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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Label : Napalm Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The end of 2011 has seen some of the best releases of the year, in my opinion. There’s Trillium, the new Nightwish and now you can add the 3rd full-length album from the Dutch, alternative/modern metal band Nemesea, titled “The Quiet Resistance” to the list of excellent albums that came out in 2011. According to guitarist HJ via their bio, “there are times when you want to be brutally honest and speak your mind, that’s the quiet resistance within you”. Amen and where do I sign up? Seriously though, that is the lyrical path that “The Quiet Resistance” ventures down and it is a strong subject matter that I think many of us could relate to and agree with – at least that’s my take. Musically, “The Quiet Resistance”, definitely has a modern, melodic hard rock/metal feel with a distinct pop flavor in the songs. At various times other influences creep in such as hip-hop, electronica and industrial, but those influences don’t overwhelm anything. Opening this 14-minute, 55-minute affair is the eerily, spooky intro “The Quiet Resistance”. This leads us into the up tempo electronica of “Caught in the Middle”, vocalist Manda has an excellent voice, especially on the gut wrenching, memorable chorus that this track provides. This song also features the lyric “What’s the point in giving up, when you know you’ll never stop”, just a small dose of the optimism that Nemesea offers. Manda has got such an expressive voice and one that drives home the subject matter in the songs. Next is the first video track “Afterlife”, another song that has an up tempo chorus. “Whenever” changes tempos several times from slow to heavy, and the chorus is rather straight-forward, and once again memorable as the guitarist HJ really comes through with a heavy riff, the keyboard bit near the end also gives it a prog-like feel. “If You Could” is a melancholically, wistful ballad, that features some orchestration. This is one that I can definitely imagine hearing on the radio and is a perfect example of their mainstream potential. “Say” features a record scratcher utilized by many rap bands (what are they called?), but for the most part is definitely Nemesea, this song provides the excellent lyric “Say it like it is, say it like you mean it, words are strong enough to say you care”. Male vocalists are also featured prominently on some songs like on the previous song “Say” (not much, just a bit), but mostly on the next track “It’s Over”, that sees Manda singing a duet and more scratching is included, but this turned out to be my favorite song. Other highlights include: “High Enough”, “I Live” and “Stay With Me”. The instrumental “2012” has an electronic influence and this leads us into the industrialized Rammstein like final track “Allein”, this is different than anything else here, the track is sung in both German and English with a male vocalist handling the German parts and Manda singing the English parts. “Allein” definitely ends “The Quiet Resistance” with authority. “The Quiet Resistance” is a great album and Nemesea is certainly a band to watch out for in the future. This is definitely music that has the ability to reach a mainstream audience, whether it does or doesn’t that is another question, but I will say this – they perform their craft better than a lot of bands that are hugely successful.
Rating - 95/100
Review by Luisa Mercier
ElfenWald are an Italian duo who delivers us a very interesting self-released debut album. “Part I” blends industrial, ambient and neoclassical music with the dark and beautiful voice of Prinzessin Simhild. Though self-produced, the record does not suffer many flaws and it seems to be well crafted in every detail. The songs shift from German to English and Italian language with an equally effective result. For instance, “Wo Ist Meine Welt” is more industrial-oriented while “Gelide Notti” is closer to neoclassical style with its keyboards and strings, creating a Romantic atmosphere. “Darkness” is a soaring, creepy track, mostly instrumental and only graced by some vocalization of Prinzessin Simhild. “Alone” is the longest song on the album and during its seven minuts it explores various musical landscapes: from neoclassical, to dark cabaret, to a gloomy industrial sound. “Lilith (The Garden of the Damned)” closes “Part I” and it’s a track which showcases a fearsome atmosphere with some choruses all over which surround the beautiful voice of Simhild. Being self-produced, this album is overall a very good release and I hope they’ll soon find a label for their following works!
