One friend of mine, as I introduced her to Matthias Reim music raved about an Italian metal band called Lacuna Coil while another friend has introduced me to Finnish band Nightwish. As I listen to this music Iam struck by how similar each of them are stylistically. That is not to say they copy each other. There is a common artistic sensibility that I think comes from living, breathing and learning music in a region rich with the history of classical and operatic music.
You can hear its influence in Matze's music where it is used for dramatic effect to introduce a pop (schlager) song where these other two bands launch into the richness of the tradition and bring it front and center of metal styles. The screaming guitar riffs don't seem so disjointed in European music as it does in American. I think of Van Hallen. While it is impressive what Eddie can do with his guitar there is little else from the rest of the band that really makes it feel solid. Now I have very European tastes so maybe that is why I have never really liked our hair bands and industrial metal. It just seems like most American music stops just short of being finished.
Though when I think of bands like Creed, Beck, Blaq Audio and the like there is still a lot of meat on the bones with these guys. But in terms of the richness of track layering it still seems lighter. And for no really good reason, I think it is because as a collective of New World-ers, we tried so hard to leave our European roots behind us that we didn't keep the best parts, the parts worth saving. Really, when you think of it how many truly great classical composers have we produced compared with Europe? we can appreciate it. But we don't learn it. Maybe it is different when you are in a music school like Interlochen or Julliard. For the rest of us it gets glossed over.
I was watching something on the official YouTube Nightwish channel and the band member being interviewed was talking about 70 percussion tracks and that being only half enough to do the job. 70? Are there 70 different kinds of drums? No. But to get one drum to be able to do ALL of the cool things that it can do and ALL AT ONCE I can see where you'd have to have multiple tracks. And that is the thing... the orchestration is the key. It is the support for the whole house of cards.
Layers. Richness. It all amounts to a vitality that I think is lacking in American music today. Look for example to Sting. English, with a rich education in European music, comes to America and when you compare his compositions to his contemporaries there is a depth of tonality that is missing from say Hall and Oates or Springsteen. Today it seems more to be about the costumes and the personality than it is about the music. Maybe not in Lady Gaga's case since she is classically trained. But there is little soul and a lot of heel in the modern stuff. And very little of it deals with the condition of being human and having a soul whether Heaven bound or for Hell. Its about the party and the temporary. Great for living in the moment if that moment is in Neverland.
I guess I just have a Euro-centric soul. Let's hope that this all sinks in an comes out as I write for NaNo in a few days. I think all of this is the perfect soundtrack for my plot.