22 June 2016

"Unlikely" Music Recommendations

If you're feeling bored or uninspired (which is how I mostly feel these days) I invite you to check out some good music that will spice things up, hopefully if you haven't thought I can like/ recommend it!

I like to dwell in genres that I would otherwise dislike, because good music can be found everywhere independently of genre. If you restrict yourself to genres and categories - you're missing out on a lot out there.

1. Pierce The Veil 

Pierce The Veil / Selfish Machines (full album)

No, I did not have an emo phase when I was 14, nor did I ever listen to post-hardcore as a teenager (only classical music and Visual Kei for me). But I have always liked a few songs here and there and I couldn't leave Pierce The Veil alone, not after hearing Vic Fuentes' voice. He's a great singer and all the guys in the band are really talented, and if you're really smart ass like me, you could hear someone trying to sound like At The Drive In/ early The Mars Volta in this album (which culturally make so much sense for this band).
Gotta love the South America (Latino? Oh god I have no idea) influences that they've sadly dropped in later albums. I especially love songs like A New National Anthem and Fast Times In Clairmont High. The romantic themes get to me. I almost feel 10 years younger, and I wan to sing absolutely every tune on this album.
Also - I would have loved to sing/play in a post hardcore band!

2. Motionless In White

Where should I begin? Let's see what we have:
  1. goth-looking frontman with nothing less than drag makeup.
  2. Painfully obvious Cradle Of Filth, Slipknot (and presumably other metal[core]/post hardcore/ something something) and later on Marylin Manson influences (influences being a very moderate word).
  3. Shameless (yeah, make it shameless instead of "influences") quoting of Morrisey which hints on other musical inspirations than mentioned above.
And it all made me so happy. Why? Because it shows how people who grew up on music from the late 90s and beginning of 00s have created something kind of new, interpreting newer bands into their own contemporary stuff. Musicians have been doing this since forever, and it made me happy to see that the legacy of certain bands lives on, just like with modern interpretation of synthpop and 80s music, for example.
I loved the look, I loved the agenda - "open your mind before your mouth" - a bit aggressive, but better than most metalcore machos. And of course the classic "I am a poor victim of societal norms". I loved a few songs here and there. I would love to go to a concert too!
And how could you resist Chris Motionless' Jewish-Italian looking face? I don't care what descent he actually is but that is some epic face right there. 
And speaking of which:

3. (early) Cradle Of Filth

Story time: The Principle Of Evil Made Flesh was the first ever black metal song I heard, and could only find it years later because I heard it on an obscure internet source at the time. The second COF song I heard was the one above and I loved it immensely. Years later I had a phase when I was 19 (army time, urghh...) when I violently listened to Cradle Of Filth drinking every word like it was b l o o d.
And you know that if you listen to COF seriously you have a problem. But all humor aside - Cradle are were actually a pretty good band, I could always hear a little bit more than just ridiculousness in their music. I simply like it, and how can you not adore Dani Filth's insane squeals? I think it demands a lot of skill and talent to be able to sing like that, and oh well I admit - I find it sexy.
Lord Abortion is one of my favorite songs from Midian, which is a masterpiece album! All the Lovecraft and Dahmer references, I mean c'mon...

4. Blind Guardian 
best band photo ever

Story time #2: in 10th grade, the person who introduced me to Opeth, also (among other bands) introduced me to Blind Guardian. And before you laugh your ass off, yes - I do find most Power Metal completely laughable, but oh not this band (who I am surprised are German!).
BG are happy music for me, well - if you exclude the song above, which could easily be sung by Whitney Huston, because it's so beautiful and requires amazing vocal technique! 
Blind Guardian always amaze me when it comes to technical playing, I admire each and everyone in this band! 
Some of the most amazing guitar solos I have heard were from this band, for example like in the song Noldor (and pretty much the entire Nighfall In Middle Earth).
Some people don't actually take this band's eternal Tolkien Fanfiction seriously, but ironically I take Blind Guardian 100% seriously. Every music that happens to touch me deeply is serious to me, also their ballads bring you to tears (like The Bard's Song!).

So, did I surprise you? Could this be just my early teenage metal days talking? Do I happen to fancy bands with high male vocals? 

Share your opinions and other guilty pleasure music in the comments, I am curious :P
Have a great almost-weekend everyone!


19 June 2016

Minsk and a Funeral

Last week Boris' grandmother has passed away unexpectedly. The next day we found ourselves on a plane to Minsk, Belarus. This is also where Boris was born and grew up 7 years of his life before his parents (just like mine) left everything behind and immigrated to Israel. It's been 20 years since they've been there last.

I was telling Boris a few times that we should pay there a visit, to the place where he comes from, to see the city. He always dropped the idea claiming that it would be another depressing post-Soviet Union country, with unfriendly people and a stark atmosphere.
Now that we had a "reason to visit", we were happy to be wrong.

Orthodox church in the old district. It was beautiful inside.
Despite the circumstances we still had a chance to visit the center of the city. I was surprised by how spacious and huge everything is: the streets are enormous, the buildings tall and broad; everything is very grand and big, and Minsk is filled with many green parks. 

There weren't many people on the streets but the ones we saw were very friendly and "simple" in a soothing kind of way.
The Belorussian language was fun to listen to and, unlike many other Slavic languages - easy to understand. Boris and I felt at ease hearing Russian on the streets too, we've never been to a country where our mother language can be heard everywhere. 
And even more surprisingly - we didn't feel completely out of place there.

"The feat of the people is immortal"
 The heaviest part of the trip was of course the funeral. The day before that we had to go to the morgue with Boris' mother and her sister. And so we saw a dead body for the first time. Clothed but without makeup yet, lying so grimly on a metal table.
I cannot compare the feeling to anything else I've felt before, but to see Boris' mother grieving next to her dead mother has upset me greatly.
I couldn't help but remember all the horror movies and the gothic rock songs about death and dying and to think how mocking those are. You just feel sad, and empty, and you don't even realize the person who's dead used to belong to you. They just lay there, not asleep, but strange and far away. Like a doll. Lifeless.

It was a Christian Orthodox funeral, with a pope and another person who was singing. It was a good ceremony, we felt like we were saying goodbye to Boris' grandmother with respect. I loved the singing, it was very spiritual. I have nothing against the religious ceremony, it was very deep and right.
I have only witnessed a Jewish burial ceremony before and there they lay the body covered in cloth in the ground (ashes to ashes, dust to dust). Here things took a lot more time and we could actually be around the body, to look at it and to personally say goodbye.
I touched her arm, and it was stiff and cold. I could never imagine my mother burying her own mother, not to mention myself being in the same situation. I would die from sadness.

I recalled reading Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (which I most recommend!) and compared things with the book. But honestly nothing could prepare you to the real thing. Being physically there, being close to the dead person is so important. Being close with your family in this time is too.

Railway Station Square in its Stalinist glory

We've decided we would love to come back to Minsk some day. We simply liked it there, something in the atmosphere wasn't completely foreign. And though we came to the city with a different purpose, we would love to check the alternative scene there next time.

I filmed a short video during our rides through the city and the final edit turned out quite psychedelic. I missed my experimental videos!
Music is a song called Fellini by 2 rock legends - Splin and B-2, the latter is a Belorussian band, both are amazing.