Label : Epidemie Records
Review by Tony Cannella
From the Czech Republic, Dying Passion’s style may be difficult to put a finger on, maybe Alternative Doom Metal might be a good description, then again maybe not. The Dying Passion story begins with their formation in 1995. In 2000 they released “Secretly”. Now they have just released (unbelievably) their 6th album entitled, “Amplify”.
To be honest, this is the first I’ve heard of Dying Passion, so I have nothing to compare this new album to. I can say that the overall musical direction on “Amplify” is dark, downtrodden and doom-y. The lead singer Zuzana Jelinkova is a steady force within the band. She never deviates from her mid-range style, but does add raspiness to her voice on some songs. “Path to the Land of Visions” sets the course straight away and as an opening number it gets things started on a positive note. Continue reading »
Interview by Alessandra CognettaOne of the most varied and well-crafted albums of 2012, To-Mera‘s “Exile” has already been praised in our “Reviews” section and is definitely one of the best records from last year. We took the chance and got in touch with lead vocalist and original founder member Julie Kiss to ask her some questions about the band, her career, Egyptology (!) and the current state of the music industry. Scroll below and dive in to read more! Hello and welcome, Julie! First of all, a belated wish for a Happy New Year from Femme Metal! How are you and how has 2012 been for To-Mera?
Thanks, likewise. I’m great thank you, life is good right now. As you know, To-Mera have recorded a new album so it’s been pretty exciting. All the more so because the album almost never got made… Then when it did, we recorded and produced it all ourselves which was a very new but immensely rewarding experience.To-Mera‘s latest effort, “Exile”, is a blessing for the ears and an infinite source of surprises (definitely one of my favourite albums of 2012, and I swear I’m a neutral party!). There’s plenty of reviews to read around, but if you had to review it by yourself, track by track, from the point of view of someone who saw the record come to life, what would you write?
I think I would refuse unless I had a lot of time on my hands there is so much going on but the songs are all connected: they follow a plunge into a deep dark place that ends in a sort of spiritual enlightenment… Continue reading »
Interview by Lindz Riot
When people hear of Quebec, Canada they immediately think of Montreal, but to the east lays Quebec City where many good things are happening for Metal and Ambient experimental music alike. There you will find a gem, a diamond in the rough by the name of Manahil. Arabic for “The Sources” they are a duo that describes themselves as “Ambient music for Metal Heads” and from listening to them you can hear the concept. It is very refreshing! Fronted by the soulful and exotic voice of Hind Fazazi alongside piano wiz and musical visionist Mathieu Fiset, they are definitely adding something new to the music world. During their Ontario, Canada tour I have had the privilege to house them and sit down with them to get into their minds about what Manahil is and what they are doing that is so different.Welcome to Femme Metal guys! Thank you so much for doing this interview with us. It’s a real pleasure. So how are you two liking your Ontario tour so far?
Mathieu: Great ! So far only one show down, but we played here last October with Stream of Passion and Unexpect and that was great. I can’t wait to play Toronto tonight and Oshawa next week with Mary and the Black Lamb and Modified.
Hind: I cannot judge for the moment! But at least, people here are friendly …let’s see if the Toronto gig tonight will be as nice!How did you two meet?
Mathieu : Through a friend of ours. I asked Hind to come up to record a Steven Wilson cover song just for fun, but we ended creating music with an ambient instrumental track I had. This first song is the opening track of our first album.
Hind: I was fifteen years old at that time, and I already knew Mathieu was a great piano and keyboard player. We tried some covers together, in English first, but then we rapidly decided to experiment something new in Arabic, because we both were curious, open-minded and tired of traditional music!How did you decide on your sound? Was it a vision or something that just came out through jamming together?
Mathieu: We never planned anything really, but of course with the knowledge that she could sing in Arabic and the fact that I love exotic music, we just ended up doing lots of oriental stuff in the beginning. But later we added the pop, rock, electronic and progressive stuff.
