Label : Mascot Records/earMusic
Review by Davide Torresan
I confess that I knew nothing of Beth Hart, until yesterday. Bad, very bad. Searching for a bit of information about this singer, with surprise I found a very good voice, and a genre that I never thought that I would have liked. Yes, because Beth‘s songs are truly unique and original. During her musical career she was good enough to surround herself with talented musicians to match her lyrics at times painful, sometimes happy and carefree. They perfectly describe her life, her personal experiences, both positive and negative, suggesting all with influences that range from pop to rock to jazz and blues. Fame and success came thanks to the smash-hit “LA Song (Out of This Town)” which aired during Episode 17 of the 10th and final season of the telefilm Beverly Hills, 90210. In 1999, her career was stopped by drug addiction and an unmedicated bipolar disorder. As a result of this bad period, redemption came, thanks to a new love, and of course her music . A live DVD, some albums, and the collaborations with famous artists such as Slash, in the beautiful “Mother Mary”, and with famous guitarist and rock/blues singer Joe Bonamassa in the album “Don’t Explain” in 2011, have contributed to spread her charismatic voice and her talent as a musician in the whole world. “Bang Bang Boom Boom” is her eighth album and gives us a broad overview of her potential. Piano, guitar and drums accompany her voice, at times soothing, as in the song that gives the title to the album, other stronger, as in “Caught Out in the Rain”, which shows off her versatile voice, a voice very strong and powerful. It’s definitely worth mentioning the work of guitar and Beth’s keyboard that “lull” the listener languidly. The atmosphere is that of a dark, gloomy room, at the bar, with a glass of whiskey in front of us. The melodies of songs like “Better Man” or “Swing My Thing Back Around” with its jazzy rhythm are easy to listen to and addictive. “Spirit of God”, with its easy-going rhythm is definitely the best track of the lot, to which is impossible to stay indifferent. Every time I listen to it, I am not able to stand still on the chair, moving my head to the music. The gospel insert is very nice. But there also some sweet and quiet songs like “Everyday With You” and “There in Your Heart”, in which Beth clearly speaks of love. It’ a new subject for her, as in previous albums she had never written about it. They are hymns to love. I can recomend you to take a look at the video of “Bang Bang Boom Boom” to realize the enormous work behind this album. A work full of shades and colors, sad and lively. Those of the life of Beth Hart.
Rating – 80/100
- Baddest Blues
- Bang Bang Boom Boom
- Better Man
- Caught Out in the Rain
- Swing My Thing Back Around
- With You Everyday
- Thru the Window of My Mind
- Spirit of God
- 9. There in Your Heart
- The Ugliest House On the Block
- Everything Must Change
- Beth Hart – Vocals, background vocals, keys & acoustic guitar
- Jon Nichols – Electric & acoustic guitars & background vocals
- Tom Lily – Electric & acoustic bass guitars & background vocals
- Todd Wolf – Drums & percussion
Label : Nadir Music
Review by Tony Cannella
While perusing the internet, I noticed that some reviews for the latest album by Morgana, “Rose of Jericho”, were less than kind, some were harsh, too harsh, in my opinion. “Rose of Jericho” is not a bad album, it’s actually pretty good. Morgana is the alter ego of vocalist Roberta DeLaude and she is no newcomer, she is actually a veteran of the Italian metal scene. She began singing in heavy metal bands in 1983 at the age of 16 and released the debut EP from Morgana in 1988. Since then she has released material sporadically, but now Morgana returns with her first album of new material in years, so long time fans of the band should rejoice. Appropriately enough the instrumental “Alive…” gets things started and announces the return of Morgana. Next is “Love Me the Way I Am” and showcases Morgana’s melodic metal sound with a grinding guitar riff. Other songs such as, “Golden Hours”, “Lady Winter” and “610″ pretty much gets the point across what Morgana is all about and what “Rose of Jericho” has to offer, just simple, basic, melodic heavy metal. I don’t mean that in a negative way at all. The songs are what matters and for the most part they are good. The instrumental “…And Kickin” – fittingly enough – brings “Rose of Jericho” to its conclusion. The whole thing features 9-songs and only 36-minutes worth of music, barely longer than an EP. I have to admit that while I had always heard the name Morgana, I wasn’t familiar with her music at all, so I had nothing to compare “Rose of Jericho” to. Taken on its own merit and with no preconceived ideas about her past music, “Rose of Jericho” is just a good melodic heavy metal album that recalls the 80s, while still having a hold on what is relevant in 2012.
