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    Welkom op de log van Bas Kanij, de vliegende music reporter !
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     

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    The Reasoning-Interview Matt and Rachel
     
     
    Using Cardiff as their home base The Reasoning has set out to conquer the rest of the world with a mixture of progressive rock and metal elements, entwined in a beautiful way with harmonious vocals, coming courtesy of three different singers, namely Rachel Cohen, Gareth Jones and Dylan Thompson. Just recently the band came up with its second effort which compared to debut album 'Awakening' takes the music into a more metallic direction and gives absolute credit to the three-part vocal harmonies without losing touch with the powerful melodies that made the debut stand out as one of the highlights of 2007. It is to be expected that 'Dark Angel' will send the band well on its way to the top of the musical ladder where a permanent stay amongst the crème de la crème of the scene is guaranteed for as long as good quality music is being delivered.
     
    The story of The Reasoning started a few years back in October 2005 when bassist Matt Cohen hooked up with Dylan for a recording session that was about to change their way of life for the years to follow. With an almost face-splitting smile Matt tries to relive the event that led to the incarnation of his yet to be formed band at the time. “We met in the studio shortly after I had parted ways with my former band. Since that's been done and dealt with, I won't go into details. Let's just say that things didn't work out the way they should have. With Dylan, however, they did and we decided to write some songs together. The demo's we recorded thereafter sounded quite nice and we played them to Rachel whom I was dating back then. Very convenient, I might add.” He pauses for a moment, long enough for Rachel to jump in. “It was indeed very convenient, even though I only came along for the ride. But it turned out to be a rather long one and now I'm stuck. Literally. Ha ha.” The sound of her laughter fills the air as she bends over to look Matt straight in the eye. But the object of her obvious affection apparently remains unmoved by the fierce look he's been given as he without further hesitation continues where he just left off. “Anyway, when Dylan and I played Rachel our demo songs she wasn't into much at the time musical wise. But she liked what we were doing and came on board. The rest of the lot we knew from previous bands we had played in and so we came full circle.”
     
     

    Without discarding the qualities of the other two singers in the band, it is without a doubt Rachel who claims a prominent place in the limelight with her angelic voice that has won her the title of Best Female Singer in the annual Classic Rock Society awards for fours years in a row. Along with Dylan and Gareth she's responsible for most of the lyrics that deal with a wide variety of subjects. When asked about this, she sits up straight and starts talking with admirable enthusiasm. “With my former band Karnataka I used to write a lot of autobiographical stuff, but now it turns out to be a mixture of personal stuff and fantasy with a lot of different topics I find interesting. There's always something around to write about. You just have to keep your eyes open and be perceptive. For the rest, use your imagination to fill in the blank parts. But you have to see for yourself. I don't want to give away too much details. That would spoil the surprise.”

    Having a band with three different vocalists on board doesn't come as an exception, although it's not a common thing either. According to Matt it was a well-conceived idea, intended right from the start. “It was just something that we have always wanted. Gareth, Dylan and Rachel have very distinctive voices, each with a different range, suitable for different styles. And the best part: None of them is the lead vocalist; we have three! And because they differ so much from each other, it's easy to pick out who's singing what. I think this adds to our sound and gives it a lot of depth.”

    Originally The Reasoning started out under the name of Beyond Reason, but it wasn't before long when it came to everyone's attention that there already was another band in existence carrying the same name. Therefore, to avoid confusion and the possible threat of a lawsuit, it was dropped and changed to the current one.

    Contrary to most bands The Reasoning is in control of its own affairs. Matt is very specific about this. “We do everything ourselves. Everything is a band's decision and since we all see eye to eye, this way of working makes it a whole lot easier to go from one point to another. Not that we have some sort of master plan, but we do try to keep ourselves focused on what we want, and that is to get our music out in the best possible way, either through releasing an album or by means of a tour which usually lasts for a couple of weeks. No longer, no less. We all have our family lives and jobs to look after to. The band has to add a little extra that we all like to do. But I believe I speak for all of us when I say that we have struck a nice balance between the band and our personal lives.” While his last words still linger in the air, Matt looks at Rachel who nods in silent agreement with a thin smile twisting her lips. There's no doubt they connect on a higher level, just as they do with the rest of the band. Quite clearly The Reasoning is one big, happy family where each member has an equal saying in how things should be handled. As Matt puts it eloquently: “We are as one. That is what The Reasoning is about.”
     
     
    On 'Awakening' The Reasoning was offered a bit of help by Steve Rothery who added a sublime guitar solo to album closer “Within Cold Glass”. The moment Steve's name is dropped upon the table, Rachel starts to gloat. “That was totally my doing. I met Steve a long time ago when playing a show with my former band. He was putting in a guest performance with the band that was supporting us. Somehow we got talking afterwards. Then later, much later, when he heard I had parted ways with my band, he mailed me, saying it was a shame I wasn't doing music any more and he stated that if I got involved in any project, he would be more than willing to help. All I had to do, was ask. Well, I answered him, as a matter of fact there is something going on at the moment and if you could put in a solo...And he did. And we all love it. He really is a lovely guy, super friendly and supportive. Not just to me, but to the whole band. He even played with us a couple of times. Absolutely brilliant.”
     
    Through the years Matt and Rachel havelearned the hard way that the music industry is one tough institute that can bring you down easily if you don't watch your back. “It's not all bad though,” Matt says with a harsh voice, “but there's a great many people out there who want to take advantage of you by promising you the world while offering a neck-wrenching deal. Just figure out what it is you want. Important is to be true to yourself, make sure the music you play, comes from the heart. Believe in yourself, in your own lies. Ha ha.” All of a sudden the harshness has left his voice and his eyes start to twinkle as he turns to Rachel once again. “Ain't that right, dear?” Rachel puts down the drink she has just been offered and taps Matt on the hand. “Absolutely, darling. You are quite right. But it's also important to enjoy what you're doing, for if you don't have fun yourself, how can you expect the people upfront who have come to see you to have any? Don't think you can. So, stay true to yourself and don't let your ego get the bigger of you. If you manage to do that, you'll have lots of fun and you'll find how great it is to be part of a band. It really is a special feeling when everything falls into place and you are able to create something new together with people with whom you genuinely get along. Just hope we can keep this going for a very long time and that we'll be able to keep recording new albums. That would be my goal for the next few years.” 
    "I'll drink to that,” Matt shouts as he heaves his glass while pretending to make a toast, “I'll drink to that.”
     
     

    Amen

     
     
     

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    Keith Caputo-Interview 20-09-2008

    Once, in a time long covered by dust and cobwebs, Keith Caputo made himself a name as the front man of the New York hardcore formation Life Of Agony. What distinguished himself from the rest of the lot, was the aggressive, almost maniacal way in which he would spit his frustration drenched lyrics into the microphone. It would grant him and his band a well-deserved place in the archives of the heavy scene. How ever sad it may be, this was mainly due to the legendary status of 1993's 'River Runs Red', a début that's still considered the blueprint for the ultimate hardcore record by hordes of adepts. When first looked upon, this seems like a jolly achievement, but musical wise Keith and his motley crue signed their own death warrant with the release of their little cutie, for their fan base would measure future efforts against it. The consequence of this conception was Keith turning his back on his former band in 1997 in favour of a solo career that would allow him to evolve to a higher level as a musician.

