Every year we are delighted with Tarja’s Christmas concerts, whether in churches of Finland or bigger venues such as ones in Czech Republic. This year, however, was different due to Covid-19. Tarja gave her listeners the chance to buy tickets for two special shows that would be streamed online, Christmas Together: World Wide Live. Of course, Gavin and I got tickets.
There were two shows, Gavin caught the first one (11th of December) and I caught the second one (12th of December). Starting the stream, we got a message from Tarja about Christmas and about the reasoning to her album, ‘From Spirits and Ghosts’. Then the concert started, the stage was beautifully set up with props and lights, a Christmas feel. The intro of ‘Pie Jesu’ (Instrumental) started and Tarja finally enters the stage starting the concert with ‘Sydämeeni joulun teen’ and ending with ‘Silent Night’.
The entire concert was beautiful, to the instruments, Tarja’s presence and voice, and the entire atmosphere in general. We also got to see the return of Maria Ilmoniemi (Keyboards/Piano) Also present were Alex Scholpp (Guitars) and Max Lilja (Cello). Everyone did an excellent job, with no mistakes (at least none that I noticed) and just something to stir us away from the year we have had. It was nice. Even without an audience the atmosphere was wonderful.
After the concert I and several others had the chance to video chat with Tarja on Zoom. The chat lasted an hour and was filled with laughter and even tears from some. People discussing the show, their experiences and how Tarja helped them out, and just discussions in general. Tarja is a very humble and kind person and I hope all get to meet her and I hope everyone will be able to make it to one of her uplifting Christmas shows. Hopefully Covid will be defeated next year as we have tickets to the Christmas show in Prague.
-Setlist- Pie Jesu (instrumental) Sydämeeni joulun teen What Child Is This Tonttu O come, O Come Emmanuel Varpunen jouluaamuna You Would Have Loved This Little Drummer Boy (instrumental) Tosti : Ave Maria Caccini : Ave Maria Turunen : Ave Maria Schubert : Ave Maria Amazing Grace (instrumental) Together Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas The Christmas Song Walking in the Air Silent Night
Ligeia Wept is a band that is hard to place into any one specific genre. Hailing from Melbourne Australia, this band stretches across genres that include goth, symphonic death/doom metal and melodic metal.
Their press release states that they were formed by Alister in 2006. Over the years, they have seen their share of numerous lineup changes, having gone on complete hiatus from 2009 to 2012. In 2019, everything fell together.
Their debut opus “A Funeral of Innocence” just released this year, and it was worth the wait! The music throughout this work ranges from dirge like works with cavernous growls, to melodic, doom and gloom with angelic soprano vocals. Everything from the guitars, bass, percussion, vocals and orchestrations is perfectly placed, drawing the listener in deeper and deeper.
Both lyrically and melodically, this album draws so many emotions from loss and sadness to a “cannibalistic apocalypse”.
Her Name In Countless Years Lies Buried
This opening track is simply breathtaking! The string arrangements are just perfect. And the angelic vocal harmonies absolutely gave me chills. Belonging in a score for the newest Netflix release “The Haunting of Bly Manor”, this piece of orchestration needs to be heard all around the world. Simply beautiful.
She Arose Unto a Dying Kiss
At 12:16 long, this dirge like track opens up with a low droning atmosphere with eerie keys. As the intro progresses, percussion is slowly added with tasteful and very tight fills, slowly becoming more and more involved. The strings become really entrancing and add so much to the atmosphere.
As the song builds, we hear angelic soprano vocals which sit beautifully above the atmosphere being created.
Deep growls encompass this track throughout as well.
A Hallowed Suffering Rode Upon the Ninth
Surrounded by beautiful yet haunting strings, this track opens up with some narration. At :42 seconds in, keys and drums come in along with some guttural growls followed by beautifully angelic, yet haunting soprano vocals.
The balance between the growls and soprano vocals is just right. Neither of which are overbearing. Guitars and strings are balanced so well throughout this track, and they really compliment each other.
While this track is obviously slower, it gives me a “The Forest Whispers My Name” vibe from Cradle of Filth’s 95’ release “V Empire”.
Empty into Void Spiritus Mundi
This has got to be my favorite track! As we drift more into the voids of the Earth, we find ourselves surrounded in darkness. This track opens with enchanted and very haunting vocals, and an overall eerie atmosphere that’s created by pads, strings and a droning synth.
