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Music Review: Therion, Painkiller Hotel, and Gloriana

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My latest reviews of the myriad of tunes that I listen to these days. I hate to see them go, but one must.

Therion: Live in Miskolc

This is Therion so you know you are in for one heavy, symphonic, operatic, metal treat. In this particular effort the band pays tribute to some of the music that inspired them like Wagner, Dvorak, Saint Saens, Verdi, and Mozart. They toss in a few of their own to make things interesting for the obviously enthralled audience.

Now the members of this band certainly have the appropriate abilities to deliver the music they are performing. Often it is said that if Wagner were alive today he would be producing heavy metal, and with the likes of Therion you can see that is highly likely. Its heavy as hell, epic and immense with its use of all that the human voice and intrumentation they have to offer. You might call this a stopgap until their next original release. It might be a stop-gap, but it's surelyl not any subpar release by any estimation.

I confess that I am unable to get enough of this band. They combine my loves of opera and metal all in one place. Therion are musical geniuses, there is no doubt about that, with only Opeth matching in this sort of genre. When they do a show with a full symphony and the full contingent of singers, there is nothing quite like it. Normally they are amazing in concert, in this sort of setting they are quite frankly stunning.

Painkiller Hotel: Blackroses

This bunch play a sort of post-grunge combined with a touch of country and a bit touch of Black Crowes. I have to admit to not necessarily warming to this release at first. However, multiple listens have made sure this release has gotten under my skin and I have discovered why the guitarist from Three Doors Down signed this lot. There is something terribly endearing and catchy about them. They rather remind me of a few of the bands in the 90s that people have forgotten like the Screaming Cheetah Wheelies and others of that ilk. It's a bit like a combination of all those forms of mellow rock, but without the tweeness or navel-gazing that pervades the modern version. As I said this release is endearing and will get to you if you let it. The fact the lead singer does not have even the slightest whiney tone to his voice helps a great deal. The songwriting is there as well. Expect this lot to be huge soon, they have the MOR sound down pat, but they does not mean that there is not something there for the rocker in all. Tamer rocker does not have to mean lame.

Gloriana: Gloriana

Yeah they are ostensibly a country group, but like so many these days they have as much to do with Fleetwood Mac and 70s pop-rock as they do to old style country. Its got all the right elements, catchy songs with multiple voices both male and female, that speak to modern life rather than the country subject of old. The women aren't victims and the men aren't in love with their trucks. What the group do so well is meld the voices into a wonderful textures that really work. What is most striking is that much of this release could easily be realised worldwide under the "pop" label a with the most recent releases of Shania Twain. This is light rock that just happens to eminate from Nashville rather than LA or New York. The band is made up of two brothers and a couple of talent girls whose careers went nuts with the first single, that ode to teenage rebellion, "Wild at Heart". Its a bit "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" and a bit "Freebird" it works in so many ways.

In the US they may be stuck on country radio, but expect them to break out in the rest of the world.

Status Quo: The Fourth Chord

The title of this release obviously plays to the accusation that they have made a career out of only knowing three chords. The title and inlay has an explorer theme and the CD is introed by a very surely music teacher asking the listeners to listen for the chords. As with many, if not all, Quo albums the songs generally contain a certain degree of humor. Some of the more interesting ones are the observant "Beginning of the End" which seems to take a crack at modern celebrity and appearance obsessed culture. While on "Electric Arena" the band play homage to their path to stardom and their continued success. There is something endearing when a band gives a nob to their path to where they are, a hat-tip as it were.

It's a very good ode to the road. Another typical Quo outting is the catchy "Figure of Eight". A good release from a veteran band who, while not necessarily always consistent in their releases, always deliver something decent. There is some incredibly endearing and wonderful about Quo. Yes, they have released an odd stinker in their day, but when they get it right, as they do here, man is it fun.

Expect a bunch more reviews soon as I pump them out before heading off on a week's holiday. I shall listen to the next lot of releases to be sure, but then you knew that.

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