• Ladies and gentlemen!

    Here are some pictures of my visit of the Diefenbunker in Carp, a suburb of Ottawa. The four-story bunker was built between 1959 and 1962 to protect the members of the Canadian government in the event of a nuclear war. After the decline of the Cold War, the use of the bunker was discontinued in 1994 and it became a museum. I visited it with a good friend of mine last Saturday.

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Jean-Daniel at the entrance

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Ticket shop

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Exhibition about the Cold War in Berlin

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Jean-Daniel in a kitchen

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Men's dorm

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Jean-Daniel in the pantry at the lowest level of the bunker

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Vault of the Canadian Bank

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Studio of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     The Prime Minister's ''Suite''

    Canadian Emergency Government Headquarters: Diefenbunker

     Tunnel connecting the bunker to the outside world

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  •  Mesdames et Messieurs,

    Voici mes trente-trois chansons québécoises préférées pour l'instant. J'en ai certainement oublié quelques-unes, mais j'ai essayé de couvrir tous les temps, styles et sujets en essayant de présenter trente-trois artistes ou groupes très différents. Bonne écoute et découverte! Peut-être que je ferai une suite éventuellement.

    Harmonium - Un musicien parmi tant d'autres

    Éric Lapointe - N'importe quoi

    Kashtin - Harricana

    Kevin Parent - Seigneur

    Les Colocs - Tassez-vous de d'là

    Les Cowboys fringants - Plus rien

    Groovy Aardvark - Dérangeant

    Martin Deschamps - Quand

    Jean Leloup - Isabelle

    Vulgaires Machins - Puits sans fond

    Xavier Caféine - Montréal (Cette Ville)

    Les Trois Accords - Grand champion

    Mes Aieux - Dégénérations / Le réel du fossé

    Gilles Vigneault - Gens du pays

    Plume Latraverse - Bobépine

    Loco Locass - Libérez-nous des libéraux

    Grimskunk - Vive le Québec libre

    Voivod - Corps étranger

    Céline Dion - Pour que tu m'aimes encore

    Corbeau - Illégal

    Isabelle Boulay - Parle-moi

    Ginette Reno - Fais-moi la tendresse

    Offenbach - Câline de blues

    Florent Vollant & Éric Lapointe - Miam Maikan

    André - Yolande Wong

    Marjo - Celle qui va

    Georges Dor - La Manic

    Michel Rivard - Schefferville, le dernier train

    Union Made - Ave Maria

    Karkwa - Le pyromane

    Kosmos - Amérique innavouable

    Simple Plan & Marie-Mai - Jet Lag

    La Bolduc - Le jour de l'an

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  • Akoma - Revangels (2017)

    Akoma's Revangels is a quite dull affair and even somewhat disappointing considering the band has been around for more than a decade and is signed to a quite big metal label. The band offers bland symphonic metal with a focus on simplistic keyboard patterns and piano sounds as well as angelic female vocals. Since both seem to be performed by Tanya Bell, this band could almost be called a solo project. 

    Everything else is as uninspired as it gets. The drum patterns are repetitive, predictable and exchangeable and don't unfold any dynamics. The bass guitar is mostly inaudible or just plods along to the guitar play. The guitar play however is the worst offender. The band has two guitar players which isn't obvious since they are both playing the very same rhythms and patterns and aren't distinguishable whatsoever. There aren't any guitar solos on this album and all we get are basic and boring rhythms that wouldn't even make it onto an industrial gothic record of the nineties because they would be too simplistic. 

    The production is also boring and doesn't make the different instruments stand out. Atrocity's Alexander Krull helmed that process and Akoma recalls a band he produced about a decade ago called Atargatis but only a very weak copy of it. Atrocity drummer Joris Nijenhuis, usually a potent musician, helped out on this album but didn't add anything special to an album that would have needed some of his energy and skills. Alexander Krull's then-wife Liv Kristine also made an unremarkable appearance as a background singer for this album's bland title track. Her voice should have contrasted the lead singer's for a more dynamic experience but the final result is another missed occasion.

