Label : Rock’n Growl Records
Review by Disgraced & Luisa Mercier
From Croatia with sadness. Ashes You Leave, the historical doom-gothic metal band that started already in 1995, are back with their sixth studio album and a new, hoping solid line-up. Well, I’ll immediately say that I’m a long, long time fan of them so many of my judgements might be shadowed by my own liking of the music but two big faults, according to my humble opinion, are present as well and be sure I’ll point them out nonetheless. Kicking off with a piece of news most readers of this webzine will be interested in, this is the first record with new female singer Giada (also her first professional record ever), who marks the third woman in a three-records period in the AYL camp and their fourth singer generally speaking. Leaving apart first doomstress Dunja, who marked the mydyingbride-ish sound of their first three albums, and without being rude to Giada‘s two predecessors (one of whom was an incredibly talented keyboardist as well), it’s pretty clear since the opener “Devil in Disguise” that she’s the best choice for this band, with a quite distinctive voice which I’ll be about again later.
As I just said, “The Cure for Happiness” starts with “Devil in Disguise” which quickly shows you the best the Croatian have to offer; one might say that this album is a bit like “Songs of the Lost” #2, since with their previous album they had abandoned most of the symphonic temptations presented on “Fire” and on the opposite embraced again a slower, more melancholic kind of metal which certainly suits them better. But beware, there are very, very few “nu goth metal” elements here, no Delain or Lacuna Coil-like so to say. A generous solo in the opener track, and the overall heaviness are good examples of that – examples which shold be taken and learnt by many. Of course one of the trademarks of this band, aka miss Batinic‘s soaring violin melodies are always there but they aren’t part of the real own structure of the songs as they did in the past (the firtst three albums reworked the lesson of My Dying Bride‘s “The Angel and the Dark River” in a quite personal and successful way) although since being Marta together with guitarist/growler Berislav the only two founder members remained - a couple in music and in real life, for gossip’s sake – the feeling of a classic sound will be perceived by any old fan, thanks to that subtle red line that separates AYL from most bands in the same genre. Guitarist Berislav Poje, as already mentioned, is also responsible for the male harsh vocals audible hear and there in the most traditional duets à la Theatre of Tragedy with Giada; this marks another big and good return, since it was many years we didn’t hear so much manhood in AYL vocals. His growls are deep and powerful, very much death metal alike and very fitting. Second track “Only” Ashes You Leave starts with a beautiful violin-paced movement and seems to be a little less uptempo than the opener; perhaps if Placebo ever decided to play metal they’d deliver something like this – with Molko’s already rather feminine vocals it wouldn’t be that hard and let’s remember AYL themselves did an incredible rendition of “Every Me Every You” on their previous album. Particularly notable in this song are the guitar riffs again and the groove toward the end of the song born also thanks to the work of the other new bandmember, drummer Sasa Vukosav, who really did a great work with the sticks, and Luka Petrovic‘s bass skills.
Third track “For the Heart, Soul and Mind” has been released as an online promo single few days ago. Probably that’s because it’s a faster song with a catchy chorus; strophes are actually the best part in my opinion, with an almost stoner flavour in them and Giada‘s voice getting a bit acid. In the chorus instead she lets herself be driven by a semi-opera style which comes again in the final vocalizing. Well, this is a point worth of discussion because I think she has a wonderful, warm, natural low voice which makes some tracks simply shine. A bit reminiscent of both Flowing Tears vocalists, past and current, just to give you an idea: they are not the same but that is the what we’re speaking about. I think it would be a pity if such a particular singer were influenced by the actual trend in melodic metal and pushed herself to go higher and higher with octaves or to sing operatic-like (although this would help her delivering the “Fire” material) because there are already so many bands with women singing that way while Giada here seems to be quite good at handling lower and more powerful vocals… and there are many examples in the actual “new wave of doom heavy metal with p***y on vocals”, just think of Jex Thoth! Add that Etro shares also the same hair colour with Thoth and les jeux sont faits. Back to our review, what we have next is “The Ever-Changing”, a track more difficult to get which proves what the guys are able to do when they let their doom roots grow free in the musical ground. If Giada didn’t sing that operatic (she did it perfectly but it’s the same as above; think of Mariangela Demurtas singing old Tristania songs, she does it wonderfully but what is unmatchable is her contralto voice, making her resemble a Grace Slick in a metal band) this would be a real 10/10 track! Heavy, melancholic, f**koff guitars, also a bit of evil floating in the background and you have something Draconian would die to write.
