Label: Nuclear Blast
Review by Alessandra Cognetta
Blues Pills’s self-titled debut album is a journey through time. The band manages to incorporate and mix together soul, blues and rock’n’roll to deliver an incredibly energetic performance where everything is in the right place.
The first track, “High Class Woman”, is also the first single and it introduces all the main elements of the band’s sound, from Elin Larsson’s amazingly incisive voice to the fine guitarwork of Dorian Sorriaux. Blues Pills shifts from standard paces to surprising progressions, like the noteworthy half-ballad “Black Smoke”. “River” is a more pensive, almost melancholic song, that shows the band’s ability to portray different moods. The album features previously released songs, like “Devil Man”, or rearrangements from older works. Continue reading »
Label: Nuclear Blast
Review by Tony Cannella
Blues Pills is a Swedish, French and American combo who plays blues based hard rock. They are currently signed to Nuclear Blast and they are certainly not a band you would associate with the label. Instead of the out and out metal-ness that we have come to expect, know and love about the Nuclear Blast label, Blues Pills provides a nice departure with a more basic blues rock style. They have already released one EP entitled “Devil Man” and now they return with EP number two. “Live at Rockpalast” presents the listener with 4-songs and 15-minutes of the band live on the famous German rock program.
The rocking instrumental “In the Beginning” starts us off and then gives way to the cocky swagger of “Black Smoke”. Continue reading »
Label: Nuclear Blast
Review by Matteo Bussotti
I noticed a recent thread, the comeback of old school rock. Away from all the digital evolutions, the synth supremacy, the electro-kingdom, many bands have rediscovered their blues roots, the origins of rock, and decided to make some old time music, sume pure, powerful, blues-rock. Oh, well…great! Simply great! Especially when the results are this good, I’m always thrilled to discover new “old” bands, like Blues Pills (And I guess you could easily imagine the genre they play by their name, apart from the fact that I gave it away in the intro.)
“Devil Man” is the title of the EP, and it’s only 4-song-long, but it’s enough to get a taste of Blues Pills‘ sound. I must say the band really carefully crafted their songs, everything feels really in the right place and with the perfect sound. Continue reading »
Interview by Ed MacLaren
After numerous delays, Norway’s Ancestral Legacy has just released an exceptional new album of doomy black metal with “Nightmare Diaries”. But before the album was released the band experienced a nightmare for its own diary – the departure of longtime vocalist Elin Anita Omholt. While losing a vocalist might be a death knell for some bands, Ancestral Legacy are set to continue their own legacy with an excellent new vocalist in Mexican Isadora Cortina. Ancestral Legacy fans get the best of both worlds – they can listen to Elin on the CD and get to watch live as Isadora grows into her new band. Femme Metal got a chance to spend some time with Isadora and get her views on Mexican assimilation techniques for living in Norway, living the dream, and the importance of bringing your own shoes.
So how does a nice young woman from Mexico hook up with a bunch of long haired Norseman in a metal band?
I first met Eddie through MySpace, he added me as an Ancestral Legacy friend, I left a comment on the music and after some chatting we became friends. Like a year later he told me about a song he wrote and asked me if I was interested in working on it and of course I was – it’s the song called “Atrapada en Pesadillas” from the EP. After the band got to hear the song, I met Christopher the drummer, we talked on MSN and things happened so I traveled to Norway for a month to visit him. While I was there Eddie told me they had not rehearsed in a while because of Elin‘s (former vocalist Elin Anita Omholt) accident, he was wondering if I could rehearse with them. After some months, Elin decided to quit and I was getting my visa to move to Norway and marry Christopher, it was kinda natural for them to ask me to join and it was like a dream come true to me. Now I live in Norway with the man of my dreams and play in the kind of band I always wanted to.
What was it about the band’s music that attracted you to it? Were you a fan of Ancestral Legacy before you joined the band?
The first thing that attracted me was a song on their MySpace called “Murdered by Reality” I really love the ending of the song and how Elin sings it, I had it on my mind for weeks. After I worked with the song in Spanish, I got to hear “Out of the Dark and into the Night” from the new album and I could listen how mature and incredible the new material was. It was very mature compared to their older material and I think it’s a very different sound from other metal bands with female vocals. I was not the kind of fan that screams and flash boobs when she meets one of the guys, I was more admiring how good musicians these guys are and how good quality songs they can create.
What’s your musical background? Have you performed in any other bands?
