INFOS : firstname.lastname@example.org
Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Label : Massacre Records
Review by Danny Robertson
VOD’s press release for “Power Dive” describes them as having a sound somewhere between gothic and symphonic metal, and it’s not wrong; at times sounding like a heavier Nightwish, or during their more restrained moments sounding reminiscent of Within Temptation, but without sounding like a cheap copy of any act within those genres. Their combination of sounds gels together well without sounding forced - the keyboards don’t overpower the rest of the instruments, whilst the guitarwork is especially impressive, epic without being pompous or gratuitous, and Maike’s vocals work well with the instruments rather than relegating them to the background, thus avoiding the pitfalls others within the genre occasionally find themselves in. Tracks such as the title song and “Dedication” show off their more operatic side, whilst standout track “Kami” is a nice demonstration of the band’s range in a single song, with some heavy riffing throughout. Voices of Destiny have delivered a strong second album here, one that should see them win new fans in further territories. If you’re fan of big, bold, unashamedly epic metal, then try this album out!
Rating - 80/100
Interview by Matteo Bussotti
As soon as their new album, “Power Dive”, came out, we had to ask Voices of Destiny’s singer, Maike, what’s behind this album, the creative process behind it. She was very nice and answered politely to all our question, making Voices’ style and history clearer. So, let’s take a “Power Dive” into their new album and this interview!
First of all, have you ever been to Italy? And if you have, what differences have you found from your homeland?
Yes I’ve been to Italy many times but only on holidays with my family when I was a child. Of course a big difference is the climate, the beach and the sea Italy has. I also liked the temper of Italian people a lot.
What was, in your opinion, the best country you’ve ever been, especially while touring with Voices? How one country differs from the others?
Well, that’s very difficult for me. We’ve just been on tour through some countries in eastern Europe by now and we had great experiences everywhere. I liked it very much to play in Budapest (Hungary), where the people were remarkable friendly and generous. We could visit the city as well and it was a great day there. Besides touring I love Ireland and Wales a lot. There the people are so hospitably and the landscape is beautiful.
Let’s talk about “Power Dive”: what do you think is the strongest point of your second album?
I like to listen to the album as a whole artwork, but there are some songs I listen to more often. For me that’s “Power Dive”, “The Untouchable” and “Your Hands” at the moment. I like the structure of these songs, the way I could interpret the lyrics and the heavy parts in it.
How do you think you’ve changed, as a band, but also you as a solo, from your first album “From the Ashes”?
All in all the album is much more aggressive and there are more strong feelings to be found I’d say. We decided to reduce the orchestral elements a little bit and give more room to the guitar and the growls. For my person I think I improved in expressing the feelings that I have about the songs.
Looking at the future, in what ways you think you can evolve, what do you think you can improve?
I’m still young and I think I can improve in many ways. I’d like to get even more volume and hope to improve my breathing technique as well. As band I hope we can play some more live shows to get more confident on stage.
There are bands which really struggle themselves to give the best during concerts, making every one of them a unique experience. On the other hand, there are bands which see concerts only as a “showcase” of their songs, like “These are our songs, we are great and powerful. Now go buy our cds.”. What’s your point of view? What do you think about concerts? Do you try to give your fans a unique experience, maybe delivering some sort of message?
That’s a very good question, thank you for that. Well, we’ve just been on tour and for me it should always be the goal to make the audience happy and give them a good time during your show. We always have a great time on stage and I hope the people realize that. I feel happy when the audience seems to like the performance or when I see people singing along. But what I like most about concerts is to get in touch with the fans afterwards. I really enjoyed talking to different people from several cities and get to know them. For me it’s very important to keep in touch with the fans and not just think of them as (potential) consumers.
Is there any crazy thing you’ve done, or you’d like to do, during a concert?
Not until now. But you never know what the future brings ;-)
You are very into social networks, in fact, on your band’s website are linked you facebook, twitter and youtube pages. What’s your opinion about them, and the opportunity they give the fans to interact with the artists?
For us it’s a great opportunity to stay in touch with our fans and to spread our music all over the world. We all like it to get to know bands we listen to and therefore we want to enable our fans to get to know us and our music as well.
If you had to describe the other members of Voices in…let’s say 30 words, how’d you describe them?
Chris is our idealist and organizer, Jens is the critical one and cares for the finances and Lukas is the genial musician. All of them are very crazy and funny and some of my best friends. (Sorry, now there are 36 words ;-))
Who you usually writes the lyrics in the band?
Most of the songs and therefore the lyrics are written by Lukas, two songs on “Power Dive” were written by Chris.
Is there some particular theme you’d like to sing about in your songs? What’s your favorite song you’ve written so far?
No there is no special theme that occurs over and over again, but most of the songs deal with daily problems and often the lyrics are about interpersonal relations.
Last but not least…is there something special you’re looking forward to in the next few months?
Yes we will start to work on new material in summer. We all are very excited about what comes next.
Photo by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Gig Review by Marcy Bell
It’s clear: Epica and Italy are entwined. The concert at the Alcatraz in Milan on the 27th October was a huge success for Simone Simons and her fellows. Stage B was almost full, there were more fans and friends than in the previous tour. As in 2008 Epica were supported by the Finnish Amberian Dawn and in this new tour also by the brand-new German band: Sons of Seasons lead by Oliver Palotai. The Dutch band presented live some songs of the new album “Design Your Universe” but most of the show was made with hits from the past such as “Black Infinity”, “Cry for the Moon”, “The Phantom Agony” and “Consign to Oblivion”. The gig started with the new “Resign To Surrender” and then it went into the old mood with “Sensorium”, hands up with Simone and the whole band with the beginning of “Quietus” and then the Oriental style of “Fools of Damnation”. It was time for “Design Your Universe” and the first single “Unleashed”, the beat of Ariën on drums started very loud running through “Martyrs of the Free World”. Epica’s classic “Obsessive Devotion” led the central part of the show, as it’s always a pleasure listen live this song with Mark on growl and Simone running back and forth the stage in a seven minutes Epica-old-style-vibes. “Tides of Time” showed all the deep and sweet part of Epica with Simone solo in all her vocal talent and Coen on piano: a moment that gave you shivers on your spine. The band went again on stage with the last three songs: “Black Infinity”, “Mother of Light” and the techno-version of “Phantom Agony”. The latter was an enjoyable surprise for the crowd that started dancing with color lights as in a dance floor. Good point for Epica indeed. The encore was with “Cry for the Moon”, “Sancta Terra” and the final “Consign to Oblivion”. The show was good, the crowd really enjoyed it and finally we can say that Epica are improving themselves live in every tour.
