Nov 19, 2012
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Crystal Viper – “Metal Nation” RE-ISSUE (2012)

Label : AFM Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Originally released in 2009, “Metal Nation” is the second full-length album from Poland’s Crystal Viper. In my opinion, this is also the album where the band began hit their stride and establishes themselves as one of the lead bands in the traditional metal movement. Like their debut, “Metal Nation” has been re-released by the bands current label AFM with a ton of bonus material. Let’s face it, throughout their history Crystal Viper has not strayed too far from what they do best and that is one of the things we love about them, it doesn’t mean however that they don’t add a new twist or two along the way. “Metal Nation” opens with the intro “Breaking the Curse” and the band dives straight in with the ferocious title track. Yes indeed, classic metal is alive and well and played at a high quality by this band. “Bringer of the Light” is next and is one of my favorite songs the band has ever recorded. “1428″, “Zombie Lust” and “Legions of Truth” are more highlights. The bonus material includes: a cover of the Agent Steel song “Agents of Steel” and a cover of the Running Wild song “Libertalia”Crystal Viper has always chosen interesting songs to cover and these are no different. Some alternate versions of Crystal Viper songs are also included here. Crystal Viper is one of those bands that have such a strong catalogue of music that everyone who is a fan of the band has a favorite. “Metal Nation” is my favorite, but in the grand scheme of things, how do you choose a favorite from a band whose body of work is this strong? AFM put a lot of care into these re-releases and fans of the band should be pleased with them.

 Rating – 88/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Breaking the Curse
  2. Metal Nation
  3. Bringer of the Light
  4. 1428
  5. The Anvil of Hate
  6. Zombie Lust (Flesh Eaters)
  7. Her Crimson Tears
  8. Legions of Truth
  9. Gladiator: Die By the Blade (I-III)
  10. Agents of Steel (Agent Steel Cover)
  11. Axeman’s Revenge (Live intro 2008-2011)
  12. Metal Nation (Karaoke Version)
  13. The Banshee (2011 Version)
  14. The Anvil of Hate (Demo Version 2007)
  15. Bringer of the Light (Karaoke Version)
  16. Libertalia (Running Wild Cover)

 

Line Up

  • Marta Gabriel – Vocals, Keyboards and Piano
  • Andy Wave – Guitars
  • Tom Woryna – Bass
  • Golem – Drums

 

Links

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Nov 19, 2012
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Crystal Viper – “The Curse of the Crystal Viper” RE-ISSUE (2012)

Label : AFM Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Originally released in 2007, AFM Records have recently re-issued the debut album “The Curse of Crystal Viper” from Poland’s classic metal heroes Crystal Viper. In addition to the full album, this new version also features five rare bonus tracks that have appeared on tribute albums and hard to find material, so while these songs may not be un-released per-se they are still rare and thus valuable to any Crystal Viper fan. What can be said about “The Curse of Crystal Viper”? I remember the first time I heard it and being blown away by its sheer power and ferocity. It also gave me a feeling of when I got into metal in the first place in the early 80s. Crystal Viper really captures that vibe, but musically they go beyond that. Lead vocalist Marta Gabriel has got a great classic metal vocal style. The somewhat Running Wild like intro “…I See Him!” starts things and segues straight into the Iron Maiden style riffs and guitar harmonies of “Night Prowler”. Some of Crystal Vipers best songs appear on this album: “Shadows on the Horizon”, “Island of the Silver Skull” and “Sleeping Swords” is all considered Crystal Viper classics. Among the ‘bonus’ tracks, you get a covers of the Manilla Road track “Flaming Metal Systems” and Warlock’s “Mr. Gold” as well as alternate versions of “Demons’ Dagger”, “The Last Axeman” and “Sleeping Swords”. This is top-notch classic metal played Crystal Viper style. In Re-visiting their debut, it is easy to see why they have become one of best bands in their genre. Crystal Viper continues to churn out classic metal, but this is where it all began and thus a will always have a special place in my heart.

