Interview by Ed MacLaren

Barely into their 20s, Germany’s Voices of Destiny has a musical maturity that belies their young years. With their shining debut, “From the Ashes”, Voices of Destiny is packed with massive chops and soaring vocals that match many of the premier symphonic metal bands you’re listening to right now. Vocalist Maike Holzmann joined Femme Metal to talk about the creation of “From the Ashes”.
 
Congratulations on the new album! With Massacre Records no less. How are you and the band enjoying the ride so far? The feedback must be excellent.

Working with Massacre and all the great people we met during the recording process is awesome. Of course, we got some positive reviews and comments on our homepage, but we can’t tell how often the album is sold by now. We will know better in a few weeks.

“From the Ashes” is a very multi-textured album that draws you in deeper each time you listen to it. There’s a lot of detail happening musically. What’s the key to maximizing the “From the Ashes” listening experience?

Maybe just sitting down and listening to the album carefully and consciously. If you read the lyrics while listening this might also maximize the experience. You can interpret them and find out how they fit into your life.

What’s really impressive about “From the Ashes” is the number of potential singles: “Ray of Hope”, “Return from the Ashes”, “Apathy” and “All Eyes on Me” are all standout tracks. Each song on the album can stand on its own as well as a cohesive part of the whole album. Was that the band’s approach during the songwriting process?

Yes, indeed. We didn’t write the album as a concept album. Some songs already existed for 2 years or longer. But we thought they’d fit the album as well. Every single song is good on its own but concerning the whole album they reach another level somehow.

“From the Ashes” is an interesting title for a debut album. It begs the question of what you’re rising from. Is the title a deliberate metaphor for the making or the album and the band’s experience or just a cool album name?

It’s the best description for the songs on the album. It’s an invitation to think about the past, leave it behind and start something new. Besides that we found it interesting to name it like there was something before. (And it sounds cool anyway =) )

With a strong debut album, there must be a lot of new demands on the band. What’s the biggest change the band has had to deal with since releasing “From the Ashes”?

I’d say there is none. Although the album is released all over the world, we try to stay down to earth and more important remain true to ourselves and our music.

We’re seeing a lot of female-fronted metal bands in recent months that are releasing strong debut albums that can rank with many already established acts. Do you think there’s something in the water? Why do you think this is happening?

Honestly I have no clue of this development so I have no plausible explanation for this phenomenon.

You have a pure, clear and pristine vocal delivery. You MUST be classically trained. How did you develop that voice and who are your vocal inspirations for this album?

Since I entered the band in 2005 I’ve gotten a classical voice teacher. She really helped me to get better and is also a great inspiration for me.

There are a lot of creative things happening with your vocal melodies on the album. You have an excellent expressive voice and you’re stretching it in all kinds of different directions – technically and emotionally. How was it in the studio working out your vocal lines?

It definitely was a lot of fun and at the same time very hard work. It’s difficult to have the parts exactly the way you want them to be. Andy Horn was a great support for me in the studio.

The band has referenced bands like Edenbridge, Epica and Within Temptation as musical touchstones for your music. How have they influenced you, Chris, Jens, Erik and Lukas?

We all like to listen to these bands and this kind of music in general. I think we couldn’t avoid being influenced by them.

The symphonic/epic metal genre is loaded with many strong bands with similar lineups and musical perspective. How do you and the band approach your music to allow it to stand out from the rest?

I try not to get too narcissistic now, but I think there are several things. First of all there’s our age to be mentioned. We’re all at about 20 years old and are already compared to musicians that partly count twice as much. Besides that the boys and I are not just band members but also good friends. Unfortunately that’s not always the rule. And the last thing that makes us special is our will to get better and not stand still and relax at some point of success.

Musically, a key track on “From the Ashes” is “Apathy”. The arrangement of the song with the rock solid bass/drum combination, riffing electric guitar contrasted with acoustic passages, and especially the programming and 70s prog rock synth work gives the track a different feel than the rest of the album. Have you and the band given much thought on the continued musical growth of the band and what direction that might be?

We didn’t talk about that yet. I could imagine that we’re developing a harder sound. More songs like “All Eyes on Me” and “Return from the Ashes”. But as Lukas does the main songwriting our future lies in his hands! =)

“From the Ashes” is a very well produced album. How are those textures and details going to translate into a live environment – especially your vocals?

Lukas and Chris, who wrote all the orchestral parts, tried to arrange them in a way we can also bring on stage. Lukas plays most of it on his keyboard, some other parts are brought in playback. All my backing vocals are missing of course. But that’s no deterioration at all. There are other important and interesting things to experience on a live concert.

What can the fans expect from Voices of Destiny on the road? Where are you touring this year?

Unfortunately there’s no tour planed or in sight. We’re doing some live shows anyway. And that’s absolutely worth it. To me we’re even better on stage than on the album. So don’t miss us!

 

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