Interview by Ed MacLaren
Exploding from Russia’s burgeoning metal scene comes Arcane Grail’s latest concept CD “Arya Marga: Ninefold Path to the Innocence”. Equal parts philosophy and spirituality, “Arya Marga” provokes the mind while assaulting the ears. In this interview, vocalists Demether and Natalie take us down the paths to innocence, divulge the secrets to a cohesive band and give us key insights into up-and-coming Russian metal.
Your new CD, “Arya Marga: Ninefold Path to the Innocence”, is lyrically and conceptually dense but it’s ultimately an extremely rewarding listen. Can you offer some insight into the concept behind the CD?
Demether : Yes, our second album is conceptually like the previous one, “Mysteries of the Ancient Charnel”. But if the first CD has the tale-like fairy story about ghosts, kings, inquisition and love in a King-Diamond-like style, the new CD is more serious and non-fairy. The lyrics of Arcane Grail are latently or directly connected nowadays with mythologems of Russian and Indo-Aryan heathenism. There are various themes on the second album but all of them are united in the uniform concept of finding the true Ninefold Noble Path of Life by the Man (“Arya Marga” in Sanskrit– an esoteric term in Vedism and Buddhism) – the revolt against the present and desire to be cleared from all nasty defects of modern human society. And first of all, returning to the sources of mankind, to cleanliness of soul, thoughts, to natural laws, to ancient beliefs, to wisdom of ancestors and to divine condition of human spirit. Musically, we name our style now – Symphonic Extreme Metal Art, which consists of sympho-black, melodic death, and gothic doom as well.
There are nine tracks on “Arya Marga: Nine Paths to Innocence”. Can you delve into the meaning of each path and what tracks are representative of each path? How does each track contribute to the evolution on the path to innocence?
Demether: Yes, nine songs and nine paths. The Ancient Ones said that men needed – in eight paths to the attainment of enlightenment and perfection – wisdom, morals, pure reason, labour, blood-vengeance, honour, kindness and love. The modern man, wallowed in weakness, idiocy, frights, countless diseases, betrayals and lies, is needed in another path, the ninth and the main path – fight! These nine paths can make the man – light and strong, great and wise! This is the path of warriors, the path of Thulean Legatee – Arya Marga, our trip to perfection, our ninefold path to the innocence. And our way to the gods!
About the songs: “Arcane Grail” – WISDOM. The song is absolutely not connected with the Christian concept of the Holy Grail or with the Arthurian legend-cycle about the search for the Grail. The Grail is a much more ancient religious pagan symbol of many Indo-Aryan nations. It is a sacred boiler, a cup, a receptacle of stars, honey of poetry, an elixir of an eternal life. It is created from the Father of All Stones (Alatyr in Slavonic heathenism). It is also a spiritual image necessary for the achievement of an eternal life (unessential, terrestrial), great wisdom, force and cleanliness. This song is devoted to the search of, by disclosing one’s own consciousness, finding a divine condition of the spirit.
“Of Snake and Raven” – MORALS. It is a song, a conversation of wise animals – a raven and the snake – as though occurring at the top of the Mother-Mountain of the World – Meru. They discuss people as they are weak and insignificant, actually. We from ourselves sing how it would be good to become strong, wise, fair, great and strict in the behaviour and principles of these ancient animals. I don’t think that man is the Tsar of Nature.
“Autumn Wed Us, Sinned and Lone” – LOVE. This song is about the love of a man and woman that even death could not separate. The present love is immortal! And that love is the main thing in the world – only with this feeling is there a world!
“Renaissant the Reverie” – LABOUR. A song about my dream of the revival of pagan consciousness in people. It’s about a great work of a body and soul that should be done in this way - revival! It’s about belief in saving love, in virtue of spirit. A song about the dirt of the modern world, perversions of people, about false monotheistic religions imposed on us by people, thirsted authorities and money. That each person can become the god himself, and the bearded dead man on a rotten cross actually is not necessary to anybody!
“Sorrow of Forgotten Pride” – HONOUR. A song about honour: to continue to be a beautiful, clever, perfect person in the modern world, to remember precepts of the ancestors, to love the native land and culture, and that you can die for beloved ones!
“Imprisoned in the Greatest War” – FIGHT. It is a revolution-song! A hymn to the revolt and revival of the old world on the ruins of the modern rotted bastard-society. Though, first of all, each person should win themselves!
“Die Sonnenhymne” – BLOOD-VENGEANCE. One more hymn - this time to Wotan, to the Sun, the Earth. It is an appeal to the old gods to return and take revenge for their desecration!
“Iniquitous Yoke” – KINDNESS. A song about the lot of the magician. About white magic, about the achievement of cleanliness of spirit. About full self-destruction up to a condition of ashes – then to revive like the sun in the universe. That we twirl the stars, instead they us. At least, it should achieve!
“Святой Грааль” – PURE REASON. On the one hand, it is simply a Russian version of the first song. But on the other, the lyrics differ practically on 70%. It is more about the full cleanliness of the mind from the matrix-perverted chains, about unlimited opportunities of sub consciousness of the person and that, eventually, inside of each person there can be a Sacred Grail!
The first track is titled “Arcane Grail”. How do the nine paths to innocence fit into the Arcane Grail world-view?