 Rating – 85/100

 

Tracklist

  1. …I See Him! (Intro)
  2. Night Prowler
  3. Shadows on the Horizon
  4. City of the Damned
  5. The Last Axeman
  6. Island of the Silver Skull
  7. I Am Leather Witch
  8. Demons’ Dagger
  9. The Fury (Undead)
  10. Sleeping Swords
  11. Flaming Metal Systems (Manilla Road Cover)
  12. Demon’s Dagger (2008 version)
  13. The Last Axeman (Polish version)
  14. Sleeping Swords (2008 version)
  15. Mr. Gold (Warlock Cover)

 

Line Up

  • Marta Gabriel – Vocals, Guitar
  • Andy Wave – Guitars
  • Tommy Roxx – Bass
  • Golem – Drums

 

Links

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Nov 19, 2012
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Elysion – “Killing My Dreams” EP (2012)

Label : Massacre Records

Review by Tony Cannella

On their new EP, “Killing My Dreams” the Greek Gothic metal band offers some new and alternate versions of songs from their 2009 debut album “Silent Scream”. The EP is opened with two versions of the title song. The first is a regular studio version of “Killing My Dreams” and is followed an acoustic version of the song. I’ve always liked this song, so it is cool to hear it done in acoustic form, but you can’t beat the original version, it is just so catchy and has a melody that sticks in your head long after you’ve heard it for the first time. An acoustic version of “Don’t Say a Word” follows and this is well done also. Following a demo version of “Never Forever”, the EP is concluded with four live songs: “Dreamer”, “Killing My Dreams”, “Walk Away” and “The Rules”. For fans of Elysion, “Killing My Dreams” is definitely well worth owning and even newer fans who appreciate female fronted metal bands; this is a good sampling of what this band has to offer. It’s not exactly a new full-length, but it will do for now. “Killing My Dreams” is a digital only release and can be downloaded at the usual sites: iTunes, Amazon, etc.).

 Rating – 83/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Killing My Dreams
  2. Killing My Dreams (Acoustic Version)
  3. Don’t Say a Word (Acoustic Version)
  4. Never Forever (Demo Version)
  5. Dreamer (Live Version)
  6. Killing My Dreams (Live Version)
  7. Walk Away (Live Version)
  8. The Rules (Live Version)

 

Line Up

  • Christianna – Vocals 
  • Johnny Zero – Guitars
  • NID – Guitars
  • FXF – Bass
  • Laitsmann – Drums

 

Links

MySpace * Facebook * Twitter * Site

 

 

Nov 19, 2012
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Liv Kristine – “Libertine” (2012)

Label : Napalm Records

Review by Tony Cannella

Liv Kristine has become more prominent as a solo artist these days. Of course her main gig is still Leaves’ Eyes, but she has managed to release a few solo albums in that bands downtime. The material is different and goes in a more pop direction than Leaves’ Eyes, but that’s okay, I mean what would be the point of doing a solo album if it is a carbon copy of your regular band? On her fourth solo album “Libertine”, Liv continues to explore her pop music side. Liv has always been an excellent lyricist but with her solo career she writes from more of a personal perspective rather than about Vikings, history and telling complex stories. “Libertine” has a playing time of about 40-minutes and the songs have a relatively immediate impact, starting with the soft opener “Interlude” which leads into the more rocking “Solve Me”. “Vanilla Skin Delight” is a great up-tempo song that sees Liv performing a magical duet with German singer Tobias Regner. This is definitely one of the finest moments that “Libertine” has to offer. In contrast, the next song “Panic” is a piano driven ballad that builds as the song progresses but it never strays too far from ballad territory. One thing “Libertine” does so well is shift from softer moments to more up-tempo songs. Other highlights include: “Paris Paris” (one of the more rock oriented songs), “Love Crime”, “Libertine” and the closing cover of the Kate Bush song “The Man with the Child in His Eyes”. There is good pop and then there is bad pop. With “Libertine” Liv has recorded a good, spirited, pop rock album, with a lot of soul, heart and passion.

