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Monthly Archives: November 2012

The Zen of Designing a Website…

EToS Website in 1999

I’ve working on the new Eternal Tears of Sorrow website for a week now. Actually, I’ve always made and taken care of our website, since early 1996. There are two exceptions. The current design (@ eternaltears.fi) was designed by Maurizio Marchetti. And the design slightly before the release of “Before the Bleeding Sun” was done by Jussi Järvenpää.

So yeah, we’ve had a website for almost seventeen years and the forthcoming layout will be ninth or tenth version of our site. This time, we want something much more simple than usually. Nowadays, the bands’ websites aren’t as important as they used to be in say, ten years ago. There are so many services you can get band info at.

So, the layout of the page will be nice and simple. And modern. But the techniques behind the site aren’t that simple. It’s mostly based on jQuery and different free/open-source jQuery plug-ins. It was weird to make the very first demo version of the new website. It looked somewhat rudimentary but still, it had a damn modern feel and I liked it, so I went on with the experiment. Perhaps I’ll use some PHP, too, who knows.

But the point of the website won’t be using as many HTML techniques as I can. It’s not about making it look extreme cool either. I just want to make it simple but nice. Usability is more important looking cool. The quality of information is more important the quantity of information. Less is less. And still, less is more.

Our music has changed in ten, twelve years. That’s why our website must change, too. Just check out how minimal our website was in 2005, after our three-year break: http://web.archive.org/web/20050204025255/http://www.eternaltears.info/ That’s so 2005, or more like so 2000! 😀

But well, anyway… The new EToS website will be released, hmm, when I finish it, when I & we feel like it’s ready. It could be before Christmas or in February.

 

 
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Posted by on 29.11.2012 in In English, Technology

 

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Band of the Month: Edge of Sanity

Death metal water sold here

Death metal water sold here (Photo credit: Nick Sherman)

In the 90s, metal was practically dead to the mainstream media apart from some exceptions. But metal was not dead. It kept evolving in the depths of a weird place called the metal underground. In that place, the most extreme genres of metal became something new and interesting. One of these genres was melodic death metal,  born of death metal, NWOBHM and thrash metal.

When people about melodic death metal, they usually talk about certain bands: In Flames, Carcass, Dark Tranquillity,  At The Gates and so on. And when they talk about progressive extreme metal, bands such as Opeth, Cynic, Death.

But at that time, in the mid-90s, there was one band who played melodic death metal, progressive death metal and much more. The band was called Edge of Sanity from Finspång in southeastern Sweden, hundreds of kilometers from Gothenburg, the Mecca of melodic death metal.

Cover of "Purgatory Afterglow"

Cover of Purgatory Afterglow

I usually divide their albums into four groups.

The three first albums were rather basic death metal, although you can some original elements on them. “Sacrificed”, released on The Spectral Sorrows (1993) is actually one of the very first gothic metal songs ever despite of being “just” a Sisters of Mercy pastiche.

The second group consists of Until Eternity Ends EP, Purgatory Afterglow, Crimson and Infernal (from 1993 to 1997). Purgatory was the first EoS album I heard and it really blew my mind. Melodic death metal had not been so innovative and versatile before.

Cryptic (1997) is alone in the third group. Without Dan Swanö, there weren’t elements of surprise and diversity on this album. The music got a bit one-dimensional without the melodic, progressive elements. To my ears, Cryptic sounded nothing but a half of what it had been before. It was heavy and extreme but something was missing.

Cover of "Crimson II"

Cover of Crimson II

After Cryptic, EoS broke up. But Dan Swanö raised the band from the dead once more to create Crimson II (almost) all by himself in 2003. The result was an updated version of the EoS sound. Unfortunately, I had sort of melodic metal and could not enjoy the album as much as I had wanted. Had it been released just after Cryptic, it would probably have been the best EoS album.

And that was the end of Edge of Sanity. They always remained a cult band with a huge influence on many bands, including mine. Why didn’t they become the biggest band in the whole extreme metal genre? Perhaps their record company (Black Mark) was a bit too small. Perhaps their unwillingness of doing a lot of tours around the world. But well, it happens.

Anyway, their songs can be found on Spotify and Youtube, so check them out. If you’re into melodic but extreme metal, I’m sure you like them.