Rating - 80/100
Review by Vard Aman
“Ash” (Witchcraft’s 2011 album) was a Progressive Metal masterpiece for me, not just because it was a damn fine Prog Metal concept album but because it incorporated so many other elements into it – it was so much more than standard Prog Metal fare. It was also much darker; and for someone (e.g. me) whose tastes lean rather favourably towards music’s darker side, that was another big plus. Now Witchcraft have a new EP out, “Parallel Worlds”, and with it the band presents an even more experimental package than before, moving into the territory of Dark Experimental Metal rather than Dark Progressive Metal. There are some new sounds; new styles; new effects; some scratching; a guest rapper; and vocalist, Ludmila Angel, tries out a few new and different vocal styles (in addition to her normal hauntingly beautiful melodic vocal style) – most notably an angry semi-sung shout that for some reason made me think “Riot Grrrl” at first, but then I went and listened to a selection of various Riot Grrrl vocal styles on the internet and it sounded nothing like them at all, so I still don’t know what to compare it to. OK, I’ll give it my own name then: I’ll call it Riot Angggl style (as a tribute to the vocalist who has now, as far as I’m concerned, made it her own). Anyway, to call this EP an “interesting and a fascinating listening experience” would be quite an understatement. Yet for all the experimentation it is still unmistakably Witchcraft, so it is a well controlled experiment. In Witchcraft, nothing happens by chance. “Parallel Worlds” consists of 4 songs. Each of the 4 comes with its own artwork and the front cover of the EP is made up of a collage of the 4 together. All the songs are in Russian, thus moving away from the predominantly English trend of their previous releases. First up is “Ваше (7-й Ангел)”. It starts off with some fast and heavy riffing before going into the verses, where Ludmila uses a combination of vocal styles that I can best describe as quirky, mixed with her normal vocal style and with a bit of Riot Angggl thrown in. The chorus is simply amazing! Good luck getting that melody out of your head once it’s stuck there – not that you’d ever want to, trust me on that!
Next is “Шаг Назад” which features Latvian Rapper DragN as a guest vocalist in the verses. He uses a style of Rap known as fast flow, which is a generally more melodic rapping style, but is most often distinguished by the speed of the rapping; often it is an attempt to see how many syllables can be fitted into as short a time as possible without losing clarity and DragN is pretty fast. I don’t really like Rap of any kind, but I have to admit that this is very well done indeed, and Witchcraft have made it work for them. Most of all, the rapped verses provide a sharp contrast to another beautiful and melodic chorus sung by Ludmila. “Дыши со Мной” is the third song, which after a very promising start, turned out to be the weakest of the four songs on the EP for me. The verses are not as contrasting and the chorus is not quite as melodic and catchy as the previous two, but the second half of the song finished off the promising start. It’s still a good song, just not quite as good as the others on the EP. (Having said that, guess which song’s chorus I currently have stuck in my head…).The last song is “Зверь”, perhaps the least “experimental” song on the EP, closer to some of the material from “Ash”. It has a driving rhythm throughout, the verses are sung as duets (with Roman Arsafes of Nevid’?) and the chorus consists of more of Ludmila’s amazing melodies. And with that ends a short, but excellent and captivating EP. Having conquered the world of Dark Progressive Metal, Witchcraft have made it known that they are now moving on to new worlds, and onto to worlds that they are creating themselves where they did not exist before. This EP presents the first taste of some of these new (parallel) worlds, and after listening to it one can’t help but wonder where they will be going or what they will be creating next. I for one am certainly looking forward to finding out. This is, after all, Witchcraft!
Rating - 87/100
Review by Vard Aman
Founded in St. Peterburg in 2006, Guaho are certainly one of the more original bands around from both a musical and a topical perspective. The name Guaho, meaning “secret power” is taken from the works of Carlos Castaneda who wrote much on the topics of shamanism and the occult practices of the Yaqui Indians of northern Mexico. Castaneda himself became an apprentice to the Yaqui shaman Don Juan Matus. The album title is derived from one of Castaneda’s books, “Journey to Ixtlan”. A nagual, from which Guaho’s guitarist and songwriter, Erema Nagual takes his name, is a powerful Mesoamerican sorcerer skilled in the arts of shapeshifting. However, Guaho do not limit themselves to the topics of Castaneda and the philosophies, spiritualism and occult practices of Mesoamerica only, they cover similar topics from elsewhere too. So Guaho incorporates a lot of magic, mysticism and ancient teachings into their imagery and lyrics; but it does not stop there (which is fortunate for those who don’t understand Russian): their music is magical too – which is no doubt why I am unable to stop listening to it. Despite the Mesoamerican influences, do not expect something along the lines of Tenochtitlan (a Russian supergroup combining Doom Metal with Mayan and Aztec folk music). Guaho play what has been described as “Esoteric Dark Metal” or “Esoteric Gothic Metal”; the esoteric part being mostly in their imagery and lyrical topics.
