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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Let’s stay close and from Ukraine now we go to Russia always under the same label (Solitude Productions) with the debut of the Atmospheric Gothic Doom metal band AUT MORI called “Первая Слёза Осени” (“Pervaya Slyoza Oseni” – “The First Tears of Autumn”). This bands features in its ranks three former members of Auto-De -Fe and this album was mastered by Jerry Torstensson that figures here as the guest drummer too. Also the album sees the guest starring by Olof Gothlin, responsible for the violins on Draconian’s “A Rose for the Apocalypse”. Our dear reviewer Vard Aman this time nailed an ace review rating it 92 out of 100; as Vard states “If you like Doom Metal, especially the melancholic atmospheric side of Doom Metal, then your collection simply would not be complete without this album in it.” - so you love Draconian and this side of the Doom Metal? Make it yours but before read the review @ /(via Aut Mori – “Первая Слёза Осени” (“Pervaya Slyoza Oseni” – “The First Tears of Autumn”) (2012) « Femme Metal Webzine)
Label : Rare Noise Records
Review by Luisa Mercier
In May 2010 The Mantra ATSMM finally released their debut after all the expectations built up by their promising EP “Rooms”. The full-length succeded in getting raving reviews both in Italy and abroad, confirming the band as one of the most important post-rock realities in a country where this genre is almost unknown. “Defeated Song” is a sophisticated, elegant, classy record opened by “Golden Mermaids”. This already is one of the highlights of the album and is opened by guitars and vocals, the voice of Adriana, a disturbed angel. The first single is the following “Septembers”, a bit more lively than the previous one, playful but always with a vein of melancholy. Last verses are in Italian. Again sad and nostalgic is “Mangrove” with a hint of electronics in the end. Adriana performance is quite emotional here, mixed with piano and synth. My personal favourite is “Blanca”, maybe one of the most complex songs on the album, but really you can perceive the vibration of every instrument, the quiet, the sadness, the sweetness. There are many emotions in this track, all to be discovered. Gothic, romantic mood is what we find in “Rooms” and it goes on the same atmosphere in “The Inner Season” which is decadent, gloomy, dissonant, while closing track “Lines of Fire Bless The Mountain” is warm, sweet, romantic. It is sad to see such a talented Italian band forced to find success abroad, but we Italians know how the scene works here, so I am happy that they found someone able to appreciate them in England (their label).
Rating - 70/100
Label : Independent Release/Revalve Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Pursuing the End is an interesting little band from Italy. In 2011 they released their 4-song 15 ½ minute EP, “Dawn of Expiation”. Now the band returns with a new 3-song, 10 ½ minute single titled “Withering”. There is actually a lot to like about this operatic, symphonic metal band as their debut EP hinted at. “Withering” is mostly a good effort. The male vocals by Giacomo Benamati are clean metal vocals, no screaming or grunt here, they are more along the lines of the male singer from Visions of Atlantis. The angelic sounding female vocals by Caterina Bonfanti are excellent as well. Unfortunately though, in my opinion the female operatic vocals are a little too over-the-top. Others may disagree and find this right up their alley, but I think Pursuing the End would be better served if they toned down the opera elements. That is not to say that there are not parts where it could definitely work.“Overture” starts things off with its orchestral intro setting the stage for “Withering” which starts off with the ultra-operatic vocals when Giacomo takes over and the angelic female vocals come in, these definitely save the song for me. There are a hint of grunt vocals in the background but they are very low in the mix. Musically, “Withering” is a beautiful song that shows that this band is capable of so much more. “A Glimpse of Forbidden” closes out the trio of songs and once again has a lot going for it musically. Thankfully the band relies mostly on the clean male vocals and the angelic female vocals and strong choir-like background vocals. The operatic vocals are utilized but not as much as in the previous song. “Withering” is definitely a step forward from “Dawn of Expiation”, but the operatic vocals are certainly going to be an acquired taste for some, but others may love them and others may be turned off by them. There is no accounting for taste, I guess. Pursuing the End is a good band, but in my opinion could be so much better.
Rating - 75/100
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Gone Til Winter is a melodic metal band from Manchester (UK) with some progressive and power melodies embodied in the sound. Still “unknown” to many people, this band is trying to enlarge their music and trying to get a name all over Europe. With a new album that will come out this year, Gone Til Winter is proudly spread the word and for this reason, we met Talena Cuthbert, the vocalist of the band, who kindly presented the band and said something about her future goal. Check it out!
Hi Talena, today you’re our guest on Femme Metal. First of all, how are you doing? Would you like to introduce yourself and the band, saying something about your biography, how were this project born for those people who haven’t had the chance to get in touch with your music?
Hi Femme Metal! We are: Talena Cuthbert (Voice), Jonathan Gruzelier (Guitar), Rosie Smith (Keyboard), Shirezy (Bass) & Ollie (Drums), collectively known as Gone Til Winter. Jonathan & I started this band about 10 years ago now. I have always been in bands from about the age of 13…It is totally in my blood to perform so I don’t think I’ll ever be stopping! If you are searching an in-depth biography, check our site :)
Gone ‘Til Winter comes from Manchester and that mainly plays melodic metal, but your influences also involve the most various genres like progressive, power and gothic. What were your biggest influences?
Gone Til Winter has evolved quite a bit since the beginning, seeing many lineup changes as well as a darker, heavier sound wash over us. We now like to describe ourselves as UK Dark Melodic Power Metal. We have so many influences from many different genres, I guess because we all are in to slightly different things. Some examples are Iron Maiden, Katatonia, Led Zepplin, Heart, Skunk Anansie, Kamalot, The Mission, Opeth, Warlock and so many more!
