Posts Tagged ‘Kai Hansen’

220px-Blind_guardian_follow_the_blindFollow The Blind is the second full-length studio album by the legendary German Power Metal band, Blind Guardian. It was released in 1989 and sees the band in a bit of a transition period, much more advanced than their debut but not yet fully developed into the full on Power Metal style they would become famous for on the next half-dozen albums.

It also sees the band leaning more into a Thrash Metal direction than at any point in their career, with notable Bay Area Thrash influences in particular. If you like Exodus, Testament and Forbidden’s debuts, and you also like Power Metal then this album is a delightful middle ground. Its harder and more aggressive than future Blind Guardian records, and has also yet to develop the more progressive tendencies of their later period. What it lacks in scope however, it makes up for in sheer fury. I think this album would be a great introduction to the band and indeed to the subgenre for fans of Thrash who are maybe afraid of Power Metal due to its reputation as being a bit flowery and wimpy compared to other Metal styles.

On the downside however, for Power Metal fans especially, all that Thrash influence leaves less room for catchiness, melodies and variety as compared to their other work. That is not to say it is devoid of those qualities, just that it is a smaller percentage of the music than usual. Listen to ‘Fast To Madness’ for example… a brilliant Metal song, but you wouldn’t generate as big a sing-along as say ‘Time Stands Still at the Iron Hill.’ The title track does experiment with different tempos and balancing heavy and clean styles, but more in a …And Justice For All/The Years Of Decay way than in an Imaginations From The Other Side way. Both fine ways to be sure, just depends what mood you are in and what expectations you had when you bought the album in the first place.

In terms of songwriting quality, I think Blind Guardian’s albums sort of just got better and better up until about Nightfall In Middle Earth, and so I think this album is better than their debut but not yet as good as Tales From The Twilight World, or the classic Somewhere Far Beyond. That is of course not to say its poor, just that it isn’t as good as the really good stuff. In terms of production, its a bit noisy and harsh on the ears, and works better in small chunks than as a whole. Not unlike fellow Power Metal Pioneers Helloween’s Thrashy Walls Of Jericho album in that regard.

Speaking of Helloween, Kai Hansen makes some guest appearances on this album, both on guitar on ‘Hall Of The King’ and on Guitar and Vocals on ‘Valhalla.’ These for me are two of the best songs on the album anyway, and are made even better by Kai’s presence. The other main highlight is the excellent instrumental ‘Beyond The Ice’ which is one of the best songs on the album for me, very pummeling, quite diverse and with astounding guitar work… it really shows off what a force the band are musically with its bouncy toms and double kicks and the excellent range of riffs and solos.

Overall; Follow The Blind is an experimental album that sees the band trying to find their sound. It is arguably the hardest, fastest and heaviest of their records and arguably the least melodic and catchy. It is however a very decent album that no Blind Guardian fan should miss out on (how could you be a fan and deprive yourself of ‘Banished From Sanctuary’ or ‘Valhalla’?) and that would be a good starting point for fans of heavier music trying Blind Guardian out.

*Ps. The Remastered edition has two cover songs and four early demos to add some value for money. None worth upgrading over in and of themselves, but very welcome if you are getting em for free anyway. *

Gamma Ray - Powerplant

Gamma Ray – Powerplant

Gamma Ray, the legendary German Melodic Power Metal band fronted by the immensely talented Kai Hansen (Founding member of Helloween, member of Iron Saviour & Unisonic, guest contributor to Angra, Blind Guardian, Primal Fear, Hammerfall, Avantasia and all around fingers-in-many-pies mainstay of the Power Metal scene) really came in to their own with their classic fourth studio album Land Of The Free. They had always been great, but something about that 1995 masterpiece really just elevated them even higher.

For me, the three albums that followed maintain that high standard. Most fans will be very familiar with Somewhere Out In Space and the popular No World Order albums. It seems that piggy-in-the-middle record, Powerplant is a bit more overlooked, or in other words underrated.

The album opens with ‘Anywhere In The Galaxy’ which is unquestionable, pure classic Gamma Ray. This sort of song is the reason people love this band. Elsewhere there is the fun tribute to Manowar ‘Heavy Metal Universe’ (filled with constant lyrical references, and musically based on ‘The Gods Made Heavy Metal’) which is great fun. There’s variety with a Pet Shop Boys cover (‘It’s a Sin’), a commercial sounding tune (‘Send Me A Sign’) and a lengthy progressively inclined number (‘Armageddon.’)

