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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Photo by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Gig Review by Marcy Bell
It’s clear: Epica and Italy are entwined. The concert at the Alcatraz in Milan on the 27th October was a huge success for Simone Simons and her fellows. Stage B was almost full, there were more fans and friends than in the previous tour. As in 2008 Epica were supported by the Finnish Amberian Dawn and in this new tour also by the brand-new German band: Sons of Seasons lead by Oliver Palotai. The Dutch band presented live some songs of the new album “Design Your Universe” but most of the show was made with hits from the past such as “Black Infinity”, “Cry for the Moon”, “The Phantom Agony” and “Consign to Oblivion”. The gig started with the new “Resign To Surrender” and then it went into the old mood with “Sensorium”, hands up with Simone and the whole band with the beginning of “Quietus” and then the Oriental style of “Fools of Damnation”. It was time for “Design Your Universe” and the first single “Unleashed”, the beat of Ariën on drums started very loud running through “Martyrs of the Free World”. Epica’s classic “Obsessive Devotion” led the central part of the show, as it’s always a pleasure listen live this song with Mark on growl and Simone running back and forth the stage in a seven minutes Epica-old-style-vibes. “Tides of Time” showed all the deep and sweet part of Epica with Simone solo in all her vocal talent and Coen on piano: a moment that gave you shivers on your spine. The band went again on stage with the last three songs: “Black Infinity”, “Mother of Light” and the techno-version of “Phantom Agony”. The latter was an enjoyable surprise for the crowd that started dancing with color lights as in a dance floor. Good point for Epica indeed. The encore was with “Cry for the Moon”, “Sancta Terra” and the final “Consign to Oblivion”. The show was good, the crowd really enjoyed it and finally we can say that Epica are improving themselves live in every tour.
Gig Review & Photos by Erwin van Dijk
Epica has released their new album and this evening is more or less the release party. And because Epica is sponsored by Jägermeister the first 200 visitors will get an Epic USB stick full of exclusive, rare and previously unreleased Epica stuff. Also, the band will play the entire “Design Your Universe” album at this gig. Like Kamelot and Megadeth last year the venue was indeed sold out and this resulted once again in a queue from the doors of the Paradiso to the Leidseplein (Leiden Square) The last time for me at the Paradiso was for CHIC and Jello Biafra. Jello Biafra is the legendary singer of the Dead Kennedys and CHIC is a funk/disco/rock band from the seventies. Two cool bands but the opposite of Epica so to say. This was the second time for Epica at the Paradiso. The first time was supposed to be released on DVD but all we got was a book: “The Road to Paradiso”. This was years ago and the band has grown since then. Kingfisher Sky is a nice band who had the honour to be the opener tonight. Every band in Holland will sell thesouls to the devil to do a Paradiso gig so this was for Kingfisher Sky the opportunity of a life time. The Paradiso might be one of the most prestigious venues in the Netherlands, it does not have the biggest stage and with seven band members and your own drum kit and keyboards next to all the gear Epica uses the stage was very cramped. But Kingfisher Sky managed to squeeze six songs in the little time they had. Kingfisher Sky had barely 30 minutes. To save the Polar bears there was no light on stage - good for environment but not for us. But there were no budget cuts concerning the use of smoke machines and this gave the gig a mysterious feeling which suited the music. Kingfisher did a good gig but personally I would not be in their shoes this night. Epica is way out of their league and even a band like Within Temptation should be worried right now with this new incarnation of Epica. In short, Kingfisher Sky is an ‘art house movie’ while Epica is popcorn entertainment for the masses.
Maaike, who plays the cello said about this gig: “Supporting Epica in a Sold Out Paradiso really was one of the best things happening in 2009, we had a blast and in our opinion it was over far too soon. Thanks Epica and Epica Fans”. From the first notes it was clear that this gig would contain the usual ingredients: smoke pillars, firework, flamethrowers, etc - enough to start World War III Visually it was a very entertaining show to see but, more important, the songs from Epica’s latest album are strong enough to keep their own against all that visual violence. Not many bands dare to play their entire album live (and if they do, like Iron Maiden, there is a lot of critic and / or negative response) but Epica got away with it. And Medusa, who the true Epica fans will remember from the 2008 autumn gigs, says : “We had a great time, it was very crowded and hot, but of course we added some heath as well :)”. Medusa would also show up at Metal Female Voices Fest, together with Floor Jansen. Like Jello Biafra a month earlier Mark did a crowd surf but while Jello did the full round from stage to bar and back again Mark vanished somewhere midway into the crowd. And the Jägermeister girls also had a small appearance on stage with an air pressure cannon designed to shoot t shirts into the audience. Funny enough a lot of those shirts ended up on stage again. Poor marksmanship I guess. A word about the album: Like the latest Leaves’Eyes I would say it is a save buy for the fans. It has all the ingredients for an Epica album and the fresh blood from the God Dethroned boys makes it more metal. Epica did not reinvent themselves with this album. They took the best parts of their music and improved them even more. And, if I am really honest, this gig was better than the one at Metal Female Voices Fest.
