Where, I somewhat regularly ask myself, has This Author or This Band or This Artist been all my life? Of course that happens with authors more than any other type of art, but the answer is generally the same: That person or group or whatever has been popular for a decade or two and I just didn’t notice.
Sometimes I wonder about myself, I really do.
For music, this happened a couple years ago with Two Steps From Hell, which I love and listen to all the time. My favorite album is “Battlecry,” in case you’re curious. But all their music, which is mostly instrumental, is absolutely peerless to listen to while writing. I have, let me see, six of their albums and really ought to get the rest. (I still buy CDs, yes.) (In the summertime, I can only stream music via my phone when I’m outside.)
Two Steps From Hell has existed since 2006, so I only missed out for, I don’t know, about ten years or so before discovering them.
Well, this phenomenon happened again last week, when I suddenly discovered Crüxshadows. Their debut was in 1993, so I am exactly a quarter of a century late the the party. That’s pretty late, even for me. I do love the ability to stream music to check out a group without committing to a whole cd. That let me sort out some of my favorites before buying any cds.
So far my favorites include “Winterborn,” “Eye of the Storm,” “Sophia,” and “Helios.” I should add that when it comes to music, I’m just another sheep following the herd, so I expect these are mostly whichever songs everyone else loves as well. Yes, checking via Wikipedia, I see two out of those four are among their most popular.
Anyway, check out these lyrics from “Winterborn”:
So bury fear, for fate draws near
And hide the signs of pain
With noble acts
The bravest souls endure the heart’s remains
Discard regret, that in this debt
A better world is made
That children of a newer day might remember and avoid our fate
This music is soooo suited to epic, heroic, save-the-world fantasy. Just perfect. Here’s a bit from “Sophia”:
So you must carry this light into the darkness
You shall be a star unto the night
You will find hope alive among the hopeless
That is your purpose to this life
The lips draw words and hands find actions
Still there is more within one heart
Into the silence will you answer
Before the chaos will you come
Do not injustice to another
Defend the weak and innocent
Let truth and honor always guide you
Let courage find a life within
Stand up when no one else is willing
Act not in hatred or in spite
Be to this world as a perfect knight
Even if it means your life
Sound corny? Not in action. It sounds great. Inspirational! Powerful!
Crüxshadows is described as “darkwave” and “synthpop.” I looked the group up on Wikipedia, so I just report these terms as given. I am so unaware of popular music that I am not familiar with these descriptors. Sounds like “darkwave” music could suit grimdark fantasy, but it so does not. Absolutely noblebright in character. Here’s a bit from “Eye of the Storm”:
The trials you now are facing,
They are not greater than your will,
For there is nothing under Heaven,
You cannot overcome.
See the door that lies before you,
And know – this too shall pass.
The confrontation of your fears,
In strength drawn from the past.
Where the silent voices whisper,
‘Find the course that is your own,
And however great the obstacle,
You will never be alone. ‘
For I have watched the path of Angels,
And I have heard the Heavens roar.
There is strife within the tempest,
But there is calm in the eye of the storm.
I could listen to that on repeat for an hour. In fact, I did, just this morning while walking the dogs.
So now I’m putting together a playlist that alternates Crüxshadows with Two Steps From Hell. I’ll probably be listening to that playlist for the rest of the year…