Label : Phonotraxx Publishing
Review by Tony Cannella
The German melodic power metal band Dawn of Destiny returns with their fourth album and first since 2009’s “Human Fragility”. My introduction to this band came via that album and I was very impressed with the vocalist Tanja Maul, but alas the band changed vocalists shortly following the release of “Human Fragility”. Enter new vocalist Jeanette Scherff and while her style differs from Tanja’s (Jeanette’s is more of a soaring power metal style), she has definitely proven to be more than a good fit for Dawn of Destiny and sounds as if she has been with the band for more than just this one album – the chemistry is that good.
Dawn of Destiny wastes little time in getting right to it with the hard driving, bombastic opening song “My Life In Ruins”. New vocalist Jeanette Scherff has proven to be a worthy edition to DOD’s ranks. Bass player Jens Faber handles the male vocals on the album and his performance on the album is impressive. He sings in numerous styles, for instance, on the opening track he sings in a black metal screaming style, but he also contributes clean vocals and grunt vocals to “Praying to the World”. Continue reading »
Interview by Alessandra CognettaAnaè is the lead singer of the French metal band Adrana, a combination of progressive metal, heavy metal and classical music, enriched by a strong literary component. The mix of different influences as well as forms of art makes Adrana a unique musical experience and we’re here to find more about them. First of all, welcome and thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Anaè. How has 2012 been for Adrana so far?
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to present our music and artistic work! I am really thrilled! The year 2012 has been fairly quiet so far. After the release of “The Ancient Realms” and the first part of the French tour we were given a little time to work on new songs, work toward a movie clip and prepare a surprise regarding our future gigs to all of our fans!One of the things I enjoy the most about your music is the “story” (I won’t dare to call it a concept because in my opinion it’s far more than that) behind your whole production. Can you describe for us the main themes of Adrana‘s adventures?
We would like that it becomes much more than a concept. We are working on it, but we are still far from what I wish to do in terms of total art (featuring theater, music, stories, dance, and a whole fantasy world). Our music tells the adventures of the warrior princess Adrana desperate to reclaim her fallen kingdom. It contains many elements of heroic fantasy like the character’s actions or places in a rather dark atmosphere, darkening progressively with each new album. Although the story revolves around a princess, this one is more gloomy and sanguine. There are many battles, betrayals, murders and unmentionable secrets that punctuate the epic story of Adrana. Adrana talks about the difficulty of bringing people together in their diversity, and the difficulty to win the trust of others. Adrana shows us that very often we find ourselves alone with our destiny. Finally, this quest leads the Princess to ask the recursive question as to whether the pursuit of a right cause, right as it is, justifies having to kill thousands of human and nonhuman creatures to get there?We know what influenced your music, but what influenced your lyrics? How were Adrana and her Ancient Realms born?
The band name was invented, without special intention by Ludo and Maxime (guitarist and drummer, the founders of the band). They then included Grhyll, our keyboard player, and me to write the story. The first songs whose lyrics had no relationship between them (stories of vampires, putrefied nymphs, or warrior princess), have become the pillar of the epic story of Adrana. Now, Grhyll has taken charge of the story and I work exclusively on writing lyrics around the story created by Grhyll.
Interview by Erwin van Dijk
An interview with Liv Kristine from Leaves’ Eyes. This interview is all dedicated to the forthcoming album “Njord”.
“Njord” is the third full length Leaves’ Eyes album. (the other two were “Lovelorn” and “Vinland Saga”).
I am absolutely happy and satisfied with the album. We’ve never worked this hard before with a production, but we’ve reached our goal. I would even say, we even went further than we thought was possible, technically seen. It has always been important to me that our sound and art is authentic, i.e. that you can hear from the very first tunes that this is Leaves’ Eyes! We also want that our audience really get the feeling of being on a wonderful journey. I feel that our music needs a special well-written and interesting concept which is just as important as the sound, and “Njord” gives you all this.
“Vinland Saga” introduced the Viking elements in Leaves’Eyes. But “Njord” also seems to have some Irish themes, like the songs “Emerald Island” and “Irish Rain” . With “Njord” comes the EP “My Destiny”, which contains besides the song “My Destiny” in two versons also an acoustic version of “Scarborough Fair” and two non album tracks.
“My Destiny” is a song you can easily “tune into”. It’s a good way to introduce the album (out 28.08.), although you will of course have less commercial songs on the record, too. On “My Destiny” is actually an EP, for the price of a single, with four non-album tracks, and one extra album song.
“Vinland Saga” was a concept album. Is “Njord” written with the idea to tell a story or are it twelve individual songs?
