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Stratovarius is Progressive & Symphonic Power Metal at its Best

Posted by fifthdimension on January 26, 2008

Even if  they’d never released Elements (Part I and II), Stratovarius would be MY favorite Power Metal Band, not only a power metal, but for any music.

Listen to their ‘Stratovarius II or Twilight Time’, ‘Fourth Dimension’, ‘Episode’, ‘Vision’, ‘Dreamspace’, ‘Destiny’ and ‘Infinite’. And after you’ve had enough, add ‘Eements’!

Stratovarius came earlier than Helloween, though the latter is commonly considered the first power metal act. They re-introduced and perfected the use of Keyboards in melodic metal.

Apart from fast keyboard solos, blazing guitar runs, high pitched vocals and pounding drums, their trademark “sad rush’ or melancholic style is the single most factor that won my heart.

Stratovarius….I hail thee!!! Long live Scandinavian Metal!!

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Sepultura Live in India: One Metal Act, Three Cities

Posted by fifthdimension on October 30, 2007

Loyalists of Max and Igor might regret the absence of Cavelra Brothers, but for the average metal head, Sepultura’s XXI concert in New Delhi, India was one hell of a show. However, I’m surprised with the audience response in India’s capital city. Unlike other jam-packed Sep concerts, the concert venue gave the appearance of a run-of-the-mill local show. Not more than 2000 rivet heads turned up!!     

But those who did were the lucky ones to savor every classic and new track laid bare. After an amateurish and sluggish performance by local opening band Metakix, the demi-gods were received with thundering applause throughout the concert venue. 

Derrick Green did his job quite well, although I dearly missed the Man- yes, Max Cavelra. I’m excited about their Shillong concert. Shillong just beat Kansas City to enter the Guiness Book of Records for the largest ensemble of guitarists in the world when 1730 guitar players came together to play “Knockin on Heaven’s Door” as a tribute to Bob Dylan. Earlier, it was the KYYS in Mission, Kansas City, which brought together 1683 guitarists who played Deppe Purples epic “Smoke on the Water” in 1994.

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hammerfall- the fallen one, listen and watch!

Posted by fifthdimension on September 23, 2007

Posted in Media and Culture, Music, Society | 3 Comments »

New Helloween Album Arriving on Stands

Posted by fifthdimension on August 24, 2007

For the German heavy metal powerhouse Helloween, the Keeper Of The Seven Keys and The Legacy world tour days are over. After a grueling run of 93 shows in 34 countries around the world, and in the post-Live On 3 Continents DVD period, the band gathered in their studio to work on their 12th album- Gambling With The Devil.

The album is scheduled to arrive US stores by October 23, 2007, in Germany by October 26, 2007 and rest of Europe by October 29, 2007. After guitarist Roland Grapow’s departure, this is the first major work with new guitarist Sascha Gerstner. Andi Deris remains on vocals, along with Michael Weikath (guitar),  Markus Grosskopf (bass) and Dani Loble (drums). Some of the songs have been written during the incredible Keeper Of The Seven Keys and The Legacy tour.

For starters, Helloween is one of the pioneers, many consider them as the founders, of Power Metal, a genre that evolved in the mid-eighties. When Kai Hansen  (guitar/vocals)  left the band after the first album Walls of Jericho, they roped in Michael Kiske to take the world by storm with their Keeper of the Seven Keys Part I and II. The rest is history! Not to forget that Helloween is one my five favorite bands of all times, equalling my love of Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Stratovarius, Dokken and Judas Priest. 

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Metal Camp 2007: Time to Storm Tolmin, Slovenia

Posted by fifthdimension on July 10, 2007

Date: July 16- 22

Venue: Tolmin, Slovenia ( within an hours drive from Trieste airport)

Metal Camp is no cake walk, or any run-of-the-mill European Metal concert. The biggest metal competition in Europe, with the main stage featuring cult-pioneers like Motorhead, Cradle of Filth, Blind Guardian, Immortal, Hatebreed and Sepultura, it’s the ultimate vacation for all headbangers, rivetheads and metal mongers!

Tickets / Cash Point

Tickets will be available at the cash desk. The prices for each category are fixed at:
Festival (week) tickets € 110,00
3-day-tickets € 80,00
1-day-tickets € 45,00

You can’t be Bringing

Cans, bottles, hard drugs, objects that can be used as projectiles, knifes, and of course any kind of weapons and other objects that can be used as such are strictly forbidden. 

First Aid

The First Aid Point is open 24 hours a day throughout the festival. Goodbye scratches! 

Food & Drinks

Food and drinks will be available to sate your hunger. It’s going to be affordable, too.

