements.  This is proven right from the album’s outset in the form of its opener and title track, which translates roughly to Live Everything Now.  This song will be discussed shortly.  ‘Yo Quiero Ser’ (I Want To Be) is another addition to the album that serves to support the noted statements.  It will be addressed a little later.  For those dealing with the heartache of love lost, Xavier hits on that, too in the form of ‘Tres Dias’ (Three Days).  That song is just as accessible for listeners as ‘I Want To Be’ and ‘Live Everything Now.’  Each of the songs noted here are important in their own way to the whole of Live Everything Now.  When they are considered along with the six remaining songs that make up the rest of the album, the whole of the record becomes a work that will leave listeners enjoying everything featured in the record.

Carlos Xavier’s new album Vive Todo Ahora is a work that is certain to appeal to Xavier’s fans just as much as those of Latin music.  It is a work that will leave listeners enjoying “everything” featured in the record.  That is due to the overall accessibility of the album’s musical and lyrical content.  The album’s opener and title track is just one of the songs featured in the LP that serves to support the noted statements.  That is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement, which incorporates some familiar Latin elements, such as bongos, congas and horns and with cabasa.  The arrangement even incorporates a familiar Latin style piano line in rather subtle fashion to add to the arrangement’s impact.  The whole of the elements creates a song that conjures thoughts of a night in Havana.  That in itself is certain to put a smile on the face of any Latin music aficionado.  Of course the joy brought through the song’s musical arrangement is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  Its lyrical content does just as much to make it appealing.

Xavier sings in the song’s lead verse, “We live in the present/Preparing for the future/The daily routines are the safest step/Let’s still fight/Looking for a better morning/Don’t miss the moment now/Or escape through the window/Don’t walk to the front with devices in hand/Raise your head/Search for the life of your own/In the least expected places/You will find happiness.”  The lyrics here are roughly translated from Xavier’s originally Spanish lyrics, as English translations were not available.  Even with that in mind, the translation is close enough to get from this verse, Xavier is presenting a very positive message here; a message of making the most of life and not staying in one’s comfort zone.  The positive message continues in the song’s second verse, as Xavier sings, “You’ll never have good memories/If you don’t live them at the moment/Forget your sorrows/What’s done is already done/And in the least expected places/You will find happiness/And embrace every strong second/That the seconds do not return more.”  Once again, listeners get a message of living life to the utmost – seizing the day so to speak.  It’s hardly the first time that any performer of any nationality and ethnic background has ever presented such a positive message.  That aside, it is still a message that will always be welcome among listeners of every background.  When that positive message is coupled with the song’s equally accessible and upbeat musical arrangement, the whole of the song shows in itself, and in a big way, why listeners will enjoy this record.  It is just one of the songs featured in the album that makes the album a positive offering from Xavier.  ‘I Want To Be’ is another example of the album’s strength.

The musical arrangement at the center of ‘I Want To Be,’ much like that of the album’s opener, features plenty of familiar Latin instruments.  What really makes the arrangement stand out in this case is the sound produced through the whole of the song’s instrumentation.  The sound is one that takes listeners back to the 90s (and maybe even earlier).  It also boasts a certain R&B influence through that whole.  That influence is just subtle enough that when coupled with the song’s more decidedly Latin sound, makes a whole that is once again a whole that is widely accessible.  It is just one part of what makes the song stand out.  The song’s lyrical content adds to that accessibility.

Xavier sings in the song’s lead verse, “I can only imagine your love/How would it be, to have your pleasure/Every day I think more about your love/Imagining me in your arms/And the taste of your skin/And I know you’ve come to enter my life/And also you need to heal your wounds/And I will be who will give the sweetest caresses/Forever have you clinging to my arms, woman.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I will not find calm if I do not have your love/You are my breath, my breath/And when I let go, I just think about you/Imagining your smile, which lives in me/And without you, maybe the value is lost, in my life/You occupy the most valuable place, my darling/That’s why I will be who will give you the sweetest caresses/Forever cling to my arms, woman.”  It’s pretty obvious what is going on here.  This is a love song.  It is a work that any female listener is certain to enjoy, needless to say.  When such saccharine sweet lyrics are coupled with the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of this work proves one that will appeal to plenty of listeners.  When it is considered along with the album’s opener, the two song together create an even clearer picture of why the album in whole has such appeal for listeners.  They are not the album’s only notable additions.  Another notable addition to the album comes in the form of ‘Three Days.’

