Label : Robo Records
Review by Tony Cannella
Orianthi Panagaris is a 28 year old singer-songwriter guitarist from Australia. Previously she had been best known as the lead guitarist for Michael Jackson on his “This Is It” tour, a tour that never materialized due to his untimely death. From one legend to another she can be seen as the lead guitarist for shock-rock icon Alice Cooper on his current tour. In 2010 she won the award for “Breakthrough guitarist of the year” from Guitar International Magazine. In 2007 she released her debut album “Violet Journey” and followed that up in 2009 with “Believe”. Now Orianthi returns with her 3rd solo album entitled, “Heaven In This Hell”. Continue reading »
Interview by Ary R.
Some of you know this band thanks to Ryan Folden’s work, After Midnight, some other got in touch with these guys on the occasion of the Dark Adrenaline tour by Italian act Lacuna Coil. Who are we talking about? The answer is here: American band THIS IS SHE, that in this 2012 enter the music scene with a well-respected EP, “Nobody Is Ok”. As soon as the tour came to an end, I had the pleasure to exchange some chats with the sweet Alana Grace, that revealed something about this European tour and about the new goals of the band. This week Femme Metal hosts an interview with This Is She and we have the pleasure to talk with the singer Alana Grace. Hi Alana, welcome on our website. How are you doing?
I’m doing great! I’m happy to be back from tour and relax into the holiday season. It’s my favorite time of the year, and I’ll get to see my family soon so it’s a good time.This Is She is an American music reality that slowly tries to introduce itself in Europe in the proper way. Would you like to share something about the band biography or about your musical careeer?
I met Christian and Ryan back in 2009 when I toured with the Vans Warped Tour. They were out with their band After Midnight Project at the time, and we all bonded together throughout the summer. Both bands had their ups and downs and in 2011 I think we were all ready to try something new for a change. I had an idea for an electronic rock band, and I was looking for players right as After Midnight Project decided to take a hiatus. So we hopped in the studio together and wrote for a few months before starting to play live. Finally we released our first EP in July of this year and have been trying to promote it ever since.You’ve ended up the European tour recently, This is She was chosen as the support act for the Italian band Lacuna Coil. How would you describe this experience?
It was an incredible experience for us to go on tour with Lacuna Coil. They are so good live it was a little intimidating at first, but they were very nice to us and we became easy friends. I would say the crowds were awesome for us. They have a really dedicated fanbase who generally had checked us out before coming to the shows. It was so much fun to see some people were already familiar with our songs, and it really made us feel at home with their fans.
Interview by Miriam C.
After four three of silence gothic/darkwave Swiss duo Lacrimosa are back! So we took the chance to ask a few question to the mastermind Tilo Wolff about on “Revolution”, the new album out on Hall of Sermon.
Hi Tilo, first of all thank so much for reply at our questions. How are you??
Pretty fine. We are on tour in Germany right now, have the last five shows ahead and so far we are pretty happy with everything that happend during the tour!
“Revolution” comes after a three year break with “Sehnsucht”, how was the album’s genesis, when have you started to nail down the first lyric?
Actually the first lyric for “Revolution” was “This Is the Night” which I wrote in Bejing right after we played there in 2009. So the first seed for this album was planted while we were still on tour with “Sehnsucht” which might also be the reason why this new album sounds like the conclution of the previous one.
For this last album you have worked with Mille Petrozza (Kreator) and Stefan Schwarzmann (Accept), how’s this collaboration was born and how was working with them?
It was quite spontaneous. Mille was at my house visiting me and I played him the track “Revolution” in a version recorded by myself. He instantly liked it and asked if this would be the final version. “Why?” I replied and he said that he’d like to play this song himself. Of course I had nothing against it and then he played more and more songs getting really into it! Afterwards I asked Stefan if he’d like to participate on the production since we already some time ago talked of doing something together, and well, so it developed.
Will you shoot any videoclip from the “Revolution” album? What songs will you choose?
Yes, we made a short clip for “Irgendein Arsch ist immer unterwegs” and a live clip for “Revolution” which is in the post production right now.
How is to be your self entrepreneur of your music? What are, in your opinion, the pros and cons? Also I’ve read that you have taken the decision to not sign anymore external band like has happened with Sandra Schleret‘s Dreams of Sanity, why?
The pros are that there is no-one telling me what I shall do and what I shall not do. I can write and produce exactly the music I want to free from any commercial aspects! This is essential for me! The cons are that I don’t have much free time. This is also the reason why it always takes so much time from album to album. While other bands are on tour their record labels are preparing the next album and taking care of the promotion while I’m just busy traveling and playing.
