Label : Funklord Dynasty Records/Rambo Music
Review by Tony Cannella
There is a definite charm and like-ability factor when it comes to the debut album, “Mountain” from the Swedish melodic rock band Nubian Rose. The band is fronted by vocalist Sofia Lilja and has an affinity for the 80s. “Mountain” does recall the late 80s – and I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all, in fact, it’s quite refreshing. The opening duo of “Ever See Your Face” and “Mountain” gets us started. “Mountain” in particular, is one of the heavier songs and opens with a raw, monster guitar riff. Lead vocalist Sofia Lilja has a voice that is kind of reminiscent of Ann Wilson from Heart at times. “How Am I” is a heartfelt piano driven power ballad – Sofia really sings her heart out on this one. “Living for Tomorrow” is another guitar oriented number and features a guest solo courtesy of ex-Europe guitarist Kee Marcello. “Get Ready” has a 80s Heart vibe to it and is one of the highlights. Nubian Rose covers the Lita Ford classic “Close My Eyes Forever” which was quite a surprise. Of course Lita did it as a duet with Ozzy Osbourne and here Sofia performs it as a duet with Swedish vocalist Mats Leven (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen). Nubian Rose has written some cool songs with an up-beat, infectious, ready-for-radio style. The 80s influence is there, there’s no denying it, but on “Mountain” Nubian Rose is able to fuse the best of the 80s with modern day AOR melodic hard rock influences.
Rating – 71/100
- Ever See Your Face
- Living for Tomorrow
- How Am I
- Get Ready
- Your Love
- Once Bitten
- Close My Eyes Forever (feat. Mats Leven)
- Sofia Lilja Åkerlund – Vocals
- Christer Åkerlund – Guitar
- Thomas Lindgren – Guitar
- Frederick Åkerlund – Keyboards
- Henric Uhrbom – Bass
- David Algesten – Drums
Label : SPV/Steamhammer
Review by Tony Cannella
In 2009 after many, many years of musical inactivity, hard rock legend Lita Ford returned with “Wicked Wonderland” which was met by… derision, confusion and just plain apathy. It certainly didn’t seem or feel like a Lita record which her die-hard fan base that had waited years for new music was only too eager to point out. Now, in 2012 Lita has released what many consider to be her real comeback album, “Living Like a Runaway” the cleverly titled album is a nod to her musical past with the seminal all girl group The Runaways as well as where she is headed in the future. I have to admit. When it comes to Lita I thought her first two solo albums “Out for Blood” and “Dancin’ on the Edge” were her best (or at least my favorites). Even though I was not a huge fan of what came after I thought she still did some really cool songs (“Falling in and Out of Love” and “Hungry” are two of my favorites). On “Living Like a Runaway” Lita mixes the best of both worlds. She has definitely toughened up her sound compared to her last few – and the guitar sound is stellar and in-your-face, which should be no surprise considering the album was produced by Gary Hoey who is a guitar-god in his own right – he also contributes his guitar talents to the album. This is Lita doing what she does best; she still has that unique, like-able voice. Lyrically Lita has bared her soul like never before. There really is no wasted time on “Living Like a Runaway”, as the heavy riffs of the opener “Branded” gets things kick started. “Hate” opens with a very dark bass line and the subject matter is heavy as well (this is as far as you can get from “Kiss Me Deadly”). The 3rd track “The Mask” is especially venomous and just a powerful song. My favorite track is the moody; emotionally heart wrenching “Asylum”. “Luv 2 Hate U” starts with an acoustic intro before developing into a catchy melodic rock song. The album is completed by the Nikki Sixx (of Motley Crue fame, of course) penned “A Song to Slit Your Wrists By”, which has kind of a hard rock industrial feel to it. “…Runaway” is available in a number of different limited edition formats featuring bonus tracks and different packaging, etc. Lita Ford is a survivor and the lyrics convey that perfectly, still there are moments of reflection with the lyrics that are powerful and heavy like on the ballad “Mother”. “The Devil in My Head” has a great, melodic chorus that is instantly memorable. To be honest, I was really surprised at how much I liked “Living Like a Runaway”. This is probably the best Lita album since “Dancin’ on the Edge” – but I am sure that will be up for debate. And as for “Wicked Wonderland”? Let’s just pretend that it never existed. “Living Like a Runaway” is the comeback that the fans and Lita deserve.
