Archiv für den Monat: April 2015

Five for Today – The German Language Metal Edition

So, for today I’d like to discuss five Metal bands from Germany who sing/scream/growl in German language.

  • Rammstein –“Mein Land”

This may not be Rammstein’s best song, but it is a funny one. The video is directed by Jonas Åkerlund, a genius in creating music and especially Metal videos. Fun fact is he was for a short while Bathory’s drummer, which is great since I like Bathory a lot. For me they’ll forever be the first Pagan/Viking Metal band, some even say Black Metal, but I’m going with Venom here. I like that Åkerlund still lives Metal – which shows in the quality of his work.

The story behind the song/video is that Till travelled to the USA and wanted to go fishing/swimming but everywhere he went was “private property”. Coming from Ex-Eastern Germany, which was ruled by communists, this way of thinking was completely incomprehensible to him. Even now you don’t find many private beaches in Europe, though it’s getting more and more like this, which I personally find extremely sad. We don’t need to sell out everything. It’s like giving freedom a price tag.

 The video has two “acts”: First part is a mixture between happy cliché 50’s American beach life and “Baywatch”, with Till playing The Hoff. Smiley faces all around and the bathing clothes the band is wearing is very civilized and well-behaved. Their hair looks ridiculous, too. Nice “Beach Boys”. The second act of the video is much, much darker. It shows a beach party at night, with Rammstein playing as they really are, including FIRE. Did I mention I love their fire show? I love it! Once saw them live. When you see them and you don’t feel like a human torch then it wasn’t a Rammstein concert. Well, back to the video: The party escalates. Nice, sweet people at day, dirty mean b***** at night. Nice metaphor, too. What is done in the dark will be brought to the light… People showing their real faces.

Originally I had chosen Rammstein – “Ich Will”, but I wasn’t able to find the original video on YT anymore. So, I had to change plans. But here is what I initially wrote: Heard this song over and over, but it never gets old – especially when you understand German. The video is a masterpiece. Because it shows unfiltered the true faces of all involved. How far would you go for fame? To be notorious. Good or bad, the chief thing is to be noticed. To be heard, to be seen, to be feeled. And the people cheering on the criminals. The TV stations trying to get interviews. Observer and observed. The public as voyeurs. There’s so much more in it. It is perfection. I like how they look in the video, especially Till. He has a great presence, always. He’s huge. The way he moves – perfect frontman. I also like how he studied old German theatre-language. The intonation is perfect for their songs.

  • Edguy – “Rock Me Amadeus”

 

Nothing wrong with having a little bit of fun from time to time. Perfect cover. As an Austrian I am exceptionally pleased with this one. Falco was a genius. His “Rock Me Amadeus” was the only song in German language which achieved the top spot at the Billboard Charts as well as in the UK Top 40. Also, Edguy is a sympathetic and great band. There are some covers of this song out there, f.e. from German Metal band Megaherz as well. But I like the Edguy version best – because it is the most accurate one regarding lyrics and pronunciation and it simply rocks the most.

  • In Extremo – “Feuertaufe”

I like all of their stuff, old or new. This is one of their newer songs. I didn’t feel like posting one of the classics, but you can check them out: “Werd ich am Galgen hochgezogen”, “Vollmond” (this is the song I’d normally post), “Spielmannsfluch”, “Erdbeermund”… and so on. Everything they touch turns to gold in the shape of Medieval Metal. The mix of old and new instruments works very well and I love, love, love Rhein’s voice. His stage name is “Das Letzte Einhorn” = “The Last Unicorn” Which, btw, is one of my favourite animated fantasy movies (and America’s “The Last Unicorn” –Goosebumps all over). Rhein’s voice is rough and beautiful at the same time. May I add that I think that it is epic that his surname is “Rhein” – like the legendary German river. Ah, told ya – mental leaps.

