Review by Luisa Mercier
“Silent Siren” is a multifaceted album, but how could it be otherwise when so many disparate personalities and influences are involved in the Underhill project? It features vocals by Martina Astner (from symphonic metal legends Therion) and MC Coppa (Marvin Hay, whose vocals have shown up in many different contests ranging from drum’n'bass to dubstep, and hip-hop) and music written by Dean Rodell, Ivan Shopov and Tim Elliot.
In the first three songs alone, trip-hop, dubstep, lounge and ska music surface, but they often are mixed together therefore to label the exact style is even more a challenge. This trend is found throughout the album, as shown by tracks like “Black Sun Butterfly”, which is equally influenced by dubstep and ska. “Night Lines” opens the album with a polished instrumental of downtempo music before vocals appear in “Blind”, which is easily compared to a Portishead ballad. You might hear influences of an myth like Dead Can Dance in the ethnic-dark atmospheres of “My Shadow” . The quintet are closer to noise on a couple of occasions (“Civil Lies” and “Creator”), and “Silent Siren” includes also heavier tracks, such as the gloomy “Rivers of Hades” and drum’n'bass based “Solace”. Variety is not something that is missed on “Silent Siren”, but I found that the album is a bit too long and may result boring on the long term. Continue reading »
Interview by Vard AmanVocalist, Olga Salikhova, has over the years become a familiar name and face (and voice) in Russian Female-fronted Metal, having fronted bands such as Slavery, Oktagon and Luna Aeterna. Currently, she is singing for one of the pioneering bands of Russian-based Doom Metal, Voiceless Void, as well as her own project, Core. I caught up with her for a chat about her musical career to date. Hi Olga! Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. So, to start off with: when did you start singing?
When I was a little girl my granny used to take me a long way to our summer cottage on a bike on the rear seat, and I used to sing all the way to entertain both of us. Later when I was 7 I went to music school and joined a choir, and I liked being part of it.Did you have any special training?
Yes, I did! When I was a teenager, I felt a great desire to get a Grammy and to conquer the world, and I was quite sure it won’t take me more than, say, 5 years, so I started attending some weekend classes at a musical studio. There I experienced my first individual vocal classes. After that all my training was mostly with different private vocal coaches.What was your first band?
I was 17 then, it was a very nice band called Slavery, they lived in a different city in the Moscow Region, so I had to commute to our rehearsals twice a week and my parents had to meet me really late at night coming back. Slavery was kind of melodic power metal with dark lyrics and kind of gothic image. They were really nice guys and the founders of the band are still my friends. There are only a couple of live audio recordings from our gigs and a demo. Unfortunately, even though they existed for 10 years, they didn’t release any albums, even after I left the band.
According to Metal Archives, Slavery split up for the second time in 2010. When was the first time? Was that also when you left?
No, when I left the band, they found another female leader, also named Olga (Mashkina), also a blonde, there were kind jokes about that in the group and among our fans that the band attracts such front girls. I know after Olga Mashkina they had another blonde singer, Nastya. I actually don’t know much about their first splitting-up, I know about the second one in 2010, I was involved then.How were you involved?
I took a break in my musical career after I left Luna Aeterna. I didn’t sing at all for about 4 or 5 years. I communicated with my ex-music colleagues very seldom, only occasionally. Then one day I met with the bass-player of Slavery, Irina, and she suggested that I join them again because their singer, Nastya, was leaving the band for personal reasons. I agreed with enthusiasm, we started rehearsing together, it all was nice and we were discussing recording an album, but after a month of rehearsals the guys decided that they felt exhausted and lacked creative inspiration and new ideas for our music. That’s how we split up, basically.
Symphonic German metal band Envinya debut album “Inner Silence” will be released this coming January 25th, 2013 via Massacre Records. Also in addition the album’s release will be revealed soon the new female singer afte the split with the singer Natalie Pereira dos Santos.
Jan Yrlund (Darkgrove Design), who has previously worked with bands such as Apocalyptica, Manowar, and Legion of The Damned, is responsible for the artwork. Check out the art below, and the album’s track listing is:
- Inner Silence
- In My Hands (stream the song right here)
- Satin And Silk
- Mirror Soul
- Too Late
- Beyond The Dark
Interview by Erwin van Dijk
There are basically two branches of Black Metal: the ones with the corpse paint and great visual shows like Dimmu Borgir and Watain (but Watain is also very smelly) and the bands who compensate their lack of special effects with a cold self hatred like Skitliv and Shining. Lord Vampyr belongs to the first group. True to the genre everything seems to be shrouded in thick mists. For example, the website under construction and Myspace offers besides the names of the band members only very little info in Italian (a beautiful language but I do not speak it) but we have Wikipedia these days. Lord Vampyr (real name Alessandro Nunziati) used to be the singer of legendary Theatres des Vampires and Lord Vampyr is his solo project. This year the band has released their latest album called “Carpathian Tragedies”.
