Label: Livewire/Cargo Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Wow! To say that the Swedish powerhouse metal band Nubian Rose has released their best album would be an understatement. Granted this is only their second record but it is miles ahead of their 2012 debut “Mountain” in terms of production, writing and presentation. I thought “Mountain” was a good enough debut but with their new album “Mental Revolution” the band has really turned it up a notch (or several).
“Mental Revolution” is a high energy, power packed sophomore record with a guitar sound that is just freakin’ massive. When the monstrous riff that accompanies the opener “War” kicks in it’s time to buckle in and enjoy the ride. Sofia Lilja’s vocals are huge throughout the record and soars with the music. Continue reading »
Label : Columbia/Sony Music
Review by Luisa Mercier
Lucy Rose is a young folk singer coming from Warwishire, that moved to London to attend college and there met Jack Steadman of Bombay Bicycle Club, who invited her to sing on their last two records. She also toured worldwide with them in supoort of Noah and The Whale, gaining a great live experience.
“Like I Used To” was recorded at the home of her parents in Warwickshire with producer Charlie Hugall and displays Lucy‘s sweet and soft voice that already has gained her comparisons with famous colleagues of the folk scene. Her music offers nothing new if I have to be sincere, since a lot of singer-songwriters are crowding the stage right now, so it is difficult to be original, but she has her positive features. Continue reading »
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 : 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
Review by Tony Cannella
The Croatian symphonic metal band Downcast Art unleashed their debut demo in 2009. Now they are back with a new singer (Jelena Muzar) and a full-length debut called “Forbidden Memories”. The three songs that appeared on the 2009 demo have been re-recorded and now are on this full-length. They are: “Miris Proslosti”, “Chants From the Deep” and “Whisper of a Dying Rose”. New vocalist Jelena does not sound all that different than their previous one, perhaps a little more operatic but her presence does not change the band dynamic one bit. After a 4-minute instrumental intro piece (“Everlasting”), Downcast Art launches into the dramatic “Bloodred Ink”. This song features some great orchestration and choir-like background vocals. The next song “Miris Proslosti” opens with sounds of crashing thunder and an eerie keyboard intro. This is a mid-tempo number and Jelena sings in a lower range on this one. She shows that she capable of more than just the over-the-top operatic stuff. “Home of Silence” is another mid-tempo song, but Jelena’s style is much more operatic on this one. Musically, the songs have plenty of atmosphere and Downcast Art definitely comparable to Tarja era Nightwish. Other highlights include: “Face Without a Name”, “Innocence Never Dies With Desire” and “Downlight”. “Forbidden Memories” is a good debut and Downcast Art has certainly grown since their demo. Hopefully “Forbidden Memories” will be a springboard for bigger and better things; Downcast Art appears to be headed that way.
Rating – 75/100
- Bloodred Ink
- Miris Proslosti
- Home of Silence
- Forbidden Memories
- Face Without a Name
- Whisper of a Dying Rose
- Innocence Never Dies With Desire
- Chants From the Deep
- Home of Silence (Piano version)
- Jelena Mužar – Vocals
- Kristijan Radeka – Guitars & Vocal
- Zdravko Smenderovac – Keyboards
- Davor Grdic – Bass
- Lukas Šomek – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
- Cradle of Filth – “Hammer of the Witches” (2015)
- Whispering Woods – “Perditus et Dea” (2015)
- Alissa White-Gluz – Arch Enemy
- Tarja – “Luna Park Ride” CD/DVD (2015)
- Natalie Koskinen – Shape of Despair
- Tezaura – “Unleash the Butterflies” (2015)
- Royal Thunder – “Crooked Doors” (2015)
- Zola Jesus
- Jenny Hval – “Apocalypse, girl” (2015)
- Kobra Paige – Kobra and the Lotus
- Frantic Amber – “Burning Insight” (2015)
- Johanna Sadonis – Lucifer
- Galley Beggar – “Silence & Tears” (2015)
- Shape of Despair – “Monotony Fields” (2015)
- Lucifer – “Lucifer I” (2015)
- Lullacry – “Legacy 1998-2014” (2014)
- Ethernity – “Obscure Illusions” (2015)
- Amanda Somerville – Kiske/Somerville
- Kiske/Somerville – “City of Heroes” (2015)
- Les Discrets – “Live at Roadburn” (2015)
- Kamelot – “Haven” (2015)
- Elize Ryd & Olof Mork – Amaranthe
- Sirenia – “The Seventh Path Life” (2015)
- Asylum Escape – Even If I’m Broken EP (2015)
- Uhrijuhla- “Jokainen on vapaa lintu” (2015)
- Courtney LaPlante – Iwrestledabearonce
- Halestorm – “Into the Wild Life” (2015)
- End of Skyline – “EOS” EP (2015)
- Ailyn – Sirenia