Interview with Melissa VanFleet

Interviewed by Jade | September 2019

First, thank you so much for interviewing with us. I absolutely love your EP. I’ve been looking for something like it for a long time. What was your inspiration for the EP itself? Did you go into writing it knowing what you wanted?

Thank you! I wrote the songs on Ode To The Dark over the course of two years without a specific collection in mind. I knew that writing was helping to get me through the dark mental place I was in dealing with OCD and anxiety. I thought they were biographical or based on other people’s stories I had heard but in actuality I was so deep in this dark place that I didn’t even realize until recently that the songs were about what I was going through mentally.

Where did you get the idea for the title track ‘Ode to the Dark?’ It’s a beautiful song and the name definitely fits the style and haunting feel.

I had the initial idea for the title of ‘Ode To The Dark’ while on the Wacken Full Metal Cruise II. I was inspired by stories I heard from fans aboard the ship about how metal was more than music to them and instead it was who they were. One of the stories affected me and I could strongly relate so I used inspiration from that for the lyrics. The song took me two years to finish.

What was your favorite song to work on?

I think my favorite song to record was ‘Marionette’ because I had to channel something very dark and evil. We turned off the lights while I was recording vocals and Marco [producer Coti-Zelati of Lacuna Coil] was laughing because he was talking to me through the glass but couldn’t see me since it was pitch black in the studio. That song is the heaviest in topic and tone for me and I had to go somewhere else in my mind to feel content with my performance.

Can we expect new music soon?

I’m constantly writing and recording new material for different projects, collaborations and to pitch to TV/Film.

What about a tour or a live date somewhere?

I miss touring and playing shows but lately I’ve been so inspired in the studio. I look forward to performing the new songs though!

I saw you in New York City with Lacuna Coilfor their 1.19 show. That seemed like such a big deal for you! And you were amazing. How did you feel about being able to perform with Cristina Scabbia?

It was a dream of an experience. I still can’t believe it was real. I have been a Lacuna Coil fan for over 15 years. During soundcheck when I heard Cristina’s voice come through my in-ears it hit me that I was on stage with one of my idols and I can’t even put into words how that felt!

Video © Shuvodeep De

You have an absolutely beautiful voice. Do you take lessons?

I appreciate that! I am self-taught. I play everything by ear. I learned to sing with the help of a karaoke machine from my grandparents. While other seven-year-olds in the neighborhood were outside playing I was sitting behind a couch in my living room recording myself and then taking notes on what I liked and didn’t like about my voice. I took it very seriously!

I was looking at the song trailers on your website and they’re gorgeous. Do you think you’ll do something like that again in the future? (https://www.melissavanfleet.com/film)

Thanks! Definitely. I collaborated with GHOSTWOOD on the trailers and he is brilliant. He helped bring my vision to life. Ideas are endlessly circulating in my mind and I’m now in the beginning stages of storyboarding a full-length music video.

Take this opportunity to talk about something you wish you could talk about in an interview if only someone would ask the right questions. Future expectations, personal feelings about your work, what you would like fans to know about you and your music…absolutely anything you want. We want to give artists a platform to be heard!

I am a very private person but lately I’ve been opening up more about mental health. It isn’t always comfortable to talk about and sharing your story can make you feel vulnerable and exposed but it is so important. There is often a correlation between pain and dark music for both fans and artists. Knowing that others are going through something similar when I am at my lowest point usually makes me feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel and when people hear my lyrics I want them to know that they are not alone in their suffering.

Thank you so much for answering questions for us! I’m looking forward to what’s in store for you in the future. Ode to the Dark is just the beginning of something major – I can already tell!

Thank you! I appreciate your support!

Interview with Nicoletta Rosellini of Kalidia

Interviewed by Bridget Taylor
3/27/2019

Good day! Thanks for speaking with us, we can’t wait to get to know more about you!

Thank you so much for this interview, Bridget!

When looking into the meaning of Kalidia, it’s been said it’s a combination of Kali, a Hindu goddess, and Lidia, an ancient land. How deep is the band collectively into myths and history?

In both albums there are a lot of songs about those themes, like Orpheus and Amethyst are about Greek myths, Myth of Masada and Harbinger of Serenity are a mix of history and mythology, while Lotus is about the Egyptian mythology and symbolism. We’ve always been intrigued by those themes and we often got inspired by reading a myth book or travelling in Greece.