 On a funny note: Originally there were two bands: A medieval music band and a Rock band. They merged into one Medieval Metal band that rocks so, so much. I had the pleasure to see them at “Festung Kufstein” one of the biggest ancient fortresses we have here in North Tyrol. You can google it, it’s really impressive. Sometimes I can’t believe how close we are here to history. It’s like a time machine. In July there’s a big medieval festival at “Burg Ehrenberg”. People from all over Europe are attending. You can see swordfights, big war horses, knights in their shiny armour, archers, pretty maidens… Also, there’s a big market and a medieval tent camp. People look in bewilderment when you’re dressed in your every day attire J Happened to me last year. So, next time I’d better attend in medieval clothing. So much fun. And they have medieval food and drink. And bands. Well, I see, I have to go there again.

  • Schandmaul – “Walpurgisnacht”

Another German Medieval Metal band. This song was the one that caught my attention as I heard them for the first time. It makes you instantly happy and want to sing and dance. And boy, I did. Like an idiot. Still have to! Lindner has a clean and beautiful baritone voice, it isn’t rough as Rhein’s. Schandmaul remind me more of the traditional German “Liedermacher”, meaning they’re more like medieval German bards. Their ballad “Willst Du” is one of the most beautiful love/wedding songs. I like singing it, tbh. I sing it a lot. It’s great to train and deepen the voice. Another song I could recommend is “Teufelsweib” – “Devil’s girl”.

  • Subway To Sally – “Kleid aus Rosen” (acoustic version)

Also a German Medieval Metal band. Their music has some industrial elements in it as well. Nonetheless I chose an acoustic version of their song “Kleid aus Rosen” = “Dress Made of Roses”. The song’s about a young girl who sees a tattoo-artist and wants him to give her a tattoo, too. But he refuses because of her age. But she’s persistent. She comes every day to his shop until he gives her what she wants. No one ever knew which price she paid. It can also be seen as a metaphor of losing virginity. Maybe not just in a physical way but also losing a virginity of the mind. Great multilayered meaning, at least I see it like that.

The Shaman Legacy – Part II

A few days ago I created a cryptic post called “The Shaman Legacy”. It is a bold title, I know. The idea to make a post like this was based on things that occurred in the past of my family. And since I am fond of mythologies and magic, I couldn’t stay away from teasing.

One night a few days ago I made this drawing. To be honest, I wanted to do something else, but I was very frustrated about how things were going with the painting and some other things. In midst of me being in a real grumpy state of mind an idea crystallized in my mind. I wanted to do this for a long time but somehow never did. Doing family portraits isn’t easy. Not because of expectations and the tension that it can create. Nope. Because we as artists have to get to the core of a character/person in order to create something that resembles him/her. You have a certain distance to people who aren’t family of blood or mind and soul. If it is just a fictional character – even better. But a family member. Boy, everyone in the family knows how she/he looks like. We are conditioned to recognize people from their faces, their behaviour, mimic and gesture. But on a 2D picture you just get the face. So, if there’s something “off” it feels wrong and bad. Even more so it can lead to the portrayed person being p… not so pleased. And the artist being p… not so pleased because of all of the work he/she had and the fun he/she hadn’t.

Also there was another thing bugging me. My sister wanted me to create something for the room of her Baby daughter. First thing which came to my mind was that I already love the wee one so much that I want to create something for her which was invented and thought out by someone I highly admire and consider an idol as well as teacher and friend. But you don’t do this. You don’t touch the master’s work, at least not before you are able to do it in a way to honour the master and not just doing something that looks like a bad copy, or worse, an unintentional mockery. I am, though I used to draw and create throughout my life, just a student – and will be for the rest of my life, hopefully, since I intend to never stop learning. The difference to all the times before is that I realized it and can accept it now. To be honest, I always had a very competitive personality. Which can be great, because you feel pushed and want to give your best. But the reason why you want to do it is arosen from the bad desire “to be better as someone” instead of “wanting the best I can be despite what others are doing or thinking”. It is a self-destroying behaviour, instead of friends you’re searching out and creating opponents – by will – which makes it even worse.

“If you place a thing in the center of your life
That lacks the power to nourish
It will eventually poison everything that you are
And destroy you”

 (Faithless, “Liontamer”)

So meeting someone who says he isn’t competitive at all was/is very illuminating. Not that being competitive is a bad thing all of the time. Sometimes there is a “challenge” we have to take on. But then it should be about the challenge. To see if we’re able to do it. Not to humiliate or destroy others. There is another word for that. It is called “war”. And – at best – it isn’t something we do voluntarily. Not that every war is for nothing. Sometimes the balance in the world needs to be restored, as Tolkien once said. Nonetheless it’s never a beautiful thing, to be very euphemistic here.

