OK so far so good in 2012…
Anneke Van Giersbergen – Everything Is Changing (PIAS, 2012)
I was smitten with Anneke the very first time I heard her in the Dutch ‘trip rock’ band The Gathering. She sings with incredible emotion whether it’s joy, sadness or melancholy and with such clarity. She left the band in 2007 to pursue a solo career that wasn’t all that different musically, maybe a little more pop influenced. With that voice it doesn’t mater what style she’s singing.
Alcest – Les Voyages De L’Âme (Prophecy Productions, 2012)
How to describe France’s Alcest…beauty in darkness? It’s epic and soaring and heavy, but at the same time it’s gorgeous and shimmering. This is their third album and they just get better and better.
Rodrigo y Gabriela and C.U.B.A. – Area 52 (Rubyworks, 2012)
The Mexican guitar duo made a name for itself among Metal fans by covering Metallica songs, not unlike Apocalyptica some years ago. They also suffered the same fate in that while their music was technically brilliant it got old rather quickly and needed something to break it up a little. On Area 52 the duo teams with other musicians including sitar player (and daughter of Ravi) Anoushka Shankar, the oud ensemble Le Trio Joubran and a 13 piece Cuban orchestra featuring members of Los Van Van and the results are astounding. The larger ensemble gives the older songs new depth and energy. Hopefully it exposes Metal fans to some new genres of music along the way.