Interview by Alessandra CognettaMany of you remember her from Kamelot, but Elize Ryd‘s career is so rich I don’t think I can fit it all in an introduction. A talented artist and a really sweet person, she agreed to answer some questions for us about her latest effort with the unique band Amaranthe (their second album “The Nexus” will be in stores by the end of March, check their website to see when it’s out in your country!). You’re going to read about music, dancing, Eurovision (?!), bizarre incidents on tour and, well, I’m not gonna spoil anything, see for yourselves, you’re in for a truly interesting interview! Hello and welcome once again to Femme Metal, Elize! It’s always a pleasure to have you with us at the ‘zine. Amaranthe‘s new album is about to be released, and the band has a world live premiere planned for March 2nd in Sweden. How’s it going with the preparations for the event? What can we expect to see?
Thank you very much, it’s a pleasure for me as well! It is going great, on Monday the band are gonna meet in Gothenburg and start to rehears of the new songs. You will see Amaranthe in full and healthy shape, we all have had some time of the scene so it will be extremely fun to gather again and start this what will be an extremely intense and exiting year
Label : SPV/Steamhammer Records
Review by Tony Cannella & Luisa Mercier
It is finally here. One of the most eagerly anticipated symphonic metal releases this year has to be “Silverthorn” by Florida’s Kamelot. Of course it is well documented that the band parted ways with popular longtime vocalist Roy Khan. After utilizing Rhapsody’s Fabio Lione to fulfill their remaining tour dates, Kamelot finally settled on a permanent replacement for Mr. Khan… His name is Tommy Karevik from the Swedish band Seventh Wonder. One thing Kamelot has always done is incorporate some of the most talented female vocalists to further enhance their albums and “Silverthorn” is no exception. Elize Ryd from Amaranthe, Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist and Amanda Somerville has already been on tour with Kamelot and they all turn in tremendous performances when they are called upon. “Silverthorn” is a concept album about “a young girl who dies in the arms of her twin brothers, taking the three siblings’ secret to the grave”. Kamelot has really outdone themselves in the lyrical department, and the music has that movie soundtrack feel to it to really compliment the lyrics. After the opening intro “Manus Dei”, the band goes into “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)”. I would say that this is probably my favorite song, which also features some killer vocal performances courtesy of Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz. Alissa adds a more aggressive style. I was surprised to hear that Alissa was on tour with Kamelot and that she sings on this album. She definitely has a more aggressive style to contrast the angelic voice of Elize Ryd. Next is the heavier “Ashes to Ashes”. One thing is apparent, Tommy Karevik definitely has Roy Khan thing going with the vocals, I wouldn’t say he is a carbon copy sound-alike, but with him at the helm the band loses nothing in the way of vocals and musically this is the most inspired they’ve sounded in years. “Torn” is next and has an up-tempo style. Next is the ballad “Song for Jolee”. Next is “Veritas” which features a huge sounding choir on the chorus. Other highlights include: “Falling Like Fahrenheit” and the closing 9-minute epic “Prodigal Son” which is divided into three parts: “Funerale”, “Burden of Guilt (the Branding)” and “The Journey”. There are a lot of similarities in both look and style between Tommy and Roy, but for the most part, I like the bands choice of singers, and I don’t know if it is a coincidence, but “Silverthorn” is probably my favorite Kamelot album since “The Black Halo”.