But they are by no means ordinary Gothic Metal either; Guaho have a sound that is distinctly theirs – a sound they have created, mastered and perfected. Two things in particular have contributed to Guaho’s musical rise above most of the inhabitants of the vast sea of Gothic Metaldom: the exceptional songwriting skills of Erema Nagual, and the exceptional vocal skills of Daria Ivlitskaya (also known as “Mau” – an ancient Egyptian half-feline half-human goddess). The songwriting and arrangements are excellent. The songs are melodic; conjuring the appropriate desired moods, often of a melancholic nature. Meticulous attention has been paid to the details; everything is done right and in just the right amounts. Daria’s vocals are perfect for the music and she sings with immaculate control. She uses her voice wisely so that her vocal style best suits the part she is singing over, and this to me is the trademark of a really good vocalist. She also has a unique voice and stock vocal style, particularly in the way she ends many of her notes, so it is hard to mistake her for or to compare her with any other vocalist. To top it all off, she is capable of operatic vocals as well, which she uses sparingly but to great effect (e.g. in “Kadga Saditsya Solntse”).
Few vocalists have the kind of range and versatility that Daria has, and even fewer have the self-control to use it so effectively. Yep, Mau has a new worshipper! Erema Nagual does his fair share of singing too (as well as a few spoken passages) and he is also a very competent vocalist. His rich, dark Gothic vocal style is very effective, especially in the parts where he and Daria sing together (e.g. in “Sumerki”). There are 12 songs on this album, including an intro (“Bhītabhāvana”), outro (“Dharma”) and an interlude (“Lepis”). The intro is fantastic, and the interlude a bit chaotic (which it is no doubt meant to be). The songs on “Na Puti v Ixtlan” are all very good, but some are real stand outs: they are “Kadga Saditsya Solntse”, “Era Vodoleya” and “Sumerki”. “Magiya” is the song Guaho recorded a video for, and thus I presume it is the single. I don’t rate it quite as highly as the other three I mentioned, but it does incorporate more of Guaho’s versatility into one song than the others do. Guaho manage their variations (style and tempo) well throughout the album, but listening to the album from beginning to end the general tendency is that it gets gradually slower and more powerful, from the fast paced tracks near the beginning, “Guaho” and “Vostok”, to the slow paced melancholic Gothic song at the end, “Koliybelnaya”. The album as a whole is as well crafted as the individual songs on it. So, what is this band’s secret power? Well, their power is in a combination of everything, and everything done in exactly the right amounts and in the right places; and their secret is… I can’t say: that secret is locked in the talented creative minds of a shapeshifting sorcerer, a half-feline goddess, and their powerful mythical and arcane companions.
Rating - 92/100
Interview by Marc “Peston” Sels
Brasil. Pele, football, almost naked women dancing the samba at Rio’s carnaval, but also the favelas, the disappearing rainforest and indian tribes. In this enormous country is a very active metalscene, and from this metalscene I had a short talk with Debora Serri, frontwoman of Seven Angels. Hope you enjoy this interview from this promising band soon. In the mean time you can try to find their cd’s (not an easy task, believe me, I haven’ found them yet) and hope to see them soon on a European stage.
The first, and usually boring question, can you give us a brief history of Seven Angels? (members, cd’s etc.)
Seven Angels is a melodic metal band with christian lyrics. Me and my husband Karim (Guitar) are the band formers. It was born in 1999. We have always lived from the music market. We are professional musicians, we played in coverbands for years but at this time we decided to form our own band and Seven Angels was born. We had from this time four different line-ups that can be checked at our home page. We recorded a 3 song demo-cd and 2 full lenght cd’s, “The Second Floor” (2002) and “Faceless Man” (2005). We play heavy metal because we love it, and no matter the line-up changes, we’ll always play metal!
Most of us over here in Europe think about Sepultura or Angra when you mention Brasil (and football and carnaval of course), but is there a big music (metal) scene ?
Yes, we have a big metal scene down here in Brasil with a lot of great metal bands. But from 3 years ago the scene has changed a lot, maybe due to the increasing of illegal downloads, it’s harder now to sell CD’s and to have money to keep recording new albums.
