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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Interview by Erwin van Dijk
Dawn of Destiny is a German power metal band and was founded in 2005. They have done numerous gigs since then (mostly in Germany). With their latest album “Rebellion in Heaven” I think it is about time to do some gigs abroad. Or at least an interview. Usually we interview the females of the band so this interview with Jens Faber is a first.
The first question: how did your album release party with guest (& my friends from) A New Dawn go?
It was a very nice evening with hours of good music, friendly people and many drinks.
You are the bass player of Dawn of Destiny and that makes you the Steve Harris of the band. Who are your favourite bass players and to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I listen to nearly all kinds of metal. I like Helloween as well as Dimmu Borgir, Nightwish or Nile. I must confess that I do not care so much about who might be the greatest bass player because the songs are much more important to me but I think Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big) and John Myung (Dream Theater) belong to the best.
Did you have any bands before Dawn of Destiny or are you currently in other bands besides Dawn of Destiny?
There were probably rather more projects than real bands that I played with and currently there is nothing more than Dawn of Destiny.
What do you prefer: The traditional four strings on your bass or five?
By now I prefer five strings basses because it gives me more opportunities to vary my sound and my play.
And what kind of bass and amplifier do you use onstage?
I use a five string Grass Roots (ESP) Bass and a Line6 amplifier on stage. I am satisfied with both of it.
Power metal and Germany are almost identical in the world of metal. Why is this kind of metal so popular in Germany?
This kind of music has its roots in Germany. Helloween played that style first and some many followed. Maybe people in Germany still like tunes and melodies with high screaming voices and fast double bass attacks but I think it’s similar in other countries like Greece, Italy or Finland.
And what makes Dawn of Destiny different from all those other Power Metal bands?
We have a different approach concerning songwriting. We do not use the classical structure with Verse and Chorus. Furthermore we have more influences than just power metal because we like to express different feelings and emotions within our music. We want to create our CD’s diversified and obviously it was proven to be right considering the reviews we got for “Rebellion in Heaven”.
Another ‘German’ question: how big is metal really in your country? We foreigners know Germany mostly from all those festivals like Wacken Open Air and this might give some the impression that one out of five Germans is into Metal. Is metal really that big in Germany?
As far as I know metal is more popular in Finland (related to the population). In Germany metal was big in the 80’s and almost dead in the 90’s. By now Hip Hop is unfortunately the most popular music in Germany.
Does the album title (“Rebellion in Heaven”) have any special meaning? Some lyrics deal with a examination of God, so we thought this title would be fitting. Besides it just sounds cool to us.
Some lyrics deal with a examination of God, so we thought this title would be fitting. Besides it just sounds cool to us.
Is there one mastermind behind Dawn of Destiny’s music or is song writing teamwork?
No, I am the only songwriter but we all discuss the songs and the other members share their ideas to change some arrangements.
Can you tell us something about the songs on the album?
There are 14 songs and most of them sound different from the others. We have classical power metal stuff like “Angel Without Wings” or “Days Of Crying”, some heavy thrashing parts like “Inquisition” or some Gothic influences like “Tears”.
Your debut album is called “Begins” which is of course a perfect name for a debut album. What have you done different compared to “Begins” while writing and recording “Rebellion in Heaven”?
There are not so many differences between both albums. To me “Rebellion in Heaven” is the consequent continuation of “Begins” with the difference that we had a producer (Siggi Bemm) this time.
And the artwork: How did you get in touch with Mattias Nòren?
We found some very good material on his website and asked him to work with us for our first album.
Can you tell us something about the other members of Dawn of Destiny?
Tanja Maul– Vocals
Tanja and me make music for nearly six years. When we met each other she liked everything in music – everything but Metal!! Seemed to be a misunderstanding that we did not want to have a female singer and she did not want to sing in a metal band but it worked. Contemporaneously she sang in an a cappella band which has been a total contrast to our kind of music. Tanja has a very strong will and would do nearly everything for DOD. Her voice is crystal clear and enhances the emotions in our music perfectly.
Veith Offenbächer – Guitars
Veith is an extraordinary guitarist and a very pleasant character who fits perfectly to DOD. He was the latest member and joined us during the recording session of “Begins”.