    As a solo artist Caputo comes across as a stilled version of himself with poppy tunes that, however, stand witness to the artistic growth he was aiming for and even though he only tends to go wild on occasion, his voice still possesses that touch of charisma that once made its owner rise so high above those who looked up to him.

    On his most recent effort -'A Fondness For Hometown Scars'- Caputo carries his message across through means of a bunch of songs, pure in their simplicity and cast upon a plate of dark lyrics dealing with the downside of society which is portrayed as a rather gloomy place, susceptible of improvement. The overall setting of the album -with the exception of the biting 'Troubles Down'- is mellow and gives in a fragile manner insight to the psyche of an almost troubled soul.

    'A Fondness For Hometown Scars' is yet another extraordinary title for an album. What's the story behind this one?
    “The story behind 'A Fondness For Hometown Scars' is a representation of the wounds, the burns, the sores etc, society has left upon me. Also as a people what we all go through. The effect of grief & fear & trauma, the point of separation I've experienced is what is. Somehow I have this talent for turning it all around.”

    Your lyrics still deal with dark subjects, a reflection of your deepest thoughts and emotions? Is there still as much anger inside of you as back in the beginning when you started out?

    “In life, lyrically, poetically etc, I deal with mystery & secrecy. Not unhappiness or distress esp with 'Hometown Scars'. Lyrically it is not a reflection of what is inside of me, but what is outside of me. This society lacks spiritual intellect. As a community we are ignorant. I'm not angry, I never was, I sometimes experience heartache, that is all. Low spirits are all around. It's time for change. The only constant thing in this life.”

    Although the overall setting of A Fondness For Hometown Scars is dark, there seems to be a shimmering light at the end of the tunnel in the form of 'Silver Candy', a somewhat happy tune. Any particular reason for that?

    “To me every song gleams with brilliance and luminosity. I would take a deeper listen if I were you!”

    Another strange fish in the pond is 'Troubles Down', which seems to go back to your Life Of Agony days. Was this just a coincidence or an attempt to show your former fans that stood at the base of the decline of Life Of Agony, that you still have the same passion as before you went solo?
    “You have a funny choice of words, sir. 'Troubles Down' is deliberate. If you listen carefully LOA couldn't write or perform a song like 'Troubles down'. They do a different thing, expressing themselves in a much different way and I'm not writing for anyone. My true fans know this about me, they are also just as outlaw as I am. The real ones. I still enjoy an elegant edge once in a while. It's no fluke, trust me and my passion is burning hotter with every passing breath.”

    How did Flea get involved?
    “We sent him the song 'Bleed For Something Beautiful'. He loved it. He was perfect for it. Flea has many strokes of genius, heart, tenderness, humanity, nerve, understanding (unlike most musicians out there) and when he played his bit, I swore I could see the shadow of Chet Baker. I froze upon meeting him. He took a genuine interest in my being and spoke with me. He is a real inspiration.”

    There have been quite a few problems on the American leg of your current tour. What did exactly happen with that one particular show that got cancelled due to promoters not sticking to their promises?
    “Most promoters didn't do their job and that's promoting the show, spending $$ to get people out. There was a lack of communication as well. Some promoters did a great job, guess what people showed up and we all had an amazing experience.”

    What's the deal with this rumour that was circling around a while ago that you would join Velvet Revolver as their new lead singer?

    “I don't know, you tell me. It's just a rumour, you know, gossip, hearsay, word on the streets, scuttlebutt, maybe all the loose lips out there. I guess people think I'm fit for the job and that's cool. I would love to work with Slash, Duff and Matt, they're amazing people and musicians. I'd give the 3 of them more heart then Axel or Scott ever imagined they could.”

    What are your future plans concerning your solo career and Life Of Agony?
    “To me what I do isn't a career. It's my way of life. I will continue to make music for as long as my mind can keep up with my imagination.”


    If you could change the world, how would you go about it and what exactly would you change?

    “I'd start by changing myself. The human being unfolds itself like a lotus flower with countless petals. Are you ready to make that change?”
     
     

     
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    Interview Simone Christinat (Felony) 29-08-2008
     
     


     
    Felony originates from deep within Switzerland where the Alps with its snowy tops provide the perfect background for a musical journey through a landscape lighted up by melodic metal notes, brought to flavour by classical fused parts.

    The band came to life in the early 90's in a time when there was still room at the table for those who favoured melodic metal. Still it would last till 2005 before the debut album 'First Works' was released in their home country. A year later, due to a deal with Escape Records, other parts of the world got introduced to this newly discovered Swiss metal hype as well. At that time Simone Christinat wasn't yet part of the band. She joined in shortly after the original male and female singer had abandoned ship due to personal differences with the rest of the lot. Her warm voice definitely adds depth to the melodic sound of Felony and blends in perfectly with that of her male counterpart Sandy who also recently became a member of this Swiss family, but even though his vocals are tough as nails, it is undoubtedly the sweet voice of Simone, as well as her angelic appearance, that steals the show.
     
     
     
    When and where was the band founded?
     
    “The band FELONY was founded in 1991 in Schöftland, Switzerland. Most of the original members are still on board. In the past there have been problems with the vocal position as the band frequently switched from one person to another, but these days with Sandy and myself sharing the vocal duties these problems have been solved and we are all very content with our current line-up. Each single person has a good musical knowledge and there's a strong chemistry in the band.”

    Where do all the influences come from?

    “Markus writes all the songs and lyrics. He loves classical music like Bach, Mozart, Beethoven and Claydermann. He got in touch with the classical style of music, when he was a young boy. At the age of 7 he started playing piano. Ten years later he got fascinated by the guitar as an instrument. It was then that he got acquainted with hard rock and melodic metal. Bands like Royal Hunt and Europe became his idols, as well as individual musicians such as Billy Idol and Yngwie Malmsteen. When you listen to the songs of Felony, you can hear all of these influences coming together as one in our form of melodic metal.”

    Does everyone participate in the writing process?

    “As said before, Markus does all of the writing. But everyone's free to participate in each possible way. So, after Markus has written the songs each of us has the chance to add his or her ideas to the song.”

    Is the band completely in control of its own affairs or has anyone been brought in from the outside?

    “Usually we do the writing and recording process of the songs ourselves. Most of the songs are recorded at Markus his home studio. Only if we plan to release an album we work together with professionals. For example, the debut album 'First Works' was mixed and mastered by Sascha Paeth and parts of the material were recorded at the Gate Studio in Wolfsburg, Germany.”

    Have you been involved in other bands and projects prior to Felony?

