INFOS : firstname.lastname@example.org
Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Label : Napalm Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The end of 2011 has seen some of the best releases of the year, in my opinion. There’s Trillium, the new Nightwish and now you can add the 3rd full-length album from the Dutch, alternative/modern metal band Nemesea, titled “The Quiet Resistance” to the list of excellent albums that came out in 2011. According to guitarist HJ via their bio, “there are times when you want to be brutally honest and speak your mind, that’s the quiet resistance within you”. Amen and where do I sign up? Seriously though, that is the lyrical path that “The Quiet Resistance” ventures down and it is a strong subject matter that I think many of us could relate to and agree with – at least that’s my take. Musically, “The Quiet Resistance”, definitely has a modern, melodic hard rock/metal feel with a distinct pop flavor in the songs. At various times other influences creep in such as hip-hop, electronica and industrial, but those influences don’t overwhelm anything. Opening this 14-minute, 55-minute affair is the eerily, spooky intro “The Quiet Resistance”. This leads us into the up tempo electronica of “Caught in the Middle”, vocalist Manda has an excellent voice, especially on the gut wrenching, memorable chorus that this track provides. This song also features the lyric “What’s the point in giving up, when you know you’ll never stop”, just a small dose of the optimism that Nemesea offers. Manda has got such an expressive voice and one that drives home the subject matter in the songs. Next is the first video track “Afterlife”, another song that has an up tempo chorus. “Whenever” changes tempos several times from slow to heavy, and the chorus is rather straight-forward, and once again memorable as the guitarist HJ really comes through with a heavy riff, the keyboard bit near the end also gives it a prog-like feel. “If You Could” is a melancholically, wistful ballad, that features some orchestration. This is one that I can definitely imagine hearing on the radio and is a perfect example of their mainstream potential. “Say” features a record scratcher utilized by many rap bands (what are they called?), but for the most part is definitely Nemesea, this song provides the excellent lyric “Say it like it is, say it like you mean it, words are strong enough to say you care”. Male vocalists are also featured prominently on some songs like on the previous song “Say” (not much, just a bit), but mostly on the next track “It’s Over”, that sees Manda singing a duet and more scratching is included, but this turned out to be my favorite song. Other highlights include: “High Enough”, “I Live” and “Stay With Me”. The instrumental “2012” has an electronic influence and this leads us into the industrialized Rammstein like final track “Allein”, this is different than anything else here, the track is sung in both German and English with a male vocalist handling the German parts and Manda singing the English parts. “Allein” definitely ends “The Quiet Resistance” with authority. “The Quiet Resistance” is a great album and Nemesea is certainly a band to watch out for in the future. This is definitely music that has the ability to reach a mainstream audience, whether it does or doesn’t that is another question, but I will say this – they perform their craft better than a lot of bands that are hugely successful.
Rating - 95/100
Label : Nadir Music
Review by Tony Cannella
While perusing the internet, I noticed that some reviews for the latest album by Morgana, “Rose of Jericho”, were less than kind, some were harsh, too harsh, in my opinion. “Rose of Jericho” is not a bad album, it’s actually pretty good. Morgana is the alter ego of vocalist Roberta DeLaude and she is no newcomer, she is actually a veteran of the Italian metal scene. She began singing in heavy metal bands in 1983 at the age of 16 and released the debut EP from Morgana in 1988. Since then she has released material sporadically, but now Morgana returns with her first album of new material in years, so long time fans of the band should rejoice. Appropriately enough the instrumental “Alive…” gets things started and announces the return of Morgana. Next is “Love Me the Way I Am” and showcases Morgana’s melodic metal sound with a grinding guitar riff. Other songs such as, “Golden Hours”, “Lady Winter” and “610” pretty much gets the point across what Morgana is all about and what “Rose of Jericho” has to offer, just simple, basic, melodic heavy metal. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. The songs are what matters and for the most part they are good. The instrumental “…And Kickin” – fittingly enough – brings “Rose of Jericho” to its conclusion. The whole thing features 9-songs and only 36-minutes worth of music, barely longer than an EP. I have to admit that while I had always heard the name Morgana, I wasn’t familiar with her music at all, so I had nothing to compare “Rose of Jericho” to. Taken on its own merit and with no preconceived ideas about her past music, “Rose of Jericho” is just a good melodic heavy metal album that recalls the 80s, while still having a hold on what is relevant in 2012.
