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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
BREAKING NEWS - Symphonic metal band Leaves’ Eyes Official has just announced the new title album that is called “Symphonies of the Night” and will be released later this year via Napalm Records and in addition to this the band has published a new video for the song “Melusine” that features footage from live shows and festivals like Wacken Open Air. More @(via LEAVES’ EYES: New Album Title Announced « Femme Metal Webzine)
Continuing our little travel through our immense archive, I stop in 2011, so more closer to recent times. Again we have Liv Kristine replying to our questions but we’re talking of “Meredead”, the fourth and last album (for the moment) published by symphonic metal German masters Leaves’ Eyes Official. Check @ (via Interview : Liv Kristine – Leaves’ Eyes (2011) « Femme Metal Webzine)
Now I really want you to come with me and do a little travel in our extensive archive and see what I presenting you again. It was 2009 and on August 26th Symphonic Metal master Leaves’ Eyes was publishing their third album “Njord”. See here, what at the time, the lovely Liv Kristine told us about this release @ (via Interview : Liv Kristine – Leaves’ Eyes (2009) « Femme Metal Webzine)
Interview by Matteo Bussotti
Absynth Aura just published their first studio album, “Unbreakable”. You may think they are all a bunch of newcomers, but…they aren’t! Having played on various tv shows and during some important festivals and venues, they delivered an album which is a good, solid piece of Metal. We just had to interview their singer, Claudia “Klod” Saponi, to hear from her how this band so quickly made their way into the italian metal scene.
Your first song is “Will Is Power”. It is a song written specifically for CESVI and its show “Virus-Free Generation”. Was there something in particular that convinced you to write a song for that show (organized by a charitable organization), in which you officially debuted as Absynth Aura?
I had already written “Will Is Power” a few months before taking part in the competition. The song was born as a “personal reminder”, it’s a way to face up to life, it’s my story and the lyrics make me never forget that. The perseverance, the strength and the determination of the song are the key factors to the success of it.
Talking about fans, I’ve seen that you post lots of things on your wall, as Absynth Aura, but also through your personal profile pages. How important is for you your relationship with fans? In which ways you try to “please” them (I’m thinking about, as I said before, participating in first person to your facebook fan page) and make them feel involved in your activities?
I like to keep my fans up to date with photos, dates of concerts and all the latest news. However personally I do not spend much time on social networks, instead my team-mates are real computer nerds eheh :)
Do you have any precious memories you can recall with some of your fans?
All my fans are always very nice to me. Sometimes they identify themselves in our lyrics and they talk to me about episodes of their lives… precious memories? I used one of their life stories to write the lyrics of a song of Absynth Aura.
Talking about your musical style…you obviously play metal, but it’s unique, and, as you stated, you are influenced by various styles (Funk, Prog, Rock, ecc.). What’s your personal stylistic evolution? I mean, how did each one of you evolved in their style, passing from one to another and how all those styles ended in Absynth Aura and its particular sound?
Every one of us comes from a different musical background and our influences put together have resulted in our typical sound. Personally I think that the musical knowledge that I acquired during the years, such as blues, funky and rock, couldn’t be ignored or hidden away so I decided, even though it was a rock-metal disc, to include it in “small drops”. The result? Well, you have to tell me eheh… I’m satisfied eheh…
What about you, Claudia? Tell us something about yourself, your story! What do you feel it’s your greatest achievement so far, and how did you feel when “Unbreakable”” was finally released?
I was born in a family where music reigns over all. Since I was a little girl I used to dream about doing this job and I thank God that I have the possibility to do something that I really like. To write, to record, to play over and over again, to sing and re-sing…I couldn’t wish for anything else. When I opened the first copy of “Unbreakable” I felt like a child with a Christmas present eheh… Years of work where concealed in that small box…fantastic!
Talking about the releasing of “Unbreakable”, how did you feel as a band? You thought “Now the cd’s out, now can rest” or more like “Our album is out! Let’s show the world how we rock!” ?
Without doubt “let show the world how we rock”! I never stop composing for Absynth Aura, I think that none of us know the meaning of the word “pause” eheh. I don’t consider the release of “Unbreakable” as a finishing line but as a first step along a road to walk down together.
How was your “video experience”? I mean, playing on Rock Tv and shooting your first video for “Desert Flower”?
The Rock Tv experience was awesome! Having the chance to play live in a program that discovers emerging Italian bands was an excellent opportunity for us to get known to the public, and making the “Desert Flower” video was real fun…we have recently made a video for “The Fire in My Eyes” and we’ll release it very soon so…stay tuned!
Did “Unbreakable” make you know any special person? Someone who helped you a lot for your career, or someone who made your road trips funny, or unique in a certain way? What do you think about being “on the road” to play some gigs?