‘Three Days’ follows immediately, ‘I Want To Be,’ and presents another easily accessible musical arrangement that presents a feeling much unlike that of the noted predecessor.  While somewhat upbeat, the song’s feeling is more reserved than its predecessor and some of the album’s other compositions.  That balance of melancholy and more upbeat mood in itself makes the song stand out.  It does a good job of illustrating the emotions exhibited in the song’s lyrical content.

Xavier sings in the song’s lead verse, “It’s been three days since I left my room/And the walls are slowly closing/Hang memories of moments we spent/And as time goes by, you keep on burying me/I do not know what more time, I will follow it by gagging/I extend my hands by reshaping the past/Facing the reality is what is suffocating me/But lose another day, that would be a failure.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I cannot live anymore/You started the desire that I had to feel/Drowned in my sorrows since you’re not here/But today the sadness ends, for you I do not suffer again.”  In other words, for all the pain that this song’s subject has endured, he or she is no longer going to ruminate on that emotional stress, but instead will move forward.  That sentiment works in tandem with the song’s musical arrangement.  As noted already, the song’s arrangement balances a certain sense of melancholy with a more upbeat vibe.  The last lines noted explain that balance.  The way in which the song’s accessible lyrical content and equally accessible musical content comes together makes the song in whole yet another clear example of the album’s overall ability to appeal to listeners.  When it is considered alongside the other songs noted here and the six remaining songs not directly noted here, the end result is a work that will certainly appeal to Xavier’s fans just as much as it will to fans of Latin music in general.

Carlos Xavier’s new album Vive Todo Ahora is a strong new offering from the Canifornia-based Latin musician.  That is proven time and again over the course of the 38-minute record’s body.  The songs discussed here serve to support that statement.  When they are considered along with the rest of the album’s songs, the whole of the LP is certain to leave listeners enjoying “everything” featured in its body.  More information on Vive Todo Ahora is available online now along with all of Carlos Xavier’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.carlosxavieronline.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/carlosxaviermusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/CarlosXavier1

 

 

 

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Modern Mimes Debuts ‘Mind Lies’ Video; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Modern Mimes debuted the video for its latest single this week.

The band debuted the video for its new song ‘Mind Lies‘ Wednesday.  The neo-goth act’s video presents its members — Adi Elcida Hernandez and Ernesto Paez — performing their single in a dimly lit backdrop.  Hernandez is, for some reason, eventually covered in a variety of paint as the song and video  near their finale.

The debut of ‘Mind Lies’ comes more than six months after the band debuted the video for its cover of Type O Negative’s hit song ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Me‘ and approximately nine months after the band debuted its lead single ‘Stare.’ ‘I Don’t Wanna  Be Me’ was even fully endorsed by the surviving members of the band and has received almost 28,000 views since its debut Nov. 10.

‘Mind Lies’ and ‘Stare’ are both taken from Modern Mimes’ album The Gray.  The album is available now.

Modern Mimes is scheduled to tour in support of The Gray this spring alongside Wayland and Eve To Adam starting May 22.  The bands’ tour is scheduled to run through June 1 and feature performances in cities, such as Madison, WI; Merriam, KS and Boyd, WI.

The full track listing for The Gray is noted below.

The Gray Album:

1. Stunt Double
2. The Gray
3. Black Swan
4. Stare *
5. My Own Summer (Shove It)
6. Mind Lies
7. Final Days
8. Crosses
9. Goodbye Hello

More information on The Gray is available online now along with all of Modern Mimes’ latest news and more at:

 

Websitehttp://www.modernmimes.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/modernmimesmusic

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/ModernMimes

 

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Don’t Believe in Ghosts Debuts New Single

Courtesy: O’Donnell Media Group

Don’t Believe in Ghosts officially released its new single this week.

The band debuted its new song ‘The Chase’ in front of a sold out audience at New York City’s Bowery Electric this week, only days after it premiered online.  The facility is located between Joey Ramone Plaza and 3rd Street in the heart of New York City.

