Sunday, November 7, 2010

Metal and Beer: Part 2.

So, The Fins/Ravens game is on right now, and I'm a sad panda.  The Ravens are a very good team, so frankly it's not a surprise that we are taking it up the blowhole.  Still, makes me most sad.

Anyways, What to report today.  My wife is making her patented gravy, which for the uninitiated is actually a red tomato sauce for eating on pasta or whatever else you would use pasta sauce on.  The inclusion of sausage and other meat products into the gravy is what makes it "gravy".  Otherwise, you would call it marinara.  Whenever my wife makes gravy, I am at my happiest.  It's the best thing ever.  EVER.

Anyways, here's another lazy Sunday review session! 

The Beer:  Sam Adams Holday porter.

So, here we have Sam's Holiday Porter, which is basically an amped up Porter with a sweet back end.  It weighs in at 5.9 abv, which is slightly higher than the average porter.  I dig that, mainly because this is a beer meant for the holidays, when it is cold and blustery outside.  A good warming beer is always appreciated for the cold winter months.  While most beers are spiced to holy hell for this season, The Boston Beer company decides to keep this one simple, only beefy malts and fuggles and kent goldings hops flavor the bad boy.  A very nice english style porter, made better by the beefing up of the abv.  I very much enjoy.

Score:  4/5


Delain - April Rain (2009)

Delain are one of the biggest surprises in the Metal world for me in a very long time.  I do enjoy female fronted metal bands, but I often get annoyed when the bands don't take advantage of what a female singer can bring to a band.

Let me be clear on this.  If I wanted an epic, powerful, and crushing vocal performance I would listen to a male fronted band.  I know how that seems to come off, but it's the truth.  Women can not bring the power and pain like a Bruce Dickinson, Eric Adams, or Hansi Kursch can.  It's just the way of the world.  That said, no male singer on earth can convey innocence, sensuality, and tranquility like a good female singer can.  The problem is, that so many bands do not play to their ladysinger's strength.  The last good example of a female singer being well used that I could think of is Nightwish's Dark Passion Play, which utilized Anette's voice very well for a big portion of the album.  

 I like my female singers to sound like women.  I want them to project calm strength and strength without being over the top or in your face.  I want them to sound feminine.  Thank the gods, Charlotte Wessels of Delain brings it on such a high level that this album is a resounding success.  But beyond that, the songwriting (brought courtesy of former Within Temptation keysman Martijn Westerholt) is out of this world and seems to be crafted to suit her voice to near perfection.  Her voice is always steady, and stays in a semi-low register for much of the album, but can climb into higher registers when is required of her.  Such a wonderful, soothing voice and it's so refreshing.

Anyways, onto the album.

The fuck-awesome:  April Rain, Start Swimming, Lost, and Nothing Left.  These 4 songs are complete symphonic-gothic metal perfection.  April Rain is the absolute hook monster of the album, and was released as the first single so clearly someone at the record label could hear the obvious, which can be rarer than you think these days.  The chorus is INSANELY catchy, and the song as whole is such a wonderful way to kick off the album.  Start Swimming is what I suppose you could call ballad, but it eventually kicks into full blown electric goodness, but not before Ms. Wessels treats us to yet another wonderful hooky acoustic driven intro.  Delicious.  Lost is a pretty big monster of a tune, and definitely one of the heavier tunes on the album.  Yet again, driven by a hooky chorus.  See a trend?  It is a pop-metal band, as it were.  Nothing Left is my personal favorite song on the album, and one of the two songs in which Marco Heitala brings his vocal awesomeness to the table.  This song is just... so... GOOD.  I'd say this song works better than all the rest in establishing a melancholy mood and just sucks you in with it's swirling and gorgeous pre-chorus, complete with Marco's always soaring vocals.  Amazing.

The Great:  Invidia, On the Other Side, Virtue and Vice, I'll Reach You.  These 4 are all still very good songs, and keep the album moving along nicely.  On the Other Side is probably the poppiest song on the album, complete with the string section opening.  The other 3 are mid paced rockers, with I'll Reach You being the uplifting tune of the album.  Funny that that song immediately precedes the saddest tune on the album (Nothing Left).  They just like to set you up for the fall.

The Very Good:  Control the Storm, Go Away.  Still very good are these 2, but a noticible step down from teir one greatness.  I definitely wouldn't press the skip button on them.  Control the Storm would be the other appearance from Marco, and man does he belt it on this one.  Good stuff.

The Good/OK:  Stay Forever.  This is the only song on the album I occasionally skip.  It's also the second single for the album, proving yet again that record companies are fucking fools.  Why they would pass up a song like "On the Other Side " which is a pop sploogefest all over your face is beyond me, but whatever.

So, as you can see, I'm rather smitten by this album.  Like I've said, it's one of the most surprising things I've listened to in a long time.  It's everything I want in a female fronted band, and I pray and hope to the metal gods that they continue in this direction for whatever they do next. 



  1. I totally agree, this album fully rocks :) You are such a cute writer

  2. I'm surprised that you like this Sam Adams. I haven't had the porter yet, but I'm not a sammie fan as a rule. I might come out of hiding to try this.

    I bet Melissa's gravy would be great on eggplant parmesan.

  3. @The Tiny: HEY! I'm not good with words, but I'm having fun with it!

    @Ryan: I like Sam's stuff overall, and sometimes they can genuinely surprise me with their stuff. Their holiday beers are solid, definitely their best time of the year to shoe their wares.

    Also, her gravy IS great on Eggplant parm!