During the “Unbreakable” tour I have met a lot a people and each one of them has left me something special. I think that the most emotional and fun part of our job is being on the road. There are hundreds of stories I could tell and maybe a few of them could be included in our future songs!
What was your best gig so far? And why was it special?
Each gig has something special, the public, the fans who follow us, the energy that we have on stage and the magic that is created each time we play together. It has been defined as the “Circus of Dark Fire Tour” because we have played together with a group of friends very well-known in the Heavy-Thrash Metal world, Arthemis. The public has seen quite a few eheh!
You got a lot of reviews for your “Unbreakable” but what was the one you liked the most? It doesn’t have to be the one from a famous magazine, it can also be a very moving comment on facebook from one of your fans, or something like that!
I was pleasantly surprised in finding out that the reviewers and the listeners have understood the intention I wanted to communicate in the disc, the emotions I wanted to get through have been felt and many people have approved certain style choices. Although the best words have been the ones of a female journalist who probably wanted to fly high the “girl power” flag when she said “all these male rockers will never get the better of you” eheh.
Final question: Any wish you’d like to make for the future? Any hope?
A new disc, a new tour, maybe even overseas and…my team-mates to share all this with me!
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Undertaking the road to success, the Ukrainian band Crimson Sky offers the general public a doom sound, related to gothic melodies. With their debut album “Rising”, the Ukrainians are very energetic and, on the occasion of the release of the album, I got to talk to the founder of the band, Bohdan, and the singer Olga. Here’s to you our friendly chat!
Hi Bohdan & Olga, welcome to Femme Metal.net. Few months ago, your debut album, “Rising”, has been released, for Black Art Productions. How the reviews and feedback have been for this album? Are you satisfied about the result?
Yes, our first debut album “Rising” was released in June 2011 on Black Art Production Label. The reviews lived up to our expectations and the album got a lot of positives reviews not only in Ukraine but also abroad. The feedbacks and the reviews are positive and of course we are satisfied. The listeners make special mention of the vocals – good and strong growl and especially the violin and of course the atmosphere, feelings and emotions of the album.
Your genre is the gothic/doom. Where does the choice of making such a genre come from?
From the very 90s, when this genre only started to develop itself as the musical style – then it touched my heart and impressed me and since that time, for me, this genre is more than just a favorite style, it is a state of soul and my little inner world. That is why, when in 1998 I created my band Crimson Sky, I didn’t even thought of what style to choose, it was positive that I want to play in the style of doom and its sub-style gothic-doom. And all those years I was looking for people who share the same views to gain the best result and, how it often happens, when there are many people in the line-up, everyone has own tastes and views on music and a lot of arguments comes up. It happened to us as well. That is the reason, why for so many years it was difficult to gain a positive result until finally in 2010 I created a new line-up and we worked very hard and as the result we have the album, the success of the album and many concerts and the interest of the organizers. By the way, we’d gladly visit Italy with the concert if there will be an opportunity.
Is there any artist or band that have inspired your work?
Of course. Firstly, there are the grands of gothic-doom music, most of them created this genre and have been playing since 90s! I’ll gladly mention my favorite bands, such as: Tiamat, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Decoryah, Lake of Tears, Therion, Amorphis, Godgory, Grave Flowers, Moonspell, Draconian, Katatonia, EverEve (with Tom Sedotschenko), Nightwish, The Gathering, Crematory, Tristania, Sirenia, Orphaned Land, Dan Swano & Edge of Sanity. Also, among the artists and bands that I like very much, there are: Guns N’ Roses, Manowar, Iron Maaiden, Gods Tower, Dark Tranqullity, In Flames, Death, Sepultura, Soufly, Clawfinger, Machine Head,Tool, Metallica, Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Axel Rudi Pell, Immortal, Roxette, Mike Oldfield, James Horner, Antonio Vivaldi, Il Divo.
Giving a first listen to the album, the first impression I had is that the record is very atmospheric, almost enshrouded, as if it wants to drag the listener into a sort of journey that will lead him/her venturing in the various “chapter”/sides of the record. How the creation of this album was born?
All the lyrics in the album are mine and the lyrics were written before the music in almost all of the songs. And the music was created according to the lyrics – according to its text, to my view as the author. During rehearsals I, the keyboabordist Anatoliy Kyrylyuk, the guitarist Sergiy Medvid and the violinist Lyudmyla Savchuk – piece by piece, verse by verse, couplet by couplet we were creating the songs. Then, when they were practically done, the rest of the band were taking part in the creation – the second guitar (Oleksiy Omelchuk), female vocals (Olga Guziy), drums (Dima Drum) and bass (Ivan Fedorov). Later, when we were working in the studio, in addition to everything, I suggested such atmospheric effects, like the wind and the crows in “The Cross”; the rain in “In Eyes of Mine”. Also the special meaning had the song order, the one that listeners can hear in the album.