Rating - 75/100
Interview by Marc “Peston” Sels
Elis is a band from Liechtenstein and was formed in 2003 after the split from Erben Der Schöpfung. In 2006, on July 8, their vocalist Sabine Dünser died of a celebral hemorrhage. She was replaced by Sandra Scheleret, well known as guest-singer on some Samael-cd’s and ex-vocalist of Dreams of Sanity. It is with this Austrian musician that I had this interview.
How is the Beauty and the Beast tour going?
The tour was really nice! I think it is very rarely that you have so many nice people together without any exception. We enjoyed it a lot. I even had the chance to join Atrocity for the tour as a guest vocalist. This came very surprising as it was a spontaneous idea, but I had lots of fun.
Can you tell us something about the new album “Catharsis”? Some favourite numbers?
“Catharsis” is very important for me, the reason is that it is like a new chapter, a new beginning for me. About a year and a half before I joined Elis I got the diagnosis Morbus Hodgkin which is a kind of lymph node cancer. In the months that followed I had to go through chemo- and radiotherapy, and it was a very hard and harrowing time for me. I completely changed my way of living, and since then I see things totally different. When I started working on the vocals for “Catharsis” all these feelings broke their way to the surface, and so most of the lyrics are very closely connected to what I experienced at that time. All songs are very dear to me but I guess my favourite numbers are “Firefly”, “Mothre’s Fire” and “Das kleine Ungeheuer”.
Was it hard to replace Sabine, emotionally and musically talking?
Yes it was hard, I think for all of us. When somebody passes away so young and so unexpected it is hard to continue. Although we really liked eachother a lot from the beginning on, for me it was difficult to find my own place in the band, and for the guys it was hard to start a new chapter. We took some time to find together. Musically wise it was not that difficult because Sabine’s lines are nice to sing and her lyrics touched me a lot, so I feld connection to the songs very quickly.
Is it easy to produce the same sound on stage as on the albums?
No, I wouldn’t say so. In the end it is very difficult to get a good live-sound. Mainly it depends on the sound engineer, and we are not often able to bring our own one.
“Griefshire” was a concept CD. Isn’t it difficult to play some songs live, or don’t you use these songs on stage?
We are playing the “Griefshire” songs life, but never in the context of the concept. It is not so difficult because we see each of them as an indipendent individual, with it’s own message. For example “Show Me the Way” has a great statement.
With the digipack edition of “Catharsis” comes a DVD from the gig at the MFVF 2007. What memories you have of that festival?
It was very touching because the audience welcomed us so well. The were happy with us that Elis is back on stage again, and we felt very comfortable that evening. I’m happy that this was the concert that was recorded for the live-DVD!
The band keeps the tradition of putting a few German songs on the album? Do you think non-German fans can enjoy this?
We hope so! Just see how people can enjoy Rammstein…hehe In the end the German language simply has a very different sound than English and it is tempting to use it as a stylistic device.
You also sing in Siegfried. How do you keep both bands apart?
As Siegfried was not so active in the last years there was never any problem for me. It is just coincidence that both albums were released at the same time. I do not do the lyrics for Siegfried and just contribute some vocal lines, so there is no “creative problem”;). It is very nice to have the chance to show also another side of my voice, and the guys from Siegfried are really cool people, we have lots of fun when we are working together!
Is Elis, like a red somewhere, from the Greek Elis, land of Helia, or is there another explanation?
