LINDSAY SCHOOLCRAFT Guests On New ASCENDANT Track “Morning Light”

Cradle Of Filth backing vocalist / keyboardist Lindsay Schoolcraft is a featured guest on the song “Morning Light” from Dubai-based Ascendant‘s new album, “A Thousand Echoes“. The track is streaming below, go to this location to check out the album. Lindsay has posted a video message commenting on recording the song with the band.

For information on Ascendant go here.

REVIEW: THE HARPS – “Love Strikes Doves”

The astonishing event with music is that it can be entirely surprising when you least expect it. One day you find yourself headbanging to the sounds of symphonic black metal and the next you rhythmically stomp your feet and move your body to the elegant melodies of hard rock & blues tunes. In this case, that’s exactly what happened to me with The Harps and their album “Love Strikes Doves“. But, first things first.

The Harps were founded in 2012 by their charismatic front woman Andry Lagiou in Athens, Greece. At the time the band was performing Andry‘s original compositions and arrangements which led mainly to hard rock driven, ear-catching guitar riffs weaved together with some of the vocalist’s classical music influences. Fast forward to 2014 and The Harps enter a new era with Andry Lagiou meeting the band’s new members consisting of Christoforos Krokidis, Thanasis Tsaouselis and none other than Symphony X‘s Mike Lepond on bass guitar. Along with Stelios Pavlou the line up was complete and “Love Strikes Doves” was born.

Including nine (9) musical compositions, “Love Strikes Doves” is the band’s debut album and it is a first-rate, sensational phenomenon. The overall atmosphere of the record is full of beloved 60s-70s-80s vibe, practiced in a modern effect while keeping the familiarity of that era’s female fronted hard rock music. Whether this was calculated by The Harps or just developed along the recordings of the album I can’t tell, but the result is without question incredible. Andry‘s performance in the entire album is prodigious as she appears like a natural and relentless talent; her voice tends towards a clear, melodic tone while roaring of fury and need. She reminds a lot of a melodic Janis Joplin at her highest and most intense moments.

Love Strikes Doves” opens with “Lovecircle” which is honestly one of the best rock songs I have heard in a very long time. A perfect introduction to what’s following. Gentle and fanciful vocals blended with charming guitars and choral harmonies making for an illusory sensation into “Wireflame” for those who stand tall to face all difficulties. In “Wireflame” we are admitted to the terrific keyboard works embodied in this record which helps bring out the old aura and quality of “Love Strikes Doves“. “Vulnerably in Love” follows next with Andry leading this slow tempo tune along a cordial piano melody and guitar harmonies while the bass highlights the overall song. “Immortal Soldier” picks up the speed a little bit and just as all soldiers are thickening up their skin so does Andry, delivering one of the finest vocal performances filled with passion and rock ‘n’ roll screams. Next in line is “Walked on a Street” in which the guitar has the leading part with a riff testament to the sounds of the seventies and Andry being in top shape once again with her – almost – theatrical portrayal. “Bloody Sun” showcases Mike Lepond in quite a different approach playing together with the keyboards to create an absolute, psychedelic, influenced tune which is a covenant to the rock anthems of past decades. The keyboard sounds very similar to a synthesizer or some hammond/continental organ which enhances the entire mood and album altogether. The longest track on “Love Strikes Doves” follows next titled “Pink Palm Tree” and with almost 6 minutes of pure delight its nothing but an honorable approach to former legends of the scene. “Red Line” continues on the same pattern with Andry‘s presence being so powerful that manages to mark her signature vocals for others to follow. Finally the curtain falls with “Blue Lovecircle“, an unconditionally graceful ballad with wonderful piano parts, emotional vocals and keyboard/guitar solos; showcasing the musicianship of everyone participating in this record.

I really find myself ecstatic listening to “Love Strikes Doves” and I am pleasantly surprised by The Harps. They managed to deliver a truly exceptional album filled with sentiment, excitement and reflection of true rock ‘n’ roll charisma with a modern twist. Andry puts so much of herself and her emotions into her renditions of songs that you can’t help but be moved; “Love Strikes Doves” truly captures the essence of music and it is pure passion vocalized. I am afraid it would be hard for an exceptional album like this to find its rightful place in today’s inferior, mainstream/pop/rap/hip hop dominated scene but I am overjoyed to realize there are still genuine artists that make inspired, soulful music for the heart.

