Category Archives: Interviews
With their excellent sophomore release entitled “Tales“, Tears Of Martyr return to the gothic metal scene with a bang! The band’s lead singer, Berenice Musa, was kind enough to answer our questions about the new album and also about herself and music in general.
Metal Divas: Congratulations on your new album. What’s the feedback so far?
Berenice: Thank you! So far we are having really good reviews not only from the media but also from the fans and we can proudly say that the feedback is being very positive.
Metal Divas: It’s been a pleasure listening to “Tales” and reviewing it. Can you tell us any details about the writing process?
Berenice: In the past Miguel Angel , our guitarist and singer together with me, was the main composer. But for “Tales” the four of us contributed with our own ideas, which I personally think was very enriching and positive for the final result. After sharing all our ideas the next step was to select the ones we liked most and started working on them and developing the songs. Last step was the lyrics.
Metal Divas: To fans of “Entrance” like myself I would say musically your album has all the known Tears Of Martyr components but with a better production. Do you agree and what did you do different this time?
Berenice: We did our best with “Entrance“, it was an important milestone for Tears of Martyr as it was our full-length studio debut. The essence of “Tales” was already there in “Entrance” but we are now more mature in terms of song writing. We have learnt a lot with the production of Enrik Garcia (Dark Moor) in “Tales” and also from the very good job Luigi Stefanini from New Sin Studio did. Every detail has been polished and treated with care thinking the overall result. The orchestra has a better integration with the rest of the elements just as we have always desired and thought it should be.
Metal Divas: There is a wonderful, mysterious and almost supernatural atmosphere in “Tales”. Are there any references to the occult?
Berenice: There are some references to the occultism and there is a lot of space for the ‘unknown’ in our lyrics, anything related with mistery, the unsual and the occult is a big source of inspiration for us.
Metal Divas: In my review about the album, I wrote that it could be “the soundtrack to an infernal gothic ritual”. Is it wrong to label Tears Of Martyr as a gothic band?
Berenice: I don’t dare to say if it is wrong or right to label Tears of Martyr as a gothic band. I believe that every person has its own point of view and its own way of understanding things. For you we are a gothic band but probably for other persons we sound more like a symphonic metal band. I prefer that people like our music , no matter which label they give us.
Metal Divas: Berenice you have a lovely voice and you are one of the most trained singers in the metal scene nowadays. Could you describe your journey to be an artist?
Berenice: I started to study classical singing in Gran Canaria and afterwards I finished a Bachelor of music in Classical Singing in Codarts Rotterdam Conservatoire. At present I continue studying and improving.
Metal Divas: You guys have been together as a band for over 15 years, however this is your second studio album. What kind of difficulties you had to overcome?
Berenice: In our case the band was formed in the nineties in the Canary Islands, Spain. Distance was a key factor (2.000km away from Spain mainland) and being a ‘not so popular’ band made it even more difficult to play for a wider audience . It is not easy to stay motivated under these circumstances so the band suffered a lot of comings and goings of members, making it difficult to work in a long term basis. After some demos and compilations (and a lot of struggling), in 2007 we moved to Madrid and that definitely helped us a lot, giving us the chance to record our first full-length “Entrance” in 2009.
Metal Divas: Back to “Tales” for a bit. Can you tell us more about the lyrics, if there’s a subject or a theme in the album?
Berenice: “Tales” could look like a conceptual album but it is really a compendium of stories, where each song has its own identity and could stand by itself from the others. During the composition process and after few songs were completed we realized this was the connection between them, so we decided to complete the book with all these tales. In the album you can find many tales categories ranging from just original characters like “Golem“, “Mermaid and Loneliness” or “Fallen Hero“, to stories inspired in classic novels and poems like “The Scent No. 13th“, “Lost Boys” or “Of a Raven Born“. There are also songs inspired in some stories and legends from Spain, like “Vampires of the Sunset Street“, “Ancient Pine Awaits” or “Wolves and a Witch“.
