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Monday, September 20, 2010   0 comments

Twelve years after their acclaimed debut and three years following their previous release, Norwegian gothic metal pioneers Tristania are back with their long awaited sixth studio album. With "Rubicon", a mature and confident band proves that it is indeed possible to sustain a highly creative standard for over 13 years.

Far removed from the mediocrity of the genre, these Norwegian gothic metal pioneers remain true to their art form, while embracing both progress and variety. “Rubicon” consolidates an array of grand arrangements, sombre moods, and elaborate harmonies blended with upbeat ear-candy and outstanding vocal performances. Metal Hammer Germany exclaims:

Tristania have literally crossed the ‘Rubicon’ into brilliant new musical territory. The Norwegian GothicMetal legends have re-invented themselves without betraying their roots.’Rubicon’ is a stunning and sparkling album!

The experience is centered around Mariangela Demurtas, whose unique voice majestically conquers both moving ballads ("Exile") and engrossing metal tracks ("Patriot Games"). Not unlike previous Tristania releases, special attention should be paid to the well thought out and sophisticated vocal harmonies between the male and female counterparts, impersonated by Demurtas and Kjetil Nordhus (Head Disco, ex- Green Carnation, ex-Trail of Tears). Rubicon also introduces a few very special guest musicians. Former singer Østen Bergøy’s contributes on four of the tracks, and the highly gifted violinist Pete Johansen embellishes a Tristania release for the first time since "World of Glass".

In addition to the main singers, Tristania of the present consists of original members Anders Høyvik Hidle (guitars/vocals) and Einar Moen (keyboards), bass player Ole Vistnes, drummer Tarald Lie (Diabla) and guitarist Gyri S. Losnegaard (Octavia Sperati). Vistnes, who became a permanent member in early 2008,has proven to be a considerable creative force in the band and is now one of the main songwriters. The production has rested in the hands of Hidle og Vistnes, assisted by Waldemar Sorychta (Lacuna Coil, Samael, Moonspell, Therion).

With a solid product on hand and a strong line-up, Tristania re-emerges with new confidence and vitality. Following the album’s release, the band plans to promote the new record extensively—beginning with the “Rubicon Tour 2010” in October that will take them to 9 European countries in 16 days.

Saturday, June 12, 2010   0 comments

Sonic Syndicate is a group of death-metal band from Falkenberg, Sweden. Is strongly influenced by other Swedish death metal bands like In Flames and Soilwork.

Sonic Syndicate was formed in 2002 under the name Fallen Angels, by Richard, Roger and Robin Sjunnesson. Under this name they recorded three demos, Fall from Heaven, Black Lotus and Extinction; then sign a contract with Pivotal Rockordings in 2005.
By signing the contract with Pivotal Rockordings the group changed its name to Sonic Syndicate, to record their first studio album, Eden Fire.

The group toured Sweden promoting her album Eden Fire, opening for Avatar. In early February 2006 during his tour with Avatar, Kristoffer Bäcklund (drums) left the group. He was replaced by John Bengtsson, and the band ended soon after the tour to begin preparing new material in March of that year.

In the summer of 2006, Sonic Syndicate entered a competition organized by one of the largest metal labels, Nuclear Blast. Among more than 1500 participants (groups) SS was elected one of three winners, which gave them the opportunity to sign a contract with the label. In November enter Black Lounge Studios, for recording after Eden Fire, Only Inhuman, with Jonas Kjellgren of Scar Symmetry. They made the video for the single "Denied", under the guidance of producer Patric Ullaeus.

Sunday, April 4, 2010   0 comments

Although originally envisioned by Martijn Westerholt as a musical project featuring a host of guest musicians, due to the high demand for live performances a real band was formed. This lead to the Roadrunner release of Delain's debut album 'Lucidity' in 2006. The group of musicians quickly transformed into a solid rocking force. Now Delain is nothing less than a real band. A versatile band with an impressive new album called April Rain.

The listener is immediately drawn in by sweet, waterdrop-like pianosounds. Then the rest of the band kicks in and the drops form a ferociously swirling river of sound, during which a heavy guitar riff mercilessly crushes. In little under a minute April Rain – the title track - has shown us a few of the many different faces of Delain. And at that point we haven't even heard singer Charlotte Wessels yet. "The album opening title track is one of the songs on the new album I'm most proud of", says Martijn Westerholt, keyboardist and Delain's main composer. "To me it's the ultimate example to show where Delain currently stands and how versatile we have become as a band."

