• Take a closer look at this list with my twenty favourite movies of the year 2014: http://www.imdb.com/list/ls075718404/

    I may still watch a couple of movies over the next few weeks, so my list might change a little bit. So far, these are my favourite films:

    1. Lucy (science-fiction, France)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2872732/reviews-271

    2. Sin City: A Dame To Kill For (action-thriller, United States of America)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458481/reviews-58

    3. The Judge (drama, United States of America)

    Review: -

    4. A Hard Day (action-thriller, South Korea)

    Review: -

    5. Three Days To Kill (action-thriller, France & United States of America) 

    Review: -

    6. The Raid 2: Berandal (action, Indonesia)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2265171/reviews-120

    7. The Equalizer (action, United States of America)

    Review: -

    8. Annabelle (horror, United States of America)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3322940/reviews-97

    9. Edge Of Tomorrow (science-fiction, United States of America)

    Review: -

    10. Interstellar (science-fiction, United Kingdom & United States of America)

    Review: -

    11. The Giver (science-fiction, United States of America)

    Review: -

    12. Godzilla (science-fiction, Japan & United States of America)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0831387/reviews-698

    13. The Maze Runner (science-fiction, United States of America)

    Review: -

    14. The November Man (action-thriller, New Zealand & Ireland)

    Review: -

    15. A Million Ways To Die In The West (western-comedy, United States of America)

    Review: -

    16. Pompeii (history-drama, Canada & Germany)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1921064/reviews-74

    17. John Wick (action, United States of America)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2911666/reviews-76

    18. The Expendables 3 (action, United States of America)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2333784/reviews-146

    19. Time Trip App (science-fiction-comedy, Japan)

    Review: -

    20. Non-Stop (action, Spain & United States of America)

    Review: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2024469/reviews-87

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  • Sebastian’s Favorites Of 2014

    December 25, 2014 in Top Lists by Sebastian Kluth

    Here comes a review of my metal year 2014, including my favourite studio records, live albums and compilations. There will also be a short look back at the best concerts and festivals I have assisted over the past year. Finally, I will talk about my anticipations for the metal year 2015.
     
    2014 was a great year for metal music in my opinion. I have kept updated a list with all genre releases I have listened to over the year. Without any further ado, here are my twelve favourite new studio records of the year 2014 and a couple of honorable mentions that almost made it into my top releases of the year.

    ARP-into-the-storm

    12. Axel Rudi Pell – Into The Storm

    The veteran band from Germany delivers once again a passionate mixture of gracious nostalgia and fresh power on this early highlight of the year. Especially the crystal clear vocals by Johnny Gioeli send shivers down my spine. Axel Rudi Pell’s guitar work finds the right balance between simply efficient hard rock and heavy metal riffs and glorious melodies for heavy and power metal fans. Ferdy Dörnberg’s keyboards add not only an epic but even a technically stunning progressive side to the sound. Any sucker for traditional heavy and power metal should give this release a chance. My three stars of the release are: Tower Of Lies, Into The Storm, Touching Heaven.

    Back To R'Lyeh 2014

    11. Back To R’Lyeh – The Awakening / Last Flight Of The Primordial

    The debut of this Spanish avant-garde progressive metal quintet requests some patience and isn’t the kind of music one could listen to each day. The record is based on Lovecraftian literature, the music has a technically challenging approach and the album is atmospherically bleak. The rest is a fascinating potpourri of different genres that recall completely opposite bands from Voivod, Opeth and Mastodon to System Of A Down, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Carlos Santana. This is my weirdest and maybe most interesting discovery of the year. Back To R’Lyeh has tons of potential and should get more attention in progressive metal circles. My three stars of the record are: Basil Abscond, Ghosts & Vengeance, Nuclear Warhead.

    Overkill2014

    10. Over Kill – White Devil Armory

    The American thrash metal legends from the East Coast continues its stunning streak of high quality records. White Devil Army convinces with pitiless thrash metal wrecking balls, menacing groove metal vibes, mean punk anthems and a superb hard rock cover of Nazareth’s “Miss Misery” with guest vocals provided by Accept’s Matk Tornillo. My three stars of the album are: The Fight Song, In The Name, Armorist.