The name comes from the poem from an Austrian poet (Georg Trakl) “An den Knaben Elis” (to the boy Elis). Sabine made a successful song about this when she and the guys still were calling their band Erben der Schöpfung. They then decided to rename the band after this song.
What are the plans for 2010? Touring? A new cd? Etc…
So far nothing concrete but we are working on this! Touring would be very nice and of course we have to work on new material.
Label : Curzweyhl
Review by Luisa Mercier
“Arcane” is the fourth Elane release and its music is inspired by the work of Kai Meyer, a German fantasy author that has published more than 50 books since ’90s. Elane and Kai met at a concert in 2006 and both agreed that their books and music could be perfect together, so “Arcane” is inspired by his novels and characters. The themes are present both in music and lyrics so let’s start this journey! “The Gift” is a short atmospheric intro, while in “Heart of the Desert” we get a taste of Joran’s powerful vocals: the production quality is very high; just listen to acoustic guitar, keyboards and percussions. “Samarkand” has a strong Middle - Eastern influence and it marks a new influence in Elane’s work, world music. In “Arcane Ride” you can hear all of the Elane influences combined together: folk and progressive mixed with Joran’s beautiful voice. The transition from a passage to another are smoothly arranged through the use of violin. Similar structure for “Magdalena”, with sultry strings arrangement and choir in the background, one of the highlights of the album. The band does write also in other languages than English and “Wasser und Fels” and “Die Geheime Melodie” are two short example of German-titled instrumentals with tin-whistles, strings and Joran’s vocalise. Cello makes its first appearance in “My Ivory Fairy”, slow folk ballad with rich strings arrangements in the chorus. “Abendruf” is a mysterious song sung in German, while reminiscent of the band old works is the acoustic “Lurlinnlight”. Enriched with flute it sounds sweet and delicate. Another folk-Celtic instrumental follows “Spinnerhaus”, and then the Latin “Deae Noctis” adds a different flavor to the album, being gloomier and heavier, though the strings and Elane typical arrangements are still present. “Dammertal” is another piece in the puzzle of beautiful instrumentals, “Masken” is the only track sung by male vocals. Last song is “Goddess of the Night”, more pop-oriented than the others, but equally good. “Arcane” is definetely a good album which can be enjoyed by folk lovers, but also by people with a different taste in music.
Rating - 85/100
Interview by NocturnalConcerto
From the South of Germany comes the dark fantasy folk act Elane that present a challenging project called “Arcane”, challenging because wants to merge literature and music with a hint of mysticism and ethereal vibes. See what the singer Joran and keyboardist Nico have to tell to us.
Hi Joran, thanks so much for accept the interview. First of all thanks so much! How are you?
Joran: Hi Miriam, thank you for your interest! I am fine, thank you. :)Can you introduce the band with a little of history of it?Joran: Elane’s members are Joran (Me) - vocals and flutes, Skaldir - Guitar, Nico - Keyboards, and Simon - Violin, Viola and Cello. Our sound is often called mystic folk. Well, the idea behind Elane was to start a soloproject, but soon the other musicians, Skaldir, Nico and Simon joined the band with their musical influences and ideas. The main mind was to create fantasy music… something that is very rare today.Your latest album is called “Arcane” and it’s based on the works of a Germany writer named Kai Meyer. First of all how it born this decision and who’s Kai Meyer?