The line up has changed a bit, from the previous one only the keyboard player has left. Crimson Sky was born mainly in 1998 and, after some changes inside the band, the band itself was brought to life on May 2010. The following year you’ve worked for your debut album. How many changes have been made inside the band? Which members have joined you?
Yes, like you mentioned, only me, as the founder, and the keyboardist Anatoliy Kyrylyuk are from the old line-up, others were invited by me in the new line-up in 2010. They are people I knew personally, who played in other bands and I invited them to Crimson Sky.
Bohdan… you’re the main author. You sing, you compose, you play. How was, for you, working basically to the creation of an album and keep a solid foundation for the band?
Sometimes we have small arguments in the present line-up, but the musicians always listen to me. Nevertheless we work together and every musician made a major contribution to the album and to its creation.
As I’ve said before, Crimson Sky gained lots of positive critics and reviews, mainly after that your single “Примарний Сон - Illusive Dream” has been published digitally over the Internet. Why have you decided this single to enter the beautiful reality of the fronted female metal?
Personally for me, this song is the most valuable song and the closest to my heart and soul. It is the deepest embodiment of the whole sense of the band Crimson Sky – and its name and content. It is the soul of Crimson Sky – mysterious, dreamy, mystic, and heavy but at the same time romantic. It is a dream. And every piece in the song reminds of that. The violin, the keyboards and the female singing, everything makes is special. Plus the female singing brings special charm to our songs.
Olga, listening to the song “Примарний Сон - Illusive Dream”, I’ve noticed that you use the operistic singing. What were your musical influences? Which artists or bands have influenced your musical growth?
I have been practicing operatic singing since childhood. My favourite band is Nightwish and my favourite artist is Tarja Turunen, I also like the band Epica.
Have you had a school education? What was your musical/artistic education? I graduated from High School and also studied operatic singing in the music school in my city. I don’t have a music education. I have been working on my vocals since the creation of the band in 1998 and all the work I am doing by myself. The recording of the album itself lasted 11 days. Yes, it was difficult to record due to several reasons. We were limited in time and we were in the studio from the very morning till the late night during 11 days. I can even say that we practically lived there and were going home only to sleep. Like I’ve already mentioned, I am the author of the lyrics. The authors of the music are Anatoliy, Sergiy, Lyudmyla and me. Sergiy and I were in the studio all the 11 days not only during the recording of our parts, but on the recording of absolutely all instruments. Others came to the studio to record their personal parts. And also Dima Drum, the drummer, was also present during the recording of all instruments. Peter Zarydnyy - the sound engineer deserves special mentioning, he is the vocalist of the band Merva and our friend. He made the sound engineering, mixing and mastering. After the 11 days of recording, sound engineering, mixing and mastering lasted 4 months and a half. Where does the inspiration for creating your own music and lyrics come from? Doom it is the state of soul, it’s something I feel inside, it’s my own little world and all the feeling and emotions that are in my heart become lyrics and then music. It conveys my personal feelings and helps to create good doom music. Personally for me, it was a bit difficult to record the album in the studio. I recorded my vocals for 2 days and during 2 days I was in the studio, I had to sing and record my parts the best. The recording was in November, when it was dull autumn and my throat is sensitive to such weather, so I had to take care of it and myself and not get cold and make my work perfectly. How do you manage and train your own voice? Do you take singing lessons or have you ever taken singing lessons in your life? How did you prepare yourself for this album? For the recording I took care of the throat, tried not to be tired and was rehearsing my parts at home and on the rehearsals together with the band. In the album, I’ve noticed some heavy sound, like for example in the song “The Cross”. Do you agree with this statement? Yes, according to the content this song is gloomy and that is why its sound is the heavier and the atmosphere is darkest. Yes, indeed. It is really a romantic and sad story based on real events. A long time ago I wrote it as a poem in Ukrainian language and dedicated it to one girl and later it was translated into English and set to music. While creating the music we wanted to convey the feelings through the song. Proceeding with the listening, I’ve noticed that the album ends up with a song, called “Nordlys” which recalls Norway a lot. Why have you chosen to insert this song? In our journey through the album and in the journey through the crimson sky, the mentioned song takes us to the north, where we see the emerald light of the Northern Lights. The song shows its northern beauty and after the tragic song “The Ode” and slightly sad song “Apoptosis” this song completes the album with bright, but enigmatic and mystical mood. At the moment we actively take part in different concerts to support the album “Rising” and also working on the material for the new album and I can safely say that almost half of the album is ready. The songs are already written and we perform them on the concerts, but they are not yet recorded in the studio. Of course, our plan is to record the second album. But we will go to record it in the studio only when the whole material is ready. We’ve already performed with such bands like Helloween, Haggard, Cemetry of Scream – it was a big honour for us. We would love to play with each band that was mentioned above by me and Olga in the question concerning the favourite band and influences. It would be a great thing and honour to perform with them on one stage and cooperate. We would gladly go on tour, but there is no opportunity for us at the moment. We perform a lot of concerts, but we don’t have a booking agency and all of the concerts we organize, look for and arrange ourselves, that is why we would be happy to reply on the band booking proposal for the concert and tour and any interest with our band. Listen to our music, be filled and inspired with it, let everyone find something of their own in it, recommend us to the friends and come visit our concerts. And we, from our side, will reply to you with music and our new songs. Links
I graduated from High School and also studied operatic singing in the music school in my city.What about you, Bohdan?