Well, I had been most of my life a shower singer, then at 15-years-old I joined the concert choir of my school. My teachers were singers from the Mexican Military so it was a good way to start and of course I believed in myself as a singer. After three months of rehearsing two hours, five days a week they picked me as soloist. We had concerts out of Mexico City and we also sang for the President once. I had always been into gothic and metal stuff since my brother listened to Iron Maiden and my cousin to Metallica since I was a kid. Then I discovered that metal was also for girls by listening to After Forever, Nightwish and especially Tristania. My life changed and I knew that metal was what I wanted to sing. I tried to join some bands but my mom would not let me do it, so the only band I could join was my brother’s cover band. We were playing four days a week in bars and it became a good way to get some money and train myself onstage. Anyway, I was getting frustrated that metal was not part of what the owners of bars let bands play. The good thing is that I learned to sing different styles; VERY pop things to more hard rock voices and that help me to get out of my head that the only way I could sing was the military-opera style I learned. In that period I did some presentations on TV, universities and musical contests. In 2008, I recorded two songs with the gothic German band Beyond the Void and also the song with Ancestral Legacy. Those experiences gave me a lot to learn on the studio and were very important to me. From then on my life completely changed so I went from singing metal in my room in front of the mirror to play original songs with the guys onstage.
How have things gone so far? Is everyone getting along? Is the band treating you well?
From the beginning they have been very nice and warm (that Nordic people is cold is not true at all). I was not sure what they were thinking of me until we did a three song-concert and they got really drunk, so they told me that they were really happy to have me on board. In the beginning they were hoping that my voice was not that soft. They wanted me to sing more powerful like Elin did because my voice can easily get lost within this hard music. But after rehearsing a lot with them – and in a way get used to the music without Elin‘s vocals – I got better and in the latest concerts they were telling me that I have improved a lot.
Replacing any longtime vocalist is a daunting task. Do you feel any pressure living up to Elin’s vocal legacy? Considering that Elin’s vocals appear on Ancestral Legacy’s new album, “Nightmare Diaries”, it must be difficult to step into her shoes.
Since the “Nightmare Diaries” album is Elin‘s album, I get to sing Elin‘s melodies but with the new songs I think I can bring a darker sound than Elin did. In a way I am not stepping into her shoes but coming with my own shoes to do my own thing. Elin is an awesome singer and I learned from her to print more power in my voice but now it is my turn to make music with them as Isadora not as the next Elin.
It was a long road for Ancestral Legacy to record and release “Nightmare Diaries” however the end result is a very strong doomy offering of black metal. How do you develop that connection to the music when you missed out on all the struggles to get it recorded and released?
In a way I didn’t miss them that much since Christopher and Eddie were updating me on it via MSN and the release problems were on while I was moving to Norway. On the other hand, I was there but only through them. Since I came in, Eddie has given me songs and he is very open minded. He has never pressed me with what kind of lyrics or melodies he wants, he knows that I don’t have experience writing vocals so he is very patient and helpful. The band know that the fact that I came in is gonna mean a change but at the same time all of us wanna have some new and different elements. Christopher has been into progressive drums and he thinks that that will improve his style with the band. We just wanna make music and we do it as it comes natural to us and that’s the connection we all have with the music – no matter who came first or last.
What is your plan on reproducing the vocals live? What are you doing to put your personal stamp on the vocals?
For me, the most important thing live is that people get to feel the music as I feel it inside. If I am home alone I will not head bang or get really physically active, I just concentrate on the singing and practice on printing my feelings for the song in my voice. But when you sing live everything counts, and a good way to transmit what that music does to me is by being very active onstage. I hate to stand still and smile (as I had to do before) and of course since I practiced at home so much I can concentrate on the people there, in making them see that they are special to us no matter if they are old friends of just first time listeners. That formula works very well for me live, and it has helped me in the way that people don’t compare me to Elin – they just accept me as I am and they like the music as it is on the CD with her and live with me.
Ancestral Legacy has been touring to support “Nightmare Diaries”. What has been the fan reception to the album and your vocals?
DAMN AWESOME! For some reason I am always very worried of what the people will think of the band with me, but in the last concerts they have been buying CDs, coming to say hi and say how much they enjoy our music, telling me that they will be waiting for the new album with my vocals and of course head banging a lot! Especially they guys in Paris, they are so metal! I am really thankful that fans and friends of the band welcomed me in such a good way instead of just comparing me. And as a great plus, I was so happy after we made it to the local newspaper twice.
You’ve re-recorded “Separate Worlds” for Femme Metal’s Demonic and Divine CD compilation. Have Ancestral Legacy been doing any other recording since you joined? Have your vocals and influence had an impact on the creative process of the band?
We have some new songs but we have not recorded them, just some demos without recorded vocals (since I don’t have good recording equipment at home). But I have the lyrics and bad quality recorded vocals in my computer. I think new songs will be coming this year. Well, I don’t believe it’s my voice that impacts the creative process since Eddie has the same system: he writes a song, sends it to me as he once sent it to Elin and we work on it. He is not writing music for my kind of voice specifically. I have enjoyed it a lot; we have one song ready that is called “My Wretched Lord” and in a way I feel it’s so mine and I feel it’s easier for me to sing it. I think that will be for good in the future as it will be easier for me to interpret the new songs.
