Label : SPV/Steamhammer Records
Review by Tony Cannella & Luisa Mercier
It is finally here. One of the most eagerly anticipated symphonic metal releases this year has to be “Silverthorn” by Florida’s Kamelot. Of course it is well documented that the band parted ways with popular longtime vocalist Roy Khan. After utilizing Rhapsody’s Fabio Lione to fulfill their remaining tour dates, Kamelot finally settled on a permanent replacement for Mr. Khan… His name is Tommy Karevik from the Swedish band Seventh Wonder. One thing Kamelot has always done is incorporate some of the most talented female vocalists to further enhance their albums and “Silverthorn” is no exception. Elize Ryd from Amaranthe, Alissa White-Gluz from The Agonist and Amanda Somerville has already been on tour with Kamelot and they all turn in tremendous performances when they are called upon. “Silverthorn” is a concept album about “a young girl who dies in the arms of her twin brothers, taking the three siblings’ secret to the grave”. Kamelot has really outdone themselves in the lyrical department, and the music has that movie soundtrack feel to it to really compliment the lyrics. After the opening intro “Manus Dei”, the band goes into “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)”. I would say that this is probably my favorite song, which also features some killer vocal performances courtesy of Elize Ryd and Alissa White-Gluz. Alissa adds a more aggressive style. I was surprised to hear that Alissa was on tour with Kamelot and that she sings on this album. She definitely has a more aggressive style to contrast the angelic voice of Elize Ryd. Next is the heavier “Ashes to Ashes”. One thing is apparent, Tommy Karevik definitely has Roy Khan thing going with the vocals, I wouldn’t say he is a carbon copy sound-alike, but with him at the helm the band loses nothing in the way of vocals and musically this is the most inspired they’ve sounded in years. “Torn” is next and has an up-tempo style. Next is the ballad “Song for Jolee”. Next is “Veritas” which features a huge sounding choir on the chorus. Other highlights include: “Falling Like Fahrenheit” and the closing 9-minute epic “Prodigal Son” which is divided into three parts: “Funerale”, “Burden of Guilt (the Branding)” and “The Journey”. There are a lot of similarities in both look and style between Tommy and Roy, but for the most part, I like the bands choice of singers, and I don’t know if it is a coincidence, but “Silverthorn” is probably my favorite Kamelot album since “The Black Halo”.
Rating – 90/100
All of us Kamelot fans were eagerly waiting for this new record. Two years ago, Roy Khan stated that he would have not toured with the band for a while, and after some months he left Kamelot. Since then, I was quite sceptical and curious about his replacement, since Roy voice is unique ine power/symphonic metal and it was the main feature of the band, the one that made Kamelot stand out. It was with relief that I welcomed Tommy Karevik into the band, since he is not the typical power metal singer, but he’s quite versatile and really talented. On the other hand, it was the record that partially did not meet my expectations, since it is hit and miss for me. Do not misunderstand me, the balance in the end is good, but it stays quite below legendary records like “The Black Halo” or “Poetry for the Poisoned”. There are very good songs and songs that are quite average, not the best melodies, sometimes they are just cheesy and too power for my taste. “Manus Dei” is the usual symphonic intro, nothing new if you love this kind of music: orchestra, piano and choirs that build the climax for guitars and the beginning of “Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)”, the first single. The song has power/symphonic riffs and Tommy is scarily similar to Roy, so similar that I am almost convinced that it was a conscious choice. In the song, he duets with Elize Ryd from Amaranthe and Alissa White-Gluz that is in charge of harsh vocals. All in all, it is a nice track, nothing oustanding. Another track that did not impress me much is “Song for Jolee”, the ballad. Kamelot are masters of ballads, think for example of “Abandoned”, but this is way too cliché. Of course there are positive sides and I can name a few. Beside Karevik vocals, I really liked “Torn” that, even though short, has a good variety of styles and tempo changes without relying too much on power. Same for “Veritas” that recalled me the sound of the previous masterpiece “Poetry for the Poisoned”: epic, more prog-oriented and Tommy is magnificent. Title-track and “Falling Like Fahreneit” are quite good, but the real highlight is “Prodigal Son” in which Tommy uses several vocal styles and also musically goes from solemn to balladesque to heavy metal, symphonic and epic. I wish the others were the same. Nonetheless, the album is good, not a masterpiece, but the result is positive in the end. So Kamelot fans like me will keep on listening to it.