    “I did a few projects before joining Felony. The first of these projects was a benefit record. I recorded some kind of Bollywood type of song. It was very special and fun to do. But I realized this was not the kind of music I wanted to sing. After that I got engaged in my first Metal Project, resulting in a couple of records I did together with a producer. Unfortunately this project failed due to personal differences. And nowadays I have some side projects and if all goes well, I will be involved in the release of several records within the next few months.”
     
     

    You joined Felony just recently, along with a new male singer. What happened to the old one and don't you find it hard being part of a band with whom you have not yet recorded any material?

    “As far as I know the old singer left Felony due to personal reasons. He is singing in a cover band now. I have met him once, but do not know him well. When I joined Felony in the summer of 20007, I had some doubts at first because the band already had a lot of experience when it came down to playing metal music whereas I was still a newcomer in that business. But when I met the guys, I just knew that joining them would be a lot of fun and so all of my doubts vanished. I still learn a lot from them every day and I'm glad they were patient enough to show me a lot of new stuff.”

    Did you get any vocal training or are you completely self-taught?

    “I had a couple of vocal sessions, giving to me by different vocal coaches. I first started with pop and jazz singing lessons. Later on I took part in a musical school. Now I am still attending classes in classical singing, Classical singing is the style I am completely into.”

    Are the lyrics based on personal experiences or are they merely fantasies?

    “Some of them are fantasy based whilst others are based on personal experiences.”

    Ain't it hard to be a female vocalist in a world mainly dominated by men and their prejudices about women not being able to rock?

    “No, I like working with men. Sometimes it makes it even easier, because mostly men are rather direct and uncomplicated. And as a lady in a men dominated business you sometimes feel like a little princess, `cause they do a lot for you like bringing you something to drink whenever you get thirsty or driving you around whenever you need to go somewhere. I first had to get into that. But now I think I have a pretty good idea about how men are thinking. Ha ha.”

    Who would you pick as your biggest influence, the one that inspired you to become a singer yourself?

    “My greatest inspiration was Tarja Turunen from Nightwish. After listening to one of their records for the first time, I decided to become a classical metal singer myself.”
     
     

    Does working in the studio appeal to you or do you prefer to be on stage?

    “I like both, working in the studio and being on stage. I couldn't imagine being 'just' a studio singer, for I love to perform as well. Being on stage gives me a sense of being alive.”

    How did it make you feel the first time you were on stage?
     
    "It was strange, but there were almost no nerves, believe it or not. Of course I had two glasses of wine before getting up on stage, but even so somehow I knew for sure I'd do well. Just couldn't wait to be live on stage. It had been my dream for a long time and I was really waiting for that day to come. And I did well, although I had some minor problems with the equipment, especially with the cables. At some point I got so tangled up in all of the cables, that I almost fell off the stage. But it was fun."

    What's the funniest thing that ever happened to you on stage?

    “Once I forgot to turn on the microphone and was wondering why nobody, including me, could hear me.”

    What's the most important lesson the music business has taught you so far?

    “It is not always easy as a young, not bad looking lady to work with all those male musicians. Before my time with Felony some of them tried to get too close to me and were stalking me. I have learned from that. As a woman you have to be careful among a bunch of men. Fortunately with Felony this fact has never been a problem.”

    If you could pick someone to work with, who would that be and why this person?

    “Tuomas Holopainen or D.C Cooper. They compose the kind of music I love and are great musicians and interesting characters.”

    What can we expect of Felony in the near future? A new album perhaps?

    “We are already working on a new album. The songs are written and ready to be recorded. A demo version of the songs can be heard on our website: www.felony.ch. It will take a few months to record all the new stuff and when that's done, we have to discuss how to finance a release. Chances are we will have to bring in outside parties. So, should anyone be interested to step in as an investor, please contact us through our web page.”

    Is there a funny anecdote you would like to share?

    “There are lots of funny anecdotes since I've joined Felony. I will tell you one: I always come to our weekly band meetings with the exception of one time when the guys played some instrumental stuff, which they even recorded. They put the recordings on our internet server to which I had access. I listened to these raw, uncut recordings and in between the songs I could hear the guys talking about me in a complimentary way and all the while they were making strange noises like belching and farting…….. That was the moment I realized they were real men….. I still have a copy of that record stashed some place safe. You never know……”

     
     

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    House Of Lords-Interview James Christian 09-04-2008
     
     

    James Christian is known as the voice of House Of Lords. Formed in the mid eighties in a time when musicians were being judged by the length of their hair and the ability to make it look like it had just been tangled up in a non-romantic affair with an exploded hair dryer, this rock act stood out from their musical counterparts such as Poison, Faster Pussycat and Pretty Boy Floyd through means of a much less mellow sound that would focus on melody rather than strictly radio friendly tunes, digestible to all those ballsy enough to take a bite.

    Even though the ranks of House Of Lords were being populated on numerous occasions by outstanding musicians (Gregg Giuffria, Chuck Wright, Tommy Aldridge) who have surely left their musical marks here and there, it was undoubtedly the voice of James Christian contributing heavily to the instant success of the band. His sometimes high-pitched notes added flavour to the meal being served and gave it that little bit of extra needed to make it suitable for the crème de la crème of the heavy scene. But, as usually is the case, the road leading up to the top of the hill turned out to be a long and winding one.


     
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    Symphony X-Interview Russell Allen


    Introduction


    Together with Dream Theater Symphony X is probably one of the most validated products of the so-called progmetal scene, a position that was achieved through a lot of hard work and steel solid riffs laid upon a foundation of ecstatic keyboard parts. The band was founded somewhere in 1994 by former Phantom's Opera guitarist Michael Romeo. On the self-titled debut album the vocals came courtesy of Rod Tyler, who was, however, within a year replaced by Russell Allen. The first of his contributions is to be found on the band's second delivery: 'The Damnation Game', but although this is considered to be an epic piece of work, it wasn't until after the release of 1996's 'The Divine Wings Of Tragedy' that the band started to hit the limelight. From then on things went rather smooth as the attention of a bigger crowd was gained and the overall sound was fine tuned to a combination of heavy riffs, powerful vocal parts and a sometimes opera-like melody approach, eventually culminating in the release of 'The Odyssey' in 2002. After that Symphony X fell silent for almost 5 years on the artistic part of the musical process, wrapped up as the band was in a busy touring schedule with the likes of Queensrÿche, Megadeth and Dream Theater. The only time the music industry ever heard of Symphony X during this long period of absence was when Russell Allen came out with a solo album under the name of Atomic Soul and when he conspired twice with Jorn Lande on the Allen-Lande project. But then, seemingly out of the dark, the progmetal masters blew the silence to smithereens with the long overdue Paradise Lost at the end of 2007.
     