You got signed just last year to Inner Wound records. What differences have there been versus being unsigned?

A lot of difference. First of all, we don’t have to take care of all the distribution that was a little bit stressful to understand in the very beginning. Also, a label has more connections and business channels compared to a band. Inner Wound really helped us a lot with great distribution and promotion and with some advices that were useful to reach a wider audience. However, we do not regret the choice we did for the first album: at that time, it was the best choice for us to go independent. This helped us to get all the income and invest more on the second album.

A fan page (on Facebook) was recently started! How do you feel about the fan page?

We are really honored to see someone so dedicated as Eddie (the owner and moderator of the page), this means at least we have touched him deeply with our music. He’s really doing a huge work!

You’ve recently finished a couple shows and have more in the future in Europe and the UK. What can we do to bring you to the Americas and other places (street team?) For us who haven’t seen you live, what should we expect?

We’ve been asked so many times to play this or that country. Unfortunately, it’s not our choice, we play where we got offers. So, the only thing I can say is… ask your local promoters to book us and we’ll come! We really hope we can play in America because we have a great amount of listeners over there (considering our Spotify results!). We offer an energetic and fun show with lot of hadbanging and jumping moments!

Next year will be the 10th anniversary for Kalidia. Any special plans for this benchmark?

Actually, we’ve noticed this really recently. We haven’t discussed about this yet, but we’ll surely arrange something, maybe a special show? Who knows 😊

In Lies’ Device and The Frozen Throne, we have heard collaborations with others. Who has been your favourite to work with? Who would you guest with on their album, if you had the chance?

I would say David Bassin of Victorius but only because we were in the same studio working out the vocal lines together, while the other guests usually recorded their own parts in different studio. Well, I’d love to be featured in an Iron Maiden album….is that asking too much? 😛

What can we look forward to with the band, plans with music and tours? Will there be any cross action with Walk In Darkness (Nicoletta’s other band)? Does anyone else play in another band?

We still have some show in April and May, after that we will take a couple of months off to work on the new album (we’ve already written some stuff, time to work on it!) and then back to more shows in Fall (to be announced). No problems with Walk in Darkness because this is only a studio project (at least for now, ahah!). Among the other band members, only Dario is involved with another band called Ion of Chios, but they are doing just 1-2 shows per year, so no big stress.

Sum up the band for someone who has never heard of you in three words (and why you chose those words):

Melodic – this is our trademark, strong melodies all over our albums.

Bombastic – mainly the new album has those strong orchestrations that made the sound huge!

Power metal – you can still feel the classic power metal vibes.

On a lighter side, Italy is known for fashion and Nicoletta loves to accessorize. Is there a place you swear by for accessories? What’s your favourite item to wear?

I do love rings! I have 5 which I think are my trademark because I always wear them during every show or video/photoshoot! At the beginning, they were just rings made of steel, then I ordered them custom-made in silver and gold (so that they won’t change colour, ahah!).

If one was to come to Italy, for a festival or just a short vacation, what would be some places you’d recommend?

My region, Tuscany. Known for great food, wine and incredible landscapes. Also, in our hometown (Lucca), we have the biggest comicon in Europe (Lucca Comics and Games) and many famous metal bands usually play there (Lacuna Coil, Mago de Oz, Trick or Treat, Wind Rose and many more)

Where has been your favourite place been to visit, either for music or just enjoyment?

Greek islands, not only for the beautiful sea. It’s a place really full of mythology and history.

Thank you for taking time out to talk to us. We look forward to speaking again, and also to the time of seeing you across the seas! (Wishful thinking at this point, but it’ll happen!)

Thank you, it was a real pleasure! Keep on following your favorite musicians… rock on and hopefully see you on the road!

Kalidia Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/KalidiaOfficial/

Interview with Lyria on ‘Immersion’

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Interview by Jessica Clingempeel & Bridget Taylor
3/6/2019

Crowdfunding and the likes have been a major source for many new bands nowadays. With the success it has given Lyria, do you feel that you will keep this as a way to record future records? Do you feel crowdfunding gives you a more intimate connection to your fans versus the usual ways?

Hello, thanks for the interview. Yes, absolutely! It is amazing to have our fans working together with us to make the releases possible. It sure strengthens our connection and we probably will keep this successful partnership. Just to give an example, one of the rewards of our first crowdfunding campaign was to choose a subject for a song of the second album. So, this is a really participative role.