Rating – 70/100
- Manus Dei
- Sacrimony (Angel of Afterlife)
- Ashes to Ashes
- Song for Jolee
- My Confession
- Falling Like the Fahrenheit
- Prodigal Son
- Tommy Karevik – Vocals
- Thomas Youngblood – Guitars
- Oliver Palotai – Keyboards
- Sean Tibbetts – Bass
- Casey Grillo – Drums
- Elize Ryd – Guest Vocals
- Alissa White-Gluz – Guest Vocals
- Amanda Somerville - Guest Vocals
Interview by Miriam C. & Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Today, we have the pleasure and the honor to give space to one of the true legend of electronic/darkwave genre. Italy’s Kirlian Camera has almost in action from 30 years with a lot live activity and a lot of releases, so we took occasion to interview Angelo Bergamini, the mainman behind this project and the singer Elena Alice Fossi for know more about their tenth release “Nightglory”. Also we took advantage of this asking some infos about SPECTRA*Paris and more Elena Alice‘s side projects….
Hi guys, welcome to Femme Metal.net. Your latest album, “Nightglory”, was released not so long ago. How have reviews and feedback been for this album? Are you satisfied ?
Angelo: Perhaps it’s a little too early to realize what’s going on with “Nightglory”, but I can say we noticed huge interest about it. Some people were surprised because of our “change of route”, but Kirlian Camera are not that alien to doing what they feel, whether it’s approved or not by whoever and couldn’t care less of opinions around. Anyway, I think this album will be taken as a very important chapter in the Kirlian Camera history, if one is going to listen to it without any prejudices, then he can easily feel that “Nightglory” is just the highest point of our discography, the one containing our exact identity. If one doesn’t like it, it means he doesn’t like this band, it’s so simple. This album is so filled with passion and purity that we are really proud of its presence within our life. We worked on it with unusual passion, till reaching extreme limits as far as identification is concerned. Yes, we’re satisfied, totally. And proud of this “creature”…
Could you please tell us a little bit about the band’s history, to get some informations for our readers?
Angelo: We were born more than 30 years ago, springtime, with incredible enthusiasm and need to survive many years to come. Doing a summary of such a long time is rather difficult and it’s even more tricky due to the fact Kirlian Camera is quite an anomalous band, which has been moving freely from an atmosphere to another, throughout time. We have been a deep-underground entity, we got platinum records in the pop area, we changed a million members before getting a stable line-up with the arrival of singer/composer Elena Alice Fossi. Kind of a rollercoaster; we met a lot of people, 98% negative idiots who only tried to exploit the band. Poor grotesque characters with no real identity, you know… this band’s history isn’t that funny and it’s filled with several bad events created by absurd people. But I must admit that my collaboration with Elena is the most beautiful event in my life. My hard work finally paid off as for personal satisfaction, thanks to her presence and great inspiration coming from her musical ideas.
Before the main release (I mean “Nightglory”) you published the MCD “Ghlóir Ar An Oóche”, a really, interesting appetizer that contains a rework of “After Winter” and “Nightglory” both in normal and camera version. First of all what does “Ghlóir Ar An Oóche” mean and why did you choose to have the title in Gaelic?
Elena Alice : It means “Night glory”, exactly. We did choose to use a different language for the single, in order not to mix it up with the album. We opted for Irish/Gaelic because it sounds so deep and evocative. Also, Angelo’s mother family has some Irish origin: South East Ireland/Waterford area, if I’m correct… I suggested to use such language, as in the last period he’s sometimes digging into his far past, so I perceived something natural coming out from those words…
Having given “Nightglory” a listen , I would say the band’s sound still remains within darkwave/synthpop genre. Can you please give us more insights about the creation of “Nightglory”?
Angelo: However, pop music is the point from where we started many years ago… even if we had/have in mind a very personal concept of “pop music”. So, I’d like to say I don’t agree so much with promo-introduction to “Nightglory”. I don’t think it’s our most accessible work ever, or better, I guess it is, but it’s misleading to introduce this album in such a way, due to the fact it offers something totally particular: it seems to be able to talk deep to heart, while it succeeds in not sounding oppressive to ears. Doing an oppressive sound to describe a drama is easy… it’s (by far!) less easy to compose music about a personal drama by respecting… “Music”. Kind of respect to listeners, to yourself as a listener and an attempt to create something beautiful despite the sorrow you feel within. In my opinion, Gandhi was a warrior, not a pacifist as many people think: only, he had a different idea of how a war had to be done. Just an example which is probably going to touch a “too important theme”, but… as far as our small garden goes… “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear”…
The “Nightglory” cover artwork is simply and effective – the huge black panther. What do you want to express with it?
