Daily Archives: June 22, 2013

REVIEW: SAKARA – “Blood And Stone”

It’s been a busy year for solo artist Sakara (Japanese for “cherry blossom”) who not only joined Apparition but played a couple of European shows with them following her debut gig with the band earlier this year and even fronted them at The Dames of Darkness Festival in May where they supported Delain. However, this not the time to talk about Sakara’s recently achieved position with Apparition. Two years ago, this coming Halloween, Sakara’s debut album “Blood And Stone” was unleashed on the female metal scene.

SAKARAThe album is opened up with the haunting dirge-like “Bleed”. The riffs and the vocals send chills down the spine, yet that a luring element to them, much like the call of a siren. “Rise” throws out an experimental sound, differing both in mood and sound from the previous track. Sakara’s growls throughout the song jump out unexpectedly, like a lion pouncing on its prey though the musicianship doesn’t quite have the bulk to carry the roaring vocals. “Join You” is a soothing ballad, featuring a gentle flow of piano that allows Sakara’s voice to sail smoothly throughout the track – That is until the guitars snap in, adding a raw, passionate mood to the calmness of the waves of piano medleys.

The synth-driven sound of “By My Side” is an interesting change in musical craftsmanship, mood and overall a pleasant change from the usual symphonic-laden pieces found with the more popular metal bands. “She of the Throne” is another interesting sound, taking on a very Middle Eastern or Egyptian inspired sound at its beginning before the driving guitar passages begin with the ethereal use of vocals. The whispers on “Ishtar” create not only a mystifying atmosphere but creates a hypnotic sound, blending in with the mesmerising instrumentation while the actual main use of vocals complete the song.

Staying true to her pseudonym, Sakara incorporates some clear Japanese elements “Earth Song” which gradually lead into the majestically Gothic lullabies that make up the rest of the track. “2 Wolves” is a unique track on the album, containing a far more experimental sound than the previous tracks and displaying a change of tone in Sakara’s voice. The wolf howls really add a dark yet romantic aspect to the song, accompanying Sakara’s siren-like voice. “Soul Loss” throws in a thrash-based dynamic that really matches with Sakara’s voice – both the clean vocals and the harsher snarls – whilst the final track “Kunoichi” (female ninja) has a very industrial-meets-thrash sound.

The varying elements and experimental segments that are present throughout “Blood And Stone” give the album its own identity but the production values dampen the sound somewhat, especially in terms of the vocals which is turn doesn’t allow the listener to hear the full extent of Sakara’s talent like they would in a live setting. Barring that one issue, “Blood And Stone” is an enjoyable album.

RATING: 7.5 / 10

Blood And Stone” – Track list:

1. Bleed
2. Rise
3. Join You
4. By My Side
5. She of the Throne
6. Ishtar
7. Earth Song
8. 2 Wolves
9. Soul Loss
10. Kunoichi

Advertisements

NOTHING GAINED unveil video for “Save My Soul”

London metallers Nothing Gained have unveiled the video for their single “Save My Soul”. The song is apart of the band’s Zombie Apocalypse triology. The video can be viewed below. Nothing Gained are also touring the UK next month. Tour dates as follow:

5th July – The Salutation Inn – NOTTINGHAM
6th July – The Victoria Bikers Pub – LEICESTER
6th July – Numa Bar – WOLVERHAMPTON
13th July – The Gasworks – BRADFORD
18th July – Completer Angler – NORWICH

http://www.facebook.com/nothinggained
http://www.youtube.com/user/NothingGainedUTube
http://www.twitter.com/NothingGained1
http://www.reverbnation.com/nothinggained

ARTIST PROFILE: Leah McHenry

Leah-1Name: Leah McHenry

Nationality: Canadian

Associated acts: LEAH

Personal motto: “The Homeschooling Metal Mama”

Social Media Links:
facebook.com/leahthemusic
twitter.com/LEAHthemusic
www.youtube.com/leahthemusic
www.leahmusic.bandcamp.com
www.leahthemusic.com

Current plans:
I am currently recording a new EP! I’m very excited about it as it is material I feel proud of. I am going deeper in the places I explored on my first album, “Of Earth & Angels”. I hope everyone will enjoy it!

