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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
This live report marks the debut of an another editor - please welcome Stefano. And as a debut Stefano decided to write a few lines about of one of the latest gigs played by Dutch superstars theGathering. In this gig TG has focused its attention for “Disclosure” and has decided to “put aside” for this gig the classic songs : in fact TG has only played “In Motion #1” (from “Mandylion”) and “No Bird Call” (from “The West Pole”). Enjoy the whole report and some pics in the link below
Fancy to attend a Anneke Van Giersbergen US date? If yes, Anneke will play 2 dates album (both acoustic and full show) the next year in Chicago only with her friends Novembers Doom. Let’s cross out fingers for a full US tour hopefully! (via Former THE GATHERING Singer Announces Two Exclusive U.S. Shows « Femme Metal Webzine)
Label : Pias Recording
Review by Alessandro Narcissus
Dead Can Dance. Does Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry’s iconic musical creature really need an introduction? Well, perhaps it does, as many of the people who may love their music or any of the genres that originated from their wake were barely kids or not even born during the heyday of one of the most established and respected acts of the Ethereal scene. Dead Can Dance were formed by partners Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry in Melbourne, Australia, in 1981. Soon they moved to London, when they got signed by an alternative label and released an EP and their debut full length to great critical acclaim. In the following two decades, not only did Dead Can Dance become a legend in the Ethereal scene releasing a total of seven full-lengths which are nowadays widely regarded as classics, one studio EP, an official live album, an incalculable amount of b-sided and live-only tracks, achieving fame both in Europe and in the Unites States and having several songs featured in movie soundtracks, but they also indirectly contributed to the birth of the Gothic Metal genre itself through the early work of The Gathering, who openly cited them among their greatest influences. Now, after a brief reunion tour in 2005 and the release of five live EPs as an appetiser in the past months, Gerrard and Perry finally felt ready to get back to writing together new music for Dead Can Dance, and subsequently released their come-back full length, “Anastasis” – which fittingly means “rebirth” – after sixteen years from their previous studio album. Now, let’s get it clear from the beginning: you can put perfection into music, but putting it into words in a review is a much tougher work. No review will ever live up to the true artistic value of “Anastasis”, as this album is nothing short of the high standards of any past Dead Can Dance “classic” release. It’s a highly inspired and emotional album, a collection of eight diverse and outstanding tracks that make up an incredible experience when listened together as a whole. Generally speaking, the album is incredibly sophisticated, even if compared to the band’s past recordings. It remains true and coherent to their past and priceless heritage drawing widely from it, but is a contemporary work which gives room to the artistic maturity Gerrard and Perry achieved while working separately. Balance is the keyword of this recording: nothing is overdone and every single note of each instrument is put in the right place for the right reason, to provide an experience that will delight both the artistic and sensitive side of the listener. Indeed, what immediately catches the ear is the sense of general harmony and unity of the record, in which each track has its own individuality but, at the same time, works perfectly as a piece of a greater experience. The orchestra – a typically western element – may be identified as the guiding thread of the oriental-sounding album. There are more orchestral parts than in the past and they are used differently in that the ensemble plays an active role in the most exotic soundscapes: instead of only providing a lush background for the ethnic instruments, it often accompanies them and plays along on the oriental or tribal melodies. Ideally, this interpretation of southern and eastern sounds with typical western instruments epitomises the idea of mingling different cultural influences into something new, which has always been the main standpoint of Dead Can Dance and is done at its finest in this album. This sense of harmony is also given by the balance between the two composers’ efforts. Even in this, “Anastasis” sounds much more cohesive than most the past Dead Can Dance albums, in particular those released after Gerrard and Perry’s domestic break up – namely “Into The Labyrinth” (1993), “Spiritchaser” (1996), and most notably their live effort “Towards The Within” (1994), in which their stylistic differences were most evident and at times even clashing. Whilst Gerrard’s and Perry’s own, peculiar approaches to writing music for their creature is still recognizable and the most familiar listeners can guess from the first notes of each song who’s going to sing, the passage from Perry’s trademark art-rock songwriting and Gerrard’s ethnic fascinations is much smoother than in the past, enhancing the sense of cohesion and harmony of the record as a whole. Indeed, the soundscapes evoked by the album can be perceived as the narration of a conceptual journey throughout the Mediterranean