It is Bestie Boy’s birthday the day after tomorrow. Friday, the 17th of February.
One of our shared interests is music. Coincidentally, our favourite genres are Rock and Classical. I have formally studied the piano for 8 years beginning at the age of seven. Bestie Boy played the drums in his teens and went for drum lessons at the age of nineteen. Today, he still plays the drums well and I cannot play the scale of ‘C’. Thank goodness, my life does not depend on it. Despite the short duration of formal training, Bestie Boy is far more knowledgeable about both genres – Rock and Classical music. “Well, I don’t hafta be great at something to enjoy it”, mutters the jealous one. Um, yes, me.
Earlier, I used to listen to heavy metal only when I was in an angry mood. Below, I will paste our correspondence regarding my foray (for pleasure) into this often misunderstood and maligned subgroup of rock.
Bestie Boys words will be in his favourite green and mine in brown.
Bestie Boy: I’m attaching two Moonsorrow song files. They are from an album called ‘Kivenkantaja’ (meaning ‘Stonebearer’ in Suomi) by a Finnish heavy metal band called Moonsorrow. Actually, this album is one of my favourites. It would definitely warrant inclusion on a ‘desert island discs’ list.
Moonsorrow is probably one of my all-time favourite bands. They write epic, sweeping, majestic, long, soaring, musical sagas; exactly the kind of thing I love.
I’m eager to hear what you think about the songs. Feel free to branch out into other Moonsorrow stuff, but I’ve chosen instrumentals because the vocals are usually very harsh and it’s a bit of a barrier for most people.
Song: Tuulen Tytar Artist: Moonsorrow Album: Kivenkantaja
Tuulen Tytar (track 5) is the best example of that ‘epic’ sound I just love.
Me: I like the opening piano trill and love the piano bits throughout. I’m not a fan of bagpipes, not right away at least. The bass creeping in at close to 2’ caught me off guard. Two minutes is a long time for it to show up. I love how the stage explodes with fireworks at almost 3 minutes. I enjoy monastic choir chants, so that was a nice interlude. I wasn’t fooled by the lull in pace and volume after that. My anticipation was rewarded when the bass burst back in. I’m with you on the ‘epic’ sound of this song.
Song: Matkan Lopussa Artist: Moonsorrow Album: Kivenkantaja
Bestie Boy: And the final track, Matkan Lopussa in this album is just a beautiful song. I’ve no idea what she’s singing about,
Me: I like Matkan Lopussa simply because it opens with soft, but noticeable bass strumming, and has a consistent heavy thump all through. When the chorus joined the lead female, it took me back to my concerts in music school. I just feel like twirling around the room, Vienna waltz style.
Bestie Boy: but I’ve never been one to care much for lyrics.
Me: Me, too! I just don’t notice them unless they’re hammered repeatedly like the chorus. But instruments? I pick up on little strings or pipes or drums doing their thing in the background. I know of people who don’t hear the instruments at all and pick up the lyrics very easily.
Bestie Boy: There’s something about both tracks that encapsulates a cold, ‘wintry’ feel. With most Moonsorrow songs, they have an ability to evoke strong images, which is a quality I admire greatly in music.
Me: I did not read your comments before I listened to the songs closely because I did not want to be influenced by your opinions. I’ve added them here so that we could see how we enjoy the same music, but interpret it quite differently. I find that interesting because I used to think that there was only one way to “see” music. For me, it wasn’t cold or wintry, but soothing at times (prolly because of my familiarity with classical music) and vibrant at other times (the rock influences parts).
I really like the name Moonsorrow. I will name something after it; my next stray pet probably.
Song: Weight of Wind Artist: Borknagar Album: Epic
Bestie Boy: Also attaching a natty little instrumental by a Norwegian band called Borknagar that came on Jango (an online free ‘radio’ station) the other day. For some reason, that piano riff has stuck with me since I first heard it.
Me: Love the Weight of Wind, too. A winner from the opening bar. The single synthesised whine promised an extravaganza. And it delivered! Deliberate, powerful, furious. The short, staccato drum rolls in the beginning were another nice touch. Pure rock (metal?) with generous splashes of Western classical and some sprinklings of Middle Eastern rhythm.
I never knew metal would sound this good. When I’m mad (as in angry), I play metal off the online genre specific stations, but those songs are just noisy. I can enjoy them only when in that foul mood, but these songs that you’ve sent just blow apart the image of metal that I had.
Off the audio and onto some visuals.
This photograph from a few years earlier is one of my favourite pictures of Bestie Boy. Despite looking right into the camera, it is a very natural shot.
Warning: Display of skin ahead.
I like how tired he looks. So tired, he’s not concerned about slouching or not smiling for the camera.
Back to our chat about music.
Me: So why were you so keen on my Moonsorrow feedback? Did I win a prize to join you for their performance in Berlin?
Bestie Boy: Well, Moonsorrow are probably my favourite band du jour, and even perhaps longer than just un jour, maybe of the year, the decade…. who knows. I just wanted to bounce some of their more accessible stuff off you and hear the response. When I say accessible, I mean, stuff without nasty rasping lyrics, which I find is usually the first barrier to (uninitiated) people’s enjoyment and understanding of metal. I’m glad to see it’s widened your views on metal.
As Gandhi* (probably) would’ve said himself, “To change one person’s perception is testament enough that the journey is worth making”.
Touché, Bestie Boy!
*That’s a little dig, if you will, at me because my e-mail signature is, no, not my blog URL (he..ck NO!), but this Gandhi quote:
“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” – Mahatma Gandhi
P.S.: Cheerful Monk adds a footnote to every post acknowledging those who comment on her previous post. She also links the commenters’ names back to their own blogs.
I like both these practices of acknowledging the time and effort made to comment, and the free advertising! So I’m doing what I do well – being a copycat!