Rating – 95/100
- The Mask
- Living Like A Runaway
- Devil In My Head
- Luv 2 Hate U
- A Song to Slit Your Wrists By
- Lita Ford – Vocals, Guitar
- Gary Hoey – Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals
- Matt Scurfield – Drums
Interview by Tony Cannella
Lita Ford has built up an impressive body of work throughout her career which began almost 40 years ago with the seminal all female band The Runaways. With her latest album “Living Like a Runaway” she just may have recorded the finest work of her career. If it is not her best, it is certainly her most personal and aggressive. We recently caught up with Lita prior to her sound check on the Def Leppard/Poison tour – which she is opening. Here is what she had to say…
The new album, “Living Like a Runaway” is amazing. It’s like a classic Lita album. How would you describe it to anyone who hasn’t heard it yet?
You’re definitely right, it is a classic Lita album, thank god for that. It is aggressive, it is emotional. It has some great guitar riffs on it; I love the dueling guitars, the harmony guitar parts. The lyrics are insane, they’re so good, I don’t want to blow smoke up my own ass but it is a killer album, probably the best one I’ve done yet.
I agree. I think this one of the best albums of the year so far and I think these are some of the best lyrics you’ve ever written.
Awesome. Awesome. Thank you. Yes, I really think so too. You know we really had God watching over us. I’m not religious but we really did have god watching over us on this record. Everything came together in the most mysterious way. It was almost like it was handed to us – the songs, the lyrics, the title, the guitar riffs, the arrangements – everything came together in such an incredible way. We really focused very hard on this record – when I say we, I mean me and Gary Hoey – we really focused on this record and we never lost focus until after the album artwork was done, we kept focus right through until the artwork was finished. We wanted to tie the artwork into the album and the emotion behind the album. I didn’t wanted to put some polished, sexy, beautiful album cover on this record because the album tells a story of a journey, a journey through life and we wanted to give that impression with the railroad tracks. The people who decide to download the album, it’s kind of a drag because the packaging is amazing, it has all the lyrics in it, it has some beautiful photographs, even my own handwriting where I actually wrote the lyrics and then scribbled them out. We took the lyrics from the recording sessions and we used them in the album artwork – it’s pretty cool – it really is my handwriting those are the actual lyrics from when we were writing the album.
How did you choose Gary Hoey as producer and what did you like about working with him?
Well, the one thing I liked about Gary is he’s a guitar player and when he first called me and offered me his studio, the fact that he is a guitar player came to mind. I knew he would be able to relate to me on that level, whereas a lot of the other record producers I’ve used in the past aren’t guitar players. They might be able to strum a few chords, but that’s the extent of it, I mean Gary Hoey’s a monster on guitar and I thought “Wow, how cool would that be ?”. He also has an incredible voice so he can help with background vocals; he sang lead on “Luv 2 Hate U”, the male voice is Gary (on that song). I just love his voice. He’s just incredible behind the equipment – pro tools. It’s his studio, he knows how to run it, and he put his all into this record, this is his record, it’s his baby. I just respect him so much as a producer, a guitar player and as an artist. We’re approximately the same age and we’ve both been through a lot in our lives and I think we were able to relate to each other’s feelings and we were able to take those feelings and incorporate them into this record.
Getting back to the lyrics. They are more personal than you’ve done in the past, was it difficult to open up as much as you did or was it cathartic?
It was absolutely therapeutic for me to be able to just sing my heart out, literally. I think it is also something lyrically that can be applied to anybody; I’m sure a lot of people have gone through hell in their lives, whether it’s coming home from work, having a bad day and hating your boss or something so simple as homework – or your teachers at school. I had a chat with a girl on Facebook – maybe 14 or 15 years old – and she told me she was in school and she was listening to my CD and the teachers had told her to turn off that devil music – and she said “bite me”. So they took her to the principal’s office and they expelled her from school, so I’m thinking somebody like her, she can relate to “Living Like a Runaway” on her level as a teenage girl going through school, there’s stuff in there for everybody on this record lyrically.
Where did the title “Living Like a Runaway” come from and why did you choose that as a title?
That came from my songwriting partner Michael Dan Ehmig – he’s a lyricist – lyrics are his specialty. The hardest part of writing a song – I think – is the lyrics, anybody can put together a guitar riff, but it’s really the lyrics that make it come to life and the melody and the hook, the phrasing. He came up with “Lita you’re really living like a runaway” because I just ran away from home, I just filed for divorce – In order for me to escape my current relationship I had to run away from home. He said to me “you’re living like a runaway” and I thought, ‘oh my god, what a great song title’, so we stuck with it and used it – it definitely works. So when I wrote this song I went through the decades of my life, starting with The Runaways, until today, you know, fans like you, people that make my dreams come true. It’s kind of cool.
Are you happy with the critical response you’ve received for “Living Like a Runaway”?