I don’t have a music education. I have been working on my vocals since the creation of the band in 1998 and all the work I am doing by myself.How much the recordings for this album lasted? Was that hard to record the material in the recording studio?
The recording of the album itself lasted 11 days. Yes, it was difficult to record due to several reasons. We were limited in time and we were in the studio from the very morning till the late night during 11 days. I can even say that we practically lived there and were going home only to sleep.How do you manage the work in the studio? Who is the main person that works on the music and lyrics?
Like I’ve already mentioned, I am the author of the lyrics. The authors of the music are Anatoliy, Sergiy, Lyudmyla and me. Sergiy and I were in the studio all the 11 days not only during the recording of our parts, but on the recording of absolutely all instruments. Others came to the studio to record their personal parts. And also Dima Drum, the drummer, was also present during the recording of all instruments. Peter Zarydnyy - the sound engineer deserves special mentioning, he is the vocalist of the band Merva and our friend. He made the sound engineering, mixing and mastering. After the 11 days of recording, sound engineering, mixing and mastering lasted 4 months and a half.
Where does the inspiration for creating your own music and lyrics come from?
Doom it is the state of soul, it’s something I feel inside, it’s my own little world and all the feeling and emotions that are in my heart become lyrics and then music. It conveys my personal feelings and helps to create good doom music.Olga, was that hard for you working on this record?
Personally for me, it was a bit difficult to record the album in the studio. I recorded my vocals for 2 days and during 2 days I was in the studio, I had to sing and record my parts the best. The recording was in November, when it was dull autumn and my throat is sensitive to such weather, so I had to take care of it and myself and not get cold and make my work perfectly.
How do you manage and train your own voice? Do you take singing lessons or have you ever taken singing lessons in your life?I studied vocals in the music school when I was little. We had many lessons in singing. Now, I sometimes visit a teacher of singing, but generally, I work on vocals myself and try doing it every day. Also I take care of the throat, do not drink too hot or too cold drinks and do not smoke.
How did you prepare yourself for this album?
For the recording I took care of the throat, tried not to be tired and was rehearsing my parts at home and on the rehearsals together with the band.
In the album, I’ve noticed some heavy sound, like for example in the song “The Cross”. Do you agree with this statement?
Yes, according to the content this song is gloomy and that is why its sound is the heavier and the atmosphere is darkest.There’s also a ballad track, called “In Eyes of Mine”. What could you tell us about this decision? I think it’s a pretty romantic and a sad song as well…
Yes, indeed. It is really a romantic and sad story based on real events. A long time ago I wrote it as a poem in Ukrainian language and dedicated it to one girl and later it was translated into English and set to music. While creating the music we wanted to convey the feelings through the song.
Proceeding with the listening, I’ve noticed that the album ends up with a song, called “Nordlys” which recalls Norway a lot. Why have you chosen to insert this song?
In our journey through the album and in the journey through the crimson sky, the mentioned song takes us to the north, where we see the emerald light of the Northern Lights. The song shows its northern beauty and after the tragic song “The Ode” and slightly sad song “Apoptosis” this song completes the album with bright, but enigmatic and mystical mood.Now that the album has been released, what are your next/future projects? Will you go on with the band or will you start something new?
At the moment we actively take part in different concerts to support the album “Rising” and also working on the material for the new album and I can safely say that almost half of the album is ready. The songs are already written and we perform them on the concerts, but they are not yet recorded in the studio. Of course, our plan is to record the second album. But we will go to record it in the studio only when the whole material is ready.Is there any artist or band you would like to cooperate with?
