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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Cathrine from Trail of Tears. Cathrine Paulsen is the female singer of Trail of Tears. She did the female vocals on the “A New Dimension of Might” album from 2002 but did not appear on “Free Fall into Fear” from 2005. It was a big surprise when she did return to the band in 2007 after most of the Trail of Tears members had decided to quit the band.
The first question: Did you always wanted to become a singer?
Yes, I started to sing when I was 7-8 years old, and I knew from the very beginning that I had potential to develop my voice. I spend 4-6 hours each day singing and dancing in my room for several years, and I was very hard and strict with myself. I didn’t eat dinner or went to sleep if I wasn’t satisfy with my practise for the day. Then I had to practise until my goal was completed.
Did you follow singing lessons and what do you do to keep your voice in top condition?
No, I never took lessons beside a few once at school. Most of it I learned myself after hours and hours of practise. Beside of that I smoke cigarettes and drink whisky to keep the pro-condition hahaha. Usually I warm up my voice before a concert, and practise before going on tour.. but I practise less these days than in my younger years. Now it just comes naturally and I am happy to see that my hard work have payed of.
According to the biography of the band your are the soprano singer. Is that the only style of singing you do?
Well, there is a small misunderstanding about the soprano vocals. You see, soprano is not a style, but it is often linked to the opera and classic way of singing. I know many people believe that if you’re soprano it means you’re high in vocal range. The thing is that soprano tell something about the sound of your voice. If you have a clear light and bright sound you will be a soprano. If you have a darker sound you will be an alto voice. I have learned to switch between these sounds, so I can choose to have a darker or brighter voice. I will end up using the sound I feel express the music most. But I guess you meant to ask if I only do opera or classical style?? What I do on “Bloodstained Endurance” is neither of these styles, so the answer is no, it is not the only style I do, but I did a lot more of the classical style in “A New Dimension of Might”. To be a bit full of myself…I have practise enough to sing most styles in any way there is.
To what kind of music do you listen yourself and what are your favourite bands and songs?
It depends on my mood, but it will usually be some kind of metal. Sometimes I just like to listen to the radio with all kinds of pop/rock/blues music, but I never found pleasure in jazz. My favourite bands/songs are Emperor - “Inno a satana”, Strapping Young Lad - “Underneath the waves”, W.A.S.P.- “Charlies chainsaw”, Motley Crue, Korn, Ulver. I could go on forever..
Did you have any other bands or projects before Trail of Tears?
Yes, I played in Lucid Fear. I still do.
This might be a sensitive question, but why did you return to Trail of Tears after more than two and a half years of absence?
It is very sensitive and it’s a reason for that. It was never my choice to leave Trail in the first place, I never wanted to leave. It was very hard for me at that time, because the band decided that they wanted to make more aggressive songs and they didn’t think I could keep up with that. So I was kicked out over the phone without even been given a chance to participate in any discussion at all. I read in a website that we have all agreed that our styles went in a different direction. And it did hurt me, because I knew this was not the way things happened and I didn’t have a single opportunity to tell my side of the story. I have been asked that question so many times after I rejoined Trail and in the beginning I was very insecure how to put it. I don’t want to blame anyone and I don’t feel any kind of bitterness towards the past members. But it’s not possible to answer the question without going back to that time and tell the truth about what happened. After the band broke up, Ronny and I got in touch for the first time, after I was kicked out. He asked me if there was a possibility to work together in the future, but at that point it was not necessarily with Trail of Tears. We met and discussed what we wanted to do, and it came very clear for both me, and especially him, that we wanted to take Trail of Tears to a new level with a whole new line-up. So we started the search for the new members and I brought the guitarist (Bjorn) and drummer (Cato) from my band Lucid Fear. Cato played in Dimension F3H with Endre (bass) and brought him on board, and Ronny asked Pål (Guardiens of Time). After just a very few weeks, the band was complete once more, and after 3 - 4 month we went on the first US tour in the bands history. The reason why I rejoined is both because I am a musician in my heart and soul and the changing of the line up made it possible to do. I would never ever rejoined with the old line-up. So, I saw it as a opportunity to start where I left and to continue my vision with the band and my career, as well as Ronny’s vision with Trail of Tears.
And what have you done in those years?
I still played in Lucid Fear and I also had some other projects. So I kept composing music, singing, writing and working.
