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Webzine dedicated to the metal band fronted by girls. We also like ambient,darkwave,rock & electronic music.
Interview by Lindz Riot
So many forms for femme metal exist, the most common being in symphonic or heavy metal. But what about straight up metal that just rocks? I’ve been searching high and low and when out at a local show recently I found Canadian rockers Embracing Soul. Fronted by singer Chelsea Pisano and guitarist Brandon Iajecznyk, though this band may be young, they bring the energy and the old school spirit of a metal/rock infusion. Also, it’s just fun and a guilty pleasure to dip back into music that heals and fuels teen angst. Of which, this band brings forth that feeling well and honestly, especially in their recent EP “Shadow”. I (Lindz Riot) was able to catch up with this local act to ask them what Embracing Soul is all about and how it works for them at such an early stage in their musical lives.
Hey guys! I want to thank you both for joining us here at Femme Metal for this interview. First off please tell me about how Embracing Soul came to be?
Thanks for this opportunity! Well, Brandon and I met in 2007 at our high school. Brandon was already in a band playing metal that sounded kind of like Trivium and As I Lay Dying. They broke up at the end of 2008, he joined another band, and we decided to create a side project. We created it because we had all these ideas of what we wanted new metal to sound like. Also because Brandon’s current band was very progressive and he had ideas that didn’t fit into that genre. A bit after we started writing and recording, we recruited a bassist and our guitarist Tom. Brandon was our drummer. Now, we still fight with member changes, and I’ve taken on the role of bassist, but we’ve found steady ground.
Sounds like quite the switch up, but glad to hear its working for you guys now. How would you describe Embracing Souls sound?
We’ve been trying to figure that out! hahaha. So many people tell us different things like our riffs sound like Pantera or Death, our vocals sound like a collaboration between Evanescence and Opeth, and our music sounds like a mix of death metal and melodic metal.
Brandon: It ends up just being a thing that we make, and it sounds cool and we like it.
Chelsea: I just go with ‘gothic, rock/metal’ and hope that works.
You’ve released your first LP “Shadow”, how has the response been?
We always sell more at each show, so it’s going well! It was finished January 2010 so we look at it now and knowing so much more about recording, we’re not as pleased, but we still love all the songs just as much.
So this release was a self-produced effort?
Yes. We produced it, we got the copies made up, and we distribute it at shows. Slow paced, but we have big plans for our next one.
Well congrats! That takes a ton of time and effort. And how have people responded to your live show?
We’ve noticed we get a really good response from the crowd at our shows. We don’t bring a room full of people, but normally once we start playing, the room fills out and the crowd thickens. People have a good time and they tell us afterwards, so we’re happy about it.
From your experience so far how do you feel about the Toronto hard rock and heavy metal scene?
Brandon: It’s terrible.
Chelsea: There’s a lot of good talent in Toronto, our only problem is that we play shows with the wrong group of metal heads. We’ve ended up playing a lot of death core shows and that’s not who we are at all, but that’s the main genre out in Toronto now. The people out here don’t seem to like it live as much if they can’t mosh the entire time or if a whole song isn’t only growling
It is quite a mash up, at least we have good bands tour through, but you are definitely right about local show grouping. With the strong underground Femme Metal movement, do you feel things would be different for Embracing Soul if you were relocated in Europe?
I think we would get a lot more recognition. Even looking at our list of Facebook fans, the more dedicated fans are from European countries. The arts scene and appreciation for women and music, no matter the genre, is also a lot greater there. I think it would be fun to tour there lol
Amen to that! So briefly tell us about your musical training and backgrounds?
Brandon: HA! None. I taught myself guitar and basically everything I know about song writing. I just screw around until it sounds good.
Chelsea: I’ve never taken vocal lessons and I learned all I know about guitar and writing musical compositions from Brandon and I learned bass on my own. Neither of us have taken lessons for anything, nor even have taken music in school. Well, I don’t think the year of Clarinet helped Brandon in high school…
Brandon: No… not at all lol
That certainly is impressive guys. K next question: Top 10 most influential bands for both of you! GO!
Evanescence, Opeth, Korn, Godsmack, Disturbed, Tool, Slayer, In Flames, Trivium, Epica.
Wicked. If you could play with any three bands, who would they be?
Korn, Evanescence and Disturbed.
Outside of the band, what do you guys do in your daily life?
The band is our daily life! Well, not all the time, but when we do break, it’s for school and video games. We do spend a lot of our time just jamming, writing and recording though. It’s what we find fun and what we’re studying in school anyway.
What is it that you two study in school anyways?
Chelsea: I am studying Entertainment Management. This is basically for managing bands or artists, getting to know all the legal aspects of the industry and all the right ways to get bands higher up in the music industry.
Brandon: I study Audio Engineering. Basically I want to record bands in the studio.
You guys seriously sound like a super team of which any band would be jealous of, or well, wish to have. So with all of this being said, what does the future hold for Embracing Soul? Can we expect to hear some new music soon? Any other big plans?
We are currently taking a writing break. With all the stress involved with school, we don’t really have time to practice too much, but we’re always writing. We’ve already started on some new recordings actually. These will just be promotional copies until we get into the studio (which we plan on doing after school). Our song writing is constantly improving, so the songs we’re currently working on, we’re very excited about. So yes, there is a lot to come from Embracing Soul in the next year! We’re looking forward to it.
