INFOS : firstname.lastname@example.org
Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Label : Massacre Records
Review by Danny Robertson
VOD’s press release for “Power Dive” describes them as having a sound somewhere between gothic and symphonic metal, and it’s not wrong; at times sounding like a heavier Nightwish, or during their more restrained moments sounding reminiscent of Within Temptation, but without sounding like a cheap copy of any act within those genres. Their combination of sounds gels together well without sounding forced - the keyboards don’t overpower the rest of the instruments, whilst the guitarwork is especially impressive, epic without being pompous or gratuitous, and Maike’s vocals work well with the instruments rather than relegating them to the background, thus avoiding the pitfalls others within the genre occasionally find themselves in. Tracks such as the title song and “Dedication” show off their more operatic side, whilst standout track “Kami” is a nice demonstration of the band’s range in a single song, with some heavy riffing throughout. Voices of Destiny have delivered a strong second album here, one that should see them win new fans in further territories. If you’re fan of big, bold, unashamedly epic metal, then try this album out!
Rating - 80/100
Interview by Danny Robertson
Come and check out Decadence, the female-fronted thrashers from Stockholm, Sweden. We talk to frontwoman Kitty Saric about the band’s history, and the forthcoming new album “Chargepoint”.
Who first influenced you to become a vocalist?
That was and still is James Hetfield of Metallica. He has always been my biggest inspiration as a vocalist, guitarist, lyricist and song writer. I’m a great fan of Metallica and that is the band (as for many others!) that got me into Metal. Hetfield’s unique style got me into guitar playing at first, and later singing, especially when I started developing my Thrash influenced vocals. Ever since that time, Thrash has always been closest to my heart.
How and when did the band first get together?
I’ll try to summarize the (long!) story for you. Finding and founding what later became Decadence all happened quite unexpectedly. It started in Stockholm, Sweden in 2003. By coincidence I found a nameless band looking for a growling vocalist and, being a guitarist and clean Thrash vocalist only at the time, I came to the audition by impulse. My decision to turn to growling is something that still puzzles me but that choice is something I do not regret because it lead me to the beginning of Decadence. The reaction at the audition was very positive and so it all began. Kenneth Lantz often followed me to band practices and after a while he ended up being the session bass player. The rest of the story is too long to be summarized here but as most of you probably know, since that time, I and Kenneth Lantz are the only members left from that original line-up and we have been working with the development of our sound since then as the main song writers. Our current line-up is: (me) Metallic Kitty (extreme vocals), Kenneth Lantz (guitar), Joakim Antman (bass) and Erik Röjås (drums). Here you have some of the story as an introduction at least!
Did it take long for you to get noticed by labels, and a wider audience?
Just before “3rd Stage of Decay” was released for the first time in 2006 (it has been released in three editions in total) I started the work with Decadence’ own label HTI Records. Due to that, “3rd Stage of Decay” could be released and classified as a real album and it (and the band itself) also gained the exposure it needed to reach out to other labels and more people. HTI Records licenses Decadence’ music to other labels and is our support in everything. In 2007 we were contacted by the Japanese label Spiritual Beast with whom we also cooperate with now with the release of “Chargepoint” on October 14, 2009. So, in 2007 HTI Records and Spiritual Beast joined forces and so the 2nd edition of “3rd Stage of Decay” (with a guest appearance by Chris Astley of Xentrix) was unleashed. Earache Records heard the rumors and soon after that we were on the 2007 new school Thrash compilation “Thrashing Like a Maniac”. The next year 2008 followed with Massacre Records hearing about us from Maurice Swinkels (Legion of The Damned) and so the final and 3rd edition of “3rd Stage of Decay” was released worldwide. During these years, we’ve had a tight underground audience that has been following us ever since the start and that feels really amazing.
How long did it take to write and record “Chargepoint”?
The whole music material was written back in 2007 actually! We planned to have this album released in the fall of 2008 but since the unexpected re-release of “3rd Stage of Decay” by Massacre Records appeared, the release was postponed and we apologize to all our fans who have been waiting since 2006 (!) and our first release of “3rd Stage of Decay” for it. Massacre Records insisted on re-releasing “3rd Stage of Decay” first so we decided to prolong the whole recording part because of all sudden extra-time on our hands. So, we started recording the drums the summer of 2007, took it easy and stretched out with the guitars and bass and finally finished off by recording the vocals in the beginning of 2009. Since Spiritual Beast had its next fitting release period in October it was decided and set during this summer.
What are the main themes and influences behind the tracks on the new album?
Our influences have not changed during the years! Being the main song writers both I and Kenneth Lantz always have Thrash as our main influence and inspiration in music. In Decadence we’re always experimenting with speed, rhythms, sharp vocals and technicality whilst being influenced by bands such as Death, Kreator, Testament, Metallica etc. Talking about the main theme on “Chargepoint” then, I’d describe it with words such as strength, power and intensity. One review called the new tracks and the album as a whole: “charged” – I like that!
You recently shot your first video - how did that go? Will there be more videos in the future?
It sure has been a long road to find the right people to help us out, the right song, the right plot, the right everything to finally put it into action and record our first video. We never wanted to record something rushed just to have a video because in that case our live clips are much more representative and good to watch to see (not only hear) the band behind the music. The whole recording process behind this video was great though and we had lots of fun while recording it as well! I want and hope to have more Decadence videos in the future!
Which track will the video be released for, and when/where can people expect to see it?
The chosen track is still a secret! The video is however planned to be unleashed sometime before the actual release on YouTube to give you all a preview of what there is to expect of “Chargepoint”. We chose a track that we feel has lots of Thrash and Melodic Death twisted together in a Melodic Thrash Metal whirl as we like it!
What have been your career high points so far?