basin: the listener gets to ideally meet different cultures within the same voyage, each one adding it’s peculiar flavour to a bigger, all-compassing experience which is – or, if you will, being a piece of one, big colourful mosaic. The orchestra is the narrator who filters the experiences, and the other instruments and styles are the characters met during the journey we’re told about. In this sense, the title “Anastasis” does not only refer to the band’s rebirth after a 16-year split, but also to a more spiritual kind of rebirth the listener would experience through an enriching journey in the cradle of our culture. It’s really hard to name some highlights from the album without ending up with a detailed and exhaustive track-by-track review, as each song is spectacular in its way. But how not to mention, for instance, “Amnesia”, chosen as the promotional single out the album, which perfectly represents the blending of exotic rhythms with Perry’s typically western songwriting? Or Gerrard’s remarkable performance in the most ethnic tracks such as “Anabasis”, “Agape” or “Kiko”, which showcase the aforementioned union of traditional instruments and tribal percussions with the orchestra, as a background for Gerrard’s trademark vocalizations and folkloric techniques? “Children of the Sun” and “All In Good Time” represent the perfect opening and closing tracks respectively, the former being some kind of “rite of passage” somehow reminiscent of past songs (in particular Perry’s from “Aion”) reworked in the current, mature style of the duo, and the latter providing a relaxing outro as remarkable as “How Fortunate the Man With None” from “Into the Labyrinth”. And finally, the two absolute masterpieces of the album, “Opium” and “Return of the She-King”. The first is a highly emotional blend of ethnic rhythm patterns with breath-taking string melodies and Perry’s melancholic lyrics and vocals bound to put a tear in many listener’s eyes; the second is a wonderful, solemn track with distinct influences from the British Isles – at times it almost sounds as if a traditional Irish melody were played by Scottish bagpipes – in which Gerrard’s glossolalia vocals unite with Perry’s in what can be considered as the two vocalist’s best duet ever. “Anastasis” is clearly not just a typical come-back album that is made just to exploit the fans’ nostalgia or the hype for an iconic band’s reunion. It clearly shows Gerrard and Perry’s need to go back to their roots and write music together, and to do so at the right time and without a hurry, resulting in a fresh and genuine work, not at all anachronistic. It’s a perfect introduction for the new generations to the priceless work of this duo, as well as the perfect reward fans could hope for after 16 years of silence. “All in Good Time”, they say, and this is undoubtfully the good time and best way for Dead Can Dance to come back.
Rating - 100/100
Label : Psychonaut Records
Review by Luisa Mercier
The Gathering is a band that has got all of the fans quite used to change, evolution from album to album and “Disclosure” makes no exception. After the atmospheric, liquid sounds in “Home”, the catchy, classy rock of “The West Pole” (and the introduction of new singer Silje Wergeland), the Dutch combo is back with an eerie, downtempo, psychedelic record that reminded me of Slowdive and all that music populating the lands of electronic/darkwave/ambient. Guitars have not been forgotten, but they have no a major role in the album. “Disclosure” is opened by “Paper Waves”, a mid-tempo in which electronic and rock mingle creating a lush sound and Silje’s vocals are soft, emotional, a bit melancholic, though not sad. The already known “Meltdown” follows. The opening always reminds me of Muse and alternative/indie rock in general. Male vocals appear (courtesy of ) and the song goes on til it becomes more uptempo and in it has that progressive feeling to it without sounding boring. Silje is fascinating in the bridge, only backed by electronica and a few instruments. And here you are one of my favourite: “Paralyzed” opened by strings and electronic plus sexy Silje. It is a slow, sweet ballad where synths cradle us as sea waves, soft, hypnotic, absolutely oustanding. “Heroes for Ghosts” was releases more than a year ago with a nice video, so most of us already knows the song by heart. It is a long piece where Silje’s vocals shine, especially in the chorus, the music is more an accompaniment, never too intrusive. “Gemini I” is maybe the rockiest of all the songs, the riffs recall those of older works such as “Nighttime Birds” as long as the overall atmosphere. A track that nostalgic fans will appreciate. Back to atmospheric sound in “Missing Season”, another slow song full of melancholic longing but with a pinch of hope. “I Can See Four Miles” is another beautiful highlight (well, the whole album is full of stars, these just stand out a little bit more). As “Paralyzed”, the song is eerie, embraces the listener til half when it becomes more rock, well more post-rock maybe, with strings in the background. The songs finishes after this long instrumental that is connected to “Gemini II”. Unlike part I, this second section is slow-paced, quiet with a strange final part where far away sounds echo, like pipes in the wind. What can I say more? The Gathering never made an album that was similar to the previous one, they always try different things and manage to stay interesting, never boring and catchy. Another masterpiece.
