Ad Infinitum’s Melissa Bonny: “You can do as much as you can handle with the 24 hours of the day”

Ad Infinitum are a band that skyrocketed to the top of my favourite bands after hearing just one single from their debut album, namely “Marching on Versailles”. It was everything I wanted in a song or band I just didn’t know it yet. When they followed that with “See You in Hell”, I was absolutely sold. Their album “Chapter I: Monarchy” was released in April and if you haven’t checked it out yet, what are you waiting for?

One of my biggest regrets with this pandemic is that I couldn’t see them live this year. However, they kept super busy and managed to give us new and new content, including a new acoustic album “Chapter I Revisited”, to be released December 4th. We had already heard 2 songs in acoustic version from the Deluxe edition of the first album and they are worth all the praise, so an acoustic album is exciting and very appreciated.

To tell you more about everything they have been up to and particularly the upcoming album, we had the chance to talk to Melissa Bonny, frontwoman of the band.

Q: What was the greatest challenge and the greatest surprise in doing the Acoustic album?

Melissa: The greatest challenge was to actually find the sound of the album both for the electric version and the acoustic version, because, you know, it’s our first album, the band is just starting and it’s really important to find the right direction. And then when we adapted the album to make it acoustic, it was not just about taking the guitar and singing the same songs. It was really about creating a new atmosphere so that people who already know the album can still rediscover those songs differently.

Q: I saw that you that your favourite reinterpretation was Fire and Ice. After listening to the acoustic version, I could tell why. It had such nice effects added to it.

Melissa: Thank you. Yeah, I think it was my favourite to readapt because I’ve created some different vocal lines that I liked a lot. And it was already one of my favourite tracks. It was the very first song that we finished. So it’s something special for me because when I was working on the original version with Oliver Phillip, it was the first one he worked on with the orchestrations and when the demos came to life and actually became real songs. And that was a very first one. I remember this this feeling very well.

Q: I could hear a lot of flamenco influences on the new tracks. Is that simply because flamenco is traditionally acoustic or is there more to it?

Melissa: Oh, it’s because Adrian is just very good guitar player and he spends a lot of time adopting those songs and putting all his knowledge into it, both with acoustic guitars, classical guitars and electric guitars. He did a lot of things, you know, he replaced the whole orchestration parts with guitars, and he had so many tracks. He’s just a brilliant musician who can do anything.

Q: Have you decided yet which songs you are going to play acoustically and which ones you are going to play electric in a concert?

Melissa: I think it will really depend on how much time we have. So far, we haven’t had any opportunity for headliner shows. I don’t know yet in which circumstances we will be able to have both electric and acoustic songs. But we did this one show in Cologne where we couldn’t have any audience. We just recorded a show to put it on YouTube. So we did an acoustic song which was Tell Me Why.

You can still watch their live show here

Q: We obviously know all the ways this year and lockdown has been bad, but what is one good thing about this whole period for Ad Infinitum? Other than obviously the new acoustic album

Melissa: The good thing is, I think, that when we realized that we would not be able to tour, probably when the first tour was cancelled, we had to brainstorm and think about other ways to connect with everyone. And the good thing about this is that in the end we created this year six videos, one live show, two albums, and this is probably a much better way to connect with everyone in the world and not just people who would have attended those shows.

Photo credit: Claudia Chiodi

Q: Have you been watching any live shows that other bands have been putting out for streaming? How do you feel about them as a viewer, as a fan?

I’ve watched the show of Illumishade and I liked it very much. They created something beautiful, a nice stage, nice songs. They had kind of the same situation as us, because they released their first album this year. And they were not able to tour, I think. I think they played a festival, an online festival, and I’m not sure what else, but they had kind of the same situation. They started their career as a band during the lockdown. So yeah, they did this way before us actually, this live show that they recorded, and it was really well done and loved it.

Q: Hoping that the tour is still happening, it will surely be adjusted with safety precautions. How do you personally feel about going on tour? Even with less transmittable illnesses, once someone got sick on a tour bus, usually everyone got sick.

Melissa: Yeah, that’s right. I don’t know what, actually. I don’t really think about this right now because I assume that when we will be able to tour again, you know, people would have a vaccine and it, the whole planet, it will be safer. I mean, that’s, maybe we will not be allowed to tour if we’re not vaccinated. So I don’t know. I just wait to see how it’s going to be.

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Photo credit: Claudia Chiodi

Q: In this magical post-corona world where tours do happen, one of my worries is that all the shows and tours within one year will battle for the same slots and there will be a clash there. Is that an actual concern?

Melissa: Oh, yeah. I mean, you, you could see her already this year. When we started to cancel the shows for the beginning of the year, everyone was taking the slots of September, October, or beginning of next year, but mainly September, October. So yeah, I, I fear that people will try to go on tour as soon as we are allowed to.  I guess the fans will have to choose.

Q: On the upcoming tour with Serenity you are a support act and hopefully soon enough we’ll see you on a headline tour as well. What something most people don’t know, I think, is how financially unstable touring is. What would it take for you to have a profitable tour?

Melissa: I would say that we are already very careful with what kind of tours we accept for now and, as you said, we try to only take support tours. Because it’s a good way to get known, to get our name known. And and you know, if we tour with bigger bands, then we can profit of their fans in terms of audience, and then we can hopefully sell a bit of CDs and merchandising. This is something that is interesting for us right now.

Q: Let’s talk about DIY in the music scene. You have obviously been very hands on in every step of the way. How much can you do yourself and be thrifty about?

