Label : Cyclone Empire Records
Review by Luisa Mercier
Black Sun Aeon is the solo project of Tuomas Saukkonen, who is already involved in many other bands (Before The Dawn, Dawn of Solace, RoutaSielu). He used to keep this project to explore other sides of his music mixing gothic, death, doom never losing sight of melody. While the previous work “Routa” was mainly focused on instrumental music, “Blacklight Deliverance” has two guests singers that alternate in the seven tracks: Mikko Heikkilä and Janica Lönn (female singer from Lunar Path). The opener “Brothers” has powerful yet melodic riffing as only Finnish can craft, while Tuomas growls and Janica creates magical landscapes with her vocalising. Towards the end an acoustic interlude makes everything softer and sweeter. There is a real winter mood throughout the song that goes on with the following “Solitude”. Continue reading »
Interview by Andy Axworthy
Hailing from Bratislava, Galadriel have been delivering their own brand of doom, death and heavy metal since “Empire of Emptiness” was released in 1997. A band that writes from the heart their style has matured over the years, though it has never lost its edge. With their latest release - “The 7th Queen Enthroned” – about to hit the stores we took some time out with singer Sona Witch Kozakova to talk about life, reality and a damn good metal album.
Hi Sona. A warm welcome from Femme Metal. How are you today?
Hi Femme Metal, I heartily greet the readers of Femme Metal Webzine. Thank you for asking, I’m enjoying the first cold days of autumn.
You joined Galadriel in ’96. How did you get drawn to music, to metal in particular, and how did you end up joining Galadriel?
When I was twelve, my brother brought home his first metal vinyls and I was so fascinated by the metal music. And it keeps me during all my life. We’ve been always dreaming about forming a metal band. But everything started many years later when I met Dodo and Voloda at some festival in Czech Republic and we were talking about the music and life. So I have told them about my dreams to be a singer. These guys were preparing the recording of the first Galadriel demo and one month later they came to my house and asked me to record vocals on their demo because their vocalist left the band.
It’s been quite a journey from “Empire of Emptiness” to latest release, “The 7th Queen Enthroned”. For you, what would you say has remained constant and also, what has changed the most over that time?
There are many changes of course. It’s hard to compare middle 90s age and nowadays. When we were at the beginning it was all about the young enthusiasm, easygoing life, dreams and plans. Later we found out it will be not that easy to reach our goals and nothing is for free. We gave all our lives to the band. Many of the plans we have did not realize by now. Now all of us have many problems with jobs, bills or credits. But we are trying to approach very seriously to the band and trying to grow every day. I’m challenging myself when I’m not satisfied with my performance almost everytime. I think we’re still trying to be kind to our fans and supporters. Every one is so important to us.
While a metal heart beats at its centre, Galadriel is a band that is not afraid to experiment with its sound. Is that something that evolves during songwriting and rehearsal or do you go into the studio with a particular idea in mind?
There are some experiments that were created in the studio of course but most of these elements and ideas we were preparing in the rehearsal or at home. Many times when we are working on new songs, at the first steps, we are working at home and sending ideas and demo mp3s through Internet so everybody can think about that in the quiet of home. That’s for example my best way to be creative. I need to think about songs and melodies first and after I’m ready to perform my ideas I record them. After we have few ideas to work with we can meet in the rehearsal and work together.
In terms of songwriting, where do you get your imagery and inspirations from, both personally and within the band?
There are some things and themes around us that hurt us and we are thinking about them and talking about our opinions. Everyone of us has some dark and light places in his soul. There are some feelings growing in those places. The feelings give us the ideas for melodies or lyrics. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, looking thourgh the window, and it just show up in my mind. I wake up with some strong feelings and they need to go out. So I take my phone and record some melodies in working quality.
Talking of the band, could you introduce us to and tell us a bit more about your fellow band members?
Actually we are in this line-up: Dodo Datel (vox, bass), Tomax Gabris (guit), me (vox) and live co-performers Jano Valer Tornad (drums), Peter Lipovsky (guit) and Andrej Kutis (keys).