That’s a hard question because since my life is so entwined with this band, so I have both general band career high points as well as moments that I consider personally memorable, but to mention some general ones I’d say Decadence’s first big (insane and self-financed) show in Stockholm, Sweden 2005, that was our first big breakthrough that will forever remain in my memory and also all behind the scene work that was put into making that show possible. It was also a high point when we began our cooperation with Spiritual Beast/Universal in 2007 that could help us continue growing on something that has always been an entirely lonely process.
Who are your favourite current bands? Anyone you’d like to recommend?
Good old 80’s Bay Area Thrash…always! To mention a bunch of bands that I recommend in general I can say: Metallica, Death, Kreator, Testament, Megadeth, Volbeat, Vader, Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Annihilator, Tankard, Sodom, Pantera, Slayer, Exodus and so on. As you can see, the list mostly consists of various Thrash Metal bands with some exceptions.
Whereabouts will you be touring in coming months?
The schedule for our upcoming shows is not complete yet so the best way to stay updated is through our official website www.decadence.se for news and upcoming events. Decadence works without an agency so to be able to keep up I take bigger things like this to plan one at a time – video, album, gigs! Good strategy isn’t it!
Any last messages for people?
Most of you readers out there already know what to expect of my final line! I’ll end it by saying something that I say quite often to myself: If there’s a will, there’s a way.
Interview by Danny Robertson
We caught up with Dani Nolden, singer for Brazilian heavy power metallers Shadowside, to get a glimpse into the band’s history and talk about the new album “Dare to Dream”.
How did it all get started - who initially formed the group?
We pretty much got started as a garage band that wanted to have fun and register permanently some ideas we had. We were good friends that had never played a real gig, had never recorded a CD, we were very inexperienced, very naive and didn’t have much in mind regarding what we would do with the demo in hands. We would always joke to each other about being rockstars someday *laughs*. But we didn’t really know much about the music industry or what we really wanted to achieve. However, after we released that demo EP, we got so much attention from the press and from people that we saw ourselves in the magazines as a very promising band and our 6th show as a real band was supporting Nightwish in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in front of 7000 people that went just crazy. It was a bit too much for some of our members since we were teenagers… kids, if you wanna put it that way. Some thought making music seriously and professionaly was too much of a responsability and decided to quit. Another one got a bit carried away with all that and thought he was already a rockstar *laughs*. So I’m the only one left from that original lineup. I managed to keep myself together because I surrounded myself with friends and family who would help me keep my feet on the ground. We were just starting out - as we still are, so there’s a lot of work ahead before we can say “we did it!”. I found Fabio shortly after we started so I consider him as being with the band since its birth. Since then we’ve toured with Helloween, co-headlined concerts with bands like Kittie, Divine Heresy, Metalium, so it’s been an awesome ride so far.
Who/what were the group’s main influences back then? Are they all still a source for inspiration?
We never had one or more set influences, we had the bands we listened to more but they haven’t changed much since then. We are all into more or less the same thing - everything *laughs*. We all love from 80’s pop like Duran Duran to Slayer. Some of our favorite bands are Deep Purple, Judas Priest… but at the same time we all dig different stuff. Fabio’s favorite bands are Tears for Fears and Slayer, mine are Disturbed, Rammstein and Skid Row, just to name a few. Raphael is really into Pantera and Scorpions. We all like all of those bands but we don’t have the same favorite bands and definitely not the same influences. I think what influences us is everything we listen to combined with our own personalities. We just try to make sure we do not sound like other artists so we don’t think of anything in specific that we want to sound like.
What was your local scene like back then? Did it take long for you to get noticed?
No, not at all, we didn’t expect anything that happened to us back then. Let’s put it this way, the scene back then in my hometown was boiling water. We had a large number of great musicians and bands so we thought it’d be harder to get noticed but we packed a 500 seat venue on the first show we played in Santos, that’s how fast things happened for us. That kinda set fire on the scene and even more bands started activities. There’s still a lot of talent alive here. The old venues were all shut down though. We still have places to play because we don’t have to play only Rock venues anymore back home, but young bands that haven’t proven they can draw a crowd don’t get to play at a decent place and rarely get attention. We always try to pick at least one band from Santos to support us whenever we are in town.
How would you say that the new album compares to your older material? Has much changed?
We want to give a new direction to our sound, I mean, we want to keep focusing on our style, but, this time, we also want to make it more experimental. Heavy guitars with modern synths and an alternative, powerful bass. Some has definitely changed as it’s only natural to evolve and modify some things with time but the essence is exactly the same. Energy, intensity, anger, passion - it’s all there. The heavy guitars are there as well as the catchy melodies. We just decided we didn’t want to sound like other bands and go 100% for our own identity. Nowadays we are a more mature band, we aren’t afraid to try and rely on our own personalities anymore, that’s why we’ll dare even more on the next record! We found our thing, we’re a raw Metal band, Hard Rock influenced, that plays music to make you bang your head and go crazy. We don’t really want you to come out of one of our concerts thinking “wow they are great musicians”. We just want you to escape your reality for those 2 hours, scream your problems out and just have fun.
How long did it take to write and record the new album, “Dare to Dream”?
Not long at all, we recorded the whole album in exact 23 days. Maybe a month more writing it. There wasn’t much time to really think hard of what we were doing because all our plans changed pretty much on the last minute. We had plans to write and record in like 6 months, no rush but right as we started the songwriting process, “Theatre of Shadows” was released worldwide. We had no plans for that record anymore as it had been out in Brazil for a while already. So we had to prepare for the first U.S. tour at the same time as we were working on the new album. In the end that was the best thing that could have happened to us because it kept us from overthinking arrangements and changing stuff that didn’t have to be changed and also kept the live feel that we wanted. We just trusted our guts and went along with it.
Are there any main themes or concepts which run through the new album?