Westerholt is right. The sound on April Rain is versatile indeed, with various musical influences. But the album is very coherent at the same time. The debut Lucidity was characterised by the many guest musicians. This time Delain is primarily Charlotte Wessels on vocals, Martijn Westerholt on keyboards, Ewout Pieters on guitar, Rob van der Loo on bass and Sander Zoer on drums. "Between the five of us, there's everything we need as a band, so there was no use for a lot of musical guests. The grunts in Virtue And Vice, for instance, are provided by our guitarist Ronald Landa and he did a wonderful job", says Westerholt. "There is one exception though. Working with Marko Hielata of Nightwish on Lucidity felt so good, that we also invited him for April Rain. His vocals can be heard on two tracks." A little less audible are the contributions that came from cellist Maria Ahn of the Ahn Trio. "Our producer Oliver Phillips pointed us in her direction", says Charlotte Wessels. "Maria has done a fantastic job. Adding a real cello instead of strings from a computer adds a lot of value to our songs."

Aside from the aforementioned collaborations, April Rain is one-hundred-percent Delain. From the breathtaking opener, to the epic closing track 'Nothing Left'. And they'll leave you breathless. Westerholt: "The extensive touring and playing the past two years has really brought us together personally and musically. Delain is a band now, instead of a project. A tight force that works together. We complement each other and that strengthens our sound." Wessels feels that the whirlwind beginnings of Delain contributed to the strong relationship. "We had an intense and very short time to rehearse before our first gig. We were all in it together and we almost immediately forged a bond. Those early rehearsals where the platform for Delain as we now know it." Looking at the credits on the April Rain album, it's evident that Delain is no longer 'the band of Martijn Westerholt'. The other members and especially Charlotte Wessels have played a major part in the creation of April Rain. Wessels: "Work on Lucidity was fantastic, but it was a bit of a fill exercise as the majority of the songs were already there. On April Rain my involvement was much bigger. Therefore it really feels as 'my' album. Even more so than our debut."

While remaining responsible for the overall Delain sound, Westerholt has given the band members the freedom to contribute. "Now that the band can draw from multiple musical sources, Delain has become a more diverse sounding unit", says Westerholt. This also means that there is even room on April Rain for songs in which he almost had no hand in. Such as On The Other Side. "A very personal song that means a lot to me", according to author Charlotte Wessels. "This song qualifies as 'my little baby' on the album and reflects on a difficult period that I went through." Westerholt: "And therefore, it is featured on April Rain. I have an enormous amount of respect for Charlotte and I feel that when a song is so important for one of the band members it should be on a Delain album. Originally Delain was 'my' project, but now Charlotte and the other band members are just as much Delain as myself."

To promote April Rain, Delain will be embarking on a massive tour. It is quite difficult to imagine that only a few years ago Martijn Westerholt was forced to leave Within Temptation because Pfeiffer's disease made it impossible for him to tour. "It may sound like a cliché, but it's the music that really gives me a massive amount of energy. Mind you, touring still is quite challenging for me, but at the same time I really get a health kick out of it. So over the coming months I'd love to play as many places as possible, especially those where Delain has not played before." All the while the band is already working on album number three. Westerholt: "The moment we were done with this one, we all started talking about the next. We have only just started as a band and at this point in our career there is a constant flow of ideas that we want to explore. We don't want that source to dry up, so the writing continues. If it were up to me, Delain will be broadening all musical boundaries and we're curious to see how far this band can take us. An exciting challenge, which will be great fun!"

Saturday, March 20, 2010   0 comments

Amberian Dawn is a Finnish metal band which combines bravely many different kinds of styles in their music with high skilled playing. During their existence, Amberian Dawn has honed their trademark sound with expert precision, making highly polished albums of symphonic metal that are sure to be heralded as future classics by fans of the genre.

Amberian Dawn is musically lead by keyboardist/guitarist Tuomas Seppälä, who exclusively composes all music for AD. Vocalist Heidi Parviainen adds the finishing touch to the songs with her lyrics.

