Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fallen | Evanescence

"Now I will tell you what I've done for you" is the opening line to Fallen, which makes it sound as if Evanescence's lead singer, Amy Lee, is about to tell a story. "Going Under" is the starting song, and Amy's voice goes very low and quite high in this song, as well as the rest of the album. "Going Under" was a great pick to begin the album.

Next comes "Bring Me to Life", a duet with the lead singer of the band 12 Stones. This track begins with piano and cresendos into a new sound, filled with booming guitars, Amy's strong voice, and Paul's vocals (that are more like rapping). The sound remains similar, though not as deep or dramatic, into "Everybody's Fool". The lyrics are angrier, but still incredible. And, as usual, Amy's voice stands out above everything else.

The next song is a slow one, the main instrument being the piano. It turns out Evanescence can make acoustic music with as much brilliance as their heavier tracks. "My Immortal" is sad, and seems to revolve around death and loss... but at the same time it is about something, or someone, that lingers.

Creepy and snythesized effects come next in the song "Haunted". Amy's voice seems to be sewn into the first couple of lines, and then BOOM! All of a sudden, the music is loud and the guitars are back. Unlike the other songs, the drumline in "Haunted" really sticks out.

An airy intro leads into the following song, "Tourniquet". This may be one of the darkest songs from Fallen. After all, it is a song about suicide. Amy Lee's voice soars and carries the music behind it. At some point, she surprises us all by screaming "I want to die!" The string outro from "Tourniquet" leads straight into "Imaginary", one of the best and most influential songs from Fallen. The guitar riffs are melodic and unearthly, and as usual, Amy's voice is delicate, yet so powerful at the same time. Nothing could ever break such an amazing voice.

"Taking Over Me" is about obsession. The effects behind Amy's voice are electric as her voice sounds the desperate lyrics. It is not the best from Fallen, but it is still amazing nontheless.

Now we dive into "Hello", a much different experience than the earlier tracks. For nearly the whole song, all the listener hears is Amy's piano and voice. This song holds so much meaning, so much despair, it should be no surprise that it was written about a tragedy that effected Amy Lee. Everything about this song is beautiful.

The tenth track is called "My Last Breath". It is particularly deep, and the most romantic song on the album. It is heavy and melodic, as most of the album, but there is something special about it within the lyrics and melody.

Last comes "Whisper", the darkest and heaviest song from Fallen. The opening guitar riffs are like classic Evanescence, edgy and awesome. Every lyrics is dark as a pit, but sung so gracefully, which helps to make it one of the most epic songs I've ever heard. A fabulous ending to the masterclass album.

Truth to be told, Evanescence is my favorite band, and Fallen is one of the best albums I've ever heard, if not the best. I love this album more than I could ever tell you; it means so much to me, and is truly extraordinary.

Epic, beautiful, and emotional, with a hard rock/symphoniac/electronic sound.

5/5 stars.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Opheliac | Emilie Autumn

Emilie Autumn is lovely, despite her artfully deranged appearance. The same can be said for her music on the album Opheliac, and if she's anything else like this album, then she's also deep and sarcastic - with a sort of elegance to it all.

Opheliac opens with a harpsichord intro, but then leads into a symphoniac industrial sound, with the perfect opening lyrics: "I'm your Opheliac." The next track, "Swallow", is peppier though the lyrics are still unhappy. Emilie's voice sounds sweet and light througout.

"Liar", the third track, is wickedly disturbing. It starts with Emilie's infamous electric violin, eerie as ever. In the previous tracks, you are almost afraid NOT to love her. After hearing the lyrics "I want to mix our blood and put it in the ground so you can never leave" you will be afraid to love her. "The Art of Suicide" follows; a creative and melodramatic harpsichord song. This is one of my least favorites, for there is simply not much memorable to it, musically.

"I Want My Innocence Back" is an electronic, angry song. Emilie Autumn sings, growls, and screams with more meaning than anyone else could possibly project over the spooky, thick music behind her voice. This is one of my favorite songs, and it leads into "Misery Loves Company", which is another of my two least favorite songs from Opheliac.