Dirk Raczkiewicz – Keyboards
The ‘Grandfather’ refered to his age with a good sense for nice tunes.
Ansgar Ludwig – Drums
Maybe you wouldn’t expect him playing drums but he has very fast feet and a heavy groove.
What are Dawn of Destiny’s ambitions for the future?
We want to spread our name all over the world and maybe there is one day a chance for touring the whole world and selling enough CD’s to make DOD a full time living! We had several fantastic experiences and will always remember that.
And, the last question, is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Not really. We thank you for the interview and hope that we could advise the reader of our band.
Phoner interview & trascription by Robin Stryker
Well, this was a new experience … interviewing all five members of a band at the same time by phone. Please join Femme Metal in welcoming the members of Chicago hard rock band, Deadmanswake: Kryssie Ridolfi (vocals), JP Soule (guitar/backing vocals), Josh Barker (guitar), Troll (bass) and Kip Kiebles (drums).
Welcome to Femme Metal everybody! JP, I understand that Deadmanswake did not start out as a female-fronted hard rock band. How did you guys get to where you are today?
JP : Well, I was actually the original vocalist for the band,and that lasted right about until I heard our first recordings, heard my voice and decided I didn’t want to sing anymore. (all laugh) Not as a main vocalist, anyway. I do fine if I’m blending with somebody else, but I just REALLY can’t stand the sound of my own voice. After that, we went through a couple of different guys. At the time, I was kind of going for an In Flames, Dark Tranquillity kind of sound. Then it just really got to the point where screaming ended up sort of feeling like it was gonna be a trend that was eventually going to go away. I didn’t want to be a band that was trapped in one specific era and I also didn’t want to be limited by somebody who didn’t have a strong melodic voice. So we let our screaming vocalist go, and started looking for other people. I wasn’t looking for a female vocalist, but I was definitely open to the possibility. And by the time we ended up working with Kryssie, it was down to her and one other person. I personally was sold from the first audition; the rest of the band, it took a little bit more convincing. She showed up at this other guy’s audition and just smoked him. I was already sold before that point but, by the time she finished that song, it was like “Okay, no one else need apply. We’re done”. That was the song “Screaming in Silence”, which is actually not on any official recordings as of yet but we have played it live a couple of times.
Let’s talk about the new album, “It Comes to This”. Give folks an idea of what they will hear when they listen to your album.
Kryssie: I know vocally all of the songs are lyrically from my heart. I know every vocalist says that. But the reality is, when I joined this band, I was at a really big renaissance (as I like to call it) in my life. I had just lost a two-and-a-half year relationship, I had just gotten my own place. My first audition with this band was the day I signed the lease on my first place by myself, and it was this big rebirth in my life. And all of the songs that I wrote lyrics for were within the first month of being in the band. That’s how emotional I was. Every single one of these songs is either about pain or about being confused about something or a personal loss or a personal gain, and all of that stuff was something I was feeling in the Fall of 2007 when these were written. So it’s very personal to me and I hope that people who hear it really identify and feel connected to me through it because I want people to know and I want to convey that they are not the only ones feeling stuff like that.
I’m fascinated by the album cover. You all are cartoons, with Kryssie as a nurse looking rather alarmed to see over your shoulder the rest of the band as zombies coming after you. What’s up with zombies?
Kryssie : A lot of us are really big fans of the horror genre and the name of the band Deadmanswake… when I first heard the name of the band… all I could think of was the walking dead. A friend of mine is a published comic book artist. I was talking to him one day when he popped into my work — which is ironically a horror collectible store — and he drew this quick little thumbnail sketch. It went through a lot of different incarnations, and the one that we ultimately ended up with I think is absolutely hilarious. I think all the caricatures look exactly like the boys. There are so many ways you can look at it… me being the only one who is not a zombie and everyone coming after me, you could go the cliché way of “oh, I’m a woman in a man’s world and it’s tough to not get eaten alive”. Or you could just go with the fact that we are all big dorks and we all like horror flicks. It’s probably a little bit of both if you want complete honesty.
If you could pick a horror film to have a Deadmanswake song in, or any film for that matter, which song would it be and which film would it go with?