What are your aspirations since joining Ancestral Legacy? What are your goals for yourself and the band?
When I started my aspiration was to sing the songs as well as I could, now my aspiration is to write good vocals and lyrics for the new songs, and of course get a CD where I can read “Isadora Cortina-Vocals”! I have to say the band exceeded what I thought it would be. I never imagined I would play a gig in France or Germany. Now I see that everything is possible and I just wait for life to surprise me… Maybe one day we will get a world tour or something! Ha-ha! In my personal life my aspiration is to incorporate myself into Norwegian society, go to university, get to speak Norwegian perfectly and be a perfect wife.
Starting in a new band comes with a lot of new experiences. What have been your best and worst moments so far?
To start with a new band meant to start a new life with a new language to me. I do not regret anything and I have loads of new friends from all around the world. In a way, the best moments are each live concert we have had. After all of them we were always so happy. But especially the mini European tour we did was beyond everything. I didn’t wanna come back! We went on tour with bands that became really good friends: Act III, Veil of Mist and Thorny Roses; all of them stole a piece of my heart. The worst has been that since I am not really used to the weather in Norway I get sick quite often so I usually come to the rehearsals with zombie face and a biiig pack of tissues. Unluckily, I got sick in France once so it was quite tiring to play, I was fighting with myself because I didn’t want to sleep all day – I wanted to enjoy every single moment in and offstage!
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Fronted female world is slowly extending all over Europe, more and more, allowing some more other realities to spread their voice to the metal audience. The band we are going to introduce was born in Sweden a few years ago and, after a few early hitches, it’s having to gain some popularity thanks to the debut album released a month ago and trying to broaden their boundaries. Femme Metal is proud to introduce you all End Of September, that, led by the nice and bubbly Elin Redin, is going to introduce themselves on our Website, sharing some interesting things. That’s our chat! Enjoy!
Hi Elin. First of all, welcome to FM! It’s a great pleasure to have you with us today! Let’s begin our chat talking about your musical activity. Currently, you’re the lead singer of the Swedish melodic band called End of September, which is a “small” music reality that has released its first debut album a few weeks ago. Would you like to share some detail about the band biography?
Hi and thank you! Great to be with you! Well, End of September as a complete band is still a quite new thing actually. I joined last summer and me and Erik continued the search for drummer and bass player together. Bass-Johan we found at a website where you can post adds for musicians and bands. And drummer-Johan was actually a student to a friend of mine. He called me one day and said he had found our drummer and he was obviously right! He came to place late fall last year.
The project was mainly driven by Erik Tordsson, which gave way for the creation of the band in 2009. The former singer, Victoria Sundberg, recorded a demo with him and then she has left the project shortly after the record deal with Ulterium Records. How did you get in contact with this project?
Sometimes it can be as simple as a message on Facebook! And the message was not for me, but for my husband asking him if he knew any female singer who liked and would like to sing in his metal band. Or, if possibly I would have any interest in it. We knew each other briefly from before and Erik actually did not think I was into metal at all. Little did he know…
Shortly after your entry in the band, two other members have taken part in it and they are the bass player and the drummer, both called Johan and after then, End of September rolled up its sleeves and started to work on the homonym record, released on May 2012 for Ulterium Records. How did you feel like working on your first debut album? Was you coming from some other bands or was this your first experience in a studio?
This was not my first time in a studio. But definitely my first time fronting an entire album. I had mostly been helping out friends before doing backing vocals and shorter solo parts. Me and Erik spent two weekends working concentrated together with the vocals, both solo and backing. Coming from an intense every-day life with kids we kind of enjoyed just being away for a while, and being able to work undisturbed. A million takes later and a tired voice we got a great album, and had gotten to know each other a whole lot better as well!
I assume it has been something unique and special for you. Is there any particular moment related to the production of this record or related to the recording process you would like to share with us?
One very special moment for me was before I had really entered the band. After me and Erik first talked about the whole thing for the first time we decided I should do a recording of one of the songs at home, to see if it worked for me and if Erik liked it of course. It was “Waiting for the Rain”, by the way. I was very nervous sending my track to Erik. His positive reaction was such a great relief and a great acknowledgment for me as a singer. I had struggled quite a bit finding my voice in a genre, floating in and out of most. On top of that Erik liked what he heard it was one little silly thing that convinced me to go for it. I had interpreted the melody in my own way in a line and Erik told me he had actually wanted the melody to be that way, but it wasn’t in the recording I had gotten to learn the song from. We just seemed to be on the same track, me and Erik.
As we know, Erik comes from different backgrounds, since he played with other bands in the past before creating this new project, so I think that he brought some influence inside the band. What I would like to know is: what is your musical background? Was there any band (or artist) that has influenced you during your music career?