The “7th Queen Enthroned” is your latest release and the next step forward in the band‘s evolution. How do you feel about the album, and what has been the reaction from the press and fans alike?
I feel good with new album. We tried to do our best in conditions and possibilities we had. I think we did another step forward. The final release of the album is delayed and I have not the CD in my hands yet. We have published two songs on the Internet and the reactions are really positive what is encouraging but I think our fans will let us know their emotions and feelings after the CD will be definitely out for some time.
Can you tell us more about the idea behind the album title? Where did it come from? Is it a theme in its own right or does it form part of a story arc with “World Under World” and “Renascence of Ancient Spirit”?
We feel there are many bad things and situations in the world and everyday we’re waiting for another bomb or terroristic attack. Greed and recklessness of people in combination with aggressiveness and arrogance move our world more and more to extensive conflicts. Also the drop of mineral resources and environmental blindness, fails and mistakes of mankind fill us up with very bad feelings. It looks there is too many people on this planet… and that’s dangerous. Our “7th Queen” is some status of mankind after collapse of life on Earth. However she (the Queen) tries to do something, to save the life, everything she touches is turned to death and dust. She’s a mirror of mankind. Hopeless she fights for the change (like few parts of people) but all her endeavors are smashed by aggressive and destructive thoughts and feelings. So she was enthroned by mankind. People have chosen this way of extinction… There are some parallels with some themes we used on our previous albums but every one of our albums stands alone for itself.
How about the album artwork? What is the story behind the design?
Yes, we tried to put our thoughts from lyrics and songs also to the cover. So we wanted to show some desolated hopeless woman in pain in a dead world. I’ve been a part of the team which prepared the latex fashion show of my friend Krisztina Csizmadia few years ago in Austria. I was working as a make-up designer and the model Lizzy Meow was one of most important part of the show that night. When Dodo told me about his idea of the cover we were talking about some possibilities and then we decided to ask Lizzy for the cooperation, we knew she is open for some kind of destructive or cyberpunk ideas, haha. Yes, we are really happy she said yes to our offer. The photo-shooting was taken in Vienna by the photographer Marius Sachtikus and Lizzy‘s make-up was done by Nadja Hluchowski. This photoshooting was really professional and we were selecting from more than 200 pictures. All post-production works were done by Dodo himself.
“The 7th Queen Enthroned” is a consistently strong album. Rockers like “Still Not Dead Enough” and “The Last Time” sit comfortably alongside hard hitting yet atmospheric tracks like “Crucifixion Deluxe” and “Eosphorus”. Which song is your own current favourite from this release and why do you like it so much?
Thank you! I really love all songs on the record. It’s hard to choose one or two. Maybe I will be able to choose after some shows we will play and I will know how can I sing each of the songs on stage. I’m really looking for singing “Crucifixion DeLuxe” because in that song I sing with different style. We will not play “Eosphorus” live because this song is dedicated to the dead daughter of my close friend. And there are so many actual sad emotions in my heart that I cannot sing it now correctly. Maybe later…
How about your personal musical influences? Which bands and/or singers do you enjoy listening to and which of them inspired you the most when you were starting out as a vocalist?
When the idea to be a singer first came to my mind I decided to be singer with growling vocals, haha. I was really listening to bands like Aphyx, Obituary or Morbid Angel in the beginning of 90s. But as you know I’m using clear vocals because Dodo is singing the growling parts, haha. As there were not so many female vocalist in harder or darker metal genres in my beginnings it’s really hard to say about some idols. I always loved Kari Rueslatten, she was singing in doom metal band The 3rd And The Mortal, and I also love her solo works despite of fact she is far from metal music nowadays. Another my favourite singer is Anneke van Giersbergen, I love Lisa Gerrard… later Sharon den Adel, Sarah Jezebel Deva or Mariangela Demurtas. There are many talented and brilliant female vocalists I love to listen to and I still love clear and growling male vocals too
You recently played the Gothoom Festival. How was the show and what was the highlight of your day? Did you manage to see any of the other bands that were playing?
