• Babymetal - Metal Galaxy (2019)

    Japanese kawaii metal pioneers Babymetal who revolutionized a combination of melodic danceable idol pop music and diverse metal subgenres have gone through numerous changes over the past few years. Lead guitarist and member of the band's backing group called Kami Band Fujioka Mikio died from injuries sustained after falling from an observation deck about two years ago. Singer and dancer Mizuno Yui had stopped touring with the band about two years ago and definitely left the band one year ago. She had been replaced by a revolving line-up of different dancers and singers. In addition to this, the teenagers had now become adults with lead singer Nakamoto Suzuka being twenty-one years old and backing singer and dancer Kikuchi Moa being twenty years old as we speak. Most idol bands would have opted for a new line-up but Babymetal's international popularity associated to its original singers would have made such a change extremely debatable. The band doesn't have its youthful charm anymore and must now opt for a new direction. Instead of dwelling on the past, Babymetal has now released a record entitled Metal Galaxy with a new background story and numerous futuristic electronic elements.

    While evolution is generally positive, one can't help but miss the quirky eclectic energy that distinguished the stunning debut record Babymetal five years ago and its even more diversified successor Metal Resistance three years ago. Metal Galaxy features six popular guest musicians and singers varying from Thai rapper F. Hero to Canadian death metal vocalist Alissa White-Gluz but all these collaborations are only briefly entertaining and fail to leave deeper impressions. ''Distortion'' for instance is a faceless and short first single as the solid melodic death metal riffs don't blend in with the heavily distorted and auto-tuned vocals. Nakamoto Suzuka's enchanting clean vocals can't really unfold. Kikuchi Moa's shy backing chants are lacking conviction. Alissa White-Gluz's growls are merely a gimmicky side note. The other collaborations aren't much better. ''Oh! Majinai'' featuring Sabaton's Joakim Broden makes Alestorm sound like serious and professional artists as that failed attempt at a pirate hymn might not even be entertaining enough for a pre-school birthday party at an amusement park. ''Brand New Day' features two guitarists of progressive rock band Polyphia but if you expect this song to be more adventurous than the rest, you've got it all wrong. The staccato riffs sound nerve-firing. The omnipresent electronic elements are plain irritating. The vocal effects take any depth, feeling or soul away from the song. It's a pity that the producers didn't let Nakamoto Suzuka unfold her angelic vocals.

    How about the songs without guest musicians or singers? They aren't much better to be honest. ''Future Metal'' is a bland plodding trance tune that opens the first disc while the overlong ''In the Name of'' sounds like a less convincing copy of the opener from the eponymous debut record. Japanese bonus tracks ''BBAB'' and ''BxMxC'' are as random as their weird titles and materialize as nervous short tunes mixing futuristic trance and dubstep elements with vapid industrial and nu metal riffs but the worst elements are the heavily processed vocals that are much closer to a robot than a human being.

    In order to not be completely negative, there are still a few noteworthy songs. ''Shanti Shanti Shanti'' focuses on danceable Indian folkore music and could come straight from the soundtrack of a Bollywood movie. The song manages to sound creative, enchanting and exotic and isn't too heavily processed. ''Shine'' isn't innovative but sounds refreshing as an epic pop ballad that stands out because it's less overloaded and processed than most of the other songs. Album closer ''Arkadia'' offers epic power metal melodies in the key of Rhapsody of Fire, Helloween and DragonForce that nostalgically recall the spirit of the previous full length effort. It's ironic that what might be the most conservative tune on the new album is easily its best.

    In the end, Babymetal has both moved away from its quirky pop music roots and its numerous metal subgenres and offers futuristic electronic music where too many cooks spoil the broth and quantity outweighs quality. The heavily processed vocals of the brilliant lead singer Nakamoto Suzuka are unnecessary, nerve-firing and even insulting for such a talented artist. Kikuchi Moa's exchangeable background vocals have nothing in common with her energetic screams on the two previous records. Mizuni Yui's absence is noteworthy but it's debatable whether her presence could have improved this vapid plastic product. The instrumental quality has also decreased and one misses Fujioka Mikio's crunching extreme metal riffs.