“Deconstruct The Season” was the first EP and it got lots of positive reviews. Did you get the same “treatment” with the self-titled EP and with the record “The First Season”?
Yes. Both have had mixed feeling but generally people are very positive…even people that aren’t it to metal have said they like it!
From “Gone Til Winter” you’ve published the single “Hear Me” and it has been recorded a video clip for it. How have you lived this experience?
We all really enjoyed making the music video for “Hear Me”. It was something that none of us had ever done before so we were quite nervous but it was so much fun too!
A new record is scheduled to be out this year and it will be called “Hiding from the Sun”. What can you tell about it?
This new album is what we have all been waiting to do! It is a dark, powerful heavy moody album, full of great riffs melodies and an atmosphere that will leave you with goose bumps. We are all so excited about his as we are doing it all on our own – no record company telling us what we can and can’t do – so it is exactly who we are!
Along with the official release of the new record, it is also schedule a tour in the UK. Would you like to tell us something?
We are hoping to put together a UK tour for May 2013 and then maybe get a few shows in Europe too.
Your sound is quite influenced by bands like Lacuna Coil, Nightwish and Evanescence, just to name a few. What did cause this choice? They are so famous bands in the metal panorama scene…
We don’t ‘choose’ what we are going to sound like as our song writing process is very embryonic. We are all individually influenced by many different bands and we write the songs all together. I hope that each listener finds themselves hearing many influences of their liking.
Listening to “The First Season”, I’ve noticed a few influences related to prog and medieval melodies, especially in “Distant Places”… but I’ve also seen that that are some softer songs as well. What could you say about the recording process of this album and what about the music and lyrics instead?
“The First Season” is a mixture of earlier Gone Til Winter songs…something for the fans. The first two tracks (“Solemnise” and “Heat Signal”) are the most recent, both being recorded as demos in 2006. We were hoping to put these two songs on to our self titled EP but they never made it on there. They are probably the most heavy songs on the album and defiantly leading toward the sound that we now create. The next three songs (“Kill Me”, “Utopia” & “Deep Sleep”) were all recorded in 2004. They were the first three songs that we ever recorded! It was with the original members of the band. The last three songs, the acoustic tracks (“Distant Places”, “Release –Acoustic” & “Constant Retreat – Acoustic”) were recorded around 2005. Jonathan & I went through some pretty tough times and ended up writing “Distant Places”. We decided after a while that we would like for our fans to hear this as it was such an emotional thing for us to do, so we recorded all three acoustic tracks.
Inspiration is something that is quite “difficult to get”. How do the music and lyrics branded “Gone Til Winter” come to life? Do you also make that so-called team work or does each band member do his own work?
To start off with, one of us will come up with an idea – a riff, a beat, a lyric – and then we throw it at the rest of the band. Sometimes we’ll go away and work on parts on our own but mainly all the music is jammed out. Lyric wise, I do like to take myself away from everyone else and write. The lyrics are sometimes quite personal so I need to get myself in to the right frame of mind to get the creative flow.
The artwork of the album is very curious. I don’t know the reason why but in a first moment, it reminded me the artwork of the movie “The Silence of the Lambs” :) Who has taken care of the cover of this record? What is the concept that is behind that image?
Actually for “The First Season” we ran a competition in schools and colleges across the UK for someone to come up with the artwork. We thought it would give up coming artists a chance to showcase their work!
In this record your potential is clearly visible and I assume that we will hear from you soon in future. Have you already decided your next goals? I know that you’ll play somewhere in the summer season…
We are all taking things one step at a time. We are really looking forward to the summer show across the UK before we take a break to get our new album finished off.
As I mentioned before, you’ll play at Bloodstock on August 11th. What can you tell about this gig? I know that lots of your fans are waiting for this moment for so long…
We are so excited! We are playing on the New Blood Stage (unsigned artists). Because of the buzz that always seems to surround the New Blood Stage there is always going to be an element of pressure to deliver the best you can. I’m so looking forward to it though, hoping to release our sound to a much wider audience!
If I’m not mistaken, you’ve also signed a deal record with Headroom Records. Are you still working with this label at the moment or are you searching for something else?
We signed a licensing deal with Headroom back in 2008. They were very good with us, getting our music video made and getting our first release out there. We are no longer with Headroom Records. Everything we do, we do on our own so it does take a lot of time, but I am so proud of where we have got too.
Ok, let’s change the topic for a while. Along with Rosie Smith, your keyboard player, you’re the only woman inside the band. How do you face this situation? Do you manage to assert your own opinion among the guys?
Always…I am the boss! Haha! The guys in the band are great. We all have equal opinions and we are all equal in the decision making too. It is very difficult being in a male dominated industry so even the guys in Gone Til Winter feel the frustration that us ladies get when confronted with discrimination. We are like a family really. All best friends with no egos, it’s great!.
Talking about fronted female bands: is there any band you would like to start a collaboration with or would you like to work with?
I would love to collaborate with Heart. Ann & Nancy Wilson are amazing!
Thanks so much for your willingness. You have carte blanche to share some words with our readers and your fans. See you soon :)
And thank you!
Interview by Robin Stryker
Hailing from Norway, gothic metal band Where Angels Fall breaks out of the mould with electronic elements, groovy guitar riffs, and rock-inflected tracks. Femme Metal sat down with vocalist Eirin Bendigtsen to find out more about the history and future of Where Angels Fall.
Hello Eirin, and welcome to Femme Metal! Would you start off by introducing the members of Where Angels Fall and telling us a bit about the band’s history?
