Interview by Vard AmanVocalist, Olga Salikhova, has over the years become a familiar name and face (and voice) in Russian Female-fronted Metal, having fronted bands such as Slavery, Oktagon and Luna Aeterna. Currently, she is singing for one of the pioneering bands of Russian-based Doom Metal, Voiceless Void, as well as her own project, Core. I caught up with her for a chat about her musical career to date. Hi Olga! Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine. So, to start off with: when did you start singing?
When I was a little girl my granny used to take me a long way to our summer cottage on a bike on the rear seat, and I used to sing all the way to entertain both of us. Later when I was 7 I went to music school and joined a choir, and I liked being part of it.Did you have any special training?
Yes, I did! When I was a teenager, I felt a great desire to get a Grammy and to conquer the world, and I was quite sure it won’t take me more than, say, 5 years, so I started attending some weekend classes at a musical studio. There I experienced my first individual vocal classes. After that all my training was mostly with different private vocal coaches.What was your first band?
I was 17 then, it was a very nice band called Slavery, they lived in a different city in the Moscow Region, so I had to commute to our rehearsals twice a week and my parents had to meet me really late at night coming back. Slavery was kind of melodic power metal with dark lyrics and kind of gothic image. They were really nice guys and the founders of the band are still my friends. There are only a couple of live audio recordings from our gigs and a demo. Unfortunately, even though they existed for 10 years, they didn’t release any albums, even after I left the band.
According to Metal Archives, Slavery split up for the second time in 2010. When was the first time? Was that also when you left?
No, when I left the band, they found another female leader, also named Olga (Mashkina), also a blonde, there were kind jokes about that in the group and among our fans that the band attracts such front girls. I know after Olga Mashkina they had another blonde singer, Nastya. I actually don’t know much about their first splitting-up, I know about the second one in 2010, I was involved then.How were you involved?
I took a break in my musical career after I left Luna Aeterna. I didn’t sing at all for about 4 or 5 years. I communicated with my ex-music colleagues very seldom, only occasionally. Then one day I met with the bass-player of Slavery, Irina, and she suggested that I join them again because their singer, Nastya, was leaving the band for personal reasons. I agreed with enthusiasm, we started rehearsing together, it all was nice and we were discussing recording an album, but after a month of rehearsals the guys decided that they felt exhausted and lacked creative inspiration and new ideas for our music. That’s how we split up, basically.
Label : Solitude Productions
Review by Vard Aman
When I first came across Amily (from Rivne, Ukraine), they were marketing themselves as Funeral Doom – slower and bleaker than traditional Death Doom / Gothic Doom, (but not quite as slow as Drone Doom – a kind of Doom Metal where the drummer has time to leave the stage, go to the bathroom, buy a beer at the bar, drink it, chat to a few friends, update his Facebook status, return to the stage and still be 10 minutes early for the next drum beat…. so he goes off again to buy another drink, has a few shooters while he’s at the bar, gets drunk, forgets the time and ends up missing the next drum beat altogether totally messing up the timing of the song and throwing the rest of the band completely out on sync… pffffft… drummers! Well, OK, perhaps a bit of an exaggeration there…) Anyway, the first two songs I heard from Amily were the demo versions of the title track to their then upcoming album, the bleak and heavy “To All in Graves”, and the immense and beautifully crafted “Fading Image of My Own”: both songs that made Amily a name to keep a very close eye on in the future. So the release of their album when it came was cause for some excitement.
“My Own Angel”, the brand new video from Barcelona, Spanish melodic metallers ANKOR, can be seen below. The clip was filmed with renowned director Patric Ullaeus of the Revolver Film Company AB, who has previously worked with IN FLAMES, DIMMU BORGIR, EUROPE and LACUNA COIL, among many others. The song is the title track of ANKOR‘s second full-length album, which was released in October 2011 via STF Records. The CD was produced by the band and Radish Records in Barcelona. ANKOR is Rosa de la Cruz on vocals, David Romeu and Fito Martinez on guitars, Julio A. Lopez on bass, Javier Casanova on keyboards and Jordi Vidal on drums. More infos @ Facebook.