As this track progresses, even though there isn’t any hard drums or distorted guitar riffs, you feel as though you’re going deeper and deeper into darkness.
“Long gone from your home Whispers slowly beckon us And I won’t cry your name”
For me, this song is about the darkness that is created by our self isolation. In the current times we’re in, it’s easier than ever to isolate and drown in our own darkness. We become our own worst enemy when we dwell in isolation and the regret of our inaction of breaking free from this darkness.
A Savage Winter Wrought of an Unclean Garden
Another dirge like track starting off right away with distorted guitars. This track is filled with guttural growls and beautiful soprano vocals reminiscent of Tarja Turunen’s early solo career.
I absolutely love the harmonizing, yet distorted guitars throughout.
At 7:22, everyone pulls back and we’re left with just keys for a bit, but the distorted guitars and drums kick back in shortly after, followed by some more deep growls.
Towards the end of the track, there is narration in French.
Blood and Shadows did Bequeath Thee Pleasures Vast
The closing track is the longest one on this awesome release! The first 2:05 is just the intro, and the arrangement is absolutely beautiful, yet rather eerie.
The serenity of this amazing intro is abruptly shattered at 2:05 with a black metal sound, including pulse pounding drums, fast tremolo picking on guitar and some serious growls.
This track will leave you with an array of emotions. It’s got amazing soprano vocals that sit above the madness below, and the vocals for perfectly with each other!
The outro to this track is simply beautiful. Between the strings and keys, and eventually a drum pattern, this outro leaves you wanting more. And I love how the song ends unresolved!
I could also see this intro and the outro as a part of the score for Netflix’s “Haunting of Bly Manor”! I absolutely love it.
Overall, I’d have to give this album a 4.5 out of 5! I absolutely loved it! The arrangements overall are amazing. I absolutely love how the strings add so much to the atmosphere. I love the soprano vocals, both from Marianne and Emily (session vocals). The strings and the vocals of Marianne and Emily complimented each other incredibly well.
If you haven’t heard this incredible work yet, I highly recommend you give “A Funeral of Innocence” a listen! You can check them out on Bandcamp and can purchase their album on Digipak CD through Bandcamp at https://ligeiawept.bandcamp.com/releases !
Folk metal band Finntroll, from Helsinki Finland, is releasing “Vredesvävd”, their first studio album in seven years via Century Media Records on Friday, September 18th!
With a career spanning over two decades, Finntroll has managed to sell over 50,000 albums in the US alone and has gained over 7 million streams of their entire catalog!
Finntroll blends folk metal with black metal, but with their own twist it creates a unique sound! This album has something for everyone! It’s got the very recognizable sound that Finntroll is known for, and to me, definitely has a matured sound as well! Both old and potential new fans alike will find much to like within this album.
Everything on this album has been well thought out and executed. The balance of instruments and vocals is spot on. The intricacies between the melodies and vocals makes for no easy feat. Everything from the heart pounding drums, blast beats, melodic and heavy guitars, and tongue twisting lyrics, to the pulled back strings and choir-like backing vocals, this album takes twists and turns all throughout and leaves you wanting more after every track. For me, the keyboards and symphonic parts really build the emotions throughout the whole album.
This album is a defining moment not only for Finntroll, but for folk metal as a whole. Finntroll has substantially raised the bar with this latest work and have very possibly started a new era of folk metal!
This epic, symphonic and choir driven intro gives a small glimpse of what’s to come. This opening track easily sets the tone and amps you up for what’s to come.
Att Döda Med En Sten
Starting with a more folky sound with strings, this track quickly breaks out into a brutal assault of the senses! With blast beats, lots of double bass, heavy but melodic guitars and strings throughout, this track shows how versatile the whole band is. The drums are tight, and the melodies will hook you in for more. The main melody is driven with backing strings and this adds even more to the track.
The first single from this album! While there are definitely some strings throughout, this song is mostly driven by heart pounding drums and melodic, yet distorted heavy guitars! There are moments within this track that kind of emit some hardcore/punk vibes. I love how even at the faster tempos, the band stays locked in with each other! There is a blend of black metal vocals and some more hardcore like vocals on this track.
This song is probably one of my favorites from the album. It’s an awesome blend of metal and folk, and honestly just straight up fun. The beats and melodies are catchy. This song feels like The Dropkick Murphys married into black metal and this was the result of that union. This track would be amazing live as well!