Hi! Where Angels Fall is André Bendigtsen, guitar and programming, Kristian Svenning, guitar, Espen Lohne, bass, Jarle “Uruz” Byberg, drums, and myself, singing. We started as a band in 2004. Back then, we had another drummer and Kristian was the bass player. In the beginning, we were very inspired by classical music and vocal music from the Middle Ages. Now we have a more electronic and rock-inspired sound.
What are the best and worst things about being married to a fellow band member? Could you imagine sharing your life with someone who is not also passionate about music?
I think the best part is that we are having a project together and share a lot of good experiences. I think the worst part is that it is easier to get annoyed/get angry at your partner than with the other members of the band. I think that it would be really strange to live with someone who is not interested in music. I see a lot of musicians who have to work hard with their relationships if their partner doesn’t share a passion for music. Being a member of a band consumes a lot of time, energy and money and you often have to use vacation days to do concerts. It is not easy to be the “musician-widow” sitting at home at weekends, while the partner is out with the band.
As I understand it, you were the bass player in a number of bands before joining Where Angels Fall as the lead vocalist. Why did you make the switch?
I made the switch because I found that I enjoyed singing much more than playing and that it is easier for me to use my voice to channel out my musical feelings. It was also strange for me to have other people singing my songs. It was OK, but I always felt that other vocalists made the songs different.
Does your background playing the clarinet and bass affect how you approach writing songs?
I think that playing bass has affected the way I write music. Before, I often used to start with the bass when I made a new song for a band. I don’t think that me playing the clarinet has made too much impact on the songwriting but I have some basic theory and training in composing music. That is often affecting the way I think when I make the choirs and instrumental parts for WAF.
The first thing that grabbed my attention with the “Marionettes” album was the lovely cover art of an angel dangling from a puppet-master’s hand as she tries to bite through the strings holding her. Please tell us more about the creator and idea behind the artwork.
The artist that made the painting for us, is a painter/coverartist from Belgium called Helcanen. We made sort of a competition on MySpace to get someone to draw or paint for us. We got a lot of good proposals, but Helcanen had something special. We had a process of mailing ideas back and forth. We wanted the cover to reflect the basic idea of the album; that we humans somehow are marionettes in this society. Although we have a free will, we are trained/socialized to be the way we are expected to be. The message is that we don’t have to. It is possible to think outside the box.
For those who have not yet heard “Marionettes”, can you describe the album’s sound?
The album is sounding like a mix of groovy guitar riffs, electronica, drumming from someone who has been playing black metal for years, classical influence, choirs,and a female voice. Some say it is sounding “angelic” but I think I disagree, it is sounding more alternative rock/metal.
In what ways has the music of Where Angels Fall evolved since its earlier EP “Dies Irae” and full-length album “Illuminate”?
I think the music has evolved to a more rock and electronic sound. “Dies Irae” and “Illuminate” was more pronounced classical sounding, as the songs were composed in a more classical/traditional way. After “Illuminate”, we started to experiment a lot more, trying out new approaches to songwriting, trying out other sounds. Some of the new songs after “Marionettes” are a lot harder than anything we have done before, and other songs are more like glossy eighties-sounding. ;-)
Where Angels Fall uses Latin from Catholic liturgies on a few of the tracks. Why do Latin passages appeal to you as a songwriter?
I think it has something to do with the veil of mystery that colours the lyrics when we use the Latin liturgy. I also find the content of the liturgy we have chosen, to be meaningful for people who live today. I have made my own interpretation of the Latin parts.
Unlike the two earlier discs which were released by Edgerunner Music, the band self-released “Marionettes”. Was the do-it-yourself route a good experience?
It was a lot of work, and we have learned a lot from this experience. It is risky to self-release in terms of money.
The band chose “Female Stigma” as its first music video. Are the lyrics “work twice as hard as, be twice as smart as, sing twice as good as” based on your own experience as a woman in the mostly-male world of metal?
Congratulations on your recent single “Indifferent”! Is a new album in the works?
Thank you! Yes, we are working on a new album, but I am not sure when we can release it.
Where Angels Fall toured this Spring with Theatre of Tragedy, on what may be its last major European tour before calling it quits on 2 October 2010. What were the most memorable parts of the tour?
There were a lot of memorable parts of this tour. They are really great and nice people. They treated us very well. We had a lot of fun! Most of the concerts was a really great experience.
What does the rest of 2010 look like for Where Angels Fall?
The rest of 2010 looks like recording, I think.
Thank you so much for talking with us today, Eirin! Do you have any parting words for your fans at Femme Metal?
Thank you for this great interview! If you haven’t heard any of our songs, please go to www.whereangelsfall.com and check out the soundclips there! :-)
Interview by Tony Cannella
In the past 30-years trends have come and gone in the fickle music industry, yet German thrash metal legends Holy Moses remain. They may not be the biggest band in the world or have achieved a huge worldwide fan base, but for over 30-years they have remained true to themselves and their core audience, and whatever you think of the band, they deserve respect. Recently Holy Moses issued a 2-disc compilation to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the band. Lead vocalist Sabina Classen and bass player Olli Jaath were kind enough to talk to us about it and other things involving Holy Moses.
First of all, congratulations on 30 years in existence for Holy Moses. Please tell us about the recently released 2-disc compilation.
Olli : Many thanks. We sat together in the Absurd Studio in Hamburg and listened to all records except the latest one (“Agony of Death”). We looked for the songs which the fans want to hear and those which are great but not so common. Additionally we checked our fan club network. I think we found a good balance. It´s great to have the old tracks now in a great sound robe. All of them sound much heavier and better than on the old records.
Are you doing anything else to commemorate such a milestone?
Olli: Well. Not really. We are looking forward to playing our next shows. We already started the songwriting for the next studio record. So we are busy to do our next step.