Yes, it was the festival promoted and organized by our label Gothoom Productions. Our show was quite good despite of fact our line up was completed with new guys and they have only few days to learn how to play the songs. But guys were cool and we really enjoyed it. Maybe it was a not so much comfortable situation for us as we were playing right after the headliner of the day, Septicflesh, and many people were still oriented their way but our fans were cool. It’s always difficult to look at the other bands, because we need to prepare for our show. But we have seen some parts of shows of Doomas, Septicflesh and Skyforger…
What other interests do you have outside of the band? How do you relax when you’ve got some time to yourself?
Oh, I have really many many interests, haha. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning I don’t know what to do first. I want to do so many things when I have some free time. My biggest pleasure are animals and we have many animals, so in my free time I take the care of them. I also spend my free time making art… I create jewelery, some characters or I paint… that’s my biggest relax. But sometimes I only lay on the sofa with some book.
As a band, Galadriel have grown up with the Internet. How do the events of the latest release compare with the experience of getting “Empire of Emptiness” marketed and distributed back in the day? What do you personally think has been gained – or lost – in this media change?
Well, yes. On one hand Internet has changed everything. When we were promoting our first album in 1997 it was everything more complicated. We used the classic mail way to spread our music to magazines. We used the classic mail way to answer to letters of fans and answer the interviews. Now we can upload some song to YouTube or to one of many players on the web or social web and send link directly to our fans. Everything is faster and easier. So it’s definitely more comfortable and more effective than in the past. On the other hand was so cool when we get first letters from fans written by their hands and they traveled to our city to buy the CD directly from us. So I think it was more ‘heart to heart’ way of communication.
With the Web now putting the world at your fingertips, which parts of the world outside of Slovakia are currently showing the greatest interest in your music and which countries and/or festivals would you like to play and why?
Outside of Slovakia and Czechia… I think we have many fans in the countries of South America. This is the part of the world where people really love this kind of music and are really thankful for every band that comes there to tour. So I would love to travel there to play some shows but it’s not easy for a band like Galadriel. And festivals… hmm… yes, Hellfest would be cool or Metal Female Voices Festival is growing more and more and that would be another great adventure to play there. And Wacken of course… all the world is meeting up on Wacken. And there is another great new kind of festivals on the boats. That would be cool too, haha.
What is next for you and Galadriel? Are you taking the album on the road and further afield?
So, now we are really looking forward to the release party show of our new album here in Bratislava, Slovakia. We would like to play many shows in 2013 all around Europe, we have some ideas and offers and I hope most of them will come true. And I hope our fans will not wait for next album another five years!
Thanks for sharing this time with us. To wind up, is there anything else you would like to add for our readers?
My pleasure. Thank you for interesting questions. I’m sending heartily greetings to all readers of Femme Metal Webzine and I hope we will see you under stage next year Keep an eye open on our website or Facebook profile to stay tuned about everything. Check out our new album “The 7th Queen Enthroned” too Save the Nature, save animals and all what’s alive… Thanks!
Label : Gothoom Productions
Review by Tony Cannella
From Slovakia, the melodic dark metal band Galadriel was formed way back in 1995. They released their first album, “Empire of Emptiness” in 1996. Now they have released their seventh album, “The 7th Queen Enthroned”. Throughout the 36-minute, “The 7th Queen Enthroned”, Galadriel utilizes beauty and the beast vocals performed by female vocalist Sona Witch Kozakova and her male counterpart, bassist Dodo Datel. The opening track, “Evilution” sets the tone nicely. Sona’s vocals handle the more melodic parts whilst Dodo’s can be heard on the heavier parts of the song. The vocals are split pretty evenly on this one and musically the songs have a classic metal vibe to them as “Evilution” segues into “Crucifixion Deluxe”. The pacing of this song is deliberate as Dodo spits out his lyrics in rapid fire succession – as he takes the lead on this song with a little help from Sona near the end. Overall Dodo does a large portion of the vocal work, but Sona does an excellent job when called upon and she really adds something to the recording. I was also impressed with Dodo’s vocals as well, technically he may not be a virtuoso by any means, but his vocals are quite ferocious and clear. “Still Not Dead Enough” continues in the general direction set by the previous two songs and includes a wicked guitar solo. There is no shortage of energy and enthusiasm as songs like, “The World is War”, “The Last Time” and “Mother Is Dying” will attest to. It is rare for such a veteran band to fly under the radar the way Galadriel has. If nothing else, they have proven to be survivors and hopefully with their new album, “The 7th Queen Enthroned” their hard work and dedication will start to pay off.