     

    On its latest effort Symphony X goes all the way back to its very roots, rediscovering the music that once inspired its single members to go out and form a band of their own. The songs are raw and intense, cast in a gloomy atmosphere that sits well amidst lyrics roughly based on the epic poem 'Paradise Lost', written by John Milton in 1667 in blank verse and originally published in ten books. In this poem Milton describes the revolt of Lucifer against God, how he wages war against heaven, his subsequent fall to hell, his reappearance in the form of a treacherous snake in paradise to drive a wig between Adam and Eve with an apple and their ultimate fall from paradise.

    Milton's dark tale provided the perfect background for a musical journey that not surprisingly consists of ten parts. But although the poem is used as a reference by Symphony X, its very own 'Paradise Lost' should not be considered a concept album. In fact, the only song that refers directly to the poem is the title track. Other than that there's no direct link but the use of the poem's main theme about fundamental human emotions and the personification of evil, subjects that are being dealt with in each and every song in a rather metaphoric way.

    On 'Paradise Lost' the balance shifts more towards the metal side of the band, rather than its symphonic counterpart. The music is quite heavy with an aggressive touch to it, best illustrated by the sometimes biting vocals of Russell. The reason for this aggressiveness will be revealed in the following interview.


     
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    Alter Bridge-Interview Mark and Myles 29-01-2008


    By now it should no longer be considered a secret that three quarters of this formation once formed the post grunge band Creed, which was in essence a promising young act that failed to live beyond the release of a couple of albums due to the sudden mood swings of front man Scott Stapp. However, after their falling apart, guitarist Mark Tremonti, bassist Brian Marshall and drummer Scott Phillips didn't want to throw in the towel. Instead they decided to step up to the plate again somewhere in 2003 to take another shot at musical immortality by starting Alter Bridge. Since it was out of the question that 'enfant terrible' Scott Stapp would be brought on board for his second tour of duty, it was evident to find someone willing to take his place behind the microphone. This someone came along in the person of Myles Kennedy, who not only proved himself to be a great vocalist, but also a skilled guitar player.

    Myles used to be a member of the Mayfield Four and got in touch with the guys with whom he would ultimately form Alter Bridge after his band was taken on as a support act for Creed. But by the time he joined in the material for the debut album 'One Day Remains' had already been written. Therefore his participation remained rather limited, this in sheer contrast to follow-up album 'Blackbird' on which he was offered plenty of room to lay down his creative eagerness in more than a hand full of songs.

    Prior to the release of the self-financed 'Blackbird' Alter Bridge started looking for a new label as it turned out that the old one (Wind-Up) was just set on a reunion with Scott Stapp and on top of that wanted to push the music into a more pop orientated direction. This being the case the band had no other option than to buy off its contract for the sweet sum of 4 million dollars! After this refuge was found under the wings of Republic/Universal. Some of the facts leading up to this can be found in the lyrics of the song 'The Ties That Bind'.

    On the aforementioned album opener Alter Bridge really lays down some extreme heavy riffing and continues to do so throughout the entire album. Compared to the debut a rebirth seems to be what we're dealing with here. The music is delivered with a hard as nails attitude with neck-wrenching riffs that would perfectly fit any Machinehead release and for the first time Mark Tremonti showcases his talents as a shredder. His heavy laden metallic riffs contrast harmonically with the more bluesy sound of his counterpart Myles Kennedy, which adds a lot of depth to the album.

    On this second effort Alter Bridge manifests itself as a multi-talented rock act. Freed from the ties laid upon it by Wind-Up the band goes full throttle, delivering its goodies through means of memorable song structures. Especially the epic tearjerker and title track 'Blackbird' leaves deep emotional marks in the steel hardened carcass of any true rocker. About this and all sorts of other stuff Mark and Myles were more than willing to share their thoughts.

                                                                                                             

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    Holy Moses-Interview Sabina Classen 04-01-2008


    Consider it a cliché or not, but it's a common fact that sooner or later every living being is in one way or another presented with the opportunity to do something that at least temporarily makes them stand apart from the rest of their breed. However, most of the time, these opportunities are either overlooked or simply discarded as not interesting enough to devote any precious time to. So, contrary to what Andy Warhol once said, not everyone's allowed their '15 minutes of fame'. But in the case of Sabina Classen his statement became almost larger than life. Although she didn't realize it at the time, her moment of truth came along when she was asked to step up to the microphone by the members of Holy Moses to take the place of the singer who had been sacked mere seconds before the question was popped. Funny enough this was not what Sabina had in mind, for it was her belief that she could not sing at all. But there were also other reasons involved and even though more than 25 years have passed since then, Sabina still gets worked up in a nice way about what took place in the rehearsal room of Holy Moses such a long time ago. “Back in those days”, she says in a wicked way, “I was playing bass in a band called Disaster, which I had formed together with my boyfriend Andy in '78. It was my very first band and I was quite pleased with it. Then all of a sudden Andy was asked by Holy Moses to join them as their new guitarist. That pissed me off big time, because the way I saw it they were stealing my guitar player. Still, in spite of the way I felt about all of this, I went with Andy to the rehearsal room one time and there I witnessed how they fired their male singer. Since I was there everyone but me thought it would be a good idea if I gave it a shot. To prove this was not a wise decision, but also to piss everyone off, I just let out a deep, dark growl, not knowing that this was exactly what they were looking for. And so I became their new singer.”

    Sabina got introduced to music at a fairly young age by her uncle who played her songs by Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles. The latter, however, didn't appeal much to this rebellious youngster. The memory of her younger days brings a smile to Sabina's face. “Whenever he would put on something by The Beatles, I would always say something like 'Uncle Karl, please give me the other one.' He never understood why, but I just had a thing for the harder stuff and to me Jimi sounded bad ass. From there on I moved to Deep Purple, Uriah Heep and all the other classic rock music.” She pauses for a moment while emptying a bottle of beer. “You know, even though my uncle didn't always appreciate my taste in music, I am very grateful to him for playing me all these cool tunes and for buying me my first guitar. I had asked my parents to get me one, but they refused to do that, saying I would only put it in a corner once I had gone past the thrill of playing this exciting new instrument. Now, I'm not saying I wouldn't have been a musician if my uncle hadn't bought me that guitar, for music has always been a passion of mine, but it certainly set the wheels in motion a whole lot faster than it would have if he hadn't done so.”

    On that first guitar Sabina learned how to play 'Smoke On The Water', but since it was an acoustic guitar it somehow didn't quite sound like it was supposed to. Therefore Sabina asked her father to hook it up to an amplifier to pump up the volume. “He's really great with electronics and somehow he managed to get it all connected. After that my guitar produced a wicked sound. My mom didn't like it because it was too loud, but I thought it was pretty cool. And even though everyone told me my playing was crappy, it felt like something I had to do. Later, much later, I turned to the bass.”

    Besides a gifted musician, Sabina is also a great soccer player and if things had gone just a little bit differently, she would have made herself a career as a professional one. “I come from a football family,” she sighs while letting her mind travel back in time to almost forgotten memories. “My father was a coach and my brother was rather good as a player. When I was just 13 or 14 years old it really was my intention to turn pro and since that was not possible in Germany for girls I went to the States to apply for a scholarship and to enter a soccer camp.”
     
