Label : Sony Music Norway
Review by Luisa Mercier
Rebekka Karijord is a Norwegian singer-songwriter, score composer, actress and “We Become Ourselves” is her fourth record. Since I am not familiar with her previous efforts, I will just analyze this album as a work by itself. What attracted me the most was the elegant gothic-tinged image that has been used as cover artwork that perfectly fits the music contained in the album. I read that “The Noble Art of Letting Go”, her previous album focused on love relationships, while this one explores more themes. They always deal with her relationship with men, but this time they are not only lovers, but also friends, brothers (the touching ballad “Oh Brother”) and fathers. Musically speaking is quite simple, music never overcomes her haunting vocals: piano, percussions, electronic beats are the thick envelope that contain her vocal lines. Contrary to most of indie music, Rebekka tunes are also very accessible, listen for example to the single “Use My Body While It’s Still Young”. I challenge yourself not to be fascinated by the syncopated rythm and the catchy chorus. “Your Love” is another refined yet pop song. Strings, piano and vocals make way for a melody that recalls me Florence Welch. Another vocal bit I love is the bridge of “Multicolored Hummingbird” where she literally soars over the music. More acoustic is “You Make Me Real”, really romantic, melancholic, a bit sad, but really it moved me so much. The album is closed by the anthemic “Ode to What Was Lost” and “Bandages”, another skinny music piece where her voice stands out. I am loving this album, hope you do the same.
Rating – 80/100
- Use My Body While It’s Still Young
- We Become Ourselves
- Oh Brother
- Your Love
- Multicolored Hummingbird
- Save Yourself
- You Make Me Real
- Ode to What Was Lost
- Rebekka Karijord – Vocals, Songwriting & Piano.
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 Erwin Van Dijk
An interview with Michelle Loose from Brave. On June 1st the compilation double cd “Demonic and Divine” is released by Femme Metal Records.. The cd is to support the Macmillan Cancer support and Cancer research UK. Brave appears with the song “Driven”. This song originally appeared on the album “Monuments”. Brave is a Progressive rock/metal band from Washington DC (United States). This interview is with Michelle Loose, who is responsible for the keys and vocals.
For starters: How was the gig with Cynic in Springfield?
It was amazing! Definitely a dream come true to play with Cynic. We’ve been huge fans of theirs since the early ‘90’s. They put on a great show. They are so good live, so talented.
Did you always wanted to become a singer?
I’ve always loved music and singing but I never dreamed that I would actually be a singer. I’m a pretty shy person so I never imagined that I would actually sing in front of people. I was really forced into singing for the band – but I’m so glad that I was!
Who are your favourite singers and musicians?
Tori Amos probably tops my list. Other singers/musicians include Lisa Gerrard, Ann Wilson, Geoff Tate, Ray Alder.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
I’ve really been on a proggy metal kick lately. I listen to a lot of different bands but right now I’m really digging Dream Theater, Cynic, Fates Warning, Metallica. I also frequently listen to The Gathering, Lacuna Coil, Genesis, Faith No More, Tori Amos.
Did you sing in any other bands before Brave and do you any other bands right now?
We were previously known as Arise From Thorns which includes the same core lineup of myself, my brother Scott Loose on guitar and drummer Trevor Schrotz. I did a brief part on a demo before joining AFT for another band but that’s really it. I’ve done a few recordings here and there for other artists including Power of Omens, David Gallegos, While Heaven Wept and Project Failing Flesh.
You also play piano. What do you prefer, singing or playing piano?
I probably prefer singing. I feel more confident singing rather than playing piano.
You have been active in Brave (and Arise From Thorns as the band was called in the early days) since 1997. What are the highlights for you so far?
We’ve had some really great live performances opening for bands that I’ve longed admired like Fates Warning, Cynic, Lacuna Coil, Opeth and others and that has been amazing. We’ve been so fortunate to get on these gigs. I’d also say that meeting and working with so many other music lovers has been wonderful. I never would have had these experiences without being in the band. We’ve truly met a lot of great people, fans and professionals.
And did you have any negative experiences?
We have had some not so good live performances, nothing terrible but some nasty club experiences. Overall we’ve been extremely lucky and fortunate not to have too many negative experiences.
Why did you choose Brave as the name for your band?
