“We wanted to tell our fans that we are not a band from whom they can expect what comes next” – Interview with Beyond the Black’s Jennifer Haben

Beyond the Black have just released their newest album, HØRIZØNS. The singles released so far painted a different picture for this album, with quite a strong change of direction. For older BtB who weren’t feeling it yet, I have to say hang on. There will be something there for you. For those feeling open to change, this is a very positive and uplifting album, and you might like it.

I want to start by sharing their brand new video for Humans, which is by far my favourite song of the album. It is one of the most symphonic ones, which mixes their old style with the new elements. And in an album full of “let’s be positive” of course I would pick the song that says
“We’re born to die, we are human in the end // Cause after all we are born to die, my friend” . I am more of a cynic and I do love the darkness of it all… and so does Jennifer: “That is very good to hear, it is one of my favourite songs. We did a lot more of this in our previous album. I know people who are thinking like that as well, but I try to maybe get them into the boat, to see that you can change your mind as we changed our music and lyrics. Maybe people can take that journey with us and change as well.

The album as a whole is not as heavy as their previous work and with more electronic influences. That would surely make it more radio-friendly and mainstream, but it’s not in a genre that takes that very well. Symphonic metal fans are not the nicest, to put it kindly. Nor are they able to deal with change. According to Jennifer, “we wanted to tell our fans that we are not a band from whom they can expect what comes next. I think this is something I love about other bands as well, even if in the beginning I am also… An example is Paramore. They did something totally different in the beginning and then they came with that modern stuff. My first thought was the same – oh, I expected something totally different, I don’t know if I like that – but I was open enough to actually love it in the end. So this is something I had to learn for myself. I hope that our fans are open enough to listen to the songs and maybe love it in the end.

Their first single was Misery, a song they also played live on the previous tour. It did get a reaction from the fans at the time for being different, but by now most critics came around.

Many of the songs follow the positive and uplifting message, which couldn’t have come at a better time. Jennifer Haben (lead singer) says that “At this moment a lot of people need positive energy and positive music as well.
I am a very positive person and I am watching myself become more positive than before, so I think this is something I wanted to do in our lyrics, as well. We always try to show a little bit of hope. For me, that wasn’t enough anymore, I wanted to make more of a positive change. Something that I felt in our band as well the last two well when we trusted ourselves a lot more. This is a whole step in a direction where we know we will break out of everything that the people want us to be and we just be.

The change within the band was visible with the last tour, when they felt more united and the live show took another level. “Last year and the year before we came more and more together. Since 2016 we are in this format and we have gotten to know each other. It didn’t feel like it does now, so of course you can see on stage that we know each other a little bit more. Of course, this is something that shows in our songs, that we feel we know each other and work well together. For all the aspects around Beyond the Black, this is really really good to see. “

With all this change for the better, I wanted to see what gives Jennifer personally self-esteem. Her response truly says a lot about who she is: “I care a lot about other people, especially the people around me. I think I am not selfish and this is something I think is very positive and I am proud of that. I learned that very fast during the last 4 years. I think it’s normal when you’re growing up and you’re 24 that you learn a lot. For me this is something that feels amazing and that I really like about me


The songwriting was definitely a different process this time around. The pressure was on to deliver after the last album and tour and many people expected more of the same, which we certainly didn’t get. But it shows growth and belief in themselves, which can only be good. Jennifer adds that “On The Heart of The Hurricane or on the other albums we have much less time than we had for this one. We had a much better situation, having 6 months of just writing songs and after that we went to our label and said – okay, this is what we would put on our album -, and they said they loved all the songs. Then we went to our producer and recorded the songs. These 6 months were so important for us because we wanted to change something and you cannot change if you don’t try things out. We never had that amazing situation of meeting 2 or 3 times and if nothing comes of it, then it’s cool. We don’t have to have it now. We always had to create stuff instantly for previous albums. Now we could say let’s just write a song like Misery, which we knew was different from what we did before. We wanted to free our minds of what we did and to break these chains and then continue with what we did with this song.

Another single we knew from the album was Wounded Healer, featuring Elize Ryd. This would have been so lovely to see on the co-headlining tour with Amaranthe, which unfortunately got postponed. But I am sure it’s gonna be a great production and tour and hope to see it.

I want to give a shoutout to Marching On, which is another one of my favourites. It was great to see Chris step up and join for lead vocals and do an actual duet. It was a nice surprise for me seeing him the last tour that … he can really sing. Jennifer of course agrees “yes, he can, he can. He has been practicing a lot and I think he is getting better and better. He didn’t sing before Beyond the Black ever on a stage. Not main vocals. He is just experiencing all of that now and I think he is doing a really good job. He was nervous at first doing the first main vocals on stage but now he’s a pro.

Last but not least, I want to mention I Won’t Surrender Feat. Tina Guo – beautiful ballad and Tina is bringing such a great nuance to the song and frankly album. She knows how to play the strings of my heart (pun intended). BtB have produced many ballads I loved so far and I was waiting for another one on that level, and it seems it just came.


We’ve talked about how the band is more united and has grown, but I am curious to know what is something specific to each of the band members for this album. Whether they liked or disliked something more and came up with an idea, what is their unique view. “First of all, everyone is super happy with the result. Chris very much likes Marching On because he likes to sing now and he wrote it with me, so I know that. Kai likes most … maybe I Won’t Surrender or Golden Pariah. I am not sure but he said these are his main songs. Not sure with the other boys. But I know of thing that was interesting for me was that I was in love with Humans with just acoustic guitar and vocals from the beginning, but all the boys said – fuck, that’s so boring- and I thought what?? this has so many deep things inside. I am super happy that I said no, we do that song, if you don’t like it, then don’t like it, but this song is really amazing.” Jennifer added and she was definitely right with that one.

Sometimes less is more. One of the quotes I like is Coco Chanel’s “Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and take one thing off”, which I find that sometimes can be applied to music as well. Not as much for symphonic metal, where, as Jennifer says, “it’s usually a lot of orchestra and stuff, but I think that especially when you do a balld it’s better to just have acoustic piano and acoustic guitar and less is more. On these points. When it’s not symphonic, this is something that can also be good. 


All in all, this is a bold new step for Beyond the Black and it will be exciting to see where it takes them. A little more positivity was so badly needed and BtB delivered it! There is enough diversity in the album for fans to find something for themselves. Let us know what your favourite songs from the album are.