“Bloodstained Endurance” is Trail of Tears latest album and will be released by Napalm Records. What was your part in the song writing of the album?
I made my own vocal lines and wrote my own lyrics. To make it short, everything I do on the record is my own work. Ronny and I also arrange our vocals and lyrics to fit each other. It have been a pleasure working with him and all went very smooth. It is a new situation for him, cause he has always been the one making the lyrics and decided how the vocal arrangement shall be. So I really appreciate him trusting my skills and giving me the space to release my energy, thoughts and feelings in the music.
“Bloodstained Endurance” is out now for a few months. How did the media and the fans react on the album?
The feedback has been amazing!!!! We have been given high scores all over as far as I know. Here is some of them: Kerrang 4/5, Metal Hammer 6/7, Rock Hard (Germany) 8/10, Aardschok 87/100, Orkus 9,5/10, Mindview 6/7. You’ll find it all and a lot more in our homepage, so check it out!!!
And what are your favourite songs on the album?
It’s changing now and then, but right know it is “Farewell to Sanity”, “Bloodstained Endurance”, “The Desperations Corridors” and “Take Aim, Reclaim, Prevail”.
What are your highlights with Trail of Tears so far?
We had a great time during the US tour, even when we where freezing as hell in the north. That tour made us find the true band spirit together and the trust and friendship which is needed. It was the best tour I’ve ever done. The recording of “Bloodstained Endurance” was also a moment of excitement and fun. You see, 4 days before my recording, I couldn’t even speak, eat or drink. My voice was totally gone and I had very high fever. This was in France, but luckily with help from the producer, we manage to get a doctor and he gave me anti-biotic right away. It turned out I had a strong inflammation in the throat. The highlight part in this story is that I actually got so much better, so fast that I could start the recording as planned and it went extremely well, I had so much fun.
And did you have any negative experiences with the band?
No, after the new start it has been truly incredible everything we’ve done together. The band has never worked this well and the spirit has never been this good.
As told before, “Bloodstained Endurance” is out now for some time and there will be a tour in October. What can we expect?
It will start 22 of November in Athens and we’ll be touring with Gothminister and Magenta. It`s named Darkness, Bloodstained and Accidents European tour. We’ll be performing tracks from “Bloodstained Endurance” and from previous records as well. You can expect a powerful show full of energy and quality performance!!! We also have a tour in The Netherlands with Epica in January. So once again…check out our homepage for dates!! Don’t miss it!!!
And will you visit more countries than The Netherlands (twice), Norway and Belgium (At the Metal Female Voices Fest)? Yes, we will visit Greece, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark and some other countries which ain’t official yet. I think that was pretty much it. But I would like to use this moment to tell that I’m concerned about our environment and how it develops. It is important for me to encourage everyone, included myself to take responsibility in our way of living. Links
Yes, we will visit Greece, United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark and some other countries which ain’t official yet.And the last question, is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
I think that was pretty much it. But I would like to use this moment to tell that I’m concerned about our environment and how it develops. It is important for me to encourage everyone, included myself to take responsibility in our way of living.
Label : Firefly Music
Review By Tony Cannella
Panic Room are a rock outfit from the U.K. Their line-up features current and ex-members of Mostly Autumn, Karnataka and Fish (ex-Marillion singer), that is a pretty stellar resume, for sure. Their second album is titled, “Satellite” and the limited edition version comes with a 4-song bonus disc, “Little Satellites”. The opener, “Freedom to Breathe”, reels you in from the very beginning. The listener is immediately drawn in by the melodic nature of the track, great chorus and the emotive, breathy vocals of Anne-Marie Helder. A really strong opening number that is one of the stand-out tracks on “Satellite”. “Picking Up Knives” has a more laid-back vibe than the previous number but it is just as effective, and Anne-Marie’s vocals really help to push this song over-the-top. “The Fall” is a beautifully haunting ballad, just really pretty and well performed, you can add this to the list of highlights. “The Fall” brings the tempo up, once again thanks to a pounding rhythm and a rock solid opening riff, another catchy and memorable chorus dominates the track - that is a pattern throughout the 11-song, 59-minute disc. Other highlights that are featured on “Satellite” are “Black Noise”, “Into The Fire” and the 8-minute closer, “Satellite” are definitely some tracks that had me hitting the “replay” button. Panic Room certainly adds a mix of variation to their sound, and “Satellite” contains a little something for everyone.The limited edition comes with a 4-song, 25-minute bonus disc called “Little Satellites”. The 4-songs contained on this mini-album certainly make the limited edition worth owning. Beginning with, “5th Amendment” and ending with the 10-minute epic, “Sandstorms”, this is a further extension of the musical mastery that can be heard throughout the accompanying full-length. “Satellite” is very good CD that offers an eclectic mix of styles and nuances. The musical talent that Panic Room possesses is undeniable and they put that talent to good use on “Satellite”. The band has received some positive press and after listening to, “Satellite” it is easy to see why.