Rating – 76/100
- Crucifixion Deluxe
- Still Not Dead Enough
- The World is War
- The Last Time
- Mother Is Dying
- Sona Witch Kozakova – Vocals
- Dodo Datel – Vocals & Bass
- Tomax Gabris – Guitars
- Jan Ivan – Drums (session)
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
Forget all those Cristina Scabbia & Lacuna Coil look-alikes from Italy. If you want to hear some old sckool metal from that country that would make Doro or Sabina Classen proud you should give the band White Skull a try. No soprano vocals or sweet elven maidens onstage with this band. I saw White Skull a few years ago at the Metal Female Voices Fest and they were one of the highlights today (the others were Girlschool and Izegrim).
Did you always wanted to become a singer?
Well, from what I can remember, when I started listening to heavy metal music I was about 16 years and I imagined myself running on a stage like Bruce Dickinson, hehe! That’s probably the dream of many young metal heads. Btw, then I started learning guitar and I found my own style on vocals just many years later.
Did you have any other bands before White Skull?
Yes, but as I said before, I was playing guitar. I played in some underground bands of my town, sometimes on guitar, later on vocals, and sometimes both on guitar and voice. Everything is good to make experience!
Who are your favourite singers?
Bruce Dickinson, Bobby Blitz and Ronny James Dio.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I love and listen mostly to thrash metal (‘80s Bay Area bands) and classic heavy metal like Iron Maiden and Scorpions.
What are your other passions besides music?
I love reading books and watching horror films. I like being scared!
And is it difficult to combine White Skull with your personal life?
No, luckily my job gives me the chance to plan my time in an independent way.
Besides White Skull you are also busy with your mail-order shop (see www.over-zone.com). What made you decide to start your own mail order shop specialized in old school metal stuff from the eighties?
Thanks for the question about it. I’m into the ‘80s style since I was young and I also worked with a business partner in a rock-metal shop for several years. After making enough experience in it, I was in need of independence and I also found out that she wasn’t the right person to share my work with. So I opened my own on-line shop and finally I could put my own style in it! It’s been a great satisfaction and I hope to support the old school style as long as possible, also for the young generations.
Do you think that metal as genre and life style was better in the eighties than today?
Surely it was better in the eighties. Everything was new, and you had to make sacrifices for your passion in Metal. Now everything is much more simple, you can find everything on-line, Mp3, information, shops… So it’s also less strong than before. And then, today many pubs and clubs are closing or just stopping to let bands play. It’s very sad!!
Unlike most female singers today (who try to be the next Sharon den Adel or Cristina Scabbia) the way you sing is more in the style of Sabina Classen from Holy Moses. Since this is not the most gentle way to tread your vocal cords, what do you do to keep your voice in top condition?
Yes it’s not a gentle way at all, haha. I’ll be honest I’m doing very few things for it: just concentrating in the right breathing and rehearsing at home to find the best position of the sound in my mouth or head, or nose.. I’m sorry, I haven’t got time for vocal lessons at the moment.
How did you became a member of White Skull?
Oh, totally by accident! I wasn’t following the band in the last times, so I didn’t know that they were searching for a new vocalist. One night I met Danilo in a pub and he just asked me what I was making in music now. He only knew that I was playing guitar in some local bands but he didn’t know that I was singing too. So he simply asked me to make the proof with them.. I did it one week later and here I am.
And since you are not White Skull’s first singer, was it necessary to adapt the songs to your voice?
Of course it always happens, when one vocalist comes after another (or two!!) and he has to perform songs that he hasn’t composed. That’s a old story! I’ve tried to do my best, but it’s natural that I prefer singing my own songs, I haven’t got problems in telling it.
What are the most memorable moments for you with White Skull?
