It's been a while since I last posted. I've been super busy with university assignments, teaching and engaging in non-blogging procrastination. Well I say teaching, but it's more like getting shy students to talk and give answers to questions. It's a bit difficult at times, but I've seen some become quite good at actually talking to their teachers and pointing out their mistakes. It seems to be most notable with Asians and the whole no-talking-back shtick...
But anyway. Stand Up And Fight, from the band Turisas. They're a Finnish group that makes really good battle metal/get-psyched music. The best description of the genre would be Viking metal.
Overall, the album is pretty damn solid. It's the best thing I've heard in about a year or so. The story behind Stand Up and Fight is based on the Byzantine empire, in all its glory and its downfall. There's just so much history and culture interwoven into the lyrics, that I feel like I need to research it to fully enjoy the album. That's something I'll definitely do after my exams are over...
It's actually enjoyable on so many levels. So for that reason, I think this is going to be one of the few albums I'll listen to regularly over the years, even as I get older and older :P - It's pretty much up there with Imaginaerum, although I haven't been listening to it all that much lately because of my shifting preferences. I want something more aggressive right now, and this album delivers it!
So anyway, the climax/pinnacle of this album comes in the penultimate track End of an Empire. Just beware... It's not particularly easy to listen to and digest, especially for those unfamiliar with the genre.
To put it succinctly, End of An Empire is a cautionary tale full of soaring emotions, reaching the heights of fear and despair... then finally, hope for a brighter future.
It explores historical trends, how we still repeat our mistakes, and the inevitable toppling of all empires. In my opinion the lyrics are pretty top-notch, crafting a compelling summary of the past with a sprinkle of references to bloody moments in history.
And I would describe it as a musical, because the beginning and end are very much like that. The beginning in particular is so reminiscent of the Les Miserables, with Javert's soliloquy and his clashes with Valjean (Every tale needs its star and knave / Which part I play is yet to be unveiled). The final moments of the epic tale finishes off with a very triumphant movement, which I like to think would go well with the very last song in Les Miserables.
EDIT: Interestingly enough, I was playing "Venetoi! Prasinoi!" while studying in the living room, and my brother thought I was watching some sort of dramatic musical. So I guess the analogy extends to the whole album! =P
And in between the two musical parts, it's a battle anthem of sorts, encouraging us to stand tall and not be afraid of what's to come, while bemoaning the past and how we always go too far. This is where the cautionary tale part comes in... It seems like we always mock the ways of old and somehow become unable to see our own mistakes and correct them in time. Hooray for global warming...
But yeah. To revisit that general theme I touched upon in the previous post, I like my music (and tea) to have some complexity to it most of the time. Pop/RnB/dubstep of any kind just confuses/bores the shit out of me, so I only dabble in pop-like songs for a nostalgia trip or because I just need to indulge that pattern-seeking bit of my brain that won't quiet down.
But even then, I remember one time I tried to listen to a cover of a pop song on Youtube, and I closed it halfway through not out of disgust, but out of boredom. I knew what was coming next, and it wasn't going to be any different from the last two minutes. So basically... You damn young'uns really need to put in some more effort and thought when you make music.
*ahem* So in summary, Stand Up And Fight is an awesome album, and I'd encourage you to give it a go even if you aren't a fan of metal. And if an album can make me really want to learn more about history (which is something I rarely do) then I think it must be quite special!
The time is here
Time to be brave, while others fear
We know the walls will fall,
But out of the ashes a new day will dawn!