Between The Buried & Me – Automata II

Forever moving to the beat of their own drum, progressive metallers Between The Buried & Me have very rarely done anything in a conventional manner. Always renowned for their madcap blend of contrasting styles and structures, a previous announcement this year saw them choose to release their latest effort, Automata (Sumerian) as a double, split album individually released throughout the year. With Automata I seeing the light of day back in March, it was expected to have set the tone for its companion piece, Automata II; but once again, BTBAM do things their own way. Continue reading

Into The Fire – Aimy Miller of She Must Burn

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She Must Burn released their impressive self-titled debut EP (Ghost Music) in August, and since then they have certainly taken the UK metalcore scene by storm. Currently on tour with extreme metal band Cradle Of Filth, the London-based quintet are rocking their way into the hearts of music fans all across the metal spectrum.

Releasing your debut EP can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience and it is hard to predict how well it will go down with both fans and critics. Vocalist and keyboardist Aimy Miller has been overwhelmed by the amount of positive responses people have had to their latest release: “The response we’ve received for the EP so far has been mind-blowing. (It) was amazing to see it resonate with people the way it did.”

Creating music which people can truly engage with is always a hard task. When considering why the band have made that connection so early in their career, Aimy believes that their music is accessible as the listeners are able to relate to the lyrical content: “The EP is based on personal experiences of members as individuals: experiences and feelings which almost everyone will be able to relate to at certain points in their life.”

In a world where anyone can simply download a recording program and create an EP it is getting harder than ever to make an impact on the music scene. , yet the video for their latest video ‘Possessed’ has had over 26,000 views, something which She Must Burn were not expecting at all: “The video for Possessed racked up thousands of views in just a few days and we’ve received some stunning reviews along with wonderful comments from fans. (It) was quite unexpected to create such an impact right off the bat.”

Thousands of bands are trying to break into the industry and shatter the mould. Aimy believes that She Must Burn’s sinister yet elegant style makes them stand out amongst the crowd: “We all share a passion for a lot of the powerful, emotional and blackened sounds, but as individuals our tastes and musical backgrounds are so varied that it really adds a unique blend to the process. I suppose we have an outlook not typical in the genre.”

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She Must Burn’s hectic year is nowhere near over yet. Instead of relaxing and enjoying the success of their EP, they are joining two tours: “We have the honour of joining Cradle of Filth on the UK leg of their tour and the following month we have a two week run with Heart of a Coward! We’re excited to be on the road alongside such incredible bands and already looking into plans for next year.”

Touring with some of your idols is something that many bands can only dream of, but She Must Burn have actually managed to make it happen: “Cradle of Filth is another band that have always been a great inspiration to us and so were pretty astounded when we were added to their upcoming tour! They’ve achieved so much and have such an unforgettable theatrical look and sound. It’s what metal is all about.”

It is hard to call She Must Burn anything but hard-working. With such an explosive start to their career many bands would be scared of crashing and burning too quickly, but Aimy believes that their no-nonsense attitude is helping them to stay focussed on their music: “Inspiration for performing really just comes from the passion within. We love what we do and we don’t hold back.”

 

 

WORDS BY JULIA CONOPO

 

Kamelot – Haven

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Haven (Napalm), American Power Metal band Kamelot’s eleventh studio album and second since the departure of Roy Khan, is an album that sounds like a musical at heart, like it was fastidiously crafted to be performed on Broadway. Its stylings and symphonic groundings and Tommy Karevik’s leading man performance all point to it, and so effective is their dramatic voice, perhaps taking their work to the theatrical stage is the next step they need to take to fully realize a legacy that has been consolidated by consistency.

Historically, the Floridians have always been walked on safe, and not the wild, side. A touch of fantasy, a host of symphonics, with soaring, immaculate vocals on top, they have always delivered and always sounded utmost in their professionalism and musicianship, but never truly excited; a band that, while most definitely best in class (though perhaps by default), are at times too slick and lack the insanity/genius of a great.

The heady mix of Savatage, Dream Theater and Queensrÿche coupled with effective symphonics and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical theatrics is near-perfected in opening duo ‘Fallen Star’ and ‘Insomnia’, up there with the best tracks of the bands’ career, but it is with ‘Under Grey Skies’ and the addition of Charlotte Wessels’ (Delain) dreamy vocals and Troy Donockley (Nightwish)’s tin whistle that matters bloom and the full epic musical scale of the vision for the album begins to be realized. It sails close to the Eurovision ballad wind, but it’s a beautiful song fully suited to a soundtrack or a musical. Elsewhere, downtuned staccato rhythms underpin grandiose unveilings and Karevik dispels any notions that the band can’t succeed without Khan with an assured performance; actor, narrator, singer, frontman and further proof that the line between Kamelot’s albums and musical theatre is a thin one.

All the previous criticisms can apply: this is a slick, professional band, but on Haven Kamelot have once again verified they are best in class, and have found an emotional connection. No longer cold to the touch, they are bringing to life their vision most effectively and with genuine zest. While retaining all the expected hallmarks, it is most definitely meticulously put together (if the devil is in the detail, then Haven is positively Satanic) but there is something more to it; something exuberant bubbling through. You would expect a band entering their third decade to have the requisite chops, but you wouldn’t necessarily expect them to be injecting such vitality and vigour into the mix.

 

7.5/10

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STEVE TOVEY