We’ve already performed with such bands like Helloween, Haggard, Cemetry of Scream – it was a big honour for us. We would love to play with each band that was mentioned above by me and Olga in the question concerning the favourite band and influences. It would be a great thing and honour to perform with them on one stage and cooperate.Now that you have a record deal, what will come next? Maybe will you start a tour or will you promote the band and the album?
We would gladly go on tour, but there is no opportunity for us at the moment. We perform a lot of concerts, but we don’t have a booking agency and all of the concerts we organize, look for and arrange ourselves, that is why we would be happy to reply on the band booking proposal for the concert and tour and any interest with our band.Ok, we’re done for now. Is there something you would like to share with Crimson Sky and Femme Metal readers? I give you a blank cheque…
Listen to our music, be filled and inspired with it, let everyone find something of their own in it, recommend us to the friends and come visit our concerts. And we, from our side, will reply to you with music and our new songs.
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
Since the bio on the Midnattsol website (www.midnattsol.com) is writen in German, can you tell us something about the band?
Everything started some years ago, in 2002, when I moved from my hometown Norway to Germany because of different reasons, e.g. my longing for my sister and for learning more about the German culture and language. I was at a new stage in life, wanted to bring the little melodies keep circling around in my head to grow up to real songs by instruments as well. The coincidence was that I told my friends and family about my wishes for founding a band, about the same time Chris H. told about his wishes for founding a band too. So thanks to nice friends, we met in a metal-disco in the nearby of Stuttgart and talked about our plans and wishes. And luckily, we had some of the same ideas. From that point on, things went very fast. Chris talked with some of the earlier members of their Ex-Band Penetralia, Chris M. and Daniel F., and they were curious about finding out what this was. Chris contacted Birgit and we saw that we functions well together as a band, and with this formation we started to make some songs. The writing process went very fast, it was like the ideas popped out of us, it was a great time. But it didn`t stop there, it was only the beginning: in a very short time we made a demo, Daniel D. became a member of the band, we got a record deal with Napalm Records and then it just went up the hill, hehe.
About how you describe your music: what are the differences between the ‘Nordic Folk Metal’ you make and all the other folk metal bands like Korpiklaani, Battlelore and Cruachan?
Cool questions! And great bands indeed! I think that the main difference lays on the main focus; after my opinion Midnattsol has its main focus on metal with folk elements, while the other bands have the main focus on folk, which means that our music is quite heavy and dark. They use real folk instruments as well, which make a big difference for the sound, while the folk elements in our music mainly appears in the melodies, in our concept and in the lyrics. We also stress the word Nordic folk metal and use Norwegian titles and lyrics. So I think that are the main differences, but of course, that is only my opinion.
What made you decide to become a singer? And, who are your big influences?
It is difficult to say why I started with it, but I think I can say that it is my love for music and the great thing by coping with my thoughts and experiences. I use the writing and the lyrics for dealing with all these things, it gives me so much. I started as a little child singing, writing lyrics and stories and making songs, so I sang and made music almost my whole life, but not in a professional way. When I became a teenager I slowly started to get the feeling of founding my own band and when I was 18 I felt ready for it. But I have to say that my aim was never to be a famous singer, earning a lot of money or getting much attention. I work over 100% as a teacher, what I absolutely love, I have two studies, so I don’t try to live from the music, even if I had the chance, I can`t stand the thought of letting money decide which kind of music and lyrics I should make and write, how I should sing, how I should dress, I want to do my thing, just as Midnattsol as a band want. Big musical influences are Anathema, Amorphis, Dead Can Dance, Paradise Lost and Norwegian folk music.
You are Liv Kristine’s sister. She is very famous in the Gothic scene for her work in Theatre of Tragedy, Atrocity, her own band Leaves’ Eyes and numerous guest apperances. Like on Cradle of Filth’s “Nymphetamine”. Does that make things more difficult for you? People will always compare you with your sister?
I would have lied if I said that I never would have thought about it, in the beginning I got totally shocked, everywhere you can read about the comparison between us. In the beginning I felt a bit sad as well, because people didn’t see me as the person I was, only as a sister and I thought that people wouldn’t take me and Midnattsol serious for what we really are. But luckily, I saw after I while that it has much more positive effect than negative. My sister is well known in this business and is touring a lot, so through her a lot of people got to know about us, with other words, for the promotion it opened many doors. And of course, it is positive to have the connections, through her I have since I was a teenager the chance to meet great people in the music business. So I think all in all you can say that it was much more positive than negative for Midnattsol. On the other hand, we hadn’t come where we are now, if we wouldn’t work hard every day, burning for what we are doing and having that quality of the music, lyrics, artwork and so on. It is so difficult to get a good record deal today, it is definitely not enough just to have the same last name as a well-known person, it is the whole package that you have to deliver. Additionally I have to say that I have grown a lot since then and I seldom read what people write about me. I think positive and try to enjoy life as good as possible and I am proud to have such a lovely sister!