The Brasilian Indians are, together with the rainforest, endangered. Does this interest the musicians, are is music just for fun?
Brasilian Indians are in danger since the Portugueses arrived here in 1500. A lot of them are now civilized and nowadays we only have about 30.000 of them in our country between 180 million Brasilian citizens. We have a lot of programs from the government to protect them, but it’s not sufficient, unfortunately the progress doesn’t stop and the weaker will suffer more. About this on lyrics, we don’t use it, but it’s possible. Some bands have used those themes, but we never did it.
Have you played in Europe or North America yet?
Not yet. We are planning a tour in Europe for 2010 or 2011. Our last album was distributed in the USA and Europe by Bombwork Records but we never toured in the USA. We have a great public in South America and we have toured down here some times.
How would you describe your music? I would call it Female fronted power.
Female fronted woman melodic power metal.
What is for you the difference between touring and playing live, and recording in the studio?
These are two different sensations and both unique. Stage is pure adrenaline and studio is concentration. At the stage, we are free, no pressure. At the studio, everything must sound perfectly. These are incredible and amazing sensations.
When you are touring, can you see something from the cities you’re in, or is it just back in the bus/plane and to the next city?
Both. We never know what will happen. We always try to do what the public is expecting from us. But we like a lot to know new places, new cultures and new countries.
Can you live by being a musician or do you (and the other bandmembers) have got a regular job?
Me and my husband Karim are actually surviving on the music industry by teaching, playing or recording music, the others have regular jobs.
The famous musician Gilberto Gil was minister of culture for a while. Did this change a lot for the musicians in Brasil?
Not for the metal market. Maybe for the Brasilian popular music, but not for us.
What is for you the book, move, cd and concert of 2009, and why of course?
Book : “The Future of Humanity”, from a Brasilian writer called Augusto Cury, I’m a fan, I learned a lot from him.
Music: That’s a difficult question, but the first one in my mind is….“Alone” from the band Heart. I love Ann Wilson. I always try to know what she is doing, she’s an amazing singer.
Concert: The best one I have ever seen was Helloween in Sao Paolo in 2003, the best one we have ever performed was Seven Angels playing at that same concert as guest appearance, everything was perfect, unforgettable.
CD: Stratovarius’ “Visions of Europe” live.
What can we expect in 2010? A new cd? Touring in Europe?
We have a big dream, it’s about touring in Europe. We will work very hard to do this. We also will record a new cd.
And at last, any famous last words?
Thank you Marc for the opportunity of this interview. We really hope that the Brasilian scene will grow up again in 2010. The best to you and the mag.
Seven Angels : MySpace
Interview by Danny Robertson
We caught up with Dani Nolden, singer for Brazilian heavy power metallers Shadowside, to get a glimpse into the band’s history and talk about the new album “Dare to Dream”.
How did it all get started - who initially formed the group?
We pretty much got started as a garage band that wanted to have fun and register permanently some ideas we had. We were good friends that had never played a real gig, had never recorded a CD, we were very inexperienced, very naive and didn’t have much in mind regarding what we would do with the demo in hands. We would always joke to each other about being rockstars someday *laughs*. But we didn’t really know much about the music industry or what we really wanted to achieve. However, after we released that demo EP, we got so much attention from the press and from people that we saw ourselves in the magazines as a very promising band and our 6th show as a real band was supporting Nightwish in Sao Paulo, Brazil, in front of 7000 people that went just crazy. It was a bit too much for some of our members since we were teenagers… kids, if you wanna put it that way. Some thought making music seriously and professionaly was too much of a responsability and decided to quit. Another one got a bit carried away with all that and thought he was already a rockstar *laughs*. So I’m the only one left from that original lineup. I managed to keep myself together because I surrounded myself with friends and family who would help me keep my feet on the ground. We were just starting out - as we still are, so there’s a lot of work ahead before we can say “we did it!”. I found Fabio shortly after we started so I consider him as being with the band since its birth. Since then we’ve toured with Helloween, co-headlined concerts with bands like Kittie, Divine Heresy, Metalium, so it’s been an awesome ride so far.
Who/what were the group’s main influences back then? Are they all still a source for inspiration?