Angelo: The Black Tiger is the symbol of the night itself, for us. That night we come from… Then, we are used to calling Elena Alice “Black Tiger” or simply “Tiger”, exactly, maybe this is a little homage to her, hidden in that title… Worthy purity and loneliness…
The song “Winged Child” complete title should be “Winged Child Sitting on a Bench Watching Obscure Clouds Getting Closer While People Seek for Shelter” guys you always surprise me, can I ask where you got a a title like that?
Elena Alice: It’s a vision that comes from the inside. One day, when we were taking photos in a local garden, we noticed a beautiful old bench and… the rest is dreamlike. Such a title sounds pictorial, probably. But, how could we turn such a vision into a title without explaining the vision itself…? Well, in the beginning the idea made us laugh, but now, who knows?… Maybe it’s just the beginning of a weird new trend, for us… we’ll see!
Elena, recently with SPECTRA*Paris you’ve released your second album “Licence to Kill”. Can you talk a little about this other project and in specific about your latest album?
Elena Alice: SPECTRA*paris is a strange beast… one day it sounds glam, the day after goes to meet Ralf & Florian, then it finds the way to Twin Peaks and becomes an empty cinema filled with scary ghosts. S*P is a combination of noir desire, erotica, spirituality, science-fiction, distorted fashion… comics meet suicide tendencies! The last album “Christmas Ghouls” (10-track mini-album) drifted away from “License to Kill” for a while, offering acoustic and acoustic-like ballads, tormented Christmas echoes and dreamy – but worried – pages. I’m working on the third album of this saga and I can say that, at the moment, it sounds electronic, more than former ones. My acoustic/ballad side is finding a place in the cosy arms of my new project Alice Neve Fox, a quartet in which I’m mainly accompanied by musicians on grand piano, acoustic guitar and double bass, even if some theremin and vintage moog is peeping out here and there, occasionally… as well as some guests I attach great importance to. S*P will be roaring again soon with some new sounds and line-up, anyway. Kirlian Camera/Alice Neve Fox’s guitarist and drummer Kyoo Nam is now part of the gang…
Talking about Spectra Paris, during Christmas 2010 you’ve released an interesting experiment called “Christmas Ghouls”, I’m curious as to why as it’s very far away from your musical visions?
Elena Alice: Making a Christmas album was an old dream, as well as making “my” own Xmas album, as it had to be as personal as possible. Moreover, “Silent Night” had to show a different side, as my Christmas is filled with imaginary toys, dreams, angels… but even with a deep sense of apocalypse. So, my German version to “Silent Night” sounds darker and more dramatic than expected, although I didn’t wanna destroy original global atmosphere to the hilt! This album made me realize I need to bring my ‘acoustic side’ back to light, as I love electronics very much, but I even love so much that magic that acoustic instruments can create, although I sometimes like to add some electronic vintage inputs coming from Theremin and MiniMoog. Practically, “Christmas Ghouls” set the tone to my new project Alice Neve Fox!
Angelo, in the beginning, the sound of the band was more synthpop oriented, you also happened to be in Italian synthpop/disco band Hipnosis in 1982 and 1984 – would you like to tell us something about this experience?
Angelo: I joined the band while they were working on the debut single “Pulstar”. After a couple months such single came out and it suddenly went platinum! I honestly must admit that Hipnosis was a funny machine to make some money, although I earned nothing at all! I cancelled the world tour a few days before it started! I left the band after some further experiments, videos and TV appearances. The label offered me some big money to remain on condition that my name didn’t appear on any Kirlian Camera work for five years, so I rejected the offer and went away.
Is there any artist or band that, since the beginning, have influenced your work or has it always been your own work?