Interview by Si Smith
Flying the flag for Belgian metal are dedicated rockers Lovelorn, fronted by the attractively named Ladyhell (Kristell Lowagie). Melodic and passionate, they are determined to put Belgium in the centre of the map for quality metal. Links to groups such as Eve’s Apple (formed by Lisa Middlehauve) only serve to solidify their rock and metal credentials. Femme Metal cornered singer Ladyhell to probe deeper…. First thanks for talking to us, and welcome from all at Femme Metal. It seems that are a lady with many faces, as you are also active in other ventures. I believe you and Corpus Christi met for “The Road to Consciousness” project in 2009. Could you tell us a little about this?
Corpus Christi had composed all the tracks of his concept album “The Road to Consciousness” and he was in search for male and female voices. He contacted me, I listened to the songs, and I said yes, I thought the tracks were great ! Later on, we met at the studio to record the songs, and we had lots of fun. We had the same view and ideas about music, we both had no band at that time and we decided to start Lovelorn.You are also an active member in the Eve’s Apple community. For those who are not yet aware, how does Eve’s Apple work, and what role do you play in it?
Eve’s Apple is a community founded by Lisa Middelhauve. The goal is to join together professional female singers, so they can communicate, but also to help newcomers. We also write articles, express our ideas, give some hints, interact with fans. We don’t have a specific role, but we are all working in areas that we like or know better. For example, I’m better at promotion, so I’m trying to help as much as I can in that field.Your singing career has taken many turns too, from Skeptical Minds to Valkyre to guest vocals for Psy’Aviah. Have you come to a place where you know for sure what your voice is and how it should sound for Lovelorn?
I learned that I cannot sing the songs composed by others. I really need to sing my own songs. Because I wrote it, they perfectly fit to my voice. I have a voice that fits rock, gothic rock, but certainly not symphonic metal ! Yes, I think I know exactly how it should sound. In Lovelorn, I just make it sound like me, myself and I, and no one else !Put simply Lovelorn tells stories about love; what is it about love that makes it great material for such a wide variety of songs do you think?
Love rules the world ! It’s a subject that everybody can experience, you can tell 1000 different stories about love ! Love is not only about passion between a man and a woman, it can also be love for a god, for your family, for your friends, for nature…. anything is possible.A track of yours was included on the World of Glass Compilation. Do you think these compilations are important in these days of downloading? Do you feel it gained you any publicity?
Yes I think it helped us, I’m sure some people who listened to the compilation discovered Lovelorn. There are still some people curious about new bands, new projects and who are not brainwashed by commercial radios and TV stations. As a band, we also made friends with other bands on the compilation, yes that compilation was not made for nothing !I love your definition of your genre on your Facebook page – “alternative, rock, metal, electro, ambient” – well, that suitably walks over such a wide range of genres, how on earth do you decide what to record for any particular track when it comes to composing?
I can’t find a good definition for our music style, that’s why I’ve put so many !! ah ah !! If you have any opinion about which style we actually make, be my guest ! We don’t decide, it just comes naturally. I couldn’t really explain the composing process. Corpus Christi is coming with ideas, I put my voice on top then, we make adjustements. Sometimes we decide we want to put some electronic. It’s usually because I want to give a mysterious « atmosphere ».
Why is it important to you that the band members have pseudonyms – the other two being “Hindi Rose” and “Gabriel Arkangel”?
It’s not important ! It’s just for the fun !! Playing music, going on stage … it’s another part of you, another side of your everyday life, … so why not have other names ?So the EP “An Intense Feeling of Attraction” is now out. The first track is “Save Me”. There are a number of songs (even in the female-fronted genre) called “Save Me” or “Save Us”. What do you think your song has to separate it from all the others?
I can’t remember any other song called “Save Me” but I’m sure it exists, you’re right. Everything has been done and said in music, it’s kinda difficult to not repeat it, and find something new. This song “Save Me” could be different because of the voice, of the atmosphere, and the nice melody…Track two is a more laid back affair with minimal backing at certain points. What is the story behind the title “Sagarmatha”?
