Moonspell Live at The Forge in Joliet

North America is under the spell as Moonspell fiercely return celebrating the release of the new album “1755” and the massive live set “Lisboa Under The Spell”. North American fans surely missed the band’s signature gothic metal style that felt particularly dramatic when Moonspell performed the new songs “Em Nome De Medo” and “In Tremor Dei” and closed the show with the charismatic classic “Full Moon Madness”.

Shylmagoghnar – Transience

Dutch atmospheric black metal duo Shylmagoghnar has generated a lot of interest with the debut album “Emergence” back in 2014 and now they proudly return with the extensive intricacy of the sophomore effort “Transience”.

The title track begins with fascinating atmospheric arrangements creating the right suspense for the incoming blackened force of the tormented growls and the chaotic rhythmic section that will often acquire roaring tones and audacious speed yet there will be loads of enchanting melodic guitars ready to weave melancholy infused harmonies further embellished by a pensive piano piece.

Emerging from a forgotten darkened realm the fury of “As All Must Come To Pass” is introduced by grave bass phrases and subtle atmospheres. Soon multiple rounds of tight guitar riffs and mighty drums will channel primordial blackened dynamics accompanied by particularly ominous growls yet a symphonic splendor will contribute to a recurring crucial theatrical melodic ensemble .

Still drenched in agonizing darkness “No Child Of Man Could Follow” features strong contemplative atmospheres and instead of going immediately full blown black metal favors a steady triumphant rhythmic march and an increasingly cold melodic spirit constantly channeled by the melo-death inspired guitar work.  

With meditative vibes and moody harmonies “Journey Through The Fog” can feel rather hazy & gloomy before picking up fierce groovy dynamics yet the melodic core seems to be more dominant as the winning combo of guitars & keyboards confidently create diverse textures blending solemn tonalities and ethereal atmospheres.

The lengthy instrumental final track “Life” is a mini stand alone opus that smoothly assembles all the key elements of the band’s sonic vision. For over thirteen minutes the band manages to grab the listeners’ attention shaping magical melodies through the ardent guitar work that while showcasing a taste for modern atmospheric black metal effortlessly goes beyond the genre’s standard structure to explore refreshing feelings and tonalities. Certainly the skillful guitar work ranging from harsh riffage to lavish harmonies will often stand out while multiple dreamy moments and the final atmospheric vibes will add further emotional quality.

From beginning to end “Transience” focuses on a balanced mix of aggressive blackened force and eerie melodic soundscapes and Shylmagoghnar are clearly eager to conquer the underground metal scene demonstrating an intriguing creativity.

Candlemass – House Of Doom

Swedish doom metal pioneers Candlemass will finally release a new full length in fall 2018 but while you’re anxiously waiting you can have a taste of authentic epic doom with the EP aptly entitled “House Of Doom” which contains four tracks that will simply delight the band’s faithful fans.

Starting a descent into darkness the title track aims to satisfy your appetite for true timeless doom metal, yet rest assured that this is not just a revival of the golden days as Candlemass sound extremely relevant and actually necessary in the modern metal scene. Thick darkened guitar riffs lead the way to a familiar sense of impending doom yet despite the profoundly somber tonalities the whole instrumentation effortlessly create catchy grooves further enhanced by the gloomy splendor of the hammond organ melodies adding extra eerie vibes that introduce the epic shredded guitar solo while Mats Levén proves to be an extraordinarily charismatic vocalist for Candlemass.

With haunting towering guitar riffs “Flowers Of Deception” ensures an untamed dismal doom with signature slow and majestic heavy tonalities yet the song showcases also great sonic variety with slick tempo changes leading to fiery grooves and a fervent guitar solo as well as moments of sheer melancholy where bass lines evoke a mysterious aura and Mats’s vocals become particularly passionate with a dramatic delivery.

“Fortuneteller” is not a standard acoustic ballad but certainly puts aside the monumental doom textures to channel an exquisite melancholic warmth with fragile minimalist phrases and subtle folk flavors which allow Mats’s sublime voice and heartbreaking delivery to steal the spotlight.

The instrumental final track “Dolls On A Wall” begins with an overdose of monolithic guitar riffs in perfect doom fashion, consequently the atmosphere becomes perilously obscure as guitars impeccably maintain a heavy mournful groove spiced up by the compelling gloomy dynamics of the guitar solo.

Listening to “House Of Doom” you will long for more and immediately realize that mastermind Leif Edling is back with brilliant ideas as Candlemass appear in excellent shape eager to reconfirm their seminal status in the metal scene.
House Of Doom

God Is An Astronaut – Epitaph

With a successful sixteen years career Irish instrumental band God Is An Astronaut is well known for the magical post rock creations that once again will conquer the listeners’ heart in the new work of music entitled “Epitaph”.

The feelings of grief and loss that will characterize the entire album immediately shape the cinematic mood of the title track with emotional piano melodies and ethereal atmospheric layers that introduce the impenetrable gloom of intricate instrumental motifs embracing an intriguing ensemble of fierce distorted momentum and delicate melodic guitar work.