We never had one or more set influences, we had the bands we listened to more but they haven’t changed much since then. We are all into more or less the same thing - everything *laughs*. We all love from 80’s pop like Duran Duran to Slayer. Some of our favorite bands are Deep Purple, Judas Priest… but at the same time we all dig different stuff. Fabio’s favorite bands are Tears for Fears and Slayer, mine are Disturbed, Rammstein and Skid Row, just to name a few. Raphael is really into Pantera and Scorpions. We all like all of those bands but we don’t have the same favorite bands and definitely not the same influences. I think what influences us is everything we listen to combined with our own personalities. We just try to make sure we do not sound like other artists so we don’t think of anything in specific that we want to sound like.
What was your local scene like back then? Did it take long for you to get noticed?
No, not at all, we didn’t expect anything that happened to us back then. Let’s put it this way, the scene back then in my hometown was boiling water. We had a large number of great musicians and bands so we thought it’d be harder to get noticed but we packed a 500 seat venue on the first show we played in Santos, that’s how fast things happened for us. That kinda set fire on the scene and even more bands started activities. There’s still a lot of talent alive here. The old venues were all shut down though. We still have places to play because we don’t have to play only Rock venues anymore back home, but young bands that haven’t proven they can draw a crowd don’t get to play at a decent place and rarely get attention. We always try to pick at least one band from Santos to support us whenever we are in town.
How would you say that the new album compares to your older material? Has much changed?
We want to give a new direction to our sound, I mean, we want to keep focusing on our style, but, this time, we also want to make it more experimental. Heavy guitars with modern synths and an alternative, powerful bass. Some has definitely changed as it’s only natural to evolve and modify some things with time but the essence is exactly the same. Energy, intensity, anger, passion - it’s all there. The heavy guitars are there as well as the catchy melodies. We just decided we didn’t want to sound like other bands and go 100% for our own identity. Nowadays we are a more mature band, we aren’t afraid to try and rely on our own personalities anymore, that’s why we’ll dare even more on the next record! We found our thing, we’re a raw Metal band, Hard Rock influenced, that plays music to make you bang your head and go crazy. We don’t really want you to come out of one of our concerts thinking “wow they are great musicians”. We just want you to escape your reality for those 2 hours, scream your problems out and just have fun.
How long did it take to write and record the new album, “Dare to Dream”?
Not long at all, we recorded the whole album in exact 23 days. Maybe a month more writing it. There wasn’t much time to really think hard of what we were doing because all our plans changed pretty much on the last minute. We had plans to write and record in like 6 months, no rush but right as we started the songwriting process, “Theatre of Shadows” was released worldwide. We had no plans for that record anymore as it had been out in Brazil for a while already. So we had to prepare for the first U.S. tour at the same time as we were working on the new album. In the end that was the best thing that could have happened to us because it kept us from overthinking arrangements and changing stuff that didn’t have to be changed and also kept the live feel that we wanted. We just trusted our guts and went along with it.
Are there any main themes or concepts which run through the new album?
There’s no real concept, lyrics are simply based on real life situations that happened either to me or to people close to me. ‘“In the Night” is about a secret relationship when one of the parts isn’t interested in keeping the secret anymore. I took the humorous approach and told the story of a woman, probably in PMS, going absolutely nuts and threatening to tell all *laughs*. Lots of people have seen themselves in that situation or know of someone, sometimes it’s an office relationship that’s not allowed, or dating someone much older or much younger or simply dating someone already committed that’s promising you things. “Baby in the Dark” is about a friend of mine who was desperately trying to fit in. He wanted to be loved by everyone so he would mold his personality according to the group he was currently in. He ended up not knowing who he was anymore and for a while I had lost one of my best friends. Nowadays he’s back to his old self but lots of people just become generic and boring. I don’t mean generic regarding looks, anyone can look and act “normal”, you don’t have to be eccentric to be special, you can if you want to, but you don’t have to. But you always should stick to what you are. “Dare to Dream” is that song to push you, to make you believe you can actually achieve stuff if you try. You might not reach every single thing you wanted but you’ll never achieve anything if you don’t try. And the end result will surely be better than what you had before you started out. Whether the dreams are of a job change, a trip or being a Rock musician, anything is possible.
You recently shot a video for the track “Hideaway” - how did that go? Where and when can we expect to see the video?