Metal Divas: According to your opinion, what’s the real essence of “Tales” and your music in general?
Berenice: The things you see in Tears of Martyr now, the essence, was already there when the band was formed in the mid nineties. I could say we are now more mature, and we are able to express our feelings with more precision and knowledge. We treat both music and lyrics as a whole thing and we try to express and present those feelings to the listener.
Metal Divas: How about the album cover and the artwork? Who’s idea was it what’s the story behind it?
Berenice: The cover art was made by Adrian, our bass player. He has always been a very talented painter, so we came around with the idea he could go ahead with the cover this time, it was kind of a family business hehe. After some draft ideas he finally showed us the concept where the writer is sitting in his chair, all his tales coming out of his head and tormenting him, and we really liked it, so the ‘face’ of “Tales” was finally sculpted. I think he really did a great job and all comments are very positive so far.
Metal Divas: I really like all the songs, however “Lost Boys” and “Fallen Hero” are the ones repeating in my iTunes playlist. Can you please talk a little bit about each one?
Berenice: “Lost Boys” is a song inspired by the story of Peter Pan , though it is a metaphor as the lost boys are other boys. It has a more tragic and darker background, closer to the Tears of Martyr style. “Fallen Hero” tells the story of a chosen one within the particular universe of Tears of Martyr, it’s the story of someone who gives everything ,even his own life, and fights against powerful forces in order to save the life of millions.
Metal Divas: Correct me if I am wrong but you recently went to Portugal and shared the stage with Therion. How was that?
Berenice: You are right! For us it is always a great experience to share the stage with big bands and this time we were really excited about the idea of playing with a band like Therion. It was great they are all really nice people, but for me the best part was that we had the chance to play in front of a big crowd and how they gave us such a big support and warmth during our concert.
Metal Divas: Are you going to promote “Tales” with a tour? Do you have any shows booked?
Berenice: There are no confirmed dates for the festival season and at this moment we are looking for promoter to work with. It will be great to schedule some dates after summer so we will be able to tour consistently with “Tales” and share it on stage with the fans.
Metal Divas: And how’s the relationship with your new record label? Are you guys satisfied so far?
Berenice: After all the hard work and effort we put again this time for “Tales” it was a great reward for us to have the confidence from Massacre Records, a label with a very important space reserved in Metal History. We are really satisfied and happy with the business relation set with them and the work they are doing in promoting and selling our album.
Metal Divas: Did they had to do anything with your new video for Golem? And by the way what’s the concept behind the video?
Berenice: No , they actually didn’t had anything to do with the video. The storyboard was originally made by Miguel Angel and the production by “El Ojo Mecánico“. The concept of the video and the song as well is about freedom , believing in oneself and following your own path.
Metal Divas: Being a Spanish band and considering the financial dexterity and problems in Europe at the moment, what do you think about the future of Tears Of Martyr?
Berenice: We are aware of the current situation , but we prefer to be positive and we see us on tour and sharing “Tales” around the world, that would be really awesome for sure. Music means a lot in our life and we really enjoy it, so it is great when we are given that chance. We are thinking in new ideas as well and we don’t dismiss the idea of recording our next album in 2014.
Metal Divas: Well Berenice, thank you very much for taking the time to answer my questions. Metal Divas would like to wish you best of luck and much success. The final words belong to you.
Berenice: Thank you for the interview and cheers to all Metal Divas readers! We hope you like “Tales” and hope to meet you all on tour soon!
Tears Of Martyr is:
Berenice Musa – Soprano
Miguel Angel Marqués – Guitars & Vocals
Adrián Miranda – Bass
Doramas Párraga – Drums
Gogo Melone is a known vocalist, a member of the Greek atmospheric death/gothic metal band LUNA OBSCURA and a professional digital artist. Metal Divas had the opportunity to learn more about her personal project “Black Silent Vision“, find out the latest news from the LUNA OBSCURA camp and talk about life and music in general. Here’s an in-depth interview which we hope you will enjoy!