Doing a simple research I’ve discovered that Kai Meyer has already published 50 books, from which of these stories/novels you have taken more inspiration and why?Joran: I chose “Loreley” and “Die Sturmkönige” (“The Storm Kings”) for two reasons. Firstly, I liked the settings of both books, because I always wanted to write something with oriental and medieval influences. And also because Kai signed a copy of “Loreley” for me with the words: “For Joran, who understands a lot of magical singin”.Nico: For me his Books around the turn of the century till the 1920s are of great attraction. So I chose “Das Zweite Gesicht” (“The Second Face”) for my songs “Masken” and “Goddess of the Night”. It is the story of Jula Mondschein, an early film diva of high society Berlin of the 1920s. After her death her sister Chiara comes to her funeral and gets into a maelstrom of intrigues and mysteries herself. Then I contributed lyrics to Skaldir’s song “Heart of the Desert”, dealing with Kai’s novel “Göttin der Wüste” (“Desert Goddess”), a magical book settled in former German colony of today’s Namibia around 1900. Also I contributed “Magdalena” (based upon “Herrin der Lüge” [“Mistress of Lies”]), which is a song about the girl Saga. She was exploited to lead a crusade of virgins into the promised land under the name of “The Magdalena”.
In the site in the banner appear in order, the following words : Mystic, fantasy and folk. Do you think that represent a sort of a band’s anthem? Can you explain, you point of view, of this words for you, Joran?
Joran: It’s almost impossible to describe a musical artworks style within just 3 words. It’s like the smell of a flower, you have to try it yourself to know what it’s like. But it is a small try to give just an idea or direction for people who don’t like us yet.Let’s doing a step back, what you can tell about the previous album “The Silver Falls”? Can you share with us some memories about the recording, writing process of it? For this album what was your source of inspiration?Nico: For us “The Silver Falls” was a break-out. The first 2 albums were pretty folky music, with mostly acoustic instruments with wide soundscapes and a fragile sense for melodies and instrumentation. But after the unexpectedly huge success of “Lore of Nén” we simply did not want to copy ourselves. First of all we wanted to give it a little try to do something different. And that is, what “The Silver Falls” was about. We used more distorted electric guitars than ever, had a studio drummer to make it sound a rock album with some mystic folk touches, but also some electronic sounds. And it was good to make your mind free for something different.
According to your site you are still signed on Curzweyhl label (and any news on the label site is present about “Arcane”, so I presume that you’re self produced) but I’ve noticed if I’m not wrong that “Arcane” is self produced, how’s it hard to stay alive in the music business? How you plan the band activity? And why this choice? Never thought to sign with a suitable label?Nico: We always produced our albums ourselves. Skaldir is a brilliant sound engineer (Simon, too, by the way), so why enter another one’s studio? And it was always important for us to decide about the music, lyrics, cover artworks and our future route ourselves. It is almost impossible to negotiate a record deal with a major label that allows you so much freedom of art. Regarding the music business it is indeed not easy to make the right decisions nowadays. It’s not a secret that Elane’s music is luckily able to refinance itself. But if we would not do everything by ourselves, this might look different. So, you see, there are no huge benefits for us, the composers and musicians. If you expect to make benefit with music, then stop doing what you like and start doing what the masses like. This is why we are happy about things being the way they are.
What are the next Elane projects?Joran: We are already writing songs for a second Kai Meyer-inspired album, because we had sooo many ideas. And for the future, we plan to continue doing what we love, without losing our roots. :)So now I ask you this question, mainly my webzine promote metal bands, so really distant from your music genre but in some ways close in matter of ideas. If you should advice 5 celtic/ambient/folk album to a beginner, in your opinion what they are?Joran: Yes, Metal and Folk are somehow similar, they wear just another “robe” (I use to say). Well I like Loreena McKennitt, some albums of Clannad, and also some unknown Irish folk bands.Nico: I would advise the music of Dead Can Dance, Brendan Perry, ROME. I very much like Skyclad or recently I listen to Corde Oblique. But I don’t prefer to think too much in genres. You should simply listen to good music, never mind about the instruments it’s played with.Well, Joran, thanks so much for this interview hope you like it!! Love, Miriam xJoran: WE have to thank you, dear Miriam, for this interesting interview! Best wishes for you and your webzine. :)
Photos by R.Hartmann/Glenvore Art
Logo by Glenvore Art
Interview by Danny Robertson
Come and check out Decadence, the female-fronted thrashers from Stockholm, Sweden. We talk to frontwoman Kitty Saric about the band’s history, and the forthcoming new album “Chargepoint”.