The lyrics mainly deal with characters from northern mythology (e.g. “Njord”, “Fröya’s Theme”, “Nine Wave Maidens”, “Ragnarok”), or with places and historical happenings (e.g. “Scarborough Fair”, “The Battle of Maldon”, “Emerald Island“,“Irish Rain”, “Les Champs de Lavande”). This is why I found it necessary to deal with all these different languages. “Vinland Saga” is based on Leif Eirikssons discovery of America, even the EP, “Legend Land”, which followed soon thereafter. “Njord” has a much broader concept, travelling through history, and into Nordic mythology. It has always been important to me that our sound and art is authentic, and that our audience really get the feeling of being on a wonderful journey.The lyrics are written in 8 languages (english, middle-high german, old-english, gaelic, norwegian, icelandic, french and one “self-made” linguistic fictional phonetic sequence)… I even sat down to study a bit French to be able to write one French lyric. I did study Old-English and Middle-high German, so it was really nice to be able to use this knowledge. Gaelic is completely new to me, though, but fortunately I found a wonderful person who helped me. “Njord” is an album that demands an expansion in linguistic terms.
This is your third album. What are the differences between “Njord” and “Lovelorn” and “Vinland Saga”?
Our debut “Lovelorn” was very refreshing and a wonderful start for the band, also the press and the audience were surprised. However, you shouldn’t forget that we all have a huge experience and knowledge as musicians of Atrocity and former ToT (Theatre of Tragedy) to rely on. This brings Leaves’ Eyes a wide step forward, so we were really no newcomers in our genre. Moreover, I really have to say that Atrocity + Liv Kristine is a magic formula! I took my experience from my favourite ToT releases “Velvet Darkness They Fear” and “Aegis” as a basis for Leaves’ Eyes music. Our second album “Vinland Saga” was a manifistation of the music of Leaves’ Eyes – we had “settled” in the genre gothic metal with female vocals. “Njord” is the perfection of both our 2 former albums. Since the first demo recordings for “Njord” we have been able to achieve goals that we thought back in 2007 after the “Vinland Saga” release would be quite impossible. I am so proud of my band members – “Njord” is a dream coming true, and all the hundreds of sleepless nights were worth it. We all have developed as musicians and technicians and this is experience that is unpayable. “Njord” (producer: my husband Alexander Krull) has a power to it that even is more intense than any previous production I’ve been part of. Technically, we constantly have new ideas and aims. We have our own studio and therefore we have the opurtunity to specialize in technical tasks concerning album and DVD productions. “Njord” has even a more bombastic but delicate sound that “Vinland Saga”, because techniques allows it. We recorded the classical parts in Minsk (Lingua Mortis, supervised by Victor Smolski), we had a complete local choir (Al Dente) singing the choir parts, moreover, a special artist playing solos on special instruments like the uillian pipe and the whistle. All this makes this album a multilayered and highly interesting experience for our listeners, for your ears, hearts and minds. If I should describe “Njord” in four words I would say bombastic, emotional, contrastive, and pure.
Where do you get the inspiration for the songs. Some sources are clear, like Ireland and the Norse mythology but what really inspires you to write a song?
It’s first of all my love for my homecountry, the Norwegian Nature, history, my family, the culture – everything I grew up with! I feel that our music needs a special well-written and interesting concept, and I want to travel through time and space. For me history has always been extremely interesting, and even when I left my homecountry Norway and moved to Germany 12 years ago, I had more books about the Vikings with me than clothes and shoes. I have travelled a lot and been able to see a lot of the world. History, languages, and geography has always interested me. Thorsten is the main composer of Leaves’ Eyes, he works out his ideas on his guitar. “Irish Rain”, however, was an idea I had one early morning. I hurried to the studio and worked out the tunes with him. Sometimes, ideas just appear to my mind, like a complete “song”.
And can you tell us something about the songs on “Njord” and “My Destiny”?
We recorded 18 (eighteen!) songs, and all of them are placed on the single “My Destiny” (out now) or the album “Njord” (out late August). Our listeners will get a lot for the money. That’s a way for us saying “thankyou” to our fans and friends all over the world. To mention a few examples, “Fröya’s Theme” is one of my favourites on the album, too, next to “Irish Rain”. “Fröya’s Theme” is about eight minutes long, it includes five languages, inclusive two “speaking” parts done by Alex and myself respectively. It tells the story about Fröya, the Goddess of sex with her extreme power of beauty. However, her lover Od leaves her as he has “wandering eyes” for other beautiful women. Fröya travels around and through the worlds in Northern Mythology to find him. Her tears are made of gold and they heavily strike the earth. This song is an epic masterpiece composed by Tosso, our guitarist.
