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Personal Top 20 of 2007
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Jean-Pierre du Toit

Name: Jean-Pierre du Toit

Email address: jeanpierredt (at) metal-observer.com

Function: Reviewer

Compatible styles: Avant Garde, Black, Death, Prog + Metal, Power, Symphonic, Pagan/Viking, Classical, Blues, Early Rock

Incompatible styles: Dare I start... ? ‘(x)+core’, most Industrial/Electro, New-Metal, Pop... the rest goes without saying

Thoughts on the main Metal genres:

Black Metal: Black Metal is one of my favourite genres, mainly because so many different styles has grown from it, EMPEROR, ESLAVED, ANOREXIA NERVOSA; then there’s BORKNAGAR, ARCTURUS, SOLEFALD, when leaning towards Avant Garde Black, the Vikings and Pagans of MOONSORROW, MåNEGARM, PRIMORDIAL, and the symphonic exploits of bands such as ANCIENT RITES, SEAR BLISS etc etc.

Death Metal: I’ve only recently started to really get into Death Metal. You won’t find any other old school than NAPALM DEATH on my shelf, but recently I’ve embraced bands like BENIGHTED, GOJIRA, BLOODBATH, KRONOS, YYRKOON, PITBULLS IN THE NURSERY (I’ve just noticed… a lot of French bands…). And then there’s the mighty OPETH, who will always stand as god in this realm (Even though they don’t sit primarily in this realm).

Thrash Metal: Hmm.. not a lot to say here. Old METALLICA (I know, cliché), some TESTAMENT, a bit of SLAYER never hurt anyone, oh and a Death/Thrash band called THE WARINSANE.

Power Metal: Probably THE genre that got me hooked on Metal. BLIND GUARDIAN blew me away, so did RHAPSODY,EDGUY and so on. The fantasy filled world of Power Metal was a great place to grow up in, but nowadays I tend to listen to the more progressive stuff, KAMELOT, SYMPHORCE, NEVERMORE, music with a darker tone preferably. Of course HELLOWEEN featured quite prominently for some time, so did SONATA ARCTICA, and STRATOVARIUS.

Progressive Metal: Any list of bands I make here will be quite extensive, definitely some bands that are strongly influenced by Prog Rock, AYREON, POVERTY’S NO CRIME, QUEENSRYCHE, then there’s the mighty DREAM THEATER and SYMPHONY X which still defines the genre (although lately I’ve noticed a shift in the balance of influence). Then also bands like EVERGREY, WOLVERINE and, once again, OPETH see my playlist regularly.

Doom Metal: There are a few Doom Metal bands I’m very keen on, AHAB made a huge impact when I first heard it and opened a little door for me into bands like SATURNUS, NOVEMBERS DOOM and MONOLITHE I think add AGALLOCH to that list and that should paint the perfect picture.

Gothic Metal: I don’t listen to bands like MOONSPELL, SENTENCED, and KATATONIA as much as I used to, these days I prefer to spend my listening time with girls, EPICA, LACUNA COIL, THE GATHERING. In addition, I like the symphonic sounds of THERION, NIGHTWISH etc.

Melodic/Heavy Metal: When it comes to straight up Heavy Metal, I might ask for option 2. Bands like RAGE and SAVATAGE will always be welcome, but I think my days of MAIDEN, MANOWAR, and A.R PELL etc. are behind me.

Nicknames: None that are known by more than one other person

Time at TMO: November 2007

How came to TMO: Been a reader since 300 daily updates, got creative

The best thing as a TMO writer: I’ve just started, but I guess it’ll help me build my CD collection J and it will provide a medium to help spread the Metal gospel

The worst thing as a TMO writer: so far, that the java script didn’t work for the “LABEL” window in CMS using IE.

Statistics:

Reviews 64
Underground 16
Interviews 0
Live reviews 0
Artikel 1
Specials 0

Reviewing methods: It depends how good the album is. Generally, the first couple of times I listen to something, it plays in the background while I read or surf the net or whatever. My next step usually is putting the album on a disc to listen to in my car to and from work, by this time I have a general idea of how good the album is. If I do not feel an album is worth much more thought, the final step is doing some research and start writing the review whilst listening, and then one more spin after its finished while proof reading. If I deem an album to be of top order, the final and defining listen usually takes place at night, relaxing by the window with a smoke. After which I move on to research/writing/polishing etc.

