Label : Napalm Records
Review by Tony Cannella
“Spell Eater” is the debut album from the Los Angeles based outfit Huntress. The band is led by front woman Jill Janus, who attracts a lot of attention based on her looks, image and beliefs (she’s a pagan), but at the end of the day it is all about the music and that is where Janus and the remaining members of Huntress succeed on “Spell Eater”. Imagine a band with the musical intensity of a band like Slayer combined with the vocal ferocity of Jill Janus who reminds me of a cross between Angela Gossow and Leather Leone and you would have Huntress and their debut album “Spell Eater”. In addition to their potent brand of power metal, Huntress also exhibits thrash and even death metal tendencies. Jill is definitely a focal point for Huntress, but in addition to her take-no-prisoners aggressive style she is also a classically trained singer and manages to add that ingredient to the mix as well. The aggression fueled title track gets us started and is followed by the equally bombastic “Senicide”. The duel guitar parts of Blake Meahl and Ian Alden are reminiscent of some classic metal bands like early Judas Priest and early Iron Maiden. “Eight of Swords” – which became the first video track – is simply crushing. The band mixes some cool melodicism with heavy, crunchy guitar riffs on songs like “Sleep and Death”, “Snow Witch” and “Aradia”. Lyrically Jill Janus draws inspiration from themes that deal with the occult and paganism. Huntress was already receiving a lot of press before “Spell Eater” even hit the racks, which is very rare. Whatever you think of their image, it doesn’t take away from the fact that “Spell Eater” is an excellent debut from a band that has got a great future in front of them.
Rating – 85/100
- Spell Eater
- Sleep and Death
- Snow Witch
- Eight of Swords
- Night Rape
- The Tower
- The Dark (Bonus Track)
- Jill Janus – Vocals
- Blake Meahl – Lead Guitar
- Ian Alden – Rhythm Guitar
- Carl Wierzbicky –Drums
- Eric Harris – Bass
Interview by Si Smith
From the retro feel of Girlschool to the heavier riffage of Kittie, all-girl bands are slowly becoming more prevalent in the metal scene. More and more we are seeing the aggressive side of metal being represented with vocalists like Angela Gossow and Morgan Lander flying the flag for feminine brutality. Crashing into the scene like a juggernaut come Frantic Amber, a true international phenomena with members from Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Japan. Vocalist Elizabeth took some time off screaming at the mike to tell Femme Metal more about the band…..
Firstly I would like to welcome you to the Femme Metal webzine and thank you for speaking with us about the band.
Thank you, it’s my pleasure!
Casting your mind back to 2008, how did the band start and how did your involvement with the band begin?
Well Frantic Amber was a project Mary started in 2008 and went from project to band march 2010 where we completed the full line-up. I joined forces with Mary in fall 2010 where we recorded the first demos of “Bloodlust” and “Unbreakable”. With the new demos we started looking for new band members and I must say that I feel lucky to be in Frantic Amber with these wonderful girls!
The encyclopedia tells me that “Amber warning lights provide effective illumination in the darkness, and are known for providing bright, powerful beams that are still easy on the eyes”. The similarities speak for themselves! If you could convey a message to the world through Frantic Amber, what would it be?
Be yourself! Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something, because you can! You can do whatever you put your mind to!
You describe your music as “Brutal female metal from Sweden”. Is being an all-girl band important to you and your mission?
Yes, no boys allowed! *laughs* Well it’s what we decided to do at the beginning of Frantic Amber and we just have so much fun together! We want to be an inspiration for other girls to play heavier music.
There seems to be much vodka and “Red Devil” involved…..It went really great!! We loved Russia and the fans there where totally and wonderfully crazy!*laughs* Yes Russians love their vodka and are very keen to toast! Sandra especially enjoyed the Red Devil drinks and it even matched her hair I don’t drink much or often but I did get to party a bit on the last day after all the gigs and it was so much fun!
You guys seemed to get on well with your tourmates Hysterica. Is this a relationship that will continue in the future? Are there any other bands you have enjoyed playing alongside?
Yes, definitely! They are our sisters in metal and we really had fun together! We will of course continue our friendship and we hope to stir up more trouble in the future!