Review By Tony Cannella
Canada’s Viveynne are a project that features 14-year old Mikaila “Mikki” Straatsma on vocals and piano. Yes, that’s right I said she is just 14-years old, although you wouldn’t know it by listening to the songs on the debut release titled “Becoming Jane Doe”. In addition to adding her lead vocals and contributing piano and synthesizer, Mikki wrote all of the music and lyrics on the EP. She has also received many awards and accolades for her music, which you can see on her MySpace site. “Blood to Bleed” sets the mood perfectly and is a powerful opener. Immediately Mikki’s soaring, operatic vocals grab the listeners attention and then the rest of the musicians join in and the song really takes shape. The vocals are well out in front in the mix, but they don’t overshadow anything. The voice and the music go hand-in-hand and compliment each other very well. In fact, the musicians on this CD are very good and an integral part to the overall sound and feel of the songs. The next song, “Becoming Jane Doe” begins with a melancholic piano intro, and gets heavier around the first chorus. This is perhaps the highlight for me. This song is just so haunting, that it’s impossible not to love. Next is “This Phobia” and this track keeps things running smoothly. “Goodbye Good Morning” is just a beautiful straight-up ballad and another definite highlight. This song also features a very cool guitar solo. The song is very dramatic, orchestral and pretty. “It’s Been Dark” speeds things up a bit and moves along at a nice pace. The final three songs “The Exiled and Her Opera House”, “Come Crawling” and “Sounds of Starlight” definitely conclude things on a high and leaves the listener wanting more. Vocally, Mikki reminds me a bit of Amy Lee of Evanescence, but she also has her own thing going, she definitely packs a lot of power and passion in her delivery. All of the songs are in the 3-minute range and are very well written. The whole CD is very well produced, but not over-produced.It would be easy to dismiss this release and say “She’s good for a 14-year old” but her age is irrelevant. The fact is, she’s good for any age. Just listen to the 8-songs and 27-minutes worth of music that is contained on “Becoming Jane Doe” and judge them on their own merits and come to the realization that this is one heck of a CD. A thoroughly enjoyable listening experience.
Rating - 85/100
Review By Tony Cannella
From Toronto, Canada comes the band Saprophyte. They play a form of extreme metal, but they are not bound by that one genre. In addition to the sledgehammer riffs and the growly vocals by Isabelle Tazbir, the band manage to incorporate such influences as eclectic as Death Metal, Progressive and Thrash Metal as well as elements of Jazz and even Reggae. Make no mistake about it though, Saprophyte is a ferocious and brutally heavy band. The band list some of their influences as: Opeth, Mastodon, Death and… Pink Floyd, a pretty broad mix right there. With song titles like “Icepick Lobotomy” and “Beaten By A Priest”, you can already guess what you’re in for on this 3-track debut from this Canadian band. Sure there is a lot of musical carnage going on here, but also a very high level of musicianship. “Surreal Actuality” starts things of and right away, you notice that there is something different in this bands style of extreme aggressive metal. The songs are very much based around heavy riffs and the ultra-aggressive vocals of Isabelle, which are quite forceful. The band follow that up with the previously mentioned “Icepick Lobotomy” and close things with the albums tour-de-force, the 8-minute “Beaten by a Priest” is a great closer.While it’s true that a band like Saprophyte will definitely not appeal to every kind of metal fan, they are still worth checking out for the collision of styles that the band presents. Musically, the band are hard to put a finger on and the final track on the EP is a perfect example of this. Whether you like them or you don’t, you have to admire a band like Saprophyte for branching out and doing something a bit left-of-centre in the extreme music genre.
Rating - 75/100
Review By Tony Cannella
From Canada, comes the female fronted powerhouse rock trio known as Modified. On their debut EP “Cruel Temptation”, Modified showcases their brand of Hard Rock. Throughout the 5-song, 19-minute CD the band deliver some solid riffs, infectious hooks and music that most definitely has an edge to it. “Cruel Temptation” kicks things off here. Immediately I was impressed with the production of the CD and the in-your-face vocals of Tricia Stanley – just a great adrenalin fueled opener. “Selfless Lies” continues in pretty much the same vein as the previous number. “Threetwoone” immediately became a huge favorite of mine, thanks to its great chorus and chug-along guitar riff. “Unfinished Game” continues the solid pace set forth by the previous tracks, this track has got tons of attitude to it. The final track, “When I Wake” ends things on a big, moody note. The song begins as a ballad, but by the mid-way point the track evolves into a big hard rock song. “Cruel Temptation” is a pretty darn good first impression by this talented group of Canadians, after one listen, I was hooked.
Rating – 88/100
Label : Massacre Records / E1 Entertainment
Review By Tony Cannella
The Canadian band Kittie first formed in 1996 and have previously released four albums. The band have now unleashed their fifth CD titled “In The Black” and it is over 40-minutes worth of no-holds-barred, pounding rhythms and in-your-face metal from these four Canadians that is like a shot of adrenalin. As soon as the brief intro “Kingdom Come” reaches it’s climax, the band launch into “My Plague” and there is no slowing down, or taking it easy, this is about as hungry as it gets. The song has just a relentless riff coursing through it and the screaming vocals of Morgan Lander. She can do more than just scream, however as she showcases different ranges and styles throughout the course of this 12-song release. From there the band launch into one of my favorite songs on the CD, “Cut Throat”, the song is rather short at almost 3-minutes long, but they make the most out of those three minutes. Another favorite is melodically charged, yet still heavy “Die My Darling”. Other highlights include: “Sorrow I Know”, “Now or Never” and “The Truth”. No doubt about it, with “In the Black” Kittie move in for the kill. Most of the songs are in the 3-4 range, but they hit you hard and fast and the effect is devastating. I have to admit, that I have only heard Kittie here-and-there over the years, but after listening to “In the Black”, you can count me as a fan. May not be for everyone, but if you like metal that is aggressive and confrontational, with some good melody mixed in, check this one out.