    The only hope that remains is that the new songs sound more warm, vibrant and organic in concert. Babymetal's quirky shows are still second to none despite the line-up changes. This third studio record however is a step in the wrong direction. Fans are craving for Babymetal and not Young-Adult-Trance. If you happen to be disappointed by Metal Galaxy, try out BRATS' eponymous debut record featuring former Ladybaby singer Rei Kuromiya.

    Final rating: 30%

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  • Helloween - United Alive in Madrid (2019)

    Sometimes, great things take a lot of time to develop until they finally happen. This can certainly be said about Helloween's reunion featuring the current line-up with original singer and guitarist Kai Hansen and iconic singer Michael Kiske. The latter had taken some distance from the metal scene but when he collaborated with Kai Hansen in the wonderful power metal band Unisonic, it suddenly seemed possible for them to reconnect with their past. A few conversations later, the reunion finally materialized two and a half years ago and the septet toured the world. United Alive in Madrid is a testament to this successful reunion.

    This release is easily one of the best metal live albums ever recorded and will certainly stand the test of time as milestone in the band's career. The band had quite a few challenges when choosing an appropriate set list. The live record features songs from the very early years with Kai Hansen on vocals such as ''Starlight'', ''Ride the Sky'', ''Judas'' and ''Heavy Metal is the Law''. Michael Kiske performs some of the band's most iconic classics such as ''I'm Alive'', ''A Tale That Wasn't Right'' and ''Eagle Fly Free''. Current regular singer Andi Deris offers songs from the mid-nineties until the beginning of the current decade, featuring songs like ''Perfect Gentleman'', ''Power'' and ''Waiting for the Thunder''. Some songs are performed by multiple vocalists and work surprisingly well such as the magnificent epic opener ''Halloween'' that might be presented in its greatest version ever on this output.

    Kai Hansen's grounded and energetic vocals, Michael Kiske's particularly skilled and high-pitched performance and Andi Deris more enchanting and melancholic style complement one another perfectly throughout the album. All three singers are unique, memorable and good at what they are doing.

    It wouldn't be fair to underline the excellent musicianship. The excellent guitar play by Michael Weikath, Sascha Gerstner and Kai Hansen varies between gripping heavy metal riffs, enthusiastic power metal solos and occasional rock balladry with feeling. Markus Grosskopf has always been one of the most underrated bass guitar players in the metal scene and his style is vibrant, precise and dynamic at all times. Even though previous drummers like the late Ingo Schwichtenberg or the dynamic Uli Kusch have always delivered the goods, current drummer Dani Loble might be the best because his dynamic skills haven't slowed down in one and a half decades and he performs with the boundless energy of musicians that might be half as old as he is. Even though his job is physically demanding, he never slows down through far over two hours of running time.

    The production of this live album is also great. The songs sound heavier than their respective studio versions. The release includes a few minor mistakes that show that the final result wasn't too polished or modified which makes for an authentic and energetic live atmosphere. The enthusiastic crowd is audible at all times and was probably well aware that it was part of history in the making.

    Along with the regular concert recorded in Madrid that lasts two hours and twenty minutes on two discs, this release includes a third disc with four additional songs recorded elsewhere, including the brand-new collaborative effort ''Pumpkins United'' which equals the quality of the band's golden years in the late eighties. If you haven't listened to the song yet, do yourself a favour and enjoy its dynamic live rendition to the fullest.

    The only negative element about this release is its price. The three discs are sold for about thirty-seven dollars plus taxes in Canada which makes for a final price of around forty-five dollars. The same package is sold for about seventeen Euros in total in Germany which is the equivalent of about twenty-five dollars. I understand that the release might cost more abroad due to shipping fees and importation taxes but a whopping difference of twenty bucks is quite a stretch. It's not a surprise that more and more people only listen to music on streaming websites if the physical versions are offered for such unacceptable prices. If you want to save your businesses, lower your prices and treat your customers fairly.