There’s no real concept, lyrics are simply based on real life situations that happened either to me or to people close to me. ‘“In the Night” is about a secret relationship when one of the parts isn’t interested in keeping the secret anymore. I took the humorous approach and told the story of a woman, probably in PMS, going absolutely nuts and threatening to tell all *laughs*. Lots of people have seen themselves in that situation or know of someone, sometimes it’s an office relationship that’s not allowed, or dating someone much older or much younger or simply dating someone already committed that’s promising you things. “Baby in the Dark” is about a friend of mine who was desperately trying to fit in. He wanted to be loved by everyone so he would mold his personality according to the group he was currently in. He ended up not knowing who he was anymore and for a while I had lost one of my best friends. Nowadays he’s back to his old self but lots of people just become generic and boring. I don’t mean generic regarding looks, anyone can look and act “normal”, you don’t have to be eccentric to be special, you can if you want to, but you don’t have to. But you always should stick to what you are. “Dare to Dream” is that song to push you, to make you believe you can actually achieve stuff if you try. You might not reach every single thing you wanted but you’ll never achieve anything if you don’t try. And the end result will surely be better than what you had before you started out. Whether the dreams are of a job change, a trip or being a Rock musician, anything is possible.
You recently shot a video for the track “Hideaway” - how did that go? Where and when can we expect to see the video?
That was a lot of fun, we are still to record the second part of the video in the next few days, that will “test” me as an actress, you’ll be able to tell me how I did very soon *laughs*. It will be very intense and dramatic. First part was the band playing and we were asked to make it angry and very energetic. We recorded at an old warehouse and the place was huge, we thought the whole area was abandoned but it turned out there was this building right behind the warehouse. Fabio’s drums were really loud and people got so mad because of the noise that they called the police on us. We are very proud to have annoyed our neighbors *laughs*. The video should see daylight in early February. I can’t wait to see it finished!
What would you say have been your biggest achievements, or favourite moments as a band thus far?
All the 5 U.S. tours, the 2 Spanish tours, all the big concerts we’ve played as well. Being on the road is always fun and whenever we are all together, I always have a great time. We were recently one of the top 5 best selling Metal bands in Brazil, along with Iron Maiden and Heaven and Hell so that was a huge achievement for me. We also were picked as the best band in Brazil in 2009 by Roadie Crew magazine, which is currently the most important one here.
What are your future goals?
To keep making music, keep touring and take it as far as possible. We’re not nearly done yet! *laughs*
Who are your favourite current acts?
I’d say Disturbed and Rammstein… they’re not exactly new bands but are some of the non-80’s bands that I’m really into.
What’s next for the band? Where can we expect to see you next?
Hopefully you’ll see us touring the U.S. and Europe at some point this year, not only in places we’ve played before but also some new ones as well. We’re also going to play Brazil and who knows where else! After that, we’ll go back to the studio to work on new material. We won’t stop in 2010, whether we are on a stage or in the studio, we’ll be extremely active.
Any last messages for people?
I hope you all started 2010 well and that you go for your dreams, believe in them and try to make them real. Hope you like “Dare to Dream”, it’s a very honest and straight to the point album. If you don’t, just listen to it louder and you will automatically start to bang your head *laughs*. I’ll see you all on the road at some point… when I do, show me your horns! Cheers!
Interview by Danny Robertson
We spoke to Cristina Moreno, frontwoman for Spanish gothic metal act Alchemists of Darkness, to see how everything first came together for this group.
How and when did the band first get together? Who started it initially?
Truth is we can’t consider ourselves a band until the first rehearsal we did together, and that happened after recording the “Laments” EP. We were just a musical project, not really a band. The first time we all met together was at the photo session, back in January 2009, after having recorded and released the EP. It was strange, as we had recorded it together without knowing or having met each other at all, hahaha. I was the last one to join the (by then) musical project, and Manu started it all, as he had already tried it during mid-2006 but seems things didn’t work fine with the people he gathered. He tried it again some time later, and here we are now.
Who first influenced you to become a vocalist? Were there other vocalists you looked up to?
I had been singing for many years, you know, I started growing in this field since I was very young, and the dream of my life was, from the beginning, being able to reach anywhere related to music. There were many vocalists that I admired, but they were always faces on magazine covers and, eventually more music to listen. There are no vocalists that really influenced me in entering the world of music, only the people who supported (and support) me to achieve my dream.
Who/what are the band’s main influences as a whole?
One of the things I really enjoy of being in this band is diversity and variety in terms of influences. When Manu gathered us all, I was surprised of how open-minded we were in musical influences. We all listen to every kind of music: rock, metal, jazz, blues, swing, progressive, pop, electronic, etc. As an act, we can say our influences are bands like: Paradise Lost, Katatonia, Dark Tranquillity, Dream Theater, Anathema, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Fields of the Nephilim…
What’s your local scene like? Was it difficult to get noticed in the beginning?
There aren’t many gothic bands in the regional scene. Just one band or two… Most of bands around here are metalcore, indie/alternative rock, and spanish heavy metal bands.Not many bands are well-known at their start. Even though, we have a small group of people (mainly people who are closer to us) from the beginning that are always there at every gig, supporting us and enjoying our music. The best thing is that, as time passed by, more people joined that group, so I think we’re on the right way.
What would you say has been your biggest non-musical influence?
My family, but specially my father. He has been a very important person in every music aspect of my life. He has taken care personally of distributing my recordings apart from the band, and showing everybody how proud he was of her daughter. He is the one who supports me more and is the one that’s moved every time he listens to me singing.
What are your future aims and ambitions?
I have to admit that my ambitions and future expectations have always been related to music. I struck up a very special union with music some years ago, and I feel I want nothing else but to keep playing with my band, sharing with them the good and the bad moments, and doing my best to make people enjoy what we do, filled with feelings. That’s my dream, in the end, and achieving it is another dream. However, as a teenager, I see it necessary to study a university career. Who knows what fate holds in store for us?
What’s next for the band? Any tours or releases in the pipeline?