Fifth song is “Meant to Stray”, which I admit is a song I still have to fully understand, even after dozens of listenings. It’s an average midtempo song which simply doesn’t impress me like the others, with a certain mainstream rock vibe in it. Following is one of the highlights of the album, smartly chosen as first promo single already back last April. “Summers End”, as I commented on YouTube me myself, is an instant classic, without any doubts one of the best songs the band ever created and I would like to speak face to face to both older and newer fans saying it’s a bad piece. It’s one of those rare songs that immediately grow on you AND even after you listen to it so many times like I did, it’s always like the first time. A soft arpeggio introduces Giada who delivers her most passionate interpretation, so full of emotion, in one of the most beautiful vocal lines of the whole album. Lyrics are so meaningful, yet simple and straight, proving that you don’t need complicated metaphors to let your inner feelings out: after all, anything you feel is plain and direct inside your heart and mind (and soul, according to track number three!) so why should it become complex and twisted when you give it to the world?
Is this human nature
Are we designed this way
To be unhappy, so uncertain
To live in fear every day
Yet in the affairs of the heart we dwell naïve
So childishly gullible and willing to forgive
And when we’re left with nothing but the choking pain
We hope it will be washed away by the autumn rain
Aiming something straight like in this case does not take the magic of the music off, on the contrary it helps you to drown even more in the cloth weaven by the notes. In the middle of the song, before male vocals have their say, we have another beautiful, short guitar solo that comes to life again later on. Also the violin allows to build the whole atmosphere and the initial arpeggio ends the song nicely – one of AYL‘s flaws is that the end of the songs too often stops sort of abruptly. So we arrive to the seventh track “Reality Sad”, a good and heavy stone thrown at you without mercy. Berislav, Matija, Luka and Sasa produced other grinding moments that live will truly smash crowds. Oddly enough, first listenings to this track brought some similarities with Salt Lake City-based band Subrosa to my ears. I should have said “oddly to the maximum”, because Subrosa are one of those bands you just cannot describe without sounding too devoted to be objective or anyway, without failing in giving a rightful impression. If you who are reading this love doom metal, both ol’ school one and modern styles, if you like stoner/sludge, The Sins of Thy Beloved, ’80s darkwave, heavy guitars dissstorted, avantgardness and pure magic in the end, go check them out. Well, fact is that we have doom in both bands, we have violin in both bands, and female vocals too, and above all, the reason why I thought of the comparison, a similarity in the way guitars and vocals speak to each other, the emission of vocals and the sharpness of the axes, maybe it’s just me I get this because of the production but hey, that’s the impression I had. “The Cure” does not have anything to do with the new wave band but is a beautiful violin interlude; too bad it’s so short because it would’ve been quite original to have it as a full song – and please note that I usually don’t like instrumentals. Final track is “…For Happiness” which sadly sounds too anonymous than the rest of the album, definitely not a highlight for me. It isn’t a bad song, it also has a good crescendo but as we use to say here in Italy, it’s “not meat nor fish”. Personally I would have chosen some other ending, maybe with more impact but I’m glad they didn’t make any suite or whatsoever because for me it’s the same speech as for instrumentals. But hell! We don’t have pompous, orchestral metal here luckily! Even though it would be interesting to see a band this kind having their hands into a long, long track that is actually a suite and not a common deathdoomgothic metal llllooong, slllooowww song.
