Johannesburg based, power trio Far From Who We Are have shared their new single and video for the track “Rise”, from their first release via German label HopePunk Records. Formed in 2015 and consisting of brothers Johan Heyns (Guitar, Vocals, Synths), Maarten Heyns (Bass), and Kyle Williams (Drums). They write, record, mix and master everything themselves in their own studio (The Laundry Room), and the result is a recording quality that is truly world-class, which is just what their songs deserve. The song has a great melodic hook, but is heavy enough for the heshers! Watch the clip right now!
While winter climes may be more suited to the face-painted and sombre-faced ones, there’s something to be said about warming yourself up with some Hard Rocking. Ghost Cult rounds up some of this year’s early Melodic and Hard Rock releases to see if there’s not something that can’t bring the heat…Continue reading →
There aren’t many bands who mark forty plus years with an extensive UK tour promoting a brand new album as opposed to a full-on nostalgia show; but then again Magnum hasn’t followed the trend of many of their peers since their return from hiatus in the early 2000’s. As mentioned by our own Sir Tovey in his Lost on The Road To Eternity(Steamhammer) review, Magnum missed the nostalgia wave of recent times and thus, perhaps as a result, haven’t exactly been media darlings or more a recognisable name more on the periphery. This was certainly the case for me until finally discovering them with the aforementioned Lost …, discovering with it a rich and highly consistent catalogue; a new album more than capable of standing its own with even the band’s more highly regarded efforts. Continue reading →
The release of Magnum’s twentieth studio album, Lost On The Road To Eternity (SPV/Steamhammer) is no mean feat, considering twenty-five years ago, the band were releasing the aptly named and wholly underwhelming Sleepwalking (Music For Nations) while struggling to find a foothold in a musical environment that had no room for them. Continue reading →
The beauty to last weeks’ beast, the Ghost Cult album round-up is back for your vulgar delectation, and our final compilation of 2017 captures albums most Metal and most Melodic, shining a light on last-minute stocking fillers that St. Anne, rather than St Nick, would approve of… Continue reading →
Belgian rockers Supergenius’s début album Supertired (Hypertension/9000 Records) is awash with Nineties influences, it is chunky melodic rock with a strong vein of Indie and pop-Punk running through it. ‘Charmer’ has a nice, whistleable chorus to add to its strong, radio friendly Foo Fighters vibe. They also share the fuzzy guitar tone and slight sense of melancholy of Weezer, the heavy rhythms of ‘Know Your Knots’ demonstrates this. Edward Godby’s everyman vocal style shares more than a passing resemblance to Rivers Cuomo, the lead singer of aforementioned sweater pulling rockers. Continue reading →
Back in 2013 when Black Star Riders (BSR) released their début album, All Hell Breaks Loose (Nuclear Blast) there was plenty of excited interest in a band with former members of Thin Lizzy. Throw in vocalist Ricky Warwick who had not only done a sterling job as stand-in vocalist for the late, lamented Phil Lynott but had regularly proved himself as one of the most productive working rock musicians and expectations for BSR were understandably high. Continue reading →
When it comes to going in blind on a release it can be the best or the worst of times for a listener, On the one hand you can discover an absolutely storming new band, or you might come across (as I have many times in the past) discover an album that could be vastly improved by sending the CD case out to the reviewer blank with nothing but an apology note and some chocolates.
All I Want (Nuclear Blast) by Swedish female fronted doom five piece Avatarium luckily falls into the first category. Its sweet yet substantial sound fills your ears with enough melody, crunchy drone and riff to keep even the most melodic rock or gnarly doom fan satisfied. The first two tracks are recorded in the studio, with the latter three recorded live, especially pack the punch all tracks hope to deliver on their first listens, with the album’s title track providing to be the highlight of the release with its soaring vocal line and clearly Sabbath influenced riffs.
It would be easy to make connects to the likes of Sabbath and Blue Oyster Cult as touchstones for the band’s sound, which borrows heavily from the 60’s/ early 70’s early hard rock scene. But the album owes a great debt to the likes of Jefferson Airplane (certainly not Starship) especially in front women’s Jennie Ann Smith’s epic vocal range, she really has a great set of pipes on here and she shows it off throughout the five tracks on offer.
Overall, All I Want is a great EP from the group and shows a lot of promise in what is to come. The sweet mix of the almost Janis Joplin vocals and the low end of the 70s hard rock influenced doom under it makes a great pairing as they effortlessly work against each other, packing just enough low end and bottle to stop it from falling into the weak end of the spectrum.
Last month Ghost Cult’s Omar Cordy had the chance to chat with singer Floor Jansen of ReVamp, while moonlighting on her regular gig as the voice of Nightwish. Their interview took place right before the bands’ debut New York City show, of their first American tour in support of Iced Earth. Their latest album Wild Card (Nuclear Blast) came out last fall to critical acclaim, but most importantly beloved by fans of the band. Truly a group in tune with their fan base, ReVamp makes music for themselves, but clearly knows what makes them popular too.
