Vocal teacher and YouTuber Beth Roars is back again with another critique video! Reacting to Ayreon – ‘Valley Of The Queens’ (Live), she breaks down the vocal talents of the three lead singers, Floor Jansen (Nightwish, ReVamp), Anneke Van Giersbergen (Devin Townsend, The Gentle Storm, ex-The Gathering), and Marcella Bovio (MaYAn). The song and performances are incredible! Check it out! Continue reading
Swedish melodic death metallers Soilwork will be releasing their tenth studio album The Ride Majestic on August 28, 2015 via Nuclear Blast Records. The album was recorded by David Castillo at Studio Gröndal, and was produced and mixed by Jens Bogren at Fascination Street. The cover art was illustrated by Róbert Borbás (Grinddesign).
Watch a a live video of their hit song “Let This River Flow” featuring Nightwish/Revamp singer Floor Jansen, which comes off Soilwork’s most recent DVD/Blu Ray output, Live In The Heart Of Helsinki below.
“I was really excited to work with Floor Jansen, especially since we haven’t had any female guest artists featured on anything Soilwork-related before. I first got to know Floor via email some years ago, when she asked me to do some guest vocals for her other amazing band Revamp. I was absolutely thrilled, since I really respect her as a singer – she can do it all: amazing clean vocals, powerful high and low screams and can shape her voice into just about anything. I thought I’d “return the favor” and ask her to do ‘Let This River Flow’ with me for our live DVD in Helsinki and boy did it turn out amazing! It was really cool to meet her in person as well, her presence is majestic and she has a great sense of humor. I think our voices match perfectly in this almost anthemic song, which showcases a lot of different types of vocals.”
The band has previously announced upcoming tour dates which can be found here.
Nightwish, the rulers of symphonic metal have returned and are ready to take over the world with their new album Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast). This much anticipated album is the first studio album with not only Metal queen Floor Jansen on vocals, but also Wintersun drummer Kai Hahto, who took over when long-time drummer Jukka Nevalainen had to drop out due to health issues.
Composed primarily by Tuomas Holopainen, the sound on this new album hearkens back to the old Nightwish but one major difference is the vocal performance given by Floor. While she is fully capable of the high operatic capers we know from former Nightwish vocalist Tarja Turunen, there is little of that on this album. Instead, we get to enjoy her full range of power and emotions, from very small and sweet vocals on ‘Élan’ and ‘Our Decades in the Sun’, to the intense and distorted power in ‘Yours is an Empty Hope’. In fact, this album shows an even greater range than her own projects (After Forever, ReVamp) have done.
The album also contrasts with previous Nightwish works in subject matter; while Imaginaerum (Nuclear Blast) dealt with the world of the imagination, this album describes the beauty of the natural world. In fact, the album title is a quote from Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species.
‘Élan’ is the first single and video for the album, even though it is one of the softest songs on the album; Troy Donockley’s whistles give the son a Celtic vibe, and Floor’s vocals are sweet at first, however, this sweetness does not last the whole song, since towards the end a very pleasing modulation brings more powerful vocals. It might not be the song most representative of the album, but it is beautiful and driven. On the album ‘Élan’ is followed by ‘Yours is an Empty Hope’, a song that brings all the bombast one can hope to find in a Nightwish song. The heavy guitar riffs are supplemented with an excellent orchestra and choir, and it is the heaviest song on the album. Floor totally rips on these vocals, and it a very intense song to experience. Tuomas’ genius as a composer is demonstrated by the contrast between this and the next song, ‘Our Decades in the Sun’. Despite the gentility of this song, with ethereal choir song and such sweet vocals by Floor, the song still doesn’t fall flat, has an astounding energy for a song so serene, and is definitely one of my favourites from this album.
‘Weak Fantasy’ is epic, the title track is very catchy, and ‘Edemah Ruh’ is very smooth. However, there is one song that stands apart from anything Nightwish has ever produced, namely ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. This is the last song on the album, and lasts a staggering 23 minutes 58. There is no real good way to describe this song, other than as varied as nature itself; it has operatics, power vocals, narration, and instrumental sections and varies from intense piano to orchestral masterpieces, to heavy metal.