Demether : Personally, in my life I try to follow only the best roadsides of these paths. Self-perfection is the most important thing in the life of any person. And I do not sing without adducing any proof that does not interest me - by no means. All these ideas - not simply my ideas, but firm belief!
Is your attention to the lyrics primarily to entertain or educate? Perhaps a bit of both?
Demether : Now, only to educate, maybe, to give people some ways for reflection. I do not apply at all for any absolute truths, but all the same I think that I’m personally on a true way to knowledge – the sense of life, heh! Though, under the greater account, all of it is done for self-perfection - all these compositions of verses. But I shall be madly glad, if many of my ideas will be divided by people. It would be desirable that the music of Arcane Grail did people more purely a little bit, not only to release the thoughts from daily cares, but also to direct these thoughts to a channel of struggle with greyness, weakness and despondency.
Demether rips his throat raw alternating between vicious death- and black- metal vocals. Natalie provides soaring vocal lines and gets an excellent solo turn in “Die Sonnenhymne” in contrast with the brutal chaos of the music. How do you create your arrangements musically and vocally to achieve such a balance?
Natalie: I can’t say that we were especially trying very hard to reach such a balance. It happened somehow automatically. In the beginning (it was 2004), I was invited for only one song. The guys liked my voice and we decided to use it in more songs. On the first album, proposals of how better to include my voice were coming from both sides; I mean me and Demether with the band. On the second CD, it happened somehow easier. When we were making new material, we had to check through lots of pieces, samples and melodies which our musicians performed as the best ones for creating songs out of them. We were improvising a lot, trying to glue them all into a kind of composition. Somehow in this improvisation the right vocal lines came– and mostly they don’t need discussion. Mainly, in each song from the second CD, you hear the vocal parts of ours as they came from somewhere above! I can’t remember that we were seriously debating over “you sing here and I sing here”.
Demether: Hmm, in most cases, certainly, we try to transfer the necessary atmosphere of lyrics to various parts of songs. Certainly, all our creativity is deeply conceptual and we think over every second, each cry, and each note thoroughly!
How do you describe the evolution of Arcane Grail since its inception? Where do you see the group progressing musically as well as spiritually?
Demether: The band certainly has grown very much for eight years of existence both by way of music and by way of lyrics. I love our debut album – he’s very interesting and fine – but certainly “Arya Marga” is more skilful. The concept of lyrics now is pleasant to me much more now than with the entertaining Gothic fairy tale on the first. I wrote those lyrics at 19-years-old. For “Arya Marga”, I wrote the verses at the age of 23-25 years and it is a greater difference! Over the last years, Arcane Grail became a much greater and serious spiritual project – a part of my blood and spirit! And musically, let our listeners judge us. I think for myself we are needed to develop and develop, sure!
Several band members have recently left the band after many years of contributions to the Arcane Grail collective. How does this type of upheaval impact the collective and how does the group recover?
Demether : Yes, the truth is that during the release of an album some musicians left us because of our serious splits by the way of music. They did not wish to play neither metal nor death or black or sympho any more. Therefore, their dismissal, in any case, goes on to be an advantage to our band which is going to precisely continue to play the chosen stylistic direction. Unfortunately, because of their leaving there was some stupor in the concert activity of Arcane Grail while we searched for new musicians and we learned with them the songs and so forth. While we are just in this process, we will recover, and I promise, we shall soon return to kick all!
Natalie: Well, of course it made a kind of damage, we knew that the gone members had other projects, but never expected that they could leave us so suddenly. Demether started to search for new band mates on his own – I was quite far from this – and he never asked for any help. As a result there are new guys from Demether’s second band. I have to admit that the new line-up hasn’t performed the live performance yet.
Moving forward as a collective what are the key ingredients to successful group chemistry?
Demether: Certainly, I think there should be a friendship in a group, the general interests, and a necessary love of each musician for such music. In general, a mutual understanding.
Natalie: I think that it’s also the freedom for the demonstration of one’s own point of view for the music we make. Each member has to tell about any ideas, if he has them. And from the other side it’s pure diplomacy.
Arcane Grail is making an increasing impact outside Russian borders. How do you see your path to world domination?
Natalie: Since I’m married and mostly live in Germany, I guess Demether waits then I will find out how we get to Wacken Open Air or Summerbreeze and make everybody deaf with Demether’s loud and evil screams!
Demether: Seriously, we try as much as possible to promote ourselves in Europe and America so that we can go on a small tour in Europe in the near future. It would be desirable very much to win round some concert promoters. And we do not leave hope to be released on a European label. I think all will be ok!
What can you tell us about the current Russian scene and what other bands should we be looking out for?
Demether : In Russia, in the last five years, the dawn of metal has begun at last. There were enough very decent studios owing to which now it is easy to record at the European level. But the deal is not only in sound. Really, there were many of the most worthy bands playing high-quality, interesting, and original metal music. It would be desirable to name the following bands: Ambehr – Majestic ethnic melodic death with screaming and soprano; Blackthorn – All-female symphonic dramatic black metal, beautiful and haunting, with a unique soprano; Atoll Nerat – Unique epic sympho-black with an atmosphere of Indian Toltecs; Hieronymus Bosch – Smart progressive-death; Thelema – Jazz-death; Non Immemor Mei – Amazing original post-doom; Kartikeya – Brutal death on the basis of the Indian music; Dorgmooth – Superb melodic death; Astel Oscora – Beautiful and magic sympho-black with the atmosphere of Alice in Wonderland; Welicoruss – Magnificent epic sympho-folk-black; Tantal – They can easy out do Arch Enemy and The Agonist; Little Dead Bertha – Fine sympho-black/melodic-death with screaming and a stunning soprano; Wine from Tears – Excellent doom-death; Fferyllt – Celtic metal with the most powerful female folk-vocal; Id:Vision – Absolutely mad industrial-techno-black; Atra Mustum – Perhaps, one of the best representatives of gothic-sympho-blacks in the world; Skylord – My second band (If you don’t blow your own horn, no one will do it for you!), playing super-blasting and supermelodious sympho-black; Diathra – Excellent gothic metal band; Scrambled Defuncts – Improbable sympho-brutal-death; Crystal Abyss – Mystical sympho-black; Solerrain – Children of Bodoms, playing better than Laiho and company a hundred times; Zymotic Symphony – Original sympho-melodic death with an opera bass vocal and growling; Ruthless Order – An improbable mix of hard-rock and melodic death with one of the best vocalists in metal, five octaves with all possible variants in extreme and classical metal vocal-genres; Arcana Imperia – Very interesting avant-garde sympho-death; Ordalion – Original Russian sympho-black. And, certainly, it is possible to list much of our most interesting pagan metal bands, which similarities in the world are not present: Arkona, Butterfly Tempe, Nevid, Severnye Vrata, Smuta, Natural Spirit, Temnozor, Nebokray, Tverd, Svarga, Kroda and many others. As you see, many good bands. Besides it is not the full list. I’m really a patriot of our metal scene – over the last five years it deserves it.