    Einherjer 2014

    9. Einherjer – Av Oss, For Oss

    The Norwegian trio offers by far the best viking metal record of the year by delivering a short and consistent record that mixes black, doom and folk metal in an atmospheric, emotional and constantly epic way. My three stars of this record are: Av Oss, For Oss, Nidstong, Nord Og Ner.

    In Flames - Siren Charms

    8. In Flames – Siren Charms

    The Swedish melodic death metal quintet continues to frustrate fans from the early days by coherently following the path of the previous five records. Younger audiences can probably make more sense of the band’s fascination for alternative metal and indie rock. In Flames keeps experimenting with electronic soundscapes, emotional ballads and concisely short song writing but also focuses on its talent for New Wave Of British Heavy Metal twin guitar melodies, a passionate mixture of melodic and harsh vocals and tons of catchy choruses filled with emotional lyrics about inner struggles. My three stars of this output are: Rusted Nail, Monsters In The Ballroom, Filtered Truth.

    Epica2014

    7. Epica – The Quantum Enigma

    The Dutch sixtet delivers its best studio record to date with “The Quantum Enigma”. Cinematic orchestral passages and enchanting Asian folk sounds meet a brutal rhythm section, gripping riffs and two completely different emotional vocalists who harmonize incredibly well by contrasting themselves at the same time. This powerful mixture of symphonic, power and death metal hasn’t one single bad song in seventy epic minutes. My three stars of this release are: The Essence Of Silence, Omen (The Ghoulish Malady), The Fifth Guardian.

    Unisonic2014

    6. Unisonic – Light Of Dawn

    The German all-star band delivers an honest and positive record that should conquer the hearts of heavy and power metal fans alike. The band fusions uplifting lyrics with depth, technically convincing instrumental parts and unforgettably catchy choruses in a mixture of charming nostalgia and fresh new energy. The band has found its Fountain of Youth and the different members have put out the very best release of the last fifteen years including all their main bands and side projects. My three stars of this record are: Night Of The Long Knives, Blood, Exceptional.

    Deep Mountains 2014

    5. Deep Mountains – Lake Of Solace

    Last year, the collaborative project “East And West” between Chengdu-based multi-instrumentalist Kasasis, the mastermind behind one-man project Darkness over Depth, and his Chinese label colleague Zwrust, the mastermind behind the one-man project of the same name, managed to make it into my top list of the year. In 2014, the profound neofolk project Deep Mountains from Tai’an makes my list with a similar effort that unites haunting bleak black metal and appeasing nature-bound folk melodies. My three stars of this release are: Ballad Of River Nai, Detachment, Sin.

    KYPCK

    4. Kypck – Имена на стене

    The Finnish quintet with a authentic weakness for Russian history and language delivers a highly atmospheric, emotional and philosophical doom metal pearl. My three stars of this album are: Deti Birkenau, Prorok, Voskresenie.

    Cea Serin

    3. Cea Serin – The Vibrant Sound Of Bliss And Decay

    The American band delivers a highly diversified progressive metal masterpiece which varies from calm and enchanting short ballads to technically stunning, intellectually challenging and atmospherically unpredictable epics. My three stars of this output are: The Illumination Mask, The Victim Cult, Ice.

    Leviathan2014

    2. Leviathan – Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then

    Leviathan is another veteran progressive metal band from the United States of America that delivers an impressive mixture of progressive rock and power metal. Their output is even more impressive as this creative conceptual record is constantly gripping and never gets redundant despite a running time of over seventy-six unforgettable minutes. My three stars of this album are: Beholden To Nothing, Braver Since Then, If The Devil Doesn’t Exist…, Intrinsic Contentment.

    534_Xandria_CMYK

    1. Xandria – Sacrificium

    My favourite record of the year 2014 comes from the German symphonic metal band Xandria who sounds more ambitious, mature and versatile than ever with new Dutch singer Dianne van Giersbergen. Highlight after highlight hits hard on the bombastically surprising “Sacrificium” which includes thirteen excellent symphonies. This masterpiece sounds epic, powerful and progressive and is easily the best genre album of the decade. My three stars of this record are: Sacrificium, The Undiscovered Land, Temple Of Hate.