Now, I have already mentioned some major flaws here and there when I met them but now it’s time to face the two biggest ones which motivated me to lower my final mark even despite all the love I have for this band (so you see, in the end I succeeded in being impartial!). First one: this is not a doom metal album as the label or the band promoted it and Ashes You Leave are not a tout court doom metal band since ten years. I don’t know whose fault is this but if you actually look at promo stuff or statements and you don’t know the band you’ll easily expect something totally different, like Shape of Despair or Funeral, or even like early Theatre of Tragedy which is without any more words different from what it is and from what the band is nowadays. However, I must also say, especially for newbies, that doom metal is NOT necessarily slowed down to death and does NOT necessarily have to feature all those elements metalheads usually like about the aforementioned bands. Black Sabbath and Pentagram don’t use growl vocals, don’t have female fairies chanting ethereally, don’t have soaring keyboards or orchestral effects and don’t have lyrics that deal with shakespearean love. It’s a fact that too many young guys think that doom metal is restricted to My Dying Bride or early Anathema and that doom-gothic metal is restricted to Draconian or early Theatre of Tragedy which is completely false. But that is not the full point here; “The Cure for Happiness” depicts usual elements of doom metal, both old and new, but it’s simply not SO doom as one might think. It’s a different kind of sadness hehe. They’re too fast for those who have Unholy‘s and Thergothon‘s logos tattoed on their arms and too slow and heavy for most “femalefrontedmetal” (=mellowmainstreamstuff) fans. So if you like or want to explore the middle path or enjoy milestones like Theatre of Tragedy‘s “Aegis” or “Forever Is the World” or Tristania‘s “Rubicon” or “Ashes” this album is definitely worth your attention, otherwise you might be disappointed. Second big flow is, for the one who speaks, a mistake they’re doing since 2002′s “Fire” album. The production. Everything here is crystalline, polished, well done. Fact is that it’s TOO crystalline and polished. It lacks a kind of ravishness which would go along so greatly with the guitar-laden melodies (one of the best points here, don’t worry: no keys to build the songs, as it’s supposed to be in metal): actually guitars are so sharp and heavy that it’s a big pity they don’t have so much impact. I say that this was to be detected also on the two previous albums because on the slower first three ones it fitted more, it added to the decadence of the atmosphere, hopelessness and desolation matched by the sound itself. But here it just seems like attacking an army of soldiers with guns and rifles riding a horse and throwing arrows. Moreover, I think vocals are often pushed in front too much and to me (personally) it gives the impression they are not well blended together with the other instruments. Like having your singers doing their job in the kitchen with the rest of the band playing in the living room! So mostly because of this I gave this album the mark you see hereunder but I hope the review says way more than a single number. Plus, it wants to be a kick in the ass for the band to be pushed to do even better next time, so it’s because I trust them a lot that I want to force them to improve again more and more, even after all these years.
Rating – 79/100
Ashes You Leave is the most famous Croatian female fronted gothic metal band, founded back in 1995 whent the genre was flourishing thanks to legends like Theatre of Tragedy and Tristania. Their earlier releases are very doom oriented, paying tribute to their main source of inspiration: UK doom band My Dying Bride.With time they developed their sound, mixing it with more atmospheric elements and entering the realm of gothic-doom. In the meanwhile they changed three vocalists and at present an Italian girl fronts the band: Giada Etro.This is their sixth album and compared to the previous one is more guitar oriented even though guitars and violin have not been forgotten as the opener “Devil in Disguise” shows.The song is long, but the vocals are very melodic and make everything more bearable, she has got the classic pop voice and makes everything brighter. Even riffs are more melodic compared to what I have listened of their early releases.First three tracks follow the same formula: long gothic melodic songs with atmospheric inserts of keyboards and violins and growls that appear here and there to contrast Giada angelic voice. In the “The Ever Changing”, the song leans more on the doom side with flute and violins, while Giada shows that she can be versatile, using her voice in a darker, semi-operatic way.There is a beautiful atmospheric bridge with violin in the second half of the song. “Meant to Stray” is maybe one of the heaviest on the album due to great presence of growl and guitar riffs matched by violin in background. “Summers End” is more rock oriented than metal, while “Reality Sad” is a shorther song that does not offer much more if compared to the previous songs. “The Cure” is an acoustic break of a minute and a half that will leave you relived after all that metal. Closing track is “For Happiness”, classic gothic metal, very guitar oriented. The album is perfect if you are a classic gothic-doom metal lover, if you are nostalgic of the early sound of this kind of music.
Rating – 65/100
- Devil in Disguise
- Only Ashes You Leave
- For The Heart, Soul and Mind
- The Ever Changing
- Meant to Stray
- Summers End
- Reality Sad
- The Cure
- For Happiness
- Giada Etro – Vocals
- Berislav “Bero” Poje – Guitars & Vocals
- Matija Rempešić – Guitars
- Ana Torić – Keyboards & Flute
- Marta Batinic – Violin
- Luka Petrovic – Bass & Vocals
- Saša Vukosav – Drums
Interview by Ed MacLaren
Since blasting out of the Great White North in 1999, Canada’s Kittie has pushed and evolved from its nu-metal roots into a tight thrash-oriented unit of massive metal mayhem. With the twin guitar attack of vocalist Morgan Lander and Tara McLeod backed by the bludgeoning rhythm section of bassist Ivy Vujic and drummer Mercedes Lander, Kittie‘s new album, “I’ve Failed You”, is anything but one, reaching new levels in the band’s songwriting and sound. Femme Metal got a chance to talk with Morgan about the new album, the changes in her writing, and her dedication to Canada’s national beverage.“I’ve Failed You” is a failure in title only. Massive riffs, great vocals. Straight to the point, no filler. A pretty successful combination. Do you agree? I do, of course! I think this album came out much better than we ever could imagined and as it started to take shape, we knew that it was going to be a monster! The album features some heavy thrash guitar. It must have been a blast for you and Tara McLeod to throw down on this album.