Hind: We just ….let ourselves do whatever we wanted to. We knew that our two energies were going to give something unique. We jammed a lot in the beginning to see what we could create together, and then just continued that way until now!What are your musical backgrounds?
Mathieu: As a kid I was in love with the soundtracks of my favourite movies and then the music of Alegria from Cirque du Soleil really had an impact on me when I was 5 or 6. I took some piano lessons then stopped because the lessons were not what I imagined it would be. Later on, when I was 14, I started listening to metal so my interest in music came back. At 15 I joined my first metal band and slowly became a professional musician.
Hind: When I was a young little girl living in Morocco, I loved…Celine Dion! Then, when I moved to Quebec, I switched radically to thrash metal, Nu Metal and female fronted metal bands! Slayer, Sepultura, Korn, Within Temptation, Evanescence…afterward, I began to listen to Opeth and opened my mind to non-purely metal music, such as Nine Inch Nail, The Cure and Indian music.What artists have really influenced Manahil?
Mathieu: That would be a long list! But I can say that my favourite bands are Tool, Nine Inch Nails, Porcupine Tree, Opeth but also some other artists have had a major impact like Peter Gabriel, Rachid Taha and Hans Zimmer.
Hind: For me, singers like Amy Lee, Tori Amos, Norah Jones and Susheela Raman, a folk-indian artist, influenced my interpretation.You say you are ambient music for metal heads, what do you mean by this statement? Are you both heavily into metal?
Mathieu: Yeah, as you might guess by now, we both listen to a lot of rock and metal music, but we need something to balance it all, so we create kind of an ambient or electronic version of the metal music we want to hear.
Hind: As I have already said, we LOVE metal and listen to metal bands, but we hate to categorize ourselves as metal heads. Also, we don’t want to get bored by doing the same old style all the time and we absolutely adore oriental music and mixing styles that every open-minded metal head should appreciate.
Would you ever consider making Manahil a full band project?
Mathieu: No, because from the beginning we decided Manahil was the two of us, the creative force we are, and not a musical style.So even if we often have collaborators and live musicians, we prefer to keep the basic of Manahil as the two us.
Hind: Manahil, in Arabic, means The Sources, it’s only us two and we are the sources of the music we create!What has the respond to your music been like in the Province of Quebec?
Mathieu: I don’t really know, to be honest. It’s a positive response for sure, but since it’s a really personal music, everyone feels different to it.
Hind: It’s particular! Manahil is a very introspective music and in a show context, where people are used to scream, it’s weird. It’s as if the crowd finds it special to just listen and let the music enter in their hearts.Do you think you will be well received in Europe?
Mathieu: I guess!
Hind: I really think so. The North American audience is definitely different. The expectations are different, and I think, honestly, that the cultural aspect will be positive for us. We are a non-typical band, and maybe, I say maybe, it will be fully understood in Europe.Why do you feel the metal scene in Quebec has been progressing so rapidly as of late compared to the rest of North America? Do you agree with this statement?
Mathieu: I guess it’s mainly because there’s a lot more metal heads in Quebec so with a bigger crowd, you can have more bands, more shows…but I mostly feel there’s too much of the same thing. We certainly have some of the best extreme metal bands in the world.
Hind: I agree with Mathieu on that, particularly in Quebec City…Quebec, metal city! But yeah, there is too much of the same: too much black metal bands, classic Hardcore bands… it’s not very diversified!Tell me a bit about your new album, where did you record it? Who produced it? What can we expect to hear?
Mathieu: I produced, recorded and mixed it myself, mostly in my home studio but you’ll like to know that we recorded the vocals in Cardinal, Ontario. Musically, it’s a new experiment, more than a new direction. As much as we love the new album, we won’t do the same for the next album, just like every recording we’ve done and will do. It’s even more “Ambient music for Metal heads” than the first album. It’s a deeper, more sophisticated production which I’m really proud of and we went in musical areas that we never dared to explore yet, opening the door for more experiments in the future. We’re growing up I’d say!