    Honorable mentions:

    13. Edguy – Space Police – Defenders Of The Crown (Germany) // 14. Subway To Sally – Mitgift: Mördergeschichten (Germany) // 15. Allen / Lande – The Great Divide (Norway, United States of America, Finland) // 16. Lord Symphony – The Lord’s Wisdom (Indonesia) // 17. Nanowar Of Steel – A Knight At The Opera (Italy) // 18. Exmortus – Slave To The Sword (United States of America) // 19. Alestorm – Sunset On The Golden Age (United Kingdom) // 20. Eintritt – Tempel Der Meere (Poland) // 21. Sparta – Welcome To Hell (United Kingdom) // 22. Vital Science – Imagination On The Subject Of Infinity (Estonia, Latvia) // 23. Tengger Cavalry – Ancient Call (China) // 24. Babymetal – Babymetal (Japan) // 25. HammerFall – r(E)volution (Sweden)

    Best concerts and festivals of the year:
    1. Black Sabbath, Reignwolf (Canadian Tire Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
    2. Blaze Bayley, Shock, Joe Thrasher & Rusted (Mavericks, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
    3. Sonata Arctica, Delain & Xandria (Mavericks, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
    4. Over Kill, Prong & A Darker Day (Mavericks, Ottawa, Ontario, Ottawa)
    5. Dark Tranquillity, Omnium Gatherum, Exmortus & Sawed-Off Shogun (Mavericks, Ottawa, Ontario, Ottawa)
    6. Dream Theater (Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
    7. Yes (National Arts Centre (Southam Hall), Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
    8. B.A.R.F., Insurrection, My Shadow & …From the Deep (Le Petit Chicago, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada)
    9. Death Angel, Tyr, & Signs Of Chaos (Mavericks, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada)
    10. Ensiferum, Crematory, Delain, Lost Area, Sündenklang, Cain & Eisenherz @ Castle Rock XV (Mülheim an der Ruhr, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)
    11. Grim Skunk & Greta Knights (Le Petit Chicago, Gatineau, Quebec, Canada)
    12. Eisbrecher, Apoptygma Berzerk, Corde Oblique, Persephone @ Amphi Festival X (Cologne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany)

    Best compilation of the year:
    King Diamond – Dreams Of Horror

    Best live CD/DVD of the year:
    Anthrax – Chile On Hell

    Most anticipated releases for 2014:

    Acrassicauda – Gilgamesh (Iraq) / Coppelius – Hertzmaschine (Germany) / Eisbrecher – Schock (Germany) / Ensiferum – One Man Army (Finland) / Haggard – Grimm (Germany) / In Legend – Stones At Goliath (Germany) / Jorn Lande & Trond Holter – Dracula – Swing Of Death (Norway) / Jupiter – The History Of Genesis (Japan) / Luca Turilli’s Rhapsody – Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus (Italy) / Melechech – Enki (Israel) / Moonspell – Extinct (Portugal) / Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Finland) / Orden Ogan – Ravenhead (Germany) / Scorpions – Return To Forever (Germany) / Tanzwut – Freitag Der 13. (Germany) / Waltari – You Are (Finland) / and many more…

    For further reviews and lists of the year 2014, please visit my personal blog: http://kluseba.eklablog.com/

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  • KYPCK – Имена на стене

    December 22, 2014 in Reviews by Sebastian Kluth

    KYPCKKYPCKИмена на стене (2014)

    Reviewed by Sebastian Kluth

    Kypck is a Finnish doom metal quintet with a faible for Russian language and history. Finnish melancholy meets Russian soul on the three studio records the band has delivered so far. The group is named after a city where the world’s deadliest armored battle took place in 1943, which caused around a quarter of a million casualties during World War II. Kursk is also the name of a nuclear submarine that sank in the Barents Sea in 2000, causing 118 casualties. The band’s music and lyrics are as sinister as these two events and deal with loss, pain and war.

     

    On an interesting side note, the band features two members of the legendary defunct gothic metal band Sentenced, while singer Erkki Seppänen should be known to European power metal fans as current singer of the band Dreamtale. His outstanding vocals are expressive, low, and throaty, and he performs the Russian lyrics quite well (he is an experienced instructor at a language school).

    While the vocals are half the charm of the band, the haunting guitar melodies are the other half, and have a really unique touch. The band also includes dark, and doomy riffs supported by low bass guitar and slow- to mid-tempo driven destructive drumming. What stands out most are the melancholic, nostalgic, and even occasionally psychedelic melodies that feel like emotional outbursts for hope in all the drowning darkness.