Oh yeah, it’s been amazing. It’s been really wonderful. The press in Europe rates you on a scale, like some magazines are 1-10, some from 1-100, they vary. Say if its 1-10, my rating has been like 9 – one point away from 100%, which to me is fucking awesome.
You are currently on tour with Def Leppard and Poison. How’s that been going?
It’s eventful (laughs). Definitely eventful. Def Leppard has a very, very huge stage set and in front of them is Poison‘s stage set and in front of Poison is us, so Def Leppard pretty much takes up the bulk of the stage and doesn’t leave us a whole lot of room. These venues that we’re playing, they’re amphitheaters and sports arenas, so there is a time curfew on them, so you have to be on stage at a certain minute and you have to be off stage by a certain minute, if you don’t, it bleeds into – it’s like the domino effect – it can roll down into Poison’s set, which rolls down into Def Leppard’s set and if Def Leppard comes off stage any later than 11:00 they start getting fined $1,000 dollars a minute, so if they go five minutes over their time that’s five grand that gets taken out of their paycheck. We actually go on early so we can get more time to play so it doesn’t interfere with Def Leppard’s set, I would hate for that to happen because of me, so we go on early. It’s really eventful. It’s a challenge, you try to give it all you got, you kick ass with the bare essentials and we do.
How have the fans been responding to the band on this tour?
Fucking awesome. Really fucking awesome. They’re so happy to have their Lita back and it shows. The set starts off with people scrambling like crazy to get to their seats and by the end of the show we’ve got everybody standing up with their hands in the air. It’s really been great. I’ll come off stage and run into one of the Poison guys and I’ll say, “well they’re warmed up, they’re ready for you” (laughs). It’s been great.
Who is in your touring band?
I’ve got Mitch Perry on guitar. Mitch has played with Edgar Winter, Asia, he’s played with Cher, Heaven and he’s played with everybody. I’ve got Scott Coogan on drums. Scott Coogan has played in Ace Frehley’s band, He was in The Brides of Destruction with Nikki Sixx and he was in Lynch Mob. I’ve got Marty O’Brian on Bass. Marty has done three Ozzfests. You’ve got to find somebody who has been onstage in these arenas, because these arena shows are a lot different than club dates; they’re a whole different animal. Marty is just a monster on bass, which is what I wanted. I didn’t want some foofy little bass player, I really wanted a heavy hitter on bass and Marty is. I’ve got a great band. We left the keyboard player at home on this tour; we wanted to limit the keyboards. Mitch actually plays “Kiss Me Deadly” on guitar, because it has a keyboard intro and there is a little bit of keyboards on “Close My Forever” on the album, but Mitch doubles me on guitar, so it works great.
What are your plans following this tour?
We’re going to do some club dates. We are going to record a live album during those club dates. We are going to do the Monsters of Rock cruise in March. We’ve got some dates coming up here and there, and we’re just waiting for after the holidays and hopefully we’ll hit Europe.
I’m sure the fans in Europe will be happy to hear that.
I get asked on a daily basis. I think we’ll be going to Europe. We do have a couple of shows booked over there already but I think we’ll probably end up doing a full blown tour over there.
Are you already working on new music or is it too early to think about?
I actually have been. Since “Living Like a Runaway” took me so long to write, it took me a year to write “Living Like a Runaway”. I remember when my flight landed at Gary’s, I landed with the first snow fall of the year, it actually started snowing when the plane was coming down and when I finished the album it was the last snow fall of the following year. It took me almost one year to the day – maybe a little longer, so I’m planning on this next album probably taking me a year. I’ve started it already; I actually started a song with Phil Collen from Def Leppard which is pretty fuckin’ rocking. I’ve got a few ideas; this is going to be a tough album to follow up.
I agree, this is a great album. How do you follow this one?
With great difficulty (laughs)? It got to be correct; it’s got to be the right record, to follow this one up.
How does it feel to be back on stage after being away for so long?
Thank you Lita for taking the time for this interview. To wrap things up is there anything you would like to add to this interview?
I’ve just got to say that it’s great to be back. It’s great that people are digging to the new CD so much, I’m so happy for that. I hope everyone missed me as much as I missed them.
Interview by Miriam “NocturnalConcerto”
Talking via Skype with a legend of the heavy metal is not one of your regular day, believe me but we’re able to track down Federica “Sister” De Boni, the legendary singer of the Italian defenders White Skull share with us some infos about the new album “Under This Flag” and a small chit chat about coming back in Italy and personal tastes. Hail on!
First of all Federica, welcome back in Italy!
Thank you dear!
How’s coming back in Italy after so much time and what’s the thing that you missed so much when you were in America?