Rating - 90/100
Label : Rare Noise Records
Review by Luisa Mercier
The Mantra ATSMM is an Italian post-rock act from Naples. They have already released two albums and this is their debut EP, which was recorded back in 2009. In this record we find a foundation made of minimal rock enriched by moody electronic atmospheres that recall Sigur Ros, Bjork and The Gathering (the “How to Measure a Planet” age). The four tracks show personality and a talent that the good production highlight as best as it can. I will mention above all the opener “Helder Pedro Moreira” in which we can perceive the strong influence of the Icelandic little singer in the ethereal, floating atmosphere. “Rooms” is a quiet track, dreamy and very short that introduces “The Fog” which has some similiraties with trip-hop, especially Portishead. It is mesmerizing, that is for sure. Closing track “A Friend with a Knife” is opened by some whispers and Adriana singing a capella. Dissonance, screaming, despair make this song quite gloomy. This EP marked the beginning of an interesting career for this Italian band as we will analyze further with their two full lenghts. Really a pleasant surprise coming from my country!
Rating - 70/100
Interview by Claudio Grippi
After a two-year break from their album “Altitude”, the first lead by the new singer, Autumn are back with their 5th album called “Cold Comfort”. Marjan Welman, the current singer of the band, took the time for an interview here at Femme Metal where she talks about the album, its concept and the future plans of the band.Hi Marjan, how are you?
I”m fine, thank you!
Let’s start immediately with our interview. “Cold Comfort” is your second album that features your voice fronting the band. Are you satisfied with the outcome?
I”m very happy about the outcome. I”ve always felt like a part of the band but I’ve never felt so at ease with all of the guys, like right now.
I think the title really suits the overall feel of the album. It’s a personal, moody album which can get quite dark at times. All of us went through a turbulent time. The album is about rising above this, or not
Well, let me tell you, this record is incredibly beautiful and more progressive-oriented. It seems more accurate, emotional and detail-oriented than “Altitude”. A step forward indeed. Do you think it is intentional or does it reflect the natural evolution of the band’s sound?I think it’s a little bit of both. We always want to do something extra and try new things but for this album we really tried to be more diverse and experiment with different moods. I”m just glad it came across.
Can you tell us how the band went through the writing process for this album?For the most part, we write the songs individually, then we send them to the rest of the band. Whoever has an additional idea, he adds it and then sends it to the rest of the band and so on. This goes for the music as well as the lyrics. We do sometimes get together to work on stuff as well.I read the band is extremely grateful to you as a band member because you brought a breath of fresh air. What was your personal contribution to the songwriting process?By nature, I”m not much of a composer. I’m always full of ideas, but when it comes to processing them I get stuck easily. I’m too much of a chaotic, haha! For this album I did get inspired a bit and I worked on “Black Stars in a Blue Sky” and “Truth Be Told” with Mats. He has the ability to understand what I”m rambling on about and put it into actual lyrics.I think this album is a masterpiece and your voice is extremely soulful, elegant, refined with an amazing magnitude. What are the main singing influences that have inspired you the most in these years? Thank you very much! Well since my taste in music is very mood driven, I listen to a lot of different music and therefore have a lot of influences. As long as there’s something ‘real’ (to me) in there, I dig it. I love emotional music. Right now I listen to a lot of Fink. I also listen to a lot of blues, stoner and Motown! Choices, choices!
In your opinion, are there any differences between the way you sing in “Altitude” and “Cold Comfort”?
Oh yes, I can hear I”m more relaxed and confident to step out of my comfort zone. I wanted to explore more sides of my voice. I think it worked but I always want more“Alloy” is one of the best songs I have ever heard together with “End of Sorrow” and “Black Stars in a Blue Sky”. They are so deep and intimate. Can you tell us something about the concept, the lyrics and the ideas behind these songs?The songs and lyrics do have a specific meaning to us but the power lies within the fact that listeners can have their own interpretation of it. For example take “End of Sorrow”. On the first spin it may look like a romantic song. But you can also ask yourself if the storyteller might be a little obsessive about a happy ending. Maybe he or she can’t let go/accept the fact that something is over.What are the band’s future plans after the release concerts in the Netherlands?Well, we really enjoyed the shows we did so far. It feels good to be on stage together again. We had so much fun! Furthermore, we’re working on a few shows in Germany and are hoping for a tour or maybe some festivals over the summer. Last year you toured with The Gathering and it appears that you are great friends. Are both bands planning to tour and play together once again?Oh yes, it was so much fun. They’re a bunch of sweeties! About touring with them, I would love to but there are no plans that I know of right now.Epica is currently looking for a band to tour with in Europe when the new album is to be released in March 2012. Would you like to go on tour with them?Of course we would love to! If we were their support, people would be in for an evening of various musical styles. Just the way we like it!