In order to showcase their music to the world, the band turned to Kickstarter to help make this dream a reality. Crowdfunding can go either way these days, with some campaigns doing great and getting funded seemingly overnight, while others fail spectacularly. We started off by asking Floor about her experience using Kickstarter:
“There were a lot of people who don’t understand why we would need that and think as a musician you’re making tons of money. Or this is only to make sure I can buy 3 bikinis instead of 2, and have a cocktail at the beach. Those people can be negative about it because they don’t know the income of the average musician, but most people were very positive.”
One of the things that ReVamp has been known for is their collaborations with other artists such as Bjorn Strid from Soilwork, Russell Allen of Symphony X fame, Johan van Stratum, Mark Jansen of Epica, Marcela Bovio of Stream of Passion, and Daniël de Jongh of Textures. On working with Devin Townsend twice, the mention of Devy had Floor exclaiming “I love his voice! It was great to hear how it came together.”
Not only have they written with other artists in mind, they allowed true creative involvement by Townsend. “You can only really go for it the person can sing along. With Devin, he really put in a few extra things that made it more Dev-like. But he followed my basic melodies and added his musicality.”
When asked if anyone outside the band has written with them in mind or Floor personally outside of her bands, she explained: “So far that really hasn’t happened before, only in the early days of After Forever. That didn’t go to well because of the timing. And the short notice of Nightwish and Tuomas Halopainen is writing the new stuff, so I don’t have many concerns.”
You may have noticed, it seems ReVamp has a thing for writing these multi-part songs. Floor insists that’s not the case. “We actually don’t write long songs. Most of them are not even five minutes. The structures very basic verse, chorus, verse, chorus, mid part its not that complex not always but what happens within the part is a little complex perhaps. Most of it is written by Jord Otto, the guitar player, Ruben Wigga, the keyboardist and me. Together with producer Joost van den Broek who also played in After Forever. Co-wrote the first ReVamp album. Most of this is done through the internet. Everyone adds their ideas and and later on we sit together and work on physically next to each other.”
With a lot of people not familiar with the band in the states, they’re determined to not lean on her previous bands material to win over crowds on tour:
“It’s only ReVamp stuff. We played some After Forever stuff when we only had one record and headlining shows that were longer than the first album. It was also a good step from the old days into the new with a second album it’s not necessary anymore. In the states we only have 30 minute so were going to do a mix of both and it’s out first tour there.”
As one of the hardest working artists in music, Floor has no shortage of outlets for creativity. One side project is Star One to which she commented on the state of that band: “I’m as involved as anyone else. It’s a project that sometimes happens, and nothing has happened in many years so..” her voice trailing off in uncertainty.
With the amount of touring she does, she stresses the importance of keeping your voice in tact. “Your voice is a part of your body so your body needs to be in generally good shape. Eat well, sports, get healthy foods. I’m quite strict about those things. They only thing my voice doesn’t like is cigarette smoke and speaking loud, so if I don’t do that, everything is fine. I also strongly believe if you stress too much about it, it backfires on you. So I don’t pay attention to my voice that much, I know it’s doing fine as long as I’, doing fine. Keep my body in shape and don’t do crazy things, it never lets me down.” (laughs)
The touring for ReVamp doesn’t stop with just North American as added. “I am singing in Nightwish now an that’s the bigger band so that determines the schedule, so there’s limited for ReVamp to tour. We’re doing this extended North American tour for six weeks covering as much as we can from that huge continent and then we’ll make it over to South America after that.”
“It isn’t sorted out yet but, I’m working on getting some master classes set up. I did my first master class for singers here in the Netherlands in March and I sold it out in one day and one in Finland too. There’s many people over the world interested so we’re truing to get some done in the states as well. As soon as I have some more news it’ll be posted on my website http://floorjansen.comI gave lessons on Skype as part of the Kickstarter incentives. I was teaching via Skype before that and unfortunately I don’t have the time anymore, so this is nice to do.”
When the subject of the Netherlands music scene was brought up, she was very blunt about it.
“Metal isn’t very big here unfortunately, we have a lot of American and English music we glorify and bunch of singer-songwriters that do the same thing. It sounds very negative, but I’m completely done with the Dutch music scene because it’s not very good. And anything that isn’t 13 in a dozen. That’s a Dutch thing, I don’t know if you say that in America. It means everything in the dozen is the same, one more doesn’t really matter; and if you something different like metal, you don’t really stand a chance. Which I find sad because there’s a big market for it and it has to stay underground and its been pushed for back everything is more interesting than playing metal in your own country and it’s sad”
“But you can smoke pot here without getting arrested so yay!”