 Rating – 90/100

 

Tracklist

  1. Interlude
  2. Solve Me
  3. Silence
  4. Vanilla Skin Delight
  5. Panic
  6. Paris Paris
  7. Wait for Rain
  8. Love Crime
  9. Libertine
  10. Meet Me in the Red Sky
  11. The Man With the Child in His Eyes

 

Line Up

  • Liv Kristine – Vocals
  • JB van der Wal – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass, Keys & Programming
  • Thorsten Bauer – Electric and Acoustic Guitars, Bass & Keys
  • Alessandro Panto – Piano
  • Christoph Kutzer – Cello
  • Felix Born – Drums and Percussion

 

Links

MySpace * Facebook * Twitter * Site

 

 

Nov 19, 2012
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Interview : Liv Kristine (2012)

 

 

Interview by Ary R.

 

Considered a great icon in the metal world, Liv Kristine is one of the metal queen of the fronted metal scene. On the occasion of her new release, “Libertine”, Femme Metal had the honor of interviewing this amazing Norwegian singer.

Today I have the BIG pleasure of playing host Liv Kristine, my idol since ever. Hi Liv and welcome to Femme Metal.net. Tusen takk for din tid :) How are you doing?

Thank you so much, I and the rest of the guys are doing really well, veldig bra! We’ve been on tour for four weeks now, Leaves’ Eyes and Firewind, and I have to tell you this tour is the best tour I’ve ever experienced because there are only, ONLY, really nice and lovely people on board of this Nightliner.

Let me say that for me is a very big, big pleasure to interview you today. Let’s break the ice and let’s talk about your fourth studio album, “Libertine”. It has been released via Napalm Records a few weeks ago. How were the feedbacks for this new record?

The feedback from the press and fans for “Libertine” have been absolutely amazing, world-wide, actually the best ones I’ve ever had so far in my 20-years long career. I am so grateful for this, I am very moved. My inner voice tells me that I need to go on tour and play these songs live as soon as possible!

What are the biggest differences compared to your previous albums?

“Deus ex Machina” was very atmospheric, reminding you a bit about Irish Enya, a real pop-album. “Enter My Religion” was more guitar-based and earthly with many interesting exotic folk influences. “Skintight” had some influence from J. Cash, which sometimes gives the listeners a warm and here-and-now camp-fire feeling experience. “Libertine” is a back-to-the-roots album, containing the most emotional ballads I’ve ever composed, it even has a dark but sweet feeling to it, through both the piano, the dark bass lines and guitars. I see every album becoming more and more individual, just like I am getting closer to myself. I would say all of my albums are somehow indie, pop or rock.

“Libertine” is surely a fresh and a direct record and, under some points of view, it reminds some resonances of Theatre of Tragedy’s masterpieces like “Aegis” and “Musique” in songs like “Paris Paris” or “Solve Me” (I was under this impression, correct me if I’m wrong :D). Was the choice purely accidental or was it something that you wanted to do?

“Libertine”, as you correctly pointed out, is an album going back to the roots, to my years with Theatre of Tragedy. During my solo concert in German Nagold last December I just felt that the time had come to let in all the experience I gathered during my years with Theatre of Tragedy, moreover, to forgive my ex-band members and their fatal decision in 2003 to exclude me from the band. In Nagold I played the demo version of the more heavy rocker “Libertine” just to see how the audience react on it. There and then I understood that this is the right way to go. My fans showed me the way. I have to tell you that I feel truly privileged – First of all I am grateful to my fans and friends for giving me all this respect, love and good energy, some of them following me since my ex-band Theatre of Tragedy came into existence about 17-18 years ago. My fans have granted me this freedom I appreciate so much. Through both Leaves’ Eyes and my solo project I am able to live out my musical instinct.

This record has been produced by your husband (and collegue) Alexander Krull. How did you feel like working with your own husband? Why have you chosen to cooperate with him instead of collaborating with some other producer?

I actually prefer working with my husband. To tell you the truth: I like “to cook in my own kitchen”. Alexander produced the album at our own Mastersound Studio. We are very privileged to have our own studio, and it is superb having my husband next to me. He, and my guitar player Thorsten, know me the best. Both of them know how to push me just a little bit further…and in the end, I am so happy to have achieved a new goal. Their opinions mean very much to me. Of course we do have discussions sometimes, I mean, we are all perfectionists and very stubborn, however, we always come up with a perfect solution.