But to come back to the essence, what I wanted to say: We are students for the all of our lives, we never can and should stop learning. We meet different masters, which intentionally or unintentionally create different tasks and provide different meanings in our lives. The only thing we have to do is to realize is where our place in life is. I am no master, maybe never will be. But that’s not my goal anyway. So, very long story short: the project for my sister had to wait as well.

Where was I? Right, the portrayal of my great-grandfather. I created it two days ago, because I was so fed up with something else I was trying that I needed something that helped me to calm down and find my focus again. Words of a wise person help. Art does, too. I had both and am very grateful, because I know that both doesn’t come naturally and couldn’t be taken as granted.

I showed the drawing to my dad yesterday. He immediately knew who it was, which is a good thing. Nothing worse than drawing a family member and anyone is like: “Who’s that? Never seen that man.” But he recognized him, his father’s father. Anton Oberthanner, called “Grump’n Tonl” because he used to hobble. “Grump” means “to limp” in our dialect. My dad told me a few stories about him. My family, from my dad’s side, was never rich. They were farmers. And they didn’t lust for the riches either. Some of them were like Hobbits, enjoyed the simple life – like my great-grandfather did. He was the village’s barber, he also was a trained butcher and meat inspector. And he was a kind of healer for animals – and people. Of course, he hadn’t studied medicine, since his family was poor. But he knew a lot about herbs and the powers of nature. And he was able to see and detect problems within all living things. People, who didn’t have enough money to pay a doctor went to see him. Of course he never charged them. He didn’t believe in gaining riches. He wanted to help. People usually gave him something to eat or drink or kind words in return for his help. The latter he preferred. He was a very funny guy, always with this mysterious smirk placed on his edged face – at least that what my older family members always told me. He loved live. He loved animals. He loved herbs and plants. And he loved people. He was always someone who’d chat with people about everything. When there was a celebration in the village (usually some feast days of the catholic church) he used to get the men spruced up for the party. He shaved them, washed and cut their hair. The preparation for it he celebrated like a ritual. He used to sharpen the knives on a piece of rough leather. His gestures while doing so where dramatically and sometimes he even sung a song. It had something magical about it. Of course, he did it for the show. He was like that. But don’t mistake him for a melodramatic fool. No. His bright blue eyes were mirroring his knowledge and understanding of the things going in the macro-cosmos that is our world and the micro-cosmos that was everyday life in our village. When someone was in need he didn’t refuse help. If it was in the midst of the night – no questions were asked. He grew herbs in his garden or took walks into the woods and grasslands around our village to find them. When a cow birthed a calf, he was there. When a woman gave birth to a kid, he was there. When an animal was suffering from an open sore, he provided a self-made ointment. When a person had terrible pain in their throat he prepared a special tea. If he could help in any way, he did. By providing medicine, a nice haircut or a nice little chat. He knew what people/animals/plants needed in any given moment. That’s why my dad calls him “The Shaman”. Tony was a person who knew. According to some family members he was a little bit of a visionary, too. He f.e. felt that a dangerous mudslide was coming down from the mountains. My granddad was the same – a trained butcher master and meat inspector, a person who was there for people in need, though he was a serious guy since WWII hardened him. It is something that runs in the family. At least that’s what my dad says. The Shaman Legacy.

Favourite movies

Movies like music are a form of art. I love watching a good movie, though I have to admit that I seldom watch movies on TV. Generally I don’t watch much TV or series, though there are some pretty good ones out there. Anyhow, let’s talk about a few movies and my favourite scenes in them. And my favourite song in each of them, of course. It’s always about the music. The list isn’t complete and in no special order (though Nr. 1 = Nr. 1). I just chose 3 movies for today. Maybe I’ll go back to this topic later and add some more, if you like? Let me know!

1. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966, Italy)

Plot

It’s my favourite movie. Simple as that. It’s the movie my dad used to watch the most while I was growing up. And I joined him watching from a very young age. Clint Eastwood became my „hero“. I remember trying to draw him over and over. Of course, it didn’t work out toooo well, but I was happy doing it. And horses. Terrible horses with short legs and big heads and scary spiky teeth. From hell. My mum thought I was drawing a T-rex.