That was a lot of fun, we are still to record the second part of the video in the next few days, that will “test” me as an actress, you’ll be able to tell me how I did very soon *laughs*. It will be very intense and dramatic. First part was the band playing and we were asked to make it angry and very energetic. We recorded at an old warehouse and the place was huge, we thought the whole area was abandoned but it turned out there was this building right behind the warehouse. Fabio’s drums were really loud and people got so mad because of the noise that they called the police on us. We are very proud to have annoyed our neighbors *laughs*. The video should see daylight in early February. I can’t wait to see it finished!
What would you say have been your biggest achievements, or favourite moments as a band thus far?
All the 5 U.S. tours, the 2 Spanish tours, all the big concerts we’ve played as well. Being on the road is always fun and whenever we are all together, I always have a great time. We were recently one of the top 5 best selling Metal bands in Brazil, along with Iron Maiden and Heaven and Hell so that was a huge achievement for me. We also were picked as the best band in Brazil in 2009 by Roadie Crew magazine, which is currently the most important one here.
What are your future goals?
To keep making music, keep touring and take it as far as possible. We’re not nearly done yet! *laughs*
Who are your favourite current acts?
I’d say Disturbed and Rammstein… they’re not exactly new bands but are some of the non-80’s bands that I’m really into.
What’s next for the band? Where can we expect to see you next?
Hopefully you’ll see us touring the U.S. and Europe at some point this year, not only in places we’ve played before but also some new ones as well. We’re also going to play Brazil and who knows where else! After that, we’ll go back to the studio to work on new material. We won’t stop in 2010, whether we are on a stage or in the studio, we’ll be extremely active.
Any last messages for people?
I hope you all started 2010 well and that you go for your dreams, believe in them and try to make them real. Hope you like “Dare to Dream”, it’s a very honest and straight to the point album. If you don’t, just listen to it louder and you will automatically start to bang your head *laughs*. I’ll see you all on the road at some point… when I do, show me your horns! Cheers!
Label : Prikosnovenie
Review by Stina
If you have a weak spot for haunting, subtly transporting soundscapes crossed by quiet rivers, inhabited by mythical creatures and enveloped in the soothing darkness of an Autumn wood, there are many wonderful moments on “Vernes-Monde” that are bound to inspire undiluted awe. Made up of textural, spacious three- to six-minute coldwave/ethereal/Dark folk compositions with ‘heavenly voices’-like, mostly French-sung vocal lines, “Vernes-Monde” is a welcome reminder of how some albums do not need bombastic, pumped up arrangements to feel magniloquent and absorbing. Whether heard in earphones or on a stereo, the music of this long-standing collective going by the name of Collection d’Arnell-Andréa – who has thus far flown beneath my radar, or rather maybe soared far above it, in spite of having a long story that traces back to the 80’s! – is so warm and enveloping that will be felt all around the listener, weaved through lush synths, cello laments, cherubic acoustic guitars and lead singer Chloé Saint-Liphard’s flawlessly discreet, almost fragile vocal performance laying down Romanticism-inspired lyrics – elements that coalesce into a sound that it’s solemn and evocative without coming off as artefact or redundant. For these reasons and much more, “Vernes-Monde” will appeal to anyone with even a casual interest in the genre, and the outstanding vocals of Chloé showcase an introspective, nightly face of female interpretation that will undoubtably endear any fan of female voices.
