Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Of FFDP and Marillion. And why I say, listen to everything. Ignore labels. Listen to it all.

Steve Hogarth, vocals, Marillion
Steve Hogarth, Marillion, The Netherlands weekend 2017

Over the past few weeks, two of my all-time-favourite bands, Marillion and Five Finger Death Punch, have released new albums. Both albums are somewhat "best of's". Marillion released The Gold, the best of convention 2017, a compilation of songs from the four weekend-long, three-day concert events which gathered fans from around the world, in The Netherlands, Poland, UK and Chile; a selection of songs that span the band's career to date. Five Finger Death Punch released A Decade of Destruction, a compilation of many of their best songs, plus two new titles: Trouble and Gone Away (Offspring cover).

Five Finger Death Punch, labelled metal and hard rock, grouped with all the heavy, angry metal bands. Marillion, labelled prog and too often grouped with bands such as Yes and Genesis. If you pick music by someone-elses' assignment to genre, you might never listen to both. Never make assumptions about your own musical tastes... ignore the labels. Listen to it all.

Ivan Moody, vocals, Five Finger Death Punch
Ivan Moody, Five Finger Death Punch, Aftershock 2017
So why are such diverse bands both in my all-time favourite list? Let me count the ways...

- Both have wonderful vocalists. Each has an extreme; Ivan Moody's honey-monster growl, Steve Hogarth's sometime-falsetto. But for the most part, they are both heartwarming, gut-wrenching, incredible vocalists, both able to rise to anger and break to tears; both bringing an empathy that few vocalists are capable of.
- Both bands have loyal, for-life fans around the world, many of whom do not hesitate to travel long distances to see the bands perform live, time and time again.
- Both bands are a family of strong and creative musicians and unique characters who have found the way to work together, and build deep, strong, engaging music, year upon year
- Both are capable of bringing me to tears, of breaking me with joy, and of being my companion in times of trouble.
- And they both put on a hell of a live show. Again, and again, and again. So much so, that the moment the last one ends, you're starting to plan when you can attend the next.

Yes, the styles are different. Instead of judging by a genre label, I sometimes think of bands, of musicians, of performers, like shining comets zooming and hurtling through a dark universe. And at a point in that imaginary, universal, musical time, a special moment occurs; that moment at which we gasp, Listen! Oh! Amazing! I like that sound, too! the comet's musical paths intersect, and magic happens.

This is where it happens for me for Five Finger Death Punch and Marillion: see what you think. (These songs are not from the new albums!)

If you've only heard one of these bands before, listen to both of these songs... you might want to check out more. And if you're ready for more live shows, check out Marillion's dates here, and FFDP's tour here. This week, I wish I was in Europe. I do...

Both of these new albums, The Gold, and A Decade of Destruction, are a good introduction to each band's catalog of music. If you've just discovered a new band to listen to, it's a good place to begin.

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