Kryssie : I would choose the song “Back to Blood” and I would put it in “Shaun of the Dead” in the scene where they are beating the zombies with the pool cues in the Winchester. The Queen song, “Don’t Stop Me Now”, the fact that that’s in there is amazing but if I could throw our own in there I would totally put “Back to Blood” at that exact spot.
Kip : Just to stay away from the mainstream, I would have to say “Fright Night” is one of my favourites. Kryssie could probably tell you who stars in it and then some, I’m guessing. As far as the tunes go, I would use all of them on the soundtrack.
Troll : Do you know how “Maximum Overdrive” is an all-AC/DC soundtrack? Replace it with the “It Comes to This” album.
JP : In keeping with the zombie theme, it would probably be “Save Me”. I would use it at the end of the original “Dawn of the Dead”, where the zombies bust into the mall and they are ripping the bikers apart. There are all sorts of guts being pulled out and limbs being chewed. It’s just beautiful!
Quite the bloodthirsty crowd we have here. Guitarists – JP, Josh and Troll – tell us about your most prized instrument. (Keeping it clean, of course.)
Kryssie : My mind went there immediately. (laughs)
I knew it would, Kryssie. That last part was actually for you and not for the boys.
Kryssie: I am seriously a fifth grade boy. I went right there, too. Okay, go on.
JP: This is actually a really easy one for me. Thanks to the miracle of Craigslist, I stumbled across a 2002 Ibanez Destroyer, an actual for real made-in-Japan Ibanez, and I managed to pick it up including the matched Ibanez case for less than $350. The Destroyer just sounds huge. I am one of the world’s greatest living Iron Maiden fans and Adrian Smith played a Destroyer back in the “Live After Death” era. I thought they were the coolest thing and, of course, they are! Plus it has a similar shape to a Gibson Explorer, which was James Hetfield’s weapon of choice, and he was one of the reasons I picked up the guitar in the first place. The Destroyer fills a whole bunch of guitar-hero rock star fantasies of mine.
Josh: To be honest, all of my ideal guitars, I don’t own. Of the ones that I play, the two that I like the most are an LTD Explorer, which I got for fairly cheap when I got it. I was young and stupid and was like, “Oh my god, it looks like an Explorer!”. It was the kind that James Hetfield played. Like JP already said, Hetfield was one of the reasons I picked up the guitar. I use that one pretty much for the bulk of the set. I also have an Ibanez SA that I recently put the new Steve Vai Evolution pickup into, which has improved its sound a whole hell of a lot. I just love Ibanez guitars overall. Ibanez has a pretty sick Flying V that I’d love to get my hands on.
Troll: My Kramer bass is definitely my prize possession. It’s technically the second bass I ever owned, but my first real instrument. I had an old Cort P-Bass copy that was a piece of crap that I broke within two months. Then I got the Kramer in maybe late 1988 or 1989, when I’d only been playing for a few months. I still have it to this day, and the shop that I got it from still exists so I can still go there and get a free set-up whenever I want. That thing has just been through hell and back. It’s my trusty at-home practice bass. I’d love to play it out, but it really doesn’t sound that good. It is priceless to me, though.
Kip, what is it like to be the new kid in the band? Did they make you feel welcome; are you part of the family; are they sharing their beer and all of those things that one would hope of good bandmates?
Kip : They don’t share beer. (Kryssie : We give him wedgies every day). The fact that they beat the hell out of me on a regular basis gives me the feeling that I’m loved, yes. Because that is what I did to my younger brothers, when I was younger. The band has definitely made me feel very at home. It’s kind of difficult to put into words where I am at with this band, but ultimately I’m the metal cheerleader in the band. Saddle shoes, skirt, pom-poms … good to go! There were some benefits that I could offer to the band, like a rehearsal space and a big truck to pull the equipment trailer, but those were just circumstantial. So I guess, when it’s all said and done and the smoke clears, we’re all pretty lucky because they offered me things like a damn good gig that I could be proud of.
Here is something that I’ve been dying to ask. What was it like when you held the first copy of your CD in your hand?
