Beyond The Void – “Gloom is a trip for two”

Beyond The Void – “Gloom is a trip for two”
Endzeit Elegies/Avasonic/Rough trade
Dark Rock / Gothic Metal
7.5/10
22/Feb/2008

Somehow, when I received the promo kit for this album, I thought it would be difficult to extract a solid review. But having been through it a bunch of times, I’ve been quite convinced that “Gloom is a trip for two” is the album that could throw Beyond The Void into international fame.

What looks like a record extracted from the same place as HIM’s, hides the talent of 5 musicians and a vocalist that know very well how to do their job. Their job being a Gothic Metal / Dark Rock that can perfectly stand side by side with some established bands like The 69 Eyes or the already mentioned HIM. I could put them alongside Moonspell, too, if only for the great similarity between the voices of Daniel Pharos –Beyond The Void‘s singer- and the portuguese Fernando Ribeiro, or just for the sound of the most-metal segments of “Gloom…”.

On the tough side, I must say that nobody should expect the “chosen” album that will define and push the genre for the next years. Composition and technique of the band are fairly correct and don’t get to shine in any moment. Tracks are quite varied, going from the energy of the opening “Her dive into midnight” to the mellow ballad which is “Nihilism”, or from the metal riffs of “Cyanid eyes” to the prevailing keyboards of “A minute before dawn”, the closing one. “Seductora” and “Gloom is a trip for two” are, maybe, the most worked-on songs, and both have the smell of successful singles.

Concluding, Beyond the Void‘s third work is a great one, adecuate and recommended. It’s one of those albums that you like more the more times you listen to it, but not enough to be your favorite one. Let’s give it a high 7 and move on.

Sirocco – “The march through Crimson Frost”

Sirocco - March through the crimson frost You can find a Spanish version of this review in Friedhof Magazine, an extreme metal magazine. It’s thanks to them that I got it, and they are kind enough to let me republish this on my personal site.

Sirocco – “The march through Crimson Frost”
Publisher: BPM Studios
Genre: Celtic Thrash
Release date: October 2007
Calification: 6.5/10

“The March Through Crimson Frost” is an album which requires to be listened to quite a few times before you can make a judgement on it. You could blame this on production. It sounds like someone had sit over the equalizer knobs, creating a tonal disparity that is disorienting, if nothing else. A new studio, or at least a new sound tech would do much good for this irish boys.

Sound quality aside, there’s two features that come over everything else:

First one’s the bass. Fast, precise, and certainly complex. Quite interesting from my point of view as an amateur bassist. It’s very far from the typical supporting lines, and often the driving force behind the melodies, leaving the guitar behind.

Then, there’s the voice. Appalling, but not in a good way. The album is voiced by the bassist, and his excelent performance on the strings doesn’t extend to singing. The clear register which he uses sounds, for me, too nasal and a bit too high, and doesn’t live up to the rest, grounding what could’ve been a very well rounded work. I’d daresay that an instrumental album would have been something to think of, at least while they’re short of a singer with a wider register.

The design of the cover -complete with menhir and celtic knotting frame- along with the irish origin of the band hints about a sound that you will not find in the 38 minutes length of “The March Through Crimson Frost”. Having been described by the band themselves as Celtic Thrash, the record could be disappointing for those who like either celtic music or Thrash Metal. It is not that the album is bad in any way, it’s just that Celtic Thrash is a hard mix to get right. Sirocco, though, has managed to execute it with a great dose of raw talent, and more success than you could expect.

Six tips for the newbie gym-goer

Bench Press (Shaft) by Usodesita

Puedes encontrar una versión en castellano de este post aquí.

As spring approaches, “operation bikini” and ads for gym memberships are going to start blossoming everywhere.  In my usual style of being too early or too late, here are some ideas I try to put in practice about, well, my practice. Beware, though, as I’m no expert: I just talk from the p.o.v. of someone who has been going to the gym for the last 6 months, and has discovered certain patterns that could be of use for people starting out.

Always work out on mondays. If you’re somewhat like me and stay in bed late on sunday, monday will catch you with your sleep pattern wrecked. You are going to spend all day fucked up, groggy and tired. Hitting the gym early in the afternoon, –if only for cardio and some abs work– wakes me up. I start the week happy and proud of myself, and fall asleep much earlier at bedtime.

Have a bite as soon as you finish. A banana, a chocolate cookie, a couple of raisins or something like that. I’ve found that if I don’t have something light to eat after my workout, I will get to the dinner table with kind of a voracious hunger, and end up eating way too much.

Do what you have to do. Nothing less, nothing else. Don’t try to do today the exercises you missed yesterday. Or tomorrow’s. Even if you feel full of energy and totally able to do them. DOMS are unforgiving and you will feel awful tomorrow. Ah, and just to mention it: don’t go to the gym to spend your evening socializing. Please.

Take some rest from time to time. Take a week off every couple of months or so. Sooner or later, fatigue will build up and you will see it’s harder to keep up the rhythm. Recharge yourself for a few days and everything will be mint again.Think how you’ll feel afterwards.

Think how you will feel afterwards. Some days, laziness will invade you. If you start thinking “gosh, i’m tired today. I’ll go tomorrow”, just try to remember the way you feel when you have just finished your exercises for the day and step into the shower. Now, compare this with the way you will feel after spending your day in front of TV or the computer.

Go for a walk. OK. You just can’t do it and your body is screaming at you to get home and relax until bedtime comes. That’s fine. But if you can gather enough strength and have a splinter of free time, go outside for a walk in the sunset. It’s a great way to ease muscle congestion and unwind after a hard day’s work!

That’s it. It’s 16.30 and I’m preparing to go to the gym. If you have your own advice about this, go ahead and comment :)