What, if any, were the challenges with the album Immersion and how did this record differ with the first in terms of recordings?


There were many challenges. Just to cite one, Zig suffered with an anxiety crisis just in the beginning of the records. But, in the end, Immersion was easier to record than Catharsis. We were more connected, with a very good chemistry, and the songs were already very consistent before recording, being practically unchanged during the process.

Aline, is there anything in particular that inspires your compositions? Or are they sometimes just random things that pop into your mind and you want to get them down?

I write about things that I felt in some way, things that really touched me. It could be something that happened to me or someone close. Sometimes I also put some dose of mythology. The lyrics generally talk about facing problems, overcoming bad moments and also give pieces of advice. In relation to music, we have different influences that come from pop to trash metal. Sometimes we build something step by step, sometimes it just emerges. Once I woke up with a full song in my head and in the end it changed just a little.

Regarding the lyrics, Aline, you have mentioned that some of your songs, such as ‘Hard to Believe’ is about anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Is that something you or a loved one struggled through personally?

Yes, it is. Unfortunately, nowadays, many people are dealing with these problems. Maybe because of our way of life: we are always receiving so much information and dealing with so much stress. Sometimes it is important to slow down.

The lyrics to “Let Me Be Me” is a song almost everyone can relate to. Everyone has had to deal with some form of rejection or been given the impression that one must change their attitude or ways of thinking, dressing, etc. What advice would you give to someone who may be reading this interview that is currently struggling with some form of bullying because of who they are?

You are not the problem, they are. Haters generally project their insecurities onto others. Don’t feel ashamed and don’t let anyone say what you should do. Of course, sometimes people just want to help you, so you need to figure out if they are pointing something you could improve, or if they are just criticizing for nothing.  Be yourself  and don’t give up your dreams. Work hard to make your dreams come true.

Is there any one song from Immersion that was the hardest to compose and/or personal?

Every song is personal in some way. I believe the hardest one was “The Rain”. It was one of the first to be written, but the last one to be finalized. We really liked the song, but we were not 100% satisfied until we did the last changes.

You have some gig dates coming up soon, all in Brazil, will any more be added and other countries, maybe even the USA in the near future? Any countries in particular you wish to visit?

Yes, there are still a lot of gigs to be added. I would love to tour other countries and surely, USA is on the list! We plan to do this in the near future and we maybe will do a crowdfunding campaign to make it happen. I would like to visit every country and go where our fans are.

Every musician has their pre-and-post tour rituals when playing shows. What does each member do before and after a gig to prepare and unwind?
I think we will break this paradigm, we don’t have any rituals (laughs). Normally we have the Meet & Greets before playing. When we have more time, Rod likes to make some exercises before going to stage. After concerts, if it is possible, we like to go out and eat together.

If there was one band or musician you could pick to headline for, who would that be and why? What would be your ideal festival lineup?

Many bands that we like and are on the road for a very long time as Nightwish, Epica, Lacuna Coil and Evanescence, for example. It would be awesome to have a festival with all of them plus Lyria, Disturbed, Amaranthe, Delain, Santiano, Metallica, Of Mice & Men and so many others.

Social media has really helped musicians rise and get their name out there, especially international artists. How has it helped Lyria and do you think the band would be as known now if it were not for social media?

The social media was and still is crucial for Lyria. If there wasn’t for it, it wouldn’t be possible to reach our fans. So, we wouldn’t be known and probably wouldn’t recorded our albums.

If you had to choose one song from either album to introduce the band, which song would you choose and why?

At the moment, I would choose “Let me be me”. It is our latest single, it has a recent music video, it is a song that everybody can related to, and it has the potential to reach people that are not used to listen to metal. However, “Jester” is still our most famous song.

What genres do the members listen to that are different from Lyria and what were some of the influences that inspired the direction of Lyria in terms of sound?

We listen to many different genres like pop, electronic, Celtic music, Classical music and a lot of subgenres in rock and metal. I believe that we picked a dose of all of these influences to create our own formula.

How influenced is the band in regard to outside influences such as politics and/or religion when it comes to composing lyrics? What about instrumental composition and sound, for instance, does video game theatrics have a hand in the sound?

Normally we write more about feelings. People may have different interpretations about the lyrics. We love video games and movies, so, they can be also an influence.