The song is available for download now on various platforms to stream and download now here.  Its debut comes approximately three months after the band debuted its most recent single ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’ via YouTube MusicAmazoniTunes and Spotify.  That song’s video made its debut March 1.

Don’t Believe in Ghosts is scheduled to perform live May 23 at Asbury Park, NJ. Tickets for the concert are available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Websitehttp://www.dontbelieveinghosts.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/DBIGhosts

Twitterhttp://twitter.com/DBIGhosts

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Autopilot Debuts ‘Undisguised’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Alt-rock band Autopilot debuted the video for its new single Monday.

The band, not to be confused with the North Carolina-based band by the same name, debuted the video for its song ‘Undisguised‘ via YouTube.  Directed by Kevin Van Witt, the video follows one of the band’s members through the streets of a busy city.  As the band member makes his way through the city, he encounters situations such as homeless residents of the city, giant eyeballs looking out of windows (trippy, but true) and otherwise empty streets.

The video’s visualizations are meant to help illustrate the song’s lyrics.  This is explained through a collective statement from the band.  The band’s members note in the statement that the song is a work “that bridges the feelings of the times with modern rock vibes.  It’s a song that questions why do we put up walls when love is what we really want.”

Stylistically, the song lends itself to works from Modest Mouse.  The song is taken from Autopilot’s latest album, Afterglow.  Audiences can stream and down the album here.

More information on Autopilot is available online now at:

 

Website: http://autopilottheband.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/autopilotmusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bandautopilot

 

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Reckless Kelly To Release New Live Recording Next Month; Announces New Live Dates

Courtesy: Thirty Tigers

Reckless Kelly has a new live recording due out next month.

The veteran county-rock band announced Friday that it will release Bulletproof Live June 21 via Thirty Tigers.  The recording was originally captured during the band’s 2018 west coast tour during which the band celebrated the 10th anniversary of the release of Bulletproof.  It features songs from the album performed at various points during that tour.

In anticipation of the recording’s upcoming release, Reckless Kelly has released a stream of the song ‘You Don’t Have To Stay Forever’ via SoundCloud and Wide Open Country. Reckless Kelly fiddle/mandolin/harmonica player Cody Braun talked about the song in a recent interview.

“‘You Don’t Have To Stay Forever’ has always been a fun song to play because it’s a little different in structure than some some of our other tunes,” Braun said.  “I love interesting melodies and songs that go places you don’t expect them to.  Songs start out as nothing but ideas, and only once they’re written down and recorded do they become something real and tangible.  The strong ones survive and if they’re played enough, live over a long period of time they eventually take on a second life and even sometimes new meanings.  We wanted to capture that.”

The full track listing for Bulletproof Live is noted below.  Pre-orders are open now.

Tracklist:
 
1) Ragged As The Road (Live)
2) You Don’t Have To Stay Forever (Live)
3) Love In Her Eyes (Live)
4) Passin’ Through (Live)
5) I Never Had A Chance (Live)
6) One False Move (Live)
7) A Guy Like Me (Live)
8) American Blood (Live)
9) How Was California (Live)
10) California Blue (Live)
11) Mirage (Live)
12) Don’t Say Goodbye (Live)
13) God Forsaken Town (Live)
14) Wandering Eye (Live)
15) Bulletproof (Live)

Reckless Kelly is on tour in support of its latest album, Sunset Motel (2016). The band is scheduled to perform live next Thursday in Bastrop, TX.  The band’s tour also features scheduled performances in Chicago, IL; Seattle, WA and Idaho Falls, ID.  The band’s current tour schedule is noted below.