We decided to change the name from Arise From Thorns back in 2000 because we wanted a less dramatic and more memorable name. There were a few serendipitous events that took place with the word “Brave” and it’s always had personal meaning for me. I have to remind myself to be ‘brave’ daily whether it be in my regular day to day life or when singing in front of people. I try to be brave and grow personally and professionally all of the time. It’s a strong word with powerful meaning.
How would you describe Brave’s music? Because Progressive Rock/Metal covers a lot of music these days, from Stratovarius to Epica.
We’ve always been somewhat difficult to pigeon hole in terms of labelling a specific style. We have our moments when we are more on the prog/metal side of the spectrum but we also have songs that would be considered slightly more contemporary or commercial sounding. We try to really vary up our style and sound. We don’t think about what kind of music we want to write, it just comes out the way it is and we keep it that way. For us the joy in writing music is writing whatever we want and not creating any musical boundaries.
And what makes Brave different compared to all the other female fronted bands in the world?
I would say that our sound is unique, passionate and dynamic.There are definitely a lot of female fronted bands out there so we stand out amongst all of the bands with our own sound.
Can you introduce us to the other members of Brave?
Scott Loose: Guitars, founding member of Arise From Thorns and Brave - Matt Kozar: Guitars, joined Brave in 2007 and has been a wonderful addition to the family both personally and musically. -Trevor Schrotz: Drums, founding member or Arise From Thorns and Brave. - Ben Kelly: Bass, joined Brave in 2003 and has been a long time friend of ours and a great addition to the band – Suvo Sur: Violin/Keys, joined Brave in 2003 and has really defined our style with the added instrumentation of violin. Suvo is an amazing musician and we’ve so enjoyed working with him.
You and Scott are brother and sister. Does this make things easier in the band or not?
Fortunately we get along pretty well so there are no dramatic family fights or anything like that. I find that we are both really on the same page musically so I think that helps to have that connection. I’m also married to our drummer Trevor so it’s definitely been a family affair for a long time.
Why did Brave choose the song “Driven” for the “Demonic and Divine” album?
That’s one of our favourite songs from our recent CD “Monuments”. It’s fun, heavy and uplifting so we wanted to include this on the compilation.
And how did you (the band) got in touch with Femme Metal?
I believe my brother Scott actually started talking with them. Caz and everyone at Femme Metal have been wonderful to work with. We were honoured that they wanted to release a 10 year anniversary CD for us.
Is song writing teamwork in Brave or is there a mastermind behind the music?
Mostly it’s a team effort, we all add our own spices to the mix if you will. Most of the main riffs and ideas are written by Scott but we all get to add our own styles to each song. It’s definitely a collaborative effort.
Washington D.C.’s progressive/rock band Brave signs deal for a 10 year anniversary album with Femme Metal Records from England. The album, entitled “Lost in Retrospect” ,will feature selected tracks from all of the Brave and Arise From Thorns (former band name) albums, including some songs that are long out of print. “Lost in Retrospect” was released February 20, 2009. Brave‘s singer Michelle Loose said about the album: “We are very excited about this collaboration for a 10 year anniversary CD with the new record label, Femme Metal Records. We can’t believe we’ve been making music together for 10 years now and are glad to be able to re-release some of the older songs that have been long out of print. We are so happy to be working with Femme Metal Records and thank you for your support with this collaboration.” Can you tell us something about the songs on “Lost in Retrospect” ?
It was a hard decision to select songs from the last 10 years. We really just picked out our favourite and most meaningful songs to us and narrowed the selection down to what we could use with the time that is allotted for CD. We then picked songs that we though would flow well together and this is what we came up with. It’s a good overview of AFT/Brave over the last 10 years.
What is the idea behind the title of the album?
The title is actually from the song “Lost in Retrospect” which was on our CD “Waist Deep in Dark Waters”. That song was written by a dear friend of ours who was also in our band at the time, Tom Phillips from While Heaven Wept. The title seemed to work perfectly for what we were creating.
And what is your favourite song on “Lost in Retrospect” ?
Probably “Candle in the Dark”.
What are Brave’s plans for the future?
We have a few live performances coming up so we are focused on those for now. Eventually we’ll probably write again and go from there.