 

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Tico-Tico, Kemi ja me

Päivän kulttuuriuutinen on tietenkin Tico Tico -studion tuleva muutto uuteen paikkaan, Kemin keskustasta hieman syrjemmäksi. Yksi aikakausi on päättynyt.

CMX, Sonata Arctica, Sentenced, Impaled Nazarene, Jope Ruonansuu, Moonsorrow, Kalmah, Thyrane, Terveet Kädet, Rotten Sound, Wintersun, Mordicus, For My Pain…, Thy Serpent, Eternal Tears of Sorrow, Catamenia, Cryhavoc ja moni muu, siinä kieltämättä raskas mutta kunnioitusta herättävä lista studiossa käyneistä bändeistä. (Paitsi tuo yksi, mikä lie rymyjoukko onkaan… :D)

Paljon on vettä virrannut Kemijoessa. Tico siirtyi analogisista nauhoista ADAT-nauhojen kautta moderniin digitaalitallennukseen jo vuosia sitten. Mutta vanha kunnon miksauspöytä on edelleen entisensä.

TicoTico.fi

 
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Posted by on 19.11.2012 in In Finnish, Music

 

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The Rise and Fall of Grunge

a band in a kitchen

a band in a kitchen (Photo credit: soundfromwayout)

I bumped into grunge like many European (and North American) kids in the early 90s. Music Television. At that time, grunge wasn’t really what I wanted my music to be like. It was not loud or heavy enough, I suppose. I got into Dream Theater, Pantera, Death, and Paradise Lost. You know, heavier kind of stuff.

In 1990 the question was “GNR or Metallica?” and a couple of years later it was “Nirvana or Metallica?” For me, the answer was always easy.

For years, I thought grunge was something evil that killed thrash metal. But in the end, what it killed was glam metal that was very much the opposite what grunge was all about. Thrash metal was actually closer to grunge – the attitude was the same, and they shared the punk influence, too.

Kurt Cobain (front) and Krist Novoselic (left)...

Kurt Cobain (front) and Krist Novoselic (left) live at the 1992 MTV Video Music Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But grunge didn’t kill thrash metal. Thrash metal did it all by itself in the early 90s. It was the last part of the natural cycle and it happens with practically every genre. On the other hand, thrash did not die as such – new thrash bands popped up with a bit different sounds. Sepultura, Machine Head and of course: Pantera. The Next Generation of Thrash Metal, TNGoTM, also categorized as groove metal.

It took years for me to get into grunge. But now I can say I like many grunge bands. Or many grunge songs, anyway. Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Melvins to mention a few. Even Nirvana.

In the end, grunge was just a small regional scene that got big. Just like thrash metal in the Bay area in the 80s, or death metal in Florida in the 90s, or melodic death metal in Gothenburg in the 90s as well.

Invented logo of Grunge.

Invented logo of Grunge. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trends always come and go. Just like punk killed prog rock in the late 70s, grunge killed glam metal in the early 90s. There are times when you have to shake the tree of rock’n’roll and show them what rock is all about. It’s not about big hairstyles, playing 200 notes a second or doing over-the-top live shows. It’s about playing loud, making people love your music and.. Well, rock.

We all have our definitions of rock music and still, good rock music is damn hard to define. Grunge wasn’t my cup of tea in my teenage years but I still value it. I hope you do it, too.

 

 
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Posted by on 19.11.2012 in In English, Music

 

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Kaamos i.e. Polar Darkness

English: While the Sun doesn't rise above the ...

English: While the Sun doesn’t rise above the horizon, it does come close to doing so. Instead of the pitch black many imagine it to be like, you get a blue light much of the time during the days of the polar night. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kaamos (polar night or polar darkness), or more like half-kaamos can be horrible. In Lapland, there are days when you can’t see the sun at all. Here, a bit souther, our winter days only last for a few hours. I suppose the sun is up only for four hours here in Northern Ostrobothnia on Christmas week. Which is weird because on Midsummer week, there is practically no darkness here. What makes this half-kaamos worse is the lack of snow. There’s been snow, in late October and a week ago. Then it all went away and made everything so dark again.

And there are people wondering why we Finns are so happy during summers and not-so-happy during winters. Well, just come and live here for a year and you’ll have a clue. Alaska, Iceland, North Canada or North Russia is fine as well.