    If I had to point out a positive element, I would mention the more mystique and folk-inspired half-ballad ''Bittersweet Memories'' which is ironically the only re-recorded song. Maybe it could be worth to check out the band's early material because the new one is shallow without any exceptions. 

    Akoma's Revangels isn't terrible but simply bland. I could only imagine faithful collectors of any type of female fronted symphonic metal appreciate this record slightly. I pretty much forgot what I had heard right after finishing this album. The only interesting elements are the re-recorded song and the cover artwork. If Akoma wants to make an impact, it should build a stronger group of musicians and producers around the talented singer and keyboard player Tanya Bell.

    Final rating: 50%

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  • Ministry - AmeriKKKant (2018)

    When the infamous Iraq War started one and a half decades ago, I was still in high school but I remember many students of my age demonstrating against said war and the American President George W. Bush. I recall a classmate of mine who brought a poster to a local demonstration that asked ''Has Bush got a small penis?''. I also remember how the Rock Against Bush compilations were extremely popular among teenagers. I recall how famous artists and bands such as Eminem or Green Day were inspired by said war and wrote songs or even entire albums about it. Back then, everybody had an opinion on that war as even teenagers got interested in politics and history. Ministry released a whopping three albums dealing with the state of the United States of America and its President.

    These days, many people would like to have George W. Bush back because an egocentric, populist and selfish businessman whose name isn't even worth mentioning has taken over a country, drastically reversed its development and become a danger to the world, his own country and even himself. Yet, people have become disillusioned by politics and it's surprising that the heroes of yore release a select track criticizing that opinionated madman but don't try to use their popularity more to demonstrate against that government. At least Ministry has decided to voice its opinion and release a conceptual record about the current state of the United States of America called AmeriKKKant. Some people might claim that this was predictable, that it wasn't necessary and that politics and arts shouldn't mix. However, I believe that it's more important now than ever to speak up against what's happening in the United States of America since last year, especially if you are unlucky enough to be a citizen of this country. Ministry's intention to try to change things through its music and lyrics is a very honorable position.

    On the other side, an album isn't just about its concept and its lyrics trying to release anger, speak the truth and warn the world. It's obviously also about the music. And the music on this record is plain horrible. The lengthy tracks are filled with numerous distorted sound samples and seemingly infinite turntable sounds that make bands like Rob Zombie and Limp Bizkit go green with envy. The guitar riffs are simplistic and lackluster. The rhythm section is plodding along without any inspiration. There are very few vocals and the few passages that are actually sung always sound the same and consist of hoarse screaming of almost incomprehensible lyrics. The idea to hire a new guitarist, a new drummer and a professional disc jockey on the turntables isn't too bad and the initiative to another metal vocalist as well as a rapper sounds quite intriguing. However, none of these musicians is able to add anything relevant to the album and only the omnipresent disc jockey is audible but for for all the wrong reasons. There only a few minor passages that are even remotely interesting on the album such as the thrash metal stylistics of ''We're Tired of It'' or the few more melodic passages of ''Wargasm''.

    Musically speaking, this album is one of the worst I have ever heard in my whole life. It's just one notch above projects like Sabazius and Sloth which means it's truly terrible. The only redeeming quality is the record's concept found in thought-provoking lyrics even though they are at times a little bit too rude and straight-forward as in the controversial ''Antifa''. In the end, the interesting album cover can be interpreted in two ways. First of all, the Statue of Liberty is face-palming because of the disastrous state of the United States of America. Secondly, it might be face-palming because Ministry's AmeriKKKant is wasting its potentially valuable lyrics with absolutely terrible music. If you want to hear a better album about the current state of affairs in the United States of America, you might try out the new record of American progressive metal band Leviathan called Can't be Seen by Looking: Blurring the Lines, Clouding the Truth.

    Final rating: 17%

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