Rating - 88/100
Label : Prikosnovenie
Review by Stina
Russia’s Caprice have spent nine studio albums finding nuance in elvish fairy pop, sometimes inspired by the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. Now, they’re using their tenth studio effort to graciously yet vigorously steamroll over canonical conceptions of music, delivering their sound into a transporting, eccentric suite that gathers symphonic harmonies, sheer Prog brilliance, echoes of baroque memory, and Ethereal Voices into one sophisticated, wildly charming package. “Masquerade” is a work about poetry and expression of Art – and, just as Art is meant to do, it embraces an eclectic, unbridled flow that drips with passion and personality, orchestrated by the tender and agile soprano voice of Inna Brejestovskaya, whose mother-tongue lyrics transport the listener one century back in time, straight into the brighter and darker faces of the tangle between Russian history and Art: in this case, the Silver Age with its creative ecstasy and queries about Love and Beauty, counterbalanced by the shades of terror cast upon the population and the Artists by Lenin and Stalin’s rules. The title “Masquerade” was reportedly picked as an allusion to said times: ‘because in Stalin’s times people could only live and make art hiding under a mask’, but also to a playful and liberating conception of Art ‘Venetian masquerade with its glorious, festive atmosphere was an inspiration for many Russian poets’. And what makes “Masquerade” pulsate with life and vividness is how the clash of these opposites – most notably, the delight of creation and the fear of being crushed by the totalitarian machine – lends it dynamism and realism, together with a variety of mood and structures – sometimes smooth, other times uneven and with their full arc only becoming clear by track’s end. But the most effective way this dualism is mirrored is in the division of “Masquerade” in two chapters: the first half is centered on the pure joy of creation. From the fitting entrance point of the soft and ethereal soundscapes of “Reality”, on to the unconventional and meandering “Agnesa”, or even in the jaw-dropping proggy architectures of “To a Girl”, the emotional palette of the first half is one that contains nuances of euphoria, dreaminess, and rapture. With the cinematic, dark atmosphere of “The Master’s Shadow”, the second part starts on a more ominous and dark tone; from there, “Masquerade” remains deeply reverent of exuding the anguish inflicted by the totalitarian climate, and portraying the works, the lives – and, most notably, the deaths of five poets (Daniil Harms, Velimir Khlebnikov, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nikolai Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Mayakovsky) that succumbed to those tragic circumstances. “What Have I Done to You” surfaces delicate and consuming feelings I fail to pinpoint with a name; “Listen!” is a sort of elegy about the hope of peace and relief after death, while the conclusive “Fox and Cockerel” tells of a poet who, totally deranged and maddened by fear, while being dragged to his execution laughs in the face of his executioner. The free and impassioned nature of the music makes it difficult to pinpoint references or influences behind the creation, and any sense of one-dimensional characterization is completely erased by Caprice’s ability to portray the manifold conceptual body that informs the record. As a whole, “Masquerade” is a compelling stroke of passionate, otherwordly genius.
Rating - 95/100
Interview by Connie Bach
“No Tears for You” is featured on the upcoming Femme Metal compilation Beauty and Brutality is an example of the fiery energy that can be felt when listening to Exilia’s music. I must admit, I was a little surprised by the sound, which is pleasant and strong as hot cider.
Hi, Masha. How is the year 2010 shaping up for Exilia?
Hi, and thanks for your interest in Exilia. It’s going really well, we are happy with our live activity and we are happy about our new release “Naked” that came out on June 2010.
“Naked” was a challenge for us, we never did something like this before it was our first time with acoustic guitars and percussions, the heavy part was to find the best arrangements for guitars in order to keep the power of the riffs in the acoustic side too. The good part was to sing because I could experiment new sound with my voice and give more expression to the lyrics.
This one is totally different! This is a limited edition unplugged cd! Only “No Tears for You” is fully produced, “Naked” is a special thing in our discography.
I love how “No Tears For You” discusses righting wrongs and carrying on. Would you tell me more about the personal story or idea behind those confident lyrics?
It’s a crazy story!! In the song I’m talking to Mr stupidmanthis guy has a record label and that made me lose a lot of time with his stupid tons of words, this people are the ones that destroy music.
They say writing lyrics is like writing poetry. Is it?
Yes, I really really think so.
For those less familiar with the band, Exilia has been around since 1998.They originated in the towns of Milano and Lombardy, Italy. Masha, can you tell me how you personally became involved with Exilia?
I started with Exilia in 2000, I met Alien (our guitar player) in a music shop, I was there to take guitar lessons and after some months we decided to start a band. thats how Exilia came up!
With the departure of your former bassist in 2007, how do you feel it changed the overall chemistry and sound of the band?
We found a brilliant bass player after Random left the band so we didn’t feel any difference in the sound, we had a new positive energy in the band with the new guy so we felt definetely better!
You have been Exilia’s vocalist for quite some time. What do you use free time for? Do you have any hobbies or musical side projects?
I like jogging, I like swimming, I love to take a walk with my dog and stay in the nature, I practise meditation, I teach vocal in 3 schools in Milan, I do a radio program and further more I have my own side projects where we do acoustic things with 2 amazing guitar players and where I play percussion.