The story of AD began in the summer 2006 when the founder members, Tuomas Seppälä and Tommi Kuri decided to put together a new band when their former band Virtuocity was disbanding. Tuomas and Tommi recruited Virtuocity drummer Heikki Saari (Norther, Force Majeure, Tuoni), keyboardist Tom Sagar, and guitarist Sampo Seppälä to join the new band. After a fairly short search they found the classical soprano Heidi Parviainen (Iconofear) who turned out to be a perfect match - not only can she sing, she can also write intriguing lyrics and performs her craft effortlessly both on the stage in the studio. Amberian Dawn was finally born! After a while Sampo Seppälä (guitar) decided to leave the band due to personal reasons. His replacement came in the shape of the powerful guitarist Kasperi Heikkinen (Iconofear, Merging Flare , Guardians of Mankind, Elenium) and the band grew even stronger. Heikki Saari moved soon to Norther and his replacement was another young crazy drummer Joonas Pykälä-Aho (Thaurorod& Lathspell).

This first lineup recorded the debut album “River of Tuoni” which was released in Europe and parts of Asia in 2008. River of Tuoni Tour took Amberian Dawn on the road with a Dutch symphonic metal band Epica and together they treated their European fans with 22 shows in 8 countries across Europe.

The year 2009 sees the release of AD's second masterpiece "The Clouds of Northland Thunder" and a change in the line-up. Emil Pohjalainen (Thaurorod) recently joined on second guitar with Tuomas moving to keyboards permanently for the live shows, thus replacing Tom Sagar. Tuomas will remain active on guitar for his writing and for future recordings. As one of the most technically advanced metal bands today, Amberian Dawn is fully armed and operational to continue their epic journey throughout the globe. First in line are the clubs (London, Helsinki) and festivals (Sweden Rock , Metal Female Voices) in Europe with more dates to follow. Stay tuned and follow the clouds.

Saturday, February 13, 2010   0 comments

May have taken too long to mention one of the best bands in the world of metal. They are Whitin Temptation. How deep their lyrics, the symphony of sound and charisma of the band, make the environment almost magical.

I have compiled this information of his website:

Within Temptation have come a long way in the last ten years. From their humble beginnings, the Dutch band have now sold over 2 million CDs and DVDs world-wide, making them not only Holland’s biggest selling musical export but also one of the fastest growing new rock acts internationally.
Formed in 1996 around the nucleus of guitarist Robert Westerholt and vocalist Sharon den Adel, Within Temptation released their debut album Enter through Dutch indie label DSFA the following April. The album saw the band playing gigs across the continent, firmly cementing their phenomenal live reputation – most notably two appearances at the legendary Dynamo festival (in both 1997 and then on the main stage in 1998).
Unbelievably for a band who were attracting such critical and commercial acclaim, they were actually all still in college. And so in 1999, Within Temptation went on hiatus to allow the band to finish their studies.

Returning to the fray twelve months later, 2000 was to prove a pivotal year for the band. Building on their strong live following by playing all the major European festivals, the band released their second album Mother Earth in December. The new album again garnered critical acclaim - hugely influential Dutch music magazine Aloha tipped Within Temptation “for a major breakthrough” – and Mother Earth stayed in the Dutch charts for over three months.

Starting the year with a major club tour of their homeland, Within Temptation released two singles from Mother Earth, Our Farewell and Ice Queen. It was Ice Queen that finally led to Within Temptation’s first mainstream commercial success. The single peaked at #2 in the Dutch charts with the album re-entering the charts at #3, eventually reaching Platinum status.

The band’s popularity in Holland continued to grow and in 2002 it spread like wildfire across the continent. Mother Earth clocked-up Platinum and Gold status in Germany and Belgium respectively, while the Mother Earth Tour DVD received Gold status in their homeland and won the band an ‘Edison Award’.De populariteit van de band bleef niet onopgemerkt en verspreidde zich in 2002 over heel Europa, waar veel shows werden gegeven. Ook was de band opener voor Paradise Lost tijdens hun uitgebreide Europese tour. Met de release van ‘Mother Earth’ brak de band ook door in Duitsland, Oostenrijk, Zwitserland en België. De plaat behaalde een platina status in Duitsland en een gouden status in België. Voor de DVD “Mother Earth Tour “ ontving de band een Edison.