I think it”s a bit difficult to write about the songs individually, since “Cold Comfort” was written as one complete concept. I’d rather read honest listener reviews than to reveal the secrets up front.The songs we could not listen to were the bonus tracks. What can you tell us about them?The songs are called “Changes for the Bitter” and “The Mute (Inhale)” and they fit the rest of the album seamlessly. “Changes for the Bitter” is a sturdy rock song around an odd-time signature. “The Mute (Inhale)” is part 1 of a mini concept with “Truth Be Told (Exhale)”. I would recommend listening to them together for the full experience of the concept. We thought about these songs for a long time but feel they stand better on their own.Marjan, thank you so much for your precious time! Is there anything left you would like to say to our readers?You”re very welcome and oh yeah! Buy the album, love it and come to our shows, haha!
LinksMarjan Welman : MySpace * Twitter
Interview by Ed MacLaren
Lacuna Coil has made a career of pushing the sonic boundaries of darkness and melody. Growing from an Italian goth rock phenomenon to a truly international success, the quintet have done it without compromising their musical instinct or their artistic commitment. With the new album, “Dark Adrenaline”, setting new sales and chart records for the band across the globe, lead singer Cristina Scabbia could be taking time to enjoy the album’s success but after two months touring with metal icons Megadeth and Motorhead along with Denmark’s Volbeat as part of Gigantour, her focus is ramping up for the band’s upcoming Dark Legacy tour.
Forthright and insightful, Cristina spent some time backstage with Femme Metal Webzine hours before Lacuna Coil’s final show on Gigantour in Austin, Texas. Despite nagging back pain, we got a change to talking about touring with Megadeth and Motorhead, Lacuna Coil’s upcoming tour plans and the secrets to the band’s ongoing success. How’s your back doing?
It’s actually pretty bad. Better than two days ago. But I think I have an inflamed muscle that kind of touches a nerve so every once in a while I kind of jump. And it’s so painful for a few seconds then it stops and then it starts again. But I’m going to home in a couple of days so I’m going to rest at least a week!
So you’re just going to muscle through it for this show?
I was just talking a few minutes ago with the wife of Volbeat’s singer Michael (Poulsen) and there is always this mixed up feeling of happiness because you’re going to be going home but there is also this sadness because it’s the end of the cycle and you know that you’re going to miss all the people from the bands and crew. And you know that you’re going to see each other again because I know that we’re going to play some dates together especially with Megadeth for the Megadeth/Rob Zombie tour. We’re going to see Volbeat at the Rock on the Range Fest. But there is always this weird feeling and weird day where everyone is wandering around like zombies because you know that it’s over but it’s not over yet. It’s just like a weird feeling.
That’s why I appreciate you taking some time to talk to me because I know it’s the last day and you’re all ready to go home.
Oh, no problem because all I have to do during the day is promo and relax.
Being on Gigantour you get to hang out with two metal icons Dave Mustaine of Megadeth and Lemmy of Motorhead. How is it hanging with those guys for a tour?
Oh yes! I’m so bummed out because we were talking about me going up on stage at the last gig to do “Kill by Death”! And I was so bummed out that they had to cancel. Mainly because he has laryngitis and it sucks! I know it very well being a singer so it’s going to need some rest. But I’m very happy that we met each other.
And anything that you pick up as a musician from just watching these guys perform? They’ve been around for so long.
More than a musician, I think that what you can get from them is the fact that if you really have a big passion for what you’re doing it can go on forever. Sometimes I hear a lot of musicians that are saying, “Oh you never know how long we’re going to make this job for. You never know when it will end.” And then you see bands like Megadeth and Motorhead and it’s like it will never end if you really want to make your life out of it. I know that I want sing and I know that I want to sing forever so I know that I will be here. (Laughs) If I’m going to be alive, I’m going to be here for a lot of years to come. That’s what you get from bands like these that are still here after some many years and kicking ass!It’s the last show for this part of the tour. Do you guys have a big end-of-tour blowout planned?