Kryssie : Can I just tell you about the text message conversation Troll and I had when the UPS man was delivering? We had been texting that whole day because the CDs were supposed to show up that day. (It’s common knowledge that, when we are not out doing things, Troll and I especially are huge advocates of pyjamas. We are always in our jammies, no matter what). Troll texted said something about the UPS man. I was like, gasp, “Is he coming?” And he was like, “The bastard just drove by!” I didn’t hear from him and I was getting nervous. Then I got a picture message with just a photograph of all seven boxes of our CDs and I screamed like a little girl … it was amazing! All of us have been musicians for so long. Before I was a vocalist, I used to be a guitar player. I was playing guitars since I was 10, so I’ve been in the “business” for 15 years almost. This is the first actual, physical, honest-to-god, pressed from a factory CD I’ve ever had. This is a HUGE emotional thing for me, and it was nice to show it to my mother and give her a reason why I quit college.
Deadmanswake is having a pyjama party gig. Is this just another excuse for Kryssie and Troll to appear in public in pyjamas?
Kryssie: More or less. It is a CD release for another band, and their frontperson sent me an e-mail and was like,”The theme of this show is freakshow. Take that and run with it, and do what you will.” We were tossing around ideas for playing at a different venue on a different day, and we were like, “Oh, we should show up in our pyjamas.” And then it dawned on me … how funny would that be for the freakshow theme?!? I have a feeling that Troll is going to show up with pigtails and the whole nine yards and I’m digging out a special pair of slippers. It is absolutely another excuse to be seen in my jammies in public.
JP : I’m not totally familiar with everybody in the band’s sleeping habits, so I’m just really hoping that no one in the band sleeps naked.
Kryssie : I’m not totally familiar with everybody in the band’s sleeping habits, so I’m just really hoping that no one in the band sleeps naked.
With as diverse as your musical tastes are, how hard would it be to decide what the cover song would be on a new album?
Kryssie : We’ve actually had pretty good luck — with this incarnation of the band, anyway – we’ve had a really, really easy time picking out covers. We do have diverse influences, but when it comes down to it, if there is some silly, ridiculous deep-cut that one of us mentions that everyone thinks is funny, we go for it. The one that we are talking about putting on the album is one that lots of people on our Facebook page – people that I’ve never met – have mentioned that they would really like to hear us do. It’s kind of cool that if we make that happen, they’ll hear it and be like, “Oh, I suggested that.”
Okay, album is out and you have dates lined up. What is your tour scheduling looking like for the summer? Will you be travelling away from Chicago? Will folks in other parts of the United States and perhaps our friends in Europe have a chance to see you too?
Kryssie : We did an interview last week where we were asked a similar question about whether we would like to get out to Europe. That’s a frustrating question because I would tour there tomorrow if I could afford it. Realistically speaking, if we were able to do it, it would have to wait until next summer. Hopefully by then, we can create enough of a buzz and maybe after our A&R showcase get people who are willing to invest in us to go over there. But that is, realistically, something that we can’t even think about this summer, which really, really is painful. We have got another band that we are hooking up with. None of the dates are set in stone yet, so we are not announcing them. But we are going to have a two-and-a-half week tour towards the end of the summer that will take us from Chicago all the way as far south as Florida, then we are going to come back. It is just going to be a two-and-a-half week run. We definitely are going to make it a point to travel this summer, and get out there. We can’t keep doing all this Internet networking if we can’t put our money where our mouth is and go play in front of people..
Interview by Eetu “Ene” Niskanen
An Interview with Heidi, the soprano singer of the Finnish Metal Band Amberian Dawn. During this interview, we’ll talk about about the new album “The Clouds of Northland Thunder” that is coming this summer.
You just released your second album “The Clouds of Northland Thunder” with Amberian Dawn, how much work did it take?
Our front man Tuomas had already started the composing the new album when the “River of Tuoni” album was released and some of the song were already ready. Almost everything was recorded before the Epica European tour 2008 but some choir and vocal parts had to be done straight after the tour. It took lots of work from everyone and especially from Tuomas who almost lived at the studio during the recordings. I did all the choir parts except the “Incubus” male role so I had quite a lot to sing too.
Is there an lyrical concept behind the album?