And the last question: Is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
Please feel free to check out our music samples at www.myspace.com/braveband if you’d like to check us out. Thank you so much for the interview!!
Label : Nuclear Blast Records
Review by Stina
Hot on the heels of last year’s “Triumph : Tragedy : Transcendence – Live at the Hammers of Doom” comes While Heaven Wept’s fourth studio album, “Fear of Infinity”. It was never unusual for these by now legendary Virginia Epic Doomsters to go several years between full-lengths, so two of them (and a live album) in the span of two years is a pretty big deal for loyal fans. But after impressing audience and press alike with 2009’s “Vast Oceans Lachrymose”, things were bound to change. Fresh off a record deal with perhaps the most famous rock and metal label in the world – that is to say, Nuclear Blast, While Heaven Wept took an exceptionally short time in crafting a follow up, and, after announcing the signing in November, they rushed into the studio to have the album ready before this April – which could make our alarm bells ring as for the quality of the product, especially considering the high standards set by a band that has been around for twenty years and at the top of their league for at least half of them. And, while whatever they could put together in a few months is still a lot more than what an average band could put together in a career, “Fear of Infinity” is not quite on par with said standards: sure, it’s a While Heaven Wept album, and thus possesses all the trademarks and signature elements of their latest style – epic cavalcades, twin guitar melodic scale progressions, Michelle Schrotz’s chilling but elegant synth work, her vocal duels with Tom Phillips, melancholic melodies and overall technical proficiency. But this ultimately turns out a double edge sword: “Fear of Infinity” is on the verge of falling short in the sense that it’s often difficult to spot the differences between it and its predecessor; at times it’s like the album sounds as though it could easily have been spawned during the same recording session – which is, actually, something not far removed from the truth, since the majority of “Fear of Infinity” was rehearsed alongside the “Vast Oceans Lachrymose” material. Therefore, is no surprise that this latest effort neither pushes any envelopes nor changes any games, much in its seven tracks only sounding as a slight variation (albeit a surely enjoyable one) of something else done before by the same band – which is to say, dangerously close to stagnating and dull. An off-putting thing for fans of female vocals (which is saying a lot of you readers, or else you wouldn’t be browsing Femme Metal reviews!), is the scarce prominence given to Michelle as a singer: as said before, she mostly harmonizes with Tom without benefiting of much exposure, therefore only the most fervent WHW fans among you will want to get their hands on this album. To me, it felt too much of a genre exercise to maintain album-length interest – even though a mild effort by While Heaven Wept is still a nice slab of melancholic, doomy epicness and therefore quite the pleasure for our metallic ears.
Rating – 72/100
- Hour of Reprisal
- Destroyer of Solace
- Obsessions Now Effigies
- To Grieve Forever
- Saturn and Sacrifice
- Rain Irving – Lead Vocals
- Scott Loose – Guitar
- Tom Phillips – Guitar, Keyboards & Vocals
- Jason Lingle – Additional Keyboards & Vocals
- Michelle Schrotz – Keyboards & Vocals
- Jim Hunter – Bass & Vocals
- Trevor Schrotz – Drums
While Heaven Wept – “Triumph : Tragedy : Transcendance – Live at the Hammer of Doom” LIVE ALBUM (2010)
Label : Cruz del Sur Music/High Roller Records/Iron Kodex Records
Review by Stina
On some occasions, live albums/DVDs might tend to mark certain – hopefully memorable – circumstances: relevant anniversaries, for example, or maybe a special performance in a significant venue. While Heaven Wept‘s first live package – a CD/DVD 2 disc set released via Cruz Del Sur Music on November 8th, 2010 in a quantity of 3000 copies, plus an additional, limited edition 2LP set released through a joint collaboration between Cruz Del Sur Music, High Roller Records and Iron Kodex Records in a quantity of 1000 copies, including a poster, insert and housed in heavy gatefold sleeve – adheres to any of the aforementioned criteria yet it is not truly any of the above. A document of a band in their 20th year, and – and as far as locations