In The Spotlight: Symphony of Tragedy

The Light (single, 2017) 7.5/10
Heroes of The World (single, 2018) 8.5/10
Vein of Love (single b-side, 2018) 7.5/10
Rise Again (single, 2019) 8.5/10

Just a quick note before I begin my rambling; first comes a history lesson from someone that is terribly, awfully old. So forgive the odd slip of the mind here and there, it is only expected since I´m so frail and ancient. There will be both tales of porridge and just to spice things up a bit I´ll hide an easter egg in the form of a quick nod to a somewhat famous knot Iron Maiden mentioned in their magnificent “Alexander The Great” from 1986´s “Somewhere in Time”. Afterwards I will be shining our powerful Stargazed spotlight on the excellent power metal band Symphony of Tragedy and take a look at their output so far.

But I digress…

One of the hardest things for any musician today is to be heard, to actually be recognised and stand out in the grinding maelström of artist/bands/projects that are flooding all the different platforms. At this day and age the studio equipment and programs (i.e Cubase, Logic, ProTools etc) needed to record and produce music is affordable to buy for the budding musician. To illustrate the process, let´s  create a charachter and call our hypothetical dude/dudette/musician “Ingysteen J. Malmateen”, just for the hell of it. So with a bit of technical know how, a lot of talent and a couple of thousand dollars Ingysteen J. Malmateens Glazing Sauce can record their third neoclassical triumph, “Trilobyte” in the comfort of IJM´s living room. They record, mix and master their album before sending it to be printed and after a couple of weeks the physical copies arrive, courtesy of a DHL-driver named Lenny (I have a hilarious story about this guy but I´ll save that for another time. Let´s just say that… Nah, I´ll leave it for now).

The band control the entire process; from the very first song idea to finished product, to distribute and sell it themselves and therefore the band makes more money per sold record than if they would have a deal with a record company. IF… and that is a big if, they manage to find an audience not only to enjoy the fruits of the bands labour but an audience that is prepared to pay to own a physical or digital copy. Streaming on platforms like Spotify is a good way to showcase music but unless you´re Foo Fighters or Metallica it is not likely to make IJM a millionare any day soon.

If we look back to the 1980´s for example, things were pretty much the other way around. The record companies had a huge influence on the way a band/artist would sound like, what they would look like and how they would be promoted and packaged. This was the so called Golden Age of the Music Business. Agents, promotors, producers and the heads of the companies made a mint. Vinyl and cds were literally flying off the shelves every time a big artist would release a new album and if said artist had a decent record deal the money would indeed rain down like manna from the heavens.

Mmmmmmmmm, manna… Hey, remember Lenny? He is so off the charts funny, man! Ya know, Lenny does this weird thing with his mother-in-laws porridge and……

Ooops, sorry. Back on track now.
But then, after years of billions of sold albums, the internet happened. And basically the internet initially seemed to be useful for two things, mostly.
1. Illegally sharing and downloading music.
2. Porn. Lots of porn. Or so they tell me. Not really my thing, you see. Lenny on the other hand, that guy could jack it from sunup to sunset…

Ah, my apologies. Dropped off there for a moment.
And this is when it all went to the crapper moneywise, especially for the bands with a humble sized audience. And also for many of the big companies who have had to downsize considerably.

Here we are today. The history lesson is over and it is time to talk metal.
Power Metal from Sweden, to be precise. All of the ramblings above is actually there for a reason. I consider myself a very big fan of hard rock/heavy metal with a finger on the pulse, always eager to explore new bands and listen to new music. Every day I read the news from the metal community from sites like Blabbermouth, Bravewords and, of course, Stargazed Magazine. My facebook is stuffed to breaking point with bands I like to follow and it is right here that the Gordian Knot comes in. Congratulations! You found it! Huzzah!

Tommy Johansson (Sabaton/ReinXeed/Majestica) is one of my favorite singers. I mean, this guy has a voice that is made to sing power metal hymns. We´re talking about a range that makes the iconic Michael Kiske seem like an extremely hung over Peter Steele (Type O Negative, RIP). Not only that, he is one hell of a guitar player as well. Shred, speed and great tone and vibrato. This guy is the real deal.
How could I not know that he had this wonderful band on the side?

Symphony of Tragedy consist of the aforementioned Tommy on vocals and guitars and multiinstrumentalist Tomas Svedin on rhythm guitars, bass, keyboards and drums. On backing vocals and choirs they have Anders, Joel and Samuel, all members of Veonity (great band, do check them out as well, will you!?).
They have so far released three singles.
Their 2017 debut “The Light” featuring Thobbe Englund, Anders Sköld and Tommy Johansson is a blistering, fast and varied power metal knockout with some very nice symphonic touches and a couple of shredtastic solos. Great stuff and those last high pitched notes from Tommy? Incredible! The production is a little bit rough around the edges but still works. 7.5 pumpkin pies out of 10.

They returned with a vengeance in 2018 with another anthemic single: “Heroes of The World” with the b-side “Vein of love”. So let´s do them one by one. Anthemic is indeed the word when it comes to the titletrack. Laden with razorsharp hooks and catchier than the SARS-CoV-2 virus, this is an earworm that you will find yourself humming for weeks after first exposure. 8.5 mutated, multilayered harmonies out of 10.

“Vein of Love” seemed a bit bland to me at first but repeated listens have unfolded a hidden gem of a song. A fantastic guitar/keyboard duel really kicks things into action and when the last chorus hits you at full steam, this old geezer can nothing but surrender. 7.5 keytarsolos out of 10.

Last but not in the slightest least comes 2019´s single “Rise Again”. This epic, pumping beast of a song hints of Pretty Maids with a dash of Phenomena during the verse. And Jesus, Mary and Joseph, what a chorus! If, you like me love a bit of 80´s hair metal in your musical diet every now and again, this song is for us. Seriously, this could have made it a long way in Eurovision Song Contest. It is that catchy.
The verdict for this particular commercially viable song:
8.5 Eurovision winners out of 10.

That concludes this evenings activities. Time for some prunejuice and a couple of episodes of seventies Doctor Who. That´ll do the trick. Have I told you about my friend Lenny, by the way? He does this really weird thing with his mother-in-laws breakfast porridge, you see he… Ah, never mind. I´ll tell you tomorrow.
End of transmission.

Martin “Methuselah” Nygren signing off.

Nerva Beacon Out

Artist: Symphony of Tragedy
Title: The Light – Heroes of The World – Rise Again
Genre: Symphonic Power Metal
Land of Origin: Sweden
Date of release: 31/1-20
Rating: 7,5 – 8,5 – 8,5
Standout track: Heroes of The World

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In The Spotlight: Symphony of Tragedy

March 8, 2020

Tommy Johansson (Sabaton/ReinXeed/Majestica) is one of my favorite singers. I mean, this guy has a voice that is made to sing power metal hymns. We´re talking about a range that makes the iconic Michael Kiske seem like an extremely hung over Peter Steele (Type O Negative, RIP).

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