     

    At that time Sabina was a journalist as well, doing interviews for RTL Radio. Amongst others she got to meet Franz Beckenbauer and Pele when they were playing in New York towards the end of their careers. These meetings made a big impression on this yet to be rock star, who already pictured herself playing in the same big stadiums as these guys. So, she decided to go for it, but then Cupid, overcome by a momentary lapse of reason, got all mushy and instead of letting nature take its course he sent Andy along her way, unintentionally putting an end to what might have been a promising sports career. “Come to think of it,” Sabina mesmerises as she gets hold of another beer, “it is strange how things turned out. Back then it really looked as if I was going to make it as a professional football player, but after Andy became my boyfriend our mutual love for music got the upper hand and I quitted football totally. Now I only play it when I'm on tour. But I have to be much more careful now because I'm just a tiny bit older now. Ha ha.”

    In spite of the fact that she's originally from AachenSabina has a platonic liaison with Holland and its national football team. Knowing she has lived for quite a while in Kerkrade this may not come as a total surprise. When reminded of the '74 world cup finalbetween Germany and Holland Sabina can't help but laugh out loud. “That final really put me in an awkward situation. Being German but living in Holland I kind of favoured both teams, especially since I knew some of the players personally. But strange as it was, I enjoyed watching it.”

    Holy Moses actually got signed accidental as the Belgium fan club had sent some home made recordings to several record companies without the band knowing anything about it. One of them called up with a contract offer, which resulted in the release of Queen Of Siam, an album that had almost been made without Sabina, for prior to its recording she took a leave of absence due to personal reasons. “I was going through a little crises at the time, believing I wasn't good enough for the band. You have to understand that there was no one I could compare my voice to since I was the first to sing in that kind of way as a woman. I wanted to sound like Ozzy, but all I could do was growl. Therefore I decided to quit, allowing my brother to step in. He had just come by with a guy who would audition as a drummer. There are still some recordings around of him singing, but he made me promise never to go public with them, because he says he sounded like a German schlager singer, something like Peter Maffay trying to sing metal music. Ha ha. Everyone said it would be better if I got back in and that's what I did. No hard feelings between me and my brother though.”

    After the release of the debut album Holy Moses got bigger and bigger, which ultimately led to the release of yet another thrash classic called Finished With The Dogs. Warner Brothers Records picked up the band after this and The New Machine Of Lichtenstein was born. But the deal with Warner wasn't meant to last very long. The reason why remains hidden somewhere in time because Sabina isn't very keen on talking about it. “Let's just say there were some disagreements about this and that and that is was better to go our separate ways.”

    But even though the deal with Warner went sour, the collaboration left Sabina with a job as host for the metal show Mosh on RTL+. And this is something she does like to talk about in an open-minded way and with a big smile splitting her face in half. “The big man at Warner suggested I should host that show and since the people from the station already knew me from my radio days it wasn't hard to make it happen. My first interview was with a Scottish band I can't remember the name of. I didn't know them and frankly my English was so bad at the time that I didn't understand one bit of what they were saying. But eventually I got better at it. The best memory I keep of my meeting with Gene Simmons at a Rock Café in New York.” For a moment she falls silent again as the second bottle of beer is being drowned. “He really is a piece of work. I drove down to the meeting point myself and right away he started joking around, talking about all the girls he had met. After a minute or so I got tired of listening to his boasting and asked with how many of these girls he had actually slept. He was shocked and from that moment on the ice was broken and we had a great interview.”
     
     

    While Sabina's career as a tv host was rapidly gaining momentum, the success of Holy Moses was slowly decaying. Part of this was due to the ever changing moods of the music industry, but it also had a lot to do with the musical differences between the individual members and so, slowly but surely, the walls surrounding this metal institution began to crumble down until they had completely gone up into thin air. Sabina sighs when this rather dark period of her life is brought up. “Officially we split in '94, but the process had already started years before then. Me and Andy had broken up as a couple and gradually the sound of the band had drifted further and further away from its metal roots as hardcore influences had been brought in. Furthermore our drummer wanted to focus more on his family while the bass player was living in New York, which made it very hard to get together as a band. In the end there really was no other option than to call it a day.”

    Although the splitting up of Holy Moses surprised both friends and foes, it was something they could have already gathered from the fact that Sabina had started a solo project called Temple Of The Absurd two years prior to Holy Moses demise. “I just had some ideas lying around that I couldn't put into my own band because of the hardcore direction it was heading into. At first Temple Of The Absurd was intended to be just a solo project of mine, but then I met this guy from Warpath and together with him and Cronos from Venom I did the song 'Black Metal' and then all of a sudden a new band was born. And if you don't believe that, I still have the original band logo that says 'Sabina', which was then changed to Temple Of The Absurd, the original working title of the album.”

    Temple Of The Absurd didn't have the same impact as Holy Moses had had almost a decade before that, but it gave Sabina the chance to continue along the musical path she had chosen. In the meantime she kept the dream of bringing the old Holy Moses back to life alive. “I never considered the break a definite one; I have always thought of it as a moment of silence, even though it lasted for years. The idea to start again occurred to me while I was in hospital after a motorcycle accident I was in. I had been in a coma for almost half a day and when I regained consciousness I did see things in a whole different perspective. I decided to get back in touch with Andy as soon as I was released from the hospital to talk about getting Holy Moses back on track. Andy liked the idea, even though he wanted to remain in the background as much as he could.”

    The rebirth of Holy Moses finally took place in 2001 and since then epic releases such as Master Of Disaster and Strength, Power, Will, Passion have been cooked up for everyone's delight. At the moment the band is working on its latest effort Bloodbound, which will feature Atomic Steif on the bass. “We already worked with him more than 20 years ago, but him and Andy didn't get along very well. Just recently I was going through all the ex band members we had had as I was looking for a bass player and he came out best for the part of bass player. And now that Andy is no longer with us in the band, there was no reason not to contact him. Funny enough Steif had a dream he would get a call from one of his former bands to join forces again. And then he heard my voice on his answering machine. I hadn't told him what I wanted, but when I called back the next day he just said yes before I had the chance to say anything but my name. That took me by surprise and I was like 'but you don't even know what I want to ask you.' And he replied with something like 'but I do, because I had a dream.' I guess it was destined to be.”

    Bloodbound should be out somewhere in spring.