Metal Divas: LUNA OBSCURA turns 13 years old this year, congratulations! I know you guys have been working for some time on a conceptual album, as your sophomore release, so could you give us an update?
Gogo: Thank you! Maybe we feel more like 9 years old because we actually started to play as a real band after 2004. Before it was more about to build the idea and record some music. Anyway, regarding the new album, we’ve been working on the new songs for quite long. We have managed to record some things but we don’t know exactly when it is going to be ready for release since we are having a period of major changes in Luna Obscura plus we’re looking for a new label so it’s very important to do other things first in order to be able then to continue.
Metal Divas: What’s the theme and the direction of the band in the new album? Has it been almost 5 years since your debut album, what can we expect?
Gogo: Well the basic theme lyrically is about a tragic story of death and life after and by saying life after I mean for those who are left behind. The audiences are going to make a sorrowful trip here and one in another unknown dimension. All this has been dressed with very beautiful, sick and melancholic music. Melodies with a lot of feeling that you won’t easily forget.
Metal Divas: Being a Greek band and considering the financial dexterity in the country for the past few years, would you say it has something to do with the delay of the release? It must be hard, right?
Gogo: Yes, every Greek is facing the crisis and it’s hard sometimes but our delay has to do with our previous label which was the UK Casket Music/Copro Records. We had a contract with them for 2 years distribution on the album “Feltia” and our deal included payment for CD prints (which we gave it) plus 50% of the profits with sales reports every 6 months. Unfortunately we paid them a ton of money for fake promises and the album re-released with a delay of one year. We never got any sale report, never send anything to magazines and webzines for press support even if we called and email them about those things several times and few months later they started to ignore us so we completely lost the contact. Now that the contract has been ended, they are still selling our album and get 100% of the profits so if anyone is interested to buy our CD’s please do it only via www.lunaobscura.net or simple download it. Any complaint or lawsuit can be done only in the English court but of course we are not able to do so. As you can imagine this entire sad story, the waste of money and the money that we never took back went things far behind and reduced our interest for the new material. But now we have a major need to start over…
Metal Divas: Gogo, let’s talk more about you for a bit. You are a very busy individual with many collaborations. In early 2012 you started working on your personal album. Please tell us more and share any details.
Gogo: I had a strong need of making something new and experiment a little bit so I started to write dark and melancholic melodies highly influenced by film music, gothic and ambient. This work will also include guests appearances, the first one will be my good friend Eric Hazebroek, guitarist of Stream of Passion who has wrote an amazing melancholic song for me and the second one will be a duet with an extremely talented vocalist and personal favorite but I won’t reveal his name until we finish the recordings. I was planning to make the release earlier but with my graphic design job which is so hard sometimes, I couldn’t manage my time well so I lost the winter season but if everything goes well, “Black Silent Vision” will be ready till the end of the year. In the meantime, a digital single is almost ready to be released this summer.
Metal Divas: You’ve said in the past that you did not take any musical lessons professionally, however you have a lovely voice and I really like it. What do you do to keep it in shape?
Gogo: Thank you very much! That’s true. I never took any professional lesson, however I don’t urge people to do the same because everything is better when you have technical knowledge and when you know how you can use your voice without destroying it. I try to warm up my voice with simple techniques and rest it for long periods. I don’t smoke, I’m not a big alcohol drinker, I drink a lot of water, workout a bit and sleep well as much as possible. Thankfully I didn’t do any damage so far but after some years, maybe many years the voice will change anyway so I guess that few professional lessons will help to maintain in time.
Metal Divas: Besides music, you are also a very talented digital artist and graphic designer. How important is art to you and what kinds do you like?