We have three weeks home and then we’re going to rest a little bit and I’m going to go on with the charity project – Rezophonic – that I have back home. So I’m going to play some gigs with them around Italy and in three weeks we’ll going to be in South America for a few gigs with Lamb of God and Hatebreed. And then we’re going to play our headliner tour and we’re going to post those dates very soon. They’re just locking them up and we’re going to have a list in the next few days. We’re going to come back to North America for a headliner tour and it’s going to be something special. We’re going to play a lot of old stuff as well so the fans will be happy. We’re going to play a mixture – probably the longest set we’ve ever had, with an acoustic part in it. We’re going to talk more about it as soon as we can release the list of the dates. Then we’re going to play summer festivals. We’re going to be at Rock on the Range for the first time and this is going to be amazing. We’re going to play Welcome to Rockville in Jacksonville, Florida. And the summer festivals in Europe and I think a possible European headliner. But that will happen after September, I guess.So after doing two months as a support act and then you have to switch gears and go headline and you have the longer sets. Do you have to change anything musically or get your mindset in order?
Your mindset just changes because, of course, you have to play every night a longer set so it’s more tiring for your body, for your voice, so you have to be extra careful about your body, your voice, your fingers if you play guitar or your energy if you’re a drummer. So definitely we’re going to be able to take care of ourselves and our bodies during that tour because I know we’re going to push the energy to the limit every night. As I said, even if you tried to take it easy once you’re up there, it’s impossible. It’s just impossible. We give everything we have onstage.
Sacrificing your body for the good of the show?
It’s more of a mindset that changes because on this tour we had two off-dates – one in Baltimore and the other one in Des Moines, Iowa. And you can feel it but it’s different – you need a sort of a rhythm every night. If you know you’re going to have a headliner then you know what you have to do every night. But if you switch from support – half an hour playing – to an hour and a half, it’s like,”Uhhhhhhhh!” Sometimes your body feels it! (Laughs)
Absolutely! I guess you have to keep yourself in shape while you’re on tour.
Yes it’s really hard. It’s really hard to eat healthy – in a healthy way. The mattresses on the bus – just living on a bus is tough. It’s not easy. Driving around, sleeping while the bus is going. That’s probably why my back is kind of messed up! (Laughs)
Are there any benefits to playing more support shows to doing a headline show?
When you play a headliner show you know that the people coming to see you are fans so they know your music already. When you play as a support band you have a chance to grab and to win over new people that in the future will come to your headliner shows. So any support tour is useful to spread the word and let more people know about Lacuna Coil. Actually, this tour really surprised me because we never had problems to fit with any lineup and any band because we have such a special sound ourselves. We have a specific Lacuna Coil thing going on that we pretty much fit with every band we played with from Rob Zombie to Anthrax to Type O Negative to P.O.D. Diverse bands and nobody has ever said anything but on this tour it was more like there’s going to be a lot of old school fans. You know, Motorhead and Megadeth, die-hard fans that are going to look at us like “Oh my God, who’s this girl on stage? Why do they even have a female singer? Why aren’t they doing this?” And the reaction was magnificent! It was amazing! Everybody was rocking out! They loved the show. We would leave the stage every night with hands up in the air and people cheering us and going for it. It was amazing because when you’re the opener, you don’t really know. It’s like you have to warm up the crowd and you never know how they’re going to react most of the time – they will be like having a beer somewhere getting interested in the show. And it wasn’t like that. We got the attention of pretty much everybody. And that was amazing. It’s a big challenge. It’s exciting.Good music transcends everything…
I think despite of the fact that you like the music or not, if you keep the energy up and you let the crowd understand that you’re having a great time and you’re having fun onstage you will connect no matter what. I’m not saying that they’re going to buy the records right away but at least they will go away saying, “You know what? They can kick ass! They seriously rock onstage!” And that’s all I want. I want people to have fun at our concerts.
It’s cool that you guys are actually touring the States right now. Your album just got released here in the States and its right at the top of the charts. Setting personal records on the charts as far as album and single, so it must be cool to be touring a place like the States with the album coming out.
It’s the perfect moment now because we did a pre-tour in October in the UK and some parts of Europe so we presented the new singles because we knew we were going to be here in the States at the precise moment where the album was out. It’s more difficult to tour the States because it’s such a big territory. When you tour in Europe, you maybe do one gig in Belgium, one in Holland, one in France and then you go to Italy and you play two. And then you go to Germany and play one or two. It’s like a few gigs in different places. If you play in America you have at least to tour for a month and a half. If you want to cover the main cities – not even all the cities you would like to play in – it’s definitely more difficult and we’re trying to keep a balance between Europe and America but it’s not always easy.