Can you tell something about the other members of Midnattsol?
Yes, love to, Daniel D., who plays the guitar, acoustic guitar and also sang on our bonus track October is just exploding of great music ideas and melodies, I love to sit together with him and do some improvisations for new songs. He is also taking care of the organization of transport when we are on the road. Daniel F. is our keyboarder and at the same time he is taking care of the organization of our homepage and myspace. He always wants to try different things out and has a lot of creative ideas; Christian H. is playing the guitar and acoustic guitar and mouth harmonica and is also doing a lot of managing and is taking care of the financial stuff in the band, he knows the music business very well and has good connections. Chris M. is playing the drums and knows a lot about graphic design and does a lot of planning and organization of the concerts and the merchandise. Birgit plays the bass and acoustic bass and is helping Chris with the concerts and me with some interviews.
The lyrics of your last album “Where Twilight Dwells” are partly written in English and partly in your own language. Can you tell us what made you decide to do this?
I have to say that my feelings of the individual songs play an important role for the chosen language, and as on the debut, the languages I sing in is English and Norwegian. I can’t really describe why I do it, it is like you indicate just a feeling that I get when I write a text for a certain song. It comes some text lines in my head and then I often can’t change it, I just have to continue. It has a lot do with intuition, it has to fit with the atmosphere. When I sing in Norwegian, it is very personal for me, it is more close because it is my mother tongue. I also sometimes combine it with songs with folk elements, it fits well together, like perhaps “En Natt I Nord”. It wouldn’t give the same feeling in another language. But at the same time Norwegian is very difficult to sing, and English gives me more opportunities to experiments with words, because English has enormously more words than Norwegian.
Can you tell us how you get the inspiration for a song?
My main inspiration is the mystic and wonderful Nordic nature and the nature creatures in the Norwegian tales. In this clean untouched nature I feel real, I feel alive, I feel that everything flows. The sight of beautiful waterfalls, deep dark green woods, powerful waves of the ocean makes my thoughts escape from this industrial material focused society in kind of another world where these things don’t matter. So the wonderful nature inspires me a lot, and direct description of the nature like e.g. the northern light, magical rivers of powerful winter landscapes, you can especially find in the songs “En Natt I Nord”, “River of Virgin Soil”, “Wintertime” and “Northern Light”, and in the rest of the songs you can find it more indirect. But not only the nature inspires me, a great part of the influences are my thoughts, experiences, happenings in life like and feelings like frustration, loneliness, anger, sadness, but also happiness, hope and love. With other words, the music and the lyrics come from deep within, it’s real, it comes from my soul.
You where responsible for the lyrics on “Where Twilight Dwells”. How does the band Midnattsol write the music. Is it teamwork or is there a mastermind behind the writing process?
Yes, you are right and I have written all the lyrics for “Nordlys” as well, besides the lyrics for the song “October” on the limited edition, Christian H. wrote that one. The writing process of Midnattsol is really a big teamwork, we don’t have a leader or a mastermind that is doing everything or deciding everything. Every band member has the right to say his/her opinion and we always discuss about things together. It takes much time and sometimes nerves, hehe, but it can also be very interesting, all the ideas, we can be pretty creative together! This way of thinking is also very important for us as a band, every individual is important and has something to say. We also don`t keep songs on the records that one member wouldn’t like. So then everybody can identify with our songs 100%, that is a great thing. Mostly someone has a melody or a special idea, each member give their special part to their music, we are reviewing it, we make some changes, new ideas and then the lyrics are written and sometimes vice versa.
Midnattsol means Midnight Sun. What does “Nordlys” mean in English?
“Nordlys” means the northern light in English and is for me to be seen as a perfect symbol for the beautiful but mystical site of the nordic nature, which is a great inspiration for both the music and the lyrics of Midnattsol. This light shows the real beauty of the world, far away from material and industrial things, which only take us further away from the real meaning of life after my opinion. At the same time, the northern light, which appears because of the energetic connection between two extreme poles, the sun and the earth (like you see on the cover, Birgit and I are symbolizing these two poles and the connection between them) stands for diversity, it is made of two extreme poles, and stands as a symbol for treasuring different sites of life, both rain and sunshine. Like I sing in the song “Wintertime”: “How could I ever recognize the light, without dark clouds?.” Everything in the nature is special and beautiful in their way and shouldn’t be seen as negative. The title is also strongly connected with the musical site of the album; the songs are diverse like the northern light as well, they content beautiful and melancholic melodies with inspiration of the folk, but at the same time complex song structures, heavy guitars and loud drums with a lot of double bass are central elements in the music. So the title was chosen because of its perfect fitting to the music and the lyrics on the new album, but also to the general band concept and style. So every element on “Nordlys”, from the title to the layout and so on, is strongly connected, like a whole package, so to say.