Outside of music, what other hobbies do the members have?


I make jewelry and also like to cook (and eat (laughs)) and to pose and take photos. Thiago and Zig like to cook too. Rod loves video games and sports. All of us also like to spend our free time with our families.

Any last words for the readers?
Hope you like the interview! If you didn’t know Lyria yet, you can find us on:

► Spotify: http://bit.ly/lyriaspotify
► iTunes: http://bit.ly/lyriaitunes
► Amazon: http://bit.ly/lyriaamazon
► Deezer: http://bit.ly/lyriadeezer
► Google Play: http://bit.ly/lyriagoogleplay
► YouTube: www.youtube.com/lyriaband
► Official Merchandise: http://bit.ly/lyriamerch
► Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/lyriaband
► Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/lyriaband

Thanks also to our Lyria Army for all the support. We love you.

Review of Teshaleh’s ‘Born of Fire’ EP

Review by Bridget Taylor
2/18/2019

Today, we are reviewing magick combined with mead, as we review Teshaleh’s new (and first) EP, Born of Fire (released February 1st, 2019). Teshaleh consists of Lori Glimmer on Vocals, Vanessa Harris also on Vocals, Brett McCoy on Guitar, John Harford on Bagpipes, pfeifer and shawms (I know you’re desperately Googling now), Colin Parker on Violin, Chris Welborn on Bass, Dan Wise on Drums and Percussion, and Damien McCoy on Keyboards. Many talented musicians, sharing an eclectic stage together.. How will this adventure end?

We start with a dramatic set of strings on Ancient Brotherhood to kick off the EP. A strong eerie voice introduces the song and band, and we get into a gypsy-rock groove. The lyrics start the story as the music evolves throughout the tale. Overall, Ancient Brotherhood perfectly captures what you should expect from Teshalah.

The title track, Born of Fire, seduces you from beginning to end. A
pronounced instrumental that’s guaranteed to have you swaying and rock every second of the song.

In Taberna is the fastest-paced out of the songs, and definitely worth a
listen.. Or a few, to make sure you keep up with the chanting! This memorable diddy promises to stay in your head all day.

Nowhere Near Enough is definitely the jingle to that will catch anyone’s
ears, and leads on where In Taberna left off. It sounds to me a song to gather your friends to drink a pint over. The only downside? It’s the shortest song on the EP.

Finally, we finish up with Totentanz, which shows the complementary of
vocals to the music. A great finale to combine and wrap up the whole EP, the ladies express their strength through singing as the band thunders behind them. It nicely ends the EP on a definitive note.

All in all, Teshaleh delivers exciting journeys and smashing melodies on their first EP. A combination of chants and vocals amplified by the contributions of merriment and contributions of each individual instrument (Have you found out what shawms are yet?) will have you
jamming each song, toe tapping, and swashbuckling your way through your day.

To get the latest, follow them on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/teshalehband/)
or visit their website (www.teshaleh.com) to see where they
next embark on tour!

Within Temptation – Resist Review

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By Jade
2/11/2019

Dutch symphonic metal group Within Temptation are back with their seventh studio album, but word these days is that they no longer refer to themselves as ‘symphonic metal.’ RESIST takes their traditional habit of incorporating various genres into their music and multiplies it by a thousand in the form of a ten-track album. Not a long enough album for you? Surprise yourself. The content of the tracks may be enough to satisfy you the same way a longer album would, especially with songs upwards of nearly six minutes. Whereas listeners are right to expect metal, symphonic metal, and goth metal, RESIST offers up something we may or may not have noticed in their previous work: a focus on electronics and some underlying pop influences roughed up into an interesting presentation into the rock scene.

Opening this newer sound is THE RECKONING featuring Jacoby Shaddix of Papa Roach. An interesting duet that could arguably be the strongest track of the album, depending on who you ask. The war-tone of the track features an almost trumpet-sounding overlay that sounds roughed up to fit in a traditional rock form, and the method just works. The blend of clear vocals from Sharon den Adel mixed with the darker tone from Shaddix is the highlight of this track, but there is much to love from the entirety.

ENDLESS WAR is immediately different, but the listener would have to pay close attention to pick up on one of the used instruments here: there is an underlying piano that can be heard in the outro, but upon a few listens and some straining, exists underneath the rest of the surprisingly smooth mainstream take.