Hind: Yeah, the composition of this album was a nice and refreshing experience. First, Mathieu sent me what he had done…the musical tracks sounded less melodic and more electronic to me… I didn’t know, at first, what I could sing on that! Then I experimented to write my melodies in a totally different way, and the result is amazing: a mix of very melodic vocals mixed with dark-electro-industrial-oriental music!I noticed a hint of a Jazz influence on your most recent EP, can we expect to hear something like that on your next album?
Hind: No, or maybe inconsistently in a few back vocals. We both love jazz, but we already explored what we could do with that on “From Roots to Clouds”, “Alouanou Sama” is totally something else!Last question: Outside of music, what are your lives like from day to day living?
Mathieu: Music is my day job, but I’d say I don’t play as much as I’d like to. Doing lots of planning, booking, promotion, paper work, I don’t take much time off, but I like to change my mind from time to time playing games and watching stuff on YouTube. I’m a complete nerd, so I don’t have of a much social life.
Hind: I’m going to University, studying philosophy and politics. Those subjects are my main passions with music. I am involved in my community, and I try to be active to promote a provincial political party by the name of Quebec Solidaire. I’m a part time musician, but a full time good citizen, I think. I read a lot and love to party with friends!
All the photos by Fred Laroche
Interview by Erwin van DijkAn in-depth chat with Chiara, the soprano singer of the well-promising Italian Gothic Metal band Lust for Oblivion about their debut demo “Black Moon” and their musical future. Did you always want to become a singer?
I’ve always loved music and my first experience with it was at the age of nine, when I started playing the piano, but I’ve always loved singing, too, since when I was a child, so, some years ago, I started taking opera singing lessons.And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I listen to classical music, especially opera and piano compositions and also to metal music.And who are your favorite bands and musicians?
Bands like Dark Tranquillity, Moonspell, Within Temptation, Lacuna Coil, Tristania are my favorite, but I’ve surely forgotten some…obviously I adore Tarja Turunen!!!! My favorite classical musicians are W.A.Mozart, F.Chopin and K.Orff.
Interview by Si Smith
Armed with a killer logo and a deceptively simple album cover, Lunocode burst onto the scene of female-fronted metal this year with a debut EP full of musical richness and progressive flourishes. Suitably apocalyptic in title, “Last Day of the Earth” will certainly not be the last word from these musical maestros, as the EP has enough variety and melody in it to keep the earth revolving for them in the near future. Femme Metal spoke to angelic messenger Daphne and rhythmic wizard Perseo to uncover more…. When you first got together in 2004 you called yourself “ANIMA” because the name was connected to the platonic meaning of “eternal and indivisible”. Since names and meanings are clearly important to the band, why call the new band “Lunocode“?
Perseo: We wanted a more personal and unique name for our band and as “Anima” was a very common name we decided to change it just before releasing the “Last Day of the Earth” EP. Lunocode is a wordplay about “Lunokhod” and “Code”. Lunokhod is the first rover to land on the moon and being radio controlled by man on Earth. I discovered that tiny rover during some personal researches I was doing on the internet and I liked the idea of this little probe exploring the unknown on another celestial body. The others too liked the idea and we started thinking about a good wordplay to transform “Lunokhod” in something more personal. In the end we found “Lunocode”, merging the Russian “Lunokhod” with the English “Code”. It sounds good and suggests something that has to do with Universe and Space, two themes that really fascinates us very much. The Russian word Lunokhod means “moon walker”. “Lunocode” could be translated in English to “lunar code” or something similar and makes me instantly think about the black monolith of “2001: A Space Odyssey”, as it was just found under the surface of the moon. Lunocode is a “new” word and has not a clear and unambiguous meaning but suggests a bunch of fascinating images and thoughts. This is the reason why we chose it: it’s a fascinating name with a strong personality and it’s definitely what we were searching for! A little curiosity: the fact that we started with Lunokhod, that is a Russian word (the machine was built by USSR), to create our monicker has something to do with our next FL too!It is clear that the band members were friends for a long time before Lunocode ever existed. How does this affect the way the band works together as a whole? Does it come with its own problems?