Would you like to say something about the concept of the artwork? For what I see there’s a lot of red in it :D Who has taken care of it and of the promoshoot related to it?

I had from the very beginning a clear idea of how the artwork should be. All the paintings you see are my own, which I painted myself. The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the front cover. One Saturday I found this lovely red dress in a little shop, and I thought it would be absolutely perfect for a front picture. Then I discovered this red umbrella…and these high-heeled shoes! All I had to do was to put on my red favorite Chanel lipstick, which I have used for the last ten years, go outside in the sun and have Alex make photos of me. Stefan Heilemann then re-worked everything to make the artwork look exactly how I wanted it.

To give your fans a little “appetizer”, you’ve played an acoustic show in Germany, “One Night With Liv Kristine” and you’ve introduced the audience a brand new song, that is the title track of your last album. Would you like to reveal some little details of this particular evening?

As already mentioned, In Nagold was this moment during my concert in Nagold, Germany, December 2011, when I first presented the demo song “Libertine” to my audience. I had also performed a handful of Theatre of Tragedy songs, because it was my wish. There and then I understood in which musical direction my up-coming album would be, more powerful, more back to the roots. Everybody was there, my closest friends and family, my fantastic fans from all over the world, Argentina, Belgium, Denmark, UK, Finland, Spain, Holland and all over Germany. I was so happy! This was a very special night for me, so special that I will do it again in December 22nd this year!

Have you ever thought of creating an acoustic album with Leaves’ Eyes or in your solo career? I think that this would be something nice for your fans. I would be the first one to buy an album like that :)

That’s a very good idea! I’d love to, but right now we are already working on our fifth full-length studio album.

In order to promote your new record in the best way possible, you’ve asked Patric Ullaeus from Revolver Film Company Ab to direct a videoclip of yours for the single “Paris Paris”. He already worked with “giants” like Dimmu Borgir, In Flames and many others. What could you tell about this little work experience? How come have you decided to ask him for directing your new videoclip?

I just love working with Patric and his Revolver team as he already produced two Leaves’ Eyes clips and one for my solo single “Skintight”, this is such a great honor, and pleasure! He is able to read my thoughts and ideas, he is just the best, that’s all I can say. Even when my suitcase got lost by the Airline in Paris with all my dresses, nobody panicked and Patric made a few phone-calls. His wife, Tara, is my favorite make-up artist, I am always in good hands when she is doing my make-up! I am very, very proud of the clip for “Paris Paris”.

Let’s talk about the single “Paris Paris”. It was your “first choice” to promote the album. As I mentioned before, to me it recalls some resonances with some old work by Theatre Of Tragedy. What could you tell about this new single? If I’m not mistaken, there are some verses sung in French…

“Paris Paris” was actually a demo song I prepared for Theatre of Tragedy, but it was never recorded. However, I re-wrote it for fun using the program Garage band. My co-musicians loved it and all the instruments were recorded new. It is definitely a very refreshing song! The video clip is online as well. I’ve visited Paris many times, and by and by I’ve learned to enjoy this city, with its small cafes on the street corners, serving even the smaller cappuccino. Charming.

This new record includes two “gems”. The first one is the duet on the track “Vanilla Skin Delight”, that sees the attendance of the third-season winner of ‘Deutschland Sucht Den Superstar’, Tobias Regner. What could you say about this cooperation with this guy? How did it happen?

I am so happy to have worked with Tobias Regner. His voice is amazing. He was one of the Superstar-winners in Germany, and he is definitely my favorite. We met through a common friend, luckily, as my band mates suggested that we look for a male voice for “Vanilla Skin Delight”. 48 hours later he knocked on the studio door of Mastersound Studio and we became friends straight away! We had so many stories to tell. He is a true professional and he did such a great job in front of the microphone. I really hope we will be able to perform this song together some day.

The second gem is Kate Bush’s cover, “The Man With a Child in His Eyes”. What has pushed you to revise this song?

Kate Bush and Tori Amos are truly my greatest influences vocally. Since I never had any musical education I have found my own way to prepare my voice before a concert or recording session in which I sing along to either of these wonderful voices. It was my best friend, Katja, who had this idea that I should cover Kate. During one of our girls’ evenings…parties…I started singing from the top of my voice along to Kate…the next day I was worried what the neighbors would say. Katja’s neighbors did not complain… and my friend inspired me to record the track for “Libertine”. It was recorded in a one- take session.

