Monthly Archives: February 2015

Featured Song: Winter Skies

Winter is still in full gear in Toronto, whether it’s manifesting as near-record-breaking -35 degree wind chills earlier this week, or snowfall that’s holding up traffic this weekend, so I thought I’d feature another seasonally inspired song.

I’ve been a Stratovarius fan for a long time (and in fact, I’ve featured a song by them in this series already), but I’ve only started listening to their post-Tolkki albums recently, and this song, “Winter Skies” from Polaris, is a new discovery for me.

I love what Stratovarius have done with the song structure here: it starts off as a relatively ordinary song, winding down into an outro-sounding passage about two thirds into the song, tricking you into to believing the song is over – only to come back to life and erupt into an incredibly awesome guitar solo. The last few phrases of the guitar solo are layered over a choral passage, creating a uniquely epic sound!

Lyrics can be found here.

Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

P.S. Dear weather overlords: I’m out of winter-themed songs to feature. Kindly take a hint.


Featured Song: Sever

The Dutch symphonic metal scene is pretty diverse. Within Temptation is probably its most famous act, but there are many other impressive participants. Among them is Delain, the band I’m featuring today.

Delain actually has some close ties to Within Temptation: Delain’s composer, Martijn Westerholt, is the brother of Robert Westerholt, who’s Within Temptation’s composer. (I guess skill in musical composition runs in the Westerholt family!) That’s not to say the two bands sound alike; on the contrary, Delain has their own unique and interesting sound.

The song I’m sharing today, “Sever”, is the one that initially got me into Delain; it is, incidentally, also the first track of their first album, Lucidity. What I like most about “Sever” is the choral motif that provides the song’s backbone, and the instrumental passage in the second half of the song; there’s a nice orchestral build-up there, breaking out into an satisfying guitar solo.

Lyrics can be found here.

The song also features male guest vocalist Marco Hietala, of Nightwish fame.

Delain may not yet have achieved Within Temptation’s level of renown, but I think they’re well on their way. They started touring in North America a couple of years ago – a big milestone for a European band. I had the pleasure of seeing them live during that tour, and will see them again this April, when they will open for Nightwish!.

Featured Song: Winter Winds

Today’s featured song is by Edenbridge, an Austrian symphonic metal band.

Edenbridge may not be as well known as Within Temptation or Nightwish, but they’re a true gem, and I’m really glad I stumbled onto them (I don’t remember exactly how; I think their songs “Shine” and “Wild Chase” were included in a compilation of some sort that I came across). Despite being a metal band, their songs have a peaceful, serene quality to them, which together with their signature guitar solos and Sabine Edelsbacher’s soothing vocals make a combination that really captivates me.

The song is “Winter Winds”, a timely choice for a day like today when said winds are cooling Toronto down to a bone-chilling “-13, feels like -22” degrees. (People in, say, Calgary would probably roll their eyes at this, but that makes no matter to me; -13 degrees is plenty to chill my bones, thank you very much.)

Featured Lyrics:

By a long forgotten feeling I believe
In the dream of a summer’s eve

*sigh*… a summer’s eve sounds very nice right now.

Full lyrics can be found here. Hope you’ve enjoyed it!

Featured Song: The Phantom of the Opera

Today’s featured song is by Nightwish, another one of my all-time favourite bands. I thought I’d start with a cover, to provide a gentle introduction to the awesomeness that is Nightwish.

The original is, of course, the eponymous song from Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s famous musical, The Phantom of the Opera, sung by Sarah Brightman.

This cover is sung by Tarja Turunen, Nightwish’s lead singer at the time.

Now, I’m also a fan of Sarah Brightman, but, with all due respect to her, for this song, to me, there is no comparison between the two. Tarja’s voice is just infinitely richer and more majestic, and the metal instrumentation in this cover brings that out beautifully.

(I’ve actually featured a song by Tarja before, though it was quite a while ago, and it was from her solo career after parting ways with Nightwish.)

The video I’m linking to is a live performance of this cover at a concert at Hartwall Arena in Helsinki, Finland, attended by over 13000 people, which was filmed and released as the live DVD End of an Era. It was also the last concert at which Tarja sang as a member of Nightwish, a fact that gives the concert, in hindsight, an undertone of great significance (and not a small amount of sadness).

The male singer is Marco Hietala, Nightwish’s bassist who also provides male vocals on some songs. In addition to his singing and bass-playing, I’m a fan of his beard 🙂

Enjoy, and expect many more Nightwish songs to be featured in this series 🙂