The melodic grandeur of “Mortal Coil” certainly offers plenty of upbeat dynamics focusing on rich epic atmospheres and riffing crescendos without sacrificing the inner dramatic essence that will ultimately gain the deserved spotlight in the final intense acoustic segments.

“Seance Room” depicts an immensely melancholic sonic realm with the effortless beauty of minimalist guitar melodies surrounded by surreal atmospheres yet the instrumental passages will eventually gain powerful post rock tonalities and deliver a complex series of kaleidoscopic synths arrangements and guitar variations that often channel heavier darkened nuances.

The crepuscular soundscapes of “Oisín” close the album with the most somber & raw emotions fully expressed by hazy piano melodies constantly surrounded and dramatically enhanced by moody ethereal atmospheric arrangements that ultimately evoke peaceful yet bittersweet tonalities.

There is a world of pure melancholy and genuine emotions within the poignant instrumental phrases of “Epitaph” so get ready to get lost through the overwhelming gloom of the unique sonic maze carefully crafted by God Is An Astronaut.

Midnattsol – The Aftermath

The return of Midnattsol could not be more grandiose as beloved vocalist Liv Kristine has officially joined the band to sing next to her sister Carmen Elise, consequently the long awaited new album “The Aftermath” benefits greatly from this exquisite vocal duet.

Immediately on the album opener “The Purple Sky” you will notice that the Espenæs sisters are bound to steal the spotlight confidently layering fascinating vocals that evoke a multitude of passionate emotions while guitars and keyboards offer triumphantly heavy moments but mainly focus on the creation of graceful melodies as well as folk oriented phrases.

The mythological tale “Syns Sang” features all the familiar elements and nuances of Nordic gothic metal as intricate melodic guitars & keyboards evoke a perennial gloom and the final part of the song will stand out for the irresistible and poignant vocal delivery.

While thick darkened guitar riffs mark the beginning of the band’s interpretation of the traditional Swedish ballad “Herr Mannelig” the mood will soon become increasingly melancholic with elegantly fragile piano melodies amplified by the genuine emotional delivery of absolutely charming vocals yet the rhythmic section will often return to heavier & faster gothic tinged dynamics.

The title track features a similar blend of styles as keyboards constantly provide sumptuous arrangements to support bursts of gothic metal guitar riffing while the lush melodic guitar work and impeccable vocals evoke a mellower melancholic essence.

On “Forsaken” a melancholic mood continues to surround the whole instrumentation as delicate keyboards arrangements and gentle acoustic phrases accompany beautiful dreamy vocals until the gothic metal nuances become stronger when melodic guitars emerge with increasing fervor through the haunting atmospheres.

The short yet absolutely intense final track “Eitrdropar” focuses greatly on a pristine heartwarming vocal crescendo and darkened guitar melodies leading to a perfectly balanced mix of traditional folk flavors and emotive atmospheric grandeur.

With “The Aftermath” Midnattsol has chosen to enhance the folk elements leading to ethereal melodies which are naturally entwined with the heavier & darker gothic metal roots resulting in a pleasantly multifaceted composition.

The Aftermath

Midnattsol Interview with Liv Kristine & Carmen Elise

While waiting for the new Midnattsol album “The Aftermath” to be released on May 25th via Napalm Records we had a nice chat with the band’s amazing vocalists Liv Kristine and Carmen Elise!

The Offering: What made you decide to join Midnattsol as permanent member?

Liv: I joined my sister’s band “Midnattsol” some months ago. I am very happy about it. The album will be out in May, this month, and I am amazed by the band’s work and artistic quality. It makes so much fun to sing in Norwegian and Swedish and just suck up the raw, clear, Nordic metal sound. I am very happy to be in Midnattsol, moreover, I feel such positive vibes and good friendship in this band. There is something magic when our voices join: we have completely different singing manners and techniques, however, we complement each other. 

TO:  What do you love most about singing with your sister Carmen Elise?

Liv: I feel such joy and a strong connection to Carmen. I remember a special appearance that I had with Carmen at Metal Female Voices Fest in 2016. That was after I had been forced to leave my own band, Leaves’ Eyes. Carmen called me to come on stage and it was a magic moment for me to feel her warm embracement and support. I can’t wait to play live with Midnattsol! It means so much for me to share stage with my sister. All the guys in Midnattsol are just wonderful. Feels like a family. Freedom, open-mindedness in the band members’ artistic development, accept, joy on stage and a good communication are to me features that Midnattsol represent as a band. I appreciate that a lot. 

TO: The new album “The Aftermath” will be released on May 25th, tell us a bit about the songwriting.