Label : OUTO Recordings/Scarlet Records
Review by Tony Cannella
I had given up all hope that this band even still existed. It has been seven long years since the Finnish hard rock band Lullacry released their last album “Vol. 4”. Now, finally the band returns with a new label (Scarlet Records) and a brand spankin’ new album called “Where Angels Fear”. Musically, not much has changed for Lullacry. They still play hard, straight-forward songs, mixing in hard rock riffs, bordering on metal with healthy doses of melody and attitude. “Antidote to You” gets things off on the right foot, and brings to mind what was always great about Lullacry. There is no major shift in musical style for this band, which is okay in my book. “Still an Angel” is next and speeds up the tempo with a monster guitar riff. Vocalist Tanja Lainio does a great job on the material as she delivers the lyrics with attitude and passion. She really has settled in nicely in the singers’ role for this band. “Thousand Suns” is next and slows the tempo down a bit, but it is still a heavy song and has a goth edge to it. Next is the excellent “Feel My Revenge”. This song features a pretty cool duet between Tanja and producer and ex-Misery Inc. vocalist Mikko Herranen. The following songs, “Bad Blood” (the first video track), “All Behind”, “Gone Are the Days” and “I Am” are all excellent tracks that moves things along at a steady pace. The final track “Stay” is a ballad that brings things to a conclusion on a serene note. Seven years is a long time to wait between albums, but Lullacry has put that time to good use by writing some killer songs for “Where Angels Fear”. Hopefully we will not have to wait another seven years between albums. ”Where Angels Fear” is like a visit from an old friend. Welcome back, guys and girl!
Rating - 85/100
Interview by Matteo Bussotti
After six years from their previous album, Lullacry are back on the scene with a darker, perfectly-crafted new cd, and they’re ready to rock in the best way they can, rewarding all those fans who waited so long for another release. We interviewed their singer, Tanja, who kindly answered to our questions about her life, her career, and the creative process behind this long-awaited new album.
Hi Tanja! Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine, we are very glad to have you here!
Hi to you! It’s great to be here!
First of all, why name the album “Where Angels Fear”? What’s the meaning behind this name?
Well, six years period is a long time to take a break. All is still relative. We needed that time in order to create something new and we finally did. The album name comes from one of the tracks. The song “Where Angels Fear” presents something old and something new. We made the song already six years ago to the previous album, but we never recorded it. It’s a great piece so we definitely wanted it on this album. For us the name means access out from old fears.
What can you tell us about the album? Are you satisfied with it?
“Where Angels Fear” turned out to be darker and not so party rock, if you know what I mean. This new album has its own style, which of course is a good thing. It’s a bit different than previous albums, but still has the same old Lullacry elements on it, you know.
You’ve published 3 albums so far with Lullacry and you’ve played with them for 10 years so far. Has something changed for you from the beginning of your career? In your opinion, how were Lullacry and how are them now?
When the guys asked me to join the band I was like really uncertain what to do. I mean it wasn’t really sure thing to me to join this band at first. Maybe because I wasn’t familiar with this type of music and I was thinking if I had the power to do it. Otherwise I thought that my own unique style of singing would bring its spice to the whole combination and it did. With this journey I have experienced many things and learned a lot. Ten years ago Lullacry were a punch of crazy youngsters with full of energy and now only with full of energy.. haha!!! (Laughing out hard!) The band has grown over the years as a band musically and mentally.
Moreover, how do you want to be in the future? Is there something you feel you’d do, like, I don’t know, trying new musical genres or experimenting with heavy metal?
I have thought that it would be great to do some kind of other music, experimenting new musical genres. Yeah, it would be great. I have always liked many kind of music. Example I don’t have only one genre that I like. Maybe some kind of solo album would be nice. And of course I would like to do my own music too. In fact, I already have a few of my own songs waiting to be finished.
We know Sami plays a key role in Lullacry. What do you think about Sami as a composer?
Sami has his own unique Lullacry style as a composer. He’s really precise on what he’s doing. He wants to keep the puzzle together, you know. The key role is to keep the vision clear. You can easily say that Sami is the engine of the whole band.