The second single off the album starts off in your face with guitars and drums, and is definitely another favorite off of the album! The riffs are definitely another favorite of mine, with random breaks into short lasting folky sections throughout. The double bass in this song is tight! More vocal acrobats throughout this track with tongue-twisting lyrics. During the heavier parts of this track this song gives me vibes of Cradle of Filth from the “Midian” era.
Vid Häxans Härd
While we start off this track with an acoustic feel, that atmosphere is quickly changed by aggressive drums and guitars. This song is pretty aggressive all the way though, and I love the strings backing up the aggressiveness and making it even more full.
This track has got a thrash feel to it, along with definite folk influences. The vocals are fast, aggressive and in rapid-fire succession. Even if I spoke any Swedish, not sure I could keep up with it!
This track is another favorite for me and reminds me of Dimmu Borgir’s “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse”. From the guitar riffs, strings and choir-like atmosphere, to the pulse pounding tight drum fills, this song will likely be a fan favorite during live shows!
Another in your face aggressive track, but this one starts off with a lighter and happier atmosphere for the first eight seconds before I envision a wall of death colliding! I love the skank beats throughout this one, and really love the guitars at 1:24!
This song is completely different than I was expecting for an album closer! It’s just a bit lighter than I expected musically, but is still heavy with emotion. This track definitely feels a bit more experimental. I absolutely love the time changes this track is laced with. We start out by switching between what sounds like 9/8 and 6/8 then into a straight 4/4 time signature later on. Absolutely loved this as a final track!
Overall, I’d have to give this album a 4.5 out of 5.0! In all honesty, I’ve never really been a huge fan of folk metal, but this album has changed my mind! In preparation for writing this review, I listened to not only some older works from Finntroll, but some other bands in the folk metal genre. This new work from Finntroll not only breaks down barriers for those who may not like folk metal, but it feels like a fresh new step forward for the genre as a whole. “Vredesvävd” has substantially raised the bar and has changed the face of folk metal for years to come!
“Vredesvävd” releases this Friday, September 18th on all platforms, so be sure to check it out!
Progressive metal band Oceans of Slumber, from Houston, Texas are releasing their self titled album “Oceans of Slumber” this Friday, September 4th 2020!
This band has a unique sound that I absolutely love! While there is definitely a progressive metal feel to it, there are some elements of death metal, straight up hard rock and a melodic ballad feel at times as well. This is not your average, run of the mill progressive metal album, so get ready for some surprises!
Their press release states that “Oceans of Slumber” is a work that takes us on a journey to the inner struggles we all face, as well as the societal struggles we all face. There are cycles that hold us down and tear us apart, some that even give us anguish. The release also states that at some point we need to stop running from the pain and the truth that is brought about by these struggles. We can find peace in the light of this reflection.
I had the awesome privilege of listening to this album in full prior to its release, and I can say that it’s an amazing journey! The power, emotion, rawness and strength gets a hold of you. Musically and vocally, this band is really well balanced! Everything from the band being really tight musically, to the blend and balance of the mastering/mixing, this album is set to go far with this lineup!
My thoughts on the album are below.
The Soundtrack to My Last Day
This opening track is powerful. It starts out with just an electric guitar riff, but is quickly joined by pulse pounding drums and more distortion. And I absolutely love the time signature in parts of this song! The 7 feel really makes this song unique! There’s some heavy growling vocals as well with some pretty hard grooves.
While there are some really heavy parts on this track, the light and pulled back sections are beautiful and add such emotion.
Cammie’s vocals throughout most of the song are light and beautiful, but full of emotion. However, the power of her voice is shown at 5:39!
“Here I stand! The greatest hope The great equalizer The queen of the lost”
There is one line that REALLY stood out to me. “In death, we are all equal”
This is such a powerful statement. To me, death is described as the “great equalizer” in this song. With so much division and hatred going on in this world currently, we need to see that we are all human. We need to be a voice for those who can’t speak and for those who are being silenced. We need to view those around us, no matter what color their skin is, no matter what their sexual orientation is and no matter what their beliefs are as equals.
Pray for Fire
This song brings it down a notch with an acoustic feel to start. When Cammie comes in at :36, she starts out light and airy, but slowly builds and builds throughout the song. The song gets a bit heavier as it progresses. Absolutely love the atmosphere that’s created on this track! Also, the drum fills are tight!
The emotion and power behind this song really hit you hard. Just read the lyrics and listen through it, you’ll see what I mean.