AD INFINITUM Chapter I: Monarchy – album review

There is nothing like new music to lift our spirits during these times. I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview of AD INFINITUM’s upcoming album Chapter I: Monarchy, and I am excited! They already released a couple of bangers singles and absolutely over-the-top videos (in the best way possible) for Marching on Versailles and See You in Hell. However, the first sample of what was to come was I Am The Storm, with a video released in November 2018.

The whole album has a lot of fire and power. It’s bombastic and symphonic, which makes it harder to create a new and specific sound, but they managed it gracefully.

Infected Monarchy is a perfect intro, so dramatic, symphonic, and bombastic, and yet very soft. I love how there is a such a common sound and concept tying the album together.

Marching on Versailles is such a powerful anthem I can only describe it as “!!!!”. I sure am ready to follow Melissa into battle and storm Versailles (eat the rich) This was their first single and it was chosen so well because it defines the album and band and really makes a statement. I loved it. Very curious to see if any new songs will surpass it in my top.

Maleficent is a bit different, starting with a lot more focus on drums, but alternating with very soft parts where clear vocals shine. The drama of it all is still there. And by the end of the song we are treated to some growls as well “Watch me riiiiiise!” – I sure will.

See You in Hell starts so soft like a sad song I just want to wrap myself into. It just gets better and better and then bam SEE YOU IN HELL. A song for my taste. The sound is so good, Melissa absolutely shines and the lyrics are even more powerful. I mean, “Goodbye my love/ May we meet again/ Heaven is closed/ See you in hell!”. Like wow! Chills! Take a moment to take that in. I also have to mention just what a big production the video is! True dedication and investment, bringing a story to life.

I Am The Storm was the first song we heard from Ad Infinitum, with a video released a year ago. It’s a good song and definitely a good first song from a band, but it feels somehow ‘other’ to the most recent songs from the album, as it’s not as over the top with the orchestration.

Fire and Ice is a ballad that is still full of different elements and orchestration but compared to the rest of the album seems more stripped down.

Live Before You Die is back with a kick! It’s the kind of song that makes you wanna move and dance, so I think this one will be a hit live.

Revenge starts with soft keyboard and bells, but I am sure it’s not gonna last. And there it is! the orchestration growing in intensity and dramatism. I love how they know how to mix enough harsh vocals to get just the right effects. The vocals are shining loudly on top of the instrumental. However, for this album I expected more …. hatred …. from a song called Revenge.

Photo Credit: Nat Enemede

Demons is fast-tuned, with slightly less choirs and dramatism than the rest of the album and makes even more use of harsh vocals. We even get a spoken interlude.

Tell Me Why closes the album on a softer touch, mixing “flowy” parts with more powerful ones.

All in all, this is the kind of musical content I want to hear. For a first album, this manages to create not just a specific sound but an identity for Ad Infinitum. It will also skyrocket Melissa as an absolute powerhouse vocalist! This album showcases just how much she can do and how well it all works. She can explore everything she can do, but still knows when to reign it in and not over do it, when to layer tracks and when to use harsh vocals. The instrumental also keeps up with her and helps create a magical and powerful sound.

Fans of symphonic metal will definitely run towards this album. For me,
Marching on Versailles remains the absolute favourite and highlight of the album, with See You In Hell a close second. Within this genre, this will definitely be one of the best albums of the year!

I am sure it will be such a treat to hear it live. So when things calm down and we get the chance to attend concerts again, make sure to buy a ticket and go see them support Serenity, Dynazty, and Victorious!

Epica, Loch Vostok și Magnetic confirmate la Maximum Rock Festival 2020

Maximum Rock Festival revine în forță cu cea de-a opta ediție, de această dată Open Air, care promite să fie una de neuitat și să depășească toate așteptările. Așadar, între 13-14 iunie 2020 ne vedem la Arenele Romane din București pentru un weekend demențial!

EPICA (Olanda), LOCH VOSTOK (Suedia), MAGNETIC (Bulgaria) se alătură celorlalte formații confirmate până în acest moment: DEVIN TOWNSEND (Canada), KATATONIA (Suedia), THERION (Suedia), ORPHANED LAND (Israel), LOCK VOSTOK (Suedia), SUBTERRANEAN MASQUERADE (Israel).

În diversitatea uneori ameţitoare de formaţii de metal simfonic, EPICA face cu siguranţă figură aparte. Având ca semn distinctiv vocea maleabilă a frumoasei Simone Simons, ce creează contraste expresive cu vocalizele death-metal ale iniţiatorului Mark Jansen, trupa olandeză te poartă printr-un periplu aventuros presărat cu elemente stilistice dintre cele mai surprinzătoare. După cum scria Eduardo Rivadavia de la baza muzicală de date online Allmusic, atracţia principală a muzicii Epica provine din „explorarea contrastelor sonore dintre lumină şi întuneric”. Cu opt albume de studio la activ (dintre care două în două variante), Epica este un nume demult consacrat pe scena internaţională metal şi în circuitul concertelor. Cronicile foarte bune de pe site-ul Encyclopaedia Metallum confirmă gustul publicului pentru această muzică a cărei dimensiune live merită urmărită cu atenţie.

După ce a făcut un prim pas important spre consolidarea statutului pe scenele internaţionale într-un turneu cu Therion şi Leprous – când a ajuns şi în România – trupa suedeză Loch Vostok a părut să intre, cel puţin pentru spectatorii români, într-un con de umbră. Însă Teddy Möller şi compania s-au ţinut de treabă cu tenacitate şi au lansat, la intervale mari, dar regulat, albume care să le creioneze tot mai clar propria marcă de metal extrem progresiv.
Reîntoarcerea Loch Vostok în România este un prilej, pentru trupă şi pentru public, să recupereze timpul scurs de la o ultimă prezenţă bine primită de rockerii autohtoni.

Bulgarii de la Magnetic aduc în atenția publicului o combinație de nu metal, progressive, crossover. În 2016 formația reușește să lanseze primul EP, iar după câteva turnee naționale trupa ajunge să cânte la Rock Camp Satu Mare Open Air (2018), în calitate de co-headliner alături de Firewind, Jinjer și Majesty, dar și la Rock n Iași Indoor 2018.
În 2019 Magnetic susține, alături de Annihilator, câteva concerte prin Europa.
În prezent Magnetic lucrează la primul LP și la un turneu de promovare ce va include și Maximum Rock Festival 2020.

Vă anunțăm că prima categorie de bilete este deja Sold Out, iar în acest moment sunt disponibile abonamentele la prețul de 249 lei (ultimele bucăți) exclusiv pe www.ambilet.ro.

Reamințim categoriile de abonamente:
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Copiii sub vârsta de 7 ani au intrare libere, dar aceștia trebuie însoțiți de un adult.