The production is a little flatter than the albums which surround it, and sonically it doesn’t perhaps pop out as much, but the songwriting and performances are spot on. ‘Wings Of Destiny,’ ‘Razorblade Sigh’ and the aforementioned gem ‘Anywhere In The Galaxy’ are memorable, melodic ragers that would stand proud on any other Gamma Ray record.

Overall; this album sees Gamma Ray in the middle of a great run of high quality albums. It maybe doesn’t get talked about as much as some other albums but you’ll be damn grateful to have it in your collection once you’ve given it a chance.

Angra – Angels Cry Review

Posted: April 30, 2015 by kingcrimsonprog in Metal, Metal - Studio, Music Reviews
Tags: ,

Angra – Angels Cry

What happens if you stick Keeper Of The Seven Keys and Operation Mindcrime in a blender? You waste two perfectly good cds of course! However, the metaphor was the first thing that came to my mind after listening to the first half on the Brazilian Power Metal/Progressive Metal band Angra’s classic 1992 debut album Angels Cry.

The album was produced by Charlie Bauerfeind and Sascha Paeth (what important Power Metal bands haven’t those legendary two worked with, between them?), and recorded in Kai Hansen of Gamma Ray’s studio in Germany. It also features guest musicianship from three Gamma Ray members across two tracks. That’s some serious Power Metal pedigree it has going for it.

In addition to bouncy European-sounding Melodic Power Metal however, the band also write incredibly Progressive minded music with odd rhythms, complex transitions and a lot of thought about texture and atmosphere (there’s at least two or three songs on here that seriously feel like missing tacks off of Rage For Order at times, before the choruses kick in), and on top of all that, dip into Neo-Classical territories as well. I could see how people might call it a rip-off of other band’s styles on paper, however there’s something original about it by virtue of the specific mix of influences, and of course the band’s own innate talents and distinctive musical (and singing) voices.

All that superb musicianship and songwriting skill is superbly topped off with some seriously phenomenal lead vocals from the beyond-talented Andre Matos. The range, power, melodic sensibilities and enthusiastic performances are something to behold.

The album feels really well balanced, it flows well, and despite having a Kate Bush cover and music by Vivaldi and Paganini, never feels cheesy or gimmicky. You could never tell it was recorded with line-up trouble before, during and after its creation either. Its just one of those extremely solid albums that just sounds and feels important.

Highlights include ‘Carry On’ which is a whole lot of fun, ‘Time’ which has a bit of a Queensryche feel and ‘Never Understand’ which has guest guitar from Kai Hansen, Dirk Schlächter and Sascha Paeth  (and despite all that doesn’t feel patchwork). The word highlights is hard to apply though, as its all so good and there’s not a lot that’s worth skipping or ignoring by any means. This is solid from beginning to end.

It may not be as progressive as their later albums, and doesn’t really highlight the Brazillian/World music angle as much as later albums, but it is still an absolute gem and I’d seriously advice people to get themselves a copy if they are into either Power Metal or Progressive Metal.

Helloween – Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy

In 2005; 18 years after they changed the world of Power Metal forever by releasing their landmark album Keeper Of The Seven Keys Prt 1, the legendary German band Helloween released Keeper Of The Seven Keys: The Legacy… a lengthy double album which pays homage to that classic and its 1988 follow up.

It’s a bit of a strange move however. When people think of Keeper Of The Seven Keys 1 & 2, they usually (rightly or wrongly) think of the unique guitar work of Kai Hansen, the thunderous and unique drumming of Ingo Schwichenberg, and the unique (sensing a theme here?) vocal talents of Michael Kiske. Something about the strange alchemy of the mix of those people’s talents and their coming of age resulted in two of the genre’s most memorable ever releases.

It would make sense, sort of, that after some media people and grumpy long term fans accused the band of losing their way with the down tuned The Dark Ride and the very diverse Rabbit Don’t Come Easy albums, which weren’t to everyone’s taste no matter how good they actually were, that the band might want to recapture that magic and channel something that harkens back to those early albums which everyone enjoys. However; first of all, three fifths of the line-up were out of the picture (arguably the most memorable three members, rightly or wrongly), and secondly the band had done well finding their own sound and style ever since Andi Deris joined the band and reinvigorated them after a short identity crisis.  Surely the band hadn’t spent the last decade proving themselves, and making themselves modern and credible as more than just a nostalgia act, to all of a sudden remind everyone of the Keepr era and invite more comparisons, ignite more reunion demands, and generally play down all the good work they’d been doing since Master Of The Rings?