Returning to the studio in 2004, Within Temptation were set to record their third and most successful record to date, The Silent Force, with producer Daniel Gibson. Fuelled by the massive international radio hit Stand My Ground, the album went to #1 in the Netherlands and Finland, #5 in Germany, Top 10 in Belgium, Portugal and Spain, Top 20 in Austria and Switzerland and Top 30 in Greece, France, Turkey, Sweden and Norway. A myriad of Gold and Platinum certifications followed.


The single Angels was released in June 2005 to coincide with their now annual festival run - which included appearances at Pinkpop, Werchter, Rock Am Ring, Sweden Rock, Ruisrock, Aerodrome and Gurtenfest – and European tours with Iron Maiden and Rammstein. In August, Within Temptation received a World Music Award for Best Selling Dutch Artist In The World. A release of The Silent Force in Japan, Australia, and the UK was next.

More plaudits followed in 2006 with Within Temptation receiving the Dutch Export Award (“Best International Selling Artist”) for the third consecutive time in a row, the Dutch BV Pop Award and a Golden God Award from the UK’s Metal Hammer magazine for Best Video. The band played on the biggest festivals in Europe and played in Japan for the first time.

The band started a corporation with game developer Spellborn. The Chronicles of Spellborn is a so called ‘Massive Multiplayer Online Role-Playing’ game’, with millions of players worldwide. The band wrote three songs for the game, and made the video ‘The Howling’ together, which was released exclusively through the internet. At the end of 2006 the band signed with Roadrunner Records in the US, making a simultaneous worldwide release possible.

And now the new album ‘The Heart of Everything’ is there. In describing The Heart Of Everything Robert Westerholt comments, “Although you can still clearly hear that this is a Within Temptation record, many things have changed and evolved. Sharon shows how versatile she is as a singer more than on any record we've done. On some songs, she sings with a lot of power; on other songs she is more melodic… a siren enchanting her subjects. Sometimes she is emotional and sensitive. The guitars also play a larger part, and we have added an extra dimension to our new songs too by enhancing them with historic samples, as we did on Our Solemn Hour. Compared to The Silent Force, our new album is more dynamic and energetic. It has a more natural sound.“
In February 2007 the single ‘What Have You Done’, featuring guest vocals from ‘Life Of Agony’ front man Keith Caputo, was released. The release of the single came alongside the news that the band had won the Dutch Export Award (“Best International Selling Artist”) for the fourth time in a row.
Their new album was again produced by Daniel Gibson and mixed by Stefan Glaumann (Rammstein) and entered the Dutch album charts at #1. The album reached a #2 position in Belgium and Finland, a top-5 position in Japan, Sweden, Portugal and Germany, a top-10 position in Switzerland, a top-15 position in Austria and Czech Republic and in the top-30 in Spain, Norway and France. By this, the album reached a #5 position in the European album charts. In March and April the band did a large European tour of 38 shows, which was completely sold out. They supported Lacuna Coil on their US tour in May, which was very successful.
In June the second single ‘Frozen’ was released. Through the video which came with the single, the band focused on drawing the attention to abuse within a family. This is why the band decided to support Child Helpline International by donating all the income they receive from Sony/BMG to this organization. Child Helpline International (CHI) is a global network of child helplines and works in 150 countries around the world.
Early July, ‘What Have You Done’ was released in the United States, making it the band’s first official release in the USA. ‘The Heart of Everything’ came out on July 24th and has been a big success so far. During the summer, the band did all the major European festivals, such as Download, Bilbao BBK Live, Novarock, Pinkpop and Rockperry.
In September a US headlining tour followed where their shows in cities such as New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston sold out. This tour was followed by shows in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France (October). 2007 ended with a big sold out show in the Beursgebouw in The Netherlands and four shows in the UK.
In 2008 a lot of new countries were visited in Central East Europe and Russia. In April the band did their first South-American tour.
On February 7th the band gave a special (sold out) concert with the Metropole Orchestra in Ahoy Rotterdam. Together with the PA dam choir, guest singers (Keith Caputo, George Oosthoek and Anneke van Giersbergen), a 400 square meters video screen, great lighting effects and pyrotechnics the Black Symphony concert was a great success. Kerrang rated the concert with the highest score and noted: "this really is the greatest show on earth!"
The Black Symphony concert was filmed by 14 HD-Cameras and released on DVD, Blu-ray and CD by the end of 2008 in 40 countries simultaneously. Black Symphony reached a top-10 position in 11 countries, from which 8 top-3 positions.
In November and December the band will do their first theatre tour in The Netherlands and Belgium, where the band will perform their songs in a more acoustic setting.

