Tarja is no longer the singer. She and her better half left the band a year or so ago. Their album, Once, is a stand out in my opinion. You might also like Epica. Again, excellent female singer but the band leans more symphonic. Kex says Therion are the pioneers of this vein. For a heavier twist I really like Tristania. Within Temptation has become polished, in their case I fully find it to the better, hear Heart of Everything.
Like you I got enthused again with Metal after discovering Nightwish and pursuing more bands from that area.
Something else you might like if you haven't heard it, Blackmore Night. Famed rock guitarist Ritchie Blackmore with his lovely partner Candace Night doing a unique type of renaissance music. The group uses many renaissance instruments and on some songs Ritchie craftfully blends the electric guitar without calling attention to it or over powering the other acoustic instruments. Good stuff. Candace has quite a lovely voice as well. Their DVD Castles & Dreams is a great place to start but if only into the music try Ghost of A Rose.
Yes I never liked just plain heavy metal and basically wrote off the genre. So it was nice to go into the Audio Note room and see Peter playing Nightwish at stupid loud levels. I felt sorry for David Cope who said "here he goes again" and then having to leave the room.
And what is funniest of all is that the amp - a Jinro - 20 watts or so is playing at way way above levels I am comfortable with. Peter gets up and walks over to the amp. Bends over as it is on the floor. I expect him to turn it down. Nope - he turns the dial the other way looks up and smiles. This has gotten me excited about a genre that I never imagined would get me interested in.
Few systems at CES played anything approaching a pulse and when they did they usually crumbled or would lack bass despite being about 3 times larger in speaker size and having about 20 times the watts.
I do like some of this stuff as well. I like bands that have diversity and can blend different musical styles together and pretty much make there own genre. And you are right about the panel thing because like you guys I like my system to be able to handle dynamics and I too have a habit of cranking the hell out of it every once in a while. And I don't really care how many watts I have per channel as long as I get what I want out of it.
yamaha htr5560 receiver (HT)
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Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
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Nemo is from Once. Do you have this album? One of my other favs off this album is Planet Hell. I'm willing to give the new singer a chance if the rest of the band would make another album comparible to Once, not a copy, just the same quality. Actually as good as Tarja is she got a bit over the top on the Opra sometimes.
Harley, knowing a bit about your taste in music, I think you are a Tristania guy. Start with Beyond The Veil.
I wonder how you all would like Echoes Of Eternity. More straight forward Metal, a very clean recording, interesting female vocals. I have the album Forgotten Goddess and the vocals seem like they were made to play into the Goddess theme.
I first got interested in this combination while reviewing the Blu ray of Within Temptation's "Black Symphony" with the Metropole Orchestra. I was nearly blown out of my chair when I heard the excellent recording quality, and the music was mesmerizing.
Then I got introduced to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, then to Xandria, Apocalyptica, Epica. Then there is Metallica and the SFSO which was great, and then there is the great Electric Light Orchestra.
I never thought this combination would work. I have seen jazz bands with an Orchestra, Gospel music with a band and large orchestra, and even country music with an Orchestra, but I never thought rock or heavy metal and an Orchestra would work.
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I've got Black Symphony on Blu-ray, excellent. Except none of the extra discs are in English and one is PAL, so basically for most of us in the U.S. all we get is the BD. If you buy the American version which is only standard DVD for some reason you get a scaled back concert plus a CD of it. Make your choice. Is Epica on BD?
I do not like the Metallica symphonic stuff and I hated the Scorpions attempt. Fans of both bands though. The Netherlands bands just blend symphonic into the song better, make it a part of the song. Maybe that's easier to do starting from scratch rather than doing it afterward. I really enjoy the choral aspect of it as well.
Interesting that Queen dabbled in the 70's, more vocal than symphonic really and Yngwie Malmsteen's original solo album from the 80's was an excellent Classical Metal instrumental, a must for any one into guitar. Unfortunately, record labels tried to stamp him into the "big hair" mold and he really didn't do much of quality after that. Prior he was on some Alcatraz albums. They should have known from that he was better off on his own. The title track of Ozzie's, Diary Of A Madman, early 80's, has that chorus accent which was done very well.