Talking about “Where Angels Fear”, Sami said that : “Last year has probably been the best we’ve had in Lullacry, at least when it comes to vibes. And you can hear that in the album. For the first time I made the songs without thinking that I have to do a goth ballad or a rock song. We just did things more spontaneously and it led to an album that is a lot more dark, ambitious and multi-dimensional than its predecessors.” So, how was the creative process behind this album?
Well, Sami just made those songs. He told us that there were no boundaries. Songs are darker and there are also more complicated arrangements. On the other hand there are some really easy songs like “Stay”. That song is very personal to me. I have made the words with Sami and Mikko. On this album there’s also song from our bass player Heavy. He has done a few songs, which is great.
You sang some songs in the album “Virus” for the French power metal band Heavenly. Can you tell us how this collaboration was born? Have you learned something from Heavenly or from the “French way” of doing metal?
Heavenly guys asked me to sing the duet with their vocalist Ben Sotto. It was a cover song called “When the Rain Begins to Fall” (originally Pia Zadora and Jermaine Jackson). When I heard what the song would be I was like yes I want to sing it! Our schedules fit together and the rest is history. Co-operation went really well. It was a nice experiment for me musically! I wish all the best for the band.
What do you think about music industry in Finland? How was working with your producer, Mikko?And how did you feel singing with him?
If thinking the Finnish music industry I think there’s a variation of potential music makers. It just needs more support from the Finnish government. It was really easy to work with Herranen. He has the right attitude on doing things. He‘s also a singer so it was very easy to communicate with him.
Have you already planned a tour for your album? Where are you most excited to go?
We focus on touring this fall. I personally would want to tour all around the world! Example Italy, Spain, Germany, Australia, USA…everywhere! We’ll start tour in our home country. We do not yet have any more plans. Currently we’re focus on getting things together.
Are there any places that you’ve never visited on a tour but you want to, one day? And what is the best place you remember you’ve been while touring?
There are a lot of places I haven’t been before! South America, Italy (expect Rock Im Ring festival), Spain, France… North American tour was awesome! It’s very hard to mention only one best place.
Last question, how’s your fan base in Finland? How and how often do you interact with them?
When we made this new album we didn’t know how our fans would remember us or if they remember us at all. It was great to notice that we still have the loyal fans out here and there. We’re very grateful about it. I just hope that people spread the word about us, because there are still a lot of those fans, who don’t know about the activation.
Thank you very much for your answers and your time! Good luck for everything, I hope to see you in Italy very soon! Thank you! This was a pleasure. We would love to come to Italy! Rock on everybody and check out the latest Lullacry news on www.lullacry.com. Links Latest Multimedia
Thank you! This was a pleasure. We would love to come to Italy! Rock on everybody and check out the latest Lullacry news on www.lullacry.com.
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An Interview with Nera from Darzamat. Nera (real name Agnieszka Górecka) is the singer of Darzamat, a Polish symphonic death metal band. Darzamat will release their latest album, “Solfernus’ Path” at the 28th of August. 2009.
Did you always want to become a singer?
Yes and no, I mean I’ve been singing here and there since I can remember and I knew that music would be a part of my life this or the other way. But it wasn’t my big plan to sing in a band. I’ve always treated it as a great hobby, an escape from everyday life, a perfect way to express myself. However I am very happy I ended up doing what I do.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
Well, I try not to limit myself to one and only genre. I think it is the only way to evolve and free your mind, which doesn’t mean I can force myself to listening to techno. ;) I always pick music depending on my mood, so the range of it is quite wide: different kinds of rock and metal, ambient, smooth jazz and some classical music.
And who are your favourite bands and musicians?
At the top of my list there are Peccatum, Emperor, Ulver, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Leszek Mozdzer, Satyricon and some soundtracks like from Twin Peaks, Requiem for a dream, Dracula or Bastard.
Did you have any other bands before Darzamat and/or are you active in any other bands now besides Darzamat?
Yes, I started in a doom/gothic metal band I co-founded, but that was years ago. Now I am dedicated to Darzamat, although I have to admit I’ve been preparing my own project called NeraNature, which is very feminine and private piece of music.
What does the name Darzamat mean?
The name comes from Latvian mythology and it denotes garden goddess (“darzs” - “garden”, “mate” - “mother”), which I really like as it seems to me very “organic”, close to the nature and paganism.
And how would you describe your music?
The fact is that Darzamat’s music differs a bit from album to album, but it always keeps the sound and melody characteristic of the band. I don’t like talking about music, as it should be listened to. ;) If you would like to know what we do today, check out songs from the last albums at: www.myspace.com/darzamat
Since you cannot erase more than 40 years of communism within a few decades, what are the differences between Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe and the spoiled West Europe when it comes to metal as music and life style?