On your band page Emlee is listed as drummer – yet we see you borrowing drummers for your live gigs – what is the deal with the drummer situation?
Emlee left Frantic Amber so the seat of the drummer is vacant at the moment. We work with live and session drummers now to gain experience and keep on gigging. It’s been great to work with both Jocke Wallgren (Valkyria) and Erik Röjås (Decadence, Netherbird) while looking for our match in a girl drummer!
The EP now out is entitled “Wrath of Judgement” .Do you remember the first song the band ever wrote and worked on? How did the process develop until the finished song?
Yes of course! The first song ever to be made in Frantic Amber was “Bloodlust” and was also the first lyrics I wrote for the band. This was the track that Mary sent me to audition in the first place. I remember I was impressed by the musical skills so I was really nervous when I met her and the former bassist to show my work. The first edition of “Bloodlust” was mostly clean vocals with only a little bit of growl so Mary asked me if I could do it only with growl vocals instead and I was very doubtful at first! But I then went home to research growling and started experimenting with my voice and then “Bloodlust” became what it is today. I’m still continuing to develop my vocal technique and I’m proud to see that we are all evolving together as musicians, as friends and as a band. Since we became a full line-up the music now gets written faster than ever. Someone comes with a riff or an idea and then it gets worked on. Sometimes it’s even a full song. We all give each other feedback and continue to work with the track until we feels it’s done and then I get it to write the lyrics. I write from my own personal experiences, feelings, thoughts, themes and stuff that comes to my mind. – Therefore our songs are very close to my heart and on stage the feelings just wash me over! Once I’ve finished the lyrics I bring them to the band, do a fun mini performance and they give their feedback. So as you can see we all pitch in, we all give constructive feedback so we can get better. The track is officially done when we all are satisfied with the outcome!
Immediately in the first track (also the title track) it is clear that Frantic Amber is no “ordinary” metal phenomena. “I do what I want…..I make my own way…I will not change”. These are very self-empowering lyrics. As singer do you always feel this way when you get on stage and sing the lyrics? How would you like to affect those who listen to your music?
Off stage, no I don’t always feel that way but when I go on stage I become what I sing. I project the feelings I had when I wrote the song and I stand behind every word. I would like the listener to gain strength from “Wrath of Judgement” and understand that it’s ok to just be yourself. Growing up I had a hard time finding my place and I’m still all confused and young but I never want to be anyone else but rather get to know myself and discover who I am. I would like to inspire people to stop caring about what everybody else thinks and stop just doing whatever is expected of you. Be yourself and keep growing as a human being finding your own way in life.
On all tracks of the EP I must say that you manage to sound brutal yet also understandable! It is rare to find a brutal vocalist with such a clear diction, it is great to be able to hear and understand what is being sung. And you sing it with such passion! Did you have any musical training? Are there any particular exercises you do to keep your voice able to produce the sounds you need?
Thank you! That really means so much to me!! Well I have a history of music mostly in classical and jazz. When I lived back home in Denmark I was a part of the local music schools “talent-program” where I had piano as my major and the saxophone as my minor instrument. Later I also took some singing lessons but I continued to develop on my own. My growling is self taught though. I’ve been singing my whole life naturally just because I love it but when I got more into metal I started experimenting more with my voice and that’s where I found my growl. I still have fun finding new ways to sing and will probably never stop evolving my skills. To keep up my growl it’s important that I practise and keep getting stronger because it takes a lot of physical endurance and strength to use vocals like this. Support and correct placement of the voice box is crucial to not getting hurt. I enjoy to do Melissa Cross’s warm ups and making up my own stuff as I go along.
In “The Awakening” you sing “There’s something inside of me raging to get out” – what is it inside of you that drives you to sing and/or write the way that you do? Do you ever want to sing a nice gentle ballad about love and peace?
Sometimes there are just too many feelings going on inside of me and it really feels like they are raging and I don’t know where to place them or what to do about them. In “The Awakening” I describe them as a beast because it feels like it is clawing and ripping me apart. As you may guess these feelings are not of the positive kind but filled with rage, hatred and aggression. *laughs* Sure! I would love to sing a nice ballad, there are always two sides of a person and even I have a soft and nice little girl somewhere in there as well! Though I don’t know if it would suit with ballads about love and peace but that’s why I make a lot of music on my own as solo projects. I have a very broad spectre in music and like everything from classical to the hardest black metal! In my opinion there are two kinds of music: Good music and bad music, period! So for me it doesn’t matter which genre it is but rather how good it is!