Trying to pick out highlights form this album is like trying to pick needles out of a stack of predominantly needles. There may be an occasional pin, depending on your personal tastes, but there is not a strand of hay in sight.
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.com I 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!”
Like a bat out of hell……Ghost Cult #18 is here! The new issue features none other than Down on our cover.We interviewed Jimmy Bower about the changes in the band and their amazing new EP, Down IV, Part II. Issue #18 also includes interviews with Lacuna Coil, Beastmilk, Sevendust, Sabbath Assembly, Kyng, Amenra, ReVamp, Lord Dying, Anciients, and Dragged In To Sunlight. We also have complete coverage of the legendary Roadburn Festival, and a recap the 16th annual New England Metal And Hardcore Festival. Plus concert reviews from the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Carcass, Red Fang, Scale The Summit, The Ocean, & The Atlas Moth. We also have special feature with the late Dave Brockie, as well our largest section of album reviews to date. Made especially for your tablet device or smartphone! Check it out and tell a friend! Twice!
Instead of a lazy Sunday filled with a coma like-haze, Day 3 of the festival this year ended on Saturday, giving us a much needed shot in the arm. It was however, next to impossible to get up and back out to Worcester by 12:30 PM for the first band after much partying was had on Friday following Behemoth’s killer performance. Still, I got to the venue in time to catch some of the early hardcore and deathcore bands like Harms Way, Obey The Brave, and Sylar. Loyal to the Grave was the real standout of the early day on the main stage, but oddly enough, the crowd wasn’t feeling them. I was totally bummed out because Japan’s best export with their high energy hardcore show. They were so compelling however, that some of their friends and tour-mates on the second stage upstairs moved their sets around so LTTG could play a second set upstairs to a more eager audience. Too bad I only had to hear about it and I missed it. Great band.
After that I hung around the main stage for a while and checked out the sweaty doom rock of Kadavar. Totally out of place here at the metal fest as the only Sabbath worshiping band on the bill. The funny part is, they totally killed and there was a decent size crowd digging them. They talked little and jammed much. It was grand and they didn’t flinch in what could have been a weird spot for them. Next up on the main stage was Battlecross. Battlecross has played this area a bunch, but never the big stage downstairs at the palladium. The totally owned the day with their blistering performance. Look, they know they are not reinventing the wheel musically, but they play a balls out, thrash and groove style that pumps up the crowd. With new addition Shannon Lucas behind the kit, these guys are just a powerhouse and validate the “next Pantera” or “next Lamb of God” comparisons.
Next I had a real choice to make. Hang by the main stage and catch ReVamp and Sabaton or miss my chance to see Nails. It was a real pickle, but ultimately I felt I had no choice but to stake out my spot to see Nails. Fortunately for me the second stage was running behind schedule, from the a fore mentioned set shuffling. I watched All Out War and the violent pit dancers and was transported back to my home of NYC in the They put on a good show and warmed up the crowd for what Nails was about to bring.
I know Todd Jones was in Terror, has a lot of fans from that association and a lot of hardcore fans like Nails. Musically, to me, there is not a lot in common with Terror and Nails, besides being heavy. “Entombed-core” gets tossed around to describe what is basically black-metal influenced crust-punk. Well the room was packed and Nails destroyed the place with their fierce, short bursts of angry musical missives. Todd is kind of a twisted genius and he feeds off the energy of the crowd. I don’t really get the extreme acts of violence caused by people in the pit punching people randomly in the face and stage diving a bunch of times feet first into the faces of fans. It was terrifying. A few people got tossed out for working their way back into the crowd in hurting unsuspecting onlookers far back from the stage. I think ultimately these incidents bum me out and take a away from the music. Still, Nails destroyed the place and they were among the best acts of the weekend.
Back downstairs for the rest of the night… it was time for Unearth. Like The Acacia Strain and All That Remains, Unearth benefits greatly from being local heroes in this venue. A true Boston band that cut its teeth in that scene, their show was like a headline event. They played well and included a new song that was very cool sounding. As usual they were very active all over the stage, jumping around and having a blast. Matt DeVries (Fear Factory, ex-Chimaira, ex-Six Feet Under) filled in on bass. With the upcoming 10 year anniversary tour for The Oncoming Storm and a new album on the horizon due out from eOne this fall, things are looking bright for the band.