Who first influenced you to become a vocalist?
That was and still is James Hetfield of Metallica. He has always been my biggest inspiration as a vocalist, guitarist, lyricist and song writer. I’m a great fan of Metallica and that is the band (as for many others!) that got me into Metal. Hetfield’s unique style got me into guitar playing at first, and later singing, especially when I started developing my Thrash influenced vocals. Ever since that time, Thrash has always been closest to my heart.
How and when did the band first get together?
I’ll try to summarize the (long!) story for you. Finding and founding what later became Decadence all happened quite unexpectedly. It started in Stockholm, Sweden in 2003. By coincidence I found a nameless band looking for a growling vocalist and, being a guitarist and clean Thrash vocalist only at the time, I came to the audition by impulse. My decision to turn to growling is something that still puzzles me but that choice is something I do not regret because it lead me to the beginning of Decadence. The reaction at the audition was very positive and so it all began. Kenneth Lantz often followed me to band practices and after a while he ended up being the session bass player. The rest of the story is too long to be summarized here but as most of you probably know, since that time, I and Kenneth Lantz are the only members left from that original line-up and we have been working with the development of our sound since then as the main song writers. Our current line-up is: (me) Metallic Kitty (extreme vocals), Kenneth Lantz (guitar), Joakim Antman (bass) and Erik Röjås (drums). Here you have some of the story as an introduction at least!
Did it take long for you to get noticed by labels, and a wider audience?
Just before “3rd Stage of Decay” was released for the first time in 2006 (it has been released in three editions in total) I started the work with Decadence’ own label HTI Records. Due to that, “3rd Stage of Decay” could be released and classified as a real album and it (and the band itself) also gained the exposure it needed to reach out to other labels and more people. HTI Records licenses Decadence’ music to other labels and is our support in everything. In 2007 we were contacted by the Japanese label Spiritual Beast with whom we also cooperate with now with the release of “Chargepoint” on October 14, 2009. So, in 2007 HTI Records and Spiritual Beast joined forces and so the 2nd edition of “3rd Stage of Decay” (with a guest appearance by Chris Astley of Xentrix) was unleashed. Earache Records heard the rumors and soon after that we were on the 2007 new school Thrash compilation “Thrashing Like a Maniac”. The next year 2008 followed with Massacre Records hearing about us from Maurice Swinkels (Legion of The Damned) and so the final and 3rd edition of “3rd Stage of Decay” was released worldwide. During these years, we’ve had a tight underground audience that has been following us ever since the start and that feels really amazing.
How long did it take to write and record “Chargepoint”?
The whole music material was written back in 2007 actually! We planned to have this album released in the fall of 2008 but since the unexpected re-release of “3rd Stage of Decay” by Massacre Records appeared, the release was postponed and we apologize to all our fans who have been waiting since 2006 (!) and our first release of “3rd Stage of Decay” for it. Massacre Records insisted on re-releasing “3rd Stage of Decay” first so we decided to prolong the whole recording part because of all sudden extra-time on our hands. So, we started recording the drums the summer of 2007, took it easy and stretched out with the guitars and bass and finally finished off by recording the vocals in the beginning of 2009. Since Spiritual Beast had its next fitting release period in October it was decided and set during this summer.
What are the main themes and influences behind the tracks on the new album?
Our influences have not changed during the years! Being the main song writers both I and Kenneth Lantz always have Thrash as our main influence and inspiration in music. In Decadence we’re always experimenting with speed, rhythms, sharp vocals and technicality whilst being influenced by bands such as Death, Kreator, Testament, Metallica etc. Talking about the main theme on “Chargepoint” then, I’d describe it with words such as strength, power and intensity. One review called the new tracks and the album as a whole: “charged” – I like that!