Not a clear one. But of course I wanted to bring a bunch of exiting stories to this album and also pour some Finnish cultural heritance into the lyrics too. Some of the lyrics are based on the Finnish national epic Kalevala as also on our previous album. On the “Clouds” album the Kalevala songs are “Kokko- Eagle of Fire” and “Birth of the Harp”. But there are also lyrics based on my own stories and legends or even fairytales.
How the band has grown from the debut “River of Tuoni”?
The biggest growth has happened in the bands skills and of course our lineup has changed too. First came Kasperi to replace the former guitarist Sampo and just recently Tuomas decided to retire from guitar-business, at least the live guitars, and his replacement was Emppu with his wild hair. The sound of the new album is in my opinion more solid and there is more variation in musical ways.
What is your personal favourite song from the album?
Hard question because I kind of like them all but from different reasons and it is really hard to put them into any order. But maybe I would say “Sons of Seven Stars” because in my opinion the story and the music go so well together in this song. The story linkes quite remotely to the book about Seven Brothers of Aleksis Kivi, a Finnish author. But in this version of the story, the seven brothers were born in the ancient times from the alliance of a bear and a human. The bears left the land to their sons and moved to the stars. The seven sons grew up under the constellation of Ursa Major and the North star and persistantly and with vigor they plowed the frozen land and peopled the cold and dark North. They could have also been the forfathers for Finnish people.
How did you joined Amberian Dawn?
I was a keyboardist and a backing vocalist in a metal band called Iconofear from the year 1997. During the ten years with Icono-boys I developped my singing skills and felt that is was time to retire from the keyboards. I simply felt I was better as a singer than a keyboardist and I could give most on that area. So it was 2006 when I started to search a band as a singer. Tuomas and Tommi spotted my ad and I did some singing samples and also the lyrics for “Passing Bells” from “River of Tuoni” album as a test. I think I got the job…;)-
How long have you been singing?
I went on a music oriented school and I started taking singing lessions when I was 14 years old. By that time I didn´t even think about being a singer one day. I wanted to take some lessions because I felt tensions and pain in my throught when singing. I wanted to emprove my tecnique to get rid of the tentions which made my singing unpleasant. I enjoyed singing a lot and I wanted it to stay that way too. I joined a choir at the age of 14 and after that I have sang in various choirs and some ensembles too. I´m still taking singing lessions and trying to develop my skills - I feel that it´s an neverending project…..but I don´t mind as long as I keep developping!-
How would you describe your voice?
I’m a classically trained soprano and some would say I’m a soubrette soprano. - The soubrette voice is light with a bright, sweet timbre, a tessitura in the mid-range and with no extensive coloratura. The soubrette voice has a lighter vocal weight than other soprano voices and a brighter timbre. Many young singers start out as soubrettes but as they grow older and the voice matures more physically they may be reclassified as another voice type-.
What kind of music do you listen yourself and how often?
I listen to a lot of different kinds of music from heavy metal to classical. I don’t listen too much music because I´m not too much at home. But when I do I first listen to my mood and then I choose the right music for it.
Do you think it’s easier to rise as metal band on big metal country such as Finland?
Finland is the promised land for metal but because of that the competition is hard and the level is really high. You have to have a good concept, skilled musicians, good compositions and production, some luck, reliable and hardworking people to work with and a great team to built everything up. And not to forget the hard work from everyone. Sounds like recipe for a cake doesn’t it! Bake it in 666 degrees to make it metal…hahhah :D-
You did big european tour with symphonic metal band Epica last year, how was the experience?
It was a great experience and we all grew up as musicians during the four week on road. The Epica people were really fun to work with and everything went really as planned. Except we all got a bit sick on the tour and I was in a terrible flue for almost 3 weeks from the 4 weeks tour…there were mornings I didn´t have almost any voice but duringthe day I managed to get some of my singing voice back. In Germany I went to a doctor but I only got some herbs and allready in France I needed to see a doctor again who gave me antibiotics and some cortizone. I missed a lot of scenery because of being sick but none of the shows so I must be content.
There are a lot of female fronted metal bands in the world at the moment, how Amberian Dawn is different from them, how do you keep unique?
We play fast tempo, guitar driven metal with purely classical female vocals. To continue the baking theme I would say : the ingredients have been used before but not in this kind of mixture.