Between “Sehnsucht” and “Revolution” are passed 3 years, there’s something that you’ll change in “Sehnsucht” and, in your order of ideas, what are the differences between the last album and this one?
I improved in the production and mixing matter but I love “Sehnsucht” as it is. Pure and majesticaly unpolished while the new one is straight, direct und uncompromising – so far my favorite album!
What is the lyric in “Revolution” that you are more fond of/attached to? And why?
“Weil Du Hilfe brauchst”. Here it all comes together for the album. If we don’t realize that we have needs that need to be fullfilled and that there are people around us that might need our help, if we don’t realize that we all are sitting in the same boat and will only survive if we row together and not against each other, than we might be lost!
In your long musical career what is/are the thing(s) that you regret the most and there’s something that you’ll change?
Of course when you are doing all by yourself and have no adviser you make mistakes here and there but all in all I am pretty happy with everything and if things would have been different I wouldn’t be where I am right now and where I am right now makes me thankful, so no need to regret anything so far!
How should consider the status of your other band Snakeskin? Something is going on or all is quiet and would be for a long long time?
Well, it’s all a question of time. Since years I want to make a new album for Snakeskin but I just don’t come to it. Maybe in the end of next year, let’s see.
Maybe this question can sound harsh to you but I hope to explain well what I would like to ask : what you can tell me about Anne‘s musical background and, if I recall right, in 1994, what was triggered the decision to insert/add her in the line up? In the end what was the thing that you have been hit/intrigued about her?
Since I started with Lacrimosa I was trying to find a female voice suiting my voice. Already on the first album I recorded with some but never was so completely happy. When I heard Anne plus she playing after I never had a good live keyboarder I asked her in for some test recordings and musically and personately it worked perfectly.
Well, dear Tilo, I really thank you for this interview, hope you’ll finding it entertaining and interesting. I would ask you now to greet your fans and our readers. Thanks
Thank you and take good care!
Photo & Review by Ed MacLaren
Christmas came early to Texas this year as In This Moment‘s A Winter To Remember tour made its way to San Antonio. But as Santa’s sleigh slid to a stop atop Scout Bar, it looked like vocalist Maria Brink‘s only Christmas wish would be for a functioning ear monitor system. Dressed in a candy cane mini-dress and fuzzy boots and surrounded by sparkling Christmas trees, tinsel and strings of light, Brink, along with guitarists Chris Howorth and Blake Bunzel, drummer Jeff Fabb and new bassist Kyle Konkiel took the stage to the throbbing metalcore of “Next Life” and instantly turned the crowd into a sea of banging heads. However, it didn’t take long before ear monitor issues had Brink spending more time at her monitor stack than at the front of the stage. Despite the obvious distraction, Brink and the band pushed through ear-crushing versions of “Prayers”, “The Great Divide” and “All For You” before Brink apologetically brought the show to a halt to rush backstage. Brink comes across as very sweet and soft spoken when she’s not screaming like a banshee but from her look of frustration, those responsible should have stayed away from the spiked egg nog. In This Moment has been riding a wave of success since 2007’s “Beautiful Tragedy” followed the next year by “The Dream”. Constant appearances over the last two years with Ozzfest, the Vans Warped Tour and periodic festival spots at the Download Festival have turned the band into a touring monster. Malfunctioning guitars, drums and even ear monitors are daily irritations but the best bands take it in stride. Within moments Brink was back – ear monitor fixed – and definitely more in the Christmas spirit. In This Moment then blasted into a string of their strongest tracks from “The Dream”. While “The Dream” featured more clean vocals instead of Brink’s trademark screams, the slashing riffs of “Mechanical Love”, and the single “Forever” kept the energy level high and gave her a chance to focus on another weapon in her vocal arsenal. Muscially, the band played as tight as Santa’s belly after a Christmas Eve eating cookies and milk. Howorth, dreadlocks swirling like a helicopter, kept the riffs coming and the breakdowns fast and heavy but the show belonged to Brink from beginning to end. Brink’s instrument is incredible, vocally changing from a guttural yowl to a powerful melodic wail in a heartbeat but her solo turn on piano with the ballad “Into the Light” showed an emotional range had held the audience enraptured. Eyes closed and soaked in sweat, she sang the song of hope in a raw clean voice making the lyrics sound just as personal to her now as the day she wrote it. Just to make sure the audience remembered they were at a metal show, In This Moment finished strong with a blistering take on “Ashes” – with guest screams from Chris Cerulli of opening band Motionless in White – and a truly majestic version of “Beautiful Tragedy”. With the crowd primed for more, the band returned for a well deserved encore – not to the stage, but to the middle of the Scout Bar floor. Taking the mosh pit to the next cardio-inspired level, the audience literally ran circles around the band in a “circle pit” while the band slashed through “Daddy’s Falling Angel”. Things are looking good for a new In This Moment CD in 2010 which means more touring and possibly another visit to San Antonio. For now, there was nothing left for fans to do but head home and nestle all snug in their beds while visions of sugar plums and a killer In This Moment show dance in their heads.