There are some people who aren’t affected by the lack of light at all. And there are people who are affected by the darkness quite a lot. I’m sort of in between.. But it depends. This year the lack of light has clearly decreased my amount of energy. And there isn’t a magic potion that makes you feel better. Err, ok, there is one but it doesn’t make you so happy the next morning :).

 

Nordic countries in black

Nordic countries in black (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Light therapy is one of the best ways to do it (but I broke my bright light lamp when I moved to this apartment). I should get a new one, Father Christmas!

You’re probably starting to understand why Christmas is such an important phenomenon in Finland and the rest of the Nordic countries. It’s the feast of light. It’s also one of the darkest days of the year, so after Christmas, days get less and less dark. Until Midsummer comes again.

So, if you want to try something a bit more extreme than you are used to, why don’t you come to Finland in December. Or January. It won’t kill you or make you insane. It just makes you feel a bit… Finnish.

(This blog entry was _not_ paid by the Finnish Tourist Board…)

 

 
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Posted by on 13.11.2012 in In English

 

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Saivo, Lapland and Melodic Death Metal

Cover of "Children of The Dark Waters"

Cover of Children of The Dark Waters

I’m listening the seventh album by Eternal Tears of Sorrow, called “Saivon Lapsi”. It’s finally been mastered and should be released in.. Well, I’ve stopped talking about exact dates or even wide estimations because nowadays, release dates seem to be quite flexible. And they are never ever up to us. Next year, that I can promise. Massacre Records say it’ll be out in late February in Central Europe, so… We’ll see.

For Children of the Dark Waters, we recorded “Vilda Mánnu”, the title song of our second album. Also this time, we re-recorded an old song. So,  when listening to Saivon Lapsi and this re-recorded song, I can’t help thinking “oh boy, we’ve changed during these years”. Which is not a negative thing at all. Most bands change, most bands have something new on their new albums. Yes, we have changed since our first album, too. We’re a bit angrier, a bit more symphonic, even a bit more melodic (if possible) but it’s still us. Wiser and older. Well, older, anyway.

Still, Saivon Lapsi (“The Child of Saivo”) closes one circle. It is the underworld of the Sami people (or the Saami people, both are acceptable) that were the theme of our second album. And now, the Vilda Mánnu theme and the Angelheart theme are drawn together. (I didn’t realize this until now, weird…) And we’ve had song titles in Northern Saami, Japanese, Irish, pseudo-Latin (Nocturne Thule), so I suppose it’s only natural to have song titles in Finnish, too. But no spoilers because as always, there are surprises on the album! 🙂

By the way, I hate categorizations, especially when people try to categorize bands I’m involved with. No, Eternal Tears of Sorrow are not a gothic metal band. And no, Eternal Tears of Sorrow are not a black metal band either. The accurate categorization would go something like “Symphonic melodic death metal with influences from many kinds of metal, including gothic metal, progressive metal, thrash metal, black metal, and so on…” In the end, we don’t care what people and the record companies call us or our music. Metal. Call us metal!

 
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Posted by on 12.11.2012 in In English, Music

 

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Another November, Another Monday…

November

November (Photo credit: Cape Cod Cyclist)

Yes, it is November already. And once again, I can’t help but wonder how fast the previous ten months have gone. Is it true what some scientific studies say: the older you get, the faster time passes?

And in a way, it’s all déjà vu again. I feel like nothing has changed since last November. It’s just a feeling because many things have changed, after all. But it’s a powerful feeling and it gets stronger day by day as daylight gets shorter and days get colder.

In a way, November is the month full of anticipation. We keep waiting for the winter, Christmas, New Year, snow. It could easily be on many people’s “The Three Months of the Year I’d Like to Skip” list.

Basically, November is the Monday of all months.

But then again, Novembers are important and Mondays are important. Just as important as Christmases, summer nights and Saturday mornings. We can hate them, we can try to ignore them but they don’t go away until we live them. Next month, we’re going to say “oh where did last month go? why didn’t we enjoy it?”

So, I’ll try to enjoy this Monday and this November. November is dark, dull, and cold but hey, it’s my life. Soon, it will be gone and I’ll miss it no matter what.

 
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Posted by on 5.11.2012 in In English, Life

 

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