Carmen: Believe it or not, we started writing the songs many years ago. But the problem was that the song writing process was very inefficient. We had so many ideas and couldn’t finish the songs, because we focused on different things and musical directions. We also had different ideas how the songs should be written. Huge private changes in our lives such as getting children, building houses, new work etc didn’t make it easier. All in all, the years went by, but luckily, our keyboardist and organizer Daniel early 2016 said: Guys, now we need to finish these songs, it`s now or never! And then we started going through all the material and ideas that we had (which were a lot), decided what we wanted to use and rewrite, and we wrote some totally new songs as well. And the process went very well this time and made a lot of fun! We didn’t have any restrictions when we were writing the album, just total freedom to let the creativity flow, so we sang and played things we haven`t done before. We really hope our fans like the new songs, thank you so much for supporting us through all these years and not giving us up, it means a lot to us!

TO: Did you actively participate in the creation of this album?

Liv: Most of the songs existed as demos when I joined the band. The album’s title “The Aftermath” just blew me away as if that could have been the title of my own musical work. As I got to hear the songs in their demo version it was such a revelation. “Eitrdråpar” is a piece of music that I just thought initially would be lovely to sing on and to write lyrics for. 

TO: Is there a particular lyrical concept?

Carmen: The title should be a symbol of the consequences of our actions, and it is connected to us on a personal level, but mostly it should remind us on how we treat ourselves, other ones, the nature, the animals, the earth in general. «Syn», the woman on the cover, is a goddess from the norse mythology who you could compare with «Justicia», the goddess of right and wrong. She should also be a reminder of the fact that everything comes back to you, we can`t continue like we do. We are destroying our earth and every living thing including ourselves! Now is the time to wake up, we should open our eyes! I think the focus on our looks, on money and power – it`s such a wrong perspective. What about what life is really about? Inner Values like love, friendship, peace, trying to make the best out of life on earth without destroying people and the environment around you – what happened to them? This is our message on «The Aftermath», and you can see a red line through the songs when it comes to this theme.

TO: Do you have a favorite song to sing from “The Aftermath” ?

Liv:  “Eitrdråpar” and “Syns Sang” are my momentary favourites. Moreover, they are two songs for which Nordic mythology plays an influential role. I also thought it was a good idea to shoot a video for “The Purple Sky”. It’s hard to choose, anyway. 

TO:  Are you working on other projects or a new solo album?

Liv: Parallel to Midnattsol, and a soon-to-be released album of Sabbathian (Anette Gullbrandsen), I’m working on my upcoming solo album. A handful of demos are ready and I’m just awaiting the “go” from the record company. It will follow in the veins of “Vervain”. It will be a really heavy album, influenced by different songwriters. Great melodies, deep emotional settings and lyrics with direct language and a clear message. I’ve collected a pool of brilliant pieces of music and I’m just enjoying the whole creative process. I’ve included a number of new professionals in my solo-team which feels really refreshing. Tommy Olsson (Theatre of Tragedy) and Micky Richter (Liv Kristine Band) are two of my composers who will contribute to my sixth solo album. 

TO: You are an iconic vocalist in the metal scene, how do you feel about it?

Liv: You make me blush! I am forever grateful. The truth is that I have an amazing fan base. It is incredible how my fan clubs have stuck up for me during these two last years which have been pretty tough for me. You inspire me to keep singing and expressing myself in music, lyrics, paintings and on stage. 

TO: During your career you collaborated with many artists, with whom you would love to work in the future?

Liv: I’ll be recording next week and then we will see what happens from there. I would love to work with Maite Itoiz, Tarja, Heri from Tyr, Doro, Teufel, Michelle Darkness, Roy Khan…there are so many good singers out there! 

TO: Do you have touring plans with Midnattsol?

Liv: We will play a few gigs this year to support the album release. Next year we will be going for festivals. 

TO: Do you think you will tour also in North America?

Liv: Invite us over! You have some brilliant festivals we would love to join. 

TO:  At this point what are your expectations for you music career?

Liv: I am just extremely happy to be the artist I am here and now with 30 years of experience. I enjoy the freedom to be creative, to move on in my own tempo and to include new inspiring people in my team. Next to my musical career, I am also working with autistic children and youth with special needs. What an inspiring path! Both ways are so important to me and I really am happy and comfortable with everything I have achieved, moreover, I have such a wonderful home and beautiful family and I enjoy my daily life together with my son, soon-to-be-husband and dog(s). 

TO: Thank you for the interview!

Liv & Carmen: We thank you for the interview and send all our thankfulness and love to our fans.


Kamelot Live in Chicago

Following the release of their latest album, “The Shadow Theory,” Kamelot put on a high-energy show at Concord Music Hall in Chicago. The setlist was a great mix of old and new songs, featuring some of the best tracks from “The Shadow Theory” including “RavenLight” and “Amnesiac.” Tommy Karevik gave a captivating vocal performance throughout the show and performed wonderfully alongside guest vocalists Lauren Hart (Once Human) and Charlotte Wessels (Delain). The band’s stage presence and chemistry made the show dynamic, fun, and heavier than expected. Fans will not want to miss Kamelot on tour with Delain and Battle Beast.