Interview by Robin Stryker
Two years after releasing their debut album “Reversing Time”, Greek/Turkish progressive symphonic melodic metal band, Dreamtone & Iris Mavraki’s Neverland, returns with its second album “Ophidia” (AFM Records 2010). Femme Metal sat down with Greek female vocalist, Iris Mavraki to get the inside story on the band and its new album.
Welcome, Iris, and thank you for joining us today! Would you start off by telling us why you joined forced with the Turkish band, Dreamtone, to form Neverland? What was it about Dreamtone’s music that caught your attention?
First of all, hello Robin; it’s a pleasure to be with you! Well…. A few years ago, my son Orpheus Spiliotopoulos, who was at that time reviewing for the Greek site MetalTemple.com, suggested I listen to a CD entitled “Unforseen Reflections” by a band called Dreamtone. I was immediately, tremendously impressed by the power of their compositions and the symphonic elements in their music. Then I found out that they are from Turkey; a nice surprise to me as I was then also singing with the Turkish Symphony Orchestra, so I suggested we get in touch. There was something in their music, something really different.
Neverland was born as a project to combine metal with a symphony orchestra for live performances. At what point did Neverland mature from a concert project into a full-fledged band?
That didn’t take long really! As I mentioned above, that’s how it started in my mind for sure, the metal band working with an orchestra and being about the live performance. It was certainly our first idea for it, but we quickly realised that there was so much more interesting material and potential that could be shared, and that it had to be right to start a new band recording our own music! We decided to unite forces and become Dreamtone & Iris Mavraki’s Neverland, and we’ve never looked back!
For someone who has never heard “Ophidia”, how would you describe the album’s sound? And, for fans of “Reversing Time”, what are the biggest differences between the two albums?
I think “Ophidia” has the more powerful sound of the two but it also combines, in some parts, an Anatolian, Mediterranean, spicy touch, Medieval parts, symphonic parts and bombastic melody too. I think it goes further than the first one! “Reversing Time” was maybe more symphonic; we had The Istanbul Philharmonic Orchestra play on it, but both albums ultimately have the identity of Dreamtone & Iris Mavraki’s Neverland because they’re written with all the musical styles present.
Which bands have influenced Neverland’s sound the most?
Hard to say as I think each and every one of us have different influences. But, if asked specifically, I would say: Blind Guardian, Jon Oliva’s Pain and many others!
What does “Ophidia” mean, and does the title play into the album’s overall theme?
Well, “Ophidia” basically tells the story of how the evil inside every one of us slowly corrupts anything and everything. Our title track is basically a semi-electronic, semi symphonic, mid tempo piece with its subtle change of pace as well as some nice guitar tricks. The song covers the theme from the perspective of “evil” as having a tongue and speaking. The song presents evil as a “snake”, slowly crawling inside our minds. “Ophidia” means worshipping the snake or following the path of the snake. Since humans almost always lie, the song suggests that we are all Ophidians… In the album, there are a lot of different meanings in the songs as well though, I don’t think we had a total concept of “Ophidia”, but just tried to represent just a few of them.
Please tell us a bit about your musical training and background. Also, who are your personal musical heroes?
Well, I studied classical piano and had singing lessons at the National Conservatoire And Hellenic Conservatoire of Greece in Rhodes. I was a member of the Municipal Choir of Rhodes for about 10 years, and a member of an amateur theatrical group there. I have been singing alone and with bands for many years and with Symphony Orchestras from Turkey and elsewhere, at numerous concerts for the “environment”, “against racism”, “antiwar concerts”, “for human rights”, etc. I had many different influences, starting with: Joan Baez, Maria Callas, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, Metallica, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Leonard Cohen, Blind Guardian, East West Divan Orchestra and Daniel Barenboim, plus Mikis Theodorakis who you might know? I was very lucky back in the 80’s to have had an audition with David Gilmour (Pink Floyd). I think that all these years of experimenting with many kinds of musical styles and in several different languages, have given me a wide range of repertoire and experience.
With your background participating in human rights concerts and given the historic tension between Turkey and Greece, how important are politics to Neverland?
It’s not really about this, but there is some aspect of it to think about I suppose! If you think about it, our countries have had bad relations for many years and are slowly recovering from these wounds of the past, so it is important that we help promote such a conscience, especially in the young. To build a cultural bridge through music is the best way to spread messages of hope and peace, as music is a universal language, no? “Politics” in the narrow sense of the word, is for Politicians. I think, for us, it’s a matter of keeping eyes open helping people to be more aware of things. We, as people from Greece and Turkey, have far more to share than those who try to divide us can take away! We share the same sun, and that means “light”. It’s politicians that create the problems, not us!