To me, this song is about praying for hate, inequality and racism to burn and to come to an end by any means necessary. With all of the hatred, racism and bigotry all over the world, it’s so easy to feel like you’re among thorns everywhere, and because of that, the climb to equality is a never ending up hill battle. This song is a cry to burn all of this to the ground.
“Dying and alone My roots are buried deep But here among the thorns The climb is much too steep”
A Return To The Earth Below
This track starts out with kind of an eerie synth atmosphere. The vocals start off with a lot of power right from the first lyric and don’t stop all the way through the track. They only continue to grow. Even in moments when they are pulled back, the emotion is still just as powerful.
The drums on this track are insanely good, especially in the beginning. Dobber really smoothly sits in the pocket, even during some pretty complicated fills.
This song, to me, is about the inner struggles that we all face. At one point in our lives, we all face the fear that we aren’t good enough. We feel defeated by everything and everyone. We feel a hopelessness that eats at us to our core. We spend our whole lives running away from ourselves and allowing these lies to consume us. Instead of running into the darkness, we need to stand in the light. If we look inwards and face our fears head on, we can actually find an inner peace.
“I have spent my whole life running And I have tried, I have tried to flee from myself I could never, no I could never weather the storm That was rising, rising, rising from within me It doesn’t matter the time in between Darkness carved its mark in me Carved its mark in everything But I’m done, I’m done running, I stand in the rain Here I stand Purge my fear, and make my claim”
This epic instrumental track, for me, really nails it. Starting out lightly, this track quickly builds in both volume and emotion. The dynamics really make this track even more powerful and meaningful.
Close your eyes while listening to this one. After just finishing a song about the inner struggles we face and the peace that comes from facing those struggles instead of running from them, this song, to me, encapsulates that victory of finding inner peace. Even if only for a moment in time before the world starts kicking us down again.
The Adorned Fathomless Creation
It’s time to pick it up again with this track, which immediately starts with a punch to the gut. With growls and distorted guitars, this song hits hard right off the bat.
From blast beats to Cammie’s vocals getting soulful at times, this track has an awesome mix of heart pounding metal and a more laid back almost soulful feel. Overall though, this one is aggressive to its core!
To The Sea
This track starts out with bells tolling, then a lightly distorted guitar comes in with an amazing solo which actually lasts awhile and sounds amazing!
Cammie’s vocals are once again really powerful throughout this track.
This song, to me, is about the battle against time. The calling of the bells, to me, is like a timer on our lives. A timer that is counting down until our last breath. Once we die, the ground ‘holds us’ and becomes ‘an ocean of slumber’ in which we’ll sleep forever. We need to spend our time wisely while still alive. We need to spend time doing things that are of importance and will make lasting change.
“The ground, it holds you in An ocean of slumber Forever you’ll sleep But I’m there too, dreading The longing of those days gone by”
The Colors of Grace
This track has a more laid back sound, but the vocals are still just as powerful! This track also has an old school Lacuna Coil feel! Don’t let this more acoustic-like track fool you! It’s still really powerful, especially with the male clean vocals that harmonize throughout certain parts!
This song is honestly one of my favorites.
To me, this song talks about the power depression and a lack of self worth can have over us. Everyone faces the sting of regret and failure, some more than others.
During my junior and senior years in high school, I faced a really bad depression. In my senior year, it got so bad I stopped going to school for over a month before I could make myself go back. After I left school after my senior year was complete, things got a little easier, but still had this weight of depression pulling me down. In 2008, I became a Christian and my life has changed so much. I bring this up because, while we all have something or someone that we find peace in, my peace is found in God and the grace that He provides me. It’s because of my faith that I have found true peace and true joy.
“Holding on to everything you say Cause’ your words they paint a picture of me A beautiful one of what I could be If I’d simply learn to shake away the blame You save me from myself You save me from myself“
I Mourn These Yellowed Leaves
Starting with just keys, followed by drums and distorted guitars, Cammie comes in nice and strong. Heavier distortion kicks in at about 2:17 and is met with some heavy growls at 2:26! I really like how Cammie comes in with the growls at 3:21.
I really like this song and had to listen to it a few times in a row because it kept drawing me back.
This song, for me, is about the seasons we go through in life. We all have our highs and we all have our lows. During those lows, it’s really easy to feel like falling wet fall leaves. Countless leaves fall from trees and coat the ground and eventually completely dry up and die. At our lowest, we feel like we can’t make it anymore. We feel as useless as leaves covering the ground.