Rating – 75/100
- Love Me the Way I Am
- Golden Hours
- Lady Winter
- Bang Bang (Sonny Bono Cover)
- I Will Not Turn Back
- How Do You Feel
- …And Kickin’
- Morgana DeLaude – Vocals
- Tommy Talamanca – Guitar and Keyboards
- Jacopo Rossi – Bass
- Federico Pennazzato – Drums
Interview by Matteo Bussotti
It is always a pleasure when an important name in the music industry comes back to the scenes after years of retirement. It’s Morgana Delaude‘s case: Morgana‘s singer is back with a new fresh, powerful album (and another one arriving “Mayan prophecy allowing” she said). It was my honour to interview her and listen from her what she thinks about music nowadays, from a detached point of view of someone who’s seen lots of things in this ambient.
First of all, Morgana, introduce yourself to our (and your) fans, would you?
45, female, Caucasian…oh no, it looks more like my autopsy.. I start singing I was only 16 in a metal band called Damnath. After its split I joined the thrash band Jester Beast. I went out from this to experience a darkest project I called Hurtful Witch. We recorded a demo called “Spectra”. In 1988 I formed Morgana.
Tell us, how did Morgana form? What’s your story?
Morgana was born as band but, very soon it turned into a solo project. In 1988 my first EP called simply “Morgana”. The line up changed so many times I can barely remember all my band mates. In 1991 I recorded my last full length in Germany and I simply decided to shut down with music. I was really disappointed and tired to fight against labels and managers and so on.
Yours is a very peculiar album, it merges different musical genres, from rock to metal, to, I think, soul. At least, for me your voice is very near to the Soul or Blues genre, especially in some tracks. Where does this uniqueness come from? What’s the creative process behind this “fusion”?
I come from Blues and Hard Rock. My fav singers were Janis Joplin, Bette Middler, Gillan, Plant and so on. I start to sing under their influence and they really touched my heart.
The first and last track, “Alive” and “…And kickin’” looks like a quote from the famous band Mr.Big to me. In addition, we find a very unusual cover (very well made, I have to say) for a hard-rock/metal band like yours: “Bang Bang” by Sonny Bono. Why the choice of putting all this “tributes” to different bands? They’re just “quotes” or do they have a special meaning for you, or for your band in general?
Honestly I don’t know the Mr. Big song you’re talking about…sorry… About “Bang Bang”, it’s a song that belongs to my childhood. It was written in 1969 and it brings me back so many memories… my parents use to play the Italian version on this song on their record player! I simply love it.
Is there a special meaning behind the album’s title: “Rose of Jericho”?
The rose of Jericho is a shrub from desert origin and it’s called “the resurrection tree” because it can live up to 25/30 years apparently dead. A sole drop of water brings it back to life. This shrub it’s me. After 20 years of silence I am here again with a new album.
Your musical genre is not very famous among the young people. In fact, we can say it’s definitely not “mainstream”. Also the young musicians decide too often to take the “commercial” path, the easy one, instead of a more personal, complex one. What do you think? How can we change this trend? What’s the reason behind this “victory” of the easy listening music against a more powerful (also emotionally) one?
