My interest in music has grown from nothing to completely out of proportions since the late eighties and early 1990'ies. Music is one of my great passions and the reason I decided to start the RevelationZ Magazine website back in 2002 and spent all my spare time on it for 9 years. That site was dedicated to Heavy metal and Hard rock. Those are still two of the main genres, I feel most connected to, but there so much great music that falls outside of these boundaries as well. I will be writing about all of it here because good music doesn't have boundaries.
Back in the early 1990'ies I was intrigued by Metallica's Black album and D:A:D's Riskin' it all. Those albums opened my mind. Not long after I discovered Savatage and Manowar and at that point there was no turning back. I had discovered a new, wondrous world of music filled with heart and soul, where everything seemed possible and no shortcuts were taken in the name of getting a quick hit.
Bands such as Enuff Z'nuff, Pain of Salvation, The Beatles, Virgin Steele, Fates Warning, Psychotic Waltz, Saviour Machine, Blind Guardian, Tori Amos and countless others have guided me along a musical path since.
I have always put an emphasis on good melodies. The melody factor is a main criteria for me when it comes to enjoying music. Not necessarily obvious melodies but those that evolve with each listen and suddenly show themselves. That is also why I adore the progressive metal genre so much. I find it incredible that I can listen intensely to an album 20 times and yet, suddenly discover a new melody or part of a song that is utterly divine, where I sit down stunned and ask myself "Why didn't I hear that before?"
Music has the power to reach out and grab hold of many emotions with simple means. Music is cathartic in nature and can help put most things in perspective. On this site I will try to guide you towards the real gems that may have gone undiscovered until now.
I have always preferred a physical CD to a digital download. The sound quality is better and the artwork and lyrics are an integral part of exploring an album completely. Until someone decides to produce a digital alternative that offers a copy of the album master in lossless format with a higher bitrate than a CD I will continue to prefer a CD. Sadly, I fear I am becoming more and more of a minority, which is a shame since the digital age really is likely to kill the concept of "the album".
Update: The Times They Are a-Changin'
I recently purchased a digital album. Dream Theater's self-titled new album from HDTracks.com, who are doing exactly what I described above. Finally someone has delivered a digital download in superior quality compared to a CD. I was pretty excited when I read that they had converted the studio master to 96kHz/24bit and was offering it is various lossless formats. I also purchased the CD version in order to make a serious comparison and find out if there was any audible difference. First impression: I hear a clear difference in the sound. The sound on the HDTracks version is much more balanced, it sounds clearer, feels more dynamic and this comes to light in a sound that is less metallic and, to my ears, warmer. I'll get further into this if I review the album, but for now, HDTracks.com seems highly promising. Check out my article on the Linn Akurate DS and HDTracks for more information.
Favorite album: Streets: A Rock Opera (Savatage)
Favorite song: If I Go Away (Savatage)
Favorite band: Enuff Z'nuff
Favorite singer: Eric Adams (Manowar)
Favorite concert: Star One - Hamburg 2002
Favorite songwriter: Donnie Vie (Jim Peterik is a close second)
Top ten favorite bands:
1. Enuff Z'nuff
4. Virgin Steele
5. The Beatles
6. Fates Warning
7. Dream Theater
8. Saviour Machine
9. Tori Amos
10. Pain of Salvation
11. Blind Guardian
I have had a long and passionate affair with The Movies. I have spent countless hours watching movies and more recently TV Shows and even if times have changed and I don't watch as many movies as I once did, I still remember many of them with strong emotions.
Movies can be both aural and visual bliss but to attain true greatness a movie has to connect emotionally and make me feel something for the characters in them. To say it in another way, I have to forget that I am watching a movie. If that kind of emotional connection is reached, it is the mark of a movie with soul. It is a very fine line. One wrong step and a movie can end up feeling contrived and sentimental.
I have seen a lot of movies through my time and plenty of them several times. First on Video 2000 in the early 80'es, then on VHS, then DVD and more recently Blu-Ray. It seems the movie industry wants me to buy the same movies over and over again. And I must confess that I have, on several occassions.
After the quality of TV shows increased I have been watching quite a few of those as well. TV Shows can bring something special to the mix and I absolutely love the TV shows that have the guts to go for the epic story which demands something from the viewer, instead of starting anew with each episode. That said, both directions can work and I enjoy Friends as much as I enjoy 24. Just on different terms.
On this site I will be going through my collection and commenting on everything. Since it is easier and quicker for me to sit down and listen to a CD than it is to sit down and watch a whole movie, some of my movie articles will work more as notes or memoirs rather than complete reviews.
Favorite movie genres: Action, Comedy, Romance, Drama (Preferably mixed together, The Abyss comes to mind)
Favorite movie: Jerry Maguire
Favorite TV show: Buffy The Vampire Slayer (The first five seasons)
Favorite director: James Cameron
Favorite movie critic: Roger Ebert (R.I.P.)