The final song on the EP is “Doomed to Walk this Earth” which seems to be brimming with social and political comment. Would you like to take us through the rationale behind this song?
This song is based on the theme of war. It’s everywhere, has always been there and will probably continue to exist as long as humans roam this planet. I don’t know why is has to be like this and I don’t like that people get hurt and killed for stupid reasons as politics, money or power! Of course world peace would be nice but also very unrealistic so as I express in the lyrics of “Eternal War”, pointless bloodshed is always going to be here but that doesn’t mean that I like it!
As well as producing quality metal, your mission statement includes the vision of “building an army”. You certainly seemed to get lots of positive comments from your Russian gigs in your guestbook! How have listeners been responding to the music in general? What is the best way for fans to communicate with Frantic Amber?
We create music and want to share it with the world and hopefully inspire some along the way! We are all very grateful for all the loving support we’ve been getting and it really warms my heart when people come up to me after a show with big excited eyes expressing their appreciation. I think the best way would be to come to one of our concerts! – From home the fans can also find us on Facebook and MySpace.
Finally, what is the next stage for Frantic Amber? Now Russia is conquered, have you any plans on how to conquer the rest of the world?
Oh yes! We will continue on our path to world domination! *laughs* We plan to play live around Stockholm in April, record our next demo/EP in May and then see what happens during the summertime. We are all hungry for development and we intend to keep up our tempo! Hopefully there will soon be more international tours to come!
Thank you so much for talking to us at Femme Metal, Elizabeth, we wish Frantic Amber great success in their attempts at world domination!! Any last words?
You are very welcome and thank you!I would also like to thank all of our fans out there for the amazing support and I want each and every one of you to know that you are highly appreciated and I hope to see more new faces in the crowd! Stay metal!
Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
On the wake of the most famous bands like Arch Enemy, The Agonist, In This Moment, a “newbie” French band is moving its steps in the European metal scene, with one only easy target: spreading the words on the other side of the French boundaries. We’re talking about Eths, a new French metal core/nu metal band, already known by many in their native home. Now that a few months have passed from the official release of “III”, FM had the pleasure of exchanging a short chat with Candice Clot, that has revealed us something. This is the result of our brief jaw.
Hi Candice. Welcome to our website. How are you doin’?
Let’s start our interview. Recently, one of your first records, “Soma”, released in 2004, has been issued again by Season of Mist. What’s behind the decision of a new reissue?
It seemed to be clear for us to continue the road with SOM, we live in the same town it’s easy and we really know each members of the house. We have a great deal with them.
Talking about this new record, I think it’s a new and “fresh” one, quite strong. For a moment, please correct me if I’m wrong, my mind associated your sound to the album called “Follow The Leader” by Korn, because of the more robust sounds, which quite remind the thrash of Sepultura or the hardcore of Biohazard, embellished of course by your voice, which is the main point of the sound of the band. Do you agree with this statement?
“Soma” has been released in 2004 so it’s quite so long ago.
The first thing clearly noticeable in the listening of Eths music is surely your voice which is quite versatile, because you use a very cutting, sharp growl, showing a first-rate performance, maybe one of the best ever listened in the “female fronted” metal, going through then a use of the clean vocals which result more mellow and persuasive. How do you manage to lead these vocal passages? Do you train your voice a lot or is it a pure and natural talent?
15 years in the metal world breaking my voice but I worked a lot for my clean voice and find a way to mix both voices was with the help of a good breath and a coach. When you have the vocal technique you can afford a lot more things and it’s not just talent but only work and experiences.
Step back for a moment: we talked about your voice and maybe some fan has made some comparison with some famous growler vocalist like the German Angela Gossow or the Canadian Alissa White-Gluz. What do you think about these two women? Do you like their music, their vocals?
I know the music of Arch Enemy the singer is a real front woman, she really knows the job but I don’t know the other sorry.