How do you feel about the 30th anniversary? Do you ever get a chance to reflect on the past 30 years?
Sabina : I feel wonderful with the 30th anniversary. I am reflecting a lot of times about the past 30 years. Especially when we recorded the album, a lot of memories came back into my mind. I remembered names and situations with the band and I was laughing a lot of the time to myself because we did so many things without knowing anything about promotion, marketing and management. I did the things like I was feeling, sometimes really naïve. But I think this keeps us still working on. I think this is the wonderful thing with Holy Moses; we only do what we love to do.
How did you both come to join Holy Moses?
Sabina : It is a real true and funny story. My boyfriend Andy was playing in our school band Holy Moses – Andy Classen – and I was sitting in the rehearsal room and listening to them. One day, bandleader and boss Ramon Bruessler (bass) fired the singer and so Ramon said to me – “Hey Sabina, you are sitting here, doing nothing, go to the microphone and sing”. I answered to him “I can’t sing”, but he gave to me the microphone and I had no other choice and I did a deep growl, I was wondering to myself what came out of me, and I thought, now they know, Sabina can’t sing. Ramon got a big smile on his face and responds to me – “do it again”, I did it again, and he said “Sabina, you are the new singer of Holy Moses”. I thought, this guy is kidding me, but it was true. It was the date, 3rd December 1981, and since this date I am the singer of Holy Moses.
Olli : Sabina and I have known each other since 2000 and I joined Holy Moses in 2006. Sabina asked me to help them out for some gigs as a bass player. Normally I play guitar. Besides Holy Moses I play the guitar for my other band Reckless Tide. After Thomas entered the band I switched from bass to guitar.
How do you feel Holy Moses has changed and evolved in the last 30 years?
Sabina : I think we did always what we were feeling. I have many sides in myself, and the most important fact is I am not thinking about it, I just do what I like to do and feel.
Olli: Holy Moses went through many musical changes. Heavy Metal, thrash metal, death metal, Punk, Hardcore but the thrash factor was always the dominant part. Nowadays I would say that Holy Moses stands for a more complex kind of thrash metal with a heavier weighting on hook lines and melodies.
Can we expect new material from Holy Moses soon?
Sabina : My guys in the band are working already on new material, and I am always writing lyrics. So I can work on my daily impressions about life.
Olli: Yes, we are already collecting ideas and riffs for the next record coming out 2013. So don’t worry.
When Holy Moses first got together, who would you site as your influences?
Sabina : I really don’t know. At the time I just loved Black Sabbath, AC/DC. I did not have so many albums, and I was not listening so much to music. I think my life influenced me always, and this is still going on, all that I am doing is coming deep from my soul.
For you, what has been the highlight so far?
Sabina : My highlight is that I am doing Holy Moses since 30 fucking years, so my highlight is really to do all these years. I was able to visit so many countries and getting in contact with so many people around nearly the whole world. I think getting in contact with so many cultures is the biggest highlight you can get in your life.
Olli: My personal highlight was our tour through Japan in 2009. It was our first time and it was very great to meet all the people, discover the country and play all the shows over there. I hope we can come back very soon.
Any low points?
Sabina : Yes, like life can be, but each low point lets me get more energy and experience for my life. I think everything in your life is something you have to do, to get into the next level of your life..
Olli: Yep, our tour with Benediction in 2008. This tour, thanks to our former booking agency MAD, was horrible and done without any organization. The tour bus broke several times including a fire, venues didn´t know that we are coming, no advertising, etc. Everything bad you could imagine happened. The cool thing was the great relationship between the guys from Benediction and us.
Sabina, You were one of the – if not the – first women in extreme metal. Do you feel like an influence or inspiration to others who have followed?
Sabina: Yes, I really know now, that I was the very first growling and extreme music woman in metal. And I think this is also a milestone and something real special. I feel great with it, if anybody - male or female - got from my music and my strength power and energy to do also steps in his life, to be happy.
Sabina, I read somewhere that you are also involved in managing bands. Can you please tell us how you got into that and are there any bands we should be on the lookout for?
Sabina : I did some years, a kind of helping hand for some younger bands. But I stopped with it, because I love to have my music as a kind of hobby, to work on myself. In my other life, I am working as a natural humanistic psychotherapist and this is what I love to do for my profession.
Which do you prefer, the management or performance end of things?
Sabina : The only thing is to perform on stage in metal – and doing management is nothing for me anymore. I am not a really good manager, because I do not like to be in stressful situations with people, so I do not like to make hard business decisions.
You also joined Doro on stage for her 25th anniversary. What was that experience like?
Sabina: Yes, I joined Doro on stage – often times – she is a really good friend of mine since the 80s, and every time when we have the chance to sing together, we always do. To be on stage with her on her 25th anniversary was a really great moment, Doro is a great woman.
Obviously the music industry has changed since Holy Moses first began. What do you feel has been the biggest difference and most positive development in music over the past 30 years?
Sabina : Ha ha ha, yes so many things have changed, but not Holy Moses – and one thing of the wonderful new world is the internet, so I can be in contact with our friends all the time. About the bad things I do not want to think about it, I take the development like it is and a try to always make the most positive out of it.
Who are some current bands that you like?
Sabina : I still love all the stuff like Ozzy Osbourne, but also I like my mates from Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, Tankard and Doro, Slayer, Tom Gabriel Warrior and still Venom and Possessed – but I am listening mostly in my silent moments to world music.
Olli : I am still a fan of the bay area thrash metal. Bands like Exodus, Testament and Anthrax influenced my play. I still like the last outputs of these bands. To mention newer bands I can say Havoc and Warbringer.