The epic music by Ennio Morricone was my first musical love. I couldn’t get enough of the title theme or „The Ecstasy of Gold“. They are still one of my favourite songs from a movie and create instant Goosebumps.

What  I love about this movie is… well, everything? Guess so. Sergio Leone was a directional genus. I can’t put it other than that. Genius. The way he filmed, the colours, the scenes, the perspective, the cut, the script, his choic of actors and filming locations (did you know they bild that big cemetary just for the movie – no CGI back then), decoration, costumes… everything.

Clint Eastwood, Eli Wallach and Lee van Cleef. Great actors, perfect, iconic for their roles. No pretty boys. Real people with flaws and character.  A lot of character.

Favourite quote: „See, there are two kinds of people in this world, my friend. Those with loaded guns and those who dig. You dig.“ (Blondie)

My favourite scene: Three-way-standoff. E P I C :

My favourite song from the soundtrack: Ecstasy of Gold (Song starts at 01:00, but the scene is great, so I chose this vid):

 

2. The Crow (1994, USA)

Plot

I think I saw this movie for the first time when I was fourteen or fifteen years old. I wasn’t fully in Death Metal mode then. To be honest, I was into Nirvana until I was twelve or thirteen and I still listen to their stuff from time to time. Anyhow, I saw „The Crow“ and it was more than just a movie for me. I rewatched it over and over throughout my teen-years and in my early twens. Even now I do it from time to time.

Since the first time I saw it I was hooked. The dark story, the dark setting, the mystery around Brandon Lee’s death. It was like entering a complete new, dark and fascinating world. The soundtrack is killer, it fits the movie so well. When you hear the song, you immediately think of the scene it is played in.

And boy… the evil. I loved Bai Ling in it. She doesn’t seem to do much filming anymore, but she was really striking. She doesn’t age and is a crazy chick, but I like her style, though I’d never dare to wear. Brandon Lee is exceptionally good – he brought „The Crow“ to life like no one else could. Maybe the late Heath Ledger, but he was too young at this time. Also, I never saw Crow 2. I didn’t want to spoil the movie for me.

I had the poster of Eric sitting on his wooden throne sticking right underneath one of the windows of my room. From time to time I used to sneak out of this window and disappear into the darkness to go for a nightly walk. Alone. Eric Draven was my accomplice. I smiled at his picture while climbing out. Next day in school I looked like hit by a bus. But I always needed time alone to clear my head, so it was totally worth it 🙂

To be honest this movie is what comes closest for me to a love-movie I can enjoy. I could feel his love for his girl and the pain while witnessing what happens to her before she and he are dying. It is satisfying seeing him returning and paying them back the way he does. Also the raven flying, showing him the way. It reminds me of Odin and his ravens Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). Like Odin’s ravens Eric’s raven brings news from the world of the living to him and shows him where the bad boys are.

Favourite quote: A building gets torched, all that is left is ashes. I used to think that was true about everything, families, friends, feelings. But now I know, that sometimes if love proves real, two people who are meant to be together, nothing can keep them apart. (Sarah)

My favourite scene: The Transformation (because you see the crow becoming his leader and why he does what he does. Very powerful. Thunder and lightning and his face in the flickering light – and boy is he pissed)

Favourite song from the movie: The Cure – Burn (I listen to this very often, it somehow gets me into the mood of getting things done or creating):

 

3. The Lord of the Rings (1999 – 2003, New Zealand)

Well, I think the „The Lord of the Rings“-trilogy is known by litereally everyone, so I don’t need to explain what the movies are about.

I just wanted to tell a little bit about my personal LOTR-journey. My dad is the biggest Tolkien geek I personally know. Yeah, he may not be very scnientific about it as many Tolkienists are, so he’s probably more what they’d call a „Ringer“, but nonetheless he’s the greatest fan of Tolkien’s work I know. He has so much love and passion for Arda and everything that lives (or unlive) in it. Talking about Tolkien is bringing back his inner child and I just love to see that happen. Tolkien is what connects me with him the most. I have to admit I had a real difficult relationship with my dad when I was younger. Not because I was a child or teen acting out, no, but because we were and are too similar. The difference is: Now I know to handle this without feeling personally attacked. I’ve become wiser so to speak. I learned. And still do.