     
     
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    Scarlet Sins- Interview


     

    ‘Though Your Sins Be As Scarlet, They Shall Be As White As Snow.’ When first looked upon, this quote seems to be the sleazy opening line for a two bit blue movie, but nothing could be further from the truth as it is in fact a statement written on a billboard somewhere along a Canadian highway, pointing to a nearby church. The words are part of a hymn by the hand of Francis Jane Crosby, a popular American lyricist who lived from 1820 till 1915, and like an aphrodisiac they stimulated the brain of guitarist Cristina Bishop in such a way that she instantly came up with a suitable name for the band she was about to form, namely Scarlet Sins. As she so eloquently puts it herself: “The actual idea to start a band was born the day my best friend passed away. She was like a sister to me and her death made me realise how lucky I was to still be around and that I should do something positive with my life. It seemed only natural to turn to music since that has always been my passion. Then, one day, as I was driving home, I spotted this billboard, which wasn’t really that hard because it was so huge. The words written on it were so cool, that they caught my immediate attention. In those days I was also looking for signs from the other world all the time and I honestly believe there was a reason why this billboard came my way so to speak.”


     

    After this divine intervention Cris started to search the internet for fellow musicians willing to participate in her all-female band and amongst others she found vocalist Sylvya NuVynska with whom she connected extremely well right from the start. The memory of that first encounter is still edged deeply into her mind. “There was a sort of chemistry between us”, Cris explains in a soft tone. “It’s difficult to grasp if you have never experienced something like that yourself, but we understand each other completely and know exactly what we want musical wise.”

    Back then the sinful foursome was completed by bass player Yvonne and drummer Karli. Together with them Cris and Sylvya recorded an EP entitled ‘Reborn’. However, before the fruits of this effort could be put to maximum use, Yvonne decided to quit the band early 2006. Fortunately a suitable replacement was soon found in the person of Tanya Nicklaus who happened to be from the same hometown as Cris, which besides her qualities as a kick-ass, heavy grooving bassist came as an extra bonus. With this line-up Scarlet Sins started to gain the attention of local club owners and within due time the sinners established themselves as a force to be reckoned with by playing alongside acts like Buckcherry and Helix. But mayhem was about to fall down upon the ladies once more as Karli wittingly turned the foursome into a threesome by calling it a day. Nevertheless this setback didn’t stop the remaining sinners from hitting the studio to record their self-titled debut album, independently released through online stores. Sylvya is willing to elaborate on this rather unusual decision. “Most of the songs we had already been playing live for about a year and it just felt like the right thing to do, even though we didn’t have a drummer and a label to back us up financially. We did have offers from interested parties, but none of them were very good. Therefore we had no other option than to release the album ourselves.” She pauses for a moment, which gives Cris the chance to step in once again. “Yeah, that’s true. You know, in Canada we have this saying: ‘Shit or get off the pot!’ It stems from the old days when they had this little pot instead of a real toilet. It means something like hurry up. And that’s exactly what we did. First we had a pre-production, which took about a month’s time. Then we entered the studio. The drum parts were done by John Pacheco, who used to play with Sylvya in one of her former bands. We were very lucky to have him on. He did an amazing job.”
     
     

     
                 

    But John was not the only one who gave Scarlet Sins a more than welcome hand. Another big contribution to the debut album was made by producer Rich Chycki - known for his work with Rush, Aerosmith and Mick Jagger – through means of a killer sound that hits you like a ton of bricks. Rich got introduced to the sinners by Ray Wallace, a mutual friend who sadly passed away shortly after this interview was taken. “It was a surprise that Rich wanted to work with us”, Tanya says. “You see, at first he wasn’t interested at all. He and Ray knew each other since the 80’s when Rich had his own band. Ray told him about us and played him our demo, which he didn’t like one bit. But Ray kept on him and finally persuaded him to come with him to one of our rehearsals. Then all of a sudden Rich changed his mind, because it became clear to him that the demo he had heard didn’t quite capture our live sound too well. Somehow he must have seen our potential.”

    Scarlet Sins debut offers a somewhat unique mix of each member’s personal influences, ranging from industrial induced beats to more straight-in your-face hard rock. With the thundering bass of Tanya in charge, the rhythm section lays down a solid stone brick base that paves the way for the electrifying escapades of Cris. Add to this the powerful, hard as nails vocals of Sylvya and the picture of a modern sounding rock album is complete. The melodies bring back memories of Alice In Chains and are both catchy and groovy whereas the riffs are laden with such heaviness that it almost seems as if Machinehead’s Robb Flynn is jamming along with Jo Bench of Bolt Thrower on most of the songs. Due to Chycki’s production the overall sound is full and rich and leaves you almost breathless. ‘Drown’ for instance is a hard hitting track that thrives on a pondering bass line, aimed directly at the centre of your metal heart. The same goes for the cover of Depeche Mode’s ‘Strangelove’, not really a logical pick if you don’t know the reasons behind it. Cris sheds some light on the matter. “Even before we picked this song we had already been thinking of doing a cover that we could modify completely. We had no ideas yet which song to take, although we were pretty sure it wasn’t going to be a hard rock one, simply because it would be too hard to turn it into something new. Then, out of the blue, as Tanya and I were driving to Ottawa one day to visit her family, the song just presented itself. It was played on the radio and as we listened to it, we picked up on the phrase ‘I give in to sin’. When we heard that, we just looked at each other and it was all clear. This was gonna be the one.”

    After the recordings were done, the release of the album was pushed forward a couple of months till last year’s fall. According to Sylvya this happened because they all wanted to wait for a new drummer to come on board, one who could really nail down the double kick stuff. “For us it was important to have a permanent drummer on instead of a session player before hitting the road. It took about half a year for Elie to come along. We had auditioned lots of girls before her, but none of them could live up to the standards we had set. But she did. The moment she started playing, we knew that the search was over.”
     

     

    Elie Bertrand comes from the Montreal area and has been playing drums since she was five years old, learning the ropes from the likes of Ange Curcio and Maurice Metayer. In order to stand out as a female drummer she was taught to hit the drums hard. “As a woman you are mostly judged by your looks and not your skills”, she sighs. “It’s sad but true. So, basically I was told that if I wanted to compete with my male competition on an equal level, I would have to hit the drums really hard. It may seem unusual, but fortunately for me this kind of playing was exactly what Scarlet Sins was looking for and I’m very proud to be part of the family.”

    Just after Elie had joined in she was put to the test when the band had to play at the Powerbox Festival in front of a crowd gone wild. Present were amongst others big names such as Doro, Kittie and Girlschool. Playing this festival seemed like a dream come true, a stroke of luck or was it a stroke of genius? “A bit of both I guess, ha ha”, Cris rips out a ringing laughter. “I picked up on the festival on the internet, liked what I saw and decided to send the promoter an e-mail telling him how great his festival was and how he could even make it better by taking us on. And then I just gave him our name. Evidently it worked, because he put us on the bill. It was an amazing experience and a big step forward for us. Funny enough we even got to play for two nights in a row as one of the bands that was scheduled for the second night cancelled because they were not able to make it across the border. Of course we didn’t mind that at all.”