Tara and I always have a blast when we are writing and playing together. We still have wildly different styles but I think that’s what makes this band so interesting and allows for us to continue to evolve. We’re always pushing ourselves to be better, play faster and challenge the expected for us. “I’ve Failed You” is a testament to the turbulence in your own life for the last few years. Did writing the album work as a type of catharsis for you?
I certainly didn’t set out for it to be like that but going into it I knew that it was going to be tough. I had no idea where to begin. As it turns out, this really was the most difficult and cathartic experience I’ve been involved in. I promised myself that I would be honest and real with the things I wanted to express, and it certainly helped me to see the situation for what it was and allowed me to grow from it and move on. Did opening up through music let you push your songwriting to another level? I think so. We certainly wanted to out do ourselves. At the same time, I think a lot of the songs have a downtrodden, slow feel to them because of the emotions involved. The defeat, the guilt, the sadness. I was physically affected by it and it contributed to the end product.
You, your sister Mercedes and Tara all write for the band – it seems like a very integrated creative core. Has the writing process gotten easier for you or are there challenges with every album? It wouldn’t be a band if there weren’t challenges. If things came easy, there would really be no reward. The writing process between the three of us has become easier in that we all know how each other writes and works, so we know the others next move and usually we can anticipate where the song will go. There are always challenges in writing though, whether it be getting stuck on a part or finding the right riff, or scrapping a song all together. You slow it down to an effectively sludgy pace on tracks like “What Have I Done” and “Time Never Heals”. What’s the key to a good metal “ballad”? I think for us, its all about the emotion. It’s important to connect with the feeling of the song and the reason behind it, and really bring that forward. Ballads can be huge and heavy too. Your screams and your clean vocals have never sounded better. On “I’ve Failed You” it feels like they’ve each become a distinct personality. How do you know which voice is going to show up on a given track?
I’ve always prided myself on my ability to have a voice for every emotion on a song, if needed, and have worked hard over the years to make that distinction glaringly apparent. Usually when a song is in its beginning stages, is when I start the process of figuring out what will go where. Some songs are written with the specific intent of becoming a “singing only” song but for the most part, it’s not until the song fully takes shape do I have a set idea of the patterns and vocal styles. It takes time and practice and hearing the song over and over again, as well as channeling the emotion I feel that is put into the riffs of the song. It looks like Kittie has finally hit upon a stable lineup and it shows in the ease and confidence of the album’s performances. Is there some kind of relief now that you’ve nailed down a solid lineup and you can get on with the business at hand?
It’s a relief, yes but I feel that everything happens for a reason and that we would not have been able to appreciate the stability we have now if it weren’t for the instability of the past. I feel like each line-up change was a learning experience for us and shaped Mercedes and I into easy-going chameleons.
How important was it to have Siggy Meier return to the helm on this album? He was a big part of helping you level up your sound on “In the Black”.
I think it was of huge importance to have him return to produce “I’ve Failed You”. He is responsible for helping the band to re-define our sound with “In the Black”, so it was a no-brainer to have him return. He really knows what we are looking for, sonically, and really helps to get the best performances out of us possible. On top of all of that, he is a great friend and Beach Road Studios is a really laid back place with a great environment. We feel welcome and comfortable there, which makes for a better output I think.
You’ve dealt with your share of negative press in the past. Do you think that with “I’ve Failed You” you’ve successfully bludgeoned critics long enough with better and better albums that they have to finally give you some props?
This is the music business and if I have learned anything over these past 15 years, it’s that you cannot please everyone. We just continue to do our own thing, improve at our own pace and make the music that we identify with and love. I think with time and effort, that people are beginning to take notice, at the professionalism, the musical improvement and the changes. They’re noticing that we aren’t giving up and are getting better with every album, so that says something to them and they’re giving us props for that. I can’t complain. Kittie has hit the 15 year mark. You’ve essentially been leading this band for half your life. Do you feel any kind of accomplishment having this kind of longevity?