What are the plans of Amberian Dawn for the future?
We are planning a new European tour for the fall 2009 and maybe some touring also for the spring 2010. Tuomas has also started to compose new material for the becoming third album.
Interview by Ed MacLaren
It’s been long considered that in most things two’s company and three’s a crowd but in the case of Swedish power metal outfit Amaranthe, three is merely the number of world-class vocalists they feature on their self-titled debut album. With clean female vocals along with clean and screamed male vocals, Amaranthe are anchored by a vocal prowess of which few bands can boast. Add the fact that the band weaves progressive, metalcore and techno elements along with a unique pop sensibility into it’s power metal onslaught, Amaranthe is a new breed of metal band that fascinates with its innovation. Femme Metal got to spend some time with female vocalist Elize Ryd and hear about the origins of Amaranthe, big success in Japan, and their recent European tour with Kamelot.Your self-titled debut “Amaranthe” was one of the most anticipated releases of the year so far and it looks like it exceeded all expectations. Did you ever think you’d get this kind of public response so quickly?No, because this is the first time I’ve released an album with me as one of the main composers and singers, so I didn’t know what to expect. But of course, this was exactly the kind of respond I was hoping for, and have been dreaming of ever since I started to work with this band.It looks like Olof Mörck and Jake E Lundberg put together their version of an all-star metal band – including your formidable vocal skills. How did you get the Amaranthe gig?
In Amaranthe, the vocalists almost outnumber the rest of the band! That’s a very unique sound dynamic. Does it give the band a distinctive musical chemistry – something different to let Amaranthe stand out?Oh yeah, I think so, we singers are a different breed. (Laughs) We really have to think differently from a guitarist or a bass player, for example, not at least when we go on tour. We have to stay healthy and in good shape to be able to sing. No late nights and booze for us so it feels really good to not be the only boring one! (Laughs) Well maybe it works for Andy; he just gets that little extra rasp in his voice.
Photos by Johan Carlén
Label : Nuclear Blast Records
Review by Stina
Hot on the heels of last year’s “Triumph : Tragedy : Transcendence - Live at the Hammers of Doom” comes While Heaven Wept’s fourth studio album, “Fear of Infinity”. It was never unusual for these by now legendary Virginia Epic Doomsters to go several years between full-lengths, so two of them (and a live album) in the span of two years is a pretty big deal for loyal fans. But after impressing audience and press alike with 2009’s “Vast Oceans Lachrymose”, things were bound to change. Fresh off a record deal with perhaps the most famous rock and metal label in the world – that is to say, Nuclear Blast, While Heaven Wept took an exceptionally short time in crafting a follow up, and, after announcing the signing in November, they rushed into the studio to have the album ready before this April – which could make our alarm bells ring as for the quality of the product, especially considering the high standards set by a band that has been around for twenty years and at the top of their league for at least half of them. And, while whatever they could put together in a few months is still a lot more than what an average band could put together in a career, “Fear of Infinity” is not quite on par with said standards: sure, it’s a While Heaven Wept album, and thus possesses all the trademarks and signature elements of their latest style – epic cavalcades, twin guitar melodic scale progressions, Michelle Schrotz’s chilling but elegant synth work, her vocal duels with Tom Phillips, melancholic melodies and overall technical proficiency. But this ultimately turns out a double edge sword: “Fear of Infinity” is on the verge of falling short in the sense that it’s often difficult to spot the differences between it and its predecessor; at times it’s like the album sounds as though it could easily have been spawned during the same recording session – which is, actually, something not far removed from the truth, since the majority of “Fear of Infinity” was rehearsed alongside the “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” material. Therefore, is no surprise that this latest effort neither pushes any envelopes nor changes any games, much in its seven tracks only sounding as a slight variation (albeit a surely enjoyable one) of something else done before by the same band – which is to say, dangerously close to stagnating and dull. An off-putting thing for fans of female vocals (which is saying a lot of you readers, or else you wouldn’t be browsing Femme Metal reviews!), is the scarce prominence given to Michelle as a singer: as said before, she mostly harmonizes with Tom without benefiting of much exposure, therefore only the most fervent WHW fans among you will want to get their hands on this album. To me, it felt too much of a genre exercise to maintain album-length interest – even though a mild effort by While Heaven Wept is still a nice slab of melancholic, doomy epicness and therefore quite the pleasure for our metallic ears.
