When it comes to fast paced metal, France isn’t the most famous nation to first spring to mind. But, breaking the trend, French death-metal band Pictured have made huge progress with their sound since they first began. Their debut studio album, entitled The Strand of Time, is packed full of their trademark speed and punch mixture of sounds.
The first thing to say about The Strand of Time is that it’s very progressive. Being almost death-metal in sound, this will appeal to fans of bands such as Carcass, Arch Enemy or quick Rise to Remain. It’s good, too, full of impressively catchy, technically sound guitar riffs that get the head moving appreciatively and really show off Pictured’s talents as musicians.
One of the best features about this album is that anybody who claims that metal is “just a bunch of people hitting guitars and shouting” will be sorely disproven by this album. It’s extraordinarily well performed, recorded and mixed, which means that every element of the music is crystal clear, whilst maintaining that fast, distorted, heavy, punchy sound that fast metal is associated with. Nobody with any knowledge of music would try and claim thatPictured aren’t extremely talented musicians.
Musically, again, the guitars are extremely good. In fact, one would go so far as to say that they are the main focus of the whole album. Progressive, technical, fast and yet still very catchy, the sound of the guitars ticks all the right boxes. Backed up by some very quick, skilful drum playing and the same from the bass, it’s very well put together music, with speed and catchiness almost exactly on the same level of quality as Scandinavian metallers In Flames.
Bad points – unfortunately, the main strength of this album is also its weak point. The quality of the instruments are good, which means that they often outweigh the quality of the vocals, which are also still rather good. The vocals do lack the punch of Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy, and do tend to remain rather in the background, which is one area where the album could be slightly improved. A bigger focus on the vocals wouldn’t take away from the rest of the quality of the rest of the music, but would add to it.
Overall, it’s a powerfully technical release, sure to appeal to more hardcore metal fans and occasional listeners alike. Musicians into metal will love the sound of the instruments on this album, but if a listener is after a more wholesome, traditional metal sound, and doesn’t appreciate the technicality of the music as much as others might, it might not appeal to them as much. Excellent.
Read the original article here: http://www.hevypetal.com/release-reviews/823/pictured–the-strand-of-time-album
Ukrainian National Opera at Venue Cymru, Llandudno
Llandudno’s Venue Cymru last night played host to the Ukrainian National Opera of Kharkiv and their internationally acclaimed performance of Puccini’s La Bohéme, directed by Ellen Kent.
One of the most popular and romantic operas, La Bohéme tells the tragic tale of Mimi, a doomed and lonely Parisian woman and her love for the poor, penniless writer Rodolfo.
Set in 1830s Paris, the performance immediately enveloped the audience as soon as the curtain rose, and transported them to the poor, impoverished world of Rodolfo and his friends. The set was very believable, complete with hand painted scenery and impressive smoke effects, as well as sumptuously designed costumes.
The performance itself was a complete treat, and included many famous arias such as Your Tiny Hand Is Frozen and They Call Me Mimi. There was also a memorable appearance from Musetta’s small dog during Musetta’s Waltz, which had some of the audience in stitches.
The on-stage relationship between the lovers Rodolfo and Mimi was entirely believable; they performed extremely well. It was very easy to believe that they were two people completely infatuated with each other, despite desperately trying not to be, and the final act depicting the death of Mimi brought at least a tear to all in the audience. The performance also caused some mixed emotions between laughter and sadness at points, due to the antithesis of the sad and tragic relationship between Mimi and Rodolfo and the comical relationship between Marcello and Musetta, which were both portrayed on stage simultaneously at some points.
It was difficult to feel sadness for one relationship without laughing at the other – until the end act, when all elements of humour were completely forgotten, and sadness took over the audience at the tragic death of Mimi.
After a slightly shaky start in act one, in which the orchestra had a tendency to drown out the singers, the performers settled in to an extremely successful performance, enjoyed immensely by all. It was an emotional rollercoaster ride that drained much out of all watching, but left all very satisfied. An excellent performance.
The Ukrainian National Opera of Kharkiv continues their tour of La Bohéme around the UK.
Read the original article here: http://www.dailypost.co.uk/leisure/theatre-reviews/2012/04/20/la-boh-me-55578-30802626/
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