Absolutely. This industry is so fleeting, especially now and it really say something to me, that we’ve been able to do this for as long as we have. I’m still humble, still amazed, however, that on the eve of my 30th birthday, that I am still in this band, touring and making music. If asked 15 years ago, I would have laughed in your face. It’s a good feeling. What’s it been like for you and your sister Mercedes to essentially grow up in a band? Is listening to your early material like looking back at your high school yearbook where you?? Are cringing at a certain chord progression instead the hair style you wore back then?
It can be like that at times. There were a lot of things going on behind the scenes that made it unbearable sometimes, but overall it was a good experience. The memories are fond and I would never want to go back and re-live them but I wouldn’t change anything about those days, either. I am the person that I am today because of it. We all grow, evolve and change, as people. We just so happened to do all of our growing pains in public.
When you look at the teenage Morgan do you still recognize her in you? Despite all the struggles and roadblocks in the bands history do you still have any of the wide-eyed amazement and optimism of that kid from London, Ontario? I see some of her in me, now, but for the most part she has turned in to a jaded, angry, cynical beast! (Laughs) I’m still enthusiastic about my music and the band, however and am still amazed at times that this is still my life. I’m sure after all these years you’re sick of the women in metal angle of too many articles and interviews. But with that said there’s no question that there’s been more than a few young woman who’ve looked at Kittie and said, “They’re women and they rock! I want to do that too!” and then they run out and start their own band. A great compliment as a musician and as a woman in metal.
And I applaud them for that! There is nothing wrong with inspiring ANYONE, be them male or female, young or old. I can’t say I see myself as a role model but it is always nice to know that what you do makes people want to better themselves.
When you think of specific countries, certain styles of metal will come to mind. Canada? Not so much. Is that an advantage from a creative standpoint not to have one type of music being constantly funneled around you? Canada, as I’m sure you’re well aware, is quite the melting pot of diversity, and I think that funnels down into other aspects of our society and culture. Food, clothing, art. So in a way, I wouldn’t expect that diversity to leave music untouched, too. We have all kinds of different things going on and it makes for a really wonderful, vibrant scene, and creatively it doesn’t pigeonhole anyone. We just do what feels right and aren’t expected to follow any particular rules.
What’s the most Canadian thing about you and the band?
Our devotion to the glory that is Tim Hortons!
In addition to Kittie, you also run your Poisoned Black clothing line and the X of Infamy management company and all of this before your 30th birthday. Are you intent on becoming the metal equivalent of Jay-Z?
I’m quite certain that I have more than 99 problems! (Laughs) Do you ever see yourself putting down the guitar and focusing more on your other interests?
I think I will always gravitate towards music in some capacity and perhaps one day this band may not exist but that doesn’t mean that I will stop being creative or being an artist.
(Famous) Last words?
“My works cast down and trampled to dust is no defeat. The soul that built them cannot die. My home burned, I dress in ashes and bend my arm to the harp and sing a while. My love is dead, I mourn and live. My revenge is to live.”
Interview by Miriam C.
Transcription by Robin Stryker
This was my second phoner interview that I’ve made in my life, this time I was more calm and relaxed. Enjoy this funny interview (sometimes during the interview she has got line telephone problems and I was going to repeat the questions) with a kind and relaxed Jonsu, vocalist and violinist from rock all female band Indica.
Let’s start, “A Way Away” is coming in the stores the 25th June on Nuclear Blast. Why choose this label? I mean Nuclear Blast isn’t the typical label that sign rock melodic bands.
When we were touring with Nightwish, Nuclear Blast was the label that was interested to do the English album, and they had showed some passion towards our music. I loved the way they worked and how they put their whole soul and heart to it. So it made us be sure that it is the perfect label for us. Also I have to say that it was a good thing that Tuomas told me before – you know Tuomas [keyboardist] from Nightwish, they have been with Nuclear Blast for many many years – and he told me that “I have no bad words to say about that company”. So it was a good recommendation.
Obvious question, how’s born the collaboration between Nightwish mastermind Tuomas Holompainen?
