Friday, 30 March 2012

A Cappella Metal is The Future

Not since I came across Northern Kings have I been quite as excited about music as I was when I came across Van Canto.  A German a cappella band with classic heavy, power metal and symphonic metal influences.  The group is made up of five singers and a drummer.  The band have 2 lead singers and 3 singers who use their voices to create the sounds of the guitar and bass.

Formed in 2006 the band have produced 4 studio albums and collaborated with numerous artists such as Victor Smolski from Rage, Tony Kakko from Sonata Arctica, Chris Boltendahl from Grave Digger, Tarja Turunen and Joakim Broden from Sabaton.  Their music is a combination of original compositions and covers.  Their most recent album Break The Silence, released in 2011 includes a Sabaton, Alice Cooper and Manowar cover as well as a bonus track cover of Bad to the Bone by Running Wild. 

The band have to be seen to be believed.  I am still amazed that they can make these sounds with their voices.  Here is the Sabaton cover Primo Victoria. Blew me away.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Guest Post: A Spectacular Symphonic Selection

Doozr from The Mix Eclectic has kindly agreed to share occasional posts if they are relevant to Femetalism. Today he has written a short round-up of this year's female-fronted symphonic metal releases. Enjoy!

Fans of female fronted symphonic metal are going to find it hard to be disappointed with 2012. Only three short months in, and already three albums released by some of the genre's finest. Most recently, Epica have released Requiem For The Indifferent, their follow up to 2009's Design Your Universe. Xandria have produced Neverworld's End, their first album in 5 years and first with singer Manuela Kraller.  Finally, Pythia, featuring Emily Ovenden of Mediaeval Babes, have released The Serpent's Curse, their second album after 2009's Beneath The Veiled Embrace.

One name conspicuous in its absence from this list is Delain, whose new album We Are The Others seems stuck in record label purgatory. Some hoo-hah to do with label buyouts has meant that the band are having a tough time getting the album actually produced and on the shelves. Hopefully it'll be sorted by the time they tour in May!

Pythia - The Serpent's Curse

The Serpent's Curse, Pythia's second album, is an unrelenting torrent of power metal to batter your ears into submission. Unlike other symphonic metal bands, Pythia never seem to go the way of the ballad. Instead, they have mostly power metal verses with the occasional operatic chorus. While often being compared (as all female fronted bands are) to Nightwish, their sound is much more like Blind Guardian meets Dragonforce. It can get a bit much sometimes; in parts it can feel that the music could be replaced with any loud, repetitive noise because the vocals carry the melody and the mood. The music is just there for volume. It has its moments, though, and if you like your power metal fast, loud and with operatic bits, then you couldn't really ask for more. One odd thing about it is a nagging feeling of déjà vu. I'm sure I've heard half the songs on this album before, but can't quiet put my finger on it. I'm wondering if it's just a little too similar to music I've heard in the past, but not similar enough to make that connection.

Xandria - Neverworld's End

When a band gets a new singer with a dramatically different vocal style, the music often has to change to accomodate it. That's exactly what Xandria have done, to great effect. However, I'm going to go against my previous statement about Nightwish comparisons and make one myself. The new Xandria line up sound uncannily like Nightwish circa 2004. If you liked Once, you'll like this.  And given that Nightwish themselves don't sound like themselves (a bad thing, according to many), Xandria look to be well placed to step up and fill the void in the market. I've struggled to find details of Manuela Kraller's musical abilities beyond "soprano", so I don't know if she can match Tarja's 3 octave lyric soprano, but for the purposes of symphonic metal she does a bloody good job of it.

Epica - Requiem For The Indifferent

Requiem For The Indifferent is classic Epica in most respects, but with some nice progressions from earlier works. It's the only album of these three to use the "beauty and the beast" vocal styles, and the beastly growls seem to have stepped up a notch. As a result the album feels nicely heavy and gothic, with choral elements and excellent orchestration building the whole. In fact, the whole band seems to have stepped up a notch, from more varied vocal delivery from both vocalists to a complex intermixing of styles to make Epica sound even (sorry, had to do it). This is a well balanced album, possibly more restrained than Design Your Universe with its growl and bombast. On the whole it leans toward a softer, more introspective feel. The beautiful Delirium showcases the band's softer side wonderfully and is as emotionally wrenching as it is perfectly delivered. A fine addition to an already accomplished repertoire.

Monday, 5 March 2012

New Releases - January 2012 - UPDATE

I have just come across a band called Kells who are a female fronted symphonic nu metal band from France.  Their new album Anachromie was released in January and this track from that album is sounding pretty darn awesome!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Professor Elemental supported by Northern Oak and Kassandra Killjoy - Corporation, Sheffield - 3rd March 2012

Well Saturday evening was spent at Corporation, Sheffield enjoying an evening of Burlesque, Folk Metal and Steampunk Hip Hop.  An eclectic mixture I am sure you will agree.  It was of course amazing.  Northern Oak were as always, immense and played an amazing set to one of the best audiences I have ever had the pleasure of standing in.  In addition, Kassandra Killjoy provided sultry entertainment in between the main acts.

The Professor was as expected hilarious, wearing his trademark hat and goggles and providing the audience with renditions of such tracks as Splendid and Cup of Brown Joy.

Having watched this video after it was posted on Facebook by the band, I had to share it here.  The completely brilliant Professor Elemental with the utterly awesome Northern Oak peforming Fighting Trousers.  Watch it and wish you had been there too (unless of course you were in which cause ... Hurrah!)

New Releases - March 2012

So I finally had some time to start researching femet releases for March.  I have to say I have struggled to find very many.  Bearing in mind that I am looking at albums that are being released in March in Europe or more specifically the UK.  Have I missed some amazing releases?  Please comment and let me know because I can't believe there are only 2 this month!!

Epica - Requiem for the Indifferent
Vocals - Simone Simons

Epica are a Symphonic metal band from Holland formed in 2002.  They have been releasing a layer by layer set of teaser videos leading up the the release of the album.  I saw them play live last year when they graced our fair city and it was without a doubt the best live performance I have ever seen - I am still waiting for something to top that night.  Requiem for the Indifferent is their fifth studio album.  I already have it on pre-order.  What more can I say?

Exilia - Decode
Vocals - Masha

Nu metal is not usually my thing, but having taken a listen I am actually really quite intrigued by this band.  Exilia are an Italian female fronted nu metal band formed in 1993.  Their new album is called Decode and is the bands fifth album to date.

So a short but sweet post.  Really not found many femet releases at all for March.  Hoping that April is a little more 'girl friendly'! :)