Elena Alice: Strangely enough, I guess I don’t feel any big influence. I love music since when my memories start out, but music is something in the air, for me, so I can catch an idea without knowing who’s hiding behind that tune I’m occasionally listening to or whatever. But I can say I like listening to Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch, Zbigniew Preisner, Ennio Morricone, Susanna Rigacci, Jessye Norman, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Arvo Pärt, Hildegard Von Bingen, Jocelyn Pook, Pink Floyd, Laurie Anderson, Danny Elfman, Janis Joplin, Muse, Portishead, some old rock’n’roll grooves and Kraftwerk, of course!
Angelo: In the beginning I used to listening to several bands, but, after a while, I realized that almost none of them was really so essential for me. Anyway, I have been listening to many artists, throughout time, so I had a chance to appreciate Tangerine Dream, Klaus Schulze, Nico, White Noise, Delia Derbyshire, Pink Floyd, Hawkwind, Alvin Curran, Kraftwerk, Giorgio Moroder, Ash Ra Tempel, Neu!, Amon Düül II, Popol Vuh, Peter Gabriel, Le Orme, Klaus Nomi, Joy Division, Metro, The Sound, Ultravox, Gustav Mahler, Max Bruch, Anton Bruckner, Franz Schubert, Francesco Paolo Tosti, Salvatore Licitra, György Ligeti, Marc-Antoine Charpentier, Scott Walker, Mauro Pelosi, Matt Munro, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, etc…
The band name is a clear reference to the Kirlian effect, that is mostly used in bio-physic photography. Who is the one that chose the name?
Angelo: I decided to use such a name in spring 1980, as former name Suicide Commando sounded a bit too aggressive for a project mixing together pop, krautrock and post-punk, at the time!
The band has was founded by you, Angelo in 1980. You’ve been on the scene for over 30 years now. What has changed since the early days to now?
Angelo: I have noiticed that today’s music market doesn’t offer any creative chances to a creative musician, rare exceptions aside. I wasn’t that used to this “flattening”. Stupid producers and idiot labels exist since time immemorial and I worked with a lot of them, but… time ago there was more confidence in some free creativity. Today’s bands are boring me stiff and nothing happens since years and years!!! New “rebels” are but spineless posers with no dignity at all and the worst thing is that their music seems to be made for old dumb zombies. Freshness and innovation are two perfect strangers, in music field, currently. The problem is that the audience is accepting all that without any reaction.I feel like I’m becoming a real alien, here!!! Hopefully, nobody will notice my brand new antennas, BRRRR!!!!
You are an electro/darkwave Italian band, maybe you were one of the first band to create this kind of music and, more over, you’ve also been the first band ever in signing a record deal with Virgin Records. How did this happen? Would you like to tell us more about it?
Angelo: Well, signing to Virgin was so uneasy at the time – and for an Italian band was simply impossible – that when a friend called me saying they wanted us on their roster I did reply by gyawining! I don’t know the reason why Virgin wanted us, but I remember that, during a TV-festival, I had been passing near the backstage of the GTR project (Steve Howe from Yes and Steve Hackett from Genesis) and I notice they were playing one of our songs, then the manager of Pet Shop Boys told me that they went crazy for “Blue Room” and Afrika Bambataa was used to performing the same song during his sets… meanwhile Air France had been broadcasting KC on its flights and I had some meetings and free time with Human League, Simply Red, Nico (Velvet Underground), Conny Plank (producer of Kraftwerk, Ultravox, Eurythmics), etc., so… I realized we were a pop band! But it was strange…maybe I didn’t feel that at ease in that golden hotchpotch, at the time, as I was much more interested in the underground area and avantgarde/contemporary music…
Let’s be straight and clear, I hope you appreciate my frankness, why the hell in Italy an band like you with such a musical history don’t give a damn about you, I mean for me and the entire scene you’re the precursor of this genre. What must change in Italy? It’s because of the wrong mentality, maybe?And why Germany and Belgium seems love your music?