Well; that’s the choice that the band made. So the band, with Andi Deris on vocals, Sascha Gerstner of guitars and now debuting new drummer Daniel Loeb for the first time, attempted to make Keepers music in a new millennium with a new line-up. But wait, weren’t there two Keepers albums? No problem, make it a double album. Oh, wasn’t there a lengthy semi-epic on both those albums? No problem, put one on both discs of this new double album. Wasn’t it not actually a concept album and so difficult to make a sequel to? Well… make a lyrical sequel to the title-track then…and make a the album artwork look like a sequel and its close enough.

Yes, you can see how it looks like a sequel to those records and therefore why it would make fans who’ve been ignoring the band since those glory days check them out once more. I think this was a mistake though. All you’re going to do is make people who think modern Helloween is rubbish come out of the woodwork to say “Modern Helloween is Rubbish! And this isn’t as good as the Keepers albums.” Here’s why: You can do all you want to make it look like a sequel, but it doesn’t actually sound like a sequel. Why not let those people who already jumped ship just stay away, and instead concentrate on all the people who appreciate what you’re doing now and have the album be judged on its own musical merits instead of how it feels compared to an almost two decade old masterpiece made by mostly different people?

You see the frustrating thing about it all is that the worst thing about this album is that very fact. This album is a poor sequel to the Keepers. Its not a Keepers album. Gamma Ray’s Land Of The Free album is about the closest thing anyone has done to the Keepers since (incidentally it was written by Kai Hansesn and had guest vocals from Michael Kiske), and even that was a one-off. It might be unfair to overlook the contributions of Markus Grosskofp and Michael Weikath on the origionals but realistically, it was always the other three guys people talked about the most (again I’ll say, “rightly or wrongly”).

The main reason you’ll read so many negative reviews about this album is down to that fact… it more or less says it is Keepers 3, and it doesn’t sound like Keepers 3, so automatically people will say it has failed, and will more than likely say they don’t like it too.

The thing of it is though…. Keeper Of The Seven Keys The Legacy is a damn good album. It’s a damn good modern Power Metal album with Progressive Metal leanings (like fellow Power Metal heroes Blind Guardian and Stratovarius were already doing at the time). It’s a damn fine Deris era Helloween album. It may not be a good follow-up to Keeper 1 & 2 but it is an excellent follow up to Master Of The Rings and Time Of The Oath.

The album sees the band mixing their happy, pleasant, commercial Power Metal stylings of the recent decade with pianos/choirs/strings/Theremin sounds (all made by a keyboard though), as well as samples, and guest female vocals from Candice Night.

Both discs open up with an ambitious multipart track that’s length runs past 10 minutes, and the rest of the songs are a mixture of everything the band have been doing in the last decade mixed together. You’ll find some riffs that would be at home on Better Than Raw, some solos that sound straight off Master Of The Rings, song structures reminiscent of Rabbit Don’t Come Easy and even the odd beefy mid paced bit here and there that wouldn’t be too out of place on The Dark Ride. This album is really more of a culmination of everything good about the first decade with Deris in the band, rather than a throwback to the 1980s.

Its long, dense, complex and not all that easily digestible on first listen. It might take a bit of persistence to “get” but it is a really rewarding “grower” of an album that rewards repeat listens and has plenty of variety to keep your interest going. Its an album that sounds better a month after you bought it. It sounds better six months after that.

Highlights include the bright and breezy ‘Get It Up,’ the sing-along fun of ‘Silent Rain,’ as well as the fine balance of Prog and straight ahead Melodic Power Metal that is ‘The Invisible Man.’ ‘King For 1000 Years’ is probably the biggest, most interesting and most memorable moment of the record, its chocked full of excellent parts and tells a great little story lyrically.

Overall; if you come to this album expecting anything that sounds like Keeper Of The Seven Keys then prepare to be disappointed, and really, it was a bit of a daft idea for the band to set themselves up in that situation. However, in its own right, on its own merits, judged for what it is and who made it rather than against a peerless classic, ‘The Legacy is a fine collection of catchy, memorable, well-written modern songs that grow on you more with each listen. Basically the only flaws it has are to do with the length making it difficult to get into at first, and the aforementioned sonic difference between it and the Keepers being needlessly highlighted at a point of their career where it should no longer have been an issue.