Actually, when it comes to music, the differences are pretty blurred now. Luckily we’ve got the borders opened and as you know thoughts fly fast ;) The worst situation is when it comes to economy. The good quality instruments cost a fortune in terms of Polish earnings, so lots of talented people are stopped at the very beginning of their possible career. The other problem is the lack of the social approval towards metal music. We live in a Christian country and as a consequence we’ve been treated as renegats and satanists. But at least we’ve got something to fight for (laugh).
Is there any reason why you used English versions of your names on the Darzamat MySpace?
Those are our nicknames, not real names. ;)
Markus is the session bass player - will he go with you on tour or are you looking for some one else?
Marcus’s been playing with us only for a few months and he’s doing really well. We just need to get to know better one another and then the decision to have him as a permanent member will be made.
You are about to release your fifth album, “Solfernus’ Path”. This album will be released by Massacre Records and it will be your first concept album. Massacre Records is not the smallest label and they are the home of bands like Atargatis, Legion of the Damned, Crematory and King Diamond. Why did you choose for Massacre Records?
As far back as in the late 90’s the band was close to signing a deal with them; unfortunately it didn’t come through. So, after all these years we are all the more thrilled to see that the “Solfernus’ Path” ultimately led us back to Massacre Records door (laughs) and that finally we will have a chance to work together. As far as our expectations are concerned, we’d really appreciate much better promotion of our band than we experienced before. The previous companies we worked with had much, much smaller possibilities. That is why I’m positive that thanks to Massacre Records we will take a leap forward. I firmly believe that the experience which the MR staff has gained over the years will result in the chance for many more to even get a hold of Darzamat’s albums. We put a lot of hope in the promotion and distribution prospects of the “Solfernus Path” album and also we are really looking forward with great curiosity to seeing the fruit of our cooperation with Massacre Records over our future albums.
Concept albums are not the easiest pieces to write. Did you plan to write a concept album from the start or did the album evolve into one while writing the songs?
We had the idea of the concept long time before the music was composed. It just needed some time to be born, some research to be done, some ideas to be put together. This time it was Flauros to take care of the whole story. I found it impossible to take part in it, as it had to be a coherent story invented by one mind.
Speaking of song writing, is this teamwork in Darzamat or is there one mastermind who writes the lyrics and music?
It is a kind of a collective work. The instrumentalist compose pieces of music, then the vocalists write lyrics. I also invent all the melodies I sing. Then me and Flauros make vocal arrangements and in the end we all take care of the songs’ arrangement.
What is the story behind “Solfernus’ Path”?
The story told on the album takes place in a mystic scenery as provided by Countess Josephine von Küchmeister’s manor, the inspiration for which we derived from two truly fantastic places in Silesia, namely the Willa Caro in Gliwice and the palace in Plawniowice. The tale itself is set in the beginning of the 20th century. Our main hero is a young medical student who undergoes a spiritual transformation - he experiences the existence of the incorporeal world and perceives the other side. The whole story is permeated by a fairytale-like atmosphere, full of occult key concepts. Nothing is obvious, nothing is predictable. Naturally, the eponymous Solfernus is not the main hero, he’s just a gray eminence. This character is respectfully lifted from a work entitled “Playing with the Devil”, written by Czech dramatist Jan Drda. Still, this is just inspiration, an impulse which does not mean we take Drda’s story as-is. In fact, his play is grotesque and rather humorous. Our story, on the other - left! - hand (laughs) has a totally different character, closer to horror stories of a Polish classic Stefan Grabinski than to the work of the Czech playwright.
Andy LaRocque from King Diamond (and he appeared on the Death album “Individual Thought Patterns”) also has done a part for “Solfenus’ Path”. How was it to work with him again? Also Andy LaRocque was the producer of the Darzamat album “Transkarpatia” (2005)….
Yes, we did meet during the sessions for our previous album. We’ve been in touch ever since, and when another occasion for cooperation arose, we didn’t hesitate for a second. Him playing a solo on a Darzamat album was a dream come true; it was really supernatural that he agreed to participate in the sessions. This is the most important album in the history of the band, and it took us a lot of work. We poured loads of energy and emotions into it, and the presence of LaRocque on this album is the crown jewel in the whole structure.
Another familiar name is Jonas Kjellgren from Scar Symmetry. Did you look for another producer this time or was it clear from the start that Jonas would be on the job again?
