Category Archives: English

MARK THESE WORDS

Heavyweight badass

00_Odd Crew - Mark These Words-Front (Large)

(click on the picture for full size)

It’s been a week or so since the Bulgarian quartet Odd Crew, which has been together since 1998, released their latest album, “Mark These Words”. It’s their forth effort under that alias but who counts them anyway. On “Mark These Words” Boyan “Bonzy” Georgiev deliveres the drums, Vasil Raykov screams and shouts as usual, Vasil Parvanovski is the one behind the solo strings, while Martin Stoyanov takes the control of the lows, both as the backing vocalist and the bass player.

With the “Words” Odd Crew keeps on seeking their own path in a metal market subdivided and sullied between cliché forms. And it’s a path strewn with tons of difficulties, downs and ups in every single aspect of life (both personally and professionally). Three years since their third album, Odd Crew have been through hell and back in order to release their forth – they got their US visa cancelation just a week before their fly took off, then they had to fight to find a new producer and a studio (another last minute call), then to find a way to go to Sweden unobstructed, where they eventually recorded it, just to name a few. But once you hear the album, you’ll be like “oh, holy cow, it was fucking worth it!”. Why? Keep reading to find out!

The album’s eponymous song is the opener here. The moment you hear the first twenty seconds, you are already hooked, there’s only one way out, as the curly vocalist sings – to lay back and to listen to the entire album. As one can expects – in complete awe! The crunch comes in full force with Raykov’s clanging voice, leading up to a gorgeous guitar solo from Odd Crew’s guitarist, Vasil Parvanovski. “Lay On Me” was released approximately 2 months prior to the album’s release and mixes both the heaviness and speed of the Odd Crew’s 3rd album, “Beyond the Shell”, and that unique softness they are well-known for. “Dead Man’s Eyes”, similarly to “Lay On Me”, comprises the two specters of the band’s aggressiveness and, um, friendliness, figuratively speaking. “The More in Me” is one of those Odd Crew staples where slow introductory rhythms are almost immediately sodomized by a blast section followed by a thrash breakaway and then mid-tempo trudges, repeat all modes accordingly.

One of the longest songs, despite being only 4.07 long, “Shapes in Grey”, is luxuriant and entrancing as it is murky. The song is chocked with a methodic rage that escalates to a beauteous finale. The song is followed by the explosive “We the Fallen” which is fast, aggressive and belligerent. The last song of “Mark These Words” is the Odd Crew’s voice of anger. “In My Dying Time” is marked by furious riffs, angry-yet-catchy choruses and dynamic arrangement. It grabs you by the throat and throws you into the wall. Ruthlessly.

All in all, the album kicks asses! Big time! Odd Crew really nailed it this time. Where production, songwriting, performance, structure, and sheer, stripped-down emotion and aggression are concerned, I’ll put “Mark These Words” on top of my shelf for quite some time. And repeat it over and over again. This is the product of a band that knows exactly who they are as musicians and writes confidently and accordingly because of that fact. The only reason I believe that’s not their best album (yet, just to be clear) is that I know them personally and I am confident that “Mark These Words” is just a fraction of what they are capable of.


YOUTUBE CONCERT

Beautiful senses are gone
Canary in a gilded cage
Singin[1]

Have you been to a concert where you were standing, watching and thinking “uh, okay, I’ve seen this before somewhere”? Have you been to a concert so formal that you left it before it even ended, or even before the half-time of it? If you are an avid music admirer as I am, you most probably have been to one like that. And did so.

 Just a week ago I went to check out the good ol’ fellas from Queens of the Stone Age (QOTSA). The concert was held in heart of the city of Ljubljana, Slovenia in venue called Križanke. The place itself is outstanding – it’s open-air and indoor in the same time, great place for concerts of that altitude – 1000-2000 people.

I didn’t go with really high expectations most of all because we all know that feeling when expectations don’t meet reality. Also, I’ve seen quite a lot of bands recently so I was looking forward for a decent, maybe even exciting gig. Well, it didn’t go that good.

Firstly, I have to give credits to the band before QOTSA – small, 3-piece-all-girls band which came straight from Zagreb, Croatia. Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of the band (they weren’t on the ticket either). To be honest, they didn’t do the best performance neither of their life, nor I’ve seen from a small, not so popular band. But they played from the bottom of their hearts, as like they are playing in front of 20 people. They were nervous but they didn’t care that much.

And then, after short 15-minute break, QOTSA came on stage. Shortly after I became a witness of something that I am observing in the last 10 or more years – another “youtube concert”. That term, that idea flashed across my mind for the first time in 2005 when I was watching Iron Maiden in Sofia, Bulgaria. Slowly evolved and became what it is today – a standard term to me and some close relatives to describe concert which you can see (have seen) in YouTube (YT). Another gig that I have to mention is the one of Metallica and Machine Head in Belgrade, Serbia in 2012. What I mean by that definition of mine?

Well, nowadays we are used to idea of watching/checking some band/artist in YouTube prior to the actual concert. Just to see how it is, what to expect and so on. Or just because you are follower of that band and you love to watch them “live”. I put quotation marks here just because currently most of the bands are not even giving them a hard time playing real live performances. They either play on playback (that awkward singing where the singer moves his lips but not actually singing because the song/singing is prerecorded) or just are doing their best to play the song “as it is in original/recorded in studio, for the album” (which is usually a lot easier than improvisation). But about that some other time.

So let’s go back on that very topic about YouTube concerts and QOTSA’s one. They are great band, the concert wasn’t bad per se. But it wasn’t anything special, too. It was just another concert, 50th concert in a row in the last 2 months. For them. For you is the 1st in 2 months. So when YOU pay reasonable amount of money for your (or one of) favourite band – in my case 35 EUR (47 USD, 50 AUD) – you expect something really exciting, or maybe even extraordinary. Because out of those 50 concerts for them, you are attending only 1, right? So for YOU it IS a big deal whether they’ll make a good show or not. For them is just business. Or in most cases is like that.

They did aaaall of the most-known show-tricks that we all already know from YT. Yes, we love them when we are hanging out with friends in someone’s house but when the singer is at a kick-distance and you are willing to take that kick in your chin, you definitely expect a bit more than the studio versions of your favourite tracks. Or the ones that are in YT. Or at least I do. For example on “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” (widely known just as “Cocaine”) they did all the stuff that you can see on every live show in YT – they prolonged the original from 2,43 to around 7 minutes – something normal these days. They did small-wait-for-it-pause few times in-between the song. And so on and so on.

Other symptom of “Youtube concert”-these-days-fashion, which I noticed, is very short, indifferent contact with the audience. Josh Homme, the singer for QOTSA, talked just once or twice through the show. Just to say the regular stuff. Why? Am I (are we) there to listen to such concert jabber talk? Most definitely – no!

I left the concert maybe around the 2/3 of it. I missed “Go With the Flow”, one of their biggest and most popular hits. But I don’t really miss it. But I decided that I’ll catch up later in YouTube and save some of my hearing. I really don’t want to go with the flow of the… song for the deaf road. If you know what I mean.

I am leaving the topic open and probably will discuss the other part of the show business – the one where small, not so popular bands are making every single one of their shows as they are their last. And you remember those shows forever. Because they are not another “youtube concert”.

 

[1] Verse from “A Song for the Deaf” by QOTSA

 

 


Congratulations!

Congratulations on the acceptance of Croatia in EU! We are proud of you!