    When talking to the girls it becomes very clear that they are all very passionate about their music and that it should be loud. Sylvya even gets passionate just thinking about it. “In this line of business passion is a requirement. In spite of the fact that we all like different kinds of music, our passion for it comes together in Scarlet Sins. We love it loud, so, if you’re not into the heavy stuff, we can’t be friends. Ha ha.” Her laughter still lingers in the air when Elie says teasingly: “But I also like country music!” For a moment you can hear a pin drop, then Cris comes with some breaking news: “Ok, you are fired! Girls, Elie just got fired for liking country music.” As the subject of Cris’s mockery pretends to cry her eyes out, they all break down in laughter and when this finally subsides Tanya adds: “Of course she’s just kidding. We are very happy to have Elie with us. We have a steady line-up now and the future looks so bright it’s almost blinding. For the moment we are concentrating on our part of the world, but it won’t be long before we will be looking across the ocean to Europe. Just wait and see.”


     

    And that’s exactly what we will do.

     
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    Draconian-Interview 20-10-2007

     

    Introduction

     

    The origin of Sweden’s doom metal ensemble Draconian can be traced back to May, 1994, when three guys decided to form a band under the name of Kerberos. At first their sound could best be described as melodic death metal music with more than a touch of blackness added to it. This, however, changed after Anders Jacobsson joined in. With him as the new driving force behind the microphone and fuelled by his almost poetic lyrics that are based upon the old language that was used in the romantic period of literature in ancient days, the music soon became more dark and gloomy, appealing to desolate souls who love to spend their days in places where daylight refuses to shine. Around the same time the name Kerberos was dropped while Draconian got adopted.

    As Draconian this Swedish lot released a first offering early ’96. This little something called ‘Shades Of A Lost Moon’ revealed a band still in search of their own unique style. More releases were to follow, but none of them could quite capture the band’s full potential. That didn’t happen till after Lisa Johansson came on board to add her enchanting vocals to those of Anders on the 2002 demo ‘Dark Oceans We Cry’. It was this particular effort that caught the intention of Napalm Records who then offered the band a long-awaited record deal that helped to lift the shroud of darkness enveloping their music.

    From there on things got slightly easier as debut album ‘Where Lovers Mourn’ hit the streets shortly afterwards in 2003. The album received good reviews and paved the way for successor ‘Arcane Rain Fell’ two years later which would gain the band a well deserved spot in the still lower regions of the doom sector. Last year’s ‘The Burning Halo’, a combination of rerecorded material mixed with some new stuff and a couple of cover songs, only ensured this position and with the upcoming release of ‘Turning Season Within’ it is the band’s desire to make it all the way to the top this time.

    ‘Turning Season Within’ was recorded at the Fascination Street Studios’ in Örebro with the assistance of producers Jens Bogren and David Castillo (Opeth, Katatonia) and differs slightly from previous recordings through means of a more diverse sound that has gained depth due to the use of heavier riffs and a bigger participation of Lisa on the vocal parts. The album features vocalist Paul Kuhr of Novembers Doom, taking care of the narrative intermissions, and is due for February 29th.



    Interview

     

    Why was the name Kerberos dropped and why the switch from a bit black metal orientated sound to a more dark and gloomy one?
    Johan: “Simply because we found out there was another band with the same name. Besides it was time for a change anyway since our music didn’t quite sound like it used to compared to when we first started out. Don’t really know how it happened; it just did. And to be honest, Kerberos was actually just an experimental band without any particular style. So, it seemed only appropriate to change the name.” 

    How exactly did Lisa join in?
    Anders: “Well, we heard her sing in her previous band and we immediately liked her voice, thought it would fit well with our music and since we were in need of a female vocalist…”

    How did the deal with Napalm Records come around?
    Johan: “We just send them one of our demos, which was in fact surprisingly. You see, before that we were really kind of lazy. But then at a certain moment we realised we needed to get more focused in order to get anywhere. That’s when we decided to contact some labels. Napalm responded. Nothing more, nothing less.”

    What was the reason for recording the Ekseption song ‘On Sunday They Will Kill The World’ for the Black Halo album?
    Johan: “Haha. That all goes back to my parents who had a couple of their albums. I used to listen to these albums quite a lot. This particular song is my personal favourite, because it’s so heavy and has this gloomy feeling over it. On top of that, it has totally weird lyrics that completely freak you out.”
     

     

    Most of the time the lyrics on the albums are almost poetic, referring to the romantic period in literature when people such as Lord Byron and William Blake were in the heyday of their careers. Why the fascination with this period?
    Anders: “I can’t speak for the rest of course, but I guess I like this period so much because the old language appeals to me and people like Byron were so gifted that they could create a certain atmosphere with just one word. It is simply fascinating. Still I’m not stuck with this kind of writing. For the new album I have tried to be a bit more down-to-earth, writing about subjects people can relate to more easily than before.”

    Over the years the band has gone through a lot of line-up changes. Is the current one strong enough to last a while?
    Johan: “I think so, yeah. You never know for sure, but right now it looks stable and it feels good. We’re all friends, coming from the same small village, and that’s a solid base to start from. We don’t really want to bring in people from the outside, because we are really stuck to ourselves.”

    What’s the most important lesson the music business has taught you so far?
    Anders: “That you should follow your own path. Don’t let others decide what it is you should do. Stay true to your own principals and never pretend to be someone you’re not. In the end you are being judged by the things you have done and there’s no escaping that.”

    On the album Arcane Rain Fell Ryan Henry participated through means of a spoken verse. What was the idea behind that and why did you pick him?
    Johan: “We’ve known him for quite a while. Just prior to the recording of the album we found out he has a great narrative voice, the kind we were looking for. We asked him if he was interested and as it turned out, he was up to the challenge.”

    Live or studio?
    Anders: “Definitely live, although we haven’t actually done that too often yet. Up to now it seems like we are jinxed or something when it comes done to that, because every tour we got invited to, has been cancelled for various reasons. But we keep our spirits up and with the new album on the way the future looks promising. So, no worries, we’ll be out there somewhere.”

    Do you have a funny anecdote to share?
    Anders: “I don’t know if it’s a funny anecdote, but one time during a show a couple of panties were thrown on stage and even though I was just a little drunk, I could tell they had been worn just recently…”

    What a nice way to brighten your day.

     
     
     
     
     
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    Distorted-Interview 20-10-2007

     

    Distorted were brought to life somewhere in 1996, when long time friends Raffael Mor and Benny Zohar decided it would be cool to have a band of their own. Their first feeble attempts to create what would later on become one of Israel’s most exported metal products, however, did not really cause a stir in the local music scene, let alone in the metal community outside of the Israeli borders. Things actually didn’t start to happen until Miri Milman was asked to join the ranks as a vocalist. This young woman from Bat-Yam really added fuel to the flickering fire with her powerful, enchanting vocals that truly do more than enough justice to the direct translation of the name of her hometown: daughter of the sea.