My dad used to tell us stories from the Hobbit when we were little, later on from „The Lord of the Rings“ as well. I always was fascinated by this world and by fantasy worlds in general. From a very, very young age. I remember looking at pictures created by Boris Vallejo, Escher, Giger and many more – in books my dad had stored in his „library“, basically a room stuffed with books. There also were books of Alan Lee and John Howe, the two artists that Sir Peter Jackson hired for his LOTR and Hobbit movies. I loved and love their work since they gave Arda a „face“ or better: many faces.

So did Sir Peter Jackson, Fran Welsh and Philippa Boyens and their crew and cast. I remember the first time when I heard about LOTR being made into a movie. I was absolutely thrilled but couldn’t get much information about it. But I heard that they’d film it in New Zealand. Which is, from where I live, exactly at the other side of the world. I couldn’t travel further away from home. And since then this was the place I wanted to visit (and did last year). Once I was there I felt like never returning home since I felt like the timezone there equals my bio rhythm. I got up very early in the morning and got to bed normally. I never felt tired though we had to travel long in the rented car and we also had an action-packed programm. After returning home I was constantly tired for three weeks straight and it still doesn’t feel as great as back in NZ.

Anyhow, back to the movies. I remember seeing the first part for the first time with my dad. I held my breath as Cate Blanchett was reciting the ring poem. Her voice is perfect for that. She is Galadriel, she really is. I was so thrilled that I almost couldn’t breathe. From the first moment I knew that these movies would change my life. I looked at my dad and I knew he felt the same. After the movie he couldn’t stop talking about amazingly done it was. Of course, the both of us went to see the movie again the next day. This time we sat beside a young German who was a craftsman and he was a guy „auf der Walz“. That’s a beautiful old medieval tradition in Europe, especially in Germany. So, „auf der Walz“ means that a craftsman who has accomplished his apprenticeship and now „had“ to wander around and work for different masters of his craft for a year (and learn from them) in order to own his right to become a master-craftsman himself. The young man was, of course, clad in his traditional clothing and had also a staff. You can learn more about this tradition here!

So, I don’t think I should to delve to deep into the movies, since I’ll never stop writing then, hehe.

Here are my favourite quotes, scenes and soundtrack-pieces:

The Fellowship of the Ring:

Quote:

Gandalf: „You. Shall. Not. Pass!“ (Because I use it on different occasions, especially to drive family members insane)

Scene: Boromir’s death (aka why Sean Bean got cast. Seriously, I love the way Boromir redeems himself. You care more about him being in half of one movie than most of the characters in the Hobbit-movies.)

 

Soundtrack piece: The Bridge of Khazad Dum (Epic. I can see the scene before my inner eyes):

 
The Two Towers:

Quote:

Frodo: „I can’t do this, Sam.“
Sam: „I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something. “
Frodo: „What are we holding onto, Sam?“
Sam: „That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.“

Scene: Battle of Helm’s Deep – One king to another (friggin epic and Théoden’s is the only „Onelasttime“ I will ever accept. Did I mention that I dig battle-scenes? I dig battle scenes.)

 

Soundtrack piece: The King of the Golden Hall (Hail Théoden, king!)

 

The Return of the King:

Quote:
Witch king of Angmar: “ You fool. No man can kill me. Die now.“
Eowyn: „I am no man!“

Favourite scene: Théoden’s Speech (that’s seriously the best scene in the movies, Goosebumps and tears every time – now THIS is a king).

Favourite part of the soundtrack: The White Tree (though the ST works so well as one masterpiece of music. But I have tears of epicness in my eyes everytime I see the fires on the mountains alit)

 

 

The shaman legacy

I can feel the trouble in your head, heart and soul like a black whole absorbing all the light. Be strong. I am at your side.

Always remember that where’s much shadow, there also has to be much light. A brighter light that overshines said shadow… I can feel it shining through!

Think of it as an artwork by Caravaggio. Chiaroscuro. Art is life is art.