Gildan's Guide to Good Music
The world of music is a vast ocean of crap - join me on a voyage to the tiny isolated islands of excellence.
As the tagline not so subtly suggests, it's really easy to find terrible music - you have but to turn on your radio, and lo, bad music abounds. The good stuff though, well that's rarely quite so easy to find, and while some popular music actually deserves the accolades it receives, most excellent music languishes in comparative obscurity. And that's where I come in!
If it's thought provoking, epic, eccentric, or exceptional (or possibly all of the above), I take it upon myself to write about it in the hope that at least one of the comparative handful of people who actually read my rambling and
rampantly egotistical definitely quite humble reviews will find it useful - or if not useful, at least momentarily entertaining; I take what I can get really.
The album the following words are about somehow managed to be both on my personal "list o' things to acquire" and the "list o' music I ignore" simultaneously until fairly recently, when chance circumstance conspired to bring it to the forefront of my aural universe long enough to make my brain finally sit up and pay attention; my goal for the rest of this article is to make your brain do likewise.
Musical Genre: Progressive/Melodic Power Metal (of the 'Epic' variety)
Running Time: 46 minutes
# of Tracks: 10
Particularly noteworthy songs: Homeland, Sun of Utopia, Canonize Your Sins
You probably haven't heard of this band - I hadn't until rather recently, and I'm something of a connoisseur of obscure European Metal; if it weren't for the labyrinthine mechanics of a "We think you might also like to purchase..." list on a certain online retailer, I'd remain woefully ignorant still.
Which is actually somewhat surprising when you consider their pedigree, as Red Circuit was a German progressive power metal supergroup combining members from Vanden Plas, Adagio, Firewind and Elegy, all of which are bands I know and love - go figure!
I say "was" because they're not really a supergroup anymore, as the members from Vanden Plas, Adagio and Elegy parted ways after the first album, leaving ex-Firewind lead vocalist Chitral "Chity" Somapala as the only guy in this band that you're likely to have heard about before (assuming you follow bands in this genre at all in the first place of course).
Fun Trivia Factoid: If for some reason you are ever called upon to name a metal vocalist from Sri Lanka, you will totally know a correct answer to that question now, as that is in fact where Chitral Somapala hails from. Nobody ever guesses that based on his voice though! Seriously, I've asked, everyone just guesses Germany.
Homeland is their second album, and like their first, it retains the distinct symphonic epic influences and progressive elements that defined that initial album. Where it differs from their earlier work is in its pronounced shift in overall musical focus towards a more riff-oriented song structure - what you end up with is a wonderful hybrid: a cross between the expansive scope of symphonic metal (evinced here mainly by strings and choirs), the intricacy and eccentricity of progressive metal (multi-layered instrumentation, unexpected tempo/key changes, etc), and the more straightforward hard rock appeal of traditional melodic metal sub-genres.
The result is something that, like a great deal of music from Europe's so-called "Power Metal Revival", tends to go over rather well with fans of 80s style hard rock/metal (or so anecdotal evidence gleaned from my daily life would suggest). Homeland is an album chock full of quality hooks and catchy choruses that simultaneously manages to be both approachable and, well, epic, for lack of a better word, and I couldn't be happier to have found it.
This is exactly the sort of music you'll be hearing all the time on the radio if you ever abruptly find yourself in an awesome alternate dimension where good music is actually appreciated by the masses; not so much in actual reality though. But then I suppose if the radio wasn't a howling cultural wasteland, you wouldn't really need folks like me to tell you about awesome bands like this one, now would you, and then where would I be?
Well that about wraps up another entry in my guide to good music that, in case you hadn't caught on for some reason, has so far consisted entirely of albums from my personal music collection - because everything I like is awesome. As such, while I can't stop you from futilely suggesting albums for me to 'review' next, I can suggest that feedback of a different sort might be a slightly more productive use of your time. Until next time, may your sonic journeys be untroubled by obnoxious tripe that gets in your head and takes up permanent residence over your strenuous objections!
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