Ideas impoverishment? Money? Anything runs fast, anything must be simply ready to be swallowed up in a moment. New generations seem to live trapped in a virtual life, unable to feel what’s real and what’s fugitive. There’s no place for real emotions because it takes too much energy maybe…
Also, nowadays, too many singers or band decide to put the stress on their “extravaganza” (like, speaking only about clothing, Lady Gaga), without a solid technical background. Is there really such a lack of technical effort and practice nowadays? Does music look so “simple” to boys and girls? According to your personal experience, what do you think?
We do live in an historical moment where there’s a chronic lack of contents. That’s a fact! Take a look to TV talent shows. It seems to be a chance for any looser, for any ungifted nerdy. All these false chances bring money…any boy and girl identify themselves in this people..they say “I can do it”… it sells pretty good…
What is the future of music, in your opinion? Will there still be physical supports (CDs), or will it be completely digital, and totally integrated with internet, maybe social network-based?
Heaven knows…Digital I suppose but, I’m pretty sure that the socials will play an important role in the business. Now a days socials are the best place to promote any kind of artistic project.
Talking about social networks, how do you approach to your fans?
Every day I receive tons of friendship asks on my personal profile. People search for Roberta Delaude and not Morgana. People read my posts and watch my personal pics and after this go to our fan page. We all “sell” little pieces of our life to promote our music. It sounds cynic but that’s the way it works around here…
What was the best moment in your career, and what you hope to get to, or where?
Believe it or not but, my best moments were after live shows. People come to congratulate and they want you to autograph your last album or shot a picture with you. It gives me the strength to carry on such difficult world no pro music biz is. I don’t have hopes. I did my time, I had beautiful moments and I had tears of joy and tears of pain and disillusion. I just want to taste a little more of it for a little more time.
In your opinion, what is that distinguish the italian musical scene from the others in the world?
Don’t ask me..there’s a total lack of place to perform, no financial incentive for musicians, no music culture at school. It’s a hard place to be a rockstar! We are millions miles away from other European countries that support artists and their ideas.
Any project as a band for the future?
We are working on a new album out in 2013 Mayan prophecy allowing…
Thank you for your answers!
Thanx to you all!
Interview by Robin Stryker
Femme Metal chats with Edera, vocalist and lyricst for Italian metal/rock band Domina Noctis, about their sophomore release “Second Rose”. Read on to learn what the moon, Cher, poetry and a love of contradictions have in common.
Hi Edera, please tell us about the newest release from Domina Noctis, “Second Rose”.
I would define “Second Rose” a melodic rock album a twist of electronic sound and some metal grooves. For us, this album is a sum of all our influences, from dark/pop/rock music of the 80’s and early 90’s, to metal; we’re definitely inspired by Paradise Lost and Katatonia just to name a few.
The ten-track album includes covers of two iconic songs, “Because the Night” (Patti Smith – 1978) and “Bang Bang” (Cher - 1966). Why record covers, and why these particular songs?
We love to find some covers that fit to our sound. Covers are an incredible source of inspiration and we always learn a lot more about music every time we play a cover. We all in the band are huge listeners of music of any kind! That’s why our covers are from different scenes and years.
Which songs have the most personal meaning for you?
“Exile” is definitely the song that moves me everytime I listen to it! It’s a song about those times in life when you’re feeling fragile, like you need to heal some wounds, so you need to be alone and you feel comfortable like that, but you also need a lot of patience from the people you love, to gather some force inside and the be born again. It’s a message of hope.
How has Domina Noctis‘s music evolved in the three years since releasing your first full-length album, “Nocturnalight”?
When we recorded “Nocturnalight” the songs included in the album were sounding “old” yet for us because the whole recording/mixing process lasted 1 year and of course the style and sound of a band evolves in 1 year. Recordings are a true “gym” for a band and for each member. You learn a lot, and hopefully, you improve. So, during the promotion of “Nocturnalight” we were still playing live some of the songs that have been included in “Second Rose”, as we couldn’t wait to have a feedback about them. “Second Rose” is a rock album, we focused on the structure of the songs and on the arrangements, with the precious help of our producer Cristiano Santini from Black Fading (our label). We wanted the songs to sound solid yet full of emotion, rock and melodic, dark yet full of light too, because we are like that, we have both sides.