 

Birthday: 06-11-1980 (that’s 6th November if you were thinking 11-06-1980)

Birth town: Knysna, Southern Cape

Present location: Cape Town, South Africa

Job: spreading the gospel to the masses

Languages: English, Afrikaans, just a little bit of French & Italian and some Xhosa left over from school

Hobbies: Music (listen), reading, writing, playing, partying, played some social football (round version)

Pet peeves: strangers who think touching is a great way of getting attention, hypocrites, human intolerance, religion

Phobia(s): None really, with slight Enochlophobia and Claustrophobia combined; I might seem a little twitchy, also slight Hemaphobia (in younger days)

I, about myself: I’m an observer, I always try to be aware of what goes on around me and thus doing, be prepared. Not very talkative (mostly), generally I think I’ll be regarded as a mysterious stranger, and I can move around almost without being seen, which is handy when you’re cheating at card games, games involving “money” etc J

Describe yourself in 5 words: Strong-willed, Pensive, Caring, Centred, Unpredictable

Funny childhood story: Well, there was this one time when I opened Pandora’s Box...

 

How I came into Heavy Metal: I’ve loved music since I got my first BEATLES tape, then I listened to some Rock/Grunge in the 90’s, listened to some Doom (ANATHEMA, MY DYING BRIDE) and Goth (TYPE O NEGATIVE) stuff, but when I came across a link on a website for a BLIND GUARDIAN track, I was hooked. When I randomly ran into a friend of mine from school (ironically in front of a church), I learned names like RHAPSODY, NIGHTWISH and DREAM THEATER; I guess from there the passion for “The Devils Music” just grew.

First Metal CD ever bought: Anathema – The Silent Enigma/My Dying Bride –The Angel & The Dark River or The Covenant (K) – Nexus Polaris

Most embarrassing CD in your collection: Ironically not the Christina Aguilera CD’s, I’m thinking Hammerfall or Metallica’s “St. Anger”

First Metal concert: Virgin Steele – Camden Underworld or Falconer/Dragonforce – Camden Underworld

What did Metal teach me about life: When life gives you lemons, whip out your sword and make f**cking lemonade, Individuality, Tolerance for other, unworthy forms of music

Favourite music listening place and why? I like cruising in my car listening to music nice and loud, helps me think and defragment my thoughts on the day. It’s also the best place to let rip when I’m in a singing mood, stuff like NEVERMORE and Devin Townsend J

Most prized Metal possession? My CD/DVD collection (which is guarded by killer robots) and my CHILDREN OF BODOM lanyard sporting a DREAM THEATER keychain.

 

Band & previous band experiences: none

Instrumental talents: pretending I’m Mike Portnoy and bashing my fingers on tables and anything that makes a noise

Favourite bands: in random order: MOONSORROW, BLIND GUARDIAN, OPETH, KAMELOT, BENIGHTED, THE OLD DEAD TREE, GOJIRA, KRONOS, ANOREXIA NERVOSA, YYRKOON (I know, a lot of French bands, damn underrated IMO), BLOODBATH, AMON AMARTH, HELLOWEEN, RAGE, NIGHTWISH, ANCIENT RITES, EMPEROR, SOLEFALD, ARCTURUS, WINDS, AGE OF SILENCE, ULVER, DEVIN TOWNSEND-SYL, AHAB, NOVEMBERS DOOM, SATURNUS, THE GATHERING, EPICA, NEVERMORE, SYMPHORCE, EVERGREY, ICED EARTH, DEMONS & WIZARDS, DREAM THEATER, SYMPHONY X, PAGAN’S MIND, PAIN OF SALVATION, POVERTY’S NO CRIME, SECRET SPHERE, once mighty RHAPSODY (OF FIRE), FINNTROLL, TYR, MANEGARM, THURISAZ, TURISAS, DIABLO SWING ORCHESTRA, THERION, PINK FLOYD, LED ZEPPELIN, ERIC CLAPTON/CREAM, THE POLICE, THE BEATLES, CHRISTINA AGUILERA, JOSS STONE, SALIF KEITA, YOUSSOU N’DOUR, JIMMY DLUDLU, S-R VAUGHAN, KEB ‘MO, , erm maybe a few more

Least favourite bands: LINKIN PARK, LIMP BIZKIT, HOOBASTANK, NICKLEBACK, KORN, EVANESCENSE - any limp, weak stuff and “Metal” bands living to please MTV, etc etc, Also most of the new “hardcore” Metal scene bands, trying to be Metal but falling limply into a puddle of boredom

Sound you’d like to have banned: “soothing” pan pipes

Most overrated bands: DRAGONFORCE, ARCH ENEMY, CHILDREN OF BODOM

Most underrated bands: ANOREXIA NERVOSA, THE OLD DEAD TREE, ANCIENT RITES, THURISAZ

Most influential band: BLIND GUARDIAN

Favourite musician: Mikael Åkerfeldt, Jan Axel von Blomberg, Luca Turilli, Hansi Kürsch

Favourite album cover: Symphony X – The Odyssey, Demons & Wizards – s/t, Mechanical Poet – Woodland Prattlers

10 favourite albums:

These aren’t in order, picking just 10 albums was hard enough!!