One of his best songs : 

Saturday, February 6, 2010   0 comments

Here you have a bit of biography of one of my favorite bands: Visions of Atlantis.

Fascinated by the myths surrounding Atlantis, Werner Fiedler, Mike Koren, Christian Stani and Chris Kamper decided in August 2000 to create a band inspired by the enigma of the lost city. Later that summer, Nicole Bogner joined the project to complete Visions of Atlantis.

In December 2000, Visions of Atlantis recorded their demo Morning in Atlantis, signing to Black Arrow/TTS a year later. The debut album Eternal Endless Infinity was released in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland in February 2002, followed by a European release, as well as releases in the former Soviet Union, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Columbia, and the USA.

The reactions proved overwhelming, enabling Visions of Atlantis to tour with the likes of Katatonia, Finntroll, Edenbridge, Nightwish, as well as to perform at festivals throughout Europe, South Korea (International Rock Festival in Busan, in front of over 20,000 spectators), and Latin America.

In the summer of 2003, vocalist Mario Plank and keyboarder Miro Holly replaced Christian Stani (vocals) and Chris Kamper (keys) in time for the signing of a new recording contract with Napalm Records and their unforgettable performance at the Masters of Rock Festivals (CZ, SK) in front of over 10,000 spectators at each show.

Cast Away, the band’s second offering, was released on 29 November 2004, while the band was on a month-long European tour with Epica. Both fans and press welcomed this second release with open arms, as well as the band’s first video to the track “Lost”, which received airplay on MTV, VIVA, and VIVA Plus.

In 2005, Visions of Atlantis played gig's with Edenbridge and Nightwish, as well as a tour with Elis, before line-up changes, as Nicole Bogner, Werner Fiedler, and Miro Holly left the band to be replaced by soprano Melissa Ferlaak (formerly of Aesma Daeva), guitarist Wolf. K, and keyboardist Martin Harb...

Friday, February 5, 2010   0 comments

 I thought it was interesting to include this item on the blog. I always felt curious about this instrument, look on wikipedia and found this interesting definition:

A keytar is a relatively lightweight keyboard or synthesizer that is supported by a strap around the neck and shoulders, similar to the way a guitar is supported by a guitar strap. Keytars allow players a greater range of movement compared to conventional keyboards, which are placed on stands.

The instrument has a musical keyboard for triggering musical notes and sounds. Controls for pitch bends, vibrato, portamento, and sustain are placed on the instrument’s “neck". The term "keytar" is a portmanteau of the words "keyboard" and "guitar." Keytars may either contain their own synthesis engines, or simply be controllers, triggering notes on another MIDI capable synthesizer.

 The next video of Sonata Artica can see who to play the keytar with mastery

Sunday, January 31, 2010   0 comments

Following the release of their debut album "Embrace the Storm" in 2005, Stream of Passion immediately gained the attention of female- fronted metal fans all over the globe with their unique sound. In 2008, after various European tours and festival appearances, plus the release of the live DVD "Live in the Real World" and several singles/video clips, Stream of Passion realized it was time to start working on their next album, which would open a new chapter in the band's history.
Led by the voice and violin of Mexican-born Marcela Bovio, the new band line-up consists of talented and passionate Dutch musicians Johan van Stratum (bass guitar), Martijn Peters (drums), Jeffrey Revet (keyboards), Eric Hazebroek (guitars) and Stephan Schultz (lead guitar).
The new line-up and interaction between the band members has definitely influenced the band's sound. Marcela explains: "Circumstances were different this time; we all live closer to each other now, so we could just get together and work on the songs face to face whenever we wanted to. We soon knew exactly the direction we wanted to take."
With new songs, an energetic live performance, and a record deal with Napalm Records, Stream of Passion is confident that they will once again take the gothic metal scene by storm. On the new album "The Flame Within", the listener can brace for more live oriented songs with heavy guitars, raging pianos, haunting string arrangements, and the unique, mysterious melodies and vocals provided by Marcela Bovio.
"Our plan was no other than to give everything we have, to implement all of our energy and passion into each one of these songs. And we've definitely achieved it... Get ready to experience our inner fire!"

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