Thursday, February 14, 2008

An Ecclectic Metalhead's Thoughts on Valentine's Day

A significant part of Europe seems seduced by Barack Obama and it's quite easy to see why, because Hillary Clinton isn't delivering as well as he does. The key word here is seduction, that's where the Obama power lies. With Mitt Romney out of the race I guess my choice goes towards John McCain. I might sound cynical, but abortion ban, gay rights and religious conservatism are overrated topics in this election campaign since there is plenty of lobbying around this issues in society on a daily basis and this regardless of the political orientation of the U.S. president. Instead there is a disproportionate lack of lobbying in favor of free market and free trade. As far as foreign policy is concerned - and particularly Iran - McCain fits me most : "form an alliance with European countries to put economic and diplomatic pressure on Iran". But both Democrats and Republicans fail the test on immigration, the huge costs of strengthening the borders are easily imaginable, but what about the benefits. From zero to none.

Why Dark Passion Play, the latest Nightwish album, is among the best Metal albums of 2007 ? For a starter, Anette Olzon is far from being the main factor. If you want the long answer you should read this piece on If you want the short one, here it is : composition and heaviness. Not everything on this album is gold, it becomes self indulgent at times and makes you want to fast forward to the next song. But the symbiotic combination of a full symphonic orchestra with heavy downtuned guitars unleashing themselves into devastatingly fast and melodic pieces creates little gems of what Symphonic Metal should sound like. Kudos to Tuomas Holopainen, the main songwriter of the band, for achieving such a performance. The implication of bass player Marko Hietala into the songwriting process must also count for something, not to mention the use of his excellent voice on a much larger scale than on any previous Nightwish album. For a quick preview of Marko's vocal talent here is the song Pyre of Gods from his other band, Tarot. In support to what I was saying until now here is the excellent The Poet and the Pendulum (part 1 and part 2) from the latest Nightwish.