You recently shot your first video - how did that go? Will there be more videos in the future?
It sure has been a long road to find the right people to help us out, the right song, the right plot, the right everything to finally put it into action and record our first video. We never wanted to record something rushed just to have a video because in that case our live clips are much more representative and good to watch to see (not only hear) the band behind the music. The whole recording process behind this video was great though and we had lots of fun while recording it as well! I want and hope to have more Decadence videos in the future!
Which track will the video be released for, and when/where can people expect to see it?
The chosen track is still a secret! The video is however planned to be unleashed sometime before the actual release on YouTube to give you all a preview of what there is to expect of “Chargepoint”. We chose a track that we feel has lots of Thrash and Melodic Death twisted together in a Melodic Thrash Metal whirl as we like it!
What have been your career high points so far?
That’s a hard question because since my life is so entwined with this band, so I have both general band career high points as well as moments that I consider personally memorable, but to mention some general ones I’d say Decadence’s first big (insane and self-financed) show in Stockholm, Sweden 2005, that was our first big breakthrough that will forever remain in my memory and also all behind the scene work that was put into making that show possible. It was also a high point when we began our cooperation with Spiritual Beast/Universal in 2007 that could help us continue growing on something that has always been an entirely lonely process.
Who are your favourite current bands? Anyone you’d like to recommend?
Good old 80’s Bay Area Thrash…always! To mention a bunch of bands that I recommend in general I can say: Metallica, Death, Kreator, Testament, Megadeth, Volbeat, Vader, Cannibal Corpse, Behemoth, Annihilator, Tankard, Sodom, Pantera, Slayer, Exodus and so on. As you can see, the list mostly consists of various Thrash Metal bands with some exceptions.
Whereabouts will you be touring in coming months?
The schedule for our upcoming shows is not complete yet so the best way to stay updated is through our official website www.decadence.se for news and upcoming events. Decadence works without an agency so to be able to keep up I take bigger things like this to plan one at a time – video, album, gigs! Good strategy isn’t it!
Any last messages for people?
Most of you readers out there already know what to expect of my final line! I’ll end it by saying something that I say quite often to myself: If there’s a will, there’s a way.
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
Interview by Connie Bach
Of course I’m looking forward to them! Those dates are just the beginning of our longer European tour. Check out the dates at our website. It’s gonna be a blast!
I’m watching the video for “Smell the Party” and it is quite entertaining. How was it put together?
We just invited bunch of fans, started jumping up and down and filmed it all. So basically we just drank beer, acted stupid and had fun! :)
Where did the inspiration for “Smell the Party” come from?
It’s a story about a day when you decide you stay home and take it easy but somehow you smell the party and… the rest is more senseless random behavior. The story of my life.
“More Senseless Random Behavior” is the band’s fourth release. How would you say Vanity Ink has changed and grown since the first day of recording all those years ago?
Ummmm… hard to say. We’re older and wiser. Well, at least older. :) I don’t know… why fix it if it ain’t broken? We’re just cranking out the tunes we love and having a good time. It’s that simple.
How did “More Senseless Random Behavior” come together? Did it become what you and Vanity Ink intended?
Yeah, it did. We recorded it in Finland at the countryside, far away from civilization in the middle of nowhere. Nice and easy.
What has the feedback from fans been like? What goes through your mind when the entire audience knows the lyrics?
Heh, do they know? Well, maybe some do. Of course it’s flattering if the audience is singing along. I guess the feedback’s good if people keep coming to see your shows. :)
What do you have in mind for your future goals? How do they contrast to those of Vanity Ink?
To have as much fun as possible until the end of the world, which is coming in 2012 as I’ve heard. :) The fun includes Vanity Ink so there’s no contrast.
How do all the band members bond and connect beyond the music?
We hang out together a lot. I love those stupid guys! :)
Turning to your personal career, how did you become a singer and rock vocalist?