You’re one of the few bands that are able to do that…
To work both ways – I know! (Laughs) But sometimes our fans are complaining but it’s not up to us. They’re like you never play to Europe and then we go Europe. Why don’t you come here to the States? Come on! (Laughs) We can’t be in two places at the same time! Just be patient! We’ll be there as well!
With the new album – great album by the way – been listening to it non-stop. Do you think that you’ve been doing anything different with this album than the previous stuff or are you just doing what you do well better?
I think that it came out different but without us thinking about making it sound different because what we always do with every album is that we don’t think. We just go with the flow which is let the inspiration go and do everything for us. It’s not that we sit around a table and we say OK the last album went this way. Why don’t we try to do this? It’s not like that – the process is completely different because we collect the ideas and whatever we like, we keep it. We don’t care about clichés, we don’t think about what people might think about the album because it’s a representation of art so it has to describe who we are. It has to be who we are. It doesn’t have to be what fans want from us and I personally think that that’s why we kept it – for such a long time – interesting to a lot of people. We might have lost some fans but we won over a lot of people. And then maybe the new people didn’t like the album after and the old school fans came back. I think it’s refreshing. It’s refreshing to just evolve and not to get stuck in the same thing over and over. And this album definitely the most obscure, the heaviest one we’ve ever done but it’s not that we thought about it before we started songwritin
It’s heavier but you still have the underlying melodies and hooks.
Always! It’s still us. I mean it’s still us writing the songs so you cannot really change. It’s just like a little evolution here and there.
When you look from the first EP to “Dark Adrenaline” – you were talking about evolution – can you see a common thread that you can see how you’ve evolved from album to album?
The common thread is that we’ve always mixed up melody and heaviness in every album. And the fact that we’ve never really used our voices – Andreas and my voice – in the “beauty and the beast” context. We’ve always sung the same way – so I wasn’t always singing the melodic, nice parts. Sometimes I’m doing the aggressive ones and sometimes he sings clear so there is always this interaction between us that not a lot of bands are using the same way we do. And this is present in every album.
I wanted to ask you about the way you and Andrea do you vocals. You’ve been doing it for a number of albums now and it always sounds fresh and unexpected – the way that you guys do your arrangements. It doesn’t feel like, “OK you sing this part, I’ll sing that part”.
No, because it doesn’t happen this way.
What’s the process that you guys do to do that?
It’s not a real process. We simply don’t sit and decide to split 50% of vocal lines. Sometimes I write parts that he ends up singing because it sounds better. Or vise versa. Or I come up with an idea for lyrics and he likes it because we share the same tastes. It’s surprising we never really clashed. We never really said, “Oh no I will never do this or no I don’t like it”. Because you can feel it if you’re honest and you don’t let the ego get over you. You realize that it sounds good if it’s sung this way or it sounds better if it’s sung this way. So we keep it the way we feel more comfortable with.So it’s a real collaboration.
I can’t really tell you about that because what happens is that we come up with a lot of ideas when we’re home – when we’re separately at home. Because now you can exchange files, you can go with a USB key or your computer and say, “Hey! I found this idea”. So the vocal line for “Intoxicated”totally happened – I just listened to the music and I was like (sings melody line) and came up with this melody and was like, “This sounds cool!” and then I recorded it. But it was nothing planned because I didn’t take any specific lessons or something that inspired me in this way. It was simply fitting with the music. And I realize that I’m using my voice in a different way but I don’t know what happened because I’m definitely learning how to use my voice by myself. I’m not taking any lessons because I want to keep it personal. It might not be perfect, it might not be super technical but it’s me and me only. I don’t want to change my voice because it has to be sounding like someone else.
You’re going to be playing the Metal Female Voices Festival this year and you haven’t been there in seven or eight years. Are you looking forward to having a few more women around – at least for the weekend?
Absolutely! I really like it when I see a lot of women in the crowd actually – more than the other bands. I’m sure that I’m going to have a great time and it’s going to be good to see some friends because I have female friends in the music business. It’s going to be great to see a lot of females coming to the shows because as Lacuna Coil we get a lot of female fans and the guys in the crowds are very happy. (Laughs) Because it doesn’t really happen a lot – at a metal concert you see a lot of guys not a lot of girls. I just love it – there is always a very cool vibe. I’m definitely excited about it.You were saying before that Lacuna Coil – even though you’re a female in the band – you’ve really sort of shed that “there’s that metal band with the chick singer kind of thing” label. You guys are considered Lacuna Coil and you tour when you want with who you want. It’s not like you’re being pushed in a certain direction.