Tour Dates:
5/16: Bastrop, TX – Neighbor’s Kitchen and Yard
5/17: Oklahoma City, OK – Tower Theatre
5/18: Vinita, OK – American Legion Rodeo Complex
5/23: Fort Collins, CO – Washington’s
5/24: Grand Junction, CO – Warehouse25sixty-five Kitchen + Bar
5/25: Craig, CO – Grand Old West Days
5/26: Black Forest, CO – Meadowgrass Festival
5/30: Springfield, MO – Southbound Bar and Grill
5/31: Lacygne, KS – Tumbleweed Country Music & Camping Festival
6/1: Columbia, MO – The Blue Note
6/2: St. Louis, MO – Delmar Hall
6/4: Des Moines, IA – Wooly’s
6/5: Minneapolis, MN – Dakota
6/6: Chicago, IL – Avondale Music Hall
6/7: Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon
6/8: Neillsville, WI – Silver Dome Ballroom
6/14: New Braunfels, TX – Gruene Hall
6/15: New Braunfels, TX – Gruene Hall
7/11: The Colony, TX – Lava Cantina
7/12: Ft. Worth, TX – The Yard Fort Worth
7/13: Austin, TX – Antone’s
7/19: Port Huron, MI – McMorran Place Sports & Entertainment Center
7/26: Cortex, CO – Montezuma County Fairgrounds
7/27: Denver, CO – Grizzly Rose
8/1: Red River, NM – The Motherlode Saloon
8/2: Colorado Springs, CO – Stargazers
8/3: Lamar CO – Sand & Sage Round-Up
8/8-10: Challis, ID – Braun Brothers Reunion
8/15: Victor, ID – Music On Main Street
8/17: Helix, OR – Quantum 9 Arena
8/18: Emigrant, MT – The Old Saloon
8/26: Grand Island, NE – Nebraska State Fair
8/31: San Antonio, TX – Sam’s Burger Joint
11/1: Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern
11/2: Seattle, WA – Tractor Tavern
11/3: Portland, OR – Aladdin Theater
11/7: Bend, OR – Tower Theatre
11/8: Garden City, ID – Revolution Center
11/9: Idaho Falls, ID – Colonial Theater
11/10: Salt Lake, UT – The Common Wealth Room
11/13: Petaluma, CA – Mystic Theatre
11/14: Berkeley, CA – Cornerstone
11/15: Morro Bay, CA – The Siren
11/17: Solana Beach, CA – Belly Up Tavern
11/29: New Braunfels, TX – Brauntex Theatre

More information on Bulletproof Live is available online now at:

 

Website: http://recklesskelly.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/recklesskelly96

Twitter: http://twitter.com/recklesskelly

 

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Ross’ Debut LP Could Take The Crown In This Year’s Best New Jazz & Blues Field

Courtesy: Blue Note Records

Vibraphonist Joel Ross released his debut full-length studio recording Kingmaker early this month.  Ross stated in an interview about the 12 songs that make up the 67-minute body of the album, that the songs are “influenced by people or events, relationships I had, or even a question someone posed.”  According to information provided about the album, many of the songs are tributes to his family, so in other words, the album is itself a full-on musical tribute to the people who played a part in one way or another in his personal development.  The compositions spawned from those experiences are works that will appeal to jazz fans of all backgrounds.  The album’s opener, ‘Touched by an Angel’ is just one of the works that supports the noted statements.  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘Is It Love That Inspires You,’ which comes just ahead of the album’s midway point, does just as much to support those statements.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘It’s Too Late,’ the album’s finale, is another example of the power of Ross’ experiences on his music.  It will also be discussed later.  When it and the other two songs noted here are considered along with the nine songs that make up the rest of the record, the whole of Kingmaker proves to be a record that could easily take the crown on any jazz critic’s list of the year’s top new jazz albums.

Joel Ross’ debut full-length studio recording Kingmaker is a strong start for the Chicago-born, Brooklyn-raised vibraphonist.  It is a record whose compositions – crafted apparently from experiences in Ross’ own life – make it worthy of the crown in this year’s field of new jazz albums.  That is proven in part through the album’s opener, ‘Touched By An Angel.’  The song stands out because it exhibits the ability of Ross and company – Benjamin Tiberio (bass), Immanuel Wilkins (alto sax), Jeremy Corren (piano) and Jeremy Dutton (drums) – to play slow with control and more upbeat with just as much talent.  As the old adage states, anyone can play fast, but it takes a real musician to play slow and with control.  The song opens very down-tempo, with Ross creating the song’s foundation through a series of chords alone.  After a few opening bars, the subtle sound of the vibraphones.  Corren and Dutton eventually join in, performing in similarly subtle fashion.  As the song gradually progresses, Wilkins joins in, too making the arrangement even fuller.  As the song reaches and passes its midway point, Wilkins takes the lead, while Dutton adds his own fills (at the same time keeping solid time).  Ross even starts to add his own flare to the composition with an almost seemingly improvisational style performance.  By the time Ross and company reach the song’s final couple of minutes, it slows back down, yet all involved still maintain such control while presenting such a welcome improvisational style in their performances. By the time the song reaches its finale, audiences will not even realize that the song has run for almost 11 minutes.  In other words, the way in which the song progresses and the talent exhibited by each musician creates a song that keeps listeners engaged and entertained with ease.  It really does an exceptional job of illustrating what must have been such a positive experience in this case for Ross.  To that end, it would be interesting to learn what experience Ross had that led to the song’s creation.  It is just one of the songs that stands out among Kingmaker’s dozen total songs.  ‘Is It Love That Inspires You’ stands out just as much as ‘Touched By An Angel.’