Sabina, in the mid to late 90s you also fronted a band called Temple of the Absurd and released two albums. What is your opinion of those albums today and do you think they might ever get re-issued?
Sabina : It was a great time with Temple of the Absurd and I learned a lot of things for my life. It was really a time of a Rock’n’Roll life, and I think I will have this always in my soul and mind. I do not know yet, if we will re-issue these albums.
At that point, why did you opt to form a new band and put Holy Moses on hold?
Sabina : At that point, some things changed in my life in private ways and so I had to do a new step in my life and I was feeling that I had to have some experiences, and like my motto – Just do what you feel.
What can we expect from Holy Moses in the future?
Sabina : Holy Moses
Olli : A new record and hopefully many live shows.
Thank you Sabina and Olli for taking the time to answer these questions and congratulations on 30 years, here’s to 30 more. In conclusion, is there anything you would like to add to this interview or say to the fans? Olli : Many thanks for all the support over all these years. We will see you on tour. Thrash on!! Links
Thank you Sabina and Olli for taking the time to answer these questions and congratulations on 30 years, here’s to 30 more. In conclusion, is there anything you would like to add to this interview or say to the fans?Sabina : So many thanks for supporting us over all these years – and being behind us, and giving us the chance to go on with something we love to do.
Olli : Many thanks for all the support over all these years. We will see you on tour. Thrash on!!
Interview by Robin Stryker
It was my profound pleasure to interview Charlotte Wessels and Martijn Westerholt, the vocalist and founder/keyboardist of Dutch symphonic metal band, Delain. Happily for me, the band was in my hometown of Atlanta for their U.S. debut at ProgPower USA. After fortifying ourselves with some Italian food, we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.
Charlotte and Martijn, of course, did all the work – even taking turns later in the night interviewing each other, whilst I sat back and giggled. (I swear it was their idea). Read on to find out what happens when band members, who are good friends in real life and extremely funny in person, get to turn the microphone on each other.
Hello Charlotte and Martijn! Last time Femme Metal talked with Delain in late 2009, you had recently headlined at Metal Female Voices Festival and were starting your tour with Sonata Arctica. Since then, you have released “April Rain” in the U.K., done headlining tours and have just performed at Wacken Open Air. How was Wacken?
Charlotte: It was awesome. Yeah, it was really great. We played at the Party Stage and there were lots of people there all cheering.
Martijn: And it was a PARTY! We were very surprised the party stage was called the “Party Stage”. It was amazing.
And that was just one of a lot of festivals that Delain was at this year, right?
Charlotte: We also did Sonisphere in the UK, which was REALLY amazing. I guess that was one of my favourites as well, next to Wacken.
Martijn: Mine too, absolutely.
Now, having sampled festivals all over the world, what has been the one where you thought everything just came together – the fans were on, the equipment was working, everything was perfect?
Martijn: We never had that. (laughs)
Charlotte: No, we’re still waiting for it. I mean, it’s taking FOREVER.
Martijn: (laughs) I’m just kidding, of course.
Charlotte: I guess Lowlands in 2009, which was really awesome. It’s a Dutch festival and I’ve been going there every since my parents allowed me to go to festivals, basically. Then, finally to be up on the stage there. And it was a good show, too!
Martijn: It was a really big festival with something like more than 50.000 people.
Charlotte: I think even 60.000.
Martijn: I think it’s one of the biggest in Holland. So, everything went perfect, and it was a really, really good show.
I understand that after ProgPower, Delain will make its first appearance in Mexico and Brazil. Do you have anything special planned for those shows?Charlotte: The fact that we will be there is kind of special. The special thing for us about Brazil and Mexico is that they were one of the first countries who had a really loyal and active fan-base. A few of the first fan-sites that popped up were the South American ones. And then you hear all the stories from other bands that it is crazy and wild over there. So I think we are as much looking forward to how they are going to be, as they are looking forward to how we are going to be. Martijn: Yeah, absolutely! And of course, you’re going to hear Charlotte talking Portuguese and Spanish.Charlotte, have you memorized some phrases and basic greetings? Charlotte: I actually contacted some fans … like “Oh, it would be so nice if I could say something!” … and sent them some stuff that I would like to say. I’m going to practice with them. I’m always trying to do that. And if I don’t get to memorize it, then I’ll just secretly write it on my hand. (Oh no, I’m telling my secret!)Martijn, how about you, or are you going to phone it in?Martijn: Yeah well, I don’t look forward to it. I think it is an average tour.Charlotte: Just another day at the office for Martijn.Martijn: But TOTALLY the other way around. It’s already great tour right now. We didn’t even play yet and it is already great being here in the States. I’m really looking forward to South America. As Charlotte said, we heard a lot of positive, crazy stuff from other bands there. And it is also always a really good sign if you have already developed a fan base and you didn’t even release anything yet or play there. So they deserve having us there, and we are really looking forward to it.
You’ve got very little time between ProgPower and Mexico, but have five days between Mexico and Brazil. Have you pencilled in some fun while you are there, maybe some sightseeing?Charlotte: We’ve had a lot of fun today!Martijn: We’re taking the car from Mexico City to São Paulo, so we needed five days. (laughs) No, we’re not. We have a couple of days off and we are going to do some sightseeing in Brazil.Charlotte: Destroying some more pools on the way over there.Martijn: Yeah, exactly!Charlotte: We’ll enjoy ourselves.I was really interested to read on Delain’s website that October 29th is actually the last show in Holland before the new album. Where are you on the new album?Charlotte: We are writing it. We have some songs and ideas for songs and we are hoping to get into the studio and get on going with it really quickly.Martijn: When we are back from this tour, actually the biggest part of the writing starts then. Then we really are planning to do a lot of stuff. Charlotte: We are going to lock ourselves in together.Is that what it takes when you are writing? To just step out of your lives and hunker down to write?Charlotte: If you have unlimited time, I don’t think you would need it. But at this point, we want something to happen fast. So, it is just making the circumstances to write more optimal.