At least, that’s what we’re trying to do. Because, I mean, I can understand that. If someone doesn’t know the band you kind of have to tell them they’re sounding kind of like this or that. But every time I got somebody – who didn’t know the band – that came to the show was like very impressed. Like it wasn’t what I was expecting. I listened to them on the radio or just reading the articles. I wasn’t expecting them to be rocking out that much. So I get a lot of positive comments from people who saw us for the first time.
Every festival is important and I think it’s interesting because a lot of people listen to music where female singers are in the lineup. Sometimes it’s a little overrated to put too much attention on females in the scene because a lot of newcomers might think that this is the secret for the success – which it’s not. Some new bands might think, “Ok I’m going to have a female in the lineup and I’m going to be successful right away because we’re getting a lot of attention”. And it’s not like that because there is a lot of hard work behind everything and behind success and most of all there is not a recipe for success. So there is a natural selection in which if you’re not talented or if you don’t have the right potential, it’s not going to work. So a lot of bands are going to disappear in one year or even less.
That’s true it was different. It was something special back then.Do you think that the success of Lacuna Coil has had some kind of an impact on opening doors?
So you can go back to a festival like MFVF and see how things have changed. One of my favorite YouTube videos is an old grainy one of you and The Gathering back in 1998.
Oh my God. “Shrink”! (Laughs)
You guys are starting out and you’re doing the European circuit and then you fast forward 14 years and where you’re at now. Do you ever look back at the success you’ve had and think how you can keep challenging yourselves? Because back then you had a certain set of goals at that time. And now you’re selling millions of albums and touring the world. What do you do now to challenge yourselves?
We challenge ourselves being honest every time with a new album. It’s not even that we’re challenging ourselves – it’s like if you’re a painter, you don’t make a new painting because you want to make it better than the previous one you did. If you’re being creative and you’re an artist you just want to push out everything you have inside and you try to translate it with your heart. And that’s what happens with us. We have so many influences from our lives. We’re living such a hectic and crazy life that there’s so much inspiration for a lot of material to come that it’s impossible not to keep it fresh. It’s impossible to (be) stagnant – with every album we added something, we did something slightly different and that’s what keeps it fresh. It’s not that we’re doing the same cover, the same artwork, the same colors, the same clothes. We just like to keep it alive and change it. As life changes, we are evolving as well with life.
I guess then that you guys wouldn’t say that you’re not even close to peaking as a band yet.
Ahhh! I hope so! (Laughs)
You still have a long way to go before you run out of ideas.
It’s really hard now-a-days because the life of a musician is even harder. Because everyone seems to only see the sparkling side. They see the covers, they see the duets, they see the costumes. And they think that you’re a millionaire and have three swimming pools in your house. And that’s absolutely not close to reality at all. I live in an apartment that I’m finishing to pay in 30 years. We’re regular. We have regular lives. The rock star life doesn’t really exist anymore unless you’re a super huge band and with the illegal downloads it’s kind of killing the bands. It’s really hard now-a-days because there’s a lot of competition and a lot of new bands. We’re lucky because we have a large base of fans. The fact that we’ve been around for quite a long time makes us an established band and it’s probably easier for the fans to look at our albums like,”Oh they have a history. They’re not like the material that’s going to disappear next year”. So it’s kind of cool on our side.
Do you think that to have a career as long as you have and that people have responded to your music for such a long time – you’d think there was a certain element of it that hooks people and brings them in.
Really the fun factor and the fact – I’m going to say it again and it might sound boring – but the fact that we’re honest. The fact that I can feel that people see Lacuna Coil for what they are. They got closer because they got to know ourselves a little more personally because we’re really exposed to our fans. We’re constantly trying to find the interaction with them so they look at us as a band who’s very genuine but is rocking at the same time. There is this confidence and powerful factor that’s coming out of the band that made us grow through the years and made a lot of people come closer to us. This is kind of cool – I love the fact that we’ve had a career. I would hate it if we would have come out with the first album – super successful, millions of copies sold and then boom, gone. Who are they? I don’t know who they are. Because all the artists that I admire, they had a career. They started from zero, they started touring, they started to do promotion. And that’s why they got so big because even when they got really big, they still remember how it started. They still remember where they’re coming from and this is what’s happening to us.
You have a career. You can actually look at your shelf with your CDs on there.
I have so many memories that even if it would finish tomorrow and I certainly hope I’m not finished tomorrow (laughs), I have so memories and so many cool things that I did in my life that a regular person could only dream of. Because I did what I really wanted to do. How many people can say I made a job out of my biggest passion in life?