Rating – 90/100
All of us Kamelot fans were eagerly waiting for this new record. Two years ago, Roy Khan stated that he would have not toured with the band for a while, and after some months he left Kamelot. Since then, I was quite sceptical and curious about his replacement, since Roy voice is unique ine power/symphonic metal and it was the main feature of the band, the one that made Kamelot stand out. It was with relief that I welcomed Tommy Karevik into the band, since he is not the typical power metal singer, but he’s quite versatile and really talented. On the other hand, it was the record that partially did not meet my expectations, since it is hit and miss for me. Do not misunderstand me, the balance in the end is good, but it stays quite below legendary records like “The Black Halo” or “Poetry for the Poisoned”. There are very good songs and songs that are quite average, not the best melodies, sometimes they are just cheesy and too power for my taste. “Manus Dei” is the usual symphonic intro, nothing new if you love this kind of music: orchestra, piano and choirs that build the climax for guitars and the beginning of “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)”, the first single. The song has power/symphonic riffs and Tommy is scarily similar to Roy, so similar that I am almost convinced that it was a conscious choice. In the song, he duets with Elize Ryd from Amaranthe and Alissa White-Gluz that is in charge of harsh vocals. All in all, it is a nice track, nothing oustanding. Another track that did not impress me much is “Song for Jolee”, the ballad. Kamelot are masters of ballads, think for example of “Abandoned”, but this is way too cliché. Of course there are positive sides and I can name a few. Beside Karevik vocals, I really liked “Torn” that, even though short, has a good variety of styles and tempo changes without relying too much on power. Same for “Veritas” that recalled me the sound of the previous masterpiece “Poetry for the Poisoned”: epic, more prog-oriented and Tommy is magnificent. Title-track and “Falling Like Fahreneit” are quite good, but the real highlight is “Prodigal Son” in which Tommy uses several vocal styles and also musically goes from solemn to balladesque to heavy metal, symphonic and epic. I wish the others were the same. Nonetheless, the album is good, not a masterpiece, but the result is positive in the end. So Kamelot fans like me will keep on listening to it.
Rating – 70/100
- Manus Dei
- Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
- Ashes to Ashes
- Song for Jolee
- My Confession
- Falling Like the Fahrenheit
- Prodigal Son
- Tommy Karevik – Vocals
- Thomas Youngblood – Guitars
- Oliver Palotai – Keyboards
- Sean Tibbetts – Bass
- Casey Grillo – Drums
- Elize Ryd – Guest Vocals
- Alissa White-Gluz – Guest Vocals
- Amanda Somerville - Guest Vocals
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist.
No, I didn’t. Its just something I started doing and excelling at.
Did you always want to become a singer?
I have never taken singing lessons, and I try to keep my whole body in healthy shape to keep my vocal cords healthy too.
You use both clean vocals and metal growls for The Agonist. Which style do you prefer?
I need a bit of both, I would be bored with just one style.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
Everything but country!
And who are your favourite bands and musicians?
Devin Townsend, Gwen Stefani, Muse, Arch Enemy, etc.
Did you have any other bands before The Agonist & Tempest and/or are you active in any other bands now besides The Agonist?
I had 2 other bands besides this one, but right now this is my only priority musically.
Is it easy to combine your personal life with The Agonist?
Not at all! I’m sure most musicians will agree.
Besides your work with The Agonist we could also see you in other media the last years: You were featured as one of Revolver’s Hottest Chicks in Metal in 2007. As a photographer I’m the last one to complain about good looking women onstage but you will never hear of James Hetfield being chosen as “Hottest hunk in metal” Are you not afraid that this will set the place of women in metal back to where it was during the eighties: eye candy for glam rock videos and a fresh xxx backstage*?
Hahaha well to be honest, in the 80′s I was 5 years old, but it seems that the men were just as eye-candy-ish as the women! I think it’s debatable, but strong women allowing themselves to be feminine and sexy sends a STRONGER message than one who thinks she has to be masculine to be strong. We are having our cake and eating it too.
Why did you change the name of the band into The Agonist and what is the idea behind the name of the band?
We switched the name to avoid confusions with other bands called Tempest. An agonist is a drug used to enduce feeling in patients, like the opposite of an anesthetic, and is also the name for the character torn between good and evil in the literary sense.
A lot of bands today describes themselves as metalcore. How would you describe your music?
Weird metal -go listen.
Is song writing teamwork in The Agonist or is there one mastermind who writes the lyrics and music?
The song writing is split between Danny and I. I write all the vocal patterns, harmonies, rhythms, lyrics, and Danny writes the instrumental.
And where do you and the band get the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
Anywhere and everywhere.
“Lullabies for The Dormant Mind” is your second album. What have you done different with this album compared to “Once Only Imagined”?
We are all very different people and musicians and we simply ended up, as a result, creating different music.
The album is out for some time now. How did the media and the fans receive the album?
Very well, we are happy!
And can you tell us something about the songs on the album?
They were all struggles and successes in my mind.
“Monochromatic Stains” is a Dark Tranquility cover. Why did you choose this song as a cover and is there any change it will appear on another album than the Japanese release?
We actually recorded that song for a CM compilation… just for fun.
Was is difficult to do “Swan Lake”?
Yes, but very rewarding.
What are your favourite songs on the album?