And, can you tell us something about the new album. What are the differences between “Nordlys” and “Where Twilight Dwells” and about the songs.
You know, it is really interesting to hear about all the different opinions about the differences, some are like the night and day, so I don’t think there is a 100% answer, it has a lot to do with personal opinions, which are great, because it would be quite boring if everybody would think the same. We in Midnattsol actually think that “Nordlys” is heavier and darker than the debut which I think is connected with the fact that we developed a lot as musicians in these three years. When we started to make the new songs we noticed that we could play and sing more complex and diverse stuff, it was a fantastic feeling, just looking how the band had grown. We wanted to create something new, and the result is what you hear on the new album, there are some differences; more quality and variability from both the vocals and the instruments, more details and extras, which you perhaps don’t notice after only one time listening, more guitar melodies, more complex drums and bass and keys, the vocals have more volume and a lot of different matters to sing are used. Additionally I think the song structure is more progressive than before and the sound is more natural and warm. But even though there are differences, there is a strong the red line to the debut, e.g. the folk inspired melancholic melodies.
Like “Where Twilight Dwells”, “Nordlys” is recorded the Mastersound Studio (www.mastersoundstudio.de) by Alex Krull. Was the whole recording process easier this time?
I have to add some information here. We decided to let different kind of studios with different producers give their best to our new album, so besides the recording of my vocals by Alex Krull at the Mastersound Studio in Fellbach in Germany, the recording of the instruments took place at the Studio E in Mellrichstadt in Germany by the producer Markus Stock. Tue Madsen at the Antfarm Studio in Aarhus in Denmark was responsible for the mix and last but not least the well-known Mika Jussila at the Finnvox Studio in Finland did the mastering. So which you understand, we had a lot of great and professional producers with a lot of experience to give their best into the new album, which we all think they did in such a great way, we can`t describe how satisfied we are! And yes, I think it was much easier this time, I grew a lot during these three years, both musically and personal. I got a lot more experience after recording the first record, you have to remember that Midnattsol is my first real band, before that I only sang and made music on my own. So I feel that after these important experiences, I am on a totally different level now and everything is easier.
“Nordlys” will be released at 28th march in Europe and 1st in North America. The first tour dates of 2008 are Metal Female Voices Fest (18th of October at the Oktoberhallen in Wieze, Belgium) and Summer Breeze Festival (14.08 – 16.08, Germany) MVFV will be the third time in Belgium. Any plans for a tour in Europe and/or North America?
Right now we are in the planning phase regarding live activities, so I can’t say so much about it yet, unfortunatly. But we will come with more information on the new homepage which we just have put online, so you can keep yourself updated there! See you on the road!
And the last question, are there things the reader should know that I haven’t asked?
I want to use the opportunity to thank all the fantastic people out there for the amazing support!! I hope you like the new album, we are so excited about your reactions! Take good care of yourself and have a great new metal year!
And the question from Lithium that won the competition on Femme Metal Forum… What are your thoughts concerning the recent popularity of female-fronted metalcore (The Agonist, In This Moment)? Do you feel that this poses a threat to more-traditional bands such as yours?
Wow, congratulation to you Lithium, how nice of you to ask me that question, it is a really good one! Actually, I never feel threatened in any way, no matter which band. I think that these are great bands and it would be so boring if every band would sound the same, I think it cool with variety. I can’t speak for the other bands, but I have to say additionally that we in Midnattsol do our thing independent of what people think or say, we don’t try to be fashion or something like that, we do what we always wanted to do and what we burn for, and the listeners decide whether they want to listen to us or not. And fortunately until now I have to say that most of the reactions and response were in fact not only good, but overwhelming, which of course we are very grateful for. We just hope that the music of Midnattsol can give the listeners something special like its giving us and the future will show what will happen.
Label : BlueFreya Media
Review by Tony Cannella
Sad Alice Said began in 2005 as an all female outfit called Alice In Wonderland. Since changing the name, the band has undergone some line-up changes and not features a multi-gender line-up. Sad Alice Said recently signed to BlueFreya Music has just issued their debut single for the song “Open Your Eyes”. “Open Your Eyes” begins with some nice piano before transforming into a melodic, Symphonic Metal piece and a song that is not easy to forget once you’ve heard it. The track is 4-minutes long and lead vocalist Alisa Shakor provides an outstanding vocal range throughout, and the usage of violins helps to give it a melancholic vibe. I know it’s only one song, but “Open Your Eyes” has me more than a little interested in what Sad Alice Said has in store on their future recordings.