I appreciate the time. It was a pleasure talking to you!
My pleasure! Sorry for being for being so “papapa”* but I’m Italian! (Miriam) will know!
* papapa in a very familiar way in Italian means that you are so talkative/loquacious
Review by Tony Cannella
From Barcelona, Spain come Leaves. The band has quite an extensive history. Leaves first came on to the scene in 2001 with the 5-song mini-EP, “XTC” and followed that up with two live releases in 2006 and 2007, now finally they have released their full-length studio debut, “While The Light Continues Spinning”. The album features a clash of styles ranging from Metal, Gothic, Rock and Power Pop, giving Leaves a certain ambiance that makes them difficult to classify into any one genre. The first thing that came to mind while listening to ”While the Light Continues Spinning” are the similarities between vocalist Rachel and ex-Gathering vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen. I am sure that there are comparisons between the two forth-coming. The band as a whole, reminds me of “Mandylion” and “Nighttime Birds” era The Gathering, which is never a bad thing, in my opinion. The CD begins with ambient sounds and starts off kind of slow - stylistically speaking - before the title song picks up steam and heaviness and alternates between slower and heavy tempos. The album really starts to take shape with the second track, “Zero”. Here is when you start to realize what an impressive vocalist Rachel is and how good the songwriting and musicianship are, as well. “My Own Way”, “Observed” and “Yellow” are three more rock solid and steady tracks that keep things moving along nicely. “My Own Way”, in particular became a big favorite of mine, thanks - in large part - to the heartfelt and emotional vocal delivery of Rachel. Other highlights included: “Yellow”, “Anchor”, “Logan”, “Cover Me”, “Words” and the final track, the melodic and emotionally charged “Rose in Heaven”. So, if you are missing the style of The Gathering circa 1995-97 than Leaves should be right up your alley but there is enough good material present here that should make “While the Light Continues Spinning” a viable metal release in 2010. Leaves are an impressive rock/metal band that should have no trouble in forging their own identity and path in the future.
Rating - 80/100
Label : Immrama Records
Review by Tony Cannella
From the U.K., Karnataka have been showcasing their brand of Celtic influenced prog rock since their debut was released in 1998. Since then, the band have undergone several line-up changes but have persevered. Their new album - 4th studio release overall - is titled, “The Gathering Light”. Karnataka have amassed a loyal cult following over the years in prog rock circles, and “The Gathering Light” is an album that should be greeted warmly by fans of the band - old and new. Among the 8-songs, “The Gathering Light” features it’s share of long, epic type numbers that the band is known for. I love the vocals of Lisa Fury, who sometimes reminds me a bit of Sharon den Adel from Within Temptation. After the 2-minute intro, “The Calling”, Karnataka do the unthinkable, they start with the 9-minute instrumental, “State of Grace”. Very few bands would start a CD with a long, epic instrumental track - but you’ve got to give Karnataka credit for doing something a bit different. The 8-minute, “Your World” is the first song to feature vocals, an excellent track that showcases the immense talent of the entire band. “Moment in Time” is a wistful, orchestral ballad that is another highlight. Perhaps the center-piece on the CD is the 12-minute epic, “Forsaken”. This song is divided into three parts and is one of the best. The 14-minute, “The Gathering Light” brings the CD to a close, another big epic number and a great way to close out the CD. With “The Gathering Light”, Karnataka have delivered an ethereal musical and lyrical journey that should please fans of classic prog rock. Having only been vaguely familiar with Karnataka in the past, this band has definitely won me over.
Rating - 87/100
Review By Tony Cannella
From Spain, InDrama play dark, ambient metal in the vein of Anathema and The Gathering. On their debut, “Timescapes” the band offer a unique blend of haunting soundscapes and brooding melodies. On “Timescapes”, InDrama presents a 10-song, 52-minute journey into the realm of adventurously appealing metal. Lead vocalist Selene offers up a serene, laid-back vocal style that just floats up there with the music. Don’t expect anything too over-the-top with this band, and this is certainly not music to bang your head to, although it does have its moments of heavy riffing, like on the track, “Unreal”, but for the most part InDrama don’t stray too far from their latter day Anneke-era The Gathering path. Guitarist Jesús does a great job in giving the music some atmosphere and also lends a hand in the vocal department on some songs. Highlights include: “Free Me”, “From”, “Unreal” and “My Dark Soul”. In “Timescapes”, InDrama has delivered a debut that is quite an interesting listen. All-in-all, for a debut album, this is a pretty strong artistic statement for such a young band to make.
Rating - 75/100