Can we expect a third album? If so, where are you in the process of writing and recording it?
We started to write new stuff during the recordings of “Second Rose”, we’re now working a lot on the new songs and we love them!
Please introduce the other four members of Domina Noctis.
Asher plays guitar and composes most of the music; Azog plays bass; Ruyen plays synth & piano; Niko plays drums.
Are you or any of your bandmates involved with other bands or side-projects?
Asher plays drums in Forgotten Tomb and in Whiskey Ritual and Azog often plays as a live sessionist for Whiskey Ritual; Niko plays drums in the band Noctiluca. Ruyen is currently working on some compositions and he’s planning to record a promo cd very soon for his new side project. And about me, I’m working on an acoustic live set project along with Azog and Ruyen, way too soon to say more anyway.
In addition to being a musician, you are also a photographer and graphic artist. Have you been able to use your talents as a visual artist with Domina Noctis?
Well I guess I have the bad habit of doing too many things! I love to “move” through different art “levels”… I’ve been creating the artwork of all our CDs, band merchandise and band logo too. I like to express the same concept through music and through visual arts too, and I had the chance to do so during the creation of “Second Rose” CD layout, digitally working on a self-portrait I took some years ago.
References to the moon appear in the band’s former name -The Moontower- and current name (Latin for the moon), the title of your first album, song lyrics and your artwork. Does the moon have special significance for you?
We feel very attracted by the moon, a sacred symbol that reminds of feminine, poetry, night… I think we’re definitely “moon worshipers”!
The phrase, “I love my contradictions”, is intriguing. What does it mean?
I know it may seem just a contradiction itself! Okay, maybe it’s just insane, or maybe not, but anyway I believe that sometimes we should learn to love ourselves as we are, in our complexity, trying to understand that we’re made of many shades, white, black, and many tones of grey. It’s such a revelation when we finally are able to accept these apparent contradictions, only when we’re able to say “I have white parts and black parts and grey parts because that’s what I am, that’s human” and then we start to love those different parts.
If I understand correctly, you write the lyrics for all the songs and Asher writes the music. How does this collaborative songwriting process work? Lyrics first and then music, or vice versa?
Usually, Asher composes some riffs, he tells about his ideas and all together we have a session in the rehearsal room. During this session I try to sing whatever it comes to my mind, and write down a draft of the lyrics. Then, as soon as the melody takes shape, I work more specifically on the concept, to make melody and words fit together. Then we always work together on the song structure and on the arrangements. I have to say that in some of our latest compositions we tried to work in the opposite way: I’ve been singing a melody, and after the guys worked on the arrangement of the song.
Asher and you have been musical partners since Domina Noctis began a decade ago, yet your musical influences (and perhaps even taste) seem worlds apart. Does this ever create conflict, or does it make life more interesting?
Asher and I have different yet similar taste as music listeners, for instance there is a lot of music that we both love, yet sometimes for different reasons. As composers we are really lucky because we both have a precise idea about how our songs have to sound like, and this idea has been evolving through the past 10 years, but I can say it has been a co-evolution for sure, because we rarely “argue” about songs! We always try to make the song to sound in a way that pleases both of us.
Congratulations on having your poems published in the anthology, “Carmen Nocturna”. In what ways are writing lyrics and poetry similar or different?
Thank you! I had the chance to gather some of my poems in this little book “Carmen Nocturna” and I was really happy about that. I really love “minimal” poetry, I usually write really short poems. Writing lyrics and writing poems are two really different things to me. When I write lyrics, I always write words and melodies together. It’s very hard to tell what I feel inside, but it’s like specific words in my mind need a melody, and the melody needs some specific words, and suddenly they find each other fitting. I love this mysterious process.
Many years ago, you said that Domina Noctis probably would not perform songs in Italian. Now that you’ve written poems in Italian and been a guest vocalist on In Tormentata Quiete’s new album, has your opinion changed?