    Miri attended the same high school as Raffael and Benny and caught their attention when they saw her perform with a local band, not as a singer but as a keyboard player. She was only 15 at the time and had not yet discovered her talents behind the microphone, although she had always dreamt about being a bit like Jon Bon Jovi, her idol as a teenager. Confronted with that, Miri spreads her arms in an apologizing way and starts to laugh. “I can’t help it. I loved his music and his voice when I was a kid and I actually still do, although my musical taste has shifted more in the direction of heavier stuff now. But anyway, it was my dream to become a known musician, just as Bon Jovi. So, when I had the chance, I joined this band that had a really creepy singer. His mouth was so big that it almost seemed as if he was eating his mike when singing. The guys saved me by asking me to come and play with them. The funny thing is that I auditioned as a keyboard player. It was in ’98 and they rehearsed in the basement of our high school. So, there I was with my keyboard and as we were playing, I kind of sang along with the music. Then all of a sudden they wanted me to be their singer. It took me completely by surprise, but since I love being part of a band, I didn’t have to think about it twice.”
     
                

    After Miri had stepped forward as their leading lady, Distorted found themselves back in a maelstrom of events that subsequently led to several line-up changes and the recording of a 3-track demo. Unfortunately, just prior to this recording, the original bass player decided to call it a day and just when everything seemed lost Guy Shalom, also a student of the same high school, presented himself as an angel in disguise. Within an awfully short period of time he learned the chords to the songs and thanks to this Distorted’s first offering became a documented fact.

    The release of the demo was followed by a couple of performances at small venues in Tel-Aviv, but back in those days the metal environment in Israel wasn’t quite as healthy as it is nowadays and to speed things up Distorted came up with the idea of creating its very own opportunity to do live gigs, a festival called Metal Till Dawn. Raffael gets all keyed up when speaking of this matter. “In Israel metal music is looked upon as being evil, devilish, and minors aren’t allowed to go into club and venues. Also club owners are afraid metal crowds will damage their business. As a result of this there are but a few places that will give a new band a break. Therefore it seemed like the right thing to do to get a place of our own where we could play whenever we liked to. We set it all up by ourselves with flyers and stuff like that and booking a club that would have us. For the first edition we expected about 50 people to show up, but at the day itself so many had gathered that not everyone could get in. The place was really packed and we were the first band to go on stage. I hate to say it, but sadly we got some bad reviews, something we hadn’t seen coming, because in our opinion we had a good thing going there. It got us thinking though about where we exactly stood musical wise and in spite of the fact that we were pretty pissed about the criticism at first, we came to the conclusion that things needed to be changed. So, we locked ourselves in the rehearsal room, throwing all the old stuff out. Eventually we came up with a new sound, more aggressive and diverse with an oriental flavour added to it. To try out this new sound, we did another Metal Till Dawn festival the following year and this time it was really good as people were telling us just how much we had grown over the past year. Shortly after this we even wrote a couple more songs and again it was totally different from what we had done before with me using extreme vocals in contradiction to the clear ones by Miri.”
     
               

    It was the start of a bright future which wheels were set in further motion by the release of debut album ‘Memorial’ in May 2006 by fellow countrymen from NMC Records in close collaboration with French label Bad Reputation. But even before this a second demo had been put out as well as a single called ‘Is It The Wind’, recorded in the winter of 2003.

    For the recording of ‘Memorial’ Distorted headed out to Sweden, a place called Vesteras to be precise, where the Underground Studio is located.  Amongst others they took with them a copy of the pre production, completely home-made and brought to taste by Guy’s closet, a subject that still brings a smile to everyone’s face. The owner of the closet sits up straight as he explains: “To save some money we thought it best to record most of the music at home. As it turned out my closet was the perfect place for Miri to do her vocal parts. She was standing in the doorway, literally singing to my underwear. A good thing I had it washed. Ha ha.”

    It may seem strange to pick a studio so far away from home, but once you have learned studios in Israel lack the necessary expertise and equipment to record metal music, this decision becomes more and more sensible, especially since it’s also less expensive to take matters abroad. The idea to use this particular studio came from Miri, who had read about the place. “I believe it was mentioned in some article in a magazine. The place sounded promising, so, I checked it out and it was indeed everything we had hoped for. We booked ourselves a solid two weeks in which the recording and mixing was done. We are still very pleased with the results.”
     
            

    On their debut Distorted offer a diverse mix of death, gothic and doom metal, intertwined perfectly with mid-eastern elements coming courtesy of the band’s cultural heritage. “These elements are all around”, Miri says, “and very hard to ignore as you come in contact with them almost every day. They are part of our personal lives, just as the threat of war is. Each day we spent in fear of an attack that could change the course of our lives forever. Most of us have already experienced the consequences of living in a war-devastated country as friends and loved ones were taken from us by brutal force. That’s why most of the lyrics deal with the subject of personal loss. I realise it is quite a heavy subject, but we don’t want to hold back on our emotions and let people know exactly how we feel. In my opinion this gives them a chance to relate to our music on a more personal base.”

    The cover of ‘Memorial’ shows a clearly disorientated man amidst a bunch of photographs. Miri lifts up the veil of mystery that surrounds this image. “Since the main theme of the album is about grief and pain, we tried to find the best way of visualising this. The person you see, is being torn apart by sadness and has lost his human appearance due to that. Through some old pictures he is desperately trying to become the person he once was, so he’ll be able again to feel some other emotions than just pain. I came up with the general idea and designed the booklet. It was hard work, but it helped that I’m a graphics designer in real life. For the cover design I worked closely with Adam Nishma, a very talented guy who’s just as us from Israel

    Not long after they got back from Sweden Distorted parted ways with drummer Ori Eshel and have been working with a session replacement ever since. As could be seen at the most recent edition of the Metal Female Voices Festival earlier this year in Belgium where the band teamed up with Shaked Furman and showed everyone their true potential with a stunning performance that definitely was one of the highlights of their career so far. Another highlight took place somewhat 7 years ago when being asked to warm up the crowd for Edguy. This particular show brings back a lot of pleasant memories as Raffael tells. “It was a bit of a strange thing. In the beginning we thought it was some sort of contest with Edguy being the headliner after all the competitors had performed. But once we arrived at the place where the contest was being held, a guy explained to us that we were not really part of it. We were merely there to get everyone ready for the main attraction, because our music was the closest thing to Edguy they could find. But no one was to know about it. That was cool with us. We just wanted to play and had lots of fun. Don’t think Edguy did, for our drummer destroyed their whole drum kit. You see, he was left-handed and theirs wasn’t. So, after our set the kit had to be taken apart and put back together. However, something went wrong, because ten minutes after Edguy had started their show, the kit just fell apart in the middle of a song. That drummer must have really cursed us. Too bad we didn’t have the closet with us then; we could have hidden ourselves in there. Ha ha.”
     
            
    Although the cooperation with NMC and Bad Reputation went rather well, Distorted started to look for a different label that could really makes things happen for them on a worldwide scale. And good fortune came their way as they were contacted by Candlelight Records, a solid label with a rather large chain of distribution. A three record deal was offered and a contract was signed. The first of these records has just recently been recorded and according to the band it contains a surprise or two. Whether this involves the closet, is not known at this moment. Details will soon follow…
     
                             
     
     
     
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