‘Is It Love That Inspires You,’ unlike ‘Touched By An Angel,’ is a rather upbeat composition.  Ross takes the lead in this song while Dutton adds his own touch to the work.  The subtlety in Tiberio’s work on bass and Dutton’s full-on solos (which fully put on display his stick control and knowledge of his rudiments), add even more enjoyment to the song.  The upbeat feel from the group in whole serves to illustrate the nature of the song’s title very well.  Given, it is unknown if the “love” in this case is familial or if it is romantic.  This critic does not have liner notes to offer background.  Even with that in mind, the positive feel and energy in the composition goes a long way toward presenting the positive emotion that is implied in the title.  To that end, the song in whole becomes another clear example of why Kingmaker is such a strong offering from Ross and company.  It is not the last of the album’s most notable additions.  ‘It’s Too Late,’ the album’s finale, is another standout addition to the album.

‘It’s Too Late,’ like the other songs discussed here, stands out because of the ability of Ross and company to so expertly illustrate the mood set by the song’s title.  When one thinks of the statement, “It’s too late,” that is more often than not spoken and written in a negative connotation and associated with negative situations.  Sure, there are times when it is used in positive situations, but more often than not it is associated with negative situations.  That sentiment is expressed very well in this case, as Ross and company present a composition that exhibits a certain sense of melancholy.  Even with Dutton’s impeccable time keeping in what is an otherwise upbeat song in terms of tempo, the mood is one of some introspection, even as the song slowly fades in its final bars.  Considering all of this, it would once again be interesting to learn the experience that served as the inspiration for this song, as it is certain to be an interesting story.  The same applies to the other songs discussed here and the rest of the album’s works.  Each work featured in this record does an equally good job of telling its own musical story.  When they are all considered, they collectively make Kingmaker a record whose stories are certain to appeal to a wide range of listeners.  Keeping that in mind, it becomes one of the year’s strongest new jazz records and potentially one of the year’s top new albums overall.

Joel Ross’ debut album Kingmaker is a solid first effort from the up-and-coming multi-talented musician and his fellow performers.  That is due to a dozen featured songs that tell their own specific story in connection with the songs’ titles.  The songs also go a long way toward exhibiting the talents and abilities of each musician.  All three of the songs featured here support those statements.  When they are considered along with the nine remaining songs not addressed here, they collectively make Kingmaker a viable candidate for the crown on this year’s new jazz and blues records and even a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new albums overall.  Kingmaker is available now.  More information on Kingmaker is available online now along with all of Joel Ross’ latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.iplayvibes.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/iplayvibes

Twitter: http://twitter.com/iplayvibes

 

 

 

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‘Berserker’ Is Another Viking Metal Victory For Amon Amarth

Courtesy: Metal Blade Records

The wait for Amon Amarth’s new album is finally over.  A little more than three years after the band released its most recent album Jomsviking, the band returned Friday, with its 11th full-length studio recording, Berserker.  The veteran Swedish metal outfit’s latest offering, which once again has come through Metal Blade Records, is familiar territory for the band at least in terms of its lyrical content from start to finish.  Its musical content however, is another story.  Front man Johann Hegg said in a recent interview about the sound on the band’s new album Beserker that it is an exhibition of the band’s evolution as a unit.  “I think what we’ve done here is give ourselves the space to explore other parts of our musicality and who we are as a band,” Hegg said of the sound on this record.  That growth is a welcome change from the band this time out, as it shows the band’s ability to reach a more mainstream audience instead of just its core audience base.  One of the songs featured in this record, that serves to illustrate that ability comes early on in the form of ‘Mjolner, Hammer of Thor.’  It will be discussed shortly.  The album’s finale, ‘Into The Dark’ is another way in which that growth and change is clearly evidenced.  It is also another positive addition to the album.  ‘Fafner’s Gold,’ which opens the album, is yet another way in which the noted growth is exemplified in this record.  When all three songs are considered together with the record of the album, the whole of Beserker presents itself as a record that while maybe rather familiar for most listeners, is still a welcome new offering from the band that is yet another candidate for any metal critic’s list of the year’s top new metal and hard rock albums.