Elena Alice: OK, our relation with Italy is complicated: we like the landscape, we love the food, the traditional culture and even the people, but, as far as real innovations are concerned, Italy decided to give up, some decades ago. In Germany and Belgium exists a kind of “middle area” where some bands have a chance to express themselves. An area placed between underground and mainstream. It doesn’t happens in Italy, unfortunately. I am absolutely sure that many people could love the music of KC and many other bands, but… it’s like there was a impassable frontier whose checkpoint police is totally alerted 32 hours a day! No one can get in from that border!!! Italian music business has a clear concept in mind: you must sound “super easy”and so, even “important music composers” (some embarrassing but popular rock singers) are doing nothing but music for boring bourgeoisie, pope-boys, fast-food monkeys and tanned people drowsing on a cheerless yellow beach filled with flies. We have some fans, some good ones, in Italy, and we actually are grateful for all the praiseworthy efforts they do to make our sound become more popular, but they aren’t so many, not enough to keep us alive, unfortunately. I must realize that this nation’s biggest part of music listeners has no respect but for absurd clowns posing as great artists. The sad point is that there are so many good bands… and some of them are even “listenable”: I’m sure they’d perfectly fit to buyers’ taste! But Massive Attack is the only good alternative that Italian music industry police allows normal people to listen to, more or less, as no further name is jumping in my mind, at the very moment… anyway, I decided to try again, in my Country, as I don’t wanna give up, so I guess I’m gonna sing Italian a little more often, in the future… my bridge on this wonderful Country is not collapsed…
What’s in the pipeline for KC, what are your future projects?
Elena Alice: As for Kirlian Camera, we’re working on the single “Immortal”, a song taken from the new album which has been slightly revisited for this occasion. The single will contain some previously unreleased material, as well. We’re just planning our first official live album, to be released on audio CD, DVD, BlueRay and digitally, of course. We’re told it’ll be recorded at the Teatro Regio di Parma (Royal Theatre of Parma) or in a old church… we’ll see…
Anything you would like to share with your fans and Femme Metal readers?
Elena Alice & Angelo: Don’t judge a book by its cover.
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 : Prikosnovenie
Review by Stina
Russia’s Caprice have spent nine studio albums finding nuance in elvish fairy pop, sometimes inspired by the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. Now, they’re using their tenth studio effort to graciously yet vigorously steamroll over canonical conceptions of music, delivering their sound into a transporting, eccentric suite that gathers symphonic harmonies, sheer Prog brilliance, echoes of baroque memory, and Ethereal Voices into one sophisticated, wildly charming package. “Masquerade” is a work about poetry and expression of Art – and, just as Art is meant to do, it embraces an eclectic, unbridled flow that drips with passion and personality, orchestrated by the tender and agile soprano voice of Inna Brejestovskaya, whose mother-tongue lyrics transport the listener one century back in time, straight into the brighter and darker faces of the tangle between Russian history and Art: in this case, the Silver Age with its creative ecstasy and queries about Love and Beauty, counterbalanced by the shades of terror cast upon the population and the Artists by Lenin and Stalin’s rules. The title “Masquerade” was reportedly picked as an allusion to said times: ‘because in Stalin’s times people could only live and make art hiding under a mask’, but also to a playful and liberating conception of Art ‘Venetian masquerade with its glorious, festive atmosphere was an inspiration for many Russian poets’. And what makes “Masquerade” pulsate with life and vividness is how the clash of these opposites – most notably, the delight of creation and the fear of being crushed by the totalitarian machine – lends it dynamism and realism, together with a variety of mood and structures – sometimes smooth, other times uneven and with their full arc only becoming clear by track’s end. But the most effective way this dualism is mirrored is in the division of “Masquerade” in two chapters: the first half is centered on the pure joy of creation. From the fitting entrance point of the soft and ethereal soundscapes of “Reality”, on to the unconventional and meandering “Agnesa”, or even in the jaw-dropping proggy architectures of “To a Girl”, the emotional palette of the first half is one that contains nuances of euphoria, dreaminess, and rapture. With the cinematic, dark atmosphere of “The Master’s Shadow”, the second part starts on a more ominous and dark tone; from there, “Masquerade” remains deeply reverent of exuding the anguish inflicted by the totalitarian climate, and portraying the works, the lives – and, most notably, the deaths of five poets (Daniil Harms, Velimir Khlebnikov, Marina Tsvetaeva, Nikolai Gumilev, Anna Akhmatova, Vladimir Mayakovsky) that succumbed to those tragic circumstances. “What Have I Done to You” surfaces delicate and consuming feelings I fail to pinpoint with a name; “Listen!” is a sort of elegy about the hope of peace and relief after death, while the conclusive “Fox and Cockerel” tells of a poet who, totally deranged and maddened by fear, while being dragged to his execution laughs in the face of his executioner. The free and impassioned nature of the music makes it difficult to pinpoint references or influences behind the creation, and any sense of one-dimensional characterization is completely erased by Caprice’s ability to portray the manifold conceptual body that informs the record. As a whole, “Masquerade” is a compelling stroke of passionate, otherwordly genius.