It sounds different, because I came with the vocal line first, and Christi had to adapt behind it. I also composed all the electronic parts, to make it sound a bit oriental like the title of the song. “Sagarmatha” is sanskrit for “mother of the Earth”. This song is about the damages we’ve done to the Earth and the end of the world.“Cold” has quite a distinctive choral line. Where do all the ideas come from for a Lovelorn song – the musical and the lyrical ones? Do the ideas come from any specific band member or does everybody contribute?
It depends, it comes from me or from Corpus. We take what’s best ! “Cold” is coming from me. I had that whole singing line since years in my head and I already tried to make it sound nice, but it was not possible, but Corpus made it possible! Thank you !!! During rehearsals, the other members become active for the live parts; they also suggest bass lines, drums, we are very open, the purpose is not our ego, but to make the best song possible.The electronic side comes out more in the drumbeat to “Something Wrong”.Was it difficult to agree on how this song should sound, or do all band members have a clear vision of where the band is going at any one time?
We are a new band; so I would lie if I’d say we have a clear vision of where we’re going. We are new so we try things, if it works, that’s great, if it doesn’t we leave it behind. We are composing a lot and we are getting more and more certain about what we want to hear and what we don’t, so that’s good. “Something Wrong” has many fans, it’s touching a broader audience and it still fits the EP, so we are more than happy with the result !By contrast your final song “Little Princess Euphoria” has a more guitar driven basis, and sounds like it would be great live. Have you had many live performances of your material yet?
Live performances is the next step. We had some and we are still working on getting more. We are lucky and we have booking agencies that are helping us in the process. “Little Princess Euphoria” is great live, we experienced it on stage and every week at rehearsals, we have loads of fun with it !Flight of the Valkyries festival is upcoming in the US for this year and I believe you have a chance to play there. How can readers vote for you if they would like to? What would it mean for Lovelorn to be a part of such a festival?
Yes, we were surprised to be on the list of the nominees, it was unexpected, so we are doing our best to get more chances to go there. People can vote for us here . It would be nice to be part of that fest, i don’t know how big it is, but we will play if we are invited to !Finally, thanks so much for talking to us. Have you any final words of wisdom for us? Anything from your heart?
No wise words, just enjoy life !
Label : STF Records
Review by Tony Cannella
From Spain, Ankor has previously released a full-length album and an EP which were both sung in their native Spanish language. Now Ankor returns with their English language debut “My Own Angel”, and I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprise with their mixture of intensely aggressive music combined with an accessible almost pop style. The band has three vocalists and the aggression comes from the belligerent vocals of Julio A. Lopez as Rosa de la Cruz provides the perfect foil with clean vocal style which gives the songs some accessibility. Guitarist David Romeu is also there to contribute some clean male vocals. Musically, they can go in different directions, from aggressive to accessible and even a tiny bit of prog thanks to their keyboard sound. The opening track, “Remaining” gets things started aggressively, but even though this is a very heavy song that features the aggressive male vocals, it also gives the listener a taste of the melodicism that this band is capable of, thanks to Rosa’s clean singing style. The guitar harmonies kick off the next track “Completely Frozen” which turned out to be one the best as it just gallops along until it reaches its conclusion. Other highlights include: “It Would Be Easier” (featuring clean male vocals in conjunction with Rosa’s), “No Matter What” and “Against the Ground”. “My Own Angel” by Ankor may seem a bit uneven at times, but there is enough good stuff here to pique the interest of metal fans everywhere.
Rating – 76/100
- Completely Frozen
- It Would Be Easier
- Awaiting Your Awakening
- No Matter What
- My Own Angel
- Against the Ground
- Starting Over
- Rosa de la Cruz – Vocals
- David Romeu – Guitar & Vocals
- Fito Martínez – Guitar & Backing vocals
- Javier “Rubio” Casanova – Keyboards
- Julio A. López – Bass, screams and backing vocals
- Jordi Vidal – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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