Melissa: Oh, you can do as much as you can handle with the 24 hours of the day. But yeah, we’ve been doing a lot of things and, you know, we have four band members, but we’re in four different countries. It’s sometimes difficult to just separate the work into four people when it’s like sending shirts, because then it’s a little bit more complicated. We’ve tried to balance it. Like okay, this time it’s Adrian and me; next time, it will be the two others. Or how Nick has been working a lot on the records and now I have more time, so we try to balance it a bit. And so far, it’s works pretty well.

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Photo credit: Claudia Chiodi

I mean, sometimes it’s definitely a little bit tiring because, you know, we do what other bands have a crew to do, and we have to figure out what’s the best way to do it. Because for example, when it comes to the merchandising we’re not used to handling a shop, so we have to really figure out how to do it, and on top of this, with the pandemic right now, the conditions with the post offices are more complicated. It’s just more small problems that we must figure out. But yeah, I guess, I guess it really depends on how much time you have, how many band members you have, and your motivation.

Q: You have built quite a large community of fans around the band and already have fangroups and fanpages. How do you see the role of fanclubs when it comes to Ad Infinitum and what kind of relationship do they have to the band?

Melissa: We are super thankful, super grateful for all the people following us and supporting us. I see everyday people sharing our content when we have new interviews, it’s shared by the members of the fan club. And it’s so encouraging to see that people are so enthusiastic about our music and it plays a big role for us because it’s really motivates us. You know, when we have a new album to write, we think about how well the first album was received and how much encouragement we’ve received. And, and it’s just, yeah, it’s just this extra motivation that we need sometimes. And also, it plays a big role when, when it comes to spreading the word of what we’re doing, you know?

Q: The pandemic has given us quite a lot of time in a way. What do you do when you’re bored? Maybe something non-musical.

Melissa: I love baking and I also, I mean, baking, cooking, I also like sport a lot. I like to explore the nature or just have nice to walk by the beach. And I like I like a lot of TV series.

Q: Have you watched The Crown?

Melissa: Oh yeah. I’ve watched the two first seasons. And I think that the third one just came out that seen something about this. Yeah.

Q: If I am not mistaken, you recently moved to Denmark.  How is it living in a country with a monarchy?

Melissa: Well, you know, you don’t really feel it because it’s less pronounced than in England, for example, where the Monarchy is very, very much present in the society. Here, from what I’ve experienced, there’s a Queen and I’ve seen her apartments in Copenhagen, but then there’s the vice-presidents in charge of all the official matters. So I would not say that it makes a big difference for me going from Switzerland to Denmark in that sense.

Thank you so much to Melissa for her time and answers and we cannot wait for the new album to hit all the streaming services! Do make sure to listen to it because it’s gonna be a good one!

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Interview: Richard Sjunnesson (The Unguided)

Swedish melodic death metal formation THE UNGUIDED hit hard with their full-length album Father Shadow, released today. The explosive full-length breaks down the barriers between melodic death metal, metalcore and fitting electronic sounds. Clean hooklines explode in classifying screams, leading up to a unique symbiosis of pure harshness. 

Their albums always tell intricate stories and come up with incredible concepts. About all that and much more we had a chance to interview Richard Sjunnesson.

Teen Art Out · Interview: Richard Sjunnesson(The Unguided)

Listen to the interview to find out more about the album, the band, their incredible stories and lore, why this album has some Sonic Syndicate covers, how they are dealing with Covid and much more!

(note: the interview was recorded on Oct 7th)

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Release Date:
09.10.2020

Tracklisting:
1. Childhood’s End
2. Never Yield
3. War of Oceans
4. Breach
5. Where Love Comes to Die
6. Crown Prince Syndrome
7. Fate’s Hand
8. Stand Alone Complex
9. Lance of Longinus
10. Seth
11. Gaia (feat. Erik Engstrand)
12. Jailbreak (Bonus Track)
13. Denied (Bonus Track)
14. Jack of Diamonds (Bonus Track)

Photo Credit: Patric Ullaeus

The Unguided are:
Richard Sjunnesson – vocals
Jonathan Thorpenberg  – guitar / vocals
Roger Sjunnesson – guitar / keyboard
Richard Schill  – drums

The Unguided online:
WEBSITE
FACEBOOK
NAPALM RECORDS  

“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:
300 lei 149 lei – Abonament Earlybird (primele 100) – Sold Out
300 lei 249 lei – Abonament Presale 1 (următoarele 1000 bucăți)
300 lei 279 lei – Abonament Presale 2 (până la data de 12.06.2020)
300 lei – Abonament Regular Access (preţ în ziua evenimentului, atât online cât și la intrare)

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

P.S. Cei care doresc bilete cartonate (pentru colecție), pot preschimba la acces biletele online în bilete cartonate, sau pot achiziționa aceste bilete direct de la sediul Maximum Rock din București – și primesc automat/gratuit o revista Maximum Rock.

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.

BATTLE BEAST

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.

PROGRAM

OPEN DOORS 19:00

Fractal Universe 19:30 – 20:00

Thulcandra 20:15 – 20:50

God Dethroned 21:05 – 21:50

Obscura 22:10 – 23:35.

REGULI DE ACCES SI INFORMATII UTILE

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.

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,carduri de tichete culturale Sodexo, pe factura la Vodafone sau Orange sau ramburs prin Fan Courier oriunde in tara.

Biletele costa in presale 79 de lei iar la intrare 100.

Un eveniment METALHEAD powered by ROCK FM

25.10.2019
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.

Un eveniment METALHEAD powered by ROCK FM

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.

Image may contain: 1 person
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.

Image may contain: 1 person
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!