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Evenimentul este organizat de către Promusic Events & Maximum Rock, recomandat de Rock FM.

Blazing Desert Metal takes over Bucharest – Myrath and Eleine

Blazing Desert Metal descended upon Bucharest with Myrath and Eleine enchanting us for a night.

Eleine are the perfect opener for Myrath, close enough in style. After all, we do see their frontwoman, Madeleine Liljestam , in a traditional bellydance outfit. And boy does she put on a show! The songs are interesting and it makes for a nice show for those who don’t know them. Very visually pleasing. Unfortunately, the sound was quite bad, with drums cranked all the way up and vocal lines indistinguishable at times. Guitarist Rikard Ekberg deserves some praise for his really great interaction with the public.

Myrath are no strangers to Romania and they packed Quantic Club once again. This was my 4th time seeing them and I was really excited because they have been growing so much and their show has become so much more. It’s not every day that you see a band bring their own carpets and pillows on stage :))

The sound got better for their but not ideal and the lights were a real struggle for photographers, since they never actually light up Zaher and he got a bit lost behind the smoke.

Back to the good parts, the guys delivered! I truly love their attention to detail and their commitment to bring something extra and to do something special. This tour they have been bringing their producer Kevin Codfert on stage to join in on keytar (portable keyboards) for a couple of songs. They have a lovely bellydancer who just kept getting better and better throughout the show.

And as if that is not enough, they even had an illusionist! Yes, imagine floating sticks and tables and even floating Zaher!

They actually put thought into bringing props and creating interesting costumes. So glad to see men be creative about how they dress on stage and not just get away with basic tshirt and jeans combo.

But enough about that, let’s get to the music! That’s why we’re here after all. Their setlist took us through their albums, including all the well known hits such as “Tales of the Sands”, “Endure the Silence”, “Believer” and the very strong songs off their latest album which are already classics: “Dance”, “Born to Survive”, “No holding back”, “Monster in My Closet” and obviously the title song “Shehili”. Though I think I would have liked them to start with a stronger bang to match all the craziness already on stage.
I have to admit I don’t know all their songs that well, but even for those I didn’t know it was such a pleasure to listen and watch!

The whole show is just such a great ride with so many things happening that make it memorable. Truly, it is an experience to take part in more than just a number of songs played. I was pleasantly surprised to see that they filled Quantic and people really joined in for the fun. They also announced that they would be coming back to Romania with their new album, so I am excited! This tour saw them go to Brasov as well, so the future looks very bright!

Hammerfall, Battle Beast and Serious Black trio in Budapest

This Thursday evening 3 heavy metal bands played in Barba Negra, on the same day as Megadeth and Five Finger Death Punch performed in the Arena. On my way there I was wondering about how many people I will see in the venue when I arrive, but when I saw the queue around the entrance I knew this show would be sold out or at least close to it. (later I learned it was actually sold out)

Image result for battle beast hammerfall budapest

Out of the three bands I was familiar with two, Battle Beast and Hammerfall, having seen each of them twice before.
Based on their name < Serious Black>, I draw the conclusion that they must play in the same genre as Hammerfall and I couldn’t be more right. When I entered the venue, they were just starting the show, the sound and the image of the band was just pure heavy metal, nothing more, nothing less. Sometimes less is more. I looked around and I saw people from all ages already having the most fun, kids, teenagers, parents and even grandparents. This genre, I would say, is the one that closes the gap between generations when it comes to music preferences. The youth loved it because it was catchy, very energetic and the band really knew how to hype the crowd. On the other hand, the older generation, I guess, grew up on this exact sound and this is what they think of when they say music was better when they were younger. Of course, this was true for the whole night, not only for Serious Black. People were enjoying the opening show, they were jumping, they were clapping and singing when asked to J , but the most important part is that they were there, listening to them.
We often go to events where there is considerably less people before the headliner starts and I was happy to see this was not one of those nights. Serious Black are coming back in September and I’m sure there will be many people who will join after seeing them opening for Hammerfall.

The next act on stage was Battle Beast, a band I enjoy a lot! I got into metal by listening to female fronted bands and what I like most about Battle Beast is that they are nothing like them. Not that I would not love those anymore, cause I do, but because of the surprise element they have. I guess everybody, including me expects a high pitched voice or exactly the opposite, some growls when it comes to female singers in metal bands.


Noora doesn’t meet any of those expectations, she has a very strong voice with a great amount of rasp, no opera style and none of the extreme ends of the spectrum. Hearing her is very refreshing, it feels like something new, when the genre itself is one of the oldest. Battle Beast bring an ‘80s heavy metal sound that still has a fresh vibe to it.
The moment they showed up on the stage, all hands were up in the air and the venue “exploded”.
They started with the opening  song from their most recent album “No More Hollywood Endings”, from which they played quite a few more during the night. Song after song, people were screaming, dancing, headbanging, nobody got tired and to be honest they would not let us stop anyway. The way they interact with the crowd is next level. All the joking, funny moments, speeches between songs add more to the table than we would think. A little disco element in the songs, a little comedy never hurt nobody. After a few songs, Janne brought some disco drums <as he said> on the stage which gave a whole new atmosphere, now that was the 80s vibe we needed from them.
Rock music was always about fun&games, and they did not let us forget this during the night.

After a short break Hammerfall jumped on the stage, by this time, there the venue was absolutely full, which shows that besides modern metal, there is still a huge need for simple heavy metal without adding to much extra elements to it.
The instruments were loud, the singer was loud, but damn, the crowd was even louder at times. Fans were not so busy with moshing, they choose to sing from the very first song to the very last one.

Image result for hammerfall napalm records

It didn’t really matter which album they were playing from, fans knew the lyrics and they definitely knew how to impress the band. In between the songs, they did not stop chanting “Hammerfall”, it was very nice to see that. Besides playing a few tracks from their new release “Dominion” they did not forget to bring their classics like “Any means necessary”, “Last Man Standing” or “Hearts on fire” (probably the first Hammerfall song for 90% of the crowd). Especially on these pieces, the fans not only sang along with the band, but they were let to sing choruses and bridges alone several times.
Some people prefer to hear the singer sing all the way to the end, but I think these are the moments that become unforgettable memories from a show not only for us, but for the band also. My favorite part at heavy or power metal shows is that the crowd not only sings the lyrics but they “sing” the riffs and the melodic guitar solos too. Of course, this also happened here on almost every song, which made this night a very loud and energetic one. Little kids also joined the “OoooOooo” parts and I’m sure they will remember this concert when they grow up.
After “Let the Hammer Fall” the band left the stage for a few minutes. It goes without saying that fans invited them back, so they continued the set with the most successful song from the night (imo) “Hammer High”.
That song is like the anthem of not only Hammerfall fans, but all heavy metal fans. It’s a classic that should be never left out of their setlist, and I’m glad they think the same way.
After this bomb of a song, the new album’s “Sweden Rock” followed which got the best reaction from the crowd from all the played new songs. As for the last one, the riff of “Hearts on fire” started playing and it took us back to some childhood memories when we couldn’t wait for this song to come up on MTV.