Daphne: I’m the last one arrived in the group. The boys have a deep friendship, strengthened in time and it has given me a pleasant sense of tranquillity since the first time I met them. They are kind and put me at my ease at personal and professional levels. This attitude, positive and constructive, is one of the things that creates the right climate to do music: it’s the ground where the expression of each personality can grow up and become more mature as a musician and as a person, through the exchange. Obviously, to be a friend means also clear honesty, then, we are free to say clearly what we think.
Perseo: I solely add that yes, we’re friends since a long time (I actually know Giordano since the early days in the nursery school so we really are friends of a lifetime, we went to school together and we live in the same little country, only a couple of kilometres divides my home from Giordano’s home and it’s really the same situation between Paride and Francesco…and Paride is my brother as well!), but we also have a common goal that goes under the name of “Lunocode” and we work together for the best for our band! So yes there are, have been and will be, here and there, some problems (and I think this is very normal for every band) but we’re strong and mature enough to rapidly solve them and our friendship is a great and unique support that helps us very much in every aspect of being together. Daphne inserted very well in the band and we’re really happy with her.Cecilia Menghi handled the vocals on this album: Daphne, what is it like having into step into her shoes? What is your vocal background? How did you hook up with the band? (sorry, that’s a lot of questions in one, but we need to know!!)
Daphne: Cecilia and me has a different singing style. She is more turned toward power metal, then, maybe, she was more at her ease than me in the old songs. My background include prog-rock, prog-metal and dark: my vocal style is oriented towards a very interpretative way. I love so much to play with dynamics like changes of vocal register and of volume. I love to feel the songs deeply in their meanings and give a special “dress” to each one. I think it’s not a question of value, but it’s a matter of feelings and of personal taste. I like to sing this way and it fits perfectly with the new style Lunocode decided to implement in future songs. How did I hook up with the band? Perseo and me meet the first time in Prato, at a rock concert, some time ago, accidentally. He was searching for a singer and then we started talking about this collaboration: it went very well just from the beginning!The album teaser you put up on YouTube at the end of the last year began with some philosophical statements about “the need to find different meanings for the same old concepts”. How does your music reflect this concern?
Perseo: I’m glad you watched the video on YouTube! “Last Day of the Earth” has a conceptual nature and the “basic theme” of the concept is about losing all the convictions and all the happiness after a tragic event. When this happens many and many questions arise in one’s mind and one could find himself searching new meanings for old concepts like pain, life, passion and, most important, death. This journey is described throughout the 4 songs composing the mini-concept and this is the reason for the statement you’ve seen on the teaser.In 2011 the new album hit the stores. Since “Last Day of the Earth” is a type of concept album, could you tell us how the concept evolves through the main tracks?
Perseo : “Last Day of the Earth” is a mini-concept album, as I said before and every song has a “job” to perform to carry forward the story behind the concept. This is made clear on the back cover of the CD-Rom version of the EP because in the tracklist each song has a “subtitle”. “Flow, My Tears”, for example is “Falling from Grace”, denoting the start of the journey: something has gone bad and we have lost certainties and convictions, everything is changed and we have no more a solid base for our life. “Universal Plan” is “transition”: after falling from grace one is generally sad and depressed and reflections start to get darker and darker and sad as well. But this is just a moment, a transition. In fact, during the song “Universal Plan”, we start from darkness but, at a certain point (I’m referring to the “special” section in the middle of the song, right after the solos) some “light” is shed upon the darkness: positive cosmic concepts are introduced (Carl Sagan, Fred Hoyle, Stephen Hawking and others are quoted here and at the end of the song with their beautiful statements about universe and man condition), something starts to evolve and the world can be re-read with different meanings for sad or happy facts of life in mind. This makes a person do the first step toward final salvation. The interesting thing is that everything happens in our minds: our approach to the Universe changes our life radically while the Universe remains the same at every moment. In “Heart of the World” (“Reflections of Autumn”, where is described the scene you can see on the cover of the cd, with the man and the tree: “I’m staring at the sunset in silence in this autumn evening, On the top of this hill sitting in the grass everything is whispering Infinity”) and “Silent Thoughts” (“Final Step (..?)”, where the concept ends…or starts again? J) this process continues and comes to an end…at least for the main character of the story, but I’ll let you interpret the end by yourselves! I don’t want to explain too much of the story ‘cause I think that, in this type of concept album, the listener should be able to build up his own vision and interpretation. What I described here are just the “basics”: in the album there is so much more and I will let you find it all!Is the EP the beginnings of an upcoming full-length, or is it a stand-alone piece?
