Archiv für den Monat: März 2015

My 5 favourite Metal bands (for at least this day)

So, I chose 5 bands. I want to add that I at least wanted a Top 30 list, but I understand that we sometimes need to make choices to stay focussed and catch the essence of something rather than hunting after a „swarm of butterflies“, while capturing nothing.

If you don’t have the time to read the text you can find the playlist of the 5 songs here!

1) BORKNAGAR (NOR, Black/Pagan Metal)

Why: I absolutely love I.C.S. (Icy Simen) Vortex’ voice. It has so much depth, beauty and power while it can be frightening and creepy at the same time. It’s ethereal. He creates landscapes, dreamscapes, creatures in my mind while I listen to the stories he tells by his voice and with intelligent lyrics. Also, I think he has a very unique look, like a northern Viking lion, which creates another layer of awesomeness when seen live.

I also adore his other band Arcturus, but since we’re talking my favourite five bands I have to and will go with Borknagar. There are several albums with Vintersorg as vocalist, which are fine, too, just different. Vintersorg’s voice is different from Simen’s and it takes a little bit of time to get used to it IMHO.

 Song chosen: “Collossus” from the album “quintessence” (2000)

2) AMON AMARTH (SWE, Melodic Death Metal)

I was thinking of In Flames or Arch Enemy as my Death Metal band for the list. Nah, just kidding. I love them both, but nothing compares to AA.

Why: Obvious. Vikings. Beards. Long hair. Headbanging. Sweat. Killerriffs. Drums that change the beat of your heart and make your blood boil with Viking rage. A voice like thunder and lightning that’d please mighty Thor himself.

Seriously: Amon Amarth has everything, what an excellent band needs: Great musicians and a great show. The thing that stands out the most is Johan’s voice. He can do some serious and mean growls. And what is most important to me: He is capable to pull it off, meaning his voice doesn’t break and he never sounds weak. And he can go really low without effort. Nothing worse than a singer trying to go to the bottom, but not having the voice to do so and sounding somewhat thin and just plain wrong.

Song chosen: “Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags” from the album “Twilight of the Thundergod” (2008)


I hesitated if I should add a big player like IM when I only can chose 5 bands. (Btw. that’s one of the most difficult decisions I had to make so far, because I realized there are so many bands and musicians I truly love)

Why? Because of this story: It was the 4th of July, 2000. I just had birthday a few days ago and bought myself Diablo II. I planned to fortify me and my Barbarian in my room for the next couple of months. A friend from my Pen and Paper RPG group called me in the evening, because he heard of it and wanted to know everything.

He said he can’t go and buy the game himself, since he had the flu and that his dad won’t buy it for him. So he suggested that I’d buy it for him and he gives me the money. But knowing the guy I knew that I’d never see my money again if I did this. So I told him he has to give me the money beforehand. He agreed. Strange.

Not very Iron Maiden, right? Wrong.

I drove to his place the next day and his dad answered the door and… smiled widely. Weird. He told me plans have changed and that we need to go in a few minutes. Go? Where to? To Munich! Why? Maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiden! (No joke). Turned out that Junior also was scheduled to go to the Iron Maiden concert with his dad, but was so sick that he couldn’t go. Which meant they’ve decided to take someone else who likes Metal with them. Me. Problem was that I was anything but a fan of clean vocals in Metal. Death Metal, Grindcore and Black Metal – these were my game. Iron Maiden? Not so much. But about ten minutes later I found myself in a car with my friend’s dad, another member of our RPG-group and two guys which – in my juvenile arrogance – I considered fossils wearing ugly shirts. Also, I couldn’t hear anything because they sang and cheered all of the time, drinking beer and were generally having a good time. After two dreadful hours we reached Munich’s Zenith and waited till we could go in. There were thousands of people, all clothed in all-over-print t-shirts, blue jeans and jogging-highs. And midst of them I, the chubby princess of darkness, clad in black and an Emperor shirt. Suddenly I felt weird and out of place. It occurred to me it was me, not them. They didn’t care or even blink when they saw my attire. Friendly folk. Even offered beer and cigarettes, which I declined. But still. I wasn’t used to kindness.

So, finally we got in. And since all of these people weren’t talking about anything but Iron Maiden I knew that this was their reunion tour with Bruce Dickinson. I saw how they’ve decorated the stage and decided that the mummy looked okay for a terrible true clean voice Metal band from hell (not the good Black Metal hell, of course).

Iron Maiden begun their show and I was walking around, searching for the bathroom. I didn’t pay attention to the music until I heard the first notes of “Brave New World”. I stopped, looked at the stage. I realized I was VERY close to the stage. I could see Bruce’s face. For a glimpse of a moment I thought he looked back at me. I was stunned and couldn’t move. Bruce began to sing and it was literally the moment my prejudices regarding clean vocals came tumbling down. Before even I myself realized it I was singing along with the crowd. 2 Minutes to Midnight, Fear of the Dark, Hallowed be Thy Name. I perfectly knew the lyrics…

Iron Maiden were my game-changer. I finally could stand the “Power Metal” –voice as I called it before. That’s why I’ll forever love them. And for Bruce Dickinson.