We were well acquainted with Jonas’s previous production work: Katatonia, Sonic Syndicate, Centinex or Steel Attack, to name but a few. But it was our friend Marek Dobrowolski, drummer for One Man Army and the Undead Quartet, who recommended Jonas to us, as he had worked with him before and knows his skills and abilities first-hand. The preliminary talks with the Scar Symmetry guitar player made us feel very optimistic. Jonas mixed one song of ours and the effect was staggering. It only reinforced the idea that it had to be him. The cooperation was smooth; Jonas is very patient and listens carefully to any sort of suggestions from the band. In my view, he is presently one of the best young generation producers, in Europe anyway.
The main difference between “Solfernus’ Path” and it’s forerunners it the fact that “Solfernus’ Path” is a concept album. Are there other differences as well when it comes to the music on the album? I feel a completely new quality was brought in to our music. Additionally, we realized that this album was supposed to create interest in the record label circles. That’s why we took extra care not only to write and record great music, but also to achieve the best possible sound. Plus, we paid a lot of attention to the visual side of the whole endeavor, working on the photos and the cover. All details of music, arrangements and the artwork were taken into consideration. I’m positive that after getting acquainted with the album, the fans are going to say that it was really worth the wait. Getting back to the music itself, this time around we started working on everything much earlier. Before entering the studio we prepared a very good demo. That allowed us to work out all the small details well before the real thing started. I admit we worked like this for the first time and we are really satisfied with such tactics. When you listen to the practically ready piece which sounds as good as it can at the preproduction stage, you can analyze the arrangements one more time and have less of a trouble imagining its final shape. Entering the studio(s), we knew exactly what we wanted and how the songs were supposed to sound. And our guidelines were simple enough: to record the most thought-out album in the history of Darzamat, on which there would be at least a couple of truly fantastic songs. I know we did just that (laughs), but that’s also for the fans to decide. Let’s hope the best! (laugh) No, seriously- exactly because of the fact we couldn’t appear there last year, we would like to double the energy for all those who expected to see us and were disappointed. We promise to do our best and additionally it will be a chance to present some stuff from the new album. If there is, I believe we will have some more talk in the future. ;) Thank you for your interest in Darzamat! Horns up! Credit Photos Photos by Sebastian Cviq Links
I feel a completely new quality was brought in to our music. Additionally, we realized that this album was supposed to create interest in the record label circles. That’s why we took extra care not only to write and record great music, but also to achieve the best possible sound. Plus, we paid a lot of attention to the visual side of the whole endeavor, working on the photos and the cover. All details of music, arrangements and the artwork were taken into consideration. I’m positive that after getting acquainted with the album, the fans are going to say that it was really worth the wait. Getting back to the music itself, this time around we started working on everything much earlier. Before entering the studio we prepared a very good demo. That allowed us to work out all the small details well before the real thing started. I admit we worked like this for the first time and we are really satisfied with such tactics. When you listen to the practically ready piece which sounds as good as it can at the preproduction stage, you can analyze the arrangements one more time and have less of a trouble imagining its final shape. Entering the studio(s), we knew exactly what we wanted and how the songs were supposed to sound. And our guidelines were simple enough: to record the most thought-out album in the history of Darzamat, on which there would be at least a couple of truly fantastic songs. I know we did just that (laughs), but that’s also for the fans to decide.Darzamat is will appear on the Metal Female Voices Fest this year. Darzamat was supposed to do a gig at this festival in 2007 but had to cancel it sadly. What can we expect?
Let’s hope the best! (laugh) No, seriously- exactly because of the fact we couldn’t appear there last year, we would like to double the energy for all those who expected to see us and were disappointed. We promise to do our best and additionally it will be a chance to present some stuff from the new album.And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
If there is, I believe we will have some more talk in the future. ;)Thank you for your time!
Thank you for your interest in Darzamat! Horns up!
Photos by Sebastian Cviq
Interview by Ed MacLaren
After more than ten years and four albums Germany’s Mandrake continue to impress with their doom inflected brand of dark gothic metal. On their latest release, “Innocence Weakness”, Mandrake continue to expand and refine their trademark sound and deliver a stunning album that enraptures the listener from start to finish. Femme Metal got the opportunity to chat with vocalist Birgit Lau about the evolution of “Innocence Weakness”.
Congratulations on the release of “Innocence Weakness”! It’s a wonderful infusion of gothic metal and otherworldly images – lyrical and musical. You must be very satisfied with the final product. What about the creation of “Innocence Weakness” gave you your greatest satisfaction?
Thank you very much for your appreciation. Indeed, I’m satisfied with our new album. It’s hard to say what gave me my greatest satisfaction. It always is a wonderful experience being in the studio and doing all the recordings and finally being able to listen to the final product.