    Final rating: 100%

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  • Bonjour à vous,

    J'aimerais partager un article inspirant que mon ami Jean-René Boutin a écrit pour le blogue de la Société d'histoire et généalogie Maria Chapdelaine. Cet article parle de son changement de carrière et comment il l'a vécu. Cet article montre qu'il faut parfois être ouvert aux changements et prendre des risques afin de trouver sa vocation et son bonheur. Veuillez visiter le blogue de la Société d'histoire et généalogie Maria Chapdelaine pour lire d'autres articles intéressants: https://histoiregenealogie.ca/

    Lien direct vers l'article: https://histoiregenealogie.ca/de-la-classe-au-classeur/


    Société d’histoire et généalogie Maria Chapdelaine



    De la classe au classeur


    Témoignage d’un diplômé en enseignement reconverti en archiviste 

    « Je ne ferai pas ça toute ma vie ». Cette déclaration, c’est moi qui l’ai faite… lorsque j’étais en plein baccalauréat en enseignement! Je l’ai probablement lancée inconsciemment, puisque je l’ai oubliée jusqu’à très récemment. Mon épouse m’a rappelé cela lorsqu’elle et moi discutions des changements survenus récemment dans ma sphère professionnelle et dont nous convenions qu’ils étaient positifs pour moi et pour notre famille. Dans cet article, j’expose brièvement les raisons de ces changements et ce que m’a offert le domaine archivistique.

    Le métier que j’exerçais ne me convenait pas. Des mentors m’ont aidé à le réaliser et à effectuer un changement que je ne regrette en rien. Cela fera bientôt un an que j’ai fermé la porte de la classe pour… ouvrir le classeur! Pourquoi ne me suis-je pas dirigé d’abord vers la gestion des documents et des archives? Formé en enseignement au secondaire (univers social et développement personnel), le fonctionnement des organisations et le patrimoine historique m’intéressait déjà1. En fait, je suis loin d’être le seul à qui la gestion des documents et des archives s’est révélée après avoir tenté autre chose.

    Déjà parmi le personnel de la Société, on compte deux autres anciens enseignants. C’est un fait que les trois personnes concernées trouvent amusant. Le dernier arrivé dans nos rangs en est aussi à sa deuxième carrière. La profession est-elle bien connue? Il est vrai qu’elle ne figure pas souvent parmi les valeurs sûres pour l’emploi. Toutefois, la profession offre des emplois utiles à la marche de la société et épanouissants à qui saura les dénicher et être engagé. Les gouvernements, sociétés d’histoire ou les grandes organisations ont un besoin réel de la gestion documentaire et de l’archivistique, comme en font foi d’autres articles publiés sur ce blogue.

    En terminant, j’aime mon nouvel emploi. Il satisfait ma recherche du savoir et me permet de côtoyer des gens intéressants. Nous ne travaillons pas qu’avec de vieux papiers! Pour paraphraser ma superviseure, Manon Leclerc, « un archiviste ne doit pas se tenir seul dans un coin poussiéreux, il doit interagir avec les humains qui créent et utilisent les documents pour que tout fonctionne. »


    Par Jean-René Boutin,
    préposé à la gestion documentaire 


    1 Cet intérêt s’est révélé tôt chez moi, vers le début de l’âge scolaire. Les cours d’univers social étaient parmi mes préférés. Aussi, j’aimais déjà manipuler et organiser des documents. 

    Publié le octobre 11, 2019

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  • Ma dernière fin de semaine à Chicoutimi était incroyablement épique. C'était l'anniversaire de mon ami Jean-Daniel. J'ai pu rencontrer mon ami d'université Jean-René qui était venu de Dolbeau-Mistassini. J'ai pu visiter la maison rénovée de Gabrielle et Mathieu. J'ai rencontré de nouvelles personnes bien sympathiques comme Ben et Claudio. J'ai déjà bien hâte d'y retourner prochainement.

    Fin de semaine épique à Chicoutimi

    Fin de semaine épique à Chicoutimi

    Fin de semaine épique à Chicoutimi

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  • Autumn in Quebec City

    Autumn in Quebec City

    Autumn in Quebec City

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