Vampires seem to be very popular these days in the cinema. Do you watch those movies yourself?
Yes, but I’m not satisfied, cause all seem like a teen-movies and not a serious movies on the world of vampires.
Most of us know you as the singer from Theatres des Vampires. But have you been active in other bands before Theatres des Vampires?
Sure, my first band was Sepolcum (then called VII Arcano). Sepolcum was one of the first death metal band from Rome, then the band became more gothic style close to Tiamat, Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride.
You have been active in the music business for many years now. What are the high lights so far and what is still on your “to do” list?
If you ask me what I want to do yet, well many things. Probably put on a short project with our keyboard player, something pop-rock like 30 Seconds to Mars, The Rasmus and Muse.
As said before, you used to be the singer of Theatres des Vampires. Why did you left the band?
There were many personal problems and then on the music. Continue reading »
Interview by Robin Stryker
Femme Metal spoke with Leeni-Maria Hovila, frontwoman of Finnish extreme fantasy metal band, Kivimetsän Druidi, six months ago. Since that time, the band has completed a massive North American tour and released its sophomore album, “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge” (Century Media 2010). We are delighted to chat with Leeni-Maria again and get caught up on Kivimetsän Druidi’s whirlwind of activity.Hello, Leeni-Maria! We’re glad you could join us today.
First things first, please tell us about Kivimetsän Druidi’s new album, “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”.
“Betrayal” is our second album — the first in which I have made most of the lyrics, and the first in which we have tracks composed also by our drummer Atte and lead guitarist Rinksa.
If you had to describe the new album’s sound in three words, what would they be?
Massive, symphonic, complex.
The title, “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”, has a nice ring to it. Where does the name come from?
It is simply a summary of the things and ideas happening on this album.
From earlier interviews, it sounds as though the band was not completely satisfied with its debut album, “Shadowheart”. How much of the harder, more aggressive sound on the new album comes from a natural evolution in Kivimetsän Druidi’s music, versus lessons learned from the first album?
The compositions are all natural evolution which was not even as fast as it would seem by listening to these two albums. All the elements of the tracks on “Betrayal” were already present in the few new songs of “Shadowheart”, but most “Shadowheart” tracks were both very old and some very new material which sound quite different from one another. On the other hand, the harder, more aggressive sound in general is all about making “Betrayal” sounding how we wished “Shadowheart” would, so that was about a lesson learned.
As I understand it, you are a classically trained soprano. Did you ever consider pursuing a career in opera, instead of metal?
I don’t have a great desire for that. The opera world seems a rigid place to me, also I do not have such a big voice. If I do classic genre and I do study it at the present, I am a lied-oriented performer, that is an other-than-opera- kind of classic vocal style. I see myself in the future as a performing cross-over soprano artist, who is most probably chronically broke.
Would you introduce your bandmates, and tell us what you like best about each person?
Joni Koskinen is something of a leader amongst us, if at all it can be said that we have one. I like and sometimes even envy his confidence. He is one of the two of our main composers, who used to do all of the lyrics in the past. He is a founding member and does the growls as well as rhythm guitar. Antti Koskinen, the former’s little brother, is our keyboardist and the other main composer. Antti is also a founding member, is somewhat multi-talented, and is very much self-educated as a musician. He is very empathic. Rinksa, our lead guitarist, is also a founding member, although the original idea of Druidi was Joni’s and Antti’s. But Rinksa has been aboard from the very beginning. He is quiet and conscientious. Simo-Pekka, our bassist, is big and reliable and older than his young years would say. He is always sensible, speaks the utter unquestionable truth, and others never have to worry for him. But, if he gets hungry and there’s no food around, you’d better come up with some. Quick! Atte, our drummer, is as far as I remember the last line-up change before myself. He is very good in his area, and the only member besides myself who has at least some classic studies. He used to play the faggot – hold on, I have to check if that, in fact, is how it is written … err, no. I meant to say fagotto. Or bassoon, my dictionary seems to claim they mean the same. Atte is funny. The joker of the band. And open-minded.