Where does Arcane Grail fit into the current Russian metal scene? Do you consider yourselves veterans? What advice do you have for up-and-coming Russian bands?
Natalie : Well, from one side we’ve existed already for quite a while – after I joined in 2004 more than five years passed. The band started in 2001 itself. And we can really say that we are veterans, but from the other side there are bands which have existed much longer and play music which in some part touch our style. So, I even don’t know if we should or can say that we are veterans. About the new-comers, honestly, I have no positive thoughts. There are many bands (except the bands in “Demether’s List”) where each new one thinks it’s more cool than all the others, making fan clubs of the band and each member separately and without a shade of shame naming these people of 18- or 19-years-old “Keyplayer-Virtuoso”. Plus, they indeed pay for the possibility to warm up for such bands as Norther, Dark Moor and others. So, I would say to them – less words and more work on your own… But I’m sure they would not listen and will buy another possibility to warm up for next foreign band which will come to Moscow.
Demether : Heh, Natalie is right –but I think that it’s the same in other European countries too. But the real gold will be sifted in the sea of sand all the same – this is metal. So, to good young metal bands (and for some people we are valid veterans – though I do not consider us so) I advise more concentration, professionalism, a thirst to create something new. And still – when hiring designers of booklets, and in general record and cover-artwork, only hire known professionals!
Interview by Tony Cannella
In the past 30-years trends have come and gone in the fickle music industry, yet German thrash metal legends Holy Moses remain. They may not be the biggest band in the world or have achieved a huge worldwide fan base, but for over 30-years they have remained true to themselves and their core audience, and whatever you think of the band, they deserve respect. Recently Holy Moses issued a 2-disc compilation to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the band. Lead vocalist Sabina Classen and bass player Olli Jaath were kind enough to talk to us about it and other things involving Holy Moses.
First of all, congratulations on 30 years in existence for Holy Moses. Please tell us about the recently released 2-disc compilation.
Olli : Many thanks. We sat together in the Absurd Studio in Hamburg and listened to all records except the latest one (“Agony of Death”). We looked for the songs which the fans want to hear and those which are great but not so common. Additionally we checked our fan club network. I think we found a good balance. It´s great to have the old tracks now in a great sound robe. All of them sound much heavier and better than on the old records.
Are you doing anything else to commemorate such a milestone?
Olli: Well. Not really. We are looking forward to playing our next shows. We already started the songwriting for the next studio record. So we are busy to do our next step.
How do you feel about the 30th anniversary? Do you ever get a chance to reflect on the past 30 years?
Sabina : I feel wonderful with the 30th anniversary. I am reflecting a lot of times about the past 30 years. Especially when we recorded the album, a lot of memories came back into my mind. I remembered names and situations with the band and I was laughing a lot of the time to myself because we did so many things without knowing anything about promotion, marketing and management. I did the things like I was feeling, sometimes really naïve. But I think this keeps us still working on. I think this is the wonderful thing with Holy Moses; we only do what we love to do.
How did you both come to join Holy Moses?
Sabina : It is a real true and funny story. My boyfriend Andy was playing in our school band Holy Moses – Andy Classen – and I was sitting in the rehearsal room and listening to them. One day, bandleader and boss Ramon Bruessler (bass) fired the singer and so Ramon said to me – “Hey Sabina, you are sitting here, doing nothing, go to the microphone and sing”. I answered to him “I can’t sing”, but he gave to me the microphone and I had no other choice and I did a deep growl, I was wondering to myself what came out of me, and I thought, now they know, Sabina can’t sing. Ramon got a big smile on his face and responds to me – “do it again”, I did it again, and he said “Sabina, you are the new singer of Holy Moses”. I thought, this guy is kidding me, but it was true. It was the date, 3rd December 1981, and since this date I am the singer of Holy Moses.
Olli : Sabina and I have known each other since 2000 and I joined Holy Moses in 2006. Sabina asked me to help them out for some gigs as a bass player. Normally I play guitar. Besides Holy Moses I play the guitar for my other band Reckless Tide. After Thomas entered the band I switched from bass to guitar.
How do you feel Holy Moses has changed and evolved in the last 30 years?
Sabina : I think we did always what we were feeling. I have many sides in myself, and the most important fact is I am not thinking about it, I just do what I like to do and feel.
Olli: Holy Moses went through many musical changes. Heavy Metal, thrash metal, death metal, Punk, Hardcore but the thrash factor was always the dominant part. Nowadays I would say that Holy Moses stands for a more complex kind of thrash metal with a heavier weighting on hook lines and melodies.
Can we expect new material from Holy Moses soon?
Sabina : My guys in the band are working already on new material, and I am always writing lyrics. So I can work on my daily impressions about life.
Olli: Yes, we are already collecting ideas and riffs for the next record coming out 2013. So don’t worry.
When Holy Moses first got together, who would you site as your influences?
Sabina : I really don’t know. At the time I just loved Black Sabbath, AC/DC. I did not have so many albums, and I was not listening so much to music. I think my life influenced me always, and this is still going on, all that I am doing is coming deep from my soul.