Talking about “aggressive” vocalists like the ones I mentioned, is there any other person/female singer you like to listen to the most?
I don’t have any references about female voices, but I’ve always respected the work of Tarrie B from My Ruin.
Eths is a nu metalcore band from France, you are already known and famous there and you’re trying to get step by step the way to success all over Europe, but the project was mainly born in 1996 as “What’s the Fuck” and right after you changed the name in Melting Point, reaching at the end the final name: Eths. Could you please share something more about the band biography?
We played in Chile Brazil, Russia, England, etc. Done big festivals like Graspop, Szigets, Dour, Wacken etc .So we garnered a lot of good stage memories and saw many big bands, I think we’re lucky.
“III” is the latest and newest album, recently released by Season of Mist. The thing that captured my attention in this record was the choice of putting some tracks sang in French and also in English and I’ve noticed that the same has been done by your “colleagues” and friends Kells. What did cause the choice of putting these tracks in this latest record?
We made 4 songs in English it wasn’t easy to rewrite these songs because poetry in French is not the same in English, it’s the same subject but not the same words. It was a compromise to record it but the label didn’t force us to do it but they let us know it could be a big plus for the band so we made it.
The production of the record has been given to Fredrik Nordström, which has worked in the past with masters like The Haunted, Dark Tranquillity, Dimmu Borgir, Arch Enemy and more and the final result is more than excellent. Why have you chosen to trust this man to work on your material?
Fredrik is a great producer, he’s pushing you to your limits to have the best but always let you decide what is the best cause it’s your disc, in front of him we could feel his experience in some details, he absolutely don’t want to complicate the things, so he was really efficient and we learned to go straight to the point. It was the first time we worked with of a real metal producer and we’re really happy with the sound he did, by the way I have to say that Henrik Udd (his acolyte) did also a great job and working with them learned us a lot.
Also the artwork of the record is quite curious. Would you like to talk about it? What is the concept behind it?
This is a post apocalyptic goddess who is the link between our songs. Nicolas Senegas did a real good job we are totally satisfied with the result.
‘Till now, your music has been chiefly written using the French language. Will we ever see a record totally sung in English in the future?
No, as far as I write the lyrics I can’t write an whole album in English even if it ‘s only a translation it’s a lot of work. Everything has to be changed even sometimes the meaning because of the musical with words. Everything has been simplified for an optimal hearing and I don’t like to write like this.
“Tératologie” (2008) was your last album and “III” has been released recently after 4 long years of silence. How come have you decided to wait for so long to release some new material?
After the “Tératologie” tour we were very tired, I’ve had a kidney infection at the end of the tour and Staif a hand tendinitis so we needed a break. It took a long time to Staif to be in a good shape because he couldn’t play guitar anymore. I took time to a have my daughter and time to reconnect to music. Also we realise we needed a break to tell new things, new stories to renew the music and it’s very important to create different songs.
Talking about your music career, I know that you’ve taken part in the track called “La Sphere”, by Kells. What could you tell about this cooperation and about your personal friendship with Virginie Goncalves?
I know her from quiet some time, we played on a gig with our bands and one day she asks me if I would sing on a Kells song. Yeah, it’s my friend even more today because we’ve been on tour together and we’re mothers, so we share a lot, we understand each other and the simple fact is that we scream, we sing and raise our children that’s funny.
Let’s talk about lyrics: who is the main person who do write the lyrics in the band? Where does the inspiration for the creation of your music come from?
I write the lyrics and everything could inspire me. Humanity is a great inspiration and I like to shell every part of it. Now “III” reflects a fact of life and a desire for change, a renewal for humanity. We talk a lot about 2012 in general but mostly I’m inspired about the different eras of our earth, the intelligence and the predictions of ancient civilizations disappeared which are necessarily developed the process of “III”. The planet has gone through several apocalypses and we are the fruit of it… it helps to ask many questions like birth and death.
Recently you’ve embarked on a mini-European tour with Kells. What could you tell about this experience?
It’s always cool being on tour with friends or other bands now the different thing was that I wasn’t the only girl so it was more girly but you know on tour. It’s always the same for every band known or unknown. You soundcheck, you wait, you play, you drink, your party and you sleep… with your friends.