It was great. The first thing I did with them was “Erämaan Viimeinen” (The Last of the Wilds), one of their songs. After one of our shows, Tuomas came to ask me if I would like to sing that song, and he said he has been a fan of our band since it started. And I said like “yeah, yeah, let’s try it”. It went well and then they asked later if we would come on the Scandinavian tour. I think Tuomas and the whole band is great. Tuomas is a really talented musician and composer, so it was great to work with him. And later, of course, to do albums with him. Also on “A Way Away”, he wrote lyrics to one song, “Precious Dark”.
I found a bit strange to publish an entire album with translated lyrics in English, when take for example such metal acts like Ensiferum, Korpiklaani,they publish without problems album in Finnish language. Why take this decision?
Why did we do an English album? When we started about nine years ago, we did songs in English and in Finnish, but then we had to choose one language. Finnish sounds more natural, but we knew that someday we probably will do anyway an English album. When we started touring abroad, the fans started to request if we could do some songs that they would understand too. There was only really crappy YouTube versions they could listen to. So that was the main reason why we did it now. I think it was a big challenge for us, too, because we have seen every single corner of Finland and every single club, and we have been working there and touring there and doing albums like “Ikuinen Virta” in 2004. So it was a big challenge for us, and also really interesting to see new places and meet new people. Also with the language, I would say that the English language is maybe, when sung, it sounds more beautiful and it’s flowing totally differently. Maybe Finnish is more exotic, but anyway the music sounds totally different, so we found it really interesting.
Your last album was called “Valoissa”, right? And if I’m not wrong the English translation is “light”.
Yes, you can say “in the light”. In the song, we are really talking about like traffic lights. It is a little bit ironic text about “what if I die in the traffic light” and you can’t just mourn. Don’t be sad.
Are “Valoissa” and “A Way Away” titles connected?
“Valoissa” and “A Way Away” … no, there are a couple of songs from the “Valoissa” album in “A Way Away”, but otherwise those albums aren’t alike. Those aren’t connected anyhow.
If I ask you to define Indica‘s music style what do you reply?
It’s a funny question because, as a composer, it’s really hard for me to describe the music because somehow I think it’s impossible to describe music in words. But, I can say what other people have told. So, some people – like all reporters in Finland – call it like mystic-romantic pop rock, and it was funny how it started. One reporter just said like, “oh, this sounds like mystic-romantic” and suddenly all the reporters were writing it’s mystic-romantic. Yeah, one interviewer also said, “it sounds like Disney on acid.” (laughs) I think it was a funny description. I’m sure there is some films, movie soundtracks and a lot of movie composers.
On 30th April you’ve published out the videoclip “In Passing”, what is the story behind the video and how was work with Patric Ullaeus Team?
Yeah, in Sweden in Gothenburg. You are talking probably of the “In Passing” video. The story behind the song is that it is kind of a letter from an older sister who is dead to her little sister, and she is trying to encourage her and telling her that “you must go on with your life and move on”. It was great to work with Revolver Team, and Patrick Ullaeus I think did a great job. We shot it two videos in Gothenburg. “Islands of Light” I think it isn’t published yet, but it will come out soon I guess.
Watching your promo shoots I was astonished about your dresses. Who’s the creator of it?
Sometimes we are using different kinds of designers, but there is one Finnish, Anne-Mari Pahkala, who has done many of our dresses. Some dresses we are found from our grandmas’ closets or somewhere, like anywhere where we go. But Anne-Mari Pahkala is a girl with whom we have worked the most.
Before “In Passing” video there was another one video called “Snakes and Arrows”, I’ve seen it, have you shooted it in Tokyo?
We had one. It was kind of, you know, zero budget. We deal with just one friend’s photographer wanted to do one because he wanted to do some photo shootings there, and we had a show in Tokyo. We spent there a week, so we were shooting the video at the same time. But it was a great experience. I really liked Tokyo, but I couldn’t believe that I would live there.
Which is your favourite song from “A Way Away” and why?
My favourite song from the album is, I guess, the ending track “Eerie Eden” … “As If” is also one of my favourite tracks. I always fell in love with the slow songs, so that is why maybe “Eerie Eden” and “Children of Frost” and “A Way Away” are one of my favourites. The girls are always angry to me because I always try to do a slow album where there is only slow songs on there like that. “You are killing the audience! They will fall asleep”. (laughs) So, it’s good that we have different opinions in our band too, because otherwise it would be only 10 slow songs on the album.
I know that’s very very early to talk about that but are you working for the next album with brand new songs?
Composing is my lifestyle, and I’m all the time composing something. But we really haven’t sat down yet with the band and talked about what we are going to do, what kind of direction we are going to go in. Maybe after this album comes out, we can sit down and talk about that with the people that we work with and do some planning.