Amon Amarth’s 11th full-length studio recording Berserker is a welcome new offering from the veteran metal outfit that critics and listeners alike will agree is deserving of its own spot on any list of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  That is despite (and because) of the familiarity of the record’s lyrical themes.  It is also because of the growth exhibited by the band’s members in the record’s musical arrangements.  ‘Mjolner, Hammer of Thor’ is one of the songs featured in this record that exhibits the growth in the band’s musical side.  The song’s musical arrangement boasts a very sharp similarity to the arrangement at the center of Judas Priest’s timeless hit ‘Breaking The Law.’  The two arrangements are not mirror images of one another.  However, the similarity is close enough that there is no denying the connection.  Whether Amon Amarth’s guitarists – Olavi Mikkonen and Johan Soderberg – set out to make something so closely akin to ‘Breaking The Law’ is anyone’s guess.  That aside, the bigger picture is that the arrangement is far more accessible, musically, than almost anything that the band has previously crafted.  To that end, it is a surprise that it was not chosen as Berserker’s lead single.  The song’s decidedly radio ready arrangement is, as important as it is, is just one part of what makes the song a solid addition to the record.  The song’s familiar lyrical content adds its own share of interest to the song.

The song’s lyrical content focuses on the norse myth of how Thor’s famed hammer Mjolner was created.  He sings in the song’s lead verse, “In the realm of Svartalvheim/Where master forgers reign/Loke met with Eitri and Brokk/With malice and deceit/he got them to agree/to create nine magic gifts for the Asa Gods/Brokkr had a sense of foul play in the air/So he made a wager for Loke’s head/Treasures will be forged for the Asagods/A spear and a ring for the Asgard King/But finest of them all/the Crusher it is called/Mjolner, Hammer of Thor/Loke’s treachery knows no boundaries/he his himself in the blacksmith’s caveBut as work progressed, he feared he’d lose his bet/He knew his situation was now grave/Working the bellows/Heating the forge/Striking the anvil/Striking with force/Then as they worked/On the last gift/A mighty hammer of war/Loke disrupted the work of the blacksmiths/The handle came out short.”  From here, Hegg tells the rest of the ancient Norse tale with Loke meeting not a fatal fate, but a not-so-happy fate, nonetheless.  It is a powerful tale that will entertain and engage any listener, regardless of his or her familiarity with the story of how Mjolner was created – or any Norse mythology.  When it is coupled with the song’s accessible arrangement, the whole exhibits itself as one of the most notable additions to this latest offering from Amon Amarth.  It is just one of the songs that stands out in this offering.  The album’s finale, ‘Into The Dark’ is another way in which that growth and change is clearly evidenced.

‘Into The Dark’ presents what is perhaps one of the biggest shifts that Amon Amarth has ever taken in its now 25 year-plus life.  Whereas so many of its songs are straight-forward, driving metal works, this opus starts and ends with a gentle piano line.  That line is complimented with the addition of a group of string musicians to help set the song’s mood.  As the song opens, that pairing eventually fades away, making room for the band’s own elements.  What is interesting in this case is that the guitar-driven arrangement boasts a certain old school metal sound at times alongside the more modern sound that audiences have come to expect from the band.  The whole of these elements makes the arrangement in whole, one more of the album’s most intriguing additions.  It is yet more proof of the change and growth in the band’s sound.  It is just one way in which the song exhibits that growth and change.  The song’s lyrical content, believe it or not, actually shows a certain amount of growth and change, too.