Rating - 72/100
Review by Tony Cannella
From Venezuela comes Umbra Summi Nobis. Their style is symphonic hard rock/metal and their debut EP is titled “La Primeras Leyendas”. As you can discern from the song titles,this band sings mainly in Spanish. The first thing that got my attention with this band is the amazing vocal histrionics provided by Alexa. She’s got such a remarkable range,sometimes she goes operatic and at other times she uses a more mid-range style, she got such a huge sounding voice, her voice just left me speechless at times. “La Primeras Leyendas” features a playing time of only about 17-minutes so it is over in the blink of an eye, but there is more than enough time to showcase what Umbra Summi Nobis is all about. The 1-minute intro “Obertura” gets things started and segues into the straight ahead riffing of “Mujer de Las Hadas”. This is actually one of the weaker songs featured here but things certainly pick up in a big way with the next track “Nebulosa”. This song starts off as a ballad but quickly builds into a mid-tempo groove. The opening of “The Enchanted” begins with an operatic intro as the song transforms into kind of a folk-ish type of song with lyrics sung in English. The final track “Nebula” ends things on a positive note as Alexa turns in perhaps her finest vocal performance and it is also sung in English. I am not sure if Umbra Summi Nobis’s brand of Symphonic Metal will catch on but there is no denying the talent that this band possesses and is all too willing to show on “La Primeras Leyendas”.
Rating - 80/100
Label : STF Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Greece’s Julian’s Lullaby already released their debut demo “I Can Hear You Thinking…” in 2008 and was an impressive first step for the band. Now, this talented and eclectic Gothic Metal band return with their full-length debut “Dreaming of Your Fears”. This 11-song 44-minute debut features some cool acoustic bits to go along with the inclusion of violin to their sound. The songs have a mournfully melancholic slant to them, while at the same time being memorable and romantic. The opening duo of “Where We Stand There We Fall” and “Scarlet Reign” gets things off to a good start; “Scarlet Reign” in particular has a pretty cool melody running through it as it quickly became a highlight. The next two tracks “Ocean of Tears” and “Kiss Me Not (Tonight)” originally appeared on the band’s debut demo and have returned here in re-recorded form. “Ocean of Tears” is one of the heavier and more straight-forward tracks and features a riff that stays pretty consistent throughout the track. “Kiss Me Not (Tonight)” was one of the better tracks on the debut and it remains so here. Starting off with a violin and then joined by acoustic guitar, this features a great vocal presence supplied by the two singers Margina and Efthimia. The song builds in tempo as it moves forward, and develops into a pretty solid rock number. Other highlights include: the sorrowful “Would It Be?” the more up-beat “Where Are You?”, “Sands on Your Hands” and “Disinfecting My Heart”. Julian’s Lullaby does a good job at mixing the more somber material with bursts of heaviness and rockier up-tempo moments. “Dreaming of Your Fears” is a well played, written and recorded debut.
Rating - 80/100
Review by Tony Cannella & Luisa Mercier
Sweden’s Black Oak is a tad bit different than a lot of metal these days. Okay, they are a lot different and difficult to describe. The bands diverse influences range from Jazz, Death Metal, Hardcore, Hard Rock, Pop, Prog Rock and of course metal. All of those influences play a factor on the self-titled EP from Black Oak. From the opening intro “Prescence” you get a sense that you are in for something unique. That is exactly the case with the opening track “How Does It Feel To Live Like It’s Too Late”. Vocalist Samuela Burenstrand has a diverse vocal style, she is like a cross between Hayley Williams of Paramore and Angela Gossow from Arch Enemy. That’s a pretty broad range and she incorporates both styles into her singing. The next track “Our Time Is Now” is perhaps the most mainstream song on an album that is definitely not mainstream. Musically, Black Oak displays a lot of talent and the songs are intricately written and performed. “Our Time Is Now” definitely became my favorite song and it is the one song that has an immediate impact. “City Lights” is another cool track as Samuela alternates between her more commercial vocals and her harsh death metal style, the contrast is quite interesting and appealing. The EP is completed by the “Loop of Oy”. At almost 7-minutes this is the longest song on this 26-minute EP and really draws things to a close with authority. Black Oak is a difficult band to categorize. I’m sure they would fit comfortably in a number of different genres. You can see for yourself, this EP is available as a free download on their official site. Black Oak is apparently working on new material for a full-length.