It is amazing. Me and my family loved it here and were missing the Italian life. I think I missed my friends and metal the most. We lived in a State where country music rules.
A curiosity, what state?
I was saying Tennessee I was close hahah
Yeah …. just southern where the bible belt runs the place.
I totally got it.. I’m just wondering now one of those places with a wood bar all drinking beer and dancing country songs.. how you endure this, I mean your’re a real defender in the midst of some lousy rockers…
Ha ha ha I felt just like you said… just staying in my porch with hubby and kids listening to “House of Hair” (Dee Snider Heavy Metal Radio Show) part.
Well, I must say that it was a great choice for endure all that stuff, something to clutch on hahaha…
Yeah, pretty muche THE ONLY choice and a few occasional concerts of local metal bands but very few oh and also we used to watch “That Metal Show” on TV so well we had some choice.
Luckily you have had that too, in Italy (I mean nowadays) except maybe for Virgin Radio we haven’t nothing like that.. you’re away 10 years but from that point of view nothing changed unfortunatly…
I realized that when I came back but we can still go online and look for those shows, we need to be flexible and get what we can find, right?
Exactly.. the Italian TV and the radio are only good for commercial music sadly. There are so many HM bands here in Italy and deserve to be recognized, we need to go to concerts and support them.
It’s totally a good thing to do, support italian metal underground, in this case the HM genre.You know if the media is not supporting HM in Italy we have to stand up and support our way.
And I’m not to saying pleasentries now, I prefer to support underground instead of the big acts I mean the big big acts has already the right following of fans sometimes we need to look inside our country and give our support to this little bands but way back to us and if you are back in Italy, it’s natural that you’re back in White Skull. How’s was the first meeting with the guys, how’s after so much years (I remember to the readers that you left the band in 2000) being back in the White Skull squad?
I agree. I love big bands myself but just love to listen to what local (italian) bands come up with. It was just like it wasn’t that long… I mean, since the first rehearsal we connected immediatly. We wrote the new album in no time. That really blew my mind how simple and natural the return has been.
You know, for the startest when I have read the news that you were back in WS I was really happy and yes kind of surprised I must admit it, yesterday that I was nailing down some questions I was thinking about it “Damn, after 10 years that she didn’t record anything, would very hard for her” instead you tell me it easy maybe after all those years you still have had the “fire” burning inside you..
It comes natural for me. First I have known metal for 20 years or more, then I do have experience in song writing and most of all I do live Metal as my life style.
Everything helps.. well I’ve listened a little bit to the album congratulations.. it’s very clear and an HQ production, what you can tell me about its genesis? Despite the fact as you have stated before that come out in a natural way…
WS is known for the concept albums. This time we wanted to get away from the past and talk about something modern and close to us. Therefore we had close experience with the wars around us and wrote about it. I’ve been a soldier wife and had a lot to say about the warfare and here comes “Under This Flag”… fight for everything you care for.
And for this is reason that the cover album, if we compare to “Public Glory, Secret Agony” or “Tales from the North”, is more straight-in-your-face and very simply? Probably more direct but very powerful maybe means also “if we reunite us under a flag we can fight this wars (or evil) together”.. when I saw I thought this interpretation, can be right?
Damn right. We want to get the Metal headbanger to join us and fight for Metal. We will say it as loud as we can and for as long as we can. WS flag is really a stand to reunite what is left of metal…
Well, talking about gather around and female solidarity I’m curious to know how was being a woman singing in a heavy metal band in the 90s? It was difficult or haven’t had a model to follow? For what I know closest rode model that you have had at the times were Doro, Girlschool and Sabine Classen.
I was really lucky Tony believed I could do the job, in 1990 a woman singing Metal was sort of a “odd thing” even if Doro and Girlschool, Lita Ford and so on was around.
Maybe if we go deep deep in the italian underground we have Morgana, I don’t know if you know her she was singing in the 80s/first 90s.
I do know Morgana and she did really challanged the Metal scene, I am really proud of having been around since the 90s and back now.
You are a national heritage, I mean also if the media won’t promote the scene you’re one of the Italian precursor female singer..comes really hard to think (at least for me) a closest singer to confront with you.
Thank you. I feel I am just one of many that are here living what they believe.
Many CDs of your discography are sold out since ages, there are any planes to re-released them without spending a lot of money on eBay? I know that the Polish Metal Minds Production has re-released years ago (in 2008 to be precise) in a limited number of copies “Tales From The North” and “Public Glory, Secret Agony” but the stocks are gone, really really gone and for the young fans that are trying to collect and buy the first albums is a problem, are really hard to find and it’s kinda become utopistic have your entire discography.