Is “Scarborough Fair” a Simon and Garfunkel cover and if it is, why did you choose this song?
I was an exchange student in the English town Scarborough, and I got very interested in their culture. This song is a folk song sung in the middle ages, also by the Vikings, on a trading market, in Scarborough. I wanted to rewrite the tune into a more heavy version and I am very happy with the result!
“Les Champs de Lavande” is a French title. Lavande means Lavender and the South of France (the Provance) is famous for its wide fields (champs) of lavender.
Can you tell us something about this song and why is it a bonus track?
As we had composed the instruments for this song, I thought about France immediately! I immediately sensed the smell of my favourite flower and scent, lavender! The Provance Lavender was famous already in the Middle Ages. I sat down and tried to put together a Franch lyric, and a friend of mine in France corrected it. This song just had to be about Lavender, and it sounds more authentic and special when it is sung in French.
While recording “Njord” you were supported by The Lingua Mortis Orchestra under the aegis of Victor Smolski and a classical choir. Most people will know Victor Smolski from his work with Rage. And this band does not exactly belongs to the same genre as Leaves’Eyes.
How did you find him and what was his influence on “Njord”?
We met Victor during a Rage/Leaves’ Eyes’ show in Greece in 2007. We are so happy that he liked the idea of working with us. It adds the important depth and bombastic character in our music.
The Special Edition will have a Drakkar (viking ship). What can we expect?
This is a way for us saying thank you to our fans and friends. Remember, many of them are collectors. I used to collect Madonna and Black Sabbath/Ozzy special merchendise objects.
One of the things that would make a lot of fans happy is a duet between the Espenæs sisters. (think of Beyonce and Solange Knowless doing a duet). Have you ever considered this for “Njord”?
It’s not that easy since my sister moved back to Norway a couple of years ago, however, I am planning a duet on our fourth album, which will be a folk-oriented album, planned to be released in summer/fall 2010.
Do you already have some details about an upcoming tour?
Europe in November 2009, USA/Canada December 2009, then Europe and Russia in the beginning of 2010, and another long tour in the Autumn of 2010. Moreover, we have planned an acoustic tour between 28.08.-02.09 (please check the news!). We will play a capella in some of the Media Markets, for free for our fans, and we will have a lot of time to make photos with everybody, have a chat with our fans and friends and write some autographs. I enjoy acoustic tours. It’s a nice way to keep up our close relationship with our audience, moreover, we are able to show that we are good musicians and can play live without a huge stage with a huge technical plan behind everything.
And which songs can we expect live?
A set-list still has to be decided on.
Although I think you will be very busy with the promotion of “Njord” this year and 2010 I would like to ask when we can expect a new Atrocity album and a new Liv Kristine solo album?
It’s been 3 years since “Enter My Religion”, and it’s always good to gain a different aspect of your own art after some time has passed by. Right now, I am just about to finish the final recordings of my third solo album, and I see things in a new perspective now. “Enter My Religion” was an expensive production on a major label, however I made the decision in 2008 to release my third solo album on a another label, with a smaller budget, but having more freedom about the whole process, from the very first demo track, until the final master. I am very proud of “Enter My Religion”, however I have developed as an artist and technician and my third album will be a huge step forward. I have put my focus on sounding just like myself, recording songs in one take, so you “get” me with everything I am, my character, my emotional level, my breathing, sometimes perhaps perfect, sometimes maybe not. I just want the audience to hear ME, not some singing lady with a pretty nice voice. I want to creep up inside your hearts and senses. I wrote all the songs together with Torsten (guit. Leaves’ Eyes), all the lyrics myself, and my husband Alex is the producer of the album. Atrocity are already finishing their next Atrocity feat. Yasmin “Calling the Rain”, which will be out end of 2009/beginning of 2010.
Label : Massacre Records
Review by Danny Robertson
VOD‘s press release for “Power Dive” describes them as having a sound somewhere between gothic and symphonic metal, and it’s not wrong; at times sounding like a heavier Nightwish, or during their more restrained moments sounding reminiscent of Within Temptation, but without sounding like a cheap copy of any act within those genres. Their combination of sounds gels together well without sounding forced – the keyboards don’t overpower the rest of the instruments, whilst the guitarwork is especially impressive, epic without being pompous or gratuitous, and Maike‘s vocals work well with the instruments rather than relegating them to the background, thus avoiding the pitfalls others within the genre occasionally find themselves in. Tracks such as the title song and “Dedication” show off their more operatic side, whilst standout track “Kami” is a nice demonstration of the band’s range in a single song, with some heavy riffing throughout. Voices of Destiny have delivered a strong second album here, one that should see them win new fans in further territories. If you’re fan of big, bold, unashamedly epic metal, then try this album out!