Gogo: It is very important, I can’t be myself without freedom and creativity and with Art you can have both at maximum. My work is a mixture of dark digital art and photography, highly influenced by films, dark and gothic fashion, fairytales, the beauty of fragile souls and dreamy places. I was more into album covers, booklets and other commercial works for music but I would not say that I see a big future in this industry because the most of the physical CD’s have been replaced with digital formats. Labels don’t spend much anymore so the bands are less interested too in having the best album cover or booklet. It’s hard to be one-dimensional in graphics, artists have blessed hands so I think it’s better for all to do different things and get as many experiences as we can until we find something to define our future.
Metal Divas: Obviously you do this for a living, so would you say being a freelancer helps your career in music as being widely available to tour and such?
Gogo: No, it doesn’t help much but I don’t mind because I still do something that I love and have the chance to live my life from it. Music is an amazing way to express your emotions and have fun all the time when you don’t take things so seriously. I prefer to sing whenever I want to and enjoy it with a way that make me feel something instead of making albums every year with amazing productions but without soul on the music which obviously no one will remember after. I don’t want to fill my musical biography with bullshit and say that I’m playing there or there like many musicians do all the time. If I don’t feel anything about what I do and the music that I want to sing, then any tour or record will be disappointment and I don’t easily accept failure.
Metal Divas: Is it easy to combine both music and art in your life and do you enjoy both as much?
Gogo: If you separate things that I mentioned above then you can do both and actually enjoy it.
Metal Divas: Many female singers have told me that they would rather concentrate on their career, instead of having a family. What do you think? Career or family first? Is it possible to have both?
Gogo: I think it’s the same with every job but you must be a very balanced person to manage family and career. Honestly I don’t know many successful people who can do both things right without any loss. I would never sacrifice my family for any career because it’s not the most important thing in life. What’s the point of being the most of the time away from your family or making kids when obviously won’t grow up with you? I’ve seen many people waking up from the dreamy bubble years after and realize how many things have lost. It’s amazing to live in a bubble at 20 or 30 but is it the same at 40 or 50 with no family? I doubt it.
Metal Divas: Back to the music, you are a member of Eve’s Apple. How does it feel to be part of such community and has it been helpful for your career so far?
Gogo: I feel lucky because I met fellow musicians with amazing talent and great ambitions. It wasn’t easy before but this community is the first who managed to unite some of the female metal-rock singers around. We are now able more than ever to share our experiences, get to know each other, chat about everything (even silly things), make friendships and promote our music without competition. It definitely helped and destroyed a huge part of our self-centeredness. Now I hope more people to come over and support us.
Metal Divas: Correct me if I am wrong but you supported Leaves’ Eyes in Athens, Greece back in March 2012. Are there plans for any shows or is it too soon?
Gogo: No plans at the moment. It’s very important to proceed with the major changes and finish our album.
Metal Divas: How important is the visual part of a live performance for Luna Obscura? Most of the atmospheric/gothic metal bands have some sort of props to complement the music.
Gogo: All we care about is to give an emotional show and if you consider how positive and encouraging the messages are from those who have seen the band, I think that we have done an amazing job so far. To Luna Obscura shows, people can hear technical major sound which sometimes is better from the album version but some of us pay more attention to the emotions and the atmosphere of sorrow because this is what our music is all about. So visually we usually like to do what we feel that moment.
Metal Divas: Ok, let’s talk internet. You are very active online, do you use the internet on a daily basis and what do you think it brought to the table for musicians and bands alike?
Gogo: Internet and especially the social networks are obviously the new way of bringing people together from all over the world. So in matters of work and how you will promote it, I think it’ one of the best and clever ways which can give you fast results. I like to use it very often, sometimes more than I should and even if it has helped me a lot…. I believe we must be very careful. It’s very easy to fool around instead of doing serious work so be careful.
Metal Divas: Alright Gogo, I know you are busy so I will wrap it up here. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, much appreciate it. I wish you the best with your future plans. The last words belong to you.