Overall, I think this is how a tour line up has to be done. Great quality bands playing in similar subgenres, so fans can appreciate them all, no matter which band made them buy the tickets.

Review by Eszter Kovacs

Obscura si God Dethroned la Bucuresti: Program si reguli de acces

Obscura revin la Bucuresti pe 21 februarie in Club Quantic din Bucuresti. In deschidere vor canta God Dethroned, Fractal Universe si Thulcandra.



Fractal Universe 19:30 – 20:00

Thulcandra 20:15 – 20:50

God Dethroned 21:05 – 21:50

Obscura 22:10 – 23:35.


Este interzis in zona de concert:

  • accesul cu arme sau obiecte periculoase
  • accesul cu alcool sau alte bauturi si alimente din exteriorul salii de concert.
  • accesul cu materiale inflamabile, canistre pe gaz sau masini de gatit de orice fel
  • aparate foto profesionale sau semi-profesionale (cu obiectiv detasabil)
  • aparate de inregistrare audio-video profesionale sau semi-profesionale.

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Concert Obscura si God Dethroned la Quantic pe 21 Februarie
Obscura revin la Bucuresti pe 21 februarie in Club Quantic din Bucuresti. In deschidere vor canta God Dethroned, Fractal Universe si Thulcandra. Primele 100 de bilete costa doar 59 de lei si se gasesc pe iabilet.ro

Obscura sunt un nume cunoscut deja pe scena death metalului progresiv. Din 2002 pana in prezent, formatia germana a lansat 5 materiale de studio. Obscura este cunscuta pentru pasajele muzicale complexe, lucru datorat si faptului ca membrii formatiei au studiat teorie muzicala Formatia a atras atentia destul de repede, la doar 4 ani de la infiintare plecand in turenul alaturi de Suffocation prin Europa. Au urmat apoi concerte sustinute in Statele Unite si in Asia alaturi de Nile si Triptykon, dar si prezente pe scenele principalelor festivaluri din Europa.

God Dethroned vin din Olanda, fiind una dintre primele trupe de metal extrem din aceasta tara. Formatia a luat nastere in 1991 si a activat cu mici intreruperi pana in prezent. Au la activ 10 albume in care trateaza teme specifice black si death metalului. De-a lungul timpului au avut turnee alaturi de nume importante ale scenei black metal precum Marduk, Immortal, Deicide sau Impaled Nazarene.

Thulcandra vin din Germania si abordeaza un melodic black metal cu influente de death metal pe alocuri. Numele formatiei vine de la demo-ul eponim lansat de Darkthrone in 1989. Pana in prezent au lansat trei albume si un EP bine primite atat de public cat si de presa de specialitate. De-a lungul timpului au impartit scena cu formatii precum Triptykon, Taake, Testament, sau Venom. De asemenea au participat atat la festivaluri de underground, dedicate stilurilor extreme, dar au urcat si pe scena marilor festivaluri precum Maryland Deathfest sau Ragnarok Festival.

Fractal Universe vin din Franta si abordeaza un death metal progresiv. Infiintata in 2013, formatia a lansat doua albume de studio, cel mai recent, Rhizomes of Insanity fiind scos anul acesta. Temele lirice abordate de Fractal Universe sunt de natura filosofica de cele mai multe ori.

Primele 100 de bilete costa doar 59 lei, urmatoarele 100 de bilete costa 69 lei, in presale 79 de lei iar la intrare 100.

Biletele se gasesc in format electronic pe www.iabilet.ro si in magazinele Flanco, Diverta, Carturesti, Metrou Unirii 1, Muzica, IQ BOX, Uman, Casa de Balet si pe terminalele Selfpay. Online, puteti plati cu cardul, Paypal, pe factura la Vodafone sau Orange sau ramburs prin Fan Courier oriunde in tara.

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Interview: Martijn Westerholt (Delain)

There’s no secret about how big of a Delain fan I am. They are bringing it every time with new albums mixing heavy songs and softer ballads, with pop and electronic influences. Their shows are always a good party. But more than anything, they are just the coolest bunch of people. So of course I jumped at the chance to ask Martijn Westerholt more about their brand new album, Apocalypse & Chill, to discuss music and life and so much more.

Simona: Congrats on the new album and the tour and everything. Something that has surprised me personally the most about it was the very techno and synth infused beginning of the album, which really was stronger than on any older material. How did that come to be?

Martijn: That’s funny because I hear that a lot. But you know, when you make music, you kind of are in your own bubble, so you don’t really notice those things. You just write a song and you go with the flow. What I do know is that we  used elements we always used. However, we used more of it. I think that with the arrangements. But it’s also with Charlotte’s vocals, with the choirs, with the electronic elements, with the guitar riffs. So I think all the elements are there and it’s the same, but there’s a little bit more of everything.

Simona: Listening to the album, I realized there were a few clusters of songs in terms of sound and message. Did these come about from having different periods of writing and recording?

Martijn: You know, my role is also to be the producer. I always say, OK, I want heavy and hard songs, because those are the most difficult to write for us. The ballads and the more soft stuff comes easier. So we started with the more heavy stuff and a song like Burning Bridges, but also a song like Masters of Destiny, which is just more intense. But that’s what we started with. And in the later period, we we did more the softer stuff.

I think the time factor really did kind of separate the the style of the songs a little bit. Normally we always write in one go, and then we record in one go, the classic way of doing it. This time we split everything in pieces. So that might have helped as well.

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Photo credit: Carlos Funes

Simona: What song from the album came together the easiest and which one gave you the most trouble?

Martijn: Masters of Destiny was really easy. I wrote the instrumental part really quickly and then I gave it to Charlotte and she gave back pretty quickly as well. Vengeance is Mine was a really hard one. Its internal structure was really hard and also with guitar riffing. It just didn’t click entirely and we worked a lot and changed a lot to make it work.