go, recorded during the band’s appearance at Hammer of Doom festival, in Germany, the real purpose of this release is better explained in the words of primary writer and overall engine of the band, mainman Tom Philips: “The philosophy behind this release is twofold; first, it is an expression of our gratitude to everyone who attended the show – who made it such a special, unforgettable experience for us. Secondly, being that there are many places that WHW would like to perform, but we’ve yet to reach, hopefully this will hold those waiting over until we can broker a deal to appear in your city, in person”. “Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence” might not capture the most extensive live set ever performed (a total of seven tracks, plus the usual bonus material including rehearsal films, a 20-minute interview and three additional live versions of songs already played in the Hammer of Doom show), but it does surely make up for that detail, as it reaches as far back as the band’s 1998 debut “Sorrow of the Angels”, bringing together a nice collection that spans all the band’s releases, much to the fans’ pleasure. This renders the result not just a cobbled-together, fans-only collector’s item, but also an overall enjoyable work, and even an excellent introduction to the legendary Doom act from Virginia, also thanks to the excellent quality of the performance, both sound-wise and also technically. Covering an expanse of nuances from the serene and celestial to the epic and raging and a kaleidoscopic plethora of dispositions in-between due to the reason mentioned above (as anyone who’s familiar with the discography of WHW is able to testify), “Triumph:Tragedy:Transcendence” showcases a jaw-dropping interplay between the musicians that’s remarkably fluid, perfectly coordinated and crystal clear – individual contributions are outstandingly discernible and the atmosphere created by the synths of Michelle Schrotz (the lady of the band, with whom she has recently parted ways – only on a temporary basis, thankfully – due to maternity reasons), who is also responsible for the harmonized female vocals, coat the execution of the songs in a chilling but soothing fashion. This live release has mostly been criticized for its coldness (most of the audience’s reaction is silenced, which gives an impeccable but a bit studio-like feel to the overall performance) but the presence of this flaw which the reviewer only perceives as minor should be let get in the way of the validity of the work. Sure, While Heaven Wept may not have invented melody-infused Epic Doom, but they sure have put an indelible stamp on it over the last twenty years – which means two things: first and foremost, any fan of the band would better grab a copy of this live release, and secondly, if you, reader, are yet to investigate the soundscapes of this fine femme-related band, don’t you think the time is now?
Rating – 80/100
- Vast Ocean Lachrymose
- The Furthest Shore (Parts 1-3)
- Soul Sadness
- The Drowning Years
- Of Empires Forlorn
- Thus With a Kiss I Die
- Rain Irving – Lead Vocals
- Scott Loose – Guitar
- Tom Phillips – Guitar, Keyboards & Vocals
- Michelle Schrotz – Keyboards, Vocals
- Jim Hunter – Bass, Vocals
- Trevor Schrotz – Drums
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
- Anneke Van Giersbergen
- Leaves Eyes’ – “Symphonies of the Night” (2013)
- Phildel – “The Glass Ghost” EP (2013)
- Lita Ford
- Sarah Teets – MindMaze
- Susanna Vesilahti – Unshine
- Trobar de Morte – “The Silver Wheel” (2012)
- Viper Venom – “In Venom Veritas” (2012)
- Via Obscura – “Gedanken” (2012)
- The Mariana Hollow – “Velvet Black Sky” (2012)
- Storyum – “Insomnia” (2012)
- Snei Ap – “Hidden Floors” EP (2013)
- Sin7sinS – “Carnival of No Tomorrow” (2012)
- MaterDea – “Satyricon” (2011)
- Rampart – “War Behast” (2012)
- Lita Ford – “The Bitch is Back… Live” LIVE ALBUM (2013)
- Epysode – “Fantasmagoria” (2013)
- Beyond God – “Dark Light of Dawn” EP (2013)
- Ayreon – “The Theory of Everything” (2013)
- Seremonia – “Ihiminen” (2013)
- Tuomas Tuovinen & Eveelina Kojo – myGrain
- TEODASIA announces European Tour with TARJA TURUNEN
- I Left the Planet – “I Left the Planet” EP (2011)
- Grimes – “Visions” (2012)
- Грай [Grai] – “О Земле Родной” ["O Zemly Rodnoj" - "About Native Land"] (2011)
- Gin Wigmore – “Gravel and Wine” (2011)
- Funin – “Unsound” (2011)
- Fenrir – “Echoes of the Wolf” (2012)
- Carina Hanselmann – Arven
- Barbara “Babs” Brawand – Caladmor