 

Moonsorrow - V: Hävitetty

I only discovered MOONSORROW with the release of this album and I was blown away. The shear magnitude of this album makes is stand above most other Pagan/Viking releases, it’s not often that you’ll find a song of almost 30 minutes on any album, but having 2, and only 2, keeping it interesting and spellbinding throughout takes courage and a heap of creativity. Truly a great album for a dark night with a set of headphones.

 

Opeth – Damnation

A very hard pick this, I was going for “Blackwater Park” until the last minute. “Damnation” is what makes OPETH such a unique band, but it is not because they made an album that is unlike anything else they’ve done, “Damnation” shows precisely what they’ve been doing that made them different - a love for 60’s / 70’s Prog.

 

Dream Theater – Metropolis Pt.2 Scenes From A Memory

Not much to say here, perhaps the greatest Progressive Metal album ever made IMO. Great technical abilities interweaved with solid song writing and played with great flair and confidence. Has everything I look for in Prog Metal.

 

Ahab – s/t

A perfect tribute to a book that is truly amazing. There is only one genre that could truly represent Moby Dick as an entity, and that is Doom Metal. Slow paced, pondering, philosophising, epic, dark and in ways, mind boggling. D.H. Lawrence wrote “Moby Dick commands a stillness in the soul, an awe.. it is one of the strangest and most wonderful books in the world”. Well, the same can be said about AHAB.

 

Helloween – Keeper Of The Seven Keys Pt 2

Haha, what is there not to like about HELLOWEEN, and what hasn’t already been said about them? Not a weak song to be found, melodies galore, and an album that set the Metal world on fire.

 

Arcturus – The Sham Mirrors

Another hard pick, I did not want to choose between “The Sham Mirrors” and “La Masquerade Infernale”. I was introduced to this band with “The Sham Mirrors”, a great first step into the world of Avantgarde. In a genre that can sometimes be over the top and brain twisting for the uninitiated, this eased me into a world where chaos and beauty go hand in hand.

 

Nevermore – This Godless Endeavour

This album has it all, great guitar work, awesome vocals, tight bass & drumming, thought provoking lyrics, and it even has a “ballad”. Although not truly Power Metal, this represents Power Metal as I think it should be. Great melodies, but still as heavy as it gets, with a vocalist that ranks among the best in the business.

 

Blind Guardian – Nightfall In Middle Earth

The album from the band that started it all; I was somewhat of a casual Metal fan until I heard “Blood Tears”. Shortly thereafter, I went and bought the CD and together with tracks like “Mirror Mirror”, “Nightfall”, “Into The Storm” etc, hooked me up into a whole new world of music I never knew existed.

 

Anorexia Nervosa – New Obscurantis Order/The Redemption Process

Once again, I have two albums from one artist competing for a slot. In this case, I cannot, and will not, choose between two outrageous and brilliant Black Metal albums. These two albums are very symphonic, which I know isn’t exactly true Black, and perhaps the reason why these two have been overlooked by most. Fast, furious, melodic and black as night, these are among of my absolute favourites.

 

Symphony X – The Odyssey

Anyone that knows me musically knows I am a sucker for long, epic tracks and I think “The Odyssey” is what pushed “The Odyssey” onto this list. Great album by a great band, Michael Romeo is awesome here and Russell Allen has never sounded better. Epitome of Progressive Power Metal.

 

(Albums that didn’t make the list but deserves mention: EVERGREY – In Search Of Truth, SONATA ARCTICA – Unia – THE OLD DEAD TREE – The Water Fields, DEVIN TOWNSEND – Ziltoid The Omniscient, BENIGHTED – Icon, KAMELOT – The Black Halo)

 

Favourite films: Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Dr. Strangelove, The Party, A Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Amelie, Tron, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, Taxi (French), The Ring (Japanese), Star Wars, The Wall

Favourite books: The Magician – Raymond E Feist, Moby Dick – Herman Mellville, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Silmarillion – J.R.R. Tolkien, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams, Haruki Murakami – Norwegian Wood

Favourite food: Pasta, sushi, tuna sandwiches on homemade bread

Favourite drink: Jameson on rocks, King Cobra, Jägermeister, pure still water, Rooibos tea, Café Noir

Favourite smokes: Gauloises, Marlboro, Camel (all lights)

Which song should be played at your funeral? Demons & Wizards – Beneath the Waves or SYL – You Suck

Idol (s): none

Person you‘d like to meet: Mikael Åkerfeldt, Tuomas Holopainen, Albert Einstein

Catchphrase: Knowledge has no power without wisdom (just made that up actually)

Biggest thrill in life (so far): Flying across the country so see Blind Guardian; Helloween @ Astoria, London; Flying over Paris at night through very turbulent air.

Goal in life: Never to die

Secret: Once I say it won’t be a secret anymore

5 favourite links:

 
Jean-Pierre du Toit


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