My collaboration with In Tormentata Quiete has been a beautiful, inspiring and really interesting experience for me: to sing in Italian was a new challenge and the songs were really beautiful. Still, I’m not convinced about writing my own lyrics in Italian, I’m not sure that our language would fit to the sound of Domina Noctis. Anyway, maybe we’re going to make some experiments. Who knows?
How did your collaborations with In Tormentata Quiete, Kalevala and Dark Princess come about?
I’ve got in touch with Antonio Ricco, composer of In Tormentata Quiete, many years ago via email, and we traded our demo CDs. After a long time, we got in touch again and he asked me to sing some songs in their album. I was really happy to have the chance to make this collaboration, I love to try and express myself in different ways, and as I said it was a great experience. Kalevala is a folk metal band from our city, the band members are all friends of ours and I had the chance to play with them as a guest in some acoustic set concerts. I love their sound and folk music in general, and I hope to have the chance to sing again in the future with the band. About Dark Princess, after the reprint of “Nocturnalight” in Russia, we got in touch with the label of this band and they asked us to have a mini tour with them in Russia. It was a great experience for all of us, it was really great.
Italy is home to many exciting new female-fronted bands from every subgenre of metal — Elegy of Madness, Exilia, Winter Haze, Lunacy Box and Raving Season, to name just a few. Has the metal scene changed for the better? Do you think female musicians face different challenges than all-male bands?
Good bands are so many and female fronted are more! Sure, there are many challenges that a female fronted band have to face, like defying the commonplaces, like easy comparisons to famous female fronted bands, and for what concerns Domina Noctis, trying to break the cliché that female vocals + distorted guitar is gothic metal. I can’t stand this pointless reasoning, but anyway there’s a lot of people who don’t care about this stuff, and we’re glad to have those people as followers!
We’ve talked a lot about Domina Noctis and other artistic pursuits. What is your favourite way to just kick back and relax?
When I need some relax, I often watch a movie along with my boyfriend Ruyen, on the couch! I love cooking too, I find it really relaxing (when I’m not in a hurry)!
Thank you taking the time to chat with us today. Any last words for your fans?
We’re focused on the composition process right now and we’d like to make some prerecordings as soon as possible to work better on the arrangements of the songs. Anything more than this will be appreciated!
What are Domina Noctis’s plans for 2010?
Thank you very much Robin for this nice chatting, I’d like to invite all our followers to join our newsletter on www.dominanoctis.it and to take a look to the following links (please add us to your friends list!). Thank you for the support! Horns up! Stay free!
Label : Lunatic Asylum Records/Massacre Records
Reviews By Tony Cannella and Danny Robertson
Italy’s Mandragora Scream have been playing their dark and sinister brand of gothic metal since as far back as 1997. In 2001 the band issued their sadly underrated debut “Fairy Tales from Hell’s Caves”. Now eight years later the band have released their 4th full-length titled “Volturna” via Massacre Records.The atmospheric opening intro “Lui”, sets things up with a dark and evil vibe, before “I’m Goin’ Alone” comes in with it’s eerie keyboard parts and the vocals of Morgan Lacroix come in. This is a pretty cool track that sets a definite atmosphere and a great guitar riff, that runs pretty much through the course of the song. “The Circus” begins with some piano before quickly evolving into an infectious 4-minute track that is undoubtedly one of the highlights on “Volturna”.The consistency of this release continues on other standout cuts, such as: “Deceiver”, “Blindness”, “Killin’ Game” and “A Chance from Him”. The CD also includes a goth-ed out cover of the Cher song “Bang Bang” which was a huge surprise and you have to give the band credit for choosing to cover a song that is not an obvious choice. “Volturna” features 15-songs and about 60-minutes of dark and brooding Gothic metal of the highest caliber. The songs that Mandragora Scream present are quite varied and a worthy addition to the ever expanding catalog of this excellent Italian band.
Rating – 80/100
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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