Lots of bands sing in English and seldom use it otherwise. How difficult is it to transition to using English lyrics?
It’s really difficult !!! But I love your language and I try to do my best!
As the vocalist for a metal band and as a woman not from the United States, I’d like your take on the ongoing news coverage of the oil spill and how it reflects your views on American culture?
It’s a big matter and it would be my pleasure to talk about it in a deep way when it will be possible. What I can tell you is that everything that happened made me really sad because this thing destroyed a part of our planet and our nature and it twill take several years to recover from this injury. I don’t think there is a single person to be blamed for this but it’s a whole political and economical system, which we all know is ruled by the seven sisters that are responsible for this catastrophe and not only this.
Masha, thanks for your time and honesty. The lyrics of “No Tears For You”, from Exilia’s album, “Naked”, are inspiring, as are songs from other albums I have heard. Good luck for the rest of this year and in the band’s future.
Thanks a lot for your support in US. All the best, Masha MysMane
Interview by Connie Bach
From Kiev, Infinite Tales is a unique band with a dark, fiery sound. The vocal stylings of Zolik and Kiwi contrast each other perfectly, over growling guitars and the machine gun fire of drums. The entire sound rides on a stable bass for a sound in which all elements speak to the listener. I found the sound and flavor exciting, with each song easy to ride along with.
Hello, Kiwi. Thanks for taking the time for an interview with Femme Metal.
Hey! In my turn, I would like to thank you for your interest in Infinite Tales. I really appreciate this.
As well as providing melodic vocals, you also play the cello. How did this come about? Tell me a little about how you learned both skills.
My first music lessons were coming from my family: my mom is a cellist. Later, at the age of 5, I went to the music school. Interestingly enough, I started to play the piano first. But all of my teachers were so bad that my mom decided to teach me by herself. And since that time (I was 12), cello, along with singing, became an obsession, I should say. During that time, I was singing primarily in the choir but it was really something special, exciting for me.
Infinite Tales existed before you joined them. What encouraged you to become a metal vocalist?
I like metal; I adore singing. Being a metal vocalist includes both of these preferences. So, when I met the guys from Infinite Tales, I realized that it’s my thing.
“Only the Beginning” is Infinite Tales’ debut album. What was the recording process like for you? How did the experience enhance your skills as a musician?
An experience, gained during the recording sessions, turned out to be indispensable for me. I even started to sing in a different way - and you can evaluate this difference on the next record.
“Only in the Beginning” is an album with balance and variety. How did it come together and what was the recording process like?
The recording process was something new and exciting for us. We worked really hard; we experimented a lot for those 6 months. We are very grateful to Morton (the sound producer), who’ve made the sound of the album the way it is.
Why did Infinite Tales choose to have “Running Away” appear on the Femme Metal compilation over other songs on “Only the Beginning”?
“Running Away” is a very deep and dramatic song. To me, it’s my favorite song. I like to convey emotions though it.And at the same time, this song is dynamic and heavy enough.
How does the band create its sound: music and then lyrics, or vice versa? Why?
The music comes first - and it’s all has been written by Glorf. All the lyrics and vocal arrangements for the new songs were written by Zolik (the male vocalist) and me because we know our highest and lowest notes and the main range. We’re trying to make vocal parts more complicated with every new song and it helps us to develop faster. That goes for everyone in our band.
What kind of fan feedback has “Only the Beginning” received?
We’ve received a lot of positive responses. Having seen these messages, it feels like that our work has been really appreciated and it’s really important for us. We feel like we can walk the same path we have been following for all this time and that we can make our second album even much better.
I hear Infinite Tales is working on their second release. How will this one differ from the last?
It’s going to be more technical, intense, and more powerful. We have considerably grown over the past year, so the difference between the first and our second release will be easily audible.
For a little perspective, how does it feel, up onstage with your band members around you, performing such intense music?
It’s a really great feeling! Seeing that people are enjoying the songs that you play live is an unspeakable experience. You’re just trying to put your worries aside and put more energy into the music on the stage and if you see the feedback from the audience, it becomes the highest appreciation for you. So, that’s really exciting.
Do you have any pursuits, pastimes, or hobbies besides Infinite Tales?
Now, I’m studying to receive the master’s degree in management. I devote all of my free time to music and to my friends.