But for me, that’s not the end. Fall is actually my favorite season. One reason is that even though leaves die and fall, they grow back again. In our lowest moments, we have the opportunity to face our low point head on and to grow back better than we were before. There’s so much we can learn in these moments and in these seasons.
“The fires lit, night is now drawing in We’ve settled down to try and warm ourselves Everything’s dying now, only to be reborn again But now we must wait, the seasons can’t be rushed”
Another beautiful instrumental. This one is mostly just keys and strings. The strings from 2:50 and on are simply amazing. Go ahead and close your eyes and listen to this track beginning to end.
Total Failure Apparatus
This track opens with strings creating an ominous atmosphere, but is then met with growls and distorted guitars. This song has a lot of death metal elements with fast trigger blast beats and in your face guitars and growling, but also has some really nice pulled back sections as well.
For me, this song is about those dark and lonely paths we sometimes find our selves on. Sometimes, the right road to take is the hardest one to travel. You run into obstacles everywhere you go and get knocked down at every turn. When you’re on the right path, you have to persevere because getting knocked down will happen frequently, especially when fighting for what’s right.
The Red Flower
This track is pulled way back. An almost dirge-like track is filled with many references to infertility and possibly even the “unwanted seedlings” of rape?
This track is steeped in emotion and heartbreak that is palpable even just at the surface. The more you listen, the more you feel the anguish.
The final track and a Type o Negative cover! Musically, not too much was changed, but I really like the crunchy distorted guitars in the OoS version! It’s got a more heavy and full sound! Cammie’s vocals sound amazing as well, and I really like her interpretation of the lyrical melody!
I have to give this album a 4.9 out of 5! Though Oceans of Slumber is a progressive metal band, they are so much more than that as well! This album doesn’t fit into any one specific genre. It really blurs the lines of genres quite nicely! “Oceans of Slumber” is without a doubt a must hear masterpiece that doesn’t follow most genre-defining rules!
“Oceans of Slumber” is out this Friday, September 4th 2020, don’t miss it!
Witnesses, a genre-defying Doom Metal band out of New York, NY, that was formed in 2016, released their 6 track album “Doom II” as a self release on May 31st, 2020.
In their press release, it’s stated that this album is about a plague that is born at sea, which makes it to land, to a village that hopes its story will not be forgotten.
This album is simply a masterpiece! From beginning to end, I absolutely love the story it tells. The instrumentation is perfect, and really carries a story of its own! The vocals are filled with emotions of both pain and hope.
To me, this album reminds us that even in the darkest of times, we need to have hope and try to survive even the hardest of plagues.
On This Black Ocean This album opens up out on the dark ocean. Drums and guitars start off this dirge like track, followed by just bass and vocals. This track is more down tempo, but that doesn’t take away from the power behind the vocals, instrumentation and emotion.
To me, while this song is about the beginnings of a plague at sea, it can also refer to the plague of a life without hope. When we go through life without hope, we very easily become “another blind ship in the fog”.
“Alas, another blind ship in the fog Starboard – it’s too late There’s no one living On that vessel A mirage of life Was all it was A trick born of hope On this black ocean”
I Hope Their Prayers Aren’t Answered This 11-minute plus track opens up with more of a black metal sound, with heart pounding drums and a lot of speed/tremolo picking on the guitars. After about a minute, the atmosphere completely changes into more of a dirge like feel, which is where it stays for the remainder of the track.
At 3:12, all instruments pull back and we get just keys with a very low and eerie chord progression.
At 4:40, there’s a really interesting section, both instrumentally and vocally. I almost feel as though I’m listening to jazz-like acoustic guitars during this, and it’s a nice atmosphere with the vocals. And the vocal range is really shown as well.
At 7:01, the drums and guitars starts picking up again to bring back that dirge like atmosphere.
The music ends at 9:17, but is followed by sounds of a creaking empty ship with low growling like winds blowing in the background.
“Now they throw themselves Men overboard Women overboard Children overboard”
This track was hard to listen to while reading the lyrics. Such sadness and hurt throughout. With the global pandemic happening right now, there are a lot of correlations lyrically. I think of the many lives of men, women and children that have been effected. I’ve read stories of adults and teens who have taken their own lives due to the isolation of quarantines. A good friend of mine was going through a separation during this whole thing and unable to find work, so he took his on life.