Martijn: And it is also very easy if you sit together, to develop the style you want to do. Because you always want to innovate a little bit. When you are on your own, you cannot do that. So you need to be together for that. We have a lot of activities normally … without writing even … so it’s very important to really focus on it and don’t have any distractions. So we hired a small farm house in Holland and we are going to write and hope something good comes out of that.Charlotte, when you first started with Delain, a lot of the material for “Lucidity” was already written and you were doing vocal lines. And then in “April Rain”, it was much more collaborative. Now that you have worked together on two albums and know each other’s style, what is the process like? Charlotte: Actually, a lot of parts stay the same but some things change as well. I guess we are still working the same way. It is just that you get together earlier in the process, which makes it easier to respond to each other. At least for me, I like it better. I mean, the filling in the gaps on “Lucidity” was really cool but it’s richer to be there from the beginning and see how everything develops.
Martijn: Which I think we have to look into, if that is the most efficient way. But that is something for the future. Also still, the way of working is still moving. And that is good, because we are still exploring.
Your bass player, Otto der Oije, is a VERY recent addition to Delain. Would you tell us a little about him?
Charlotte: He was with us for the first time at the headline tour in the U.K. earlier this year.
Martijn: This felt like … I don’t know if it is also an American saying, “a lot of the lottery”. Something like that. What is the American saying?
Charlotte: Luck of the draw, that’s it.
Martijn: Exactly. It’s really great … really, really great with him.
Martijn: Because you achieve it yourself. But you also achieve it because of the people who visit you and who buy your stuff. They also achieve it for you, and that is very important to keep in mind.
Speaking of that, you spend A LOT of time on social media … you tweet, you write tour blogs, you’re taking pictures and posting them. “Here is where we are, here is what we’re doing, here is my kitty, here is what is going on in my life”. How do you keep that up when you are on the road, recording, writing music and living your lives?
Martijn: It is especially because of Charlotte, I think.
Charlotte: Actually, I went into the whole thing kicking and screaming, when they said, “Now you also have to do Twitter”. Of course, I liked the social networks and everything that is on there and it offers a lot of possibilities. But it wasn’t until the Twitter thing that I actually got really ADDICTED. But, it’s actually the most short and effective and fun way to get in touch with the people who like to follow you. Because, even if you are on MySpace and want to answer everybody, you can’t. With Twitter, it’s just 140 signs and you have a really short connection to everybody. It works, you know? You see that people actually FOLLOW you and you get kind of a gratitude for letting people know what you are doing.
Martijn: It gives energy.
Charlotte: That makes me feel happy. It’s like kind of a confirmation that what you’re doing is cool. I mean, of course, you don’t need other people to say that, but the fact that they do is fun! My parents ask me when I’m on tour, “You’re going to tweet a lot, right? We want to know what you are doing”. Sometimes my parents are like, “Hey, I read on Twitter that you are eating healthy foods”.
Martijn: It is also a blessing because I’m SO bad, I suck so much with this stuff. I want to get to answer but I sound so bad. It’s also a guy thing … I have a feeling that girls are better at this kind of stuff. Set aside that. I don’t want to blame it on the general male side and have to blame it on myself.
Charlotte: Actually, I never heard the thing that girls are more computer nerds than guys. I never heard that one before. (laughs)
Martijn: Not really computer nerds. I mean like being thoughtful about having good contacts. That’s what I mean. It’s good that Charlotte does that.
I’m curious about the extent to which the art history degree Charlotte is studying now colours your lyrics writing? The lyrics in “April Rain” have a very strong visual element.
Charlotte: When “Lucidity” was recorded, I wasn’t at university yet and was 17. So that wasn’t like an influence back then. The lyrics for “The Gathering” were written by Guus and there were some songs written by another guy who had some really poetic stuff on there, which was really cool. I kind of needed a dictionary for some it, though. They are not my words but I was in a band with him before and he really influenced me in the way you look at lyrics. Still, it is a very different kind of lyrics than ones that I would write.
Martijn: But also very complicated words sometimes.
Charlotte: They were REALLY good-sounding and with a really good metronome to it. They were really well thought over and excellent. But it is still different when it’s your own thoughts put to words. And from that, I think it has changed much from “Lucidity” to “April Rain”. I guess those are a little bit more personal. But on the other hand, when you are talking about really regular things — like things that happen to you in day-to-day life — it is interesting to put them in a different kind of form. If you look at the art history study, it helps to have a different way to say something. Like if you are looking at “Virtue and Vice”, it is about the virtues and the vices. You are talking about wanting to be something better and reaching out to them and saying, “I wish I was more like this virtue, or I wish I didn’t have so much of that vice in me”. It is just a more interesting way to say actually the things that I guess everyone thinks about every once in a while. So you keep them lyrically interesting but still comprehensible.
I’m feeling kind of lazy. So Charlotte, why don’t you ask Martijn some questions. And Martijn, what would you like to ask Charlotte? The ruder, the better actually … please do my job for me. J
Charlotte: (laughs) Martijn, what have you got in your suitcase right now at this tour that you are really ashamed about?
Martijn: That’s a good one! So, whatever I answer will be bad. I’m a totally boring guy if I have nothing and that’s not good. OR I have something really strange, which is also not good. So, I’m screwed both ways. Let me think, what do I have in my suitcase that I’m afraid might be found and am ashamed about?!? I think I’m a boring guy.