Rating – 95/100
- To a Girl
- Elizabeth Played with Fire
- Forest Lullaby
- The Master’s Shadow
- What Have I Done
- God’s Wrath Has Smitten Our World
- Hottentot Cosmogony
- Fox and Cockerel
- Inna Brejestovskaya – Vocals
- Alexandra Korzina – Violin
- Alexey Tolstov – Cello
- Nikolai Gorshkov – Double Bass
- Vladimir Bobovnikov – Flute, piccolo
- Anton Konchakov – Clarinet, bass clarinet
- Alexei Bazhalkin – Bassoon
- Vladislav Lavrik – Trumpet
- Tanya Strunina – Harp
- Anton Brejestovski- Piano, keyboards, programming
- Minister of Sounds- Electric guitars in “To A Girl”
- Max Brejestovski- Bass
- Dmitriy Vlasenko – Drums
- Lyudmila Shamina – Additional voices (Soprano)
- Marina Nefteeva – Additional voices (Soprano)
- Vsevolod Vasiliev – Additional voices (Tenor)
- Vladimir Sudakov – Additional voices (Tenor)
- Vyacheslav Kirilyuk – Additional voices (Baritone)
- Maxim Osokin – Additional voices (Bass)
Label : Think Tank Media
Review by Tony Cannella
Ever since her excellent debut, “Love Is An Illusion” was released in 1995, the queen of progressive rock Lana Lane has enjoyed a stellar career and has released albums at a prolific pace, rarely going more than a year between releases. Her last release was 2007’s “Red Planet Boulevard”, which was followed by almost five years of…, nothing (recorded material wise). Now, Lana returns from her hiatus with her new album “El Dorado Hotel”, and man I have to say, it is great to hear that voice once again. One thing that has always been constant is the fact that Lana Lane has surrounded herself with some top musicians and collaborators. In addition to her husband, keyboardist, producer, co-writer Erik Norlander, some other big names are on board, artists like John Payne of Asia, ex-Racer X guitarist Bruce Bouillet lend their massive talents along with longtime Lana Lane collaborators Mark McCrite, Neil Citron and Don Schiff and it’s a virtual who’s who of some great talent. The 8 ½ minute opener “A Dream Full of Fire” is pure Lana Lane and a great return to form, it is also the song that sets the tempo for the album. “Maybe We’ll Meet Again” has got a nice accessible mid-tempo quality to it, similar to “Let Heaven In” from the excellent “Queen of the Ocean”. Lana continues to be able to straddle the line between accessible AOR type music and intricate progressive rock passages effortlessly. “El Dorado” features a slower, more melodic tempo. Other highlights include: “Darkness Falls”, “Hotels”, “Believe” and “Moon God”. The whole thing is brought to its conclusion by the almost 12-minute epic “In Exile”. “El Dorado Hotel” is Lana Lane at her majestic, melodic and progressive best and is a solid addition to her ever expanding catalogue. Quietly and somewhat under the mainstream radar, Lana has put together a career based on consistency and when you look at her body of work you realize just how consistently good her music has been throughout the years and “El Dorado Hotel” is no different. It is hard to believe that it has been 17 years since her debut (where has the time gone?) but “El Dorado Hotel” just goes to show that Lana Lane has not only progressed but gotten better over the years. “El Dorado Hotel” brought a huge smile to my face and is one of those albums that you’ll want to hear again and again.
Rating – 95/100
- A Dream Full of Fire
- Maybe We’ll Meet Again
- El Dorado
- Darkness Falls
- Life of the Party
- Gone Are the Days
- Moon God
- In Exile
- Lana Lane – Vocals
- John Payne – Harmony and choral vocals, mandolin
- Mark McCrite – Guitars, bass, choral vocals, programming
- Bruce Bouillet – Guitars
- Neil Citron – Guitars
- Freddy DeMarco – Guitars
- Guthrie Govan – Guitars
- Erik Norlander – Keyboards, additional guitars, bass and programming
- Don Schiff – NS/Stick
- Mark Matthews – Bass
- Jay Schellen – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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