For you, what has been the highlight so far?
Sabina : My highlight is that I am doing Holy Moses since 30 fucking years, so my highlight is really to do all these years. I was able to visit so many countries and getting in contact with so many people around nearly the whole world. I think getting in contact with so many cultures is the biggest highlight you can get in your life.
Olli: My personal highlight was our tour through Japan in 2009. It was our first time and it was very great to meet all the people, discover the country and play all the shows over there. I hope we can come back very soon.
Any low points?
Sabina : Yes, like life can be, but each low point lets me get more energy and experience for my life. I think everything in your life is something you have to do, to get into the next level of your life..
Olli: Yep, our tour with Benediction in 2008. This tour, thanks to our former booking agency MAD, was horrible and done without any organization. The tour bus broke several times including a fire, venues didn´t know that we are coming, no advertising, etc. Everything bad you could imagine happened. The cool thing was the great relationship between the guys from Benediction and us.
Sabina, You were one of the – if not the – first women in extreme metal. Do you feel like an influence or inspiration to others who have followed?
Sabina: Yes, I really know now, that I was the very first growling and extreme music woman in metal. And I think this is also a milestone and something real special. I feel great with it, if anybody - male or female - got from my music and my strength power and energy to do also steps in his life, to be happy.
Sabina, I read somewhere that you are also involved in managing bands. Can you please tell us how you got into that and are there any bands we should be on the lookout for?
Sabina : I did some years, a kind of helping hand for some younger bands. But I stopped with it, because I love to have my music as a kind of hobby, to work on myself. In my other life, I am working as a natural humanistic psychotherapist and this is what I love to do for my profession.
Which do you prefer, the management or performance end of things?
Sabina : The only thing is to perform on stage in metal – and doing management is nothing for me anymore. I am not a really good manager, because I do not like to be in stressful situations with people, so I do not like to make hard business decisions.
You also joined Doro on stage for her 25th anniversary. What was that experience like?
Sabina: Yes, I joined Doro on stage – often times – she is a really good friend of mine since the 80s, and every time when we have the chance to sing together, we always do. To be on stage with her on her 25th anniversary was a really great moment, Doro is a great woman.
Obviously the music industry has changed since Holy Moses first began. What do you feel has been the biggest difference and most positive development in music over the past 30 years?
Sabina : Ha ha ha, yes so many things have changed, but not Holy Moses – and one thing of the wonderful new world is the internet, so I can be in contact with our friends all the time. About the bad things I do not want to think about it, I take the development like it is and a try to always make the most positive out of it.
Who are some current bands that you like?
Sabina : I still love all the stuff like Ozzy Osbourne, but also I like my mates from Kreator, Destruction, Sodom, Tankard and Doro, Slayer, Tom Gabriel Warrior and still Venom and Possessed – but I am listening mostly in my silent moments to world music.
Olli : I am still a fan of the bay area thrash metal. Bands like Exodus, Testament and Anthrax influenced my play. I still like the last outputs of these bands. To mention newer bands I can say Havoc and Warbringer.
Sabina, in the mid to late 90s you also fronted a band called Temple of the Absurd and released two albums. What is your opinion of those albums today and do you think they might ever get re-issued?
Sabina : It was a great time with Temple of the Absurd and I learned a lot of things for my life. It was really a time of a Rock’n’Roll life, and I think I will have this always in my soul and mind. I do not know yet, if we will re-issue these albums.
At that point, why did you opt to form a new band and put Holy Moses on hold?
Sabina : At that point, some things changed in my life in private ways and so I had to do a new step in my life and I was feeling that I had to have some experiences, and like my motto – Just do what you feel.
What can we expect from Holy Moses in the future?
Sabina : Holy Moses
Olli : A new record and hopefully many live shows.
Thank you Sabina and Olli for taking the time to answer these questions and congratulations on 30 years, here’s to 30 more. In conclusion, is there anything you would like to add to this interview or say to the fans? Olli : Many thanks for all the support over all these years. We will see you on tour. Thrash on!! Links
Thank you Sabina and Olli for taking the time to answer these questions and congratulations on 30 years, here’s to 30 more. In conclusion, is there anything you would like to add to this interview or say to the fans?Sabina : So many thanks for supporting us over all these years – and being behind us, and giving us the chance to go on with something we love to do.
Olli : Many thanks for all the support over all these years. We will see you on tour. Thrash on!!
Label : Darknagar Records
Review by Vard Aman
NeverDie formed in 2005 in Oktyabrsky, Republic of Bashkortostan in Russia. You’d better look that up on Wikipedia – Oktyabrsky that is, you should already know where Russia is by now: it’s the place that Sarah Palin can see from her house. Or perhaps I should rather say “allegedly see” – we are talking about Sarah Palin here. It is possible that she has simply named her vegetable garden “Russia” – and that might be another reason she’s so determined to shoot all the wolves in the area: perhaps “they might not have lost the vegetarian instincts that they picked up on Noah’s Ark yet”. Anyway, I digress; on with the review. “The Source of Black Water” is NeverDie’s second full length album (the first being “Forgotten World” in 2008). There are things that I like about this album, things that I don’t and things that I think are OK. I’ve actually made one of those brainstorming mind map things that I used to make in high school, complete with a drawing of mind mapping superhero, Captain Brainstorm: with a flowing cape; a tight-fitting top with the letters “BS” written on it; and an enormous har… *ahem*… REVIEW!!! Let’s start off with the “OK” category: after an impressive intro and an equally impressive opening of the first song, we get our first taste of the vocalist, Regina. Regina uses two different vocal styles: an operatic style (more on that later) and growls. She is a good growler, but not great; she certainly does not have the growling capacity of singers like Angela Gossow, Elvira Alchemida or Masha Scream. When you hear Angela for the first time, you take another look at the CD booklet: maybe it was a misprint, maybe it was meant to be “Angelo”. When you hear Elvira for the first time you start backing away from the speakers expecting a demon to emerge from their depths to rip your heart out with steel-like claws. When you hear Masha for the first time you suddenly realize that the shield you brought to this particular battle isn’t going to be nearly strong enough. But when you hear Regina for the first time, all you think is “Ahh, she’s growling. Cool!”. She is no Cadaveria either.