RATING: 9/10

Love Strikes Doves” – tracklist:
1. Lovecircle
2. Wireflame
3. Vulnerably in Love
4. Immortal Soldier
5. Walked on a Street
6. Bloody Sun
7. Pink Palm Tree
8. Red Line
9. Blue Lovecircle

The Harps is:
Andry Lagiou – Vocals
Mike Lepond – Bass
Christoforos Krokidis – Guitars
Thanasis Tsaouselis – Keyboards
Stelios Pavlou – Drums

Facebook: www.facebook.com/andryharps

ARTIST PROFILE: Helena Kotina

Name: Helena Kotina

Nationality: Greek

Associated Acts: Daffodil

Personal motto: Live life to the fullest! Go for what you are dreaming!

Social Media Links:
https://www.facebook.com/Daffodil-280981445396267/
https://daffodilofficial.bandcamp.com
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-ZedoCO7yExa2HX3NkhpgQ

Current plans: 
After some great shows, Daffodil are now in the studio working on their first full-length album, which will be released later this year.

– 10 QUESTIONS WE ASK EVERYBODY –

Metal Divas: Please tell us what got you into music and describe your early days and the journey this far to be guitarist:
Helena: Things started back when I was about 10-11 years old and I felt the need to listen to some music (till that age I hardly listened to any music). I started trying listening to some pop-styled songs that were pretty popular at that period, but they really seemed meaningful to me. One of my older brothers was a fan of classic rock music and I remember myself sitting in the room next door observing what he was listening to. Yellow raven – Scorpions and Stargazer – Rainbow were some of the songs that were enough to prove to me that this was the right route to follow. After a few years listening and shifting through some more bands, I finally came along to a Scorpions DVD called “Humanity”. Immediately I realized that music was what I wanted to do. After begging my parents to get me started on guitar lessons, finally at the age of 14 I got my first Electric Guitar. Till now, the guitar and music in general, is my first priority.

Metal Divas: In your opinion what is the essence of music in general:
Helena: Expressing your feelings and having music as a good partner through every stage of your life.

Metal Divas: Describe any “before the show” ritual:
Helena: Nothing very special until now, just having a drink in the backstage, doing my warm up and saying my prayers!

Metal Divas: What is your most memorable moment of your career:
Helena: 
Every step you are making forward is something that you’ll remember, ’cause it takes many things to do every step. I think the most memorable was the show we gave two monts ago in Athens alongside Diary of Dreams. Everything was how it should be. The crowd, the atmosphere, the sound, everything was amazing.

Metal Divas: What is a rule — whether it’s a law, societal standard, or moral code that exists that you think should be broken:
Helena: Something that’s specific to my country, the government expects you to work your ass off and get by with a salary that puts you immediately below the poverty line.

Metal Divas: Name 5 things you can’t live without:
Helena: 1. Guitar
2. Music
3. Family
4. Friends
5. Good food

Metal Divas: Share any funny story while on the road or any crazy request received from a fan:
Helena: When you’re on the road, cause of the enthusiasm and energy, there are a lot of funny moments. I think, one of the funniest was when we had two concerts in raw but in different cities that they were far one from the other. There was a fan we met on the first concert and the next day he was at the venue of the 2nd concert even before our soundcheck and when we saw him, he just said ”Hi, it’s me again”, he asked for a t-shirt and then he just disappeared. We still don’t know who he was!

Metal Divas: What do you do to keep your skills in good shape:
Helena: I always keep doing exercises for my fingers, always from low bpm to high bpm, even in days when there aren’t many hours available to practice, I just do my usual exercises.

Metal Divas: Please give any advice to young aspiring guitar players who wanna enter the music industry:
Helena: Keep your eyes always open, don’t ever hesitate, cause nobody knows better than you what you have in mind, work hard and don’t take anything for granted. Keep in mind what experienced people tell you, but don’t let that stop you from trying things yourself.

Metal Divas: Ten years from now you will be…:
Helena: A rockstar!

– 5 RANDOM QUESTIONS WE ASKED HELENA –

Metal Divas: What makes you bored?
Helena: Sleepy and coward people

Metal Divas: Can you blow bubbles with bubblegum?
Helena: 
For sure!

Metal Divas: Why aren’t blueberries blue?
Helena: They aren’t???

Metal Divas: Do you have any secret family recipes?
Helena: Of course, but they won’t be secret anymore if I write them here, will they?

Metal Divas: What if Batman gets bitten by a vampire?
Helena: I guess he’s screwed. I mean the vampire.