Shuttle Service?? Yes!!!

Available from the train station in Most na Soci. A shuttle bus will transfer you to the METALCAMP (and back) from Monday noon. 

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Protected: An Evaluation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony: References

Posted by fifthdimension on May 21, 2007

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An Evaluation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony: Conclusion

Posted by fifthdimension on May 21, 2007

In Symphony No. 9, Beethoven offered to the world a refreshingly new creation wrapped intricately partly as a symphony and partly as an oratorio, an interbreed that baffled his seemingly less daring observers. He showed to his contemporaries and to the generations that followed how to blend music and words. It would be worthwhile to conclude with the words of the late 19th century and early 20th century French composer Claude Debussy: “It is the most triumphant example of the molding of an idea to the preconceived form; at each leap forward there is a new delight, without either effort or appearance of repetition; the magical blossoming, so to speak, of a tree whose leaves burst forth simultaneously. Nothing is superfluous in this stupendous work… Beethoven had already written eight symphonies and the figure nine seems to have had for him an almost mystic significance. He determined to surpass himself. I can scarcely see how his success can be questioned.”

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An Evaluation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony: Analysis

Posted by fifthdimension on May 21, 2007

In his earlier works, Beethoven had sought to unify the separate movements by linking thematic materials to each other. In this movement, he does it even better; after an abrupt and horrific fanfare, a declarative passage in the bass violins introduces and rejects in turn the opening of each of the preceding movements. The basses offer the main theme of the finale as an alternative; taken up by the upper strings with a bassoon accompaniment, it affords an immensely soothing moment.


The declarative passages rendered by the basses must be given real words in order to be made whole. The baritone soloist takes the place of the bass violins, and proclaims, “Oh friends, not these sounds! Rather let us strike up more pleasing and joyful ones!” – Whereupon the main theme is joined with Schiller’s “Ode to Joy,” its predestined text.


The main intent of the text (as edited by Beethoven) is to celebrate the universal fellowship of humanity in joy. Beethoven enacts that universality in the course of the movement, moving between the sublime and the commonplace. Sublimity rests not only in the sweeping musical gestures (as when the chorus hammers away at the line “vor Gott,” envisioning the cherubim bowing before God), but also in the form itself, as it seeks to encompass the totality of musical scope.


Few works can claim to have as much impact on an entire art form as the Ninth Symphony has had on Western Music. Each of Beethoven’s followers struggled to master the significance of the symphony, seeing in it a massive obstacle to overcome. It fired the imaginations of the Romantics. ‘The opening of the Ninth Symphony,’ wrote Sir Donald Tovey, ‘has been a radiating point for all subsequent experiments for enlarging the time-scale of music … no later composer has escaped its influence.’ The Romantics considered the opening of the Ninth as representing the awakening of the primordial forces of the universe. This is why it had so powerful an influence on Romantic composers such as Bruckner, who began his fourth, seventh, eighth and ninth symphonies with clear allusions to the opening of Beethoven’s Ninth. But there is a profound difference between the beginnings of those symphonies and the model that inspired them. In each instance the strings play an amorphous, rhythm less tremolando, whereas Beethoven gives the second violins and cellos a precisely measured sextuplet rhythm. Wagner asserted that in the Ninth Beethoven was declaring the demise of the purely instrumental symphony as a viable form; only (of course) opera, the fusion of music and text, was possible after the Ninth. In short, the Ninth symphony acted as a template for later musicians working out their own fascinations.


Scores for the 9th Symphony have been composed for the following musical instruments: bass drum, first and second violins, for the winds- two piccolos, two clarinets, two oboes, two bassoons, two flutes, contrabassoon, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones, timpani, triangle, cymbals, violas, cellos, double basses, soprano vocalist, alto vocalist, tenor vocalist, baritone vocalist as well as a complete chorus singing in four parts- soprano, alto, tenor, bass. (Garcia , 183)


Comparing the 9th Symphony to other musical compositions in the same genre, composers such as Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms were noted to have adhered to the classical conception  of the symphony. Even during attempts to incorporate an alteration, for instance, Schumann in his cyclic treatment in No. 4, or,  Schumann’s attempt to unorthodox movement in Spring, they were not consistent in effecting the desired deviance from the classical norm. These attempts could not duplicate the consistency of Beethoven’s candid detachment from the classical structures in the second movement or the scherzo. Tchaikovsky, another composer in this genre  also involved cyclic repetition of themes, but there has always been a note of allegiance to the traditional styles of the genre.