“Innocence Weakness” features Mandrake’s doom metal influence but it’s also filled with moments of ethereal beauty. There’s almost a 90s British shoegaze feel with the layered guitars and keyboards on many tracks. Did the band decide to take a different approach to this album after the success of “Mary Celeste”?
Fortunately, we don’t stare at our shoes when performing, I mean, maybe just if the shoes are brand new! The comparison of Mandrake to British shoegaze is completely new to me but I do understand what you mean. I wouldn´t say that we took a different approach. I mean, a couple of years have passed since we released “Mary Celeste”. Of course, we matured and so did our music. What I want to say is that we didn’t change anything on purpose, so I wouldn’t call it a different approach.
Musically, “Innocence Weakness” has more layering of instrumentation, blending the instruments into a wall of sound – singularly lush and distinctive. You’ve developed a musical style that sets you apart from other metal bands – especially of the femme metal variety. Was this a conscious goal for Mandrake?
No, I wouldn’t call this a conscious goal. We neither wanted to imitate a musical style nor did we consciously set ourselves apart from one. We’re just performing the style of music we like and we can identify with.
“Prelude”, “Innocence” and “Weakness” are beautiful instrumental pieces that thematically frame the vocal tracks on “Innocence Weakness”. They ease the listener into the album, provide a cleansing reprieve at the midpoint and softly conclude the listening experience. Did you structure “Innocence Weakness” to provide an emotional journey of contrast and relief for the listener?
Your vocals provide an excellent ethereal contrast to the down-tuned guitars, driving rhythm section and keyboard washes of Mandrake’s music. Plus you’ve developed a unique vocal style that avoids the typical femme metal clichés. Your voice can float over the waves of music behind it but can also cut loose on tracks like “Serenade to the Sea” and “Indignation”. How do you approach developing your vocal melodies for the album? Has this approach evolved over time?Oh, wow I’m starting to blush. Thank you very much.
Interview by Claudio Grippi
After a two-year break from their album “Altitude”, the first lead by the new singer, Autumn are back with their 5th album called “Cold Comfort”. Marjan Welman, the current singer of the band, took the time for an interview here at Femme Metal where she talks about the album, its concept and the future plans of the band.Hi Marjan, how are you?
I”m fine, thank you!
Let’s start immediately with our interview. “Cold Comfort” is your second album that features your voice fronting the band. Are you satisfied with the outcome?
I”m very happy about the outcome. I”ve always felt like a part of the band but I’ve never felt so at ease with all of the guys, like right now.
I think the title really suits the overall feel of the album. It’s a personal, moody album which can get quite dark at times. All of us went through a turbulent time. The album is about rising above this, or not
Well, let me tell you, this record is incredibly beautiful and more progressive-oriented. It seems more accurate, emotional and detail-oriented than “Altitude”. A step forward indeed. Do you think it is intentional or does it reflect the natural evolution of the band’s sound?I think it’s a little bit of both. We always want to do something extra and try new things but for this album we really tried to be more diverse and experiment with different moods. I”m just glad it came across.
Can you tell us how the band went through the writing process for this album?For the most part, we write the songs individually, then we send them to the rest of the band. Whoever has an additional idea, he adds it and then sends it to the rest of the band and so on. This goes for the music as well as the lyrics. We do sometimes get together to work on stuff as well.I read the band is extremely grateful to you as a band member because you brought a breath of fresh air. What was your personal contribution to the songwriting process?By nature, I”m not much of a composer. I’m always full of ideas, but when it comes to processing them I get stuck easily. I’m too much of a chaotic, haha! For this album I did get inspired a bit and I worked on “Black Stars in a Blue Sky” and “Truth Be Told” with Mats. He has the ability to understand what I”m rambling on about and put it into actual lyrics.I think this album is a masterpiece and your voice is extremely soulful, elegant, refined with an amazing magnitude. What are the main singing influences that have inspired you the most in these years? Thank you very much! Well since my taste in music is very mood driven, I listen to a lot of different music and therefore have a lot of influences. As long as there’s something ‘real’ (to me) in there, I dig it. I love emotional music. Right now I listen to a lot of Fink. I also listen to a lot of blues, stoner and Motown! Choices, choices!
In your opinion, are there any differences between the way you sing in “Altitude” and “Cold Comfort”?
