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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Label : Out of Line Music
Review by Vard Aman
From 2004-2008, Dark Princess was a band that had perfected rather than pioneered the art of producing fairly mainstream Gothic Metal/Rock in a way that few of their counterparts had managed, including many of their more illustrious ones. They produced 3 full length albums and a compilation, which included some of the best songs the subgenre has ever had to offer; songs such as “Cry”, “My Fragile Winter Dream” and “Close to the Sky”; songs that I still listen to on a regular basis. So when I read that Dark Princess were about to release a new album I almost fell off my chair (in a good way). This is their first full length album since 2007, so the expectation was high. The brilliance of their lone single “We Can Not Fly So High” in 2009 elevated that expectation even further. Now that the wait is over and I have my promo copy of the “The World I’ve Lost” right here, it’s time to find out if the album lives up to those high expectations. I’ll need to give it a few more listens, and on more than one system and over a few days – as I usually do; once/one is never enough I find (old engineer/producer habits die hard). In the meantime, let me introduce you to someone by the name of Natalia Terekhova: Olga Romanova, who had become synonymous with Dark Princess, left the band in early 2008 due to personal reasons. She was replaced later that year by Natalia. A vocalist of the quality of Olga Romanova is hard to replace, so no doubt there must have been questions in the minds of fans along the lines of “Is she a worthy replacement and is she as good?”. Natalia answered all of those questions with a resounding “Yes!”. The single in 2009 was as good as anything Dark Princess had produced previously,and Natalia suited the role perfectly (and for those of you who are wondering if I have eyes in my head, yes, she is every bit as nice to look at as well – she is Russian after all…) Natalia Terekhova was already a name on the music scene, participating in several national and international singing competitions, TV shows and musicals (she’s a member of The Moscow Four).
She participated in the Russian qualifying finals for Eurovision in 2008 (Dima Bilan won – which he only did because he got rid of his mullet… well, OK, at least I like to imagine that was the reason) and again in 2010, this time with Dark Princess although she performed one of her own songs, called “Everything” (I forget who won that year, but I dare say it was probably someone not nearly as good). She also has a solo album out, called “The First Step”. She is a versatile and multitalented vocal powerhouse. And, above all, she is the new Dark Princess of Dark Princess! OK, on to “The World I’ve Lost”. The album starts off with “Fight With Myself”, which is an awesome track full of powerful guitar riffs, certainly one of the highlights off the album. Next comes the single “We Can Not Fly So High” and… things suddenly start to go a little wrong. The 2009 version of this song was better. My main reason for saying that arrives halfway through the song and is a problem that haunts the album in a few other places as well, particularly in the following 2 tracks; and that problem is the various synth sounds and electronic percussion. Half way though “We Can Not Fly So High” a synth that is often used in various kinds of Dance music comes in (there are several different kinds and variants of these synths out there so I can’t name the exact one used here). It sits just below the mix, not loud enough to be an integral part of the song but just loud enough to be a distraction and therefore really annoying. The next song, “Fields of Youth” has some percussion SFX that sounds like some sort of sucking sound; and the next, “The Key” has electronic percussion throughout. Why? They add nothing to the sound but instead provide a distraction from the excellent guitars and vocals that make these songs what they are, which therefore ends up taking something away.
What was the producer/band thinking? These songs would have been so much better without the synths and percussion SFX. I’ll finish off my list of beefs with the vocal effect on the sustained note at the end of the first chorus of “Fields of Youth” (again why?) and the male vocals later in the same song. Otherwise, both “Fields of Youth” and “The Key” are good songs with some beautiful and very catchy vocal melodies. Natalia saves the day! Things start improving (i.e. the distractions become less) from the next track onwards. “Everlasting Pain” is a good solid Rock/Metal song followed by “Paradise Land”, which is beautiful melodic ballad with folk influences and is another of the highlights off the album. Then comes “Point of No Return”, which is some more melodic Metal/Rock; and then a rock ballad called “The Temple of Darkness”. “The Temple of Darkness” comes with an interesting change at the end where Dark Princess start playing something in the vein of Doom Metal (and they’re as good at that as they are at everything else). “The Last Page” is more of a Gothic song, and is another of the highlights off the album. The synths and percussion SFX still turn up occasionally on the second half of the album, but in the second half they are used more appropriately and more sparingly so that they aren’t such an annoyance (it would still be better without them though). In the final song (on my promo version), “The Way of Passion”, the Rave synth is used again, but this time it is used in a way that really works and really adds something to the song. It is a poppy Rock/Metal song with a catchy, almost ABBA-esque chorus.