The new album has fantastic guest appearances by metal vocalists Jon Oliva (Savatage, Trans Siberian Orchestra, Jon Oliva’s Pain), Edu Falschi (Angra, Almah) and Urban Breed (Pyramaze, ex-Bloodbound, Tad Morose). How did these collaborations come about?
Oganalp and our band members contacted all of them and asked them if they would accept an invitation to be our guests basically, and it’s so wonderful that they all accepted. It’s really wonderful having people like this on our new album. It’s humbling!
Neverland will be touring Europe with Jon Oliva’s Pain in October. Is the tour a direct result of his guest vocals on “Ophidia”?
We were planning to go on tour anyway, but, I think Jon’s appearance on our album definitely played a role. I think the general reaction to the album from the fans is also so great that that plays its role too and is the main reason for us being accepted on the tour.
One of the most touching songs on the new album is “Places Unknown”, a farewell to Mike Baker (Shadow Gallery) who passed away in 2008. During the upcoming tour, will Neverland perform “Places Unknown” or “Reversing Time” (feat. Mike Baker) — the title track from Neverland’s debut album, which was also Mike’s last official release before his death — or are emotions still too raw to sing these songs during a live performance?
Emotions are, of course, still present and raw. It was such a shock for us, and especially for the Dreamtone guys, who were in touch with Mike for a long time. But the fact that he sang “Reversing Time” and that this was his last song recorded; you know the lyrics of the song? Well, it seemed to me, very strange. There are sometimes things you simply just can’t explain in words and that is one of them, sorry! Yes, we will be playing these two songs, definitely! May Mike rest in peace and in our memories.
Speaking of tours, how was ProgPower Europe 2009? What is your best memory from the festival?
It was a terrific experience; bands from different countries, a fantastic audience that came just for the Festival. It was amazing. I was impressed by Evergrey’s acoustic performanc. We had lots of fun and good memories. We hope to be there soon, once again. Promoters, audience and bands were all awesome and very friendly to us!
Congratulations on the video premier of “This Voice Inside” on Headbangers Ball (MTV Greece)! Why did Neverland pick this song as the album’s first music video?
Well, “This Voice Inside” is about the main character of “The Wheel of Time” series, Rand Al’Thor, one of the main characters of the book. It mainly tells of Rand’s unwilling turn into an anti-hero, whilst constantly trying to battle with the voices inside his head. It’s a powerful song. You’re right. It had its premier on Headbangers Ball (MTV Greece)! In fact, they will be presenting it again, as we have a concert in Rhodes at the Colorado Club (Rhodes) on June 10th. We picked the song because it was powerful, of course, but also because it somehow defines the album’s sound. There are more complex and alternative tracks than that one, but it shows generally, what to expect from the album!
Which is your favourite Neverland song of all time, and why do you feel a strong connection to the song?
Mine is actually “Black Water”, off “Reversing Time”. It talks about, black water; oil, or more specifically petrol and reminds us of the eternal fight humans seem to need to have to keep control over it. It is a lovely song also, from the pure musical side!
If you could design the perfect Neverland gig, what would it be like (venue, guest appearances, etc.)?
I would love to do this! First of all, I would design it with a Symphony Orchestra, of course, live with Neverland. I would have all our guests appear also, in memory of Mike Baker. I’d do two big concerts. One in Athens and one in Istanbul. And I would give this the title, “Connecting Bridges”!
How is 2010 shaping up for Neverland?
So far, it looks very exciting. In Rhodes, the concert is organized by the Road Knights, the MCC of Rhodes (The Harley Davidson Club of Rhodes) and my son Orpheus will present “Ophidia” and us. Orpheus presents Headbangers Ball (MTV Greece) now and is also writing for Rock Hard (Greece) and they will be our Media Sponsors. Then we’re preparing for our European tour with Jon Oliva. It will be great. There are many shows booked, and we will visit several countries. I believe we’ve just added two more gigs, one in the Czech Republic and one more leg in Germany? It will be a great experience,w e will have a real chance to connect with our European listeners, and I’m so looking forward to it. 2010 is probably going to be our most active year to date.
Thank you for taking the time to chat with us, Iris. Do you have any parting words for your fans at Femme Metal?
I thank you also, it was a pleasure to speak to you. Thank you for some really good questions. I send our greetings from this part of world and hope to perform somewhere close to you soon, hopefully in the UK? Keep listening and supporting Metal Music; it’s a good way of life and it rocks!
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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