Saturday, May 11, 2013

May 11th, 2013 - Ghostrider Crossing A Ghost River

"And now for something completely different!" 

Good evening!  The Meista here again with another pairing for you my friends... thought I would go with a bit of a dichotomy, a paradox if you will.  When you see a lone cowboy riding on a desert plain you probably don't think Finnish/Swedish symphonic metal.  But that's what you get tonight... I'm pairing a Wasatch Ghostrider White India Pale Ale and symphonic metal band extraordinaire, Nightwish and their 2011 album, "Imaginaerum."

The 7th album by Nightwish, "Imaginaerum" is a concept album (however drummer Jukka Nevalainen stated, "this is not a concept album per se [but] a coherent package from the beginning to the end") about a dying composer reminiscing of his youth on his deathbed and juxtaposed with the sights and sounds of an adventure in an old-time amusement park.  Holopainen cited three major artistic influences on the album — film director Tim Burton, novelist and comic book writer Neil Gaiman, and surrealist painter Salvador Dalí.  Combining symphonic, opera, European folk (including Scandinavian and Celtic) show tunes, 1930's jazz, Middle Eastern traditional music, and power metal and even a hint of doom metal, Nightwish's "Imaginaerum" is a complex and intriguing album of profound uniqueness.  Hell, there's even a bit of ABBA influence in there I think!  Probably the most compelling thing about this album is both the vocal performance of Anette Olzon (sadly, her last album with the band) and keyboardist/songwriter Tuomas Holopainen's song structure.  Bassist Marco Hietala's male vocals add a darker, more masculine element to the songs as well.  With soaring guitars by Emppu Vuorinen, beautiful vocals by Olzon (who sings in a coloratura mezzo-soprano range), amazing drumming by Jukka "Julius" Nevalainen, and brilliant keyboards and programing by Holopainen (dude, lose the stupid top hat),  The opening track, "Taikatalvi" (which means magic winter) is one of only a very few Nightwish songs that is performed entirely in Finnish.  From there we jump into the somewhat poppy "Storytime," described by Holopainen as a song of "punchy riffs and a melodic chorus."  Described as "a duel between the Devil and Mother Gaia," the song,
"Ghost River" is a compelling and richly complex oddity.  Following suite, the rest of the album is equally compelling.  Songs like "Slow Love Slow," "I Want My Tears Back," "Turn Loose the Mermaids," "The Crow, the Owl and the Dove," and "Song of Myself" are fascinating explorations in musical composition and execution.  I'm really getting into this album!

The Wasatch Ghostrider White IPA is an American IPA, but it tastes more like a hybrid of an American IPA and a Hefeweizen.  It pours a very hazy, straw-yellow with a bright, white, 1/2 finger head that dissipates quickly.  The nose is rather grassy and malty with notes of citrus and summer meadow grass.  The mouthfeel sharp and clean and very refreshing.  Light-bodied and moderately carbonated, it goes down easy.  As I mentioned, the flavor is that of a combination of a hoppy IPA and a wheaty Hefeweizen.  There are nice citrusy lemon zest notes, sage, and skunky grass.  There's even a slight peppery flavor on the back of the tongue.  Not incredibly hoppy or bitter, the Wasatch Ghostrider White IPA is a definitely a good introduction to the IPA style and a great beer to throw back (a few during the duration of the album) with the wonder and beauty of Nightwish's "Imaginaerum"!

Cheers and good night!!

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