Oh yes, I can hear I”m more relaxed and confident to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to explore more sides of my voice. I think it worked but I always want more“Alloy” is one of the best songs I have ever heard together with “End of Sorrow” and “Black Stars in a Blue Sky”. They are so deep and intimate. Can you tell us something about the concept, the lyrics and the ideas behind these songs?The songs and lyrics do have a specific meaning to us but the power lies within the fact that listeners can have their own interpretation of it. For example take “End of Sorrow”. On the first spin it may look like a romantic song. But you can also ask yourself if the storyteller might be a little obsessive about a happy ending. Maybe he or she can’t let go/accept the fact that something is over.What are the band’s future plans after the release concerts in the Netherlands?Well, we really enjoyed the shows we did so far. It feels good to be on stage together again. We had so much fun! Furthermore, we’re working on a few shows in Germany and are hoping for a tour or maybe some festivals over the summer. Last year you toured with The Gathering and it appears that you are great friends. Are both bands planning to tour and play together once again?Oh yes, it was so much fun. They’re a bunch of sweeties! About touring with them, I would love to but there are no plans that I know of right now.Epica is currently looking for a band to tour with in Europe when the new album is to be released in March 2012. Would you like to go on tour with them?Of course we would love to! If we were their support, people would be in for an evening of various musical styles. Just the way we like it!
I think it”s a bit difficult to write about the songs individually, since “Cold Comfort” was written as one complete concept. I’d rather read honest listener reviews than to reveal the secrets up front.The songs we could not listen to were the bonus tracks. What can you tell us about them?The songs are called “Changes for the Bitter” and “The Mute (Inhale)” and they fit the rest of the album seamlessly. “Changes for the Bitter” is a sturdy rock song around an odd-time signature. “The Mute (Inhale)” is part 1 of a mini concept with “Truth Be Told (Exhale)”. I would recommend listening to them together for the full experience of the concept. We thought about these songs for a long time but feel they stand better on their own.Marjan, thank you so much for your precious time! Is there anything left you would like to say to our readers?You”re very welcome and oh yeah! Buy the album, love it and come to our shows, haha!
LinksMarjan Welman : MySpace * Twitter
Label : Prophecy Productions
Review by Luisa Mercier
Nucleus Torn is a Swiss alternative/metal band that has a lot of influences: from folk to ambient, to prog to post-rock. The present recors is a kind of prequel for the trilogy that the band has released in the previous years formed by the albums “Nihil”, “Knell” and “Andromeda Awaiting”. The main mastermind is Fredy Schnyder and around him there have been many musicians. The line-up has changed a lot in the years. On “Golden Age” Maria D’Alessandro and Anna Murphy from Eluveitie sing. The title-track is also the opener and is an elegant, classy 12-minute acoustic/prog/folk track in which just the piano, the flute, the strings and the acoustic guitars can be heard while female and clean male vocals duet in a melacholic dialogue. Really beautiful, though not an easy song to listen to. “Hunger” is another acoustic song in which Anna Murphy delivers once again a moving vocal performance especially when backed by strings and drums. The song becomes epic and in the end the folk feeling is very apparent. Patrick Schaad is behind the mic on “Silver” together with female vocals. His soothing, warm performance makes this prog track even more fascinating. Just piano and strings, til now there was no hint of rock or metal. Distorted guitars appear on “Against” but there is no violence or harshness, they are 100% prog, somehow this track remembered me a mix of old Opeth and new Opeth, the ones from “Heritage”. “Ash” finally has metal/rock riffs, after an acoustic intro. I would rather call them post-rock riffs which alternate with calm moments and true metal style, you can even hear a solo! Last song is “Death Triumphant”, another very long song which mixes metal, post-rock, folk, prog and even jazz! A real listening experience. “Golden Age” is a complex record, one you want to listen to in the right mind setting, otherwise the risk is that you might find it boring. To tell the truth it is very well crafted and it deserves more than one listening session.
Rating - 80/100
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
With a new member inside the project, Nucleus Torn comes back with a new album, called “Golden Age”. We’ve met Fredy Schnyder, the main composer, which told us something about this latest album and some revelations about Anna Murphy!
Hi Fredy, welcome to Femme Metal.net. After 15 years of the creation of your own band, what’s new for Nucleus Torn?
On “Golden Age”, we’ve significantly expanded our line-up. Whereas we had seven musicians on the first three “real” albums, we now have thirteen. Some instruments have been forced a little bit into the background, others come to the fore more often than before. Most importantly, the album focuses on the vocals, we’ve worked a lot on that part of our sound. In the past, we treated vocals as another instrument, on “Golden Age”, they clearly lead the songs.
What are the main influences of the band? Did you take inspiration from any band in particular?
Nucleus Torn has many influences; so many, that it is impossible to single out any of these. We are fascinated by all kinds of music, and you can obviously find traces of all of them on our records. Progressive rock, jazz, metal, folk, pop, classical music (from the Medieval ages to the present) – you name it. On “Golden Age”, the focus is primarily on progressive rock, I decided to explore this area of interest to a further degree.
