Kind of a filler post since I haven't been around posting updates. I plucked a post from my 2011 in Preview.
Jonny B wrote:If there was any one year that will be make-or-break for anything remotely gothic, this is it. For starters, there will be new releases from Nightwish, Within Temptation, Delain, Sirenia, and (I think..) Evanescence....(if they can get out of the studio...should've been released last year.) That alone is an all-star cast across the remains of the gothic spectrum....2011 could very well be the last stand for gothic metal.....Four of the five mentioned groups are coming off their most successful album. The problem in the past, is that I've rarely had a favorite band of mine follow-up their best album with one that was better then the last. I just have a terrible feeling that it's gonna be a really huge letdown year...I'm predicting at least 3 of these groups will disappoint me.
With the release of the new Delain
album 'We Are the Others,' my Top 5 have all released their new albums. How did they fare?
Previous Album: Dark Passion Play
Due for a letdown. DPP was their best album to-date and they had yet to release a true clunker.
Next Release: Imaginaerum
It was bold that they chose to do up a movie, and the soundtrack to go with it. Problem is, it's looking like the movie won't get off the ground, and the songs intended for the movie, ended up being the weakest tracks. As a whole, 'Imaginaerum'
contained the worst tracks of their career (Slow Love Slow, Scaretale, the second half of Song of Myself, the title-track medley,) But at the same time, 'Imaginaerum'
featured some of their best work as well (Ghost River, the first half of Song of Myself, The Crow, the Owl, and the Dove, and the mighty Rest Calm.)
Mixed. Wasn't a letdown. Wasn't awesome. But definitely a step below normal standards for Nightwish.
They need to tread carefully, or this could be the beginning of a Stratovarius-esk downfall for the group. They can right the ship by sticking to the formula that has worked so well and not trying to fix it.
Previous Album: The Open Door
Of the Top 5, I felt 100% certain that Amy Lee would kill the Evanescence
name for good. 'The Open Door'
had only one good track. The few demo leaks had no potential, and twice the group imploded.
Next Release: 'Self-Titled'
My 2011 Album of the Year, as well as my 2011 Comeback of the year. Amy Lee scrapped the original demos and went all-out, writing every song like it was gonna be the last one. Songs like 'Made of Stone,' 'The Change,' 'Over You,' and 'Lost In Paradise,' instantly made us forget about 'The Open Door.'
Way above anything I had expected, and of the 5 releases, the strongest of the bunch. Amy Lee found the perfect ground between the experimental aspects of 'The Open Door,' and the commercial parts of 'Fallen.' Question is, can she keep writing consistently?
Previous Album: The 13th Floor
They tied Delain
for my 2009 Album of the Year. I was expecting the group to take another step forward.
Next Release: The Enigma of Life
Mixed. Biggest problem was the running track order. In addition, Sirenia
was starting to show signs of overcommercialization (basically losing their signature sound completely to cater to the mainstream crowd.) Their strength lies in vocal diversity. The more styles of vocals that are used in each song, the stronger Sirenia's
sound was. But when they started adding Ailyn-only tracks, the album suffered.
Mixed. Deleting tracks and rearranging the track order does give me another album as perfect as 'The 13th Floor.'
But I fear that Sirenia
may be abandoning what they do best.
Previous Album: The Heart of Everything
The previous album showed signs of weakness, but I was confident WT
would continue to write high-quality symphonic gothic metal...at least until they said they were 'evolving their sound.' Good indication to expect a letdown.
Next Release: The Unforgiving
Hate on first listen. This was NOT the WT
I fell in love with. I shelved the album for months before listening to it again. I spun the album 5 months later, and concluded it wasn't as bad as I made it out to be...The Unforgiving
, though it sounded absolutely nothing like the WT
I loved, it had a lot in common with 80's rock, which in turn, changed my original opinion. The production on the album was also one of the most outstanding jobs I've heard on any group with the gothic label.
Mixed. I still wasn't 100% impressed, only because the themes of the album repeat themselves too much to enjoy it start to finish. Bands who've outright changed their sound have done much worse...Speaking of...
Previous Album: April Rain
Past Prediction: April Rain
eventually won my tiebreaker for 2009 Album of the Year. Loads of keyboard-driven melodies, killer hooks and vocal harmonies. I felt that Martijn Westerholt had an opportunity to stick it to his former band and surpass them in every way, and I thought they would. However...
Next Release: We Are the Others
Beware of any early review that mentions a 'maturity or evolution of sound,' or 'a grower album.' It's a good sign a group has abandoned every part of their winning formula. Instead of a keyboard-driven, harmony-laced masterpiece, we have a mostly guitar-driven semi-modern rock album with virtually no vocal harmonies to speak of. I've listened to this multiple times to see if the 'grower' effect would kick in, but it never happened. I concluded that it's a painful listen just to get to the best track 'Get the Devil Out of Me,' which is very reminiscent of 'The Gathering,' and by far, the best song of this so-called 'matured' Delain
: One thing that a lot of groups can learn from Nightwish,
is that once you find a winning formula, stick with it for a few albums before changing your sound. This was my highest anticipated album of the 5, and was also the biggest Fail of the 5...In fact, I don't even rank Delain
in my Top 5 anymore. 'We Are the Others'
could very well become the second album since Ev's 'The Open Door'
to land both my Song of the Year, and my Most Disappointing Album at the same time.
...By the end of the year, another group will replace Delain
in my Top 5 favorite groups. Lacuna Coil
have the inside track with their solid album 'Dark Adrenaline,' but I'm still waiting on a few more releases.
So in the end, only one album met my expectations, the one I had the fewest expectations for. The one album I anticipated the most, failed utterly (that's the theme every year it seems,) while the other three were mixed, albeit fixable.
You will most likely not hear another update from me for a good long while. I've been keeping busy while waiting for that one standout album to floor me. I have no plans to post another update until said awesome jaw-dropping album is made.