Thursday, 28 January 2010

Brian May - Back To The Light 1992

Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 1992
Label: Parlophone Records

01. The Dark
02. Back To The Light
03. Love Token
04. Resurrection
05. Too Much Love Will Kill You
06. Driven By You
07. Nothin' But Blue
08. I'm Scared
09. Last Horizon
10. Let Your Heart Rule Your Head
11. Just One Life
12. Rollin' Over

Back to the Light is the first solo effort of Queen's guitarist Brian May. It was recorded between 1988 and 1992 at the Allerton Hill Studios, mixed at the Metropolis Studios and then released on September 28, 1992 in the UK. The album would be released in the United States and Canada on February 2, 1993 with a different cover.

The album contains the hits "Too Much Love Will Kill You" and "Driven By You."

An alternate version of "Too Much Love Will Kill You" was also recorded by Queen and can be found on their Made in Heaven album (1995). Brian May also recorded an instrumental guitar version of the song.

An alternate "explicit" version of "Love Token" was recorded with lyrics which may have been deemed offensive by the record label. The lyric "shit for brains" was replaced by "meat for brains," while the lyrics "well fuck you" were replaced by "that's a shame." The original "explicit" version was never officially released except on a free CD packaged with RCD Magazine, Vol. 4.[1]

Three more versions of "Driven By You" are known. The first was made famous in a Ford advertisement, with slightly altered lyrics. Another one is a rare instrumental remix of the song, called "Driven By You Too." The last was a rock re-mix with a new drum track from Cozy Powell for the US release of Back to the Light as a bonus track.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Rain Fell Within - Refuge 2002

Genre:Gothic Meta
Format: ape + cue + log
Released: 2002
Label: Dark Symphonies Dark 16

01. Torn Apart
02. In The Knowing Of You
03. The Child Beneath
04. In My Dreams
05. Save Your Soul
06. Winter's Embrace
07. Into The Tower
08. Sirens
09. Burned Away
10. Passing Time

Rain Fell Within took me by surprise with the quality of "Believe", their debut. "Refuge" is the follow-up, the second and last CD from this superlative and original band. Shortly after recording was completed the band broke up. So RFW are no more, and the members have scattered to a half-dozen other projects, and we are left with only this last recording. Fortunately, it’s an amazing CD.

For the uninitiated, Rain Fell Within play a gothic, atmospheric style of metal with rich keyboard and guitar harmonies mixed with the lush operatic vocals of front-babe Dawn Desiree. This has a lot in common with goth-doom bands like After Forever or even Tristania, but without the death-growls. Rain Fell Within are more melancholy and doomy than other bands in the same vein, and more classically inflected as far as arrangements and vocal melodies. The whole is a beautiful and arresting sound that is much more distinctive than you would expect. This is not tremendously heavy, or what would be called ‘crunchy’, but this is superlative metal nonetheless. There is a great deal of variety in the songwriting, with acoustic parts sequeing into more metallic passages and the keyboards adding to the melancholy atmosphere.

Dawn Desiree has a fantastic voice, more operatic than Flor Janssen or even Tarja, she moans and howls with genuine feeling and almost frightening intensity. She’s easily the centerpiece of the band, but the music backing her up is of consistently high quality. The music on "Refuge" is complex and symphonic, without being in any way reminiscent of power metal or movie soundtracks. Rain Fell Within are refreshingly free of the clichés of their chosen subgenre, and the result is an uncompromisingly artistic album without a single nod to commercialism. Some may find this a hard listen, as there is almost nothing here resembling a standard metal hook or chorus, but repeated listens reward with a complex and involving musical experience unlike almost anything else. "Refuge" is a singular and challenging musical statement.

The CD package is a digipack, but much sturdier than the usual flimsy construct. The art design, as we would expect from Dark Symphonies, is really beautiful and reflects perfectly the moody grace of the music. In the band pics the members look young enough to make me feel really, really old. And did I mention Dawn Desiree is gorgeous? Man oh man.

This is a great CD, really different and with impressive composition and musicianship. If you like gothic stuff that doesn’t wallow in self-pity or metal that is really classically inspired (and not just infested with movie-soundtrack worship). Then you should definitely check this out.