Gogo: Well, thank you too for the amazing interview and Metal Divas. I had a great time. For those who are not familiar with our activities, you can find everything about Luna Obscura plus all the other social pages at www.lunaobscura.net and mine at www.gogomelone.com . Your support would be very important!
Luna Obscura is:
Aris Potonos – Harsh male vocals & Lyrics
Gogo Melone – Female vocals & Orchestral
Dimitris Papachristos – Rhythm & Lead Guitars, composer
Alexi Charalampous – Lead & Rhythm guitars
Stratos Kountouras – Bass
George Montes – Drums
With their recent sophomore self-titled release, Battle Beast come to be an uprising force in the heavy metal ranks. The band’s new lead singer, Noora Louhimo, was kind enough to answer our questions about the new album and also about herself.
Metal Divas: Hello Noora, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations on your new album “Battle Beast”. What’s the feedback so far?
Noora: It’s been really good so far and hope more people get to hear this album and give some more feedback.
Metal Divas: I had a blast listening to the album and reviewing it. Was it fun to record? Can you share any details about the process?
Noora: It was really hard work in short amount of time. Took about two weeks all together to record the vocals. It was very stressful and ”painful” time for everyone and especially for Anton. But when we got the album done all we had to do was wait the album to come out. This was the first time Battle Beast had done it’s album all by itself.
Metal Divas: It’s hard to tell if this is a concept album or not. What’s up with the Beast in your universe?
Noora: The songs are made of three different categories. One is the fantasy world that Anton has created where the beast is fighting against the machines and has lot of other adventures.
Metal Divas: Who’s the anime/manga fan in the band? There are clearly influences from “Berserk” in “Battle Beast”, especially “Golden Age”, “Kingdom” and “Fight, Kill, Die”. Am I right?
Noora: Anton is the anime/manga freak in this band but all the other members have also watched ”Berserk” and other stuff. And you are right: Anton wrote those songs you mentioned about ”Berserk”, there’s still one more song which is ”Out of control” about the series.
Metal Divas: Would you mine telling us a little bit about each one of the songs and which one is your favorite?
Let It Roar: Energetic, powerful, full of strong feelings (my favorite)
Into the Heart of Danger: Strong 80’s vibe, reminds a little bit of the song ”Eye of the tiger”, catchy chorus
Out on the Streets : very mainstream, catchy song all the way through
Raven: Quick tempo, attacking, doesn’t leave you cold-kind of a song
Over the Top: again a song with 80’s vibes, simple, makes you want to sing along (in my opinion), (my 2nd favorite)
Black Ninja: Mystic, sexy and powerful. Black Ninja is one of the characters in the world where the Beast fights against the machines.
Out of Control: One of the songs about ”Berserk”, the inspiration for this song came from the 3 last parts of the series.
Fight, Kill, Die: Is about Guts’s lifestyle in ”Berserk”, totally awesome head banging song.
Golden Age: Instrumental, beautiful and calm intro for ”Kingdom” which is about ”Berserk” too.
Kingdom: Is about Griffith’s (The White Hawk) dream to conquer the world no matter what it takes. Again lot of headbanging and fists going up 🙂
Machine Revolution: This one tells a story from ”The beast’s” world where the machines are dominating the humankind.
Neuromancer: Based on the cyberpunk novel that was written in 1984 by William Gibson. Has a sci-fi/robotic atmosphere in it.
Rain Man: This one is actually the only song that is about Anton’s life. You have to ask more specific details from him. Same kind of a powerful song as ”Raven”.
Shutdown: A song about the machines and cyberworld. Sticks into your mind like desease!
Metal Divas: Noora, let’s talk about you for a minute. You are Battle Beast’s new lead singer and it seems that it all happened pretty quick. How did you end up in the band and what did you do before?
Noora: Last years September (2012) I got a call from Anton that they want me to join Battle Beast. I had heard their music and loved the sound and the vocals so the next day I called Anton and said I’m in. Anton found me by accident on YouTube when he was searching for the new vocalist. He had been looking for a vocalist male or female no matter only thing mattered was can that one sing his songs without compromises.