Rating - 85/100
CD 2 - “Little Satellites”
Hailing from Lichtenstein Erben der Schöpfung have been in existence since 2000 and have just released their second full-length CD titled “Narben der Zeit” and it features 10-songs and 56-minutes worth of some pretty good goth/electronic metal with an emphasis on melody. Usually whenever this band is mentioned, it is in conjunction with fellow countrymen Elis, since Elis includes several former members of Erben der Schöpfung, but this band is good enough to stand on their own and the music contained on “Narben der Zeit” is a testament to that. “Frequency” is the first track and it combines the heaviness of metal with modern electronic sounds, it is a good opener that is very catchy. The band follow that up with the track “Jane Churm”, a good melodic track that sets the right tempo and is one of the absolute highlights. The third track “Homeless” slows things down a notch. It is a stirring ballad and the vocals of Dina Falk are nothing short of breathtaking on this one. The song also feature some nice orchestration and it has a different tone than the other songs on this CD, making it another track that definitely stands out. “Der Tote See” speeds things up a bit and brings back the electronic elements. Other highlights include: “Leaving”, “Locked”, “Your Lullabies” and “Twisted” closes the album. It’s amazing to me that Erben der Schöpfung have been around for as long as they have, yet still have gone relatively unnoticed. This band has a lot to offer the metal world and after listening to their newest output “Narben der Zeit” one can only hope that they get the attention and support that they so richly deserve.
Rating - 80/100
Review By Tony Cannella
Until recently, Spain’s Innerfate were a complete unknown to me. Their debut demo goes by the title “Unleashed” and to say that it immediately grabbed my attention is an understatement. Innerfate were formed in early 2009 by three former members of the band Forever Slave and play Gothic Power Metal. The songs on “Unleashed” are full of crunchy guitar riffs, lots of melody and the crystal clear vocals of Swiss front woman Mara.The opening track “Echoes of a Dream” starts things off with a hugely, thunderous riff that holds steady throughout the songs duration as the solid vocals of Mara come in. Some harsh sounding male vocals are also present on this track. Just a wicked way to begin things and certainly gets “Unleashed” off to a good start. The hard and heavy riffs keep coming with the groove-laden second track “Circles Of Despair”, this song is definitely one of the highlights for me as Mara employs a haunting quality with her voice, and a great melody and chorus also helps to make this one of the top tracks, but through it all, that riff is just monstrous. The next track “Broken World”is a cool ballad to mid-tempo number and “Inner Battlefield” sees the band getting heavy once again. The final track “What Have I…” is a great way to end things. It starts off as a beautiful piano-driven ballad, before the heavy riffs come in once again and the song settles into a mid-tempo style - with Mara at her dramatic best on vocals. On “Unleashed”, Innerfate have recorded a demo that gives the listener a diverse look into what they are capable of. The band manages to combine heaviness with heart-felt musicianship, vocals and an accessibility factor in their songs that shows that they are capable of appealing to a wide range of fans if given the chance. It is hard to believe that they have been together for such a short amount of time, but the 5-songs and 21-minutes worth of music contained here is quite a good start for this promising Spanish outfit.