What are the next band planes?
In the near future we are going … tomorrow [the interview was done on the 20 May 2010] we are in Italy doing something and going to Rome, then we go to Leipzig to do one gothic festival and then I go back to Finland to do some TV programmes. Then we are playing in Rock am Ring and Rock im Park (it’s in Germany).
It’s a very famous festival, with groups from every genre, and MTV is there.
It will be interesting and I think they said that they are shooting the show too. So we are doing some festivals in summer, but mainly touring will start in the autumn. Then the plan is to tour pretty much before Christmas and go around Europe. Let’s see, I have a meeting with my gig agents next weekend, then they tell us some ideas.
Italy is in your plans?
Yeah, I’m sure Italy will be on the list. But really, I would love to, I’m waiting to come back to Italy. These days we are doing some acoustic performances in the radios but to do a real live show because I think Italian audiences are great. They are so free and open.
Greet our fans freely!! And thanks!
Thank you very much for the interview! It was really nice to talk with you, and I hope to see you somewhere.
Kiitos! [Finnish word for thanks]
Oh, you know it! Great.
Interview by Rachele Valente
Shortly after the last Italian date that took place in Bologna as headliner for the Paganfest, Eluveitie comes back to Italy, but this time as the support act for the Swedish band Sabaton with the Hungarian band Wisdom. On the occasion for the release of the new album (compilation), “The Early Years”, Chrigel and Anna gave a little appetizer about it, remembering something of the early beginning of their musical activity. Here you are with our interview!
Today Femme Metal has the pleasure to welcome to Chrigel and Anna from Eluveitie. Hi guys, how are you doing?
Your last show in Italy was last year in Bologna, as the headliner for the Paganfest. Now you’re coming back in Milan, supporting the Swedish band Sabaton. Why did you decide to be on tour with them?
Chrigel: Because we’re masochist No, they were just looking for another band to join this tour and we’ve been asked and we thought “Yeah, it’s just a great opportunity for us to expose our music to a completely new crowd”, because in this tour a lot of people are coming for them and it’s like a really different crowd. I mean: most of the people like classic heavy metal and stuff so we just thought “It would be cool to present our music to people that maybe don’t know who we are”… so… that’s why we decided to join this tour!
This is the first tour without your own guitarist, Simeon who has recently left the band and you’re playing without Päde, who’s coming back in a couple of weeks. Can you explain what happened?
Anna : Well, Päde died unfortunately, that’s a sad thing (she jokes with Chrigel). No, he has to do a work-shit and so he couldn’t join us and Sime left for a personal decision. We didn’t get any fight.
Chrigel : He was actually thinking of it since a year or maybe more… I mean: he just wants to reach some personal goals. He was thinking about it for a long time actually, so yeah, the time has gone.
After the great success of “Helvetios” you released with Nucler Blast “The Early Years”, a collection containing “Vên” completely re-recorded and a remastered version of “Spirit”. Why did you decide so?
Anna: ‘Cuz it’s cool
Chrigel: Yeah, I mean: both albums have been sold out since a quite long time and many people were still asking for them so many people actually told us “Yeah, you should release them”, like management and the record company. Everybody told us “Yeah, re-release it, seriously!”. Everybody wanted that, but we thought “That’s cheap to just re-released it, it’s not that cool, we don’t want to do that!” and then we had the idea to completely re-record “Vên” which sounded for us at least like an amazing idea, because, you know, those songs are about 10 years ago, those songs are kinda developed together with us and we just thought “It would be cool to re-record it again and just see how the songs sound today”, so yeah, that’s why we decided to do that!
Just before the release date of “The Early Years”, you published on your official Youtube channel a lyric video for the song “Lament”. If I don’t get wrong you said you had completely revised the song. What can you tell us about this choice?
Chrigel: To be honest, I wasn’t too happy with the old lyrics. I mean: the original lyrics were written from a point of view of today looking back to the time of Helvetians and I actually made the exactly same thing but with the time switched and the lyrics now, the new version, are also looking back to the Helvetians but just from 2000 years later. Helvetians were already Romanized and stuff and it’s written from that point. That’s a different version but I prefer it!
“Vên” was released in 2002. At first, there was a song more you couldn’t finish to write. Now, in 2012, this song is finally completed: “Divico” will be part of your own edition of “The Early Years”. Why in Nuclear Blast version of the album the song will not appear?
