So.
This is the 21st century.
In a perfect world there would be tolerance all over the globe.
Freedom of speech should be a basic human right instead of an illusion being held back by censorship.
You shouldn’t have to face the fear of being sentenced to years in prison for wanting to play metal, for wanting to bring your music to the world.
Like the Iranian band Arsames put it: ”Is it a crime that we love music and our country?”
Well, apparently it is – blasphemy.

Same in Poland, where a lot of bands are facing the same accusations, and where Behemoth’s Nergal now is fighting back under the Ordo Blasfemia flag.
And even though I may not agree with everything, I DO believe in freedom of speech as much as I DON’T believe in outdated laws with too much influence.

The year is 2021.
As if this pandemic isn’t making everything hard enough as it is…

And the show and festival cancellations just keep on coming, and even though we have expected things to be like this for another while, it still hurts. I could do A LOT to be able to get that amazing live show experience right now. To get to feel that rush of energy, to truly be IN the experience, to feel feel the passion, to be alive and one with the music and atmospehere.

Saturday 27th of February saw a project named L’Ultimo Concerto? with Italian venues featuring around 130 bands, including Lacuna Coil.
This was presented as a livestream from clubs all over the country, marking the very sad one year anniversary of them closing down.

The thought was a national protest, but when a band has a huge international fanbase, well… (on top of that the supposed streaming website servers broke down, leading to a lot of access problems).

When it finally was possible to use the link, there was a video of the band getting ready and then just standing on stage, looking out in an empty club – sending out a message as a reminder that there is an entire industry bleeding.
Unfortunately this caused frustration and fans blaming the band for intentionally causing their already suffering fanbase even more pain.
But there has also been a lot of understanding, so hopefully this action will prove to be benefical.

However.
This past year hasn’t been ALL bad.

There is creativity finding alternative and new ways to keep busy, like taking the time to explore their other artistic sides, discovering new passions. And also, it seems that there really are mutual needs for bands and fans to at least get some kind of interaction online, resulting in a lot of virtual hangouts of all kinds.

Like on Twitch, where is so much energy, inspiration, great times and connections to be found.

The reason I found my way there is the singer of Lacuna Coil, Cristina Scabbia – and she has created this wonderful corner of the internet, a beautiful community where there is chatting, laughter, tears, warmth and teamwork gaming. Gotta love that! (I will also start learning Italian, because she switches from English to Italian and back, and it has made me feel I really want to understand everything, to get the most of it. So – that is now one of my 2021 goals!)

Something to also definitely laugh about is the Dragonforce series of  attempting to write a song in 10 minutes in the style of different bands, like Sabaton, Nightwish and others. I really love the Amaranthe one they also got Elize Ryd to record vocals on. Funny and sticky like a chewing gum.

Speaking of Herman Li, he is doing this beautiful charity project in support of Jason Becker, and there is so much craziness, warmth and good vibes. (Not to mention that he actually was playing in a maid’s uniform the other night…!)

Continuing this Dragonforce theme, make sure to follow drummer Gee Anzalone and his Becoming the world’s fastest drummer streams. It’s weirdly hypnotizing and exciting to be a part of his journey to break the Tom Grosset world record. And I have also picked up a few new Italian words there!

While we are on the subject of drummers, there are some really interesting ones to hang with – like the legend known as Gene Hoglan, and Amon Amarth’s Jocke Wallgren. (and a lot more, but I am still exploring)

Remember Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey? I absolutely LOVE that documentary!
I saw it at a screening during the Stockholm International Film Festival, and also had the pleasure of getting to hang with the incredible Sam Dunn for a while, truly nice! (How can that be 15 years ago already?)

Anyway.
BangerTV has since then made so many other great documentaries, interviews, reviews and what not… (Go check their Youtube channel, there is so much to watch!)
Part of the BangerTV crew is Daniel Dekay, also found in Exciter and Diemonds. And – on Twitch.
Cristina Scabbia raided Trivium’s Matt Heafy after one stream, and from there the step to Daniel and a bunch of other cool guitarrists was tiny – because when Matt says “go follow”, what else is there to do?

In need of instant laughter? Go check out the Instagram account therealevilmario and work your way up through the clips! (and find Cristina Scabbia, Alissa White-Gluz and Jocke Wallgren in them – along with many others, like the amazing Devin Townsend!) Absolutely hilarious! Hoping for a new season – and new shirts being printed!

Then you think about Evil Mario himself, and the fact that he is also the kick-ass drummer of Gojira.
So I had to go with this song, because I love that band, and there is also a very special scene in this video:
”Risk of total annihilation
Chances of success: 0.11%”
– and they are all just happily nodding and ”fuck yeah, we are doing this” – I truly love that mindset.

Never mind the odds, things can still happen if we just go for it. That is passion.