I’ve been singing all my life. As a kid I was singing at home all the time. So I guess this is the thing I’ve always wanted to do.
What is the most important thing that you keep in mind when writing music?
I try to keep my mind open and just go with the flow. Too much analyzing is always bad, you just have to let it go and see what comes up.
Annabella, how do you view your own vocal style, in contrast to other vocalists?
I don’t like comparisons. Everyone’s doing their own thing. I just sing from the heart and try to get some emotion in the songs. And the balls! You gotta have the balls whatever you do.
I know your MySpace says that there are too many influences to name but I’d like to know what inspires and influences you the most in your music, as well as the other members of Vanity Ink?
This has been asked a lot and we’ve always answered that it’s the life we live that inspires and influences us the most. Things we do and see. Of course we also listen to music all the time, from punk to rock and metal and back.
Interview by Ed MacLaren
OK. Time to go over the standard metal band check list: Throat tearing vocalist? Check. Guitars? Check. Bass? Check. Drums? Check? Hurdy gurdy? Well, maybe not for most metal bands but for Switzerland folk metalists, Eluveitie, hurdy gurdist Anna Murphy gets a big checkmark all her own. On the eve of Eluveitie’s April North American tour with Amon Amarth and Holy Grail, Femme Metal got a chance to chat with Anna about their outstanding new album, “Everything Remains (As It Never Was)”.
Congratulations on your excellent new album, “Everything Remains (As It Never Was)”! The fan response must be fantastic.
Thanks! Yes, so far the responses from both fans and press have been really good… It’s good to know they like the album as much as we do.
Celtic folk music and death metal seem diametrically opposed to each other musically and lyrically. What is it about these two genres that work well together?
To be honest, I have no idea – it just seems to work! I mean, it’s mainly the minor tunes we use with our music… so I guess this Celtic “melancholy” goes well with the rather rough metal around it. As for the lyrics, I wouldn’t say they’re opposed. As far as I know you can sing about anything you want in metal music…
Your music ties the traditional and the modern together in a unique manner. How did the idea evolve to combine folk and metal music?
That was Chrigel’s idea. Eluveitie actually started out as a mere studio project of his where he wanted to combine the two styles of music he likes best; Celtic folk music and melodic death metal.
Folk music is very acoustic and metal focuses on brute power. How do you balance the rhythms and melodies between the two?
That’s a business secret. ;-)
Lyrically, your music has a heavy historical influence – it draws heavily from ancient battles and early civilizations. This comes from the folk tradition of preserving the past. What traditions or stories are Eluveitie trying to preserve?
We’re not really trying to preserve anything, what we do is mere story-telling, you could say. We do sing about Gaulish wars and tribes but we either just do that from a neutral standpoint (how the legend/myth/occurrence has been passed down through time) or we look at these topics with a critical eye because in the end you never really know how it was back then.
Eluveitie has had a long history of members but now seems to have settled into a cohesive line-up. What were the reasons for the line-up changes and what is it about this line-up that is so unique?
Yes, there have been but now I guess and hope this line-up will continue for a few years. The reasons for those changes were always of personal nature. The people who left the band either didn’t want to continue or couldn’t fit the band in with their other plans in life. What’s unique about the line-up we have now? You tell me! :-)
When you learned to play the hurdy gurdy did you ever think you’d be playing in a death metal band? With that said, how did you get involved with the band?
Actually, I would have never thought that! I was actually listening to metal at the time which made it even weirder for me to join a metal band with such an instrument. I had been playing the hurdy-gurdy for three months when a friend of mine told me about Eluveitie and that they’re searching for a new hurdy-gurdist. I of course sent Chrigel an e-mail right away… so you could also say I learned to play the instrument with the band.
