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Music Reviews

1 July, 2022

This year I’ve been listening to the following albums and tracks on…

VINYL

You Want It Darker by Leonard Cohen This vinyl record is infinitely superior to both cd and streaming – I was astounded at the quality. The album is profoundly intriguing. The quality of Cohen’s voice and the orchestral mixing are incredible. The songs strike a chord with me and I think this is my favourite album by Cohen. It also contains three of my favourite Cohen songs; You Want It Darker, Travelling Light and Steer Your Way.

Meliora by Ghost My favourite album by Ghost and it sounds incredible on vinyl. The atmosphere is awesome and the orchestration second to none. Dark and beautiful, terrible and inspiring, this album contains the best ever Ghost song – Cirice.

CD

Ten Thousand Fists by Disturbed Heavy metal at its best. There’s no let up from the first track, Ten Thousand Fists, all the way through to Avarice. This kind of music helps me exorcise the darkness from the past. It allows me to process the rage inside in a safe, therapeutic way. The track that means the most to me is Overburdened. Even if you’re not a metal fan, you’ll find Overburdened an inspiring song.

Splinter by Gary Numan I love the dark, industrial feel to this album. I enjoy Numan’s music anyway, but feel a real resonance with his later, industrial sounding work. He expresses angst and anger, darkness and danger in a way that really speaks to me. It’s not frightening, it’s releasing. If you’ve never listened to Gary Numan before or aren’t a fan of his earlier works, try this – you’ll be surprised!

And, if you enjoy dancing, these two CDs are absolutely brilliant to improvise to!

Streaming

Julience If you enjoy discovering new talented musicians and have been disappointed with the latest episodes of Later With Jools, give Julience a listen! I came across him on Twitter and love the dynamic energy of his songs, particularly the guitar playing. I enjoy listening to all his songs but my favourite track of his so far is Love Lies Cold.

And thank you to wordaholicanonymous for introducing me to IGNEA back in March! Check out IGNEA’s song and video Alga HERE! And, if you enjoy it, #PleaseShare as I believe Ukraine still needs our support in every way…

Thank you for reading this post! Do you listen to any of the music I’ve mentioned? Do you think you’ll try listening to any of the artists I’ve recommended?

Disturbed

17 October, 2021

Aggressive, dynamic and in your face.

No, this isn’t me on a good day! This is the music of Disturbed.

I never thought of myself as a heavy metal fan. Not before cancer, anyway. Post cancer and chemo I have had a continued struggle with disconnection. I have a disconnection with other people (except for a few cases), with the world (apart from the natural order of the seasons) and with myself.

I find it very difficult to feel any kind of emotion except for frustration and rage. Just what it is I am raging about, I still don’t know. The frustration is easily explained; other people don’t understand me or don’t want to understand me. Cancer has changed me. Chemo changed me. Having open surgery where 15 cm of intestine was removed and having my uterus taken out at the same time, irrevocably changed me.

In 2015 I was recovering and not coping at all well, despite having come to terms with nearly dying and the physical and mental changes inside me. But I couldn’t feel. Anything. Music helped a bit, particularly Punk and Muse. But it wasn’t enough.

Then, in the autumn, my soulmate came home and told me to watch the video of The Sound of Silence covered by Disturbed. Wow! I don’t often like covers of songs but I actually prefer Disturbed‘s version to the original (sorry Simon & Garfunkel!). Neither of us had come across Disturbed before, but based on that one song, we bought their album Immortalized.

As soon as we started listening I felt alive! The drumming shot through me like bullets, the guitar and keyboard notes screamed in the same key my soul keened in most days, and the voice of David Draiman made me realise I needed to let loose the rage inside.

Listening to Immortalized showed me two things: it’s OK to experience the darkness, and it’s OK to express how the darkness has changed you. This resulted in the publication of my cancer and chemo journals in 2016 as Insides.

Then, late 2016, Elisa Ang encouraged me to start painting. Because of Immortalized, I was able to express how I felt inside in a different way. If you look at my early paintings they are abstracts in black, purple and red pouring out the negativity of chemo and cancer. (If you want to see how my paintings have changed over the years to portray both monsters and beautiful landscapes, sign up to my Patreon profile!)

Immortalized remains my favourite album by Disturbed, closely followed by Ten Thousand Fists, Asylum and Evolution. I have added my favourite Disturbed songs to my playlist for writing as there is something about the voice and the music that triggers off my creative flow.

I do appreciate that heavy metal isn’t for everyone but when you’ve been through the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual trauma I’ve been through, it is a cathartic way of expressing the negativity inside one’s soul.

To find out more about Disturbed here’s their website and Facebook Page. And I’ll leave you with some lyrics from one of my favourite songs…

So sleep soundly in your beds tonight

Judgement falls upon you at first light!

I’m the hand of God

I’m the Dark Messiah

I’m the Vengeful One


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