Chosen song: “Brave New World” from the album “Brave New World”, 2000

(It’s a live version from the very same tour, unfortunately not in Munich. But it still gives me the chills, I am feeling this moment that changed me over and over again right now)

4) STAR ONE (NEL, Progressive Space Metal)

I was thinking about choosing Dream Theater, since they introduced me to Prog Metal, so to speak. But Arjen’s music is IMHO more creative, more versatile and also more fun. So I stick with him.

Why? Because Arjen Lucassen is a genius, that’s why J I love all of his projects, especially Ayreon and Star One. He’s so incredibly talented that it hurts. He creates emotions and worlds full of colour and music and finds harmonies I never even dreamed they could exist.

Chosen song: “Intergalactic Space Crusaders” from the album “Space Metal”, 2002

5) GREEN CARNATION (NOR, Death/Progressive/Gothic Metal)

I had a lot of bands in mind for the last spot. But my thoughts always returned to Anathema and Green Carnation. I chose the latter.

Why? Because “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” is a masterpiece. Tchort is a former member of Emperor, therefore I got interested in his “other stuff”. I read that he tried to cope on GC’s album “Journey to the End of Night” with the worst thing imaginable: The death of his daughter. I bought the CD and was amazed how much the sound differed from Emperor. But I liked it. With “Light of Day, Day of Darkness” they even went further. On this album he’s still trying to find a way to deal with his daughter’s death, but at the same time he feels happiness because of his newborn son. So, he’s fighting with his conflicting feelings and this struggle is very well portrayed and executed in the music: Sweet melodies, stomping riffs, clean singing, screaming, growling, female voices, a choir, great drums – all poured into one killer of a song. Yes, the whole album is ONE song. But I never once in all these years felt the urge to fast forward to another part of the song. All of it is in perfect harmony – a journey.

Chosen song: “Light of Day, Day of Darkness”, 2001 from the album “Light of Day, Day of Darkness”

Thorin was framed!

Yes, indeed. Just created a frame for my digital drawing of Thorin Oakenshield! The ornament on the frame is based on the pattern of the surcoat Thorin is wearing.

In my opinion the frame is as important as the artwork itself, because it’s like a window into the world one has created in one’s picture/photo/artwork. It can make an artwork look better and/or more wholesome, deep – or bad if the wrong kind of frame is being used, or if one doesn’t pay proper respect to one’s artwork and oneself by just using any frame that coincidentally fits around the picture.




Thorin Oakenshield – #OneLastTime?


Finally (for me) I am able to show you my painting of Thorin Oakenshield. I’ve been working on it on and off for about five months. There were times I thought I’d nearly go insane and give up because I realized it was too big for me – literally and metaphorically spoken. I struggled because I wanted it to be my best work so far since Thorin is my favourite character since I first heard about “The Hobbit” in my father’s tales. And I found Richard Armitage’s portrayal of the struggling dwarf-king in BOFA incredible, especially the descent into madness and how the Dragonsickness played out and how the other dwarves dealt with it. It was heartbreaking. I just wish we’ll see more of all of the dwarves in the Extended Edition of BOFA, as well as some closure to the open ties.

I chose Thorin from AUJ for the painting. The reason therefore is that there were no pictures of BOFA – Thorin available at the time I started with the painting, so I decided to use this one, because it focuses on his face, but shows enough of the rest to show his monumental size despite of his height. But soon I regretted the choice, since the furry coat proved itself to be an invention of Morgoth!

The problem with the painting – from the start – was that I never made such a big portrait before, yet alone with acrylic colours on canvas. The only time I made a portrait in acrylic colours was back then when I drew Legolas and Aragorn standing and talking outside Edoras in “The Return of the King”. I liked the nightly sky and the calm atmosphere of that scene. But it was merely 20x30cm big, it was easily doable. So choosing 100x100cm for my favourite character and without practice was quite the challenge. But I didn’t want to give up. These actors went through a lot to bring these characters alive for us – what’s a lousy painting, made in a comfy and warm home compared to that? Right! And tonight, on the day of the solar eclipse and the birthday of my dear friend Valentine I finally, finally, FINALLY managed to bring it to an end. I am quite okay with the outcome. And I know now that I have to practice more on painting on canvas. It was quite funny once I lost the fear of the material.

In one picture you can see Thorin solo, an “awake-two-days-in-a-row-but-he’s-worth-it”- Me is in the other photo to show the true size of the painting. The photos are probably not the best since I didn’t find a way to get a proper photograph of the painting because of its size.

Thank you for reading this – I hope you like my painting. All the people who were involved int these wonderful books and movies and you, my fellow fans and artists, are what keeps on inspiring me! I wish you all the very best and have a great weekend!

Daily sketch

Today’s sketch is dedicated to Andrea Pirlo from Juventus FC, Italy. He’s my favourite football player. A creative playmaker, a genius. I love his calm and intelligent character, he isn’t a troublemaker. He’s precise, he’s dedicated and he has a way to inspire his team.

I just wished our scanner was better… Looks like scanned with a toaster *sigh* And very old toaster.