Heralded by musicians and music lovers around the world as the “best known of all works of European classical music, the Symphony No.9 in D Minor, Opus 125, is considered as Ludwig Van Beethoven’s greatest masterpieces.”


The music has been adopted as the anthem for the European Union- thus playing  a cultural role in modern society.  The symphony will continue to be a living part of the cultural imagination, and will always have something new to offer the willing listener.

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An Evaluation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony: 3rd and 4th Movements

Posted by fifthdimension on May 16, 2007

The third movement, with its emphasis on the woodwinds and horns, seems to expand and deepen the pastoral mood of the second, drawing at the same time on gestures from the heartfelt Pathetique Piano Sonata, op. 13. The Italian direction for the movement is ‘Adagio molto’, a very slow tempo. But the metronome marking is 60, which is moderately fast, certainly at least an Andante rather than an Adagio – let alone an ‘Adagio molto’. Most performers, in their eagerness to create an emotional effect that answers to the direction ‘Adagio molto’, have simply disregarded the metronome marking and opted for a much slower tempo. Romantic conductors like Furtwangler and Bernstein in fact took this movement at half the speed indicated, creating a mood of reverent, ineffable stillness. Interestingly, it’s only this movement that truly encompasses the stylistic nuances of Beethoven’s third period. The symphony begins ab origine, beginning as if it had always existed from birth (Pestelli, 250). The rustling pianissimo on A and E rapidly crescendo to a powerful theme, with a falling arpeggio in D Minor. The falling fifths eventually swell into a “menacing” fortissimo theme in D Minor. As the melody becomes freer, the strings softly accompany using pizzicato, setting up an almost ethereal aura. The melody progresses even more, increasing in volume, and when it seems that it is coming to a close, a loud fanfare intrudes in E Flat Major. This movement is far off from classical sonata form, and is important because it shows the transition between the Classic and Romantic periods of music.


Another dramatic transition happens between the third and final movement. Beginning with an outraged flurry of instruments, the cellos and basses play dramatic recitative, hinting at some sort of “rapproachement between the instrumental and vocal music.” (Plantiga, 65) Then, in succession, themes from the three prior movements are played, but are quickly interrupted and rejected by the recitatives of the basses and cellos. Finally, a new theme emerges from the orchestra, now hesitant because of what happened previously. It is accepted, however, but not without a minor protest from the basses and cellos. Eventually other instruments join in, which lead to a triumphant statement of the theme.


The finale is the symphony’s most striking movement. The most important feature here is the deployment of graceful choral forces that have occupied the stage in silence through the first three movements. The movement’s formal structure itself is equally compelling in its originality. Music scholars are yet to come to an agreement regarding the structure of this movement, with its blending of techniques borrowed from a variety of media, including theme and variations, solo concerto, sonata procedure and double fugue. A recent theory views the movement as a “symphony within a symphony,” a model that duplicates the whole. Moreover, the ecstatically heroic text set by the music of this section is well fitted to a very fast tempo: ‘Joyously as his suns fly across heaven’s magnificent expanse, brothers, run your race, joyously as a hero [runs] to victory.’

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An Evaluation of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony: 1st and 2nd Movements

Posted by fifthdimension on May 16, 2007

The very beginning of the Symphony Nine sets the ball rolling for a new musical atmosphere. There is no abrupt declaration, which is noticeable in the openings of the Third and Fifth Symphonies. The musical sense slowly merges out of an incipient mist; for several bars, the very key of the symphony remains in doubt. From here the movement creates an intense mood, very much in the rhetoric of the earlier heroic symphonies.

One of the most striking characteristics of the Ninth is the emotional fervor of each of the movements. In the first movement, one can hear a brief burst of sunlight, a gesture in the woodwinds that augurs the main theme of the choral finale. It’s only towards the end that the movement reveals its real meaning, collapsing into an ominous funereal march.

The second movement is a brisk scherzo. It would do well to remember while listening to it that the English version of “scherzo” is “joke”. Here, the threatening malevolence of the first movement is transformed into the merely (and comically) sinister; the opening timpani solo announces as much, even as it recalls the main theme of the first movement. It communicates its energy through the use of staggered rhythm, staccato, and timpani accompaniment. Technically, the scherzo opens with a falling fifth, then transforms into a legato, then plunges a full octave. The scherzo runs along interrupted until it is interrupted by brief slow interludes by the strings; the scherzo manages to overpower them initially, but then a trio takes over. The trio offers a relief, with a change in timbre. It consists of variations on a folk-like tune. Then the scherzo reenters with a grand note. What sounds like a repetition of the trio is quickly stifled by the scherzo and timpani, ending the movement on an abrupt note.

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