We are a band and a family as well, so every time we go out and play, we have very good time together, in total harmony and fun. I can remember when we played at the MFVF in Belgium. We arrived to the place the day before playing, so we had all the day and night to relax and touring around Bruxelles. It was like a little holiday and we really had fun (especially with food and beers!!)
I have seen White Skull only once, at the Metal Female Voices Fest of 2008. How do you look back at that festival?
Oh, I didn’t read this question when I told you about it in the previous one!
As I told you, we really enjoyed that little tour and also the organisation of the Festival has been good and kind with us. I only have to say that we were the only True Metal band, that day. The other bands played mostly gothic or doom or some new metal, that’s not my genre. It seems difficult to find female metal bands in classic heavy metal! Luckily at the end came the Girlschool with their funny and old school rock’n roll, hehe.
Can you introduce us to the other members of White Skull?
Tony Mad (Rhythm Guitar) and Alex (Drums) are the founder members of the band. Later, after other mambers, came Danilo Bar on the solo guitar and me on voice and finally Jo on bass. During the story of the band there have been several line up changes. For example, Alessio Lucatti (Keyboards) has just left the band due to employment purposes. It’s not easy to find the right people to play with, sometime for personal reasons, other times for a different style in composing ad taste in music, or simply for problems in the job. Now we hope to last many and many years like this!
Who is responsible for the music and lyrics in White Skull?
The music is composed by all of us, sometimes all together, other times working on one’s idea or riff. When each song is ready I write the lyrics and the melody for the voice.
And were do you and the band get the inspiration for the songs?
We all listen to metal since years and years, so I think that our inspiration comes in a natural way from all the bands we love. Though, ‘cause we have different taste in music (I’m mostly into thrash metal, for example), at the end everything mixes together and that’s the way how the White Skull current style was born.
“Forever Fight” is White Skull’s latest album. Is “Forever Fight” a concept album or are it thirteen individual songs?
I’d better say that they are 13 different songs, linked together by the same historical period (the end of the Roman Empire of Occident). Some of the songs tell about the same story (for example, “Boudicca’s Speech” is the prologue of “A Mother’s Revenge” and other songs talk about Attle and the Huns). But in the end it’s not a real concept album.
How did the press and the fans received the album?
Well, I can honestly say in a good way. I’m happy about the result. Of course there will always be who prefers the old WS style or members, but it’s natural and it’s not a problem. Everyone has his own taste in music and you can’t say anything, everybody is right. The important thing is that fans come to our shows and at the end they are really happy and come to talk with us with much excitement. And this is the biggest satisfaction for us!
Since “Forever Fight” was released in 2009, are you already working on a new album?
We’ve been busy with the live shows since now, so we’re planning to start the new album around this summer but with no hurry. There’s nothing worst for a musician than being late and having to write songs as quick as possible. We also live in different and also far cities, so it’s not easy to meet each others and play together, so the times are a little longer than normally.
If you look back at “Forever Fight”, are there things on the album you would have done different now?
This is my first album with WS and I’m much attached to it. So, even if nothing is always “perfect” and you could always improve it, now I wouldn’t change a single note in it.
And what are White Skull plans for the future?
Going on with the live shows and starting the composition of the new songs as well.
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Oh you’ve already asked a lot, hehehe!
One can never ask enough questions
I can only add that WS is a band with a strong passion for the true heavy metal and we do nothing if we don’t like it in that moment. We’ve done sacrifices like many other Italian bands to have the chance to play around, in a bad period for heavy metal music. Our only interest is passion and not business! Keep the Metal alive, guys.
Interview by Marc “Peston” Sels
Yawarhiem is a power/gothic band from Lima, Peru. I don’t know much about this band, therefore this interview with leadvocalist Aurora D’Nina, a soprano voice of the Andes.
Can you tell us a little about Yawarhiem? (History, releases…)
Well, Yawarhiem has been formed in 2005 and since that year we have been working hard to express musically, and through each song, our Inca’s history that has been adapted by J. Miguel, contribute to our own mystified characters. In 2006 we launced our first demo with the song “Darkness, Blood & Tears”, that convert us as the revelation power metal band of the year, reviews in international webzines, interviews with one of the most famous and old rock radio’s (Radio doble 9 – a Peruvian local station), concerts in Lima and provinces (Ayacucho, Cerro de Pasco) among others. At the end of the same year began the recording session of “The Rebirth of the Empire”, our cd that was launched in July 2009.