It’s funny because you can never predict when the song is easy or when the song is difficult just sometimes it just is so. Another easy song would be Ghost House Heart. I first thought it needed more flesh to the bone, but no, it doesn’t. It’s just short. People say “oh, it’s too short”, sure, but that’s kind of a compliment because it makes people hungry. But I did put it aside for a long time before finishing it and making a decision on it. The Greatest Escape was difficult because it has kind of two parts and we needed to connect them. It was kind of difficult.

Simona: When you have a song like this one and you just can’t seem to connect it, how do you get about getting through that? I wouldn’t say it’s a writer’s block, but maybe a composer’s block?

Martijn: How we work is that we have a little concept. So, for example, a verse and the chorus, or a riff and a chorus, or something like that. And we have let’s say twenty-five of those. We then sit together and say, okay, let’s work on that. I feel like working on this one, so we start working on that one. And really quickly if we try to elaborate on it and nothing comes, then we don’t even give it a chance to be finished. We just write it off. So we have songs laying around because they don’t make it. If we work on it and something comes up and there’s little more flesh to the bone, then it goes out. I often finish it with writing in little parts and then put the structure together. Sometimes I go to Timo and then we have the parts but not the structure complete, so we finish that. That’s a little bit how we work. But we don’t really have songs where we think, oh, we really want to finish it, if only we knew how. Then we just write it off and don’t give it a chance.

Simona: You don’t force it.

Martijn:  No, because it has to, you know, it will sound forced.

Simona: Is there any song on the album you would’ve liked to have as a single, but it just didn’t make the cut?

Martijn: Oh that’s a good one. Yeah, that’s a good one, because I never thought about it. We kind of made four singles with One Second and with Ghost House Heart, Masters of Destiny, and Burning Bridges. But if there would be another one, one I really, really like is Creatures. Because Creatures has a very gloomy guitar riff. We called it the Amon Amarth song because of that. But at the same time it’s also not very heavy because it’s almost like The Hurricane on our previous record. It’s almost a ballad, but it has really heavy duty elements and it’s a really weird combination, and I really, really like the sound. When we play it live, it really touches me. So it wouldn’t  be the first choice as a single, perhaps, but for me, it’s kind of it’s nice.Simona: I asked because sometimes some songs from different album get forgotten, or I would not say forgotten, but that they are not as highlighted.

Martijn: No, it’s true. But the good thing about that is that a lot of those songs  become audience favorites when you play them live. And when it works really well, you keep playing them.

Simona: How has it been taking the album on the road with the UK tour?

Martijn: Well, I was really pleasantly surprised when we played the stuff live because they really work and that’s never a given. You know sometimes you have songs on an album which work really well in an album but not live. Sometimes it’s the other way around. We have a song, for example, Don’t let Go, which was kind of a bonus track on The Human Contradiction. But live it always creates a party and it puts a lot of energy out there. I guess that’s that’s a good example.

But I think Burning Bridges works really well. It’s really intense live. I always put a softer song after, because any song you have after will always sound less heavy than Burning Bridges itself. It will always lose, so that’s kind of funny. But so far, the crowd really likes the songs and this is a kind of surprise. Whenever you do a new song live, you know, you worked on it for a long time and then you put it up on stage for the first time. And it is a surprise if it will work. So far, yeah, really good experience with it. I’m really, really pleasantly surprised.

Simona: I know you sometimes play a couple of songs way before the album was out and showcase them. Would you ever go back and change something to the songs after their life debut?

Martijn: Yes, actually, that’s a very good question. Not a lot of people asked. We had for example for the song Turn The Lights Out and we even had it with songs in the periods of We Are The Others, where we changed Get The Devil Out Of Me, for example. We changed the entire chorus. And it’s funny because indeed sometimes when you play a song live you notice certain things. For example, that song is too fast and you make it slower, so we did that a couple times. From our debut album there’s a song called Shattered, and we almost played it faster live. And now the other way around, we played Ghost House Heart in the UK for first time and it sounded rushed. So I  stretched it down with a couple BPMs. And now it sounds better. It’s really funny.

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Photo credit: Carlos Funes

Simona: Now that we talk about like creating the music and presenting it live, how separate is art from entertainment in your view? Not just for you in Delain, but in general.

Martijn: That’s a that’s a difficult question. I think it will offend people but I will say that I think that art is entertainment, but entertainment sounds a little bit too light for some art. Do you know what I mean? But in general, art is to amaze or inspire people, or make people think. And to me, that’s kind of what makes life interesting and does entertaining. The word entertainment is almost like Bugs Bunny with a hat.

With our music, what I sometimes struggle with is that, for me, a show is successful when people will go crazy and the roof blows off, so to say. But there are also people who don’t really express themselves like that and just stand there and take the music in and enjoy it just as much, only it’s more difficult to see. Sometimes I kind of measure the success to the amount of intensity I get back from the crowd. But that’s not always trustworthy. So, to say, OK, we need more “party” is not always good, because some songs are too serious for party in our genre. That’s kind of always a little bit of a struggle. Therefore, in a sense, I also kind of make this sequence of the setlist and I’ve tried to make a flow in that. We start with the big bang and then we have some serious songs. And then in the last part of the set we go to the party songs. So there’s kind of a flow in the set and that’s what I’ve tried to do.

Simona: With The Gathering and Don’t Let Go.

Martijn: Exactly, We’ve never played The Gathering as a first song.

Simona: Too much :)) people would then be able to handle it.

Martijn: No, you’re just sober or something, you know?

Simona: What was the first time you thought of yourself as an artist?

Martijn:  Oooh, sometimes I still don’t think of myself as an artist. That’s a good question, when did I think of myself as an artist? I think when I played live with Within Temptation on Dynamo, where we had the backstage pass say “no artists, just talent”. And I thought of what it said, just talents. Like, oh yeah, so I’m regarded as an artist. But I don’t know if I see myself as an artist. Good question. I’m not usually thinking like that for myself.

I also remember that people can look at you differently when they know  you are an artist or make music. People experience a bit of magic. I also have that with … let’s say Star Trek. I love Star Trek very much. I am Trekkie. Definitely. That’s magic. But if you meet an actor like that in real life, that magic is kind of gone. You know what I mean? That is how people approach me and I think and like unjust human being. But for them, it’s a special moment. I don’t want to take the special moments away from them. Those are special moments, to see how your music touches people. I mean, what bigger compliment can you get. That’s  really beautiful.

Simona: Finding out those are just actors or musicians is the best case scenario. There is reason why we have a saying “never meet your heroes”.

Martijn: Its funny. For example, Tuomas Holopainen is a good friend of mine. And when I met him for the first time, I was like “I’m a really big fan of your music” and he said “no, I’m a really big fan of your music”. And that was so weird.