What is the most beautiful thing in living on the road?
For sure not the road but to be on stage.
What could you tell, instead, about the relationship you have with the fans?
I’m not a fan of Facebook and I prefer talking after shows than reply to emails it’s a better way of communication. I generally do not like fanatics minds and I do not understand them but I owe them respect. We are often associated with young teenagers and I always try to remember when I was 15.
Unfortunately, I’ve noticed that Eths tours in Belgium and France only. Will you ever embark on a full European tour, setting foot on every single European country and, why not, all over the world?
And we need a good European agent or world agent it’s the only way to see us the band is not so big on Europe so we need someone who believe in the band to bring it abroad.
Any future goal for the band or yourself?
The best for everyone.
Thanks so much for your interest in us and thanks for having allowed us this interview. You have carte blanche in order to speak and say something to our readers and your fans! Thanks so much again!
Thank you all!!!
Candice Clot Photo by Nicolas Sboub Delpierre
Band Photo by Eric Canto
Interview by Miriam “NocturnalConcerto”
Transcription and editing by Si Smith
After 3 times of scheduling problems, I was able to interview Miss Gossow and the first thing that come to mind listening to her voice, is her resolution and high-confidence of all the (musical) path that she has built and still continue to do. That’s for reason, I think, is considered a model for every femme metal singer, not only for her way of singing but also for her assurance that she communicates. Is simply a woman that kick’s ass, no more words to add, yeah at least I have one : enjoy the interview!
Hi Angela, first of all thanks for accept this inteview. It’s an honour to speak with you. Let’s talk about your upcoming album “Khaos Legion” : the cover album is very robotic, what do you want to represent? And who’s the creator of the cover?
The cover is influenced by a French painting called “Liberty Leading the People”. It is a very famous painting of a woman holding up the French flag from the French Revolution. Basically we wwomananted our cover based on that idea because it’s a very iconic picture for revolution; it is a woman leading the revolution, and when you look at our cover it is a female in the middle leading the pack. We like using this is in Arch Enemy because I am leading the band as well. These people on the album cover have just survived an apocalyptic ending of the world; the world is burning down in the background. That’s why they are wearing all these masks and look a bit like zombies. They are a little bit representing Arch Enemy, but we didn’t want it to look like us on the cover, we wanted it to look a little bit more alien. Its been done by an artist called Brent Emmet White from America. He’s very famous for this kind of digital artwork, it took him actually three months: it was hand painted first, then he rendered it in 3D on a computer. It’s all hand painted, I think its pretty awesome!
“Khaos Legions” is totally straight-in-your-face title, in your opinion what you want to express this title?
The Khaos Legion is an army that basically brings anarchy and atheism to the world, but in a positive way. It’s an army that frees people of governments, of religion, oppression in the social surrounding we live in, whether its people or relationships. These are the Khaos Legions. It’s us in our metal town.
How was the recording process and when you nailed down the first note/lyric?
We’ve basically been writing this album for four years, since the release of “Rise of the Tyrant” musically, but I started with the lyrics in Summer 2010, because I knew we were going into the studio in December and we already had some demo songs. I wrote the first lyrics, but when I get the music that’s when they change a lot, because I find it very difficult to fit words to the music: I find it a lot easier to have the music and then fit the words on it. Otherwise you might go against the rhythm of the music – for me its very important to have the music first, that’s when my assortment of words and phrases determines the lyrics. One of the first songs I did was “No Gods or Masters” and “Through the Eyes of a Raven”, which I wrote in a van while doing the UK tour in November. I write my lyrics everywhere, on trains…we do lots of travel because we tour so much, so I write them in trains, in planes, in cars, or waiting around somewhere backstage. So I get the demo songs and listen to them and whatever comes to mind.
Fredrik Nordström produced the previous album “Rise of the Tyrant” and this time you have chosen to work with Rickard Bengtsson (already in Armageddon with Christopher Amott). How was work with him and what do you think that Rickard have added to Arch Enemy musi?