We’re still writing new stuff for a future full-length album, to be recorded around 2011, though some of those songs will appear on the future setlists for sure. Meanwhile, we’ll release our latest single “The Light Ends” (You can check it now at our MySpace) during 2010, and we’ll try to do it as soon as possible, but studies may keep us very busy during the following months. The CD single will feature the full track, the radio cut, a remix by electronic band Com.Pulsion (whose vocalist, Luis Alcázar, has produced the single - http://www.myspace.com/compulsionband), and a little acoustic surprise. We hope you’ll enjoy the whole CD, we’ve devoted a lot of time on it.
Are there any other new acts back in Spain you’d like to recommend to people?
I haven’t gone deeply into the Spanish scene, I’m not good at it. My influences are American and British rather than Spanish. However there are very good Spanish metal acts like Forever Slave, Helevorn, Embellish, Goddamn, No:Code, or the pop band Vetusta Morla.
Any last messages for people?
I’d like to say (we’re) proud for the whole band to share our music and feelings with all of you. We thank everyone that keeps supporting us, we’re making possible a dream we never thought we’d be able to, we are lucky that life has offered us the chance to be together. We’ve clung to this hope and we won’t let it go. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Interview by Miriam NocturnalConcerto
Transcription by Robin Stryker
I cannot tell you how excited I was to doing this interview with Danny Cavanagh, Anathema singer and guitarist, for a lot of causes, take it because was my first phoner interview, take it because I was worried that something gone wrong. The interview has started with a delay of 30 minutes preview by the slot I was very nervous but in the end I’m happy to share with you this interview, hope like it!
Since are passed 7 years from your last album “A Natural Disaster”, why it passed so much time?
Well, mainly it is because we didn’t have a manager. We didn’t have a record company, and one or two of our band members had family commitments they had to attend to. Different things were happening in their lives. You know, at the time, you don’t realise… one month becomes another month, becomes another month. It was just one of those things. Without a record company, it was just something that happened, and it will never happen again.
And also we must add that is your first album under KScope Music (excluding the semi acoustic album “Hindsights”), why have you chosen this label?
Why did we choose KScope Records? Well, they are very good and they believe in us very much and they wanted it more than anybody else did. They were really keen to have our record, and they wanted it for many years. We saw that, with the work they did on “Hindsight”, they are actually quite good. They do things properly and they don’t spend a fortune. They don’t spend quite a lot of money wastefully. Our manager — we have a manager now — he recommends we take this and we did. We were not the kind of band at that time that could attract a much bigger label, so we went with that one. We are happy and I am happy that we did.
I make a question about the title of the new album - it sound like a statement, who came up with title and why?
Well it’s not very very important and it’s not very meaningful. It is the title that we all liked. It’s the only title that everybody in the band liked. We couldn’t find another one where six people agreed. That’s the only one that six people agreed on. For me personally, it doesn’t have the greatest meaning for the songs. It does though, however, suggest the bond that we have as a band together… the family, the friendships, the caring that we have for each other. It is suggested in that title because we are here for each other, so I like it for that reason. I like it because it suggests “being there for each other” to me. It’s not a great statement, it’s not a spiritual statement or an anti-religious statement, or anything. It is just the fact that we all like it. Also, the fact is, it comes from a very moving story from the First World War in Europe when many, many millions of men and women died for no real reason. That was one of the most extreme situations that humanity has ever seen. And, during that war, young men in England used to sing this song, “We’re Here Because We’re Here”. You can actually hear a very small selection of that song… as the song “Hindsight” is tuning into the radio, you can hear it there. They used to sing that song in defiance of the situation that they were in. They were in an impossible situation, and there was no reason for them to be there, so they used to sing that song, “We’re Here Because We’re Here”. We like that story. And we like the meaning behind it and the memory of those men, so we chose it.
A question about the cover - How’s your interpretation and in some manner, is it related to the lyrics of the album?
Yes and no, really. The front cover and all of the artwork is related to Anathema, to the people and to our childhood, our story, and to our personalities. They are childhood memories of everyone… an old school, an old playing field, an old street that we lived in. The beach with the man in the distance is actually Liverpool Beach in the north of Liverpool. The mountains in the distance are the Welsh Mountains, the mountains of Wales where we spent many, many years on holiday as kids. So, what I love about the artwork and title is not that it relates very, very, very closely to the meaning of the songs. It relates to the meaning of the band and to the people in the band and the personalities and the family and the heritage and the love and the memories that we have together. And that’s why I like it.
I’ve listened to album like I said before and my favourite album song is “Everything” with the duet of Lee. What your favourite track?
My favourite track is “Dreaming Light” because it is probably the most personal one to me, and it is the one I am most proud of it. That’s my favourite one, but I love them all really. I think it’s the first record that … okay, well maybe not … I would say that it’s a consistently good album. All the songs are very good, and (for me) one or two are truly great. Those two would probably be “Dreaming Light” and “Universal”. What I like about “Dreaming Light” is the optimism in the melody and the emotion in the melody. I remember the day it was written, I remember how it came through me and I remember how I felt after it was written. It was just a special time. It was a special feeling to have that feeling come through. To feel that tune and feel those words. I do think it’s a gift. That song is a gift.
So now I have three curiosity to satisfy: How’s born the collaboration with HIM singer Ville Valo, how’s working with Steven Wilson and who sang the spoken words on “Presence”?