Your vocals bring an engaging contrast to Chrigel’s screams. You also provide some beautiful solo performances. How do you balance the vocals within the band? Do you ever try to push Chrigel for more microphone time? ;)
No, I don’t do that. Whenever I sing it just happens because it fits. Sometimes it’s my idea; sometimes it’s Chrigel’s idea… I always try out new stuff with my vocals, especially since I don’t really have a technique or sing professionally, I’m still trying to find the right style a bit.
The reviews of “Everything Remains (As It Never Was)” are overwhelmingly excellent. Musically, where do you go from here?
Wherever we want to. We’re not planning what to do next… we’ll just write songs and release albums. There’s definitely going to be one more acoustic album, “Evocation II”. But even when and how we’re going to do that is not planned yet.
Judging from the increasing number of bands playing folk metal these days, the scene is getting a little crowded. How does Eluveitie try to differentiate itself from other bands in the genre?
We play better music! ;-) No, I guess the fact that we use so many traditional instruments instead of keyboards is one thing. The other is that we balance our music – neither the metal nor the folk takes over. And I guess that’s why so many people like our music but we don’t differentiate ourselves by trying really hard to and having that in mind, we just somehow do that automatically with our music.
What is it about the folk metal genre that makes it so popular?
I have no idea. I’m actually not a big fan of folk metal… I don’t listen to anything except for our music (of course). I guess there are many people who search for “softer” metal and find a lot of bands they like in that scene. And it may be possible that people like the traditional aspects of it… singing about your heritage and using old folkloristic elements in the music can have a “homely” effect one can connect with.
You returned from a tour of the United States in 2009 with Heathenfest. How did you find the American response to your music? How do the American fans compare to their European counterparts?
The response was really good! I like American audiences – they’re very enthusiastic and sympathetic crowds. There’s not a huge difference to European crowds though… The only thing I noticed was that Americans are more into taking pictures with band members and having things signed.
With eight band members it must get pretty crowded on that stage… How would you describe Eluveitie’s live performances?
Yes, small stages are always a challenge for us. I think our live performances are getting better and better. We feel more confident on stage and the sound is getting much better due to having a crew that is familiar with us. We like to interact with the audience a lot and have a blast on stage.
What are your tour plans for 2010? Will you be performing internationally as well as returning to the United States?
Yes, we’ll be touring the States soon again with Amon Amarth actually! Apart from that we want to tour as much as possible and promote the new album. I really hope we get to go to places we’ve never been before, like South America for instance.
Label : SPV/Steamhammer Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Fans of symphonic Prog rock and metal have got a band that they can really sink their teeth into. They are Touchstone from the U.K. and they have just released their 4th full-length album titled, “The City Sleeps”. Touchstone is no doubt influenced by many of the great prog bands of seventies, but they add enough modern touches to make them relevant in 2011 and beyond. “The City Sleeps” is chock full of progressive, musically involved epic numbers combined with solid metal guitar riffs. Touchstone is fronted by the duel male/female vocals of Kim Seviour and Rob Cottingham. The pair makes a nice duo and the vocals are split pretty evenly. The opening track “Corridors” is a cool opener that displays the bands polished prog metal sound. The next track is the excellent 10-minutes of pure, epic prog nirvana, “When Shadows Fall”. “These Walls” and “Throw Them to the Sky” are next and they are both shorter songs with enormous mainstream potential (in my opinion). In particular, “Throw Them to the Sky” is my favorite song and one that is a good starting point for anyone interested in checking out Touchstone. In addition to some solid vocals, great songwriting and melodic songs, there is also plenty of dazzling keyboard work courtesy of Rob Cottingham throughout. Other highlights include: “Sleeping Giants” (another excellent, melodic track), “Horizons” and the 11-minute “The City Sleeps”. While Touchstone can be considered a prog band, without a doubt, they are not bound by the limitations of the genre. Sure they have those long epic numbers that are often associated with prog music, but they also know and understand the value of a good 3-5 minute song that really grabs the listener. But at the end of the day, Touchstone is a prog band, and a damn good one at that.
Rating - 87/100