Simona: Like the Spiderman meme.

Martijn: Yeah, really funny. And at some point, he said, for example, I don’t want to meet Hans Zimmer. He had a couple of moments when he could meet Hans Zimmer. The reason he didn’t want to meet him is that he wants to keep that magic there.

Photo Credit: Tim Tronckoe

Simona: Are you personally an Apocalypse& Chill kind of person or are you more worried than cynical?

Martijn: I’m actually an optimist. Also, when I look at the world Apocalypse& Chill for me is not judging. It’s more like observing. It’s just very interesting to see the two worlds. One, like, for example, the social media, where you see really awesome pictures of people’s lives, where it looks really cool. On the other hand, there are always articles where you see Australia on fire or California. And it’s the same world, which is kind of fascinating. It goes without saying that I don’t like it with when forests or houses or things are on fire. Not at all. It’s terrible. And I’m kind of worried about global warming, which I think it’s scary. But then again, I am also very optimistic because the best feature of the of the human race is that it’s so adaptive. There’s not a single specie on here which is as adaptive as the human race. I kind of have faith that we will solve it. I hope so, at least. That’s more who I am.

Simona: Are there still any music acts you’re excited to see?

Martijn: Oh, yeah. Rammstein. That’s a big experience and I am always excited to see them life. Nightwish is another example, but that’s more because I know them personally and I like the people very much. And I love the music, but it’s more of a weird position. The same is with Within Temptation. I’m so excited to see them, but that’s family and I want them to have success. But also Sabaton, for example. I really admire how those guys build their bands and what kind of spectacle they make. And I’m a history addict, I love history. They are very much about military history, which I find very interesting. So, yeah, I am excited about it.

Simona: Lastly, what are your best tips and the words of wisdom when it comes to traveling?

Martijn: Well, I think you get life experience when you travel because you see how other people live. And if don’t only go to the tourist places, but also go where the tourists are not and try to soak in that place and the space, it just keeps you life experience. I don’t have a phrase for it.

Simona: It’s called going off the beaten path.

Martijn: Yeah. I am totally  with that. Absolutely.

Simona: Yes! Thank you so much for the interview!

Interview: Olof Mörck and Elize Ryd (Amaranthe)

I was lucky enough to catch Amaranthe on the Great Tour, supporting Sabaton around Europe. I’ve been a fan for many years and was ready for some traditional energetic and bombastic displays of power. I knew both Olof and Elize to be not just incredibly talented people, but the absolute loveliest, and so it was.

Simona: Let’s talk about the Great Tour. How has it been so far playing such an extensive arena tour?

Olof: I’ve been saying this the whole time: it’s been unreal, completely magical. Like, every time that you wake up in the morning, you go to the venue in a place like this [Wembley Arena]. The last time, with Powerwolf, they did play some really, really big places. I guess the biggest one was in Munich with 6000 people. That’s actually equivalent to one of the smaller shows in this tour. So, I mean, it’s an absolute dream come true. And today, Wembley Arena … I just have to say, I’m so damn proud or Sabaton guys for achieving this.

Simona: And you as well

Olof: Well, to be honest, we’re just really happy to be here. And it’s really helping us in so many different ways.


Simona: How long in advance do you start working for such a tour?

Olof: Pre-production typically starts with the boring stuff, sending the emails and all that maybe half a year before something like this. It depends a little bit With the US tour that we did at the end of this year or at the end of the summer actually, we started to plan that a whole year in advance. So it depends a little bit. And I think on the tour, you know, on this scale, on this level, they probably started a year and a half in advance with the first plan. But as artist and musician, preparing usually starts like a month before the tour, when you start to get your stuff together.

Simona: Why did you choose 82nd all the way for a cover? How was the process of turning someone else’s song into something so typically Amaranthe?

Olof: We didn’t choose it. No, it was chosen by Par from Sabaton because we had the common idea. We started talking to him on messenger actually that it would be really fun to show that we’re actually good friends and that it’s not only having a great time, also people that we’ve known for a long time. Like Hannes, for example, was on our second tour ever, playing drums with Evergrey at the time… and so on and so forth. So we wanted to show that friendship and what better way than, you know, to do a cover? And he suggested the song because he probably obviously knew that from the Sabaton songs this is going to work. When I heard the song, this was before it was released, I was like, OK, that choruses. It’s going to be an Amaranthe song more or less. So it worked really well.

Simona: A while ago you and Elize had a special project in Spain. Perhaps related to new material?

Olof: Yes … But to clarify, it’s actually not about the new album, but it’s about new music and about new stuff. And I can also say something that I haven’t told to anybody else. What day is today? 8th? People will know within six days, and it’s something that we’re really excited about. It is something quite different from what we’ve done,  something a little bit a little bit deeper. But still with the Amaranthe classical, you know, fun attached to it. Let’s say.

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Simona: What about the last album? Which songs from the last album had surprising fan reactions? Either expected them to do better or outdid all expectations? 

Olof: It’s tough because I don’t really put that much expectations before, because some thing is that when you’re working.

[Elize joins the interview. Olof says he’s goona answer and Elize will think about it]

Olof: I think that when you’re working on an album, you don’t really put up these kinds of expectations and before, because sometimes you can be setting up yourself for disappointment. Sometimes the songs that we find are the strongest are not thesongs that the label wants for a single or not what the fans are the most enthusiastic about. There was a couple of albums in a row where we chose the completely wrong singles and people stepped in and said that no, we should do this one. The Nexus, for example, was on number nine when we did the initial tracklist. But when it comes to the new album, I think that maybe Helix worked quite abit better than I was expecting. I really love the song. It’s definitely one of my favorites from the last few albums actually, but it’s a little bit more of an introverted and slightly darker song in some way. But the fans, and especially labels and they seem embrace it.

Simona: How good of an indicator are streaming numbers when creating a setlist? Do you find that popular songs are also the best hits live?

Elize: No, it’s actually very different. It depends on the country, actually, what style they like. And also depends on our songs. Some of them are very produced and many people think they sound even better live.

Simona: Are there any plans for Amaranthe live DVD?

Olof: Oh, yeah. I mean it’s something that we’ve been talking about doing our entire careers.  In the last couple of years we have gotten a whole lot better as a live band because we’vebeen touring really hard.  Now we have a finalized line-up. For a long time we were changing singers back and forth after Jake left, and I think at this point it’s really, really starting to make sense. So because there’s no plans set yet, but I would say that in 2021 it’s something that we should aim at actually.