The next, seventh track is "God Help Me". It begins with a bouncy vibe, but it turns into something much more serious within seconds. It soon breaks down into an electric storm of chants for help. The vocals in this song stick out for being some of the best on the album, but not as much as the next song, called "Shalott". "Shalott" is one of my favorites from the album. Emilie's voice is at a gorgeous peak, the music is very pretty, and the lyrics are more than superb.

"Gothic Lolita" is a nice song, though the verses are sung too long, though the verses themselves are typical size... if that makes any sense. "Dead is the New Alive" is quite the tune. Clearly, it is about death and obsession. Though the lyrics are clever, it is definately not the greatest she's done.

Next comes "I Know Where You Sleep", which happens to be the very first track I'd ever heard by Emilie Autumn. The first few times I heard it, I couldn't help but laugh. It's a bit ridiculous. The lyrics are sung extremely fast, and Emilie sounds like a mad scientist rather than a singer, shouting "I know!" Like "Dead is the New Alive", it is clever, (and in this case amusing) but not her best.

Opheliac ends with "Let the Record Show". The mad scientist feel is still there, but in a much better tone. The song is still angry, even desperate, about a victim getting revenge on her killer. The music is very interesting and memorable, and I enjoyed it very much; it was a very good ending to the album.

Opheliac is wonderful and artistic. It is unlike anything I've ever heard before, and even a bit strange. I enjoyed it immensly and am hoping her new music will be as awesome.

4/5 stars

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner: An Eclipse Novella | By: Stephenie Meyer

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is indeed a short story of only 178 pages. It is about a newborn vampire, Bree Tanner, who already appeared in Stephenie Meyer's Eclipse, and all that she faces with the coven of vampires she lives in. She tries to stray far from the wild, untamed vampires she lives with, for she is much different than them. But just as she is starting to see the truth of the world of vampires, her creator (whom she does not even know the name of) and their coven's leader is preparing the little army for a stand-off against the Cullens.

Throughout The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, it is not hard to stay interested. Stephenie Meyer is just a writer that can make you want more. Bree is quite a different vampire in comparison to the others that surround her, as well as different from the Cullens that we know so well from the four novels of the Twilight saga. To be honest, the bulk of this book, though interesting, was dull.

But, it IS Stephenie Meyer. Since when has she ever disappionted her fans?

Twilight readers (like me) know the outcome of this story. They know ahead of time that it is tragic. Reading this book will make you even more sad, and feel even more for Bree; because that is what Stephenie Meyer does to us - she makes us care. In the end, you will suddenly care so much more for Bree that you want the story to end differently, and the whole book is suddenly worthwhile. Incredible.

5/5 stars

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Burned by: P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

Burned opens darkly written, and well written at that. A thick, haunting, epic mood is among the first chapter - a beautiful introduction. This entire novel is dark, but since this is the first impression, it is given more recognition.

As we House of Night readers know, Zoey's soul has shattered. Since she is practically the most powerful High Priestess, this is a problem. She needs to be alive within her body to fight evil and Darkness in the name of Nyx. Together, her friends do all that they can to try to bring her back before it is too late.

The Cast women followed the trend they started in the previous House of Night novel, entitled Tempted, which they write about many of the charecters in third person in addition to Zoey's first person narration. Since Zoey's first person takes minimum space, the main focuses are around Stark on his quest to bring her back from the Otherworld, and Stevie Rae.

Stevie Rae is hiding a secret, and she must lie to all in order to protect that secret. As a matter of fact, she will do all that she can. She is the kindest being of all of them, trying to convert someone that knew only Darkness to Light. But that isn't easy, especially being so stressed out about Zoey and boy issues.

Love can be found in the strangest of places.

If I could tell P.C. and Kristin one thing, it would be "Wow." Because Burned is the best House of Night novel yet! Everything about it was superb, magical (well, in this case, magickal), and even a little bit meaningful. It amazes me to see how this series has evolved from something so simple, to something so majorly complex. I must include, on a more personal note, that I love how Stevie Rae is put more toward the spotlight, since she is my favorite charecter. She and Rephaim (my second favorite charecter) literately stressed me out! I was so nervous that I went crazy! I was talking to the book, telling Stevie what to do, how to act, etc. as I rocked back in forth on my bed and snapped at anyone who interrupted me. No book has made me feel that way since Twilight.