“Thank You, Pain”, “…and Their Eulogies Sang Me to Sleep”, “The Tempest”, “Birds Elope With the Sun”, “Martyr Art”… all of them!
Are there any plans for a tour in Europe and what else can we expect from The Agonist in the future?
We are DYING to come to Europe… so please help us get there!
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Buy our albums and request us everywhere you go so we can come to Europe…please! Thanks
Review by Tony Cannella
Karkaos are an interesting band to come out of Canada. On their debut 6-song, 25-minute EP the band comes at you fast and heavy with an aggressive metal sound. Their vocalist Veronica Ortiz Rodriguez does an excellent job in going from death growls to clean vocals ala Alissa White Glutz from another Canadian band The Agonist. Karkaos has been described as Death Metal or Metalcore which I’m not sure is fully accurate. It no doubt stems from the vocals – even though Veronica Ortiz Rodriguez has way more to offer than just senseless death grunts, you can just feel the aggression in her voice. Musically there is a bit of a classic metal influence, some guitar harmonies and a full time keyboardist which is rare for this type of band. Sure “In Burning Skies” is pretty much straight forward, no fooling around metal, but they also add some melodic touches into the mix. After the brief intro “Catharsis”, Karkaos launch into the aggressive “Awaiting the Clock’s Last Turn”. This is the perfect introduction to Karkaos. The classic metal riffs are there and Veronica is an excellent front woman who packs plenty of power in her voice. Next we have “Ashes”, which is slower in tempo but still heavy and the inclusion of keyboards gives the song a pretty cool atmosphere. There are also some clean male vocals included in this song. “The Last Stand” is next and is my favorite. It starts off with a bit of a Celtic influence before blasting into full on heaviness. The final two songs “Lie for a Lie” and “The Tempest” brings “In Burning Skies” to satisfying conclusion. While “In Burning Skies” is just a taste of what Karkaos has to offer. The real test however, is when they release a full-length album to see if they can sustain the level of consistency on “In Burning Skies”. “In Burning Skies” is good – not great – but it is a nice start for this young Canadian band.
Rating – 80/100
- Awating the Last Clock’s Turn
- The Last Stand
- Lie for a Lie
- The Tempest
- Veronica Ortiz Rodriguez – Vocals
- Francis Tremblay – Guitars
- Vincent Harnois – Guitars
- Michel Pelequin – Keyboards
- Guillaume Vaillencourt – Bass
- Normand Martel – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
- Ashley Costello – New Years Day
- Androniki Skoula – Chaostar
- Arkona – “Decade of Glory” LIVE (2013)
- Оксидерика – “Step to Darkness” (2013)
- Chaostar – “Anomima” (2013)
- Helalyn Flowers – “White Me In Black Me Out” (2013)
- My Ruin – “The Sacred Mood” (2013)
- Belladonna – “Shooting Dice With God” (2013)
- Visions of Atlantis – “Ethera” (2013)
- Upon Wings – “Afterlife” EP (2013)
- Maxine Petrucci – “Back to the Garden” (2013)
- Masterforce – “Until the End of Time” DEMO (2011)
- COURAGE MY LOVE return with “Becoming” EP
- Maledia – “Your Angels Cry” EP (2012)
- Lumus – “Bacchus’ Curse” (2012)
- Lightless Moor – “The Poem – Crying My Grief to A Feeble Dawn” (2013)
- Hurtful Witch – “Spectra” (2013) [DEMO] [REISSUE]
- Ivalys – “Lumen” (2013)
- Hydrogyn – “Private Sessions” (2012)
- Heart Shaped Rock – “Brought it On” SINGLE (2012)
- Igorrr – “Hallelujah” (2012)
- North Diamond – “По Ту Сторону Бытия” ["On the Other Side of Being" - "Po Tu Storonu Biytiya"] (2012)
- Kvitrafn (Einar Selvik) – Wardruna
- THE EDGE OF PARADISE @ The Mix, Seattle, WASHINGTON, USA – 27/04/2013
- Jessie Ware – “Devotion” [The Gold Edition] (2013)
- Hugo Flores & Jessica Lehto – Factory of Dreams
- Carter Tutti Void – “Transverse” (2012)
- Jennifer Borg – Divine Ascension
- Black Sun Aeon – “Blacklight Deliverance” (2011)
- Black Heaven – “Dystopia” (2011)