If you like Deris era Helloween, pick up a copy. If you don’t, stay away. If you are new to the band and have a fresh copy of Keepers part 1 and 2 in your hands and don’t know where to go next… in all honesty I’d say avoid this for at least a year and pick up either Walls Of Jericho, Time Of The Oath or Gamma Ray’s Land Of The Free instead.

Helloween – Walls Of Jericho

In late 1985, the legendary German Melodic Power Metal band Helloween came out of Berlin’s Music Lab studios and released their debut full-length studio album, Walls Of Jericho. In so doing, the band arguably changed heavy music forever.

Lead by the very talented Kai Hansen, who would later go on to become the frontman of Gamma Ray and help form Iron Saviour, the band combined powerful US style Thrash Metal (despite being fellow countrymen with the likes of Sodom, Destruction and Holy Moses) with British NWOBHM and their own unique sense of melody and whimsy that would ultimately prove vastly influential over the whole European Power Metal movement.

Compared to later albums, Walls Of Jericho is faster, harder, heavier and more rooted in the Thrash tradition than anything else. If you only knew them from singles like “Mrs God,” “If I Could Fly” and “Live Now” it might come as a shock to hear how raw and ferocious the material here can be.

That being said, everything that would come later in both Helloween and Gamma Ray’s signature sound can be picked up on here. ‘Metal Invaders’ for example tones down the Thrash and adds some of that Power Metal magic, as does the middle of ‘Ride The Sky.’

The record does a pretty good split between the styles of Kai Hansen and Mikael Weikath, in a real spot who wrote what kind of way. The real hero here however is drummer Ingo Schwitchenberg, who’s one of a kind fills and absolute mastery of the double-kick gave such a personality filled performance. Highlights include the furious ‘Metal Invaders,’ the damn catchy ‘Heavy Metal (Is The Law)’ and the memorable duo of ‘Gorgar’ and the aforementioned ‘Ride The Sky.’

Negative things? There aren’t that many. Maybe the vocals could’ve been recorded better and placed higher in the mix, and some of the transitions are jarring so structure isn’t as spot on as in the later albums, but arguably both points only add to the charm of the album, which vastly outweighs the technical complaints anyway.

Overall; Walls Of Jericho is a rawer, grittier, dirtier and more aggressive Helloween album than usual, but undeniably a Helloween album. It isn’t just interesting as historical context either, its fully entertaining in its own right musically. There are some brilliant riffs, some amazing solos and some damn catchy choruses to be found.

If you can, try and get the version which also contains the equally strong Helloween EP and assorted other compilation tracks from this era. It features extensive liner notes, photos, press clippings and the like in the booklet, and the extra music is more or less  just as good as the main album.

Its day 34 of my third Get (Into) What You Paid For challenge. I’ve been adhering to the challenge and haven’t broken the challenge yet. To be honest it hasn’t been too challenging. Challenge, Challenge, Challenge. So; Christmas has came and went, and the kind people in my life have provided me with a brilliant collection of very-well-thought-out gifts, which has definitely taken the urge to buy myself stuff away for a while.

I’ve been given numerous biographies on bands I like (including Sabbath, Megadeth, Slipknot, Jethro Tull); Power Metal albums from Iced Earth and Gamma Ray; Prog Metal albums from Porcupine Tree, Pain Of Salvation and Tesseract; Thrash from Testament. Even a bit of Grunge in the form of the new Pearl Jam album. My listening habits from the last year are all very well served by this.

I’ve been given a massive load of comics from my friend Magnum, and I’ve been given the new Batman videogame. My gaming and reading habits from last year are all pretty well served by this too.

Pretty much, I’ve just had a massive influx of things I like and so that quells the urge to buy more things I like.

Another reason I’ve been doing OK with not buying things is that I’m completely and drastically broke. Its easier to exert some restraint when there’s more reason to do so. Maybe I’m fianlly an adult, now that I can confidently say I’d rather be able to pay my rent than buy myself something entertaining. I’ve got so bloody much stuff already anyway that its becoming easier to shrug off the itch to get more, I’m beginning to learn some perspective and tone down my overspending.