The song’s lyrical content shows a certain level of change in that the only Norse element comes late in one of the verses in which Hegg sings, “I am who I am/I am Loke to you.”  The rest of the song comes across more as one of those familiar showings of introspection; thoughts of overcoming personal adversity.  That is obvious right from the song’s outset as Hegg sings, “There is a darkness in my soul/A darkness that can’t be tamed/A deep void of emptiness/A gaping wound/A vile, corrupted entity/That has no name/From the dark into the light/I make this journey on my own/From the dark into the light/I make this journey on my own/From the dark into the light/I must fight this darkness all alone.”  He goes on in the song’s second verse to sing, “I try to do what is right/And still my twisted mind is full of spite/Each day a struggle/With this side of me/A losing battle/I can’t break free/No!/I can’t break free…”  From here he goes on to sing of the “demons” dragging the subject back into despair.  There are even brief Norse notes in this discussion, about “Dagas my guide/But Thurisas bides.”  So yes, the familiar Viking content is there, but in the bigger picture, this song seems lyrically, to be something of a change for the band.  Yes, the content is familiar in its discussion about dealing with inner emotional turmoil, but it is still a discussion that will resonate easily with listeners.  On top of all of that, the very fact that the band would go to the length of limiting the Norse content in favor of seemingly something more standard shows, again, that growth and change from the band.  All of that change considered, this song is one of Berserker’s most notable compositions, showing where the band very well could be headed.  It shows in its own way that whether the band is performing familiar songs centered on Viking lore or working on something more mainstream, it succeeds.  It is just one more of the songs featured in this record that stands out.  ‘Fafner’s Gold,’ which opens the album, is another standout addition to the album.

‘Fafner’s Gold’ opens with an element that while familiar to many metal bands today, is another element that is unfamiliar to Amon Amarth – an acoustic guitar introduction.  Arch Enemy and so many other similar metal acts have used such an approach to their songs throughout their catalogues, but Amon Amarth has rarely if ever taken that approach.  That intro leads very quickly, into the band’s familiar shredding and machine-gun-fast time keeping in a whole that longtime Amon Amarth fans will recognize and appreciate.  The composition in whole is certain to keep listeners engaged and entertained, and is just one part of what will entertain and engage listeners.  The song’s lyrical content does just as much to maintain that interest.

The song’s lyrical content tells the myth of…well…Fafner’s gold.  In doing research on the song, it is found that Fafner is one of the giants who built Valhalla, the Norse afterlife realm.  Fafner was turned into a dragon, according to the myth, after killing his own brother Fasolt after the pair takes the treasure of the dwarf Alberich.  Fafner was ultimately killed by Siegfried. The Icelandic version of the tale, which the band seems to be following here, actually presents Fafner (Fafnir in this case) as a dwarf instead of a giant.  In this version, Regin sent his foster son Sigurd to kill Fafnir in his dragon form.  The whole story can be read here.  What is so interesting to learn in researching the song is the variants thereof.  There is the noted Icelandic version and a Germanic version as well as one other take on the tale.  The variants within each telling are minor, but are there.  This version however, involves the familiar Norse mythology, including the mention of Loke and other Norse figures.  It sticks to everything that the band has done throughout its life.  It also serves to illustrate Hegg’s comment about the band’s approach to the album in whole.  “The previous album was a concept album, but we didn’t want to get into a situation where every album has to be a concept record, so this is different.  We wanted to step away from that and look at being a little bit more diverse with the lyrics and everything else.”  When this latest bit of Norse mythology is coupled with its equally familiar musical styling, the whole proves to be yet another positive addition to Berserker.  When it is considered along with the other songs noted here and the nine remaining songs not directly discussed, the whole of the album becomes a work that Amon Amarth’s longtime fans will appreciate just as much as those who might not be so familiar with the band’s work.

Amon Amarth’s new album Berserker is everything that audiences have come to expect from the band.  It is also a slight display of growth and development from the band, as evidenced in the songs noted here.  Those songs, when considered along with the rest of the album’s works, make Berserker another successful offering from the “Kings” of Viking metal and one more of the year’s top new hard rock and metal albums.  The album is available now.  The band is now touring in support of the album, too.  The band’s tour includes a performance in Charlotte, NC on Oct. 15.  The band’s current tour schedule is available online now along with all of the band’s news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.amonamarth.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/amonamarth

Twitter: http://twitter.com/amonamarthband

 

 

 

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