The track list that came with the press release lists another song afterwards, entitled “Caruso”, but it is not on my promo copy. “The World I’ve Lost” is Dark Princess’s most mainstream release to date. To people who follow the ideals of Manowar style metal-elitism or “Tr00 Kvlt”, don’t bother; to everyone else, if you like solid Gothic Metal/Rock, then this is a must have – it is full of great riffs, well written songs, very catchy melodies and, most of all, excellent vocals. So, to close off: - “Is Natalia as good as Olga?”- Yes, most definitely! - “Is it a good album?” - Yes, very! (Aside from the unnecessary SFX). - “Will fans of Dark Princess and of the subgenre in general like this?”- Yes, without a doubt! - “Is it accessible to fans of other types of Metal and/or to people who don’t like Metal?” - Yes, absolutely! - “Does it live up to the expectations?” Yes, to a point. - “Is it as good as old Dark Princess?”Hmm… - “…so close to the sky, the spirit of my sorrow…” - No, I personally don’t think so. But whether you agree with me on that opinion or not, one thing is for sure: Dark Princess is one of the best bands this subgenre has to offer. They have come far, and they’re going farther. Don’t miss out on this if you’re a fan of Gothic Metal. Actually, don’t miss out on this if you’re a fan of any kind of good solid Rock music. Actually, just don’t miss out on this, full stop.
Rating - 85/100
Review by Tony Cannella
VelvetSeal are a 4-piece female fronted band from Budapest, Hungary. Musically the band lies in the realm of Symphonic power metal, with some touches of classical, gothic and progressive metal thrown in as well. The 4-songs presented here are just a taste of what we can expect on the band’s forthcoming 9-song debut release, titled “Lend Me Your Wings”. The band are fronted by Gabriella Foti on vocals. The rest of the lineup goes like this: Csaba Ratz (guitars, orchstration, synths), David Kalmar (bass) and the quartet is completed by Balazs Hornyak on drums. The title track “Lend Me Your Wings” sets things in motion with a heavy guitar riff and some big sounding orchestration. The vocals of Gabriella are very strong and emotional. This is a solid opener with a huge chorus that is both catchy and dramatic. This was one of the definite highlights for me and at only 3-minutes long it is over too soon. Next is “The One”. This is another dramatic sounding number. It still maintains the heaviness of the previous song, but it is slower in tempo. The vocals on the chorus sound very cool, almost like a choir. It definitely provides great atmosphere and emotion to the song. The song keeps a steady pace throughout and never wavers. it is just a solid track. Next up is “Desperati”. This song begins with some eerie sounding intro music and then launches into a heavy riff accompanied by rhythmic chanting and the vocals of Gabriella Foti once again take center stage. I should also mention that the production is very good. They have obviously put a lot of effort into the overall presentation and that effort definitely pays off. The final track, “The Divine Comedy?” is a perfect way to end things and leave the listener hungry for more. This is an epic and dramatic sounding song and one that had me reaching for the play button once again. The only negative I can really say about this is that I wish it was longer than just the 4 songs. VelvetSeal are a great, talented, up-and-coming band, that I would suspect that we will hear more from in the months and years to come. I hope we do anyway. The 4-songs offered here are a perfect teaser for what it is to come. I am not too familiar with the Hungarian metal scene but I would describe the music contained here as just pure, classy metal. Excellent vocals, great musicianship and most importantly fantastic songs, what more can one ask for? If these songs are any indication of the future than I am eagerly awaiting the day that I get to hear the full version of “Lend Me Your Wings”. I’m sure it will be well worth the wait.
Rating - 85/100
Interview by Tony Cannella
The band Eklipse is made up of four ladies playing classical interpretations of pop and rock songs. Their debut album is titled “A Night in Strings”, and while it may not be strictly a metal album, there is no denying the talent that this band possesses; besides they are opening for Nightwish, which is a cool thing. Recently, the Viola player Viola was kind enough to answer some questions and give us more info on Eklipse.
First of all, congratulations on a unique album (“A Night in Strings”). For those who don’t know, how would you describe the music of Eklipse?
Thanks for the compliment on our album. We are a string quartet playing the beautiful themes of the great bands and composers of contemporary music.
How did Eklipse first get together?