Taking this financial situation into account, and the fact that I didn’t blog as frequently on the subject this December as I had in the previous two GIWYPF challenge months, I’ve decided to extend this one into a two-month epic. That’s right. I’ll try not to buy any books, comic books, DVDs, Blu Rays, Band T–Shirts, Books, Music or Videogames for another month, making it a stretch from December 1st to February 1st. I don’t think I’ve ever went that long without buying something of this nature since turning 18.

But if I was going to break the challenge, what would I break it on?

Riverside’s debut, Haken’s whole discography, the two Psychotic Waltz reissues, some of the more famous Fates Warning albums, and DreamTheater’s Awake all spring to mind. As does Mudhoney’s Superfuzz Bigmuff and Angra’s Angel’s Cry.

I’d also like to get the two most recent Batman collections, the Death Of The Family main story and side-stories books. Everything I’ve read from Snyder so far has been good and I’d like to be a bit more “In The Loop” with things, if it wasn’t so costly.

Oh. And there’s one new Arctic Monkeys B-side that’s came out during the challenge. I like to always buy those B-Sides pretty much as soon as they are released, this is the longest I’ve gone without getting an Arctic Monkey’s B-Side since the release of their second album.

To be honest though, I don’t think there’s much risk of me breaking the challenge. Having a massive exam schedule that requires serious, dedicated revision for, having no money, and having been given those excellent Christmas gifts should keep me busy and thinking straight.

So; today, having done my revision for the day, I’ll take a little break and do a quick little series of mini-reviews/thoughts of what I’ve been listening to lately. As you might imagine, most of it will be the gifts I got for Christmas that I’ve described above. Here goes:

I got a copy of Tesseract’s new album Altered State for Christmas. I went and saw them live about a month ago and was completely blown away by them. They were supporting Karnivool who I’d imagine were less big than them, but who weren’t. They had an annoying loud fan who wouldn’t stop screaming for songs they didn’t play (“Dead Man”) and making a clown’s horn noise. I wish that fan had kept their big mouth shut, but the concert was awesome. Tesseract’s guitarist is very tall… Anyway; This album completely lives up to my expectations. Its absolutely fantastic. Such incredible musicianship and utterly spellbinding vocals. I can foresee this band becoming huge, if there’s any justice. Also, there’s a Saxaphone solo. Always a plus for a Floyd/Tull/Crimson fan!

I think I’m going to be dedicating a heck of a lot of listening time to this record in the near future.

Keeping with the Prog theme, Porcupine Tree’s Deadwing. I’ve been craving Deadwing for quite a while now. Ever since I got into the band, Deadwing has been my number one, most-wanted album of theirs, although I’ve managed to get everything around it first.

Interestingly, on just one listen, I was able to tell instantly that is their best record. I’ve had about five or six listens now and am still firmly of that opinion. The title track and ‘Arriving Somewhere But Not Here’ are absolute gold, and ‘Lazerus’ is a haunting, magical ghost-ballad. If this had the three best songs of Fear Of A Blank Planet on it too, it would be one of the best albums of all time.

I think I might make some sort of Porcupine Tree best-of, with ‘Sound Of Musack’ ‘Drawing The Line’ ‘Normal’ and then the majority of Blank Planet and Deadwing on it.

What else have I listened to? I recently talked extensively about listening to Pain Of Salvation’s The Perfect Element album so I won’t go into too much detail about it again here. Anyway, I listened to it again while I was weightlifting and although I had understandably reduced-concentration on it, I really am impressed by this album. If you like any sort of Prog Metal you should really pick up a copy. Its only about £3 on Amazon.

Tesseract, Porcupine Tree and Pain Of Salvation are three very different bands, and they all scratch very different parts of my brain, but any way you look at it, Prog Metal is pretty well served by that trio of absolutely phenomenal records. What about Power Metal then?

I also got given Horror Show and The Glorious Burden by Iced Earth for Christmas. I’ve listened to them both quite a few times now. I like Iced Earth, they play 40% Judas Priest, 40% Testament and 10% Warning era Queensryche. Pretty well suited to me then. Both albums are great, as was Something Wicked, which I got given for my previous Birthday. The three of them together feel like one big album. There’s sort of a continum between the three of them. Its hard to explain.

On The Glorious Burden, there’s a nifty bit where the lead guitars play the rhythm of “Johnny We Hardly Knew You.”