Favorite movie site: Aint It Cool News
Just a few other select favorite movies:
Running on Empty
The Shawshank Redemption
The Man In The Moon
Weekend at Bernies
The Naked Gun
A Fish Called Wanda
The Silence of the Lambs
The Lord of The Rings (Trilogy)
Back To The Future (Trilogy)
Of the four areas of entertainment on this site, books have the hardest challenge. Words on a page, preferably read in total silence, demands something from the reader, not just concentration but also patience. But books can also spark the imagination and put an image in the mind of the reader like no other form of entertainment.
I can usually judge the quality of a book by how sleep deprived I am, while reading it. I mostly only have time to read in bed, before fallling asleep. So for me, the proof of a real page turner is lack of sleep and in rare cases, the urge to sit down and read it, wide awake in the daylight.
I started reading books in English at an early age. I found that the translation from English to Danish often took something away from the original intent of the author. The first books I read which made a lasting impression and opened my mind, were "The Dragonlance Chronicles". I read the three books in Danish, while I was still in high school. Then I discovered that they were originally written in English and there was a sequel as well (The Dragonlance Legends), so I purchased all six books in English and for a while, I read those trilogies of books once every year. In between I read several Stephen King novels and remember "The Shining" and "IT" as being fantastic, grippping books. On the other hand, I tried several times to read "The Lord of the Rings" but failed each time, as I found it very slow and long winded. Finally, I pulled myself together and got through it before the Peter Jackson movies were released. On the third hand, "The Hobbit" was quite an easy one to get through.
Books I have read the most times: The Dragonlance Chronicles and Legends.
Favorite Author: Stephen King (Based on the highest amount of books I own by one author)
Average time it takes for me to read a book: 2-6 months
Average time it takes for me to read a Dan Brown book: 2 weeks
Favorite Books (In no particular order)
The Dragonlance Chronicles (Tracy Hickman & Margaret Weis)
The Dragonlance Legends (Tracy Hickman & Margaret Weis)
The Shining (Stephen King)
IT (Stephen King)
The Pillars of The Earth (Ken Follet)
Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
A Song of Ice and Fire (George R. R. Martin)
Battlefield Earth (L. Ron Hubbard)
Deception Point (Dan Brown)
Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
The Millenium Trilogy (Stieg Larsson)
Computer games can incorporate all of the above kinds of entertainment in their mission to create something spectacular. That can be their greatest strength but also their greatest challenge. In addition to that, Computer Games are interactive and that gives way for a whole other level of immersion. "A complete waste of time" is a common write-off among the clueless when it comes to computer games. Though Monty Python did create a game with that name, I'll proclaim that computer games is as much a complete waste of time as any other kind of entertainment. Those who really don't get it will now start discussing what goes under the definition of art.
Anyway... Computer games can be great fun. They can also be great learning experiences. They can challenge the intelligence of whoever plays them and they can even teach someone to think in new ways. Computer games might just be the one medium that can be educational and FUN at the same time.
My journey started back in the early eighties with a Commodore 64 and a lot of Mastertronic "classics", Text adventures/Interactive fiction and Ultima games through the Amiga and the graphic adventure age, several RPG's and Kick-off 2 on the side, to the PC, where the possibilities seemed endless and my path took me through the likes of likes Doom, Descent, System Shock, Thief, Half Life, Call of Duty, Bioshock and many others, to where I am now: Skyrim, Deus Ex: Human Revolution and The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (pure nostalgia). I remember the glory days of huge game boxes that weighed a ton, thick manuals that took a whole day to read through and when PC Gamer had 350 pages. On this site I will be picking out some nostalgic moments and games which I have enjoyed, concentrating on those that have left a mark in my memory.
Favorite Games (in no particular order)
Infocom text adventures
Half Life (Series)
The Secret of Monkey Island 2
Might and Magic VI - The Mandate of Heaven
System Shock (Series)
The Elder Scrolls V - Skyrim
Ultima Underworld 2
Gabriel Knight - Sins of The Fathers
The Bards Tale (Series)
Spellcasting 201: The Sorcerer's Appliance
Favorite Genres: Adventure (Graphic or text) / RPG
Latest game I completed: Bioshock
Favorite game right now: Skyrim
Favote game magazine: PC Gamer
Favorite Game website: Rock Paper Shotgun
Favorite Game writers: Richard Cobbett / Desslock (Desslock's Alternate Lives was one of the primary reasons I subscribed to the US edition of PC Gamer. Sadly he has now left said magazine a month ago and I wonder how they will fill the gap. Richard Cobbett has an engrossing and often amusing writing style and his articles are always worth checking out. He writes for both Rock, Paper, Shotgun and PC Gamer)
Most cherished game memory: Ultima V (Everything about this game was magic, even the time I drew the whole world map by hand since the copy I had was fading real bad.)
Written By Steen
Online: Saturday, May 5, 2012
Updated: Friday, October 5, 2013 - Added a new paragraph about digital downloads to the music section
Friday, January 4, 2013 - Ivan Recinos
Hello, I stumbled upon your website and noticed youre love for progresisve rock. Just wanted to pass along to you a band from Ontario Canada that I'm in by the name of Alyeus. We will be coming out with a CD later this year but in the meantime to listen to our music you can head to: www.reverbnation.com/alyeus www.facebook.com/alyeusband Hope you like what you hear! Ivan Alyeus.