Apr 14, 2014
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Tuomas Holopainen – “The Life and Times of Scrooge” (2014)

Label: Nuclear Blast

Review by Tony Cannella

On his debut solo album, Nightwish keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen has created a concept album based around the graphic novel “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck”! According to Mr. Holopainen this project was 14 years in the making and written during his downtime from Nightwish.

Granted Scrooge McDuck may not be a very metal topic to tackle, but “The Life and Times…” isn’t really a metal album… so there! “…Scrooge” features 10-songs and almost an hour worth of symphonic, classically influenced music with folk and cinematic influences as well – with the album artwork done by the book’s author Don Rosa. There are several guest musicians, including four singers: Alan Reid, Johanna Kurkela, Johanna Iivanainen & Tony Kakko. Continue reading »

Apr 14, 2014
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Anna von Hausswolff – “Ceremony” (2013)

Label: City Slang

Review by Luisa Mercier

I confess I never heard of this Swedish girl, architect turned singer songwriter. My bad indeed, since Northern Europe seems to provide the most talented and musically skilled women I ever heard. Anna is again different from the other singers I knew since her trademark is much darker and focused on organ, an instrument that a former gothic metaller like me can only love. This album opens with the instrumental track “Epitaph of Theodor”, a long, epic organ anthem that will fill your ears with melancholy and sorrow through cinematic arrangements and moments that would have been fit for a doom metal record. It is only when five minutes of the second song “Deathbed” have passed that we get to hear Anna vocals. Before there is a powerful organ, metal guitars, heavy arrangents. Her sweet vocals then chime in and soar over the organ music. Continue reading »

Apr 11, 2014
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Introducing Margaret Berger

Article by Miriam C. & Alessandra Cognetta

Sometimes people (in particular some metalheads – now don’t take it personally, I’m just stating the obvious) confuse quality with commercial: at the end of the day that doesn’t mean anything, ’cause if you think about it , if the music doesn’t sell the artist doesn’t earn. Having said that, it’s now time to take a step forward and discover with me Margaret Berger, this fantastic Norwegian artist whose grace and soaring vocals are enchanting the European audience. Margaret expressed her interest in singing since she was a child, but except for some experiences in a band called Slim Void and in her local gospel choir we must wait till 2004 with her participation in the second Norwegian edition of “Idol”. Although Margaret gained the second place, “Idol” was her breakthrough. In the same year, Berger released her debut “Chameleon”, a Top 4 album that mixed pop, R&B and rock, that showed diversity but still denoted acerbity. It’s with her second album, released 2 years later, “Pretty Scary Silver Fairy”, that we can fully appreciate her musical evolution into a more electronic/synthpop sound.

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Apr 10, 2014
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Zuberoa Aznárez – Diabulus in Musica

Interview by Ary R.

Third album for the Spanish act Diabulus In Musica that is going to introduce to the fans the brand new creature, “Argia”, a record which shows us how a band can gain a new lease of life, with a stronger dedication and which wants to show the world that they’re not a band like all the others we know. Today we host the beautiful frontman of this band, Zuberoa Aznárez, who tells us in this short but intense interview something more about the album, about the new lineup and the future goals for this Spanish combo.
 
Hi Zuberoa and welcome back to FM. “Argia” is the title of this brand new record. Would you mind to explain, first of all, the meaning of the album title and to tell us the differences we can find in this album compared to the previous one?

Hi! Thanks! :) “Argia” means “Light” or “clear” in our regional language, Basque. This title somehow reflects how we feel now. Gorka and me had to start from scratch when the other band-members left. It was very hard at the beginning, but we both alone managed to write new songs, find new band-members and play some live shows in only one year. We saw the light in our path again and we had a clear view that we had to continue making music, just because we love it so much that we cannot live without it. Continue reading »

Apr 8, 2014
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Xandria – “Sacrificium” (2014)

Label: Napalm Records

Review by Tony Cannella

When it was announced that the long running German symphonic metal band Xandria parted ways with vocalist Manuela Kraller after just one album (“Neverworld’s End”) it came as a huge shock. What would this mean for one of the more durable and consistent bands in the symphonic metal scene? Well, the band has enlisted Ex Libris vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen and has released a new album (“Sacrificium”), and while it may be debatable whether or not this is their best work, it certainly is an album that sees the band pulling out all the stops.

The opening song “Sacrificium” lets us know what we are in for, straight away. At over 10-minutes it is interesting that they chose to begin the album with an epic of this nature. Dianne van Giersbergen’s vocals are huge and wickedly operatic. Continue reading »

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