Chrigel: One reason why we did this now is also because of our 10th anniversary and we just thought that it would have been cool to do something special as well and also to give people something that just comes directly from us. It’s like a personal birthday present or something like that! That’s also why we did this own edition because every little detail about the album is done by ourselves, I mean: everything is done by ourselves. We wanted to have something special on that too so that’s why!
Can you tell us something about “Divico” song?
Chrigel: That’s cool! I like it!
Anna: Yes, I like it too.
Chrigel: It’s just a song about a character of Celtic history which played an important role in the Gaulish Wars and the history of Helvetians.
You have changed some lyrics too. How did this decision come out?
Chrigel: We revised them, the lyrics basically are still the same, especially the Gaulish part in the lyrics, I’ve just corrected, you know, because it was 10 years ago and my Gaulish back then was “very little” and very bad, especially the song “Uis Elveti”, the lyric was catastrophic, if it comes with the grammar and everything it was really, really bad! Today I know much more about the Gaulish language and I’ve just corrected. I mean: the lyric is still the same, it’s just in a better Gaulish
If I’m right you’re planning a big show in Zurich, this December, the second edition of your own festival “Eluveitie and Friends”. Can you tell us something about this show?
Anna: That’s a great opportunity to make a own festival and invite bands and friends of ours even if something arrive many people that we ever known that’s pretty cool.
Chrigel: That’s actually a kind of “special guests”, we basically invite bands from somewhere, bands we toured with and then there’s always a kind of “special guests”, it could be anyone.
Anna, let’s talk about your upcoming solo album. Why did you decided to work on it? Are you excited about it?
Anna: Yes, I’m very excited! I decide to start on my own stuff like, I don’t know, two years ago but in between I did stuff… It just kinda happened and I don’t plan anything. More people behind me pushed me to do it… It’s a lot of kind of developing.
In these years you have joined many side-projects playing different instrument and singing. How did you manage to do something? What are your personal plans now?
Anna: I don’t really think about what I gonna do in the future, what I doing in the moment is just music, music and music and not really anything else. I’m really happy about this and I have to be proud of it and Eluveitie is always first of course and so everything else is just filled around…
What are your future plans?
Chrigel: Pretty much as she said. I mean: right now we’re on tour until next Spring or so… I mean: I’m pretty sure we’ll work on new material for a new album, to be honest we’ve already started but yeah, we don’t have many plans exactly.
Thank you for your time. Would you like say something to our readers?
Anna: You’re awesome! Thank you!
Chrigel: Thanks for your interest in Eluveitie!
Label : Cooking Vinyl/Edel
Review by Luisa Mercier
After almost ten years, one of the most importan and influential rock bands of the ’90s is back and especially where I live (Italy) the hype was very high. They teamed up with their usual producer Stephen Street, and gave light to “Roses” released on Valentine Day. I would not say that this record may be defined rock, it is much mellower and eerie starting from the first track “Conduct”, which has the distinctive vocals of Dolores as opening. Nothing strange, nothing too experimental, it is a nice mid-tempo song, as the following “Tomorrow”, the first single. Slightly more up-tempo and lively, it has not the potentialities that had “Zombies” back in those days. “Fire Soul” is an acoustic, sweet ballad with some electronic hints here and there, same be told for “Raining in My Heart”. The intro of “Losing My Mind” has a retro taste and brings us back to those days in which the band was most popular. The chorus is maybe the rockiest thing we have heard so far on “Roses”. Darker is “Schizophrenic Playboy” and a little bit more uptempo with a rock edge. “Waiting in Walthamstow” is an elegant song with strings which build up in the next one, maybe my favourite off “Roses”. “Astral Projections” and “So Good” follow the tren of the record: acoustic sounding, mid-tempo almost slow songs that cradle you. Last song is “Roses”, a beautiful melancholic ballad with whispered vocals. If you expected a rock coming back, you might be deluded by this release, if you love mellower, sweeter atmospheres, this album might definitely suit you.
Rating – 70/100
- Fire & Soul
- Raining In My Heart
- Losing My Mind
- Schizophrenic Playboys
- Waiting In Walthamstow
- Show Me
- Astral Projections
- So Good
- Dolores O’ Riordan – Vocals, Guitars & Keyboards
- Noel Hogan – Guitars & Backing Vocals
- Mike Hogan – Bass
- Fergal Lawler – Drums & Percussions
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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