Ville Valo is a lovely guy. He is a very nice person, and I like him very much. He is a good friend. And that is the only reason, really, that we asked him to do it. He’s been very kind to Anathema and he’s been a loyal fan, if you like, of the band. He likes the band very much and he’s been supportive of Anathema very much. I wanted in a way to say “thanks” to Ville Valo because he’s been such a gentleman and a kind person to us that it felt appropriate for me to ask him. And he said yes. It was simple and he has added something very good to the song. It’s a background, but it works for me. He adds something to the song “Angels” and doesn’t take anything away. I like it very much. And that was really just a matter of friendship, he’s a good friend. Second question, Steve Wilson. Well, that was much more involved because we worked together for two weeks to mix the record, or maybe longer. It was a great pleasure working with him because he is very very very good at what he does. So I would go to his house, sit on the couch and drink tea and listen to his work and comment and work on the collaboration and he would suggest some things. He would try to make us think carefully about all the choices that we’re making, and he would try to encourage more simplicity in the record. I had a clear vision, almost, of how it should sound. What I appreciated about Steve was his willingness to allow us to follow that vision and to only speak up when he really felt that something was a little bit wrong. We worked well together. There was no real difficulty and I like him very much. So that was a great pleasure and I am delighted we did that collaboration with him. I think it makes a difference in the impact of the record also, because people are talking about this record because of it. The final question was the spoken word on “Presence”. That is an interview I made with a gentleman in Liverpool , England where I was living at the time. A gentleman called Stan Ambrose. He is a very beautiful person, he’s a musician and a radio presenter. He was involved in counselling for a long time and he is a local activist. Just a gentleman who many people like… many people like this man. He is very humble, very kind and we became friends. We started to talk about spiritual things and the essence of life and these things. He’s always been interested in those things, interested in mediation and all that stuff. So I interviewed him actually in the Cathedral — in Liverpool Cathedral I interviewed him – and he began talking about a book by Eckhart Tolle, who is a spiritual writer, a very successful spiritual writer whose message of stillness is making an impact around the world. Stan is a person who is very much interested in these things and very sincere. When he spoke to me about this, he almost had a tear in his eye. I made the interview with him, and it just seemed to fit with the song, “Presence”. Also, the fact is that he is talking a little bit about the possibility of life beyond death and I know that he was thinking about that. And that relates directly to “Angels Walk Among Us”, which is also asking that question. Just the same as “Are You There?” was asking that question: “Is there something beyond?”
With this album you have confirmed Lee Douglas like a full member in Anathema. Can you give more infos about her and say something about the decision to confirm her in the line up.
Lee is family, and a very good friend, and a very very good singer. She was always there… she sang on all the records since “Judgement”. Ever since “A Natural Disaster”, she became more involved because she sang the lead vocal on that song. It just, you know, developed. When she came to the studio to record, she did say that she would like to be more present at the live concerts because she has to balance it with work and stuff. She has always been there, really. If I’m honest, she’s always been there, so it’s okay. We are very glad about it because she is one of us. She does fit very well — a very good singer, easy-going and easy to be around, fun. So, no problem there, really. We’re happy about it.
So, now some advices for the new fans, what Anathema album to advise to start from?
I would advise to begin with the new album, “We’re Here Because We’re Here”. That’s what I would advise. And the reason is because that is the best one, and also it’s the picture of who Anathema really is right now. I would start with this record. I would suggest that it is just open-minded music. A powerful rock band, it’s emotional and it’s honest and it’s real … from the heart.
I would say that you have similitaries with The Gathering, you know, you first started like a doom metal band after you came through with an alternative rock band.
I understand what you’re saying. They really developed and changed and grew into much more of an alternative rock band. And I suppose we did the same. But, I’m looking at the interview schedule and it’s still Metal webzine, it’s in Metal Maniac, it’s in Metal Hammer (Germany). Those are our roots. The band is much more than metal and has not been a metal band for many years. Real musicians — like Radiohead or The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, U2, band like this – the real musicians, they do evolve. We are of that stock. I love Iron Maiden and their music has evolved a little bit. Our heritage is much more in the Radiohead, the Pink Floyd, the Led Zeppelin and the Sabbath and that area of evolution, which is much more expansive and open-minded. That’s just our style. And if they don’t like it, that’s tough shit.
What are the next band planes (talking about tours ecc.)?
We are in between playing Turkey and Russia right now. In three days we’re going to Russia, and then there is a show in London. Then I’m touring with Anneke van Giersbergen in South America. It’s just one or two festivals over the summer and a time over the summer to collect ourselves, to relax, to gather our strength and to do some new writing. Then, in the autumn, a natural machine will start, and a long tour will happen. I look forward to that, actually.
We know that you do acoustic tours with Anneke van Giersbergen andnow I make you a question, do you think that in the future there will be a project or a collaboration with Anathema? I mean not only with your solo project…
We have talked about that, and she would be welcome because she is such a great person and such a great singer. So, she would be welcome. But, the fact is, we have a female vocalist in the band. You know what I mean? Lee has the voice for our style, so she’s in the band. I did have ideas for Anneke to sing on the new record and she would have sounded beautiful. But Lee Douglas is there and she’s committed and it wouldn’t really be appropriate. But we certainly love Anneke very much. She has sung live with Anathema. We love her very much. I think she is a wonderful person and a really wonderful singer and a really good professional. Of course, it’s a possibility.
So we’re at end greet as you want our readers.
Thank you, my dear. Ciao and grazie.
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist.
No, I didn’t. Its just something I started doing and excelling at.
Did you always want to become a singer?
I have never taken singing lessons, and I try to keep my whole body in healthy shape to keep my vocal cords healthy too.
You use both clean vocals and metal growls for The Agonist. Which style do you prefer?
I need a bit of both, I would be bored with just one style.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
Everything but country!
And who are your favourite bands and musicians?
Devin Townsend, Gwen Stefani, Muse, Arch Enemy, etc.
Did you have any other bands before The Agonist & Tempest and/or are you active in any other bands now besides The Agonist?
I had 2 other bands besides this one, but right now this is my only priority musically.
Is it easy to combine your personal life with The Agonist?
Not at all! I’m sure most musicians will agree.
Besides your work with The Agonist we could also see you in other media the last years: You were featured as one of Revolver’s Hottest Chicks in Metal in 2007. As a photographer I’m the last one to complain about good looking women onstage but you will never hear of James Hetfield being chosen as “Hottest hunk in metal” Are you not afraid that this will set the place of women in metal back to where it was during the eighties: eye candy for glam rock videos and a fresh xxx backstage*?