Rickard is a local guy, he lives where we live, he has a studio out here which is pretty cool, and we have all our gear out here in Sweden, and its easier to record locally – because, we have a lot of equipment, a lot of vintage equipment for example, echo tapes, old amps, and we wanted to use them all on the album, so for us its a lot easier to get our stuff there – so that’s one big advantage to recording locally. And the other one is that he has known our sound for many years, he worked with us on “…Machine”, and what he’s done is engineered the album, which means he sets the sound for the drums and then he starts to record….we don’t work on our own. It just makes it easier to work locally. He sings on one album…whats good about him is that he understands vocals. I have recorded most of my vocal lines with him, because he is a singer himself, that helps a bit.
“Khaos Legions” comes out also in a Ltd. Edition 2CD in Mediabook packaging incl. 4 cover songs. Why choose this to cover this songs from Europe and Kiss for ex.? Are you connect to them for some your private facts or simply you are fan of this bands?
I am a huge fan of Europe. Michael and Chris grew up in Sweden with Europe of course. And they’ve met them many times, they are genuine Europe fans, we’ve played together on festivals. So there’s a mutual friendship. I don’t think anyone’s friends with Kiss. Kiss are such a big influence on Michael and Chris and pretty much everybody, when we were like 13 and 14, Kiss albums dominated the rock world – and they had the pretty cool make up and everything. So most people are inflluenced a little by Kiss. We do have some Kiss elements in our sound and thought it would be cool to do a Kiss song. But we are not friends with Kiss unfortunately.
Also the thing that hits me so much is : why have you called the second CD “Kovered in Chaos”?
Because the first album is “Khaos Legions” and the second album contains cover songs, it’s a cool little play on words.
Angela, you entered Arch Enemy already 12 (twelve) years ago, what is your personal balance between the touring activity and recording material?
Label : Listenable Records
Review by Si Smith
Dutch death metal warriors Izegrim changed their name from “Isegrim” because it wasn’t metal enough. This is their third full-length since formation in 1996 as well as a number of EPs, so they’ve had the time to hone their act to perfection. In opener “Victim of Honour”, Izegrim hit you immediately with a string of raw guitar riffs and solos that threaten to garrote your spleen and send it spinning out of your left ear! When the voice kicks in it is raucous and heavy, like Angela Gossow after she’s gargled a few razor blades. And I mean that in a good way. This is music that takes you by the throat, vocals that rasp into your brain. “My Secret Society” introduces some slightly more sedate riffage before launching into full assault once again, with just a tinge of thrash added in. Yep, definitely some 80s thrash riffs in there from somewhere, along with some melodic flourishes. “Incommunicado” thrashes by happily, despite some hollow corner of my brain lurching into an 80s Marillion number. These guys are tight, maybe because they’ve managed to have the same line up now as at the beginning. Marloes‘ vocals perfectly compliment the sound of the double guitar attack and Ivo‘s crashing drums. “Center of Momentum” has one of the heaviest choruses I’ve heard for a while, and the verse introduces some death metal fury. There is no let up for “Deathstrip”, a pummeling barrage of guitars and vocals that draw you in like a siren. A demonic siren with a throat problem. “Final Farewell” brings back the slow chugging riffs, the decrease in speed not subtracting from the intensity one iota. “Fade into Obscurity” does anything but that, possessing a hopelessly addictive rhythm that will stay in your head long after the song finishes. “Psychopathic Mind” effectively conjures up its subject matter and “Population Zero” brings back the melodic death metal sound again, like some demented At the Gates influence dipping its oar in. The finale to all this metallic soundscape is the title track, “Code of Consequences”, the spoken word parts adding to the dramatic effect of this already dramatic-sounding piece. No sung vocals here, just solid riffing and measured solos to accompany the wordplay. All in all a concrete death metal offering with tinges of thrash and melodic death thrown into the mix. Vocals are strong and consistent, the guitar playing is tight and accomplished. A deathly pleasure.
Rating – 85/100
- Victim of Honor
- My Secret Society
- Center of Momentum
- Final Farewell
- Fade Into Obscurity
- Psychopathic Mind
- Population Zero
- Code of Consequences
- Marloes – Vocals & Bass
- Bart – Guitar
- Jeroen – Guitar
- Ivo – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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