RAISE YOUR BANNER featuring Anders Friden of IN FLAMES goes back to the established war-tone we started with in The Reckoning. If the concept of the album is to push back against the forces holding us down these days, this song captures that perfectly. We have a guitar solo in this one (which we lack on most, if not all other tracks) that very much pumps the energy into the concept. Sharon’s voice really brings home a sense of power and resistance that gives the album a great kick with RAISE YOUR BANNER, especially with her Mother-Earth style outro.

The ever-popular SUPERNOVA, which fans in Europe got a live taste of during their 2018 tour, hits square in the chest as one of the most powerful songs on the album. Even the instrumental is enough to reach up and slap you in the face, demanding you tell it the main genre it is reaching for and feeling rightly accomplished when you can’t. With Supernova, Within Temptation has taken different genres that one might cringe to hear together and blended into something that offers such a pleasant surprise that we’re sure even Within Temptation themselves are pleased. Based on fan reaction, it could even be the band’s most popular song on the album.

HOLY GROUND takes a different turn and brings the listener a sense of what ‘angry Sharon’ would sound like. While the chosen vocal style may not sit well with some, the lyrics and message make up a song that could very well be open to interpretation from the listener. A sense of electronics overlay this track with what sounds like a go-to formula for the chorus. All in all, 50/50 for who will like it and who won’t, but a powerful track nonetheless.

IN VAIN is arguably the most “pop” track on RESIST. It follows a very simple structure both musically and lyrically, full of repetitions of instruments that have the song blending into something generally unmemorable. The lyrics are predictable and simple, but sometimes simple is better. While it isn’t the strongest song on the album, it certainly isn’t the weakest, and could lend to some light listening when the listener isn’t looking for something too intense.

FIRELIGHT, a track too dark for Sharon den Adel’s solo album MY INDIGO, was roughed up and placed on RESIST. As a stand-alone track, it is beautiful and haunting and the lyrics lend to an interesting take on pain and life. Does it fit with RESIST and its concept? Some say it could, but if it were trying to be as bold-faced as the other tracks, the resounding answer would be no. The ‘dark pop’ tones are an interesting choice for the meaning of the song, however, and if a listener who may not like it tied to RESIST can separate it and treat it as a stand-alone or a B-Side to MY INDIGO, it may have a lot of potential to be great.

MAD WORLD can be considered another one of the most “pop” tracks on this album. In the reviewer’s opinion, it’s the weakest on the album, though I highly encourage everyone to give it a chance. Public consensus is that it actually isn’t and that it’s enjoyable. Like IN VAIN, it seems to follow a simple, repetitive formula, but consists of lyrics that aren’t all that memorable. You may or may not be humming it to yourself later. Another 50/50 on whether or not the listener will enjoy.

There are certainly hints to Sharon’s father’s passing on this album, but none highlight it more than MERCY MIRROR. A ballad of sorts, Sharon delivers lyrics of grief and loss, and it definitely hits home. A song everyone who has experienced some kind of loss can relate to, it has the potential to be the strongest in terms of genuine emotion. “It’s a wicked game life plays,” indeed.

Finally, TROPHY HUNTER comes to a pretty close tie with SUPERNOVA as being the strongest track on RESIST. It’s certainly the heaviest next to The Reckoning, especially with the guitars becoming audible once more in the beginning and the drums reminding us, “WE EXIST!” Paired with a memorable bridge and a fun chorus to sing, and Sharon den Adel’s voice soaring above and taking the listener hostage for the whole 5:51 song, it’s a winner that was definitely best saved for last. Ending on a heavy note to remind us who they are? A pretty Within Temptation thing to do.

The biggest argument with this record looks to be the lack of guitars and the muted drums. Metal fans may be disappointed, as this album explores many different genres and blends them together into one sound, and the songs themselves have the tendency of all sounding the same at times. Overall, however, if treated like the experiment Within Temptation meant it to be, it is a truly fun album to listen to in order to get your energy flowing. Its Top 20 chart rankings all over the world say that much!

 Rating: 3/5

Interview With Empress

Interviewed by Bridget Taylor
2/6/2019

Today, we are interviewing Empress, a band consisting of members Barbara Blackthorne (lead vocals), Vlad Khavin (guitar), Mark Stainthorpe (drums), Joseph Muir (guitar), and Nicholas Bonsanto (bass). They just released their first single “Black Arcana” January 23, 2019 and are quickly catching the ears and eyes of people everywhere! We sat down for a quick introduction interview for this symphonic/power metal band.