Martijn: No, actually.
Charlotte: Ah right, it’s the first day of tour.
Martijn: I think I wipe my ass very well. You asked for it!!!
That is SO being published.
Martijn: No no no no, don’t publish that! Don’t put that on the record … “wipes his ass very well”. No, I really, honestly, cannot think of anything. Actually because my bag was stuffed with a lot of equipment.
Charlotte: That is true. We didn’t get to take a lot with us, so we didn’t get a chance.
Martijn: I have a book of Napoleon and some history. I’m a real history addict, so I know exactly who is there on the walls. (Points to pictures of monarchs and military figures in the restaurant.) But anyway, to answer your question, I’m boring.
Martijn, what embarrassing questions might you have for Charlotte?
Martijn: Actually, I’m even meaner. I want to know …
Charlotte: He’s going to ask something that he already knows, that is really embarrassing. And then he is going to ask it anyway.
Martijn: No no no. What question would you REALLY hate to get in an interview … where you think, “Oh no, not THAT question!”
Charlotte: “What’s your favourite colour?”
Martijn: That’s a little bit disappointing.
Charlotte: I was just trying to keep it safe.
Martijn: Yeah, because she had her period back then, and she was very annoyed. This kind of stuff.
Charlotte: Exactly, exactly. Probably those kind of things. Or people who ONLY ask things that are in our biography at the website. Because then you just know, you didn’t do your homework. That too.
Martijn: Okay, your turn I guess. If you have another.
Charlotte: My all-time favourite question, which I was asked once by a Japanese guy, and it is the weirdest question I ever got. If you were a fish, then what kind of fish would you want to be? They actually asked me this. I was like, “Salmon or tuna, salmon or tuna, salmon or tuna, salmon or tuna …?”
Martijn: I would like to be a dolphin.
That’s not a fish, dude.
Martijn: That’s true, that’s true. It’s a mammal.
Charlotte: A starfish is cute, like a little starfish.
Martijn: A brown starfish. No, I’m more into lobsters, but that’s not a fish either.
Charlotte: Man, know your animals!
Charlotte: What about the Nemo fish. The Nemo fish is cute.
Martijn: That is gay. I think I would like to be a …
Charlotte: … you’d be an eel.
Martijn: An eel, yeah! Or a herring.
Last question and then “goodbyes” to all.
Martijn: What do you like about the lyrics of “The Gathering”? (sinister laugh)
Charlotte: I like the fact that no one until today has really figured out what it is about. Yeah, that is what I like most about it, I guess. And the lyrical theme is quite cool.
(Martijn continues laughing)
Charlotte: Asshole. (laughs)
Do you have any last profound and deep words for your friends, admirers and would-be stalkers at Femme Metal?
Charlotte: Please stalk us. We need the attention, especially Martijn.
Martijn: Don’t read this interview more than once.
Actually, read it again but backwards. It’s much more profound.
Charlotte: Yeah, there are hidden messages!
Many thanks to Charlotte, Martijn and Delain’s tour manager Rik for being charming dinner companions and utterly gracious throughout. Our thanks also to Dave at EarsplitPR for arranging the interview.
Label : Scarlet Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The Italian band Evenoire has been with us since 2006 and in 2009 they gave us a decent four song EP called “I Will Stay”. Now the band returns with their full-length debut “Vitriol”. It is a well known fact that the country of Italy has give us many, many great female fronted bands and with “Vitriol” Evenoire are sure to add to the Italian tradition of great metal. On “Vitriol”, Evenoire really doesn’t create any boundaries for themselves, they aren’t beholden to any one style, and that is refreshing. They combine the best elements of symphonic, folk, gothic and progressive metal with a medieval vibe in some of the songs to create one of the best albums of the year thus far. Vocalist Lisy Stefanoni’s has so many layers to her vocals and is a powerful presence throughout the album. As far as pure singers go, she is one of the best that I have heard in a long time. Of course opinions are all subjective but I would put her in the same class as Floor Jansen, Simone Simons, Sharon den Adel and Tarja Turunen, she is that good. The intro “Vitriol” is a quiet piano and symphonic piece that leads into the symphonic “Days of the Blackbird”; this track features blasts of heaviness and changing tempos to deliver an excellent opener. Lisy sings in both an operatic and soaring rock style, something she is able to do throughout the album is sing in a number of different styles in one song. “Misleading Paradise”, opens with a flute played by Lisy (which is prominently featured throughout the album), before the crunching power riffing of guitarists Alessandro Gervasi and Toshiro Brunelli joins the fray. Damn, this song is just so infectious it is impossible not to like. Aside from the flute this is actually a pretty straight-forward rock/metal tune. This is just pure awesomeness. “Forever Gone” is next and has a slower heavy tempo to it, and features some death grunts (just a little bit) in the background. The intro “The Prayer” (featuring only acoustic guitar and soft vocals from Lisy) leads into the folk-ish beginning of “Girl By the Lake” which is one of two songs over 7-minutes long (the other is “Misleading Paradise”), this song fast became my favorite – it kind of reminded me of “Mother Earth” era Within Temptation with Lisy sounding a bit like Sharon den Adel at times. Next is “Minstrel of Dolomite” which kind of has a Blackmore’s Night vibe to it at the start, but quickly evolves into a song that is unmistakably Evenoire. After the final two songs “Alchimia” and “Wise King” closes out the disc, there is really nothing I can criticize about it. In the last three years between the EP and “Vitriol” the band has grown so much and in doing so has delivered a fantastic debut and proves they are a band to be taken seriously. I can talk or write about “Vitriol” till I am blue in the face, but mere words will not do it justice, it must be heard.
