5 on the 5th: Five Soothing Music Albums to Help You Relax

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On the fifth day of each month, 5 on the 5th shares five of something that I like or recommend to readers. Whether it’s five items that share a common theme, or five reasons why I like the topic at hand, this monthly meme gives us an opportunity to talk about other subjects that aren’t normally discussed here at the blog. 

I have pretty eclectic tastes when it comes to music: symphonic metal, progressive rock, singer-songwriter, classical crossover… And over the past couple years, new age and instrumental music has woven its way into my iTunes library. While I can understand why some people would find this genre “boring,” I’ve grown to love it. New age instrumentals are now my go-to music picks when I’m working on blog articles – and they’re immensely helpful for meditating, stress relief, or winding down at the end of the day.

So, for today’s 5 on the 5th, I’d like to recommend Five Soothing Music Albums to Help You Relax, complete with links to each CD’s Amazon page and song clips on YouTube. If you like keyboards, acoustic guitars, and nature sounds, perhaps one or more of these gems will be perfect for playing in the background or for lulling you into a calmer, more peaceful state.
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Tea Time at Reverie: Sanctuary T’s Serenity Herbal Tea

New tea review is up at A Bibliophile’s Reverie! Today I’m tasting Serenity, an herbal blend from NYC’s Sanctuary T. If you’re a fan of chamomile, lemongrass, or peppermint – or, even better, all three – then consider giving this soothing tisane a try. Also, find out which historical fantasy novel I recommend to go with it!

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Not everyone considers herbal teas to be… well, teas. But whether it’s rooibos, honeybush, or other goodies, you can’t deny that an herbal blend infuses hot water the same way that black, green, oolong, and white teas do. Plus, some of my favorite teas happen to be herbals. 😉

We’ve been happy to include such tisanes in our Tea Times here at A Bibliophile’s Reverie. Today’s is no exception. Serenity is our last sample from Sanctuary T in New York City, and it’s just as heavenly as the description says. Read on to find out more about it!

The Basics

Serenity_Loose cropped Photo courtesy of Sanctuary T

Sanctuary T’s Description:“M-F getting too hectic and stressful? This tea can’t add more hours to the day, but it will make your day slow down for a moment. With its refreshing, flowery blend of peppermint, lemongrass, jasmine, lavender and chamomile, a cup of Serenity…

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MindMaze and Serenity Reviews Now at Sonic Cathedral

Since I wrote these two reviews one right after the other, I decided to wait until both were online at Sonic Cathedral before posting them here. So, here they are!

MindMaze -- Mask of Lies

First is my review of MindMaze’s debut album, Mask of Lies. This traditional heavy metal quartet from Allentown, Pennsylvania, USA spices up their classic sound with progressive and power metal influences, relying on creative songwriting and soaring refrains to heighten the excitement. Listeners may be surprised by MindMaze’s use of acoustic guitars on Mask of Lies as well as the clean, theatrical vocals of frontwoman Sarah Teets. I certainly was. And those surprises were some of the reasons why I called Mask of Lies “a thrill ride through the many sides of classic heavy metal.”

Click here to read my review of MindMaze’s Mask of Lies.

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Next is my review of Serenity’s fourth album, War Of Ages. Anyone who’s familiar with this Austrian symphonic power metal band may be wondering, “Why is she covering a male-fronted band?” Well, Georg Neuhauser isn’t Serenity’s only vocalist anymore. He now shares the forward charge with Clémentine Delauney, former Whyzdom frontwoman and Serenity’s touring backup singer since 2011. And the band’s evolution doesn’t end there. War Of Ages features an improved balance of symphonics and metal and an overall darker edge musically and lyrically. Serenity’s greatest asset, however, is their entertainment factor. As I said in my review of War Of Ages, “you’ll find yourself immersed in its majesty and enjoying the journey each time.”

Click here to read my review of Serenity’s War Of Ages.

Top 10 Previously Released Albums I Bought in 2009

It’s almost the end of the year… which means only one thing: It’s top 10 list time!

2009 was a big music year for me.  I bought or received more albums this year than I did any other year.  And while there were a lot of good or great releases from this year, there were also some good or great albums from years past that made an impression on me.  So, before I reveal my list of my favorite albums from this year, here is my list of my favorite previously released albums that I bought in ’09. Continue reading