OK, she’s a young Cadaveria – I do get the impression that growling is a fairly recently acquired talent for Regina and that she will get much better at it. Still, her growling is decent; and is most certainly the more listenable of her two vocal styles on this album. The production is quite good, although the distorted guitars are a little muddy in places. They sound as if they’ve been downtuned quite a lot which is not an uncommon practice by bands playing this kind of music. Now for “what I don’t like”: What kills NeverDie for me (pun intended) are Regina’s operatic vocals on this album. She is certainly not a bad operatic singer technically and she hits all the notes perfectly, but it is the way that she uses her voice that is the problem. There is no feeling or emotion in her voice at all, she just sings. The vocal melodies are all over the place, in some places it even sounds as if she is just singing random notes over a particular part of the song. The result is that her operatic vocals do not compliment the music at all, but instead clashes and fights with it. There seems to be such a conscious effort, even desperation to write vocal melodies that are different to the rest of the music (or maybe just to show off) that considerations as to what would best suit the music are an afterthought at best. “Because I can” beats “because I should”; and the result is that both the music and the vocals suffer. NeverDie suffers. Occasionally she does come good: for example in certain parts between 2:00 and 2:30 in “Red Marble”, then it sounds great; but it doesn’t last, Regina soon returns to her wailing battle with the music again. Sorry, but no! And finally “what I do like”: Instrumentally, the band is great. They conjure up some powerful riffs, driving rhythms and intricate melodies; and when they slow it down they sound adequately doomy. The songwriting is good and well thought out, although it does lack a bit of variation from song to song despite the tempo changes. NeverDie has their sound, and although it is molded around a tried-and-tested formula, it is still something that they can honestly enough call their own. In conclusion: I’ve seen NeverDie described as “Gothic Doom Metal”, and “Extreme Gothic Metal”, but on “The Source of Black Water” they are neither. I would describe them as Melodic Death elements of Thrash and Doom Metal. I fail to find any Gothic influences anywhere. I cannot really pick any highlights off the album, I’d have to choose the songs where the operatic vocals annoy me the least or the instrumentation is good enough to make up for it: if pressed, I’d choose “Water Shine” as my favourite. After listening to “The Source of Black Water” I was interested to hear some material off their previous album “Forgotten World”, and discovered 4 tracks off that album available for download from their official website.
There are no growls on these 4 tracks, the sound is clearer (although the drum sound is not as good) and they are more Doom orientated. The vocals are better; some of the problems are still present (or “starting to develop” I should rather say) but much less so, and I found all 4 of these songs better than anything from “The Source of Black Water”. I do not know what the rest of “Forgotten World” sounds like, but based on the strength of the 4 songs available from their website, NeverDie seem to have taken a step backwards. If Regina can rein herself in and cut out her needless vocal antics and if she can vary her vocal styles so that they better suit the music she is singing over, and if she can learn to sing with a bit of feeling and emotion, NeverDie would be much better (and “The Source of Black Water” would have been a much better album). Her growls are fine; they just need a little more time to develop into something that could be described as awesome… like a hungry leopard that does not approve of the fence between itself and that delicious McDonalds burger you keep bouncing on the ground in front of it. So that’s that; the thingymajigs on my mind map are now all crossed out; and all that remains is the drawing of mind mapping superhero, Captain Brainstorm: with his flowing cape; his tight-fitting top; and his enormous hard hat.
Rating - 65/100
Label : Fono LTD
Review by Vard Aman
RabieS (the band… with a capital S – they asked me really nicely) comes from Magnitogorsk in the Chelyabinsk Region in Russia, at the extreme Southern end of the Ural Mountains. OK, that’s enough geography, onto a bit of science and etymology. Most people know rabies as the name of a disease, and it is one of the most unpleasant and fatal diseases known; but RabieS have taken their name not from the disease but rather from the origin of the word itself, which is Latin for “madness” or “fury” (the name of the disease obviously has the same origin). They formed in 2006, and “Kaplya v Beskonechnost” is their debut offering – and what a pleasant debut it is! RabieS play some highly accomplished and beautifully constructed Symphonic Operatic Metal – of the kind that is going to make musical comparisons with Tarja-era Nightwish, I’m afraid, inevitable. Comparisons in quality at least I think are fully justified; but RabieS comes from Magnitogorsk in Russia while Nightwish comes from the Metal Capital of the World and Nightwish are also one of the pioneers of this sound. (I do think though that RabieS has a better and prettier singer than Tarja-era Nightwish did. There! I said it! Bring on the hate mail!).
Vladislava has a beautiful and rich operatic soprano voice, and her vocals provide the highlight of this release… most of the time at least. At the middle and higher end of her range she is awesome (and even more so when she harmonizes… wow!) but on lower notes it sometimes sounds like she is straining just a little and in one or two places the result is that her normally beautifully flowing voice gives way to… I’m not sure what it’s called so I’m going to give it my own name – “alarmed hen syndrome”. She still hits the notes perfectly but something just doesn’t feel right. It might also be a consequence of an operatic style not being quite suited to that particular part of the song – perhaps in the parts in question, a normal singing style would have been better suited (and as a bonus might also have served to give the operatic parts more impact when they came in, especially when the operatic vocals are of such outstanding quality as Vladislava’s are). Still, those moments are few and far between, and most of the time her vocals are right up there among the most beautiful, flowing operatic vocals that I’ve heard from an operatic singer in Metal; and her voice suits the music perfectly. Turning our attention to the rest of the band and the production, the performance and the song writing is really good. The songs are not overly complex and succeed in creating the kinds of feelings and emotions through the sound and the melodies that they should. The songs are also catchy – 3 days after hearing the single “Vozvrascheniye” (and watching the video) for the first time I found myself humming the chorus to myself.