“Shadowheart” was inspired by a fantasy story that Joni has been working on. What is the inspiration for “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”?
I think it still is the same story actually, regardless of the fact that most lyrics are mine or even the fact that most stories of those lyrics I had thought about well before I joined the band. I simply decided — when Joni said I should try writing lyrics and I decided I should try using my old ideas — that fine, now all these things are going to happen in the world he made to happen and that’s it. And the truth is that in those stories, both the ones Joni wrote and the ones I’d had in my head before, some very basic things always remain the same. It is the nature of stories regarding where and when they happen. The same things, the same big truths always are the ones that people write stories about or fight wars over. Love. Honour. Justice. Betrayal. Ideals, be they false or true. Religion is the only “big thing” we haven’t touched and have no desire of doing so in the future, but I think that if you take religion down to the little pieces to find what it has eaten, what you will find are all those smaller things I already pointed out and some more of their kind. Like pride. Fear. Especially fear.
You wrote many of the lyrics for “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”. Does singing your own lyrics feel different than singing lyrics written by someone else?
Yep. I sometimes feel pretty stupid about them, and this time I can only blame myself.
Are you a fan of fantasy? If so, what is your favourite work of fantasy?
Indeed I am. From the works of Tolkien, I prefer “The Silmarillion”. The first books I ever read from the genre were the first “Dragonlance” trilogy. Perhaps my all time favourite is Orson Scott Card’s strange little one-of-a-kind story “Hart’s Hope”.
Is “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge” mainly for fantasy fans, or does it have broader themes with universal appeal?
All the themes in our fantasy, as well as fantasy stories in general, are ultimately universal. They are always about the same things which make people move: love, ambition, ideals — betrayal, justice, revenge. Among others.
If you could select any Kivimetsän Druidi song for a soundtrack, which song would you choose and which movie would you put it in?
“Desolation: White Wolf” would be my pick — actually, we made a video for that one lately. Hasn’t been published yet. Don’t know about the movie, though … maybe it hasn’t been made yet. Maybe we should make it. A full-length Kivimetsän Druidi fantasy adventure.
Most of the songs on “Shadowheart” are in Finnish, while most of the songs on “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge” are in English. Was the language switch intentional or happenstance?
Happenstance, actually. I sort of regret that, and hope to make more Finnish ones on the Number Three, whenever that may happen.
In November 2009, Kivimetsän Druidi performed at the Heathenfest Tour in North America, playing 20 different cities and covering 15.000 kilometres in the nightliner. What stands out in your mind from the tour?
Hollywood Boulevard. Giant turkey legs. Helmuth of Belphegor making me drink whiskey. Hilly views. Ridiculously good-looking night liners. Sushi places in NYC. A university campus cafe in Cleveland. Being slightly afraid at Detroit.
When you have a hectic tour schedule far from home, do you do anything special to make sure you stay sane and healthy?
Stay in my bunk whenever I feel bored. Go for a walk outside the bus when possible. Alone! Always, always have good and reliable ear plugs which damp out as much of surrounding noise — preferably talk — as possible. I can’t always go for a longer run, sometimes I just jump or run on spot in the backstage or the hall before audience is let in. I go out, if only around the corner, to get a cup of coffee and look and listen to the local people.
Just reading about Kivimetsän Druidi’s schedule in 2009 – a Russian mini-tour, writing songs for the new album, recording, going on the North American tour, and back into the studio to finish recording – exhausts me. Were you able to relax some after all that?
We did a little too much relaxing in the summer when we were supposed to be writing songs — or at least I did a little too much “relaxing” when I was supposed to be writing lyrics — so we ended up having to hurry in the studio, again. But it was not too stressing. It’s not that all the band activity was overwhelming. It is this stupid thing called “normal life” like going to school, having to work alongside the school, paying the bills, having at least some hobbies and getting to see friends that makes things difficult.
What are the band’s plans for the remainder of 2010?
Promoting “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge”, doing as many shows as we can, perhaps getting to make a tour later in the autumn, also we have already lightly touched the idea of the Number Three Album if and whether there’s going to be one. So writing new songs.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Leeni-Maria. Do you have any parting words for your fans at Femme Metal?
Beware of fragile old bearded guys in strange looking clothes. They are bound to be wizards or something of the kind. Do not piss them off. Come check us out live. Get the new album, it really rocks. Rock ‘n Troll.
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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