I’ve been singing since I was 4 years old. While being a huge fan of heavy metal of 80’s and a teenager I had some classical singing lessons when I was 16 years old. Then at the age of 19 I started studying music in pop/jazz-line. At the same time I started doing some jam sessions at bars. There I found my first band (Admiral Octopus) in the “Bluesbar“. We used to play rock and blues music from 60’s-70’s and Janis Joplin was the reason I got the rasp in my voice.
After Admiral Octopus in 2011 I took part in a singing competition (Wanna be a rock n’ roll star) at Henry’s pub of Tampere and won it with Janis Joplin’s “Piece of my heart“. That’s how my single “Relax” was born. So that’s about it with my history before ”Battle Beast”.
Metal Divas: While reviewing “Battle Beast” I described you as “an eruptive blond temptation, detonating anthems one after the other with meteoric force.” Does this apply to your personal life?
Noora: Well, I am a ”wildchild” but I got this calm side of me too 🙂
Metal Divas: You have a powerful, characteristic voice that fits the music very well. In fact, it’s a perfect match if you ask me. What do you do to keep it in shape?
Noora: I do different exercises with my voice and rest it when needed and a lot more. Working out is very important part of keeping the instrument in a good shape.
Metal Divas: Your sound and the way you sing is very classic heavy metal. What are your influences and was this done on purpose on the record?
Noora: Everything that’s done in the record is done by purpose. My influences: Ann Wilson is the biggest idol for me after Janis Joplin. I got influences from many singers for example Whitney Houston, Bonnie Tyler, Tina Turner, Ann Wilson, Janis Joplin, Etta James, Robert Plant, Freddie Mercury, Ronnie James Dio, Bruce Dickinsson, Blackie Lawless, Robert Halford etc. The list is endless.
Metal Divas: Back to the album, there are many futuristic/cyber hints in the music but also on the cover. Please tell us more about the artwork.
Noora: The artwork was done by Claudio Bergamin from Chile, he is one of the most talented artists I’ve ever known. Actually he send a message to Anton and asked if he could do the artwork for our next album. We are definitely going to use him in the future too. The artwork, as you can see, is based on the world where the beast fights against the machine. The lioness in the picture is Claudio’s idea. Perhaps we’re gonna use it some day in our lyrics, you never know.
Metal Divas: “Battle Beast” sounds much better than “Steel” to me. Are you guys satisfied with the production? Were you able to achieve the sound you had in mind?
Noora: Pretty close, I think. But this was our first self-produced album so everything was learning and doing mistakes. The 3rd album is going to be even better for sure.
Metal Divas: How’s the support from your label and is there a tour scheduled to promote the album?
Noora: The support has been good and we are going on a tour with Powerwolf next september.
Metal Divas: Alright Noora, let’s wrap it up. I have one more question… where and how did you learn to do these unearthly high screams? Is there something in the water in Finland?
Noora: Haha! We just tried different things in the studio and found different screams and sounds. You know this was my first ever singing heavy metal even though I’ve been listening to it since I was 16 years old. Maybe Ronnie James Dio and Blackie Lawless and Robert Halford has something to do with it 😉
Metal Divas: Noora, thanks so much for this interview. Metal Divas wish you best of luck and success with “Battle Beast”. The final words belong to you.
Noora: Thank you for the interview, it was my pleasure. All the readers of Metaldivas.com, go get your own ”Battle Beast” , come to our shows and let’s release the beast!!!! Grraauuhh!!!
Battle Beast is:
Anton Kabanen – Guitar, lead & backing vocals
Noora Louhimo – Lead vocals
Eero Sipilä – Bass, backing vocals, narrator voice
Janne Björkroth – Keyboards, orchestrations & backing vocals
Juuso Soinio – Guitar
Pyry Vikki – Drums