Hahaha well to be honest, in the 80’s I was 5 years old, but it seems that the men were just as eye-candy-ish as the women! I think it’s debatable, but strong women allowing themselves to be feminine and sexy sends a STRONGER message than one who thinks she has to be masculine to be strong. We are having our cake and eating it too.
Why did you change the name of the band into The Agonist and what is the idea behind the name of the band?
We switched the name to avoid confusions with other bands called Tempest. An agonist is a drug used to enduce feeling in patients, like the opposite of an anesthetic, and is also the name for the character torn between good and evil in the literary sense.
A lot of bands today describes themselves as metalcore. How would you describe your music?
Weird metal -go listen.
Is song writing teamwork in The Agonist or is there one mastermind who writes the lyrics and music?
The song writing is split between Danny and I. I write all the vocal patterns, harmonies, rhythms, lyrics, and Danny writes the instrumental.
And where do you and the band get the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Anywhere and everywhere.
“Lullabies for The Dormant Mind” is your second album. What have you done different with this album compared to “Once Only Imagined”?
We are all very different people and musicians and we simply ended up, as a result, creating different music.
The album is out for some time now. How did the media and the fans receive the album?
Very well, we are happy!
And can you tell us something about the songs on the album?
They were all struggles and successes in my mind.
“Monochromatic Stains” is a Dark Tranquility cover. Why did you choose this song as a cover and is there any change it will appear on another album than the Japanese release?
We actually recorded that song for a CM compilation… just for fun.
Was is difficult to do “Swan Lake”?
Yes, but very rewarding.
What are your favourite songs on the album?
“Thank You, Pain”, “…and Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep”, “The Tempest”, “Birds Elope With the Sun”, “Martyr Art”… all of them!
Are there any plans for a tour in Europe and what else can we expect from The Agonist in the future?
We are DYING to come to Europe… so please help us get there!
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Buy our albums and request us everywhere you go so we can come to Europe…please! Thanks ;)
Interview by Alessandro Narcissus
First it was Danny on the phone, now it’s Vinny : Alessandro, in the second Anathema interview that we publish, took the chance to ask some question about the newcomer milestone “Weather Systems” during the Italian promo day in Milan.
Hello, Danny! Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine
First of all, let’s introduce “Weather Systems”. Looking at the title of both the album and the songs and then reading the lyrics, it’s easy to figure out that the album is not really about weather and landscapes, but those are metaphores for different moments and feelings in life.
Yeah. When you dig a little bit more you can see the metaphor is very clearly connected to the internal landscapes that we have to go through, the storms that we have to wade through as people. You know, everybody has to go through these things, so it’s a matter of how you confront it, if you want to: a lot of people do, a lot of people don’t. Some people go to therapy and some people put it into music.
How did you come up with the idea of writing a whole album with this concept?
It grew out of four songs that came up around the same time as “We’re Here Because We’re Here”. Those song titled “The Gathering of Clouds”, “Lightning Storm”, “Sunlight” and “The Storm Before the Calm”, obviously based upon this theme, they could not really be separeted. They had to stay together but it was too much to go on the last album, so we said “Okay, this is the foundation of the next thing that we do” and we took them into the studio for the next album. The first thing we did after that was “Internal Landscapes”, which is connected with that as well, but more directly confronting mortality and, you know, the effects of one’s own contemplation on one’s own mortality and the realisation of what that means to you. Ultimately it’s about people. And then the rest of the album grew from that: we had those songs that are linked and then the final song in the puzzle, so all we had to do was to put a couple of songs in between and we had the perfect flow on the album. So it actually happened quite easily, quite naturally.
What about the sound? “We’re Here Because We’re Here” is a very atmospheric album, and after the beautiful orchestral moment of “Falling Deeper” one could have expected an even mellower album. However, “Weather Systems” is much more layered, with diverse influences that make it sound generally more rock-driven. How did your sound happen to go into that direction, this time?
It seems to us that especially in this album each song had to reach a certain level of intensity before we would let it out. So it depends on how fast you reach the crescendo and how quickly you get to that build, the way you get to the climax, or in fact if there’s more than one climax in one song. I think with the last album being orchestral and this one being what it is, you should really realise that anything that we do is not really an accurate indication of what we’re gonna do next, but in some ways I do feel that “Weather Systems” and “We’re Here Because We’re Here” are connected, there’s something similar about those two. Well, given the fact that a few songs were born around the same time, so it’s something to be expected. But the next thing could be ranging further forward. “Weather Systems” is not just an album you listen with your ears only: a great deal you listen with your heart. The emotional impact of this album is immense, I literally can’t go past the first two tracks without crying and the rest are no less intense.
Oh, wow! Yeah, there’s a genuine emotion flow. How could you, as songwriters and musicians, bear such an emotional pressure?
Well, people have different ways of dealing with it. There’s no pressure, to begin with. The emotional intensity in our music is a component, it’s something we have to do, we have to go to those levels. Now, whether there’s always some cathartic element, sometimes I don’t think it goes away just because you wrote the song, you’re not necessarily healed of this thing, you’re just kind of addressing it. Now, how do we cope with things. I personally have a very intense relationship with these songs, but at the same time I kind of “keep myself to myself” as well, so I can have the same kind of experience as you might when I listen to our music, but it depends on which song it is of course. Danny, who writes a lof of these lyrics, on the other hand, he would probably tell you that he’s always kind of dealing with this, everyday anyway, and he’s always that kind of open person to talk about that, if you do know him, so his musical side is natural just like having a cup of tea in the morning, it’s just part of who he is, part of what he does. So, the dealing thing: it takes more than just writing a song to deal with some things, but it’s just natural to write songs about that.
Aren’t you afraid of exposure of your feelings so much to the rest of the world?
Me personally, it would depend. I think, for me personally, yeah. I would say I would keep some things private, some things that I wouldn’t want to say. Similarly, Danny, there also got to be something he would not want to say, but he puts a lot of himself into everything he does. It kind of leaves you open, but that’s the way it is. You’ve got to ask him, you know.