Rating - 79/100
The debut EP of this young Swedish band is opened by a creepy intro. “Prescence” is full of disturbing noises, electronics, distorted vocals almost resembling and android and suggests us the dark mood that we will find throughout the record. The following “How Does It Feel to Live Like It’s Too Late” starts with a prog/avantgarde approach while Samuéla, Emil e Niklas sing, mixing clean female vocals, growls and male vocals. She shows a certain versatility since she can scream, but also be a lot softer. I’d say there is also a certain metalcore influence towards the end of the track. 100% prog rock is the beginning of “Our Time Is Now”, while the track is a mix of straightforward rock, heavy metal and progressive with a quite anthemic chorus. A video has been shot for “City Lights” where again progressive (which apparently is a big influence on the band), metalcore and melodic metal mix to give birth to a catchy song with an interesting chorus. Best choice as a single. In the vein of the previous ones is also the closing track “Loop of Oy”, very melodic, but with metalcore moments. I also got the booklet with the album and I can say that the lyrics show a certain social effort, a plead to fight, to improve our world. The potential of this band is quite interesting. I am eager to listen to a future full-length release.
Rating - 70/100
Label : Massacre Records
Review by Si Smith
“Furor Gallico is the description that the ancient Romans gave of the Celt warriors, who prepared for battle and were ready to die to defend their people and land…” - and the band Furor Gallico from Italy intend to bring the ancient legends to life with their folk metal on this, their first full-length release. It was self-released in 2010 but is now released in 2011 on Massacre records. The album begins with a jolly acoustic folk introduction, after which the electric guitars sound out for “Venti di Imboli”, a traditional folk melody accompanied by low male growls. These are quickly accompanied by a clean male vocal after which a rasping vocal takes over. The music gathers pace as the track progresses, interspersed with tinkly folk flourishes. The quick changes between one style and another does lead to a slightly disjointed experience, but the music is good so the band can be forgiven here. “Ancient Rites” is a cunning mix of acoustic picking and heavier guitar moments, and once again Pagan’s versatile vocals alternate between growls, rasps and clean melodies. The noises of battle lead deftly into “Cathubodva”, a rousing anthem with tremolo picking and a galloping rythmic soundtrack. Pretty soon the song also branches into an acoustic interlude with clean vocal accompaniment, before returning to the gallop. The flute and whistles provide the main melodies for “The Gods Have Returned”, and the voices continue to ring out with conviction. It is clear that the band believe in what they are doing. “Curmisagios” is another romp through typical folk metal territory. The album continues in the same vein until ending with a male/female duet on the last song “The Glorious Dawn”. In short, no major boundaries are crossed here, there are a few short musical pure folk tracks, but most songs follow more or less the same song structure and alternation between electric and acoustic moments. The result is a bit disjointed as already mentioned, although the conviction of the band is clear from the start. Becky’s female vocals are hidden quite well and may not be apparent on a first listen, and this is a let down, as more of this would have redeemed the album. The band are at their best when galloping along in full folk mode, but there is just not enough of this to make a consistently good album.
Rating - 65/100
Label : BlueFreya Media
Review by Luisa Mercier
Fateless Tears just released their new single, “Dawn’s Oblivion” and here we are with this short 3-track EP .The title track showcases the band characteristics: prog metal with heavy riffs, catchy melodies and S. Lee Baysinger vocals on top of them. “Stasis” is an acoustic version of the song, which features calm guitars and keyboards and smooth female and male vocals soar through the music. Everything is so sweet. Last track, “Standing Still”, is a ballad, short but effective. Above all, it is fascinating how the the lead vocals and the backing vocals merge in an emotional mix. Given this preview, the full-length will be one not to be missed!
Rating - 70/100