Occasional male vocals and growls are provided by the keyboardist Eduard. The kick drum could have used a little more low-end EQ (and/or a little less high-end EQ) in the mix, but that isn’t too much of an issue. The album is also quite short by today’s standards: 9 songs (including the bonus track) at just over 32 minutes but this is not a bad thing at all. The songs are all equally good, there are no fillers, and when the album ended I found myself feeling both very satisfied by what I had heard and wanting more at the same time. Bands that try to make long albums just for the sake of making a long album (““we have the time, let’s use it”) often fail to have this effect. Credit must go to RabieS for avoiding this temptation… although, that said, perhaps one or two more songs on this album certainly would not have hurt. Or you can just listen to the album again, like I did, and like I have done several times since and will do again. “Kaplya v Beskonechnost” is a good debut indeed, but there are a few minor creases that I think the band needs to iron out for the next one; and if they do, the next one should be even better. So, with that, I strongly recommend getting RabieS! I’ve got RabieS and I’m enjoying every minute of it!
Rating - 85/100
Interview by Marc “Peston” Sels
Caladmor is a Swiss Folk Gothic band that released an their interesting debut cd called “Midwinter” this year. Earlier they released three demo’s and an EP under the name Pale. Singer Barbara can explain a lot what happened and will happen with the band.Can you introduce the band to us?
Caladmor from Zurich, Switzerland, is: Maede (drums, growls, clean vocals, synths), Nick and Plaeschy (guitars), Mäcka (bass) and me, the vocalist. Our music could be described as Gothic Folk Metal, though you can find much more influences in our songs than ‘only’ Gothic and Folk. Can you give us a brief history of the band?
The band was formerly known as Pale, founded by Nick, Maede and me in 2001. Our early years were dedicated to Alternative Metal and then the sound developed more and more to what it is now. Mäcka joined the band in 2005. By writing and recording our album “Midwinter” we decided to look for a new name which would represent our music in a better way. Caladmor (meaning “dark light” in Tolkien’s language Sindarin) is just perfect in that sense! After having finished the recordings of “Midwinter” in spring 2009, Plaeschy joined the band as the newest member.Have you got, beside music, some other passions?
I do but unfortunately I hardly ever find time for them ;) I love designing and sewing my own clothes or having a good glass of red wine and draw a picture. Further I’m strongly interested in history of our past’s rites, beginning in the ancient past to modern times. Switzerland for example holds a chest full of magic tradition! Have you got some affinity with other female vocalists like Tarja, Floor Jansen (ReVamp)?
There are several female singers I consider Goddesses! In Metal there is Anneke van Giersbergen (Ex-The Gathering) and of course Floor. Their voices are just perfect in every single aspect – intonation, expression, warmth … amazing and a true inspiration! Further I love the stunning voices of Tori Amos, Loreena McKennitt, Malena Ernman and opera legend Maria Callas.
Is there a song you wish you had written?
No, I cannot really think of
If you had to go to a deserted island, which book, movie, cd, comic, music dvd would you take with you? And why?
Hard question! Only one of each?? ;) As a book, I’d probably take the full collection of Grimm’s fairytales – as a student of German language and linguistics I have a great affinity to the Brothers Grimm and their work, also to fairytales on the whole because they’re witnesses of old traditions and beliefs. And I have to admit that I’ve never grown up regarding fairytales, I’m still fascinated by their magic and mystic like a child.
As a movie I’d take “Braveheart” with me - I know this movie is quite pathetic and doesn’t stick in all cases to historical facts and yes, it’s Hollywood, but in spite of all these facts there has never been a movie touching me the way like “Braveheart” did.
But still, I’d need a CD on my Island ;) So I’d choose “Nighttime Birds” by The Gathering, an album which has already been inspiring me since years and it seems it’ll never stop doing so. Also it creates a certain magical atmosphere when listening to it, what makes the album even more special.
How is the CD selling? Are you pleased with the reviews so far?
Considering that we are still a quite unknown band in a country like Switzerland where Metal doesn’t really have a platform, the CD selling works surprisingly well, also thanks to our label Twilight Zone Records in Germany. The reaction to the album was really positive! We didn’t expect that mixing such a lot of styles like we do would find any recognition, but it did! So we’re truly pleased and motivated to make a further album.Sean Killey (Alice In Chains-drummer) once said :”All good singers are freaks”. Are you a freak?
The question is: What behaviour or attitude is significant for a freak? To me people doing absolute nonsense jobs like bank managers spending more money than they earn (which is definitely crazy regarding their incomes) are the true freaks. Compared to them, I’m quite normal… (which would then mean I am a bad singer ;) But to be honest, I often experience that people don’t get my very black sense of humour and then they glance at me thinking “oh what a freak” ;) If you called someone a freak who likes being dressed differently from the main masses and who doesn’t and didn’t always choose the straightest and most easy way in life (in order to be more free and pleased), then yes, I’m definitely a freak. Can you live from your music or do you all have “regular” jobs?
We all have regular jobs, Maede and me even have part time jobs and study at the university. The band work also takes a lot of time and it is sometimes difficult finding enough time for everything. I’d love to give priority to the music but I’m afraid we’d starve if did so ;) Therefore we need to do normal jobs up to now.How would you describe Caladmor to someone who’d never heard of you?
Caladmor – Gothic Folk Metal from the middle of where darkness meets light.After, or during intense touring, can you remember witch day it is, and where you are? And can you see something from the town you’re in?
I’d love to answer: “Well no, not really, you know, touring can be sooo exhausting!” ;) But unfortunately we’ve never been able to afford doing a tour so far. There were some offers for the opening slots of quite well known bands but the prizes we’d have had to pay were breathtakingly high and it’s a fact that as a small band you just get screwed after having signed such contracts. But still we’re open for any offers! Please contact us, we’d love to play at the venues all around the world! ;)What was the first record you bought? Your all time favourite? And what do you sing under the shower?