Perseo: The EP “Last Day of the Earth” is really a stand-alone piece with its own character, story, sound, artwork and themes. It is not a preview of the FL, it’s just a “mini-concept” representing our debut!
Daphne: “Last Day of the Earth” is a “stand-alone” work, as you said. At the same time, we are working on a new EP and on a FL. The new EP will live an autonomous life with respect to the other two works, but will overlap with the FL. We’re going to enter the studio in summer and we hope to give birth to it in autumn. Surely, the FL will require more time. So, keep in touch with us!
Italy is well-known for its power metal, thanks to bands such as Rhapsody of Fire and Luca Turilli‘s work in general. How do you feel that your band stands out against these other Italian stalwarts?
Perseo: We’re a young band and we do essentially what we like to do with enthusiasm and passion. Rhapsody of Fire is a gigantic band with worldwide reputation and with many and many years of career: we watch them with great respect. Lunocode and Rhapsody are really different animals. Lunocode is basically just a small band but we’re very determined in doing what we do because we like it: we hope this is the key…doing just what we feel we have to do at our best!
Daphne: Maybe only in offering something simply different. It doesn’t mean better or worse, but only something else.On the first main track, “Flow, My Tears”, Cecilia has to reach some quite high notes. Daphne, are you going to sing the songs as Cecilia did, or are we going to see a completely new interpretation of the songs?
As I said before, I’ve got a different approach to the songs and my interpretation is something completely different. I will obviously maintain the melodies and arrangements but I will interpret them with my own sensibility.“Universal Plan” contains many queries and thoughts about the meaning (or meaninglessness) of life. Do these reflect any particular spiritual or life beliefs of any band members or is it just a great lyrical subject?
In “Universal Plan” lyrics starts with a quite “dark” image of someone under the rain reflecting about being a “nothing” in front of the vast Universe and about being just a “gear” without importance in the cosmic game of life and death. I can say this image is certainly a good lyrical subject but the truth is that all I’ve written in “Last Day of the Earth” is very autobiographic: I like to write about reflections that I do when I find myself alone and I use my time to think and think…and the Universe and the human condition really fascinate me. In “Last Day of the Earth” I wanted to share some thoughts of mine with people that listen to our music but I also wanted to try to drop a “seed” of peace, compassion and equality in the large World hoping that this seed could influence someone: also if it’s one person only I am just happy, because this means that the world has became just a little better. I’m an atheist and what I say is not, in any case, related to religion, I want to make it clear. But I think humankind has a natural spiritual side that is, when united with rationality and science, our real strength. To understand what I’m talking about when I say “spirituality” you can do a little experiment by yourself: search “pale blue dot” in google images and do a little research about this theme…surely you’ll get what I’m talking about if you listen to your feelings JI see the song “Heart of the World” begins with a drum solo: nice one, Perseo!! Do you play the drums each time the same when you rehearse as a band, or is there room for “creative interpretation” within the tracks? Do you get much time to rehearse together?