Between the creation of the band and the release of the very first album, “Nihil”, released in 2006, many years have gone. What was the reason of this long wait?
We (I) did a couple of EPs, I also worked with other groups at that time. When I’d finally figured out that I couldn’t work with other bands, I decided to focus on Nucleus Torn for good and accepted that I needed (and wanted) to do the majority of the work myself – songwriting, performance, recording/engineering, layout, packaging, releasing, advertising. That’s when things started to work out and NT could attract other talented musicians willing to share in my adventure.
You’re the main person who most works on this project. How do you manage the entire work you have to do in the studio?
I like to work.
Before the release of “Golden Age”, Nucleus Torn released the last chapter of the trilogy who ends up in “Andromeda Awaiting”. Why have you choosen to complete with this album?
Interestingly enough, “Golden Age” is part of that collection of albums, too. “Golden Age” is a prequel to the other three albums, that makes it a tetralogy. I needed to find the roots to the story we told on “Nihil”, “Knell” and “Andromeda Awaiting” in the present, in our own society and culture, and deal with them on an artistic level.
Recently, you’ve taken part as guest musician in the forthcoming Eluveitie album: how was working with those guys? If I’m not mistaken, you had already worked for some instrumental track in “Evocation – part I”…
Yes, you’re right. It’s always a pleasure working with them. First, Chrigel engineered my sessions for “Evocation I”, then I engineered Meri’s violin recordings for “Everything Remains”, now Anna engineered my session for “Helvetios”, which was pure joy. Ivo was kind enough to give me a lot of advice on how to record metal guitars… Last but not least, I joined the band to perform “Meet the Enemy” live in Zurich a few weeks ago. So I got to know the band pretty well, we get along on a personal and professional level. As I said, it’s always a pleasure.
How many musicians/artists/bands you’ve worked with so far? Which is the artist/which is the band that gave you the most at a personal and artistic level?
Oh God, so many I’ve lost count (but certainly not track). It’s not possible for me to decide on one particular person/performance. It’s a big puzzle and everyone I’ve worked with has contributed a share to it.
What have you learned from them?
New sounds, new ways to work, new ways to arrange, new ways to record/mix/master, sometimes new ways to look at music/art and its place in life.
Recently, Anna Murphy joined the band. What could you tell us about it? What were the reasons about this choice?
I like her voice, her songwriting skills, her wonderful vocal lines, she plays several instruments, she’s going to be an amazing engineer one day… Well, she’s got an exceptional talent. Plus: we seem to understand one another pretty well. She’s one of the very few people that I will be able to write with.
What are the goals that you’re going to ask yourself a few years from now? What, however, will be the future projects?
We’ll find out. “Golden Age” was the end of the first professional phase of Nucleus Torn. I spent more or less every single musical idea I’d had and absolutely had to take a break from writing, which lasted for almost two years, in which I completed “Andromeda Awaiting”, the compilation “Travellers” and “Golden Age”. I needed to shut down and restart. As for the present, all I can say is that we are working. As usual.
Are you going to tour Europe very soon?
We’ll see. Having a new singer and multi-instrumentalist on board, there are new options. Time will tell.
Is there any artist or band you would like to cooperate with in a nearest future?
I’m quite sure that there will be fascinating things in store for me, there always have been. I don’t think that this will necessarily mean that I’m going to work with/for some of my “idols”, after all, there’s no guarantee that we would actually enjoy this and create something of exceptional value.
Thanks so much for the time you’ve given us. Is there something you would like to tell to Nucleus fans?
Thank you for your continuing support, enjoy our music.
Label : Alfa Matrix
Review by Luisa Mercier
After several years, the Belgian duo Aiboforcen finally releases their 5th studio album. In “Dédale” various genres of electronic music are explored: you can find harsh industrial beats but also some synthpop, trip-hop and EBM. The elements of the different styles are mixed quite well and the vocals of Ayria contribute to make everything flow together. The overall mood is quite dark and gloomy, disturbing; but now and then there is a ray of light for example “Time & Space” is a nice catchy electro pop song. There are also some guests vocalists on the album. Laether S. lends “Poem of Life” a hard industrial sound, the same happens with amGod in the song “Parasthesia”. While on the U2 cover of “New Year’s Day” we find Ayria who graces the song with her light, soaring vocals. Last but not the least, Donna of Ego Likeness on “The World Below”, which sounds much more grounded than the other songs on the album. Overall, it’s a very solid release and can also be considered a nice starting point to check the band back catalogue.
Rating - 80/100