My first record was a compilation with some pop songs from the 80’s – nothing really worth to talk about ;) I have several all time favourites, accompanying me since a lot of years: “Who cares a lot?” by Faith no more; “Tuonela” by Amorphis; “Bestie in Menschengestalt” by Die Ärzte; “Nighttime Birds” by The Gathering; “Under the Pink” by Tori Amos; and a compilation of Celtic Songs – actually there are a lot more. I often use the time under the shower to do some exercises for my singing technique, as I hardly find any other time for them ;)What are the plans for the future?
We’re already about to write new songs for our second album which is planned to be out next summer. It’ll show again a broad variety of styles, beautiful melodies, thundering riffs… I can’t wait to enter the studios! Also we want to play some festivals next summer or do a little tour. Stay tuned!Any “Famous last words”?
It’s great that there is a platform like Femme Metal for female fronted bands! Keep up the good work and thank you very much for the interview ;)
Interview by Marc “Peston” Sels
Anachronia is a Melodic Progressive Metal band from the north of France (Lilles) and they just released the second album called “One Second Before”. Following now is an interview with leadsinger Fay.Can you give us a short history of the band, and introduce the current members to us? The story of AnachroniA begins some 8 years ago with a male singer, then a female singer.
What was the weirdest place you have ever performed?
In a big plane shed! A plane was suspended right above us and I was always watching it as it was about to fall on us! I was in a ridiculously short shirt (in middle of winter!) and it was freezing like hell! I was crying because i wanted to keep my coat and scarf on me and my nose was red! Really sexy!
How is the new cd selling? Is there a difference between the American, the Asian and the European market?It sells really well considering we haven’t been onstage yet, we’ve waited 6 years and it doesn’t benefit of a lot of promotion outside of the French market. But our label Great Dane does a great work with the network of Season of Mist to distribute it in Europe. Moreover, MySpace and the internet bring us new fans all over the world. I think that asian, american and european market are more opened than French market. France is not really in metal, not rock n’roll you know.
How’s the metal-scene in France? Any interesting new bands we have to keep an eye on?
French metal bands are not really well received inside our frontiers. Indeed, as we are near Belgium, metal fans prefer to go and see the concert in there. Most of the bands play in bar.
There’s a rising of gothic/female fronted bands who meets success in France. I think that they make people dream. But i’d keep an eye on “male” bands like Klang who propose a more energetic and “fresh” music.
Are there any singers/musicians/writers/filmmakers you admire?Not in order: Tory Amos, Sharon Den Adel, Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage), Benjamin Burnley (Breaking Benjamin); Marc Lévy, Dan Brown, Laurell K. Hamilton, Patricia Briggs; Christopher Nolan, Tim Burton, Luc Besson, Disney … There are new ones every day!
Any “famous last words”?
First of all, thank you for your attention! Hope that fans and new comers will like this new album. Prepare your ears, AnachroniA is back. See you soon!
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist.
No, I didn’t. Its just something I started doing and excelling at.
Did you always want to become a singer?
I have never taken singing lessons, and I try to keep my whole body in healthy shape to keep my vocal cords healthy too.
You use both clean vocals and metal growls for The Agonist. Which style do you prefer?
I need a bit of both, I would be bored with just one style.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
Everything but country!
And who are your favourite bands and musicians?
Devin Townsend, Gwen Stefani, Muse, Arch Enemy, etc.
Did you have any other bands before The Agonist & Tempest and/or are you active in any other bands now besides The Agonist?
I had 2 other bands besides this one, but right now this is my only priority musically.
Is it easy to combine your personal life with The Agonist?
Not at all! I’m sure most musicians will agree.
Besides your work with The Agonist we could also see you in other media the last years: You were featured as one of Revolver’s Hottest Chicks in Metal in 2007. As a photographer I’m the last one to complain about good looking women onstage but you will never hear of James Hetfield being chosen as “Hottest hunk in metal” Are you not afraid that this will set the place of women in metal back to where it was during the eighties: eye candy for glam rock videos and a fresh xxx backstage*?
Hahaha well to be honest, in the 80’s I was 5 years old, but it seems that the men were just as eye-candy-ish as the women! I think it’s debatable, but strong women allowing themselves to be feminine and sexy sends a STRONGER message than one who thinks she has to be masculine to be strong. We are having our cake and eating it too.
Why did you change the name of the band into The Agonist and what is the idea behind the name of the band?
We switched the name to avoid confusions with other bands called Tempest. An agonist is a drug used to enduce feeling in patients, like the opposite of an anesthetic, and is also the name for the character torn between good and evil in the literary sense.
A lot of bands today describes themselves as metalcore. How would you describe your music?
Weird metal -go listen.
Is song writing teamwork in The Agonist or is there one mastermind who writes the lyrics and music?
The song writing is split between Danny and I. I write all the vocal patterns, harmonies, rhythms, lyrics, and Danny writes the instrumental.
And where do you and the band get the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Anywhere and everywhere.
“Lullabies for The Dormant Mind” is your second album. What have you done different with this album compared to “Once Only Imagined”?
We are all very different people and musicians and we simply ended up, as a result, creating different music.
The album is out for some time now. How did the media and the fans receive the album?
Very well, we are happy!
And can you tell us something about the songs on the album?
They were all struggles and successes in my mind.
“Monochromatic Stains” is a Dark Tranquility cover. Why did you choose this song as a cover and is there any change it will appear on another album than the Japanese release?
We actually recorded that song for a CM compilation… just for fun.
Was is difficult to do “Swan Lake”?
Yes, but very rewarding.
What are your favourite songs on the album?
“Thank You, Pain”, “…and Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep”, “The Tempest”, “Birds Elope With the Sun”, “Martyr Art”… all of them!
Are there any plans for a tour in Europe and what else can we expect from The Agonist in the future?
We are DYING to come to Europe… so please help us get there!
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Buy our albums and request us everywhere you go so we can come to Europe…please! Thanks ;)