What means Yawarhiem?
Yawarhiem means Winter’s blood. The bandname was formed from two representative’s mother languages: Quechua (Yawar) what is our Peruvian mother’s tongue and Latin (Hiem) as the first worldwide language.
Can you introduce the bandmembers to us?
The band’s current line-up is : J.Miguel Brendal - Vocals & Wind, Richie Salverredy – Keyboards, Oscar Martin – Guitars, Eddy Geott – Bass, Julio German – Drums and me, Aurora D’Nina - Soprano Vocals.
How is the metal-scene over there in Peru? Are there any interesting bands?
The metal-scene is much reduced. We say reduced because here as a metal musician you do not get enough private moneysupport for planning a good concert or a big one. Here you can just find a few bands that are trying hard to stay playing concerts around Lima or in provinces, many times without the minimum requires that one band needs to play well on stage, but despite the fact, they still are playing because the metal essence is bigger than those inconveniences or that kind of limitation, and because of what a real musician does : just looking to spread and share their musical art with the fans. Of course, here in Peru you can find really good bands that would love to have more opportunities to play here in Lima, provinces and abroad, and some of them also are looking to find a way to record their music.
What are your musical influences, heroes, favorite cd’s…?
Well, my musical influence comes from the classical music, from opera to jazz, bossa nova and the power metal music. Heroes, no one yet. My favorite cd’s are “Rain of a Thousand Flames” by Rhapsody of Fire, “Oceanborn” from Nightwish, “King of the Nordic Twilight” from Luca Turilli, amongst others.
Peru has been living in some kind of civil war between the government and Sendero Luminoso. Did this had any influence on the metal scene? And life in common?
I think, of course, that it had a macro impact, because it was something that affects the civil population and had consequences in the political and economical fields and one could say that it influenced the working class (including musicians) as human beings, living in that situation. I can not specify how I was influenced, because I was a little kid in those times.
Most of the songs handle about old history, mythology etc… Have you got a theory about Nazca?
The lyrics from the music we make is based on the Inca history…from my personal point of view of course, there are many theories about the Nazca lines, and one of them (for me), is that aliens could build it up with a special meaning everytime to remind them every time they come back.
A lot of bands are more respected outside their land than in their homeland. How is it with Yawarhiem?
What do you mean with respected…is it like recognized? Well we are well being recognized in Peru, with lots of positive critics, fan support and since we’ve launched the cd (July 30,2009) for the national market, we have received new local media opportunities where we have done interviews with the most important newspaper (Diaro El Comercio), interviews at one of the newest radiostations (Radio Capital) and at an old one (Radio Miraflores). We have recorded our second videoclip thanks to a local metal online support (Motor-Rock). And this support is what we value because the print and online promotion helps us to reach a more national and international audience, and we are grateful for it.
How was “The Rebirth of the Empire” developed? Did it took a lot of time?
The content of “The Rebirth of the Empire” was developed in the lapse of time around one year and a half. The recording and mastering took around two years; yes it took a lot of time to finish this work. You know that in the path to get the final sound (after the intense record-sessions) the most delicate and hard to define is to get the sound you have been keeping in your head as a final result. But at the end of this part it was a relief to see that the time we spent recording as a band (full days and nights) was worth it. We are satisfied with it.
Have you got regular jobs? (I don’t think you can survive as musicians)
Yes, of course, but for us the band is part of our ‘regular job’, because we are constantly thinking about new ways and things to contribute to the band with new arrangements, ideas etc..
Do you think the internet and webzines can help you to gain a bigger audience?
Yes I do. Nowadays it is one of the most important and efficient free tools to reach a worldwide audience.
And at last, any last thoughts?
Yes, we encourage all the musicians of the world to make the promise to spread their music as far and as long as they can, because music is the strongest worldwide language that keeps the soul of the world alive. Thanks for the interview. Good vibes and best regards to FemmeMetal.
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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