    This band is all about bleak atmosphere, and even the instruments support this tendency. Sami Lopakka’s guitar looks like an AK-47, while Ylä-Rautio’s bass has only one string and looks like an old military weapon. The band even has its own Lada painted in a nostalgic military green color with the band logo on it. The booklets present the band members trimmed on old and bleak pictures. The most recent booklet features pictures from the ghost town of Pripyat in Ukraine (which was abandoned a few days after the Chernobyl disaster in 1986). This historical event has always fascinated me, and Kursk’s new record feels like a trip through the ill-fated town near the border with Belarus.

    From the first seconds of “Prorok”, the band builds up a depressing, haunting, and psychedelic atmosphere with simple but effective melodies, a surprisingly vivid rhythm section, and thunderous, low, and intentionally repetitive riffs that are hard to digest. The narrating vocals are accusatory and emotional, and are sometimes supported by uneasy whispers in the background. This first song represents the entire record quite well. The track is uneasy, raw, and depressing, and hard to digest at first. However, the characteristic guitar melodies and the melodic chorus are incredibly hypnotizing and grow with each spin.

    The title song “Imya Na Stene”, is one of the most melodic and memorable tracks here. The song is a bit more vivid, shorter, and to the point than the rest. The chorus crowns this eerie track, before moving into the more extreme “Voskresenie”, which fathoms the other extreme and evokes strong negative emotions. It’s clearly one of the most disturbing tracks on the entire record. The song is dominated by noisy bass guitar riffs, extremely low and distorted guitar riffs, a dissonant guitar solo, mean guttural vocals, and throaty laughter.

    It’s quite a challenge to sing about the fate of children in a concentration camp. “Deti Birkenau” overcomes the potential risks of either writing a hypocritical, moralistic tune or a too-condescending, explicit, and superficial one. The song is intense in meaning and music, as melodies and lyrics filled with calm glimmers of hope meet an epic, yet reserved atmosphere of ongoing sadness and suffering. The track has a melodic clean vocal approach, supported by slow melancholy guitar melodies, distorted background riffs, and that heavy slow rhythmic section. The song also has a few up-tempo parts with hopeful energy and heavenly melodies that soon turn into a repetitive, fatalistic, and yet consoling numbness. The philosophical song somehow fits the topic perfectly in my mind. As somebody who has visited a concentration camp, this masterpiece brings back the atmosphere of despair, bleak fear, and destructive hate I felt when I visited this memorial to one of the grisliest crimes humans have committed against each other.

    You can believe me when I say that the rest of this record is just as atmospheric as the first four songs, though the intensity decreases a little towards the end. I’m confident that this unique quintet can yet increase its musical intensity and song writing quality to surpass this excellent highlight and create an indisputable genre milestone some day. You definitely need to spend some time and be in a receptive mood to fully digest this accusing, angry, bleak, consoling, dark, depressing, disturbing, grisly, hopeful, hypnotizing, horrifying, menacing, mysterious, nihilistic, psychedelic, and profoundly sad record, but it’s well worth digging in. If you are looking for an emotional, melodic, and intellectually challenging doom metal release, you definitely can’t find anything better than this output in the year 2014.

    4.25 // 5

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  • 9th of February 2014:

    Orochi: Power/Folk Metal from Tokyo, Japan: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Orochi/3540376573

    27th of March 2014:

    Loviatar: Doom Metal from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Loviatar/3540378827

    13th of April 2014:

    GunPowder: Heavy/Power Metal from Taipei, Taiwan: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/GunPowder/3540379284

    13th of September 2014:

    Mike LePond's Silent Assassins: Power Metal from Newark, New Jersey, United States of America: http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/Mike_LePond%27s_Silent_Assassins/3540385218

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  • Happy holidays to all readers of my blog from all around the world! Take good care of yourselves, spend some great time with your families and friends and stay healthy in 2015. Please continue to spread the word about and be faithful to my blog!

    Sincerely yours and best wishes from Canada and Germany,

    Sebastian Kluth

    Merry Christmas 2014 & Happy New Year 2015

    For those who are interested, here is a playlist with some contemporary German Christmas music performed by the punk band ''Die toten Hosen'' (just follow the link below for the entire play list): 

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxT8qMrADOs&index=1&list=PLg8mRhbccaJw5XL2_ytC3YkzzADnAf8S_

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