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.

Delain Live in Chicago

In support of Kamelot on their North American tour, Delain played an an impressive show at Concord Music Hall in Chicago. Their setlist consisted mostly of songs from their 2016 release, “Moonbathers.” Songs from their earlier albums included hits like “We Are the Others” and “Don’t Let Go.” Delain gave a truly memorable performance, and they were visibly moved by the overwhelmingly positive response they received from the crowd.

Kamelot – The Shadow Theory

One of the most beloved bands in metal Kamelot triumphantly returns with the anticipated new album “The Shadow Theory” conceptually based on analytical psychology and the complexity of the human mind leaning on three pillars: The Shadow Empire (The global mind), The Shadow Key (The Resistance) and The Shadow Wall (The veil that blinds us from the truth).

Starting with majestic & somber orchestrations “Phantom Divine (Shadow Empire)” will soon deliver everything you expect from Kamelot as multiple melodic crescendos are skillfully built by a pleasant mix of crunchy guitar riffs and polished leads while vocals focus on a smooth solemn delivery and guest vocalist Lauren Hart of Once Human adds some enraged vibes.

“Amnesiac” immediately shapes a nice guitar driven groove with scattered electro accents but soon embraces an epic melodic essence obviously enhanced by fancy guitar soloing, soothing vocals and consequent emotional mood nevertheless guitar riffs continue to channel heavier vibes.

Right from the beginning “In Twilight Hours” showcases ballad style elements such as extremely melancholic piano melodies floating over elegantly subtle keyboards layers which simply surround the charismatic and emotionally charged vocal duet featuring the charming voice of guest vocalist Jennifer Haben of Beyond the Black.

On “Kevlar Skin” crunchy rhythmic dynamics lead the way with steady guitar riffing intensity amplified by occasional faster drum blasts and compelling guitar acrobatics but the symphonic layers and the widely accessible chorus maintain the expected dosage of melancholy infused melodies.

Lauren Hart returns on “Mindfall Remedy” to deliver another round of fiery vocals in the midst of dramatic melodic soundscapes, power metal oriented guitar driven grooves and extra vibrant rhythmic segments constantly embellished by the understated beauty and cinematic elements of orchestral arrangements and piano melodies.

On “The Proud And The Broken” a generous round of thick guitar riffs swiftly follows a poetic piano piece which certainly evokes the melancholic & theatrical grandeur that will recur throughout the song and influence many instrumental passages while the guitar solos feature additional lovely harmonies as well as technical prowess.

So Kamelot chooses a quite serious concept for this album and quotes Carl Gustav Jung but maintains the expected music blend of refined power metal and symphonic grandeur that the band’s fans are always excited to hear.

Monster Magnet – Mindfucker

The long awaited new Monster Magnet album aptly entitled “Mindfucker” is finally within your reach and you can rest assured that Mr. Dave Wyndorf, one of the last true rockers, has plenty of energy and wisdom to deliver an authentic collection of stoner rock anthems and so much more.

“Rocket Freak” hits you right in the face with old school memorable rock riffs that flow easily as Wyndorf’s signature scratchy vocal delivery channels the unforgettable golden age of rockers dragging the listeners into a whirlwind of subtle stoner flavors that call for a good time partying all night but there are also loads of deliciously wild lead guitars to spice up the groovy dynamics.

Besides a straightforward nostalgic rock essence “Soul” starts to channel all those hypnotizing psychedelic twists seamlessly embedded in the guitar work and the alluring inevitably trippy solos while the rhythmic patterns are again built to deliver genuine retro rock vibes and Mr. Wyndorf is ready to add extra stoner nuances with a wildly entertaining vocal performance.

The title track is screaming at you that we are getting minfucked right here and now therefore you can eventually perceive an understated somber mood nevertheless the thick stoner rock riffing can generate an absolutely lovable groove and as the rhythm keeps on acquiring frenetic vibes lead guitars continue to amplify the marvelous psychedelic soul of traditional Monster Magnet’s style.

“I’m God” temporarily slows down with bewitching simple chords evoking a profound nostalgia that will continue to influence the several rhythmic blasts of untamed energy that accompany Wyndorf’s words of wisdom drenched in seasoned rocker style ultimately leading to powerful grooves that will get you moving and additional exquisite lead guitar super trippy moments.

At the very first listening the multifaceted nuances of “Drowning” will get you dizzy and nostalgic with rather melancholic softer melodies and emotionally charged vocals swiftly followed by an irresistible overdose of monolithic stoner rock guitar riffs and intricately elegant leads as the whole song relies on a cathartic blend of bittersweet melodic moments and gritty psychedelia infused passages.

It would be impossible to resist the immense psychedelic stoner rock charisma of “When The Hammer Comes Down” which can be easily considered the most enthralling track on this album and has the potential to become a classic influential song in the future as every guitar riff literally emanates a sultry undiluted rock energy naturally building unstoppable grooves further enriched by lead guitars accents that rightfully belong to the dazed realm of stoner rock, plus Wyndorf’s vocals are on fire.

Dave Wyndorf’s outpouring charisma is clearly well supported by Monster Magnet’s strong line up and the sex drugs & rock ‘n roll grooves of “Mindfucker” would be best enjoyed loud on vinyl but also remember to pay attention to the witty lyrics and read between the lines.