We met at a festival in St. Petersburg. We got to know each other at a party and immediately knew that we had something in common. We searched for a way to combine our classical background with our love for pop music. It’s wonderful how everything came together that night and how well it is going ever since.
How do you feel about getting press from metal publications, even though Eklipse are not really a metal band?
During our musical career each of us did a lot of different musical styles. We have a strong connection to the gothic and metal scene, so we are proud and very happy that our music seems to fit so well.
You covered a wide variety of rock and pop songs. Some well known, some not. How did you decide which songs to cover?
Each of us has ideas which songs she wants to cover and we try a lot of different songs before deciding which one works the best. It’s important that there is a story behind the songs; something that connects us with it.
Are there any songs you would have liked to cover for “A Night in Strings”, but didn’t get around to it?
Yes, there are many. We tried a lot and we still have some arrangements that are waiting to be recorded. At the moment, we are concentrating on our live performance, but our next album is already planned.
Might those songs end up on your next album?
They might. But right now we are discussing what the album will be about. We are thinking we might do a theme or try a slightly different concept. But nothing can be announced yet. So, you have to be patient. ?
You were chosen to open for Nightwish. How excited are you about this opportunity?
We are very excited. We like Nightwish very much. It’s an amazing band which over the years managed to stay unique. That’s something that is not easily done and we hope for ourselves to be that lucky.
What can fans expect when they come to see Eklipse live?
We are always as passionate as possible in everything we are doing. We want to create a mythic atmosphere on stage. For us it is very important that everyone can drown in their own imagination.
Do think you will ever add guest singers to some of your songs like Apocalyptica does?
We have many ideas on what to do and we don’t want to decide yet. But for now, we are not done with our recent concept and are very excited for the things to come.
You filmed a video for your cover of the Justin Timberlake song, “Cry Me a River”. Why did you choose this song?
It’s a beautiful song! It’s very percussive and it was a challenge to transfer it to the strings. Also, the strings emphasize the melancholy of the song. It’s always a miracle how a song changes in the process of arranging.
Musically, there is no doubt that the members of Eklipse are very talented. Please tell us a little about your musical training.
We started playing as children and had classical training. We all had a lot of different musical experience over the years and always wanted to find something unique, something we can relate to in many different ways. Eklipse is a perfect project for the four of us because we can be creative on more than the musical level. Our optical output – the photos, the videos, our outfits and everything to come – is very important to us because it is one more creative need that we are able to fulfill.
How has the reaction to “A Night in Strings” from the media and fans been?
It is just fantastic. Most of the reactions we get are very positive and enthusiastic. There had been a few pretty critical reports and comments on the internet, but that’s great too. We are happy that we are not just another “nice” band but actually have a controversial side.
Are you afraid that the media and fans may focus more on your sexy image rather than the music?
No, we are not afraid of that. As we said before, the outfit is part of how we want to present the strong emotions of the songs. We don’t want our private lives to be strongly involved, so instead of telling our personal background, we have chosen this way to reveal parts of our personality.
Who are some other musicians and bands that you are influenced by?
We love all kinds of music. It’s quite a wide range of musicians and bands that are important to us.
What are your plans beyond the Nightwish tour?
We are playing some festivals in the summer and maybe there will be another tour soon.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions. Is there anything you would like to add? The final words are yours.
Thank you. We hope that we will entertain a lot of people with our music.
Review by Tony Cannella
Toronto, Canada’s Half Past Four had me instantly intrigued with their 2008 debut platter “Rabbit In The Vestibule”. The band is described as art/prog rock and that description sounds good to me. Musically, there is a lot going on with “Rabbit In The Vestibule” that musicians and non-musicians alike will come to love. Half Past Four takes influence from such legendary acts as King Crimson, Jethro Tull and Frank Zappa and proceeds to add their own special twist. For me, the track that most stands out is the musically monumental 8-minute “Biel”. Other highlights include: “Missing Sevenths”, “Johnny”, the instrumental “Lullaby” and album closer “Rabbit”. Half Past Four also display a level of quirkiness, like on the track “Dwayne” as well. It is rare that you hear a band like Half Past Four these days, their sound and style for 2010 – and into 2011 is pretty unique. Obviously, Half Past Four may not appeal to everyone but if your tastes are a little bit on the adventurous side and enjoy music where talent goes hand-in-hand with quality, than “Rabbit In The Vestibule” is a pretty good bet.
Rating - 90/100