Doom II The plague makes its way to land! This track starts with just a cymbal, low keys and some occasional drums. Then the vocals come in with strings, which really add to the atmosphere, and I really enjoy the stings throughout this track.
The guitars come in strong at 2:12, but at 3:12 everything pulls back into a lighter, almost soft jazz like acoustic atmosphere. This only lasts a moment until the distorted guitars follow back in.
There’s also a really nice guitar solo at 6:42 which goes through to the end.
“They brought all the dead into town The dead want to be found But none’s more selfish than a dead man Who wants to be remembered After three days The wails in the night began A murder here A murder there We called it doom We knew it was too late”
For me, this song can refer to the plague of hatred as well. Hatred kills and spreads like a plague.
Worse With Time This track kinda reminds me a bit of Tool. It opens with synth pads, which create this somber atmosphere, soon to be met by distorted power chords.
Lyrically, this song is kind of a continuation of the previous track. Plagues, no matter what kind, get worse with time. What we do with our time is so important because time is fleeting. Before we know it, we’ll be at our end. What will we have to show for it? Will we be remembered for succumbing to the plague without a fight, or for standing up and fighting against it until the very end?
“Everything I once knew Everyone I once knew Is fading away Like we were never here We sent a rider with our history But there was pursuit And we lost sight at the horizon“
Who Were You Before All This This track opens with synth pads and keys for about 1:15, then vocals come in along with distorted guitars and drums. We also get a blast beat about half way through this track!
This track, to me, is about how when it comes to the end, we’re all the same. Mothers, fathers, rich bankers, poor farmers, smiths and the like. When we get to the end, is it going to matter how rich we were? Or is it going to be about what we did with our time and did we stand up to the plagues in our lives? Right before your end, who were you?
“Take this father Then take this banker The farmer and the rich They pile up all the same Catch fire And sweeten the air ‘Tis them Who lost humanity”
An Ending The final track! This track opens right away with distorted, dirge like guitars. From 2:44-4:44, everything pulls way back creating a very light atmosphere. I really like the vocals here during this pulled back section.
Will the plague be our ending? Or will we rise up to defeat the plague?
“And these are my last words Spoken from another place Between two worlds In a deep dark void There’s nothing left for me To see, hear, or feel Nothing here begins again“
Verdict This album is amazing! Truly a masterpiece! The vocals are simply amazing with very nice range and emotion throughout. The instrumentation is just perfect.
To me, while this album is about a plague out on the sea, that plague symbolizes so much in real life. Hatred, anger, resentment, selfishness, racism, a lack of hope and so much more. We can rise above these plagues, and that’s why to me personally, this album is just as much about hope as it is about the plagues.
I give this album a 4.9 out of 5!
If you haven’t heard “Doom II” by Witnesses yet, you’re missing out! Please give it a listen!
Gabriella Metz is a singer/songwriter who was accepted into Berklee College of Music where she is studying to earn her Professional Music Bachelor’s Degree.
Her press release states that she began studying piano when she was just four years of age. By the time she was sixteen, she had completed all academic levels of her music studies at the time and had also earned her Vocal Performance Diploma from the renowned London College of Music.
Her debut EP “Breaking Infinity” was released on May 3rd on all platforms! This EP is absolutely amazing! When I heard the first single called “Grey”, I was instantly hooked. The vocals are stunning. You can feel so much emotion and power behind every lyric. Whether singing a bit softer or a bit louder, there is so much control and the tone is just beautiful. Gabriella’s vocals are hard to compare, because she uses mixed elements to her voice. There are times when she sounds more like Norah Jones, and at other times she sounds more like a younger Amy Lee of Evanescence or Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil.
The musical arrangements are just beautiful. From the piano to the strings, everything is meticulously thought out and nothing is superfluous. Vocal and musical dynamics are perfect leaving the listener wanting more. The way the dynamics build throughout these songs is spot on.
Why Don’t You Love Me This track starts off with just keys and strings. Gabriella comes in with warm and soft vocals with a jazz feel, reminiscent of Norah Jones. This song starts out beautifully and the intensity of emotion builds with every crescendo, both musically and lyrically.
This song seems to be about loving someone who doesn’t love us back in the same way, as well as the walls that are built up when we push those who love us away.