I heard about it but this is the market and WS is unable to have a say about it. Sad but true YouTube helps this out by publishing the songs for free.
But if you face the truth you cannot earn anything from that…it’s not fair! I mean is disrespectful towards you, the musicians.
I know but as far as WS music is broadcasted we will be all right.
So you count that all that people that listen WS on YouTube will support at live concerts and buying the last releases?
YouTube will spread the word, get us more opportunities and maybe some CDs sold but as we said Metal is not the TREND right now but who cares, we will get our message through.
Maybe I’m talking the wrong person (I’m imagine that you collect a lot of vinyls/CDs) but do you think about the digital music stores like Itunes?
Sure Itunes can sell the music. But this will be our label sale policy to decide it.
But now I put the question in a more personal way, as music lover what do you prefer the CD format or the digital one?
Right now in a digital world it would make more sense to get it out via internet I just do love the CD with pictures and lyrics.
Because you can “feel” them right? I mean when I see my collection I still cannot believe it have it and collect them everytime I listen to them and have the booklet in my hand I feel very proud of myself..
Yes, it does become a personal matter, you have it and can ask the musician to autograph it just like your own treasure, so much worth it m/
Hahahah that’s true!! Well, we’re near the end what are the next planes talking live gigs and promotions? I hope you come again near where I live ’cause some years ago with the old band members WS played a gig!!
We have a lot of gigs on schedule and I do really hope we will have the chance to play in your area as well…I am sure we will meet someday! Keep the Metal on and since then … if it ain’ t Metal, well it’s crap!!!!!!!
That’s for true! As a final question I’ll asking you to greet freely you fans and our readers and thanks for this awesome interview, Sister!
To all the metal heads: have a blast !!! WS is back and ready to kick ass just come out and play!!! Thank you for this opportunity I’ve really enjoyed the interview.
Label : Crong Production
Review By Erwin Van Dijk
When you see this album for the first time you might think this is a joke. Four young blonde girls from Sweden (and a brunette with a large tattoo) dressed in leather and armed with enough fantasy weapons to film a Conan the Barbarian movie. (As a matter of fact, I’ve seen Hysterica twice live and this is also their stage outfit). This makes them the hottest girls on stage since Delilah and Lilith of Goddess of Desire called it a day, way back in 2005 but this an album review and not about boy fantasies.The name of the band is clearly inspired by Metallica but you might have guessed that already. Indeed, this sounds like some eighties heavy metal band. Stuff like Manowar and all those others. Maybe something like Bad Candy used to be years ago: hot girls for teenager boys who make some kind of rock. But that is the surface. Hysterica was founded by guitarist Bitchie and she has a good ear for musicians. She wanted to create an all women metal band and Hysterica was the result. And remember, all women metal bands are still scarce. Girlschool is still alive and The Donnas have their metal edge but Hysterica also shares much similarities with bands like Vixen, Doro and not to forget Lita Ford. The only other all women metal band I can think of right now in more or less the same genre and from this decennium is Crucified Barbara, also from Sweden. I had the luxury to see Hysterica twice before writing this review and these girls can actually play! More important, Hysterica brings back the fun into metal. This is not some My Dying Bride gig where you enter the venue happy and leaves depressed or some metalcore band where the moshpit always ends into a battlefield that would make the first scenes of the movie Saving Private Ryan a nice game of tag in comparison. Or, worse some “I hate myself and wants to die” emocore band. Hysterica won’t win a prize for being original when you compare them to the past. But compared with the competition today this is a great album. Not necessary for people who are in the whole female fronted scene. One of the gigs I saw was at the Heavy Metal Maniacs Festival and while this is clearly no place for Epica and all those other bands with a female singer and Heavy Metal Maniacs are rather narrow minded when it comes to women on stage in metal bands Hysterica was accepted right on as a metal band (but with a better looking crew I must admit) and not because of their image. This is why Hysterica is a good band and “Metalwar” a good album. Because it is metal as it was supposed to be. If you like Warlock or Sinergy this is a safe buy. And the same goes if you like metal in general.
Rating – 85/100
- We Are the Undertakers
- Bless the Beast
- Girls Made of Heavy Metal
- Wreck of Society
- The Bitch Is Back
- Devil in Me
- Heavy Metal Man
- Pain in The Ass
- Anni De Vil – Lead Singer
- Bitchie – Guitar
- RockZilla – Guitar
- SatAnica – Bass
- Hell’n – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
- 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)
- Fourever – “Solitarium” (2012)
- Embassy of Silence – “Antler Velvet” (2013)
- Shiori Vitus – Eleanor
- KARMIC LINK announces new line up addition and album updates