Rating - 90/100
Label : Blinding Force Recordings
Review By Tony Cannella
It is always fun to check out new bands - especially ones that make a good impression. The metal landscape is so vast these days with so many different styles and presentations, with the realm of symphonic power metal becoming an especially crowded sub-genre. Echoterra is one of the newest members in the world of symphonic metal and they feature a group of talented members who are past and present members Pyramaze, Therion and Avian, not a bad pedigree. Their debut release is titled “The Law of One” and it is a very promising first step for this band to take.The intro track “Manifest Eternity” is 2-minutes that set a definite mood and feel, before the band launches into the track “The Will of Life”. After this song, there is no denying the talent of the band, especially keyboardist Jonah Weingarten (of Pyramaze), but the entire band holds their own. Vocalist Suvi Virtanen (ex-Therion) provides an operatic presence to the songs and the guitar playing of Yan Leviathan is really energetic and emotive. “In Your Eyes” is next and it starts with a orchestral intro before really getting into the song and just soaring on the wings of Suvi’s great operatic vocals, a great melodic track that is a definite highlight. “A Tear of Her Heart”, “The Wind Surrounds You” and “To Live Again” keep things on track. Hands down my favorite track on the CD would have to be “Say, Try, Lie, Die”, just a great metal track that sees the band firing on all cylinders. “Beyond the Seven Seas” and “Water Falls” are two more highlights and the orchestral version of “Say, Try, Lie, Die” closes the CD. I’m not sure if Echoterra is just a one off or the band plans on recording more material in the future, I would hope that it would be the latter, because “The Law of One” features some pretty good material. All fans of female fronted symphonic, operatic metal should check this band out.
Rating - 85/100
Label : Femme Metal Records
Review by Tony Cannella
It’s hard to believe that it’s been 12 years since Virginia’s Brave released their first recordings. Back then they were known as Arise From Thorns (having adopted their current moniker in 2001 for the “Waste Deep in Dark Waters” EP). In that time the band have released 4 full-length CDs and 2 EPs, yet they have still managed to fly a bit under the radar. They have just released a comprehensive compilation CD titled “Lost in Retrospect”. Their music can be described as progressive rock and metal with a touch of the avantgarde. But really this is a band with several different layers and that makes them hard to categorize. The songs - for the most part - are presented in reverse chronological order. The first three songs are taken from the band’s 2008 album “Monuments”. Right off the bat you get a sense of diversity of Brave. The second track “Driven” is one of my favorite songs the band has ever recorded. It’s heavy, yet melodic and very catchy. Check out the excellent guitar solo on this one. It just plain rips and the vocal work of Michelle Loose can’t be denied as well, her vocal style is somewhat unique and it blends well with the music. The 2004 EP “Passages” is represented with “Words”. This song features some impressive changes. Three songs from 2002’s “Searching for the Sun” - arguably the band’s best release - are up next. “Before Nightfall”, “Trapped Inside” and “Candle in the Dark” are all solid choices. “Before Nightfall” in particular is very memorable. It’s really a pretty sounding song that is a bit of a ballad, but it is has more to offer than your standard ballad. 4 songs are included from when they were known as Arise From Thorns, giving fans a glimpse into their early material, and you can clearly see how the band has progressed since then. The best is saved for last with the 10-minute epic “Passages” from the 2004 album of the same name. This song really ends things with a bang. It is one of the most mature things the band has ever recorded - what a way to end things. The inclusion of violin on a number of tracks is also a nice touch.At 14 songs and 69 minutes long, “Lost in Retrospect” serves its purpose as an audio history lesson. The music on this CD just goes to show how criminally underrated a band Brave has become, as well as serving as a good starting point for anyone looking to get into this band. I could go on and on about this band but instead of me just babbling on, I would encourage anyone who likes what they hear on this collection of songs to seek out their back catalog.
Rating - 80/100
Label : Stygian Crypt Productions
Review by Luisa Mercier
“My Endless Sorrow” is the second album of this Eastern Europe gothic metal band. They hail from Belarus and deliver us a gothic-doom which leans more on the gothic side than the doom one, I have to say. The music is quite up-tempo and strongly connected to heavy metal while the gothic flavor is given by keyboards and some hint of strings here and there. The vocals of Marina are quite simple, no operatic singing, but they shine through the music and sometimes have a growler as counterpart, creating the classic “beauty and the beast” contrast. Listen to “Dreams of Fire”, for example. “My Autumnal Images” is a nice power-ballad with almost a modern feeling, while the following “I Feel…” is maybe the doomier song on the album. The pace is slow pointed by keyboards and the atmosphere is overall romantic.The following songs are all in the same veins: heavy riffs and heavenly vocals, mid-tempo riffs and male growls. “My Endless Sorrow” is a good record and lovers of gothic metal will love it for sure.
Rating - 70/100