Rating – 80/100
- Power Dive
- My Separation
- Dreams Awake
- Being Worth
- Your Hands
- Red Winter’s Snow
- Maike Holzmann – Vocals
- Chris Gutjahr – Guitars
- Lukas Palme – Keyboards/vocals
- Jens Hartwig – Bass
- Erik Seitz – Drums
Interview by Matteo Bussotti
As soon as their new album, “Power Dive”, came out, we had to ask Voices of Destiny‘s singer, Maike, what’s behind this album, the creative process behind it. She was very nice and answered politely to all our question, making Voices‘ style and history clearer. So, let’s take a “Power Dive” into their new album and this interview!
First of all, have you ever been to Italy? And if you have, what differences have you found from your homeland?
Yes I’ve been to Italy many times but only on holidays with my family when I was a child. Of course a big difference is the climate, the beach and the sea Italy has. I also liked the temper of Italian people a lot.
What was, in your opinion, the best country you’ve ever been, especially while touring with Voices? How one country differs from the others?
Well, that’s very difficult for me. We’ve just been on tour through some countries in eastern Europe by now and we had great experiences everywhere. I liked it very much to play in Budapest (Hungary), where the people were remarkable friendly and generous. We could visit the city as well and it was a great day there. Besides touring I love Ireland and Wales a lot. There the people are so hospitably and the landscape is beautiful.
Let’s talk about “Power Dive”: what do you think is the strongest point of your second album?
I like to listen to the album as a whole artwork, but there are some songs I listen to more often. For me that’s “Power Dive”, “The Untouchable” and “Your Hands” at the moment. I like the structure of these songs, the way I could interpret the lyrics and the heavy parts in it.
How do you think you’ve changed, as a band, but also you as a solo, from your first album “From the Ashes”?
All in all the album is much more aggressive and there are more strong feelings to be found I’d say. We decided to reduce the orchestral elements a little bit and give more room to the guitar and the growls. For my person I think I improved in expressing the feelings that I have about the songs.
Looking at the future, in what ways you think you can evolve, what do you think you can improve?
I’m still young and I think I can improve in many ways. I’d like to get even more volume and hope to improve my breathing technique as well. As band I hope we can play some more live shows to get more confident on stage.
There are bands which really struggle themselves to give the best during concerts, making every one of them a unique experience. On the other hand, there are bands which see concerts only as a “showcase” of their songs, like “These are our songs, we are great and powerful. Now go buy our cds.”. What’s your point of view? What do you think about concerts? Do you try to give your fans a unique experience, maybe delivering some sort of message?
That’s a very good question, thank you for that. Well, we’ve just been on tour and for me it should always be the goal to make the audience happy and give them a good time during your show. We always have a great time on stage and I hope the people realize that. I feel happy when the audience seems to like the performance or when I see people singing along. But what I like most about concerts is to get in touch with the fans afterwards. I really enjoyed talking to different people from several cities and get to know them. For me it’s very important to keep in touch with the fans and not just think of them as (potential) consumers.
Is there any crazy thing you’ve done, or you’d like to do, during a concert?
Not until now. But you never know what the future brings
You are very into social networks, in fact, on your band’s website are linked you facebook, twitter and youtube pages. What’s your opinion about them, and the opportunity they give the fans to interact with the artists?
For us it’s a great opportunity to stay in touch with our fans and to spread our music all over the world. We all like it to get to know bands we listen to and therefore we want to enable our fans to get to know us and our music as well.
If you had to describe the other members of Voices in…let’s say 30 words, how’d you describe them?
Chris is our idealist and organizer, Jens is the critical one and cares for the finances and Lukas is the genial musician. All of them are very crazy and funny and some of my best friends. (Sorry, now there are 36 words )
Who you usually writes the lyrics in the band?
Most of the songs and therefore the lyrics are written by Lukas, two songs on “Power Dive” were written by Chris.
Is there some particular theme you’d like to sing about in your songs? What’s your favorite song you’ve written so far?
No there is no special theme that occurs over and over again, but most of the songs deal with daily problems and often the lyrics are about interpersonal relations.
Last but not least…is there something special you’re looking forward to in the next few months?
Yes we will start to work on new material in summer. We all are very excited about what comes next.
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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- Beyond God – “Dark Light of Dawn” EP (2013)
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