My family was the first and perhaps the most important influence on me as a musician and singer. Mom sings and dad plays different instruments and one of my brothers plays the bass and my second brother is a true music lover. My stage experiences goes as far back as the age of maybe three or four. And growing up in a wonderfully encouraging environment has really molded me into who I am as a singer today. I’ve been able to just sing, a lot! It was my brothers that taught me to love the hard rock and metal, I’m very thankful for that. I must mention my husband as well as a great inspiration. When I sing with him it just brings a whole new dimension to singing. I’ve listened to so many different band and artists over the years, from Sepultura to Alyson Krauss and the Union Station, I couldn’t possibly single out a few that have had more impact than the others. I guess it has more been the great musicians I’ve had around me that has influenced me the most. A great gift really!
Reading your card presentation, your music is described as “perfect for fans of Evanescence, Within Temptation & Delain”. Listening to this record, I found some little similarities with these 3 bands actually. Do you agree with this statement? Have you taken some little inspiration from those bands? Have you ever had the chance to listen to something about these bands? If so, is there any song you like to listen to the most?
Since uniqueness is what we all strive for I guess it’s a compliment that you don’t think we sound so much alike! And I must be honest with you and say that none of us have been listening to them. Sometimes the comparison comes up just because we happen to be female fronted. But I do have a great respect for them, they’re all very good at what they do!
Aren’t you afraid about the criticism you could get from fans, risking of being pointed out as “clone band of some other famous band”?
All bands and artist have to deal with this matter, more or less. It’s certainly a very popular topic in our genre. And people do this all the time, putting things into boxes, pairing and comparing. It only disturbs me a little when I feel that we end up in the wrong box. But one thing I’ve learned so far is that the sharing of opinions from everywhere is endless, and it’s just foolishness to let the comments run how we should feel about our music.
So don’t you fear the comparison?
Comparisons can actually be very good, especially when the band we’re being compared with is great! So no, I don’t fear it.
The first track of your record is “Isolated” and you also filmed a video clip for this single. Would you like to tell something about it?
We worked with video production company 11 frames, a real win-collaboration we think! For our first video it was important for us to really show who we are, both as bandmembers and feeling of the band and the song. So no fancy side story! Just rocking out with the band! So that was basically what we did during 12 hours. The day after I felt quite okay, still a little high on adrenalin. The day after that the fall was very hard, I tell you! But we really had so much fun recording the video, we can’t wait to shoot another one!
Will you film a second video clip, in order to introduce yourselves in a better way?
We’re planning on releasing some live-video clips of other songs. Hopefully very soon…
The record has been released more than a month ago. Have you already got to know how it was acclaimed by fans and press?
Since we couldn’t hardly have any fans before the release, ’cause it was kind of the first thing that happened for us, the response after the release has been quite overwhelming. As for the press it has been written quite a few encouraging reviews. I was happy to read the one in here in FM of course! But I would lie if I said that it has been all roses, but that wasn’t either expected.
In my opinion, this is a very good product for a debut album, with a very good sound, great vocals… so I hope that fans of melodic rock metal could appreciate your efforts and I hope they will support you in the best way possible. I think there are some very good songs that are seriously valid and they worth! Is there any song you feel more connected to?
I must say that “Inner Voice”, in it’s quite clear message is one that speaks to me directly. Being about the struggle with the pressure we, especially women, deal with everyday. Feeling the need to look and be in a certain way. It really just says: Be true to yourself, be the one that’s genuinely you!
Certainly, End of September is one of those bands who surely deserve more attention from that audience that loves this music genre, so we wish you to find lots of greatness on your path. What are your expectations for the future?
A lot of stages, and a second album in a not so distant future! On a deeper level I really hope to grow as a singer through End of September as well as really grow together with the guys musically. We started off in a way not many bands could wish for, already having a label ready to sing us. But now we need time to dig deeper into the sound and feel of End of September. I look forward to that!
Any European tour? Or some live show?
This summer we pay a visit to our neighbors in Finland. But look out, there will be more shows to come this fall!
Currently, the band is not as famous as everybody think, but I’m sure that with the official release of your debut album lots of people will pay more attention to you. What is your “modus operandi” to get in touch with people? I mean: lots of “little bands” try to get some attention using Facebook or sharing their own music on this social network to gain more fans… which is your thought about it?
Yeah, you can’t really deny the importance of Facebook and Youtube and other social channels on the net. The ability to come close to the fans, although they live in Indonesia or Peru is fantastic! But despite the many ways today to get your music out there it’s hardly any easier to really reach out to an actual audience. There is just so much of everything! I’m very grateful to have Ulterium Records behind us, helping us to find the right ways in the media jungle.
This was our last question. Thanks for your time, Elin. We give you the chance to share something with our readers and your fans out there! See you soon!
Thank you for having me, it was a pleasure to talk to you!
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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