If I get the chance!
Yeah! I don’t know, I imagine he would say that sharing things helps him, that’s the way.
In “Storm Before the Calm” you can clearly hear massive electronic influences. I have noticed that many rock and even metal artists, lately, are drawing from electronica to add a flavour to their work, much more than in the past decade when such experiments were carried out only by the most pioneering bands. What’s your opinion about this massive blend of electronica into rock and metal? And how did it work for Anathema’s sound?
I’m not concerned with the scene. I don’t really listen to metal music, or whatever makes the connection with that, Linkin Park or this kind of things. But I do listen to electronic music. I’ve done that all my life, expecially since I discovered Aphex Twin when I was seventeen. Anyway, sometimes it’s just right for a given song. I mean, that song particularly, it’s kind of like building a psychosis, that’s how it feels. And certain things get across these feelings better than normal things would do, you know what I mean? So that kind of psychedelic-drawn, hypnotic part in the middle is there to illustrate this building of madness, a second wave building and eventually crashing on you, and what you’re left with after that is yourself on the shore, and that first breath that you take aftermaths is that first chord. That’s all you have left at that point. After all, anything that we do has got to be meant. It’s the same for the orchestra too, we only have use for it if the song is calling for it.
So basically it must just suit it.
Yeah, I do think it’s important to remember the fact that you can get across a lot more emotion with a single note played in the right way. It could be on the guitar, it could be from the human voice, it could be on the piano, it could be on the violin, anything, but those kind of emotions are right there in the expression. You don’t need all of this trickery to get across that.
That’s perhaps why the record sounds so genuine. Actually Anathema is one of those bands that managed to stay true to themselves the best. You always sound like yourself, but each release is fresh and unique. You keep your identity while going further in your experimentation journey, each album being a new step forward.
Yeah, I think it’s a step forward down our own evolution, but at the same time I think, musically, if we analyse how it sounds, it seems like being expanding.
It’s not getting different, it’s just getting weird.
And what do you feel you have achieved with “Weather Systems” on your evolution path?
I think we’ve made probably the most cohesive record that we’ve done. It’s one of those reords that passes quicker than you think. It’s fifty-five minute long, but if you listen to it in one go, it doesn’t feel like fifty-five minutes. Just kind of, “wow, what happened?”. So… that’s interesting! That’s true! Okay, it’s enough of a positive step in our own direction. I’d call it the successor of “We’re Here Because We’re Here” and something that sets up things for the next time, the next thing we’ll do. Something that we’re very happy with.
Is there some nice anecdote that occourred while recording or mixing “Weather Systems” that you would like to share?
Oh, all kinds of stuff happened, you know! The entire fact sounds like a funny anecdote. On the third session we were booked on this place that was converted from a nuclear bunker. It’s a building that’s built to withstand bomb blasts. It has six-feet concrete walls, no daylight, no windows, no concept of time. We just worked in the middle of the night, constantly. I had a studio set up in my own bedroom, which was bizarre because I could get up not knowing what time it was and just get to work. Sometimes I woke up and it was before four in the morning, and then was like, “Okay, why am I tired now? I thought it was about twelve o’ clock but no, it’s actually eight!”.
Yeah. There was another time during “We’re Here Because We’re Here”. Danny actually woke up in the middle of the night. He just had this dream and he said: “Fuck, I’ve got to tell you about this dream. This tune was being sung to me and… I need to remember this tune, I need to remember this dream!”. So I was half asleep, I was like, “Ok, well, I get up”, then we switched on the studio to record the music, to record right down this dream, and that became “The Lost Child”.
So that’s the reason why it’s so dream-like, it’s very evocative and onyric!
Yeah! Another story is Joe Geraci, who does the narration before “Internal Landscapes”. He’s still alive. That interview was conducted in 1991. Danny got in touh with the documentary film-maker [Dr. Kenneth Ring ed.], who got in touch with Joe. Joe got in touch with us and we exchanged some correspondance, and the next thing, you know, when we finished the song he was on the phone and I could not believe I had the chanche to say thank you to this guy for this amazing story that he went through, which inspired the song and in time became one of the catalists for making a full record. So, that’s a beautiful thing, it’s almost like it was meant to be, like a collaboration.
“Weather Systems” is going to be released on the 16th April. What are the plans about its promotion? Will you embark a tour, release singles or videos?
There are different formats the record is coming out. There’s a 5.1, there’s a different huge digibook with a 24-page full colour booklet with all the lyris and everything else, and there’s a double vinyl. Of course we’re doing a tour, in which we’ll be performing at the Alcatraz on the 30th of April.
And I’ll be there!
Cool! I think that this time it makes more sense to make a mix of songs from all the album. The tour is coming up about a week or two after the album, so it seems more natural to give people more time to absorb it, to get used to it. And then in the autumn we’re going to come back with a full European tour, probably we’ll get to play in more places in Italy at that point, and I think we can do something more conceptual, like playing the whole album start to finish.
That would be a priceless experience!
I think so, yeah. But I think it makes more sense to do it then. Now of course we gotta go to the rehearsal studio and we’ll have two weeks from now, so if we choose to do it quickly, then right, but I don’t know, it kind of makes more sense to do it at the end of the year
Is there any interesting bonus material that would make up good b-sides?
Yes, there’s a couple of things knocking around, but at this point we’ll see. We’ll put that out.
What about the front cover of the album? Of course, it’s really connected to the weather metaphore.
Yes, but it’s a little bit more surreal and a little bit more like a dream or something. ‘Cause for instance it does look like a seed.
Actually I thought more of a planet…
Also like a planet, but then it’s within a different atmosphere, so is that just hovering, or is it moving, or what? There’s something interesting about this image. And I think that sometimes you have to see the image and the title together, because we may have called this album “Internal Landscapes”, which would have worked just as well, but when I saw the cover with this title, with “Weather Systems”, it made it. It’s more cryptic and I prefere things to be less on the surface, so people have to think about it.