Sam Black Church was another highly anticipated name on this bill. With a resurgent interest in the band due to the upcoming documentary being made by Duncan Wilder Johnson and several high profile shows of late, SBC fans locally and elsewhere have been rejuvenated. They showed what real hardcore is all about: fun, unity, strength, and respect; the band was terrific. It was inspiring to see most of the people downstairs either singing along to every word with singer Jet Crandall. He was as great to see today, as he was many years ago when I first witnessed the band. No one had more fun than that guy all weekend. When you hear songs like ‘Captain of The World’ and ‘We Got The Youth’, you can’t help but smile. It was huge for them to be a part of metal fest this year. Huge.
Coming up to the last few bands of the night, it was time for Nile. Nile has owned the upstairs and the downstairs of this venue in the past and the death metal fans still in attendance were in for a treat. Nile is preparing a new album, but before they get off the road to finish it, they are still supporting At The Gate of Sethu (Nuclear Blast) which was excellent. Nile gives you their best every show and if you love technical death metal, it gets no better. It was cool to see drummers from other bands watching the legend that is George Kolias do his insane stick and pedal work during their set. They played a thorough headline set with tracks from every album, so there could be no complaints. Of course Nile begins and ends with Karl Sanders and Dallas Toller-Wade and their guitars and vocals. It was great to hear a lot of voices in the crowd pipe up for the Nile hits such as ‘Lashed To the Slave Stick’ and ‘Black Seeds of Vengeance’, since I worried their fans skipped out or left early. They didn’t.
Last and never least it was time to see Iced Earth with my pals Marrek and Andy, who caught the last IE show in this building with me. They literally came just for the final band of the weekend. That is the kind of dedication this band inspires. Iced Earth has been riding high and touring the world since Plagues of Babylon (Century Media) was released earlier this year. The band definitely seem like they were in high spirits, seeming a bit tipsy, especially singer Stu Block. It was after all, drummer Jon Dette’s (Slayer, Anthrax) birthday so perhaps they were celebrating. Drunk or not, they put on a fun and phenomenal show. A few years back when Stu joined the band he was capable and yeoman-like, if not a bit tentative live. Now he holds nothing back and puts on a dramatic, explosive show with his amazing vocal range. Of course as goes Jon Schaffer, so goes his band, so it was of note that Jon was all smiles tonight. The line up sounded tight and the set list was cherry. After the opening title track of their latest album, the burned through ‘Democide’ and the ever epic classic ‘Burning Times’. The best song of the night was the surprising ‘Cthulu’ and the final eponymous track. A great set and a fine way to close out the weekend of metal and hardcore hijinks. Thanks go to Meg Loyal Photography for kicking ass, Scott Lee and Massconcerts for throwing down, and Earsplit PR for all the love and support. And to metal fest… we will see you next year for #17!
Iced Earth Set List:
Plagues of Babylon
If I Could See You
Red Baron/Blue Max
My Own Savior
WORDS: KEITH CHACHKES
It may have taken time and gone through obstacles to come to realisation, but Wild Card (Nuclear Blast) the second album from Dutch symphonic metallers ReVamp seems to have turned the wait into an aggression and snarl which elevates the beauty and passion of the release to another level. The album is a towering piece of skilled imagination and breath-taking symphonic grandeur, one which explores familiarity as well as originality in creating a new potent wind of invention and glory.Continue reading
Floor Jansen already has a distinguished career as a singer for After Forever and ReVamp, but things went to another level after a text message from a certain Mr. Holopainen called for her services as replacement for Annette Olzon, who left Nightwish mid-tour. This may all seem like a fairytale, but not too long ago Floor suffered from a burn out. This had profound consequences for Wild Card, the latest ReVamp album. Her adventures with Nightwish proved to be another major, albeit more satisfying, distraction from finishing the record. It’s all about finding the right balance as Floor candidly points out to Ghost Cult.Continue reading