Currently you’re promoting your new record and you’re also on tour with your own band. Have you already planned something new for Leaves’ Eyes or for your solo career? Will we ever see you in a “solo” tour?

When we get back from this tour Leaves’ Eyes will start the recordings for our fifth full-length album as already mentioned, moreover, we will play a few concerts in the winter. I have planned a few solo concerts, exclusive ones, for mid and end December as well, Nagold is already settled and announced for the 22.12.2012. I hope for tours for both bands next year!

As I mentioned in the previous question, you’re currently on the road in Europe with Firewind. How did it happen? What do you think, personally, of Gus G as musician and as a person as well?

I can tell you Gus is such a lovely person, very, very warm-hearted and kind. He is also an absolutely amazing musician. It’s such a pleasure being on the road and sharing Nightliner with Firewind.

You’ve played in France, UK, Germany and Belgium at the moment. How come haven’t you decided to play all over Europe? Will there be a second “chance” to see you on tour with Firewind again?

I would really hope so, also in other continents. All of us get along so well. It would be so nice touring together also in the future. Our fans also LE the package of both bands being on the same bill.

Short time ago, I’ve discovered that you’ve joined Firewind on stage during the performance of “Break the Silence”. Originally the female parts were sung by Tara Teresa. How has been the performance so far?

Absolutely amazing, I am going to join Firewind in a few minutes as I am sitting here, talking to you. The audience go crazy because Firewind hasn’t played this song since 2006 with Tara. I love Tara‘s voice, she is fantastic. I feel very honored to sing her parts.

Recent is also the news that Leaves’ Eyes were forced to cancel some dates in USA and you’ll play there next year. Could you please explain us, in short, the reason why you’ve been asked to cancel some dates of this tour?

Yes, that was south-America. I am deeply sorry. This was due to troubles with organization. I am really sorry. We will make up for this as soon as possible. In 99% of cancellations it is really not on the bands’ hands. All we want to do is to play and meet our fans and friends!

Last year Leaves’ Eyes shared the stage with Midnattsol, led by your sister Carmen. What do you remember of this experience with a big affection? How did it happen to make a tour together?

We had wanted to tour together for such a long time, and then our dream came true! It was fantastic having my sister next to me singing “Kråkevisa”, the traditional Norwegian song. I can’t wait to visit my sister in Norway again for Chistmas!

If I’m not wrong, “Meredead” included a typical traditional song sung in your mother tongue and your sister sang in it. Could you please reveal us the concept of this song? Of course we’re talking of “Kråkevisa” (The Crow Song :)). If I’m not mistaken, this song was put in streaming, right before the release of the record…

To record this traditional tune, turning it into a Leaves Eyes song was an idea of my friend Anette, and my sister, Carmen, both of them joining me on guest vocals.

You’re not “new” with duets and stuff. Among the biggest ones, we surely remember “Nymphetamine” (Cradle Of Filth), “See Me in Shadow” (Delain), Atrocity, Doro Pesch and so on. What do you remind about these duets? Is there any artist you would like to cooperate with in a nearest future?

Ozzy Osbourne! Kate Bush and Tori Amos.

A few months ago, it has been said that Theatre of Tragedy wanted to re-issue some of your old works (your self-title album, “Velvet Darkness They Fear” and “Aegis”). How did you react to this news? Are you still in good terms with your former band members?

I had no idea about this, but I appreciate it. I am still in contact with Raymond, living in Brazil since a few years.

This was my last question. Thanks so much for your time and for having allowed us this little interview. Is there something you would like to say to our readers and your fans out there? We hope to see you soon in Italy :)

Thank you for being there for me all these years, with Theatre of Tragedy, Leaves’ Eyes and my solo work. It has been lovely to see many of you at our European tour Leaves’ Eyes and Firewind. I also hope you enjoy “Libertine” as much as I did composing and recording it. I can’t wait to play it live for you! Love, Liv.

 

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