Interestingly as well; The Glorious Burden has Tim Paper Owens on it instead of Matt Barlow, who at the time had left the band to join the US Police force in the wake of 9/11. He’s a perfect replacement for Barlow. Both are brilliant at high screams, both sing with manly authority and both do a fine impression of Forbidden’s Russ Anderson. I don’t know if its actually the guitarist doing those bits. Could be. They’re so similar across the two records. I’ve also got given their live Blu-Ray for Christmas, so I’ll have a look when I get a chance to watch it, and see if I can crack this mystery. Is Schaeffer the phantom Russ Anderson impersonator? Or do both Barlow and Ripper both have that one particular style really well honed?

This record makes me want to try out the two Ripper-Era Priest albums that I avoided. Tim is certainly an incredibly talented guy. Replacing Halford can’t have been easy. Just look Blaze Bailey. The fans really didn’t go for him even though he’s very talented. Also – Maaaaaaaan hunt. Maaaan, Hunt. Manhuntmanhuntmanhuntmanhunt.

In addition to the serious, Thrashy, USPM… I’ve been listening to the fun, bright, melodic German Power Metal of Gama Ray. I’ve been hammering their 2007 album Land Of The Free II recently; its met with mixed reviews, but I really like it. Its such a fun, energetic, and pleasant record. The guitar solos are magnificent. Kai is one of my favourite guitarists of all time. I read a lot of people complaining about stealing that bass-bit from Maiden’s Rhime Of The Ancient Mariner. Gama Ray frequently steal bits from Priest. They’ve even stole bits from Deep Purple. Its just something you have to deal with. Its still a good song. I don’t know, maybe I should be harsher, but, I just can’t help but love everything Gamma Ray do. Its difficult to listen to Gamma Ray and not just be put into a good mood. I’d absolutely love to see them live. I wish I’d been a fan when they did that tour with Helloween recently. That must’ve been brilliant to behold.

Also, after having listened to Tesseract, I had another listen to Periphery. Periphery’s album is such a shapeshifter. Every time I’ve heard it I’ve listened to it in a completely different way. Sometimes I hear it as a radio-friendly Metalcore record, sometimes I hear it as a crushing desne Messugah-influenced affair, and sometimes I hear it as a rapid-fire, all-over-the-place, highly technical, Protest The Hero style modern prog mish mash.

That’s happened to me before, with Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes. I’ve heard it in completely different ways at different times. Makes you wonder what your ears and brain are up to.

Its also interesting just how different it is to Tesseract’s album. Its like the difference between Anthrax’s Spreading The Disease and Megadeth’s Peace Sells But Who’s Buying. Both are defining albums of Thrash, but both sound vastly different. Same goes here. Animals As Leaders’ Weightless album is as vastly different as those two are from eachother yet again. Perhaps that’s throwing Slayer’s Hell Awaits into the second albums by Thrash bands analogy. If all those Djent bands are Thrash, then what does that make Messugah? Judas Priest?

Oh. Y’know what. I can add three more things onto the “to-do-list” / risk-of-me-buying-these pile. Skyharbour, Monuments and Circle’s new albums.

Anyway, there are some seriously brilliant songs on this record. I particularly love ‘Erised’ and the single, ‘Scarlet.’ The whole album is fantastic though; the musicianship and vocals are incredible. There are parts that are so heavy, parts that are floaty electronic dreams and a lot of memorable clean choruses. Periphery – Love that shit.

I forgot just how good Tool’s Undertow album is. I usually think of the subsequent three albums when I think of Tool. There are some seriously fun, memorable, enjoyable riffs on this album. Some damn catchy vocal parts, some interesting lyrics, and it’s a lot more succinct and serious than I remember. I guess having gotten into all the Tool-influenced bands recently also helped. And the grunge; there’s a slight bit of grunge about Undertow that I may previously have been put-off by.

Speaking of being put-off; I think the thing about the carrots made me forget about all the completely awesome songs on the record. Tool usually have one or two little comedy moments or unusual additions, so I don’t know why that particular one took over. Well, at least I know better now. Songs like ‘Intolerance’ and ‘Bottom’ are absolute gems. I can see this working its way into a much more regular rotation from now on.

Ok; that’s enough for one installment. I’m going to have to keep it up all the way through January. Let’s hope I stick with the whole financial-discipline thing a while longer, ey?