Hello, and thanks for taking time out for this interview, it’s appreciated! Without another second, let’s get right into it. You seem to be a relatively new band with a quick hit following. First week alone, your single “Black Arcana” hit over 1,000 likes! How in the world did you manage that accomplishment?

Nick: “First, we’d like to take this time to thank you for interviewing us, every single person who has shown interest at all means a lot to us, we
honestly didn’t expect this much buzz right away! It’s pretty amazing, ya know?

We’ve worked on the music privately for many months and we really believe in this stuff so when we finally decided to announce the band to the world we told all of our friends, families and coworkers then of course shared everything we had extensively across social media and its been a lot of fun, sort of stressful, like sending your child to their first day of school but ultimately it’s been rewarding and beyond expectation.”

Barbara: “I feel like to one degree or another, each one of us has a little
following from past things we’ve worked on, so I feel that it definitely helped. Then the video got shared a ton by people and that helped spread it
around. We’ve been pretty thrilled to watch the numbers climb higher &
higher and see people respond so positively.”

Mark: “We’ve all been active musicians and fans of the local music around the Philly area so our initial audience was healthy from the start. Being able to share a quality recording and lyric video from the get-go has also helped us gain credibility in our work.”

It’s always great to see members telling a little about themselves, ie the bios shared on social media. How did y’all come together?

Vlad: “Well, the short answer is it was Mark’s fault.  He and I ran into each other at a show.  He saw me play in Infernal Opera, and I saw him a few weeks later with Percussor. Chat messages went back and forth and it turned out we listened to a bunch of the same stuff.  At one point he put out a call on Facebook for people to jam with, and both Joe and I said we were interested. I didn’t know Joe at the time, but we got together in Mark’s basement one night, and so it began.  I had some material I was working on at the time so we started working on that together.  Black Arcana was actually the first original tune we jammed.

We went through a few auditions for vocalists. It was a diverse group of people with varied styles. To be perfectly honest, we were getting a little discouraged because even though the folks we tried out were good, they were not the voice we were looking for.  We did meet some really cool people though!  And then, in came Barbara.  I think we knew she was it the moment she started singing.  All we needed was a bass player…  Nick was tried out on bass the next week, and so a year after that first jam, Empress was born.”

Mark: “I initially posted on social media that I was seeking members to start a new band.  The replies were generous…having already seen Vlad and Joe rock at local venues with Infernal Opera and Seeds of Perdition, no audition was required! We began writing together and auditioned a few vocalists along the way before Barbara. We were blown away with her audition performance and offered her the gig on the same night.  Nick had come along with Barbara to check out the band she was auditioning for.  He liked it so much he wanted to come back and audition for bass the following week. Barbara, now a member got to decide unanimously with the group to invite Nick into the band.”

For the guys (I don’t see band history for Barbara), how is this band different from previous ones you’ve played in? Lots of years of experience here!

Nick: “This band is different for me mostly due to the symphonic elements like our click track and the strings and orchestration happening but beyond that, playing with such an incredible vocalist is really what makes this band shine for me. I came from a thrash and progressive background so I feel comfortable with this yet excited by a whole side of metal I have hardly explored.”

Vlad: “It’s, to me, an evolution.  I’ve never done anything with symphonic elements before but I had wanted to for years now.  It’s not always easy to find a group of likeminded people though!  We definitely have elements of the progressive metal that I had played in the past and the thrashier stuff I’ve done more recently.  With Empress, the style is grander and far more expansive than anything I’ve ever done before, and also technically and technologically challenging.”

Joe: “I am very new to playing metal when compared to everyone else in the band. My first metal band was Seeds of Perdition, a death metal group. Seeds was a very different breed of death metal, focusing more on catchy riffs and songwriting. It was a very good introduction to the genre. Empress is a similar idea, heavy, technical riffs that come together to make something epic and catchy. Empress differs a lot for me because it’s a sound I am not too familiar with, and one that I am always learning more about.”

Mark: “My previous experiences included rock bands, black and death metal bands. This band has allowed me to expand past the typical extreme metal styles and try out some more progressive chops.”

Speaking of the bios, it seems as though “Video games” is a common hobby. Do you think that was a major influence in your music? (Anyone who says games don’t have good soundtracks is indubitably wrong.)