Thank you very much! I’m really happy I can say something about that drum solo: someone could hear a “quote” from a famous drum solo by Cozy Powell. Do you remember the solo Cozy does as an intro to the song “Stargazer” in the Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow album called “Rising”? The drum solo I do in “Heart of the World” is specifically composed to be a variant of THAT drum solo and it’s my tribute to one of my favourite drummers of all the time: Mr Cozy Powell! I love his rock-solid drumming and I wanted to pay tribute to such an inspiration for me. However the drum solo in “Heart of the World” is composed by two parts: the first is my tribute to Cozy, the second (starting when the guitars kicks in) is a much more subtle tribute to another drum legend and another of my top 3 favourite drummers: Mark Zonder of Fates Warning. The second part of the drum solo is freely inspired by the drum parts that Mark plays in the song “Pale Fire” by Fates Warning in the album “Inside Out”. Excuse me if I wanted to make public this tribute that I, with maximum respect, decided to pay to those great drummers…but it’s important for me! J To finally answer your question, as the drum solo is composed with this in mind, I usually play it the same every time and it’s the same for the majority of the other drum parts in the various songs even if there is, in some specific parts, enough room for interpretation and for having fun playing drums live. As a band we usually group together to rehearse 2 days a week and we group together in our studio another 1-2 days a week to write new material, to record demos, arrange new songs etc..normal band activity! JIt was quite brave to include a 9 minute ballad on such an EP! It seems at a listen that “Silent Thoughts” represents the end of the main part of the album, and the last track seems a bit different (not to mention short compared to the other songs). What was the intention of adding this acoustic track onto the end of the album?
Yes, “Silent Thoughts” represents the end of the concept “Last Day of the Earth” (for this reason it’s a lengthy song) and “Invisible Tears” (Acoustic Version) is a so-called bonus track : Lunocode is our new monicker and the previous band monicker was Anima. With the monicker Anima we published a demo-cd, called “Birth” that contained 4 songs (I think you can find it online somewhere). The song that, in various reviews, was elected as the best song of the demo was “Invisible Tears” as so, in our debut EP, we wanted to put a reference to our past by adding, as a bonus track, an acoustic version of the best song of our old demo. We rearranged and reworked the song and put it at the end of our EP: I think it’s a good ending theme for the CD.Daphne, no matter how great a band are musically, fans are often drawn to the front-person as a focal point for the band. Please tell us what kind of a person you are, and what are the things that interest you and make you happy?
Daphne: Oh, I’m sociable and I love to laugh (Perseo can confirm it…maybe I’ve hit a new world record in knowing the largest number of quotes from sarcastic and demented films!). The things that make me feel happier are: sharing good moments with the people I love (especially in concerts), singing on stage with Lunocode and having the possibility to meet people with the band, to talk with them, to exchange opinions and emotions.With such as strong musical opus behind you, are there any plans to bring the music to the live stage soon? If so, would it be limited to just Italy, or would you like to set your sights further afield?
Perseo: Yes, we made our first show with Daphne in a small but beautiful pub called “Rock Highland” in Arezzo, Italy, last March (there is actually one video on YouTube) and we played “Heart of the World” and “Universal Plan” as well as some brand new songs. We’ll play in Rome at Pictures of Prog festival (April 23, 2011) and in Barletta (Bari, June 19, 2011) at A.Live Rock Festival : you can find all the updates on our social network profiles (we have Facebook, MySpace, Last.fm, ReverbNation, Twitter…search for us!). It would be really fantastic to play outside Italy but, as we’re working on a new EP and on our FL, we’re actually concentrating on studio work. In future, maybe, we’ll also travel outside Italy: we really hope so!Finally, let me just give a big thank you from all at Femme Metal, and we wish you success with any new plans for Lunocode!!
Daphne: Thank you so much for the occasion you gave us to talk about our experience to you and to people who read your great site. Bye!
Perseo: We thank you for this great interview and we hope you all stay connected with us because we have some news to share during next months! To all the readers interested in us: for everything about the band check www.lunocode.com. Thank you again and goodbye!
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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