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Simona: One of the things I love the most about Amaranthe is how upbeat the music is and just giving people such a great feeling. Is it ever hard to sustain that level of “happy energy”?

 Elize: Oh, that’s a good question. I think it reflects what kind of people we are inside our hearts. And also it reflects that we are so in need of positive energy ourselves and create that. My happiest place is to make music, and therefore I think it reflects into the songs. So if I just walk in the street, I mean, OK,  I’m kind of a positive person. But of course, you have a lot of inner sorrows. But the music can take us away from, you know, the reality. So, therefore, I think it’s easy. As long as we love to make music, then we get something positive out of it.

Simona: What is something you think people don’t understand about what it takes to be a musician?

 Olof: they have no idea how tough it can be, actually. We’re not going to complain because we’re still love traveling and we still love doing this. But it takes a toll, a toll on your physical and mental health and it’s always a strain on relationships and things like this. So it’s really, really a double edged sword. I mean, for me, I would have a very hard time doing everything else. Because if you ask me at the end of the tour, I will probably want to go home and rest for at least one or two days. And then I could continue. But as soon as I’ve been home for a month or something like that, you really start tocrave to get back out again.

Elize: It’s more of a lifestyle. It’s not just, oh, I love to sing and I want to sing, but I also need to change your whole life for the music. And that’s what people probably don’t understand, that it takes so much more strength than just a voice or a great guitar playing or whatever. To create a career like, you need to be fucking strong minded and watch out for the traps that you could fall into, like harming yourself through all the others temptations available in the music industry. And also the touring is of course, the hardest. Like that. We’re living on the road. That becomes your whole life.

Simona: What do you dislike the most about the art world?

Olof: This is quite an obvious one mean, when it comes to every artistic venture, I think the music business in particular, but also in a business where there’s so much corruption and so many people that are taking advantage. This is a massive problem for the industry and it’s really destroying talented and real artists. If it weren’t for these people who are trying without any talent to capitalize on other people’s skills, then you would have two thousand more great bands in the metal genre, for example. So it’s these people are a problem. But I think that more and more people are changing, as you know, these businesses start to open up because of the Internet and so on. And yet the movie business, particularly the #MeToo campaign, for example. There’s been similar things  in the metal world. I think people are starting to wake up to this. Just a little bit because it’s not a hidden world. Hollywood in the 90s was completely sheltered. You could behave and act however you wanted. And I hope that this trend will continue in the next 10 to 20 years and really start to the clear away these idiots and assholes.

Elize: I hope so, too. I think it’s up to us to address this. We need to get together as musicians. That kind of change means, for example, how some contracts are formed. Why would there even be a 365 deal? Probably that needs to do a revolution and say like, fuck you guys. We don’t accept these kind of contracts because we’re actually humans. And no, it’s like slavery working like that now. That’s what I’m trying to do. That’s why I love to speak out. But it’s like, you know, asking the question. So as long as people become aware of it. Don’t look up to people that want to use you. And then if somebody wants to sign you, then you should think, oh, maybe I do have something that’s really great. It’s expensive to hire a lawyer, but you can go to the musicians union and get help for free or for cheap. Or ask someone. Because that’s what we thought, too. Like, oh, my God, people want to work for us. They want to take like 80 percent of our income and it  is fine because otherwise we never get this opportunity. You know, that’s not nice. But most musicians are also like that in their minds, they want to feel appreciated. And this is a way to do that. Otherwise, you could just be thrown away like. Okay, next. You know.  So you have to agree on things that you feel afterwards that you’ve been very userd or you feel like like it’s a rape of your art.

Simona: Something I was thinking about while you were answering the previous question is something that I’ve been talking to with my friends who also listen to symphonic metal… which is that it’s not just people in power who behave like that. Sometimes fans are… not nice, let’s say.

Olof: Tell me :))

Simona: There is this saying that every country has the rulers it deserves. I kind of say that every band has the fans it deserves. I think that there are some cases where there needs to be a discussion about what behavior is acceptable and what is not.

Olof & Elize: Well, yeah.

Olof: This is true. I mean, just a quick comment. I mean, even if I do agree with the fact that you get the kings that you deserve or the fans that you deserve, but you will always get a certain amount of assholes. I think that the ratio of it is what matters. Like what is the ratio of assholes listening to your music? I have to say that in our case, if we do have them, the amount is surprisingly low as they’ve always been supportive, supported the stuff that we do and so on.

Elize: Now I’m thinking about humanity in general is the problem. We also need to love somehting and we also need to hate something and I don’t understand that. Why would you want that? Why would you need to hate something that is not harming anyone? You could hate obvious things. I wouldn’t like go there and actually comment on something, on music I don’t like. I would just to keep it to myself. I like listen to the stuff I like so I don’t really understand. I could encourage the fans that have so much hate that they can write the most evil and awful things online that they should focus their hate on something that needs to be hated. That deserves to be hated.

Olof: Yeah, exactly. And the thing that they need to fix is not the new Nightwish album, which is a great album, by the way.

Elize: So yeah, they should absolutely use that energy to do something. Could be a good thing in the end.

Simona: Both of you do a lot of songwriting even outside of Amaranthe. What do you think makes a good songwriter and what makes a good musician? Can those be different?

Olof: Oh, those two are completely different animals. There’s so many good musicians who can’t even write the most basic song. And there’s also a lot of great songwriters who don’t really know how to play an instrument besides four chords. Like Max Martin, for example, who wrote some of the biggest hits. So basically, I think that what constitutes a great song is that there’s a real meaning behind it. It doesn’t need to be in the lyrics. It just needs to be there spiritually. You can learn how to put chords together, you can learn how to orchestrate symphonies. But if you don’t put meaning and your heart and soul into it, that won’t translate into a good song. It can have all the right chords, all the right melodies  and people will feel nothing when they hear it. And that is at the end of the day the beauty of music, that it’s a language of emotions. That’s really what you’re trying to convey when you’re composing a song.

Simona: What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?

Olof: Trouble in general or in the music business?

Simona: I would say in general, maybe. If you don’t want to share something recent, maybe something you did as a kid

Olof: This is something that I was talking about yesterday. My sister was studying in a small town in Sweden and she invited me there. Obviously, there was a lot of 18 year olds there hanging out. I was fifteen at the time, had long black hair, so I looked the same age as everybody else. As soon as I arrived there, I got a beer in my hand. I got pretty drunk. I even smoked. And then my mother found out at 8 o’clock in the morning, so after that  I was in big trouble.

[Elize stays quiet]

Simona: You haven’t gotten into trouble yet?