– 10 QUESTIONS WE ASK EVERYBODY – 

Metal Divas:  Please tell us what got you into music and describe your early days and journey thus far to be a vocalist.
Leah: I guess I was born with music in my veins. I began writing music and singing as a young teen and discovered metal in my late teens. I haven’t looked back since! I had a couple years of piano as a child, and then quit, though I wish I had continued, because now I only know so much theory and mostly play by ear. Now and then I find it has it’s limitations. I also taught myself basic guitar. I don’t write on guitar these days for the most part, but I do compose via VI quite a bit. Vocally I discovered my voice maybe around age ten. I did what most people do when they discover they can sing: I mimicked other people’s singing. Didn’t matter who… Jim Morrison, Mariah Carey, Tori Amos… I just sang and sang until I developed my own unique vocal style.

Metal Divas: In your opinion, what is the essence of music in general?
Leah: I am not formally trained, so I might not be the best person to describe the essence of music. On a personal level, music is emotion externalized and materialized.

Metal Divas: Describe any “before the show” rituals you might have.
Leah: I don’t have any rituals thus far 🙂

Metal Divas: What is the most memorable moment of your career so far?
Leah: There hasn’t been one defining moment as of yet, it’s been a series of multiple great moments. Every time I see a new fan discovering my music for the first time or leaving a comment on Youtube or Facebook, that’s success to me.

Metal Divas: What is a rule — whether it’s a law, societal standard, or moral code that exists that you think should be broken?
Leah: I think clichés are meant to be broken! For example, I educate my children at home, and am considered a “housewife”, however I don’t think I fit the traditional mold when people think of a housewife. I’m not a socially isolated “prairie muffin” who does nothing but bake bread and churn butter. Yes, I homeschool, and I like heavy metal, and guns, and chainmaille. And the same goes for a metal singer… most people don’t think of a metal singer as a domestic goddess that enjoys raising children and teaching phonics. Whatever the cliché is, I will probably break it.

Metal Divas: Name five things you can’t live without.
Leah:
1 – Coffee
2 – iPhone
3 – Piano
4 – Books
5 – Music, of course!

leah

Metal Divas: Share any funny story while on the road or any crazy request received from a fan.
Leah: I have yet to do a tour, so I’m sure I will have some great stories to tell in the future!

Metal Divas: What do you do to keep your voice in good shape?
Leah: Interestingly, I find having many children keeps my voice in shape, particularly learning to use my upper chest voice and lower head voice, in what is called a “mix” – and I do so in a talking manner, or slightly elevated volume (if you have multiple kids, you know why!)… It actually strengthens the area singers struggle with most, which is the “break” or “bridge” between head and chest voice.

Metal Divas: Please give any advice to young aspiring vocalists who wanna enter the music industry.
Leah: Write good songs. You can have good looks, gear, and industry contacts, but without consistent quality material, you don’t have anything. Also, master your vocals. This may be a lifetime goal, but something to continually work on. I used to think I would never be able to “belt” because I naturally have a very soft voice. Now I’m learning about techniques to do this that don’t hurt, but enable me to do whatever I want with my voice.

Metal Divas: Ten years from now you will be…
Leah: That’s a tough one. I believe I will always make music, regardless. Besides that, who knows! I do not feel tied down to where I live, so we may be somewhere else. We may have more children, it’s really a mystery 🙂

– 4 RANDOM QUESTIONS WE ASKED LEAH –

Metal Divas: A penguin walks through a door wearing a sombrero. What does it say?
Leah: “Does anyone know where I can get the new LEAH album?” LOL 🙂

Metal Divas: If we came to your house for dinner, what would you prepare for us?
Leah: I might make a Greek dish… my tzatziki is excellent I hear.

Metal Divas: If you were to get rid of one bad habit, which would it be and why?
Leah: Going to bed too late! I try, but I just can’t seem to get to sleep earlier…. I enjoy evenings so much and then I get a second wind. Of course I pay for it in the morning when my kids need me, hence, why I can’t live without coffee!

Metal Divas: What’s the last text message you received on your phone and who sent it?
Leah: A love note from my husband 🙂

leah2