Vlad: “Oh yes!  Beyond any doubt. Video games are a huge inspiration to me. Their soundtracks are often full of gems, but also just the lore is a
great source of inspiration.”

Joe: “When not listening to Leonard Cohen, Frank Zappa, or Captain Beefheart, I am blasting video game soundtracks. Anyone who says games don’t have good soundtracks is wrong and should feel bad (just listen to DOOM 2016’s soundtrack and tell me it doesn’t make you want to rip and tear). We want Empress to be the soundtrack to life! It definitely makes an impact. I’m always sending the guys songs from games.”

Mark: “I love PC games and MMORPG’s and they usually have awesome music that inspires me.”

Barbara: “Video games and general geekery are almost always a huge influence on anything I do. When you play a game, you’re listening to the music from that soundtrack for countless hours and if you love it, it’s impossible that it doesn’t stay with you in some way, I think. There’s one song in particular we have that’s video game inspired, actually, but that’s all I’ll say on that for now ;).”

Nick: “I have always loved video games and their music. Zelda has always been especially dear to my heart, even when I was a kid I dreamt of either making games or music, one of those did not pan out but I can still combine my favorite passions today. Soundtracks to games and movies will always be an inspiration to what I’ve done musically.”

“Black Arcana”, as mentioned above, has become quite popular. What else should we look forward to in terms of future music?

Barbara: “Variety.  One of the things that I’m most proud of with this band is the spin we’re doing on the genre. Every song has its own unique character while remaining undeniably Empress. We all come from different backgrounds and bring our own set of skills & influences to the table, and it comes together to create something that I feel is very special. I am incredibly excited to unveil more of what we have to offer.”

Nick: “We hope people are enjoying Black Arcana! It was our first song we
performed together and we felt it was fitting as the first song to release as it captures the essence of the band with a strong chorus to sing along to but I am personally very excited to show everyone what else we have been working on. The only way to hear the rest is to see us live which everyone will have a chance soon!

We are planning our second single release sooner than you think and it’s a lot of fun to play, faster paced for sure. Each song we currently have has a unique identity and I think expresses a different side of Empress. There is a faster power metal edge to us, then there is definitely a progressive side that we love exploring and then there’s the symphonic elements throughout as well as something equally important to us, which is writing great hooks and melodic songs that feel like anthems you can sing along with. We don’t want to compromise anywhere, we very much want to live up to our name, Empress and rule the stage.”

Any plans for touring just yet? I see you are coming near my area, Delaware, with the mighty A Sound of Thunder (DC hometown heroes) and MasterSword. Can we expect more stops with the people, because my little nerd heart is so happy – I am NOT missing this show! 🙂

Nick: “It will be great to meet you in person if you come out to the show in Delaware, we are so very excited to play with A Sound of Thunder and Master Sword, two bands we love and truly it will be an epic night for front women of metal! We have no current plans to tour but we are looking to book a couple shows before that one on June 29th. Some local dates around Philly and NJ area.”

Mark: “Glad to hear you’ll be attending!  We will be booking ourselves for the foreseeable future. There are a couple dates and venues that have been offered in our first week so that’s awesome!  Our plan is to get around our Northeast area this year.”

Barbara: “I’m looking forward to meeting you then! That show is going to be all sorts of awesome and I can’t wait to share the stage with A Sound of Thunder & Master Sword. As of right now, there’s no plans for a tour in 2019 as we’re focusing on releasing more content and playing shows in the
greater Philly area.”

Finally, anything else you’d want to tell us? Social media-wise, a joke, ending words?

Nick: “I would like to say thanks again for having us, we look forward to seeing everyone at upcoming shows and until then rocking out to our songs online, there will be more info and things happening on our page so just keep an eye out for all the announcements, we have only just begun!”

Barbara: “Thank you very much for the interview! And thank you to everyone who has been liking, sharing, and spreading the word about us. Our legion is growing and we hope that you’re just as excited as we are to take this journey with us.”

Joe: “All Hail Empress!”

You can find Empress on all social medias and their website (if you act now, you can also get a free download link to Black Arcana). Individual bios are also found on their social medias and websites, respectively.

Official: http://empresslegion.com
Bandcamp: https://empresslegion.bandcamp.com/releases
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC935_iEZwpt4G9Ali6j0VmQ
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Empresslegion/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/empresslegion/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/empresslegion