Elize: I haven’t gotten into trouble *laughing*. Ask me that next time :))

Simona: Last but not least, since we are a Romanian based magazine, we cannot just let you off the hook without asking: what are some Romanian foods or traditions you enjoy and some you don’t? Also to Elize, since you’ve been there.

Elize: I’ve been there many times. I love it.  It’s truly amazing.

Olof: It’s not something that she says. She absolutely loves Cluj. She would ask all the time “Can we just move here, please?” But when it comes to food, I really like the eggplant salad. This is called…

Simona: “Salată de vinete”

Olof: “Salată de vinete” and  of course, the sarmale. It’s one of my favorite dish. We also love the Romanian wines.

Elize: I think I drank the best wine ever in Romania.

Olof: Like the “Prinț Mircea”, for example. Fantastic wine. But I tried a lot of really, really good things from Romania. One thing that I hate love relationship with is obviously the palinca. Oh, yeah. The thing is that if you don’t drink it as shots because it’s obviously very dangerous. Like at my wedding, for example, people consume thirty five litres of palinca or

Simona: How many people?

Olof: Hundred and ninety.

Simona: That is a lot.

Olof: That is a lot. But I was still told that it was nowhere near some other Romanian weddings.

Simona: Oh, yeah, for sure.

Olof: I was impressed. But anyways, if you eat like cold cuts, like meat and some cheese and if you have really, really cold palinca and you drink it slowly, it actually fits really well together. But never as shots, God damn it!

Simona: Haha. On that note, let me say thank you for a great interview and cannot wait to see the show.

Apocalypse & Chill (Delain) – Album Review

With such a name and artwork, you know this is going to be a fiery and intense album, but a very fun one. We’ll all go down burning in flames, but at least make it funny. Delain are coming to you on February 7th with a brand new album that is sure gonna make waves and not just out of air (because sound propagates as waves – haha bad joke time over).

The album promises to “leave all stereotypes and preconceived notions in the dust – exploring themes of impending doom and human indifference – making this their boldest, most daring and undeniable offering yet“. Even more so, it’s described as “carefully yet powerfully weaving violent riffs, synth heavy soundscapes and fully orchestrated compositions with vocalist Charlotte Wessels’ unmatched vocal potency, while not straying too far from the band’s established sound “. I am curious to see how that checks out.

We’ve already had the chance to listen to the first singles, Masters of Destiny, Burning Bridges, and One Second, which already showcased the different direction this album is taking. I will not dwell on them since we all (should) know them, but I have to mention that Masters of Destiny absolutely blew my mind and is right at my personal top of Delain songs.

I, for one, was very excited to hear the new album, so let’s skip right to it, shall we?

We Had Everything begins with a synth-techno beat. Is this Delain, is this Kraftwerk? I know they also have a song called Let’s Dance, but this is also a banger. Not much in terms of symphonic and unlike anything we’ve heard from Delain, but it’s still interesting. Charlotte’s vocals are as clear and on point as ever. The whole vibe is resembling of Apocalypse & Chill, with deep and haunting lyrics, but a beat that is clearly not that :))

Old-school techno pop again with Chemical Redemption, but this time it’s heavier. It’s a mix of so many elements that should not work together, but somehow they are just so Delain that they work together.

Vengeance is a duet with Yannis Papadopoulos of Beast in Black, so it sounds interesting already. I don’t think their voices go together as well as some of their previous duets. The song is a bit more similar in vibe to Masters of Destiny. The chorus is gonna be catchy. The lyrics are a masterclass in …vengeance, anger, and even pettiness, so I will personally say Big Mood!!

To Live Is To Die is basically an expanded version of Carpe Diem. 6 stanzas, 2 of which are the chorus And we are back at techno synth, but this time it was too much for my taste.

Let’s Dance – I can only hear that name in a David Bowie tone and voice. This is one of the songs that saw the day of light in Delain’s previous tour, having a bit heavier riffs and slightly distorted vocals. But funnily enough, this song doesn’t actually make me want to dance. The beat is repetitive and tires me out by the end of the song. Still, I think my opinion is unpopular and we’ll be hearing a lot of this live. Maybe it will grow on me.

Creatures has the hardest intro so far and I am intrigued. Very apocalyptic lyrics delivered impeccably by Charlotte. I love that the song is not too much and I just want to discover more of it. As the song goes on, I am really digging the instrumental. One of the highlights of the album.

Ghost House Heart is finally the piano and strings ballad I was waiting for. We are soon getting a video for this one and it will be amazing. Lyrics are not that complex, but I love the melancholic and flowy sound. I am a sucker for a good orchestral ballad and just picture myself waltzing in an abandoned Victorian manor. Definitely one of my favourites if not my favourite.

Legions of Lost is back with riffs, choir – we even get some Latin thrown in -, and orchestral sound, preparing us for battle. The vocals are more whispered (if Billie Eilish was doing a Delain song, this would be it). Charlotte is doing so much and pushing herself on this one, so it will be interesting to see how this translates live. The lyrics are a strong call to fight and fight for those who cannot fight anymore. Another good one.

The Greatest Escape starts with more soft keys, so I instantly dig it. This is so melancholic! The intro has this very shy glimpse of Scarlet, so fans of that song will be delighted. This is going straight on repeat.

The last track is the instrumental Combustion, which is showcasing Timo’s incredible guitar technique and how well it goes with Joey’s kick-ass drumming. This double solo has been showcased on stage, but it’s even bigger than I remember. What a way to end the album! Impressive musicianship.

Photo by Tim Tronckoe

Woah! This was a lot. Time to recap and give some final thoughts. Apocalypse & Chill is not a fan-service, in the way that it doesn’t cater to what is expected. It’s not stopping for anyone. It sounds nothing like their first albums, so if you’re looking for something in the tune of that, keep looking. However, this is loud and brave and unapologetic.
Take it or leave, but this is here to stay. Apocalypse has never been this much fun!

I feel like the album has a few clusters of style and influence in sound. I don’t know if it’s because it was written and recorded in parts like they used to do, or it just happened. There are some songs that won’t be making it into my playlist and a few ones I really like. In some parts the synth techno got too much for me. I am also not crazy about the “screaming singing” we get more of this album, but that’s just because I am not a fan of that genre myself.

The songs are different but they work together and they show just how much the whole band has grown and evolved. From Charlotte’s growls (and frankly all of her vocals) and Timo stepping up big time and getting a chance to shine, to a whole new sound and everything they are doing with it.

I cannot wait to have the album in my hands and play it many many times on repeat and see how that changes it. I also want to see how the songs go live. It’s always interesting to see which songs take a life of their own.