Rating - 100/100
Review by Vard Aman
“Ash” (Witchcraft’s 2011 album) was a Progressive Metal masterpiece for me, not just because it was a damn fine Prog Metal concept album but because it incorporated so many other elements into it – it was so much more than standard Prog Metal fare. It was also much darker; and for someone (e.g. me) whose tastes lean rather favourably towards music’s darker side, that was another big plus. Now Witchcraft have a new EP out, “Parallel Worlds”, and with it the band presents an even more experimental package than before, moving into the territory of Dark Experimental Metal rather than Dark Progressive Metal. There are some new sounds; new styles; new effects; some scratching; a guest rapper; and vocalist, Ludmila Angel, tries out a few new and different vocal styles (in addition to her normal hauntingly beautiful melodic vocal style) – most notably an angry semi-sung shout that for some reason made me think “Riot Grrrl” at first, but then I went and listened to a selection of various Riot Grrrl vocal styles on the internet and it sounded nothing like them at all, so I still don’t know what to compare it to. OK, I’ll give it my own name then: I’ll call it Riot Angggl style (as a tribute to the vocalist who has now, as far as I’m concerned, made it her own). Anyway, to call this EP an “interesting and a fascinating listening experience” would be quite an understatement. Yet for all the experimentation it is still unmistakably Witchcraft, so it is a well controlled experiment. In Witchcraft, nothing happens by chance. “Parallel Worlds” consists of 4 songs. Each of the 4 comes with its own artwork and the front cover of the EP is made up of a collage of the 4 together. All the songs are in Russian, thus moving away from the predominantly English trend of their previous releases. First up is “Ваше (7-й Ангел)”. It starts off with some fast and heavy riffing before going into the verses, where Ludmila uses a combination of vocal styles that I can best describe as quirky, mixed with her normal vocal style and with a bit of Riot Angggl thrown in. The chorus is simply amazing! Good luck getting that melody out of your head once it’s stuck there – not that you’d ever want to, trust me on that!
Next is “Шаг Назад” which features Latvian Rapper DragN as a guest vocalist in the verses. He uses a style of Rap known as fast flow, which is a generally more melodic rapping style, but is most often distinguished by the speed of the rapping; often it is an attempt to see how many syllables can be fitted into as short a time as possible without losing clarity and DragN is pretty fast. I don’t really like Rap of any kind, but I have to admit that this is very well done indeed, and Witchcraft have made it work for them. Most of all, the rapped verses provide a sharp contrast to another beautiful and melodic chorus sung by Ludmila. “Дыши со Мной” is the third song, which after a very promising start, turned out to be the weakest of the four songs on the EP for me. The verses are not as contrasting and the chorus is not quite as melodic and catchy as the previous two, but the second half of the song finished off the promising start. It’s still a good song, just not quite as good as the others on the EP. (Having said that, guess which song’s chorus I currently have stuck in my head…).The last song is “Зверь”, perhaps the least “experimental” song on the EP, closer to some of the material from “Ash”. It has a driving rhythm throughout, the verses are sung as duets (with Roman Arsafes of Nevid’?) and the chorus consists of more of Ludmila’s amazing melodies. And with that ends a short, but excellent and captivating EP. Having conquered the world of Dark Progressive Metal, Witchcraft have made it known that they are now moving on to new worlds, and onto to worlds that they are creating themselves where they did not exist before. This EP presents the first taste of some of these new (parallel) worlds, and after listening to it one can’t help but wonder where they will be going or what they will be creating next. I for one am certainly looking forward to finding out. This is, after all, Witchcraft!
Rating - 87/100
Review by Vard Aman
…It seems I didn’t have long to wait for something new from Risha (although to be honest, I wrote the review of their debut album “Leto” some time after it was released in 2011 – in fact, I was busy writing it when they released their single, so I took a little bit of license there). So yes, Risha are back with a new single, called “Dorozhenka”, although it’s more of a maxi-single than a single really, consisting of 3 tracks. With it they continue where they left off from “Leto”, delivering more of their unique and contrasting blend of beautifully melodic Slavic Folk style vocals over heavy Industrial / Industrial Metal music. But their sound is starting to evolve and progress as well. Their sound is generally more layered than it was before and they’ve added extra instruments and sounds to their music and vocalist, Rishafox, makes use of some complex harmonies, and in places experiments with her voice more so than she did on “Leto”. The single itself, “Dorozhenka”, is generally darker and more moody than most of Risha’s other material, although it picks up in the choruses. According to the press release, it is “permeated with the cold of February and anxiety of belated spring” and the song does carry this feeling across (even without having first read the press release). I have noticed that there is a general trend with Risha to allow the seasons and the weather to affect their music, here on this maxi-single and on their debut album, “Leto” (which means “summer”). The vocal melodies are very strong throughout. “Dorozhenka” ranks up there with the best of the songs off “Leto”. “Rechenka”, the second song on the maxi-single, is a traditional Belarusian folk song played in Risha’s unique style, with some guitar riffing reminiscent of early Rammstein. The final song, “Vesna”, is a far more chaotic Industrial orientated song than most of Risha’s other material. The song delivers a mood of “madness and panic” according to the press release, and once again, the description is spot on. If this is a musical depiction of spring (vesna), then it sounds like it’s during a period of spring where the temperature has risen by 30 degrees celcius in just a few days, which does happen on occasion in certain parts of Russia. You can download “Dorozhenka” from Risha’s official website. It’s available for free, but it would be kind of nice if you did give them a little something for their efforts. And now, as I might have mentioned at the end of my review of “Leto”: I’ll be looking forward to their next release with great interest.
Rating - 87/100