Well done, P.C. and Kristin, and thank you for entertaining me. Burned is now my favorite out of all seven of the current House of Night novels. I cannot wait for Awakened!

This is the very first book from this series that I've given this rating:

5/5 stars

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Avatar | Written and Directed by James Cameron

When I first saw trailers for Avatar, I thought it looked like a bunch of uncivilized Smurfs running around. Then... it all just started to look... pretty.

Scientists are learning the ways of the residents and of the natural features of the planet called Pandora. A few of them are actually experiencing what it's like to be those residents, the Navi. The humans (that are aliens to the Navi) seem to be disturbing them. Destroyers of their planet, the planet which they love very much. But will all of the humans remain loyal to the purpose of destruction to Pandora?

Avatar was beautiful and brilliant; a story like no other. It was crafted with care and born unique, and thank goodness the actors and actresses did the film justice. The world of Pandora is unlike anything I could imagine with its naturally illuminated forrests and facinating People. They way they believe in things is faith like no other, and their love for the forrests and their planet in general is so strong, it makes me jealous. It is a story of everything - love, war, moral, and knowing where you belong. James Cameron has proven to be amazing since his work for Titanic, but Avatar surpasses it for all that it is - the creativity, the beautiful story, the meaning. It is the best film of 2010 and one of the best science fiction creations.

I loved it.

5/5 illuminated stars

Beautiful Dead: Jonas | By: Eden Maguire

Darina's boyfriend, Pheonix, just died. He is the fourth student at her high school to die within the year, and his death is just as mysterious as the others. Of course, Darina is devastated. She lost the person she loved most, and although Pheonix is dead and buried, she begins to see him (alive). It doesn't take long for her to start to see her other classmates that have died that year as well.

Or is it all her imagination? After all, she is traumatized and depressed and her shrink says it's common for people to "see" the people they love that died. But Darina's case is different. She saw them all chanting something about the Beautiful Dead... and what was with the sound of wings beating, anyway?

Darina races against time to uncover the mysteries behind the deaths of the young people she knew that are now known as the Beautiful Dead - for their sakes and for the sake of holding onto Pheonix for as long as she can.

At first, Beautiful Dead: Jonas started out a little shaky for me. It fufills its purpose to entertain, and all of the meaning is held at a mild state. It is a tale about loss and what it means to truly love someone and lose them.

The imagery is great, except sometimes I'd have to read action filled paragraphs over again because it was not written in a particularly crystal-clear way. The charecters are defined well for the most part, but it is definately not the greatest story I have ever read. The storyline is not predictable, but it does not hold surprise either. It's kind of a bland book.

As I said, it started out shaky, but it kept getting better as I read through chapters. That is why it is so difficult for me to rate. I keep racking my brain, and I know for sure that it is somewhere around a 3, 3.5, or possibly a 4/5 stars.

The final verdict:

3.5/5 stars.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by: J.K Rowling

Harry Potter, the infamous wizard, returns for his third year at Hogwarts in a bit of chaos. First, there was an incident with of his aunts the previous summer that may have caused him to get into big trouble. Then, more significantly, he learns of a criminal that escaped from Azkaban prison right before he returns to Hogwarts. No one has ever escaped from Azkaban before until now. And worst of all, this murderous prisoner, named Sirius Black, escaped to come for Harry. Surely, this prisoner won't be able to come into the castle with all the precautions being taken. dementors, which are grim and horrific creatures, surround the castle in hopes of finding Sirius Black. But what if the others are right? What if Harry goes looking for Black? But Harry doesn't understand why he would have a reason to...

But, things aren't always as they appear to be. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, secrets of the past are unleashed, and these secrets could change the future, and consequences could leave room for changing the past.

This third installment of the Harry Potter series is filled with magic and mystery. Everything is unexpected, so I was always eager to keep reading. Sometimes, I couldn't stop. J.K Rowling is a phenominal writer, as we already know, and it is evident here. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban has an amazing amount of entertainment within its pages, and with the entertainment comes meaning. That can not be said for most books, especially when they are in the middle of a series. Harry Potter in the Prisoner of Azkaban is truly epic.

5/5 stars