Were you involved with the creation of the cover?
Yeah! It’s myself with my girlfriend Sarah. And the rest of the artwork too.
Can you spoil us something about the booklet, the interior of the album.
Yeah, it’s more directly connected to the metaphore, and it’s based more upon aesthetics and feelings behind it rather than someting kind of conceptual. A lot of the aesthetics in our music is kind of emotional, specifically talking about the story, having a picture describing it. It’s something that feels the same way as the music, as the lyrics. It’s a bit more, you know…
Part of the same artistic experience?
Yes, it’s a bit synaesthetic, in a way.
Actually, one thing I really love about this album is how it gives vivid images in your head. You can relate to with also depending on what you see, like, I was listening to it yesterday on the train on the coast at sunset, and with that music and those colours and hues I kind of got goosebumps all over, I was like, “Oh my God, this is bliss”.
Ah, that’s amazing, yeah! There’s this imagery that is right all through the album in a way, I can say there’s something just in the feeling that evokes these images. Specifically the song “The Lost Child” because it’s written about that dream and it all kind of goes hand in hand, like the imagery is right there in the lyrics, like it’s painting a picture.
Yet, the first time I listened to it without the lyrics, I initially thought of a forest rather than the sea. So it’s kind open to different interpretations as well…
Yeah, similarly if you think of the cover for “We’re Here Because We’re Here”, I’d see that the guy isn’t really there, this is kind of a visual representation of how he is or where he’s at, so the horizon represents the completely open mind, and the colours similarly, and then… yeah, he’s not really there, it’s not a snapshot.
Changing subject, I know this may sound a bit early, but what are your future plans in terms of songwriting and composing new music? Is there any clue about the musical directions you are going to take?
I would say there’s less of a clue in this album, really. The last two albums feel connected, but the next one will be disconneted. Sometimes you have to do things in pairs, but the next thing is going to be different.
Last question: With the benefit of hindsight, would you change anything in your career?
Oh, all kinds of things, yeah! But you learn from these things. One thing about mistakes is that they’re there to teach you something. Or regrets: you’re there to learn from them, just don’t make them twice.
Do you regret anything in particular?
All kind of things, yep. But I have no real time for it, because more importantly it’s a lesson, I think. In my personal life I don’t make mistakes anymore. It’s something that we have to go through in our youth, and sometimes it can be useful. There’s always something to learn, we’re always progressing in some way. But I think I find some kind of contentment now with who I am in my place, in my life, in the world, what I have done. I can be positive and live it the best I can… I can try!
Band photo by Rod Maurice (Le Hiboo)
Review by Danny Robertson
Chariovalda presents this debut EP. Essentially a solo side-project of Sebas (from the band Heidevolk) who wrote the majority of the music, this EP also features vocal contributions from Iné Zijlstra, from the battle metal group Elexorien, in addition to two other musicians - former Heidevolk violinist Stephanie Achatz, and sometime-Rapalje contributor Eva Marks. The musical output here is a slight departure for those more accustomed to Sebas’ more metal-based material with Heidevolk - whilst still sang entirley in Dutch, this release consists of four tracks of medieval acoustic-folk, heavily influenced by German history and mythology, paganism and nature. So whilst the music itself may be different, the influences behind it are still very much the same. The tracks presented here would be the perfect soundtrack to a medieval battle reenactment!This CD would easily appeal to fans of Heidevolk and the likes of Turisas, or medieval themes and acoustic pagan/folk music, and is a good taster of things to come. The EP is available via Chariovalda’s MySpace site, and at live events featuring Heidevolk, Elexorien or Rapalje.
Rating - 80/100
Label : Kabuki Records
Review By Danny Robertson
This is “Defiance”, the second full-length album from British underground act Lahannya who, though possible to classify as an industrial-goth act, mix in many genres into their sound to create something that has proven quite popular both in the clubs and on the live circuit across the UK and beyond, as previous tours have proved. This CD however, takes their fusion of alt-rock, dance beats and gothic metal further and turns up the heat, creating their darkest and most aggressive release to date. Thematically speaking, “Defiance” picks up where 2008’s “Welcome To The Underground” EP left off, as it follows the story of an guilt-ridden underground resistance fighter, in a time where surveillance is everywhere and paranoia rules. Previously involved in the creation of technology to allow this, the rebel is forced to come to terms with what he had once helped to create. Following an atmospheric prelude, the band launches into action with “Dying Inside”, a cool track that looks destined for some radio play, and one which sets the pace for the rest of the album. Other stand-out tracks here include “Brave New World”, the more poppier “Open Your Eyes” (another track which deserves to win them some airplay) and penultimate track “No Way Out”, a potential floor-filler in the rock clubs in the months to come. Frontwoman Lahannya’s vocals have never sounded better than they do here, coming across much more bolder and free of restraint. Rockier and darker than before, “Defiance” should easily please Lahannya’s existing fanbase, and should also pick up some converts too. For fans of Lacuna Coil, Fear Factory, kidneythieves, and Within Temptation.
Rating - 80/100
Review By Danny Robertson
This is the first To-Mera release to feature new members Richard Henshall and Mark Harrington, and with these new members, comes a new sense of maturity to their sound. Confident yet also relaxed, nothing here sounds forced and demonstrates the band’s continued desire to blend many different genres to create their own brand of forward-thinking modern metal. There’s little in the way of repetition here - title track “Earthbound” is an interesting mix of prog metal and laid-back jazz, whilst “Arcane Solace” would easily please fans of the likes of tech metallers Meshuggah and Textures. Taking the blueprint established on previous releases “Transcendental” and “Delusions”, and continuing to build on it, this London-based quintet have produced an EP worth checking out. To-Mera fans will not be disappointed with this one. This would appeal to fans of Meshuggah, Lacuna Coil, Opeth, and contemporary progressive metal.
Rating - 80/100