Rating - 90/100
Label : Napalm Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The German/Norwegian outfit Leaves’ Eyes released their debut album “Lovelorn” back in 2004. Since then they have continued to churn out great symphonic metal releases one after the other. Now, on their fourth studio album, the band just may have released their most ambitious and different album to date, “Meredead”. “Spirit’s Masquerade” opens things and it more than proves that Leaves’ Eyes are in fine form. “Étain” is next and keeps things operating smoothly. The third track “Velvet Heart” has a great almost commercial vibe to it and would make a great single, in my opinion. “Krakevisa” is next and is Leaves’ Eyes take on a traditional Norwegian tune. A cover of the Mike Oldfield (of “Tubular Bells” – the Exorcist theme fame) song “To France” is up next and is a strong rendition of the song. Alex Krull’s production as always is strong and while he does show up once in a while on vocals, it seems as though he is stepping aside and letting Liv Kristine take the helm as the primary vocalist. On the almost 9-minute epic “Sigrlinn” Liv is joined by her sister Carmen (from Midnattsol) on lead vocals, creating one of the strongest moments on “Meredead”. Other highlights include: “Meredead”, “Empty Horizon” and the excellent closer, “Tell Tale Eyes”. Leaves’ Eyes are also joined by a host of guests this time around. In addition to Carmen, the band is joined by members of the band Elfenthal and the Lingua Mortis Orchestra among others. The limited edition version of “Meredead” comes with a live DVD of the band tearing it up at the Metal Female Voices festival in 2010, a bonus track (“Sorhleod”) and some very cool packaging. I would definitely recommend this version. “Meredead” is an album that simply does not let up. It’s true that “Meredead” is perhaps their most unique album to date, but it is still unmistakably Leaves’ Eyes. This is an album that brings Symphonic Metal to a whole new level.
Rating - 95/100
Label : Napalm Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Leaves’ Eyes lead vocalist Liv Kristine is back with her third solo album titled “Skintight”. While her solo career has forged a different musical direction than her main band, one thing is made abundantly clear on “Skintight”, this lady has a great voice and can sing in not just a metal environment.“Skintight” sees Liv taking on a softer rock, dare I say pop approach on her solo material. The sexy “Skintight” opens this 10-song 35-minute album. This song was chosen as the first single/video and was a solid choice. That is followed by two more excellent tracks, the acoustic flavored, “Twofold” and the rockier “Train to Somewhere” which gets my vote as the second video, this is hands down my favorite track on the CD and one I can listen to over and over again. One thing “Skintight” does very well is mix the mid-tempo guitar oriented rock tunes like “Emotional Catastrophes” and the haunting “Boy at the Window” with more acoustic ballads like the beautiful “Love In Grey”, “Lifeline” and “Wonders”. Following in the footsteps of Liv Kristine’s first two solo albums “Deux Ex Machina” and “Enter My Religion”, “Skintight” offers the listener a glimpse into the more accessible side of Liv and her musical pallet.
Rating – 88/100
Label : Frontiers Records
Review by Tony Cannella
“Kiske/Somerville” is the long awaited collaboration between (ex-Helloween vocalist) Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville. When two ultra talented singers come together it has the potential to be obviously very good. I’m happy to say that Michael Kiske and Amanda Somerville have hit a bull’s-eye. First of all, Michael Kiske has always been one of my favorite singers and to pair him with such a great female voice, like Amanda Somerville, is a “can’t miss” event. The songs run the gamut of blazing, guitar oriented hard rock, to symphonic rock, to some truly, melodic and catchy numbers. The opening song, “Nothing Left to Say” even has a “Keepers…” era Helloween vibe to it and gets the CD off to a great beginning. “Silence” follows that up and is the video track for the CD. “A Thousand Suns” is a great mid-tempo, ballad track that sees both Kiske and Somerville singing their hearts out. “Rain” is a bouncy up-tempo number. On this 12-song, 53-minute release, the vocals are split pretty evenly between the two singers as they duet on all of the songs. Other highlights include: “If I Had a Wish”, “Arise”, “End of the Road” and “Devil in Her Heart”. You cannot discount the contributions of some of the other musicians, who helped in the creation of this CD, people like Mat Sinner of Primal Fear, Magnus Karlsson and ex-After Forever guitarist Sander Gommans. On “Kiske/Somerville” two great singers have come together to create an excellent piece of work. It remains to be seen if this just a one off, or we will see more music from this duo. Whatever the case, if this is just a one shot deal, “Kiske/Somerville” has left us with a pretty good album. The song writing, musicianship and vocals are inspired all the way through!
Rating – 90/100