“Why don’t you love me? There’s nothing else I need Why must I feel the pain I do? Every time you walk away from me I tried to understand you When no one could But I could not get near you From where I stood”
Walls This track has a bit more of a synth feel with strings, a nice drum pad groove and has some beautiful non lyrical singing throughout. At times, this song reminds me of “Field of Innocence”, an Evanescence song from their pre “Fallen” work called “Origin”. I absolutely love the vocals and music on this track as well.
This song seems to be about the games we play in our own mind when we tell ourselves we aren’t good enough and the internal walls that we build. When we spend too much time in our mind, we tend to become our own worst enemy.
“Layers of regret And look at where we are In the end we’ll both forget We’re only at the start All I’ve done is try Emptiness is all that’s left inside Left inside Wicked games of your mind Played you till they harmed you Your spirit was blind Always wounded by you”
This song really hits hard for me. Years ago, I had a pretty serious knee injury. I ended up with seven different sprains, tears and fractures from the one injury, one of which being a severed ACL. I was non weight bearing for the first eight weeks of recovery before I was even allowed to start PT. I thought I would never walk again.
Once PT started, I felt even more afraid that I’d never walk again. The pain, stiffness and tightness was overwhelming. The war that I was fighting on the inside was strong. I was my own worst enemy.
As a Christian, I credit my faith in God for getting me through that. Getting out of my own head was so insanely hard, and just letting go and trusting that He would see me through this was a hard struggle. Several weeks after I had let go of the fear, I took my first unassisted steps at therapy. A few weeks after that, I was walking again, unable to tell what had happened.
Grey This track starts out with keys and some ethereal sounding light and airy non lyrical vocals which add to the effect of this song. When Gabriella comes in with the lyrics, she comes in soft, but with obvious emotion. Strings and drums join in at the first chorus and really add a lot of feeling. It even breaks down into an acoustic guitar towards the end.
“Grey clouds Passing by Hang on for life Grey lights Dark nights Please relish the fight To look in your tired eyes The courage is real”
This track, to me, is about the inner “grey” that we face during times of internal struggle, as well as the “white lies” we tell ourselves when we try to just avoid the obstacles that we face. We try to tell ourselves that we can just avoid the hurt and difficulty of being our own worst enemy without ever really confronting the darkness head on.
“White lies steal you from me White lies won’t help you to breathe We face a new day Don’t let it fall into grey”
Broken This track sees Gabriella starting with just vocals, followed by keys. When the chorus comes in with strings, the dynamics of the whole song change. It’s really beautiful. The use of dynamics in this song is spot on!
This song, to me, is about the broken promises that we all face and deal with at some point or another. After we’ve dealt with more and more promises that are broken, we build up a wall to protect our hearts because we can’t take the hurt anymore.
“Broken promises We both allow Dysfunctioning compasses You’re leaving now Broken promises No one understands Muted choruses It’s out of hand”
Awake While Gabriella’s voice is great on this EP, this song really showcases her range and versatility. Her range on this song goes from soft and subtle, to really powerful, yet still in control.
This song opens a bit more softly, with strings and light vocals which beautifully build stronger and stronger throughout with great dynamics.
This song seems to be about the limited time we have together and loving who we have. In our dreams we never age, but when we’re awake, we do. This song seems to be a call to spend our time wisely.
“If you were there when I was waiting If you were there when I needed saving Free from all the sorrow Eager for tomorrow With soul With soul Awake my body fades And you love what remains I must no longer hide from you Drops of time Can help me climb”
Why Don’t You Love Me (Alternative Version) So this is a more ethereal sounding version of the opening track, and I really love this version! I think this is my favorite version of this song. Both the vocals and the backing instrumentation is beautiful. Gabriella’s interpretation on this version of the song is completely different then the original version.
Broken (Acoustic Version) This acoustic version has just keys and strings backing Gabriella’s voice. This really draws out her voice even more, and this changes the dynamics and mood of the song. I really like the strings that start really softly at 2:29 and continue to build in intensity.
Grey (Acoustic Version) This acoustic arrangement has an acoustic guitar open up on its own, followed by a mellowed Gabriella with lyrics. A viola slowly builds in during the chorus and adds a whole different level to the sound. This song is interpreted completely differently as an acoustic version, and it really has a nice atmosphere!
Verdict Overall, I’d have to give this EP a 4.8 out of 5.0! Between musical arrangements, instrumentation and vocals, Gabriella’s performance on this work is just terrific! The backing instrumentalists also deserve a lot of credit, as they blend very well together! If you haven’t heard “Breaking Infinity” yet, I highly recommend you give it a listen!