Label : Rocksektor Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The U.K. based Gothic metal band Hanging Doll released their full-length debut, “Reason and Madness” in 2008 and have now returned with their sophomore outing entitled, “The Sacred & Profane”. The opener “Cradle to the Grave” is a strong and melodic way to kick things off. The clear female vocals supplied by Sally Holliday are supported by the rough male vocals of Daniel Leddy, add in some good guitar work and you have a potent opener. The next song, “Carnival of Sin” begins with a piano intro as the song kicks in and continues to present some strong material. “Dark Narcissus (The Forest)” opens with a heavy riff and an atmospheric melody. Other highlights include: “Lacrimosa”, “Immortal Beloved” and the epic closing trio of “Bound in Servitude”, “The Inauspicious Host” and the 8-minute “A Question of Faith”, which – in my opinion – is the best song and a classy and memorable way to end things. Continue reading »
Label : Rocksector Records
Review by Tony Cannella
The U.K. based Gothic metal band Hanging Doll released their full-length debut, “Reason and Madness” in 2008 and have now returned with their sophomore outing entitled, “The Sacred & Profane”.
The opener “Cradle to the Grave” is a strong and melodic way to kick things off. The clear female vocals supplied by Sally Holliday are supported by the rough male vocals of Daniel Leddy, add in some good guitar work and you have a potent opener. The next song, “Carnival of Sin” begins with a piano intro as the song kicks in and continues to present some strong material. “Dark Narcissus (The Forest)” opens with a heavy riff and an atmospheric melody. Other highlights include: “Lacrimosa”, “Immortal Beloved” and the epic closing trio of “Bound in Servitude”, “The Inauspicious Host” and the 8-minute “A Question of Faith”, which – in my opinion – is the best song and a classy and memorable way to end things. Continue reading »
Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
The first question: who is Sally Holliday?
Oh geez, what a question to start with. Well I would like to say that I am a wild child leading a rock and roll lifestyle but that would be an outright lie. I guess I am laid back, down to earth and approachable. I love nature and I am a photographer, which helps with the awareness of the world and beauty around me. I love old architecture and it riles me to see modern, characterless buildings replacing them. Anyway I could rant on about that for ages.
How did you get into the music business? Did you always wanted to become a singer?
I did always have a passion to sing however I was very shy as a child and I did not think that I would be able to get anywhere with it. I joined a cover band when I was living in Wales and it spiralled from there. Although I have been in bands for many years I never thought that I would get this far with it, it is still incomprehensible to me.
How would you describe your voice?
Hhmm, I find that my voice is fairly resilient. I like to push my voice to its limits to help it expand both higher and lower in notes and I shall continue to develop it. I still have a lot to learn and to do more to enhance my voice. It is a never ending learning curve. I really do not know how to describe my voice. Others have said that it is powerful however I am very self-critical and feel that may be too complimentary.
Guitarists and drummers can talk endlessly about their gear. Since you are the singer of Hanging Doll, what do you do to keep your voice in top condition?
I do not really have set rituals to help my voice although I know that I should. I do love tea and that is not good for the voice but I do try to eat sensibly and exercise my voice by doing scales and various vocal techniques.
Have you played in other bands before Hanging Doll? Or do you have an other band besides Hanging Doll?
Yes, with the various cover bands and then I started to join original bands but it is hard to keep original bands going and the motivation if the ideas are not on the same wavelength. The guys in Hanging Doll are like brothers to me. We get on so well and we all have the same visions and drive. We are always trying to test each others abilities and push each other out of our comfort zones to expand our horizons. No, I did try to stay in two bands but it was too difficult I needed to give my full attention to one band and I decided that this band had more potential and I was more passionate about the sound and ideas that they have.
So what kind of music do you listen yourself? And who is your favorite singer?
I love 80’s goth and also various metal (glam, death, doom) and rock. I like a lot of instrumental, experimental and classical too. I am also fairly open minded with other styles of music as I feel it is good to consider other techniques and sounds. I do not really have a favourite singer but I love the vocals of Siouxsie Sioux, Julianne Regan (All About Eve), Rozz Williams (Christain Death), Gitane Demone, Beth Gibbons (Portishead), Harriet Wheeler (The Sundays)
About Hanging Doll: were did that spooky name come from?
Haha! Well it was before I joined. The guys tell me it was when they were watching Silent Hill and there is a scene in an old school with a hanging doll.
And, can you tell us something about the band in general? And the other members of the band?
Hanging Doll tend to be categorized as a gothic rock/metal band. Having said this we are inspired by numerous genres of music, which do and do not fall into such a category so I would like to think that we are a broader form than that . They are crazy lovable rogues haha! Although I am biased they each have such great talent and the individual input that they give keeps the sound, inspiration, ideas and band relationship strong.
Your debut album is to be released this year. Can you tell us something about it? About the songs and music? Will there be much difference with the music on the demo and EP?
We are hoping for a Sept/Oct release although a date has not been confirmed yet. The songs vary from love to death and war. I feel that the tracks interlink well with a good variety of sounds and feelings. We have strings on the tracks that are from the EP now which has increased the overall impact so they do sound quite different now.
Can you tell us something about your involvement with Rock of Ages fest and the Clive Aid Festival?
It was a great honour to play to support Clive and raise the money to help with his treatment and that of others with similar conditions. It was a fabulous event and there was a lot of warmth and good vibes from the other bands. There was a lot of adrenaline but I disappointed that there was no spandex. We will do all that we can to help with this cause.
And how did you manage to arrange a tour in Brazil? Are there any plans for a tour in Europe?
It was organized through Gotham Records, Birmingham. There are no plans for a European tour yet although we hope to organize one very soon.
And the last question, are there things the reader should know that I haven’t ask?
Label : Metal Mind Production
Review By Tony Cannella
After a number of line-up changes that saw Kimberly Goss and Alexi Laiho as the only returning members from their first album, Sinergy returned in 2000 with their second release, “To Hell and Back”. Joining the original members were bassist/vocalist Marco Hietala, who would later go on to join Nightwish and play a major part in their success. “To Hell and Back Again” really saw the band begin to hit their stride and emerge as a serious entity in the world of melodic, power metal. This album takes all of the good moments from their 1999 debut and expands upon them, and not to mention the songs are totally killer, all of that can be heard on this re-issue from Metal Mind Productions.The first two songs, “The Bitch Is Back” and “Midnight Madness” are decent enough, but it is with the third track “Lead Us to War” that the album really starts to take off. This song opens with just a massive guitar riff and some great vocal work performed by Kimberly Goss and Marco Hietala. “Laid to Rest” is next and another strong moment, it starts off as a ballad but then quickly progresses into a mid-tempo, melodic masterpiece. The next two songs “Gallowmere” and “Return to the Fourth World” are two of the heaviest tracks “To Hell and Back” have to offer, both are truly relentless and the guitar work of Alexi Laiho is really exceptional on these songs. Other highlights include: “Last Escape” and “Wake Up in Hell”, these are two more excellent songs that showcase one of the best things about Kimberly Goss (besides her voice) and that is her ability to write first-rate lyrics and these two songs are proof of that. The band also perform a pretty cool cover of the Blondie tune “Hanging On the Telephone”. The three best moments from “Beware the Heavens”, “Venomous Vixens”, “The Warrior Princess” and the great “Razor Blade Salvation” are included as bonus tracks. With “To Hell and Back”, you can definitely see the progression of Sinergy as compared to their first album “Beware the Heavens”. Even though this was only their second release, Sinergy have all the confidence of a veteran band, and it shows on the overall quality of the songs on “To Hell and Back”. Just a great CD!
Rating – 85/100
- The Bitch Is Back
- Midnight Madness
- Lead Us to War
- Laid to Rest
- Return to the Fourth World
- Last Escape
- Wake Up in Hell
- Hanging on the Telephone (Blondie cover)
- Venomous Vixens (Bonus Track)
- The Warrior Princess (Bonus Track)
- Razor Blade Salvation (Bonus Track)
- Kimberly Goss – Vocals
- Alexi Laiho – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
- Roope Latvala – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
- Marco Hietala – Bass and Backing Vocals
- Tommi Lillman – Drums
Label : Metal Mind Productions
Review By Tony Cannella
The Polish label Metal Mind have re-issued two of the more interesting albums from Norwegian metallers Theatre of Tragedy. “Musique” and “Assembly” are the last two CDs that the band recorded with current Leaves’ Eyes singer Liv Kristine and they also saw the band abandoning their gothic metal sound for a more industrial/electro pop direction. The second of those releases is “Assembly” – which was originally released in 2002. This re-issue features the full CD along with 3 unreleased tracks. The CD begins with the up-tempo robotic number “Automatic Lover”. The vocals are mostly handled by Liv on this one and she employs a different style than what we are used to. Raymond Rohonyi joins in for the chorus. The guitars are more pronounced and heavier than on “Musique”. As I said this is the second album of their electro pop phase, so the shock should be worn off. A solid opener, for sure and a good way to get things started. “Universal Race” is next and it is a fast, bouncy, up-tempo track and once again the guitars are more noticeable. Track 3, “Episode” begins with one of the heavier guitar riffs that can be heard on either of these two CDs, before settling into a comfortable groove. “Play” and “Superdrive” are two more strong tracks. “Let You Down” is next and it is perhaps the best song on this CD. If I remember correctly, the band made a video out of it and it is a solid choice. Other key songs are: “Starlit”, “Envision” and “Liquid Man”. A cover of the Supremes song “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” is the first of the three bonus tracks, I’m more familiar with the Kim Wilde version that came out in the 80′s, so this was a bit of a surprise to hear this, but it is still quite good. The final two tracks are re-mixes of “Let You Down” and “Motion”. The version of “Let You Down” in particular is quite good and it is interesting to hear a bit of a different take on the song. The guitars are brought out more on this version and it is 3-minutes longer than the original version. In my opinion, “Assembly” is the better of the two releases. The band seem much more confident in finding their way with the new musical direction and the songs are more guitar driven, diversified and melodic. It has been a while since I listened to these CDs, but with the passage of time I have come to realize that these CDs are not bad at all. One of the more interesting things is the vocals of Liv Kristine as she proves that she can do more than the soprano thing and she pulls it off quite well. Whatever you think about the new direction ToT adopted for these two albums, you have to give them credit for trying something a little bit different and doing a pretty good job at it as well. “Musique” and “Assembly” remain two of the more fascinating albums in the catalog of Theatre of Tragedy.
Rating – 75/100
- Automatic Lover
- Universal Race
- Let You Down
- Liquid Man
- You Keep Me Hangin’ On (Bonus Track)
- Let You Down (Remix) (Bonus Track)
- Motion (Funker Vogt Remix) (Bonus Track)
- Raymond István Rohonyi – Vocals
- Liv Kristine Espenæs – Vocals
- Vegard T. Thorsen – Guitar
- Frank Claussen – Guitar
- Lorentz Aspen – Keyboards
- Hein Frode Hansen – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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