Review of ‘A Funeral of Innocence’ by Ligeia Wept


Review by Ryan Murray | October 21, 2020

Ligeia Wept is a band that is hard to place into any one specific genre. Hailing from Melbourne Australia, this band stretches across genres that include goth, symphonic death/doom metal and melodic metal.

Their press release states that they were formed by Alister in 2006. Over the years, they have seen their share of numerous lineup changes, having gone on complete hiatus from 2009 to 2012. In 2019, everything fell together.

Their debut opus “A Funeral of Innocence” just released this year, and it was worth the wait! The music throughout this work ranges from dirge like works with cavernous growls, to melodic, doom and gloom with angelic soprano vocals. Everything from the guitars, bass, percussion, vocals and orchestrations is perfectly placed, drawing the listener in deeper and deeper.

Both lyrically and melodically, this album draws so many emotions from loss and sadness to a “cannibalistic apocalypse”.  

Her Name In Countless Years Lies Buried

This opening track is simply breathtaking! The string arrangements are just perfect. And the angelic vocal harmonies absolutely gave me chills. Belonging in a score for the newest Netflix release “The Haunting of Bly Manor”, this piece of orchestration needs to be heard all around the world. Simply beautiful.

She Arose Unto a Dying Kiss

At 12:16 long, this dirge like track opens up with a low droning atmosphere with eerie keys. As the intro progresses, percussion is slowly added with tasteful and very tight fills, slowly becoming more and more involved. The strings become really entrancing and add so much to the atmosphere. 

As the song builds, we hear angelic soprano vocals which sit beautifully above the atmosphere being created.  

Deep growls encompass this track throughout as well. 

A Hallowed Suffering Rode Upon the Ninth

Surrounded by beautiful yet haunting strings, this track opens up with some narration. At :42 seconds in, keys and drums come in along with some guttural growls followed by beautifully angelic, yet haunting soprano vocals.

The balance between the growls and soprano vocals is just right. Neither of which are overbearing. Guitars and strings are balanced so well throughout this track, and they really compliment each other.

While this track is obviously slower, it gives me a “The Forest Whispers My Name” vibe from Cradle of Filth’s 95’ release “V Empire”.

Empty into Void Spiritus Mundi

This has got to be my favorite track! As we drift more into the voids of the Earth, we find ourselves surrounded in darkness. This track opens with enchanted and very haunting vocals, and an overall eerie atmosphere that’s created by pads, strings and a droning synth. 

As this track progresses, even though there isn’t any hard drums or distorted guitar riffs, you feel as though you’re going deeper and deeper into darkness.

“Long gone from your home
Whispers slowly beckon us
And I won’t cry your name”

For me, this song is about the darkness that is created by our self isolation. In the current times we’re in, it’s easier than ever to isolate and drown in our own darkness. We become our own worst enemy when we dwell in isolation and the regret of our inaction of breaking free from this darkness.

A Savage Winter Wrought of an Unclean Garden

Another dirge like track starting off right away with distorted guitars. This track is filled with guttural growls and beautiful soprano vocals reminiscent of Tarja Turunen’s early solo career. 

I absolutely love the harmonizing, yet distorted guitars throughout.

At 7:22, everyone pulls back and we’re left with just keys for a bit, but the distorted guitars and drums kick back in shortly after, followed by some more deep growls.

Towards the end of the track, there is narration in French. 

Blood and Shadows did Bequeath Thee Pleasures Vast

The closing track is the longest one on this awesome release! The first 2:05 is just the intro, and the arrangement is absolutely beautiful, yet rather eerie.

The serenity of this amazing intro is abruptly shattered at 2:05 with a black metal sound, including pulse pounding drums, fast tremolo picking on guitar and some serious growls. 

This track will leave you with an array of emotions. It’s got amazing soprano vocals that sit above the madness below, and the vocals for perfectly with each other!

The outro to this track is simply beautiful. Between the strings and keys, and eventually a drum pattern, this outro leaves you wanting more. And I love how the song ends unresolved! 

I could also see this intro and the outro as a part of the score for Netflix’s “Haunting of Bly Manor”!  I absolutely love it.

Verdict

Overall, I’d have to give this album a 4.5 out of 5! I absolutely loved it! The arrangements overall are amazing. I absolutely love how the strings add so much to the atmosphere. I love the soprano vocals, both from Marianne and Emily (session vocals). The strings and the vocals of Marianne and Emily complimented each other incredibly well. 

If you haven’t heard this incredible work yet, I highly recommend you give “A Funeral of Innocence” a listen! You can check them out on Bandcamp and can purchase their album on Digipak CD through Bandcamp at https://ligeiawept.bandcamp.com/releases 

Review of Finntroll’s ‘Vredesvävd’


Review by Ryan Murray | September 15, 2020

Folk metal band Finntroll, from Helsinki Finland, is releasing “Vredesvävd”, their first studio album in seven years via Century Media Records on Friday, September 18th!

With a career spanning over two decades, Finntroll has managed to sell over 50,000 albums in the US alone and has gained over 7 million streams of their entire catalog! 

Finntroll blends folk metal with black metal, but with their own twist it creates a unique sound! This album has something for everyone! It’s got the very recognizable sound that Finntroll is known for, and to me, definitely has a matured sound as well! Both old and potential new fans alike will find much to like within this album.

Everything on this album has been well thought out and executed. The balance of instruments and vocals is spot on. The intricacies between the melodies and vocals makes for no easy feat. Everything from the heart pounding drums, blast beats, melodic and heavy guitars, and tongue twisting lyrics, to the pulled back strings and choir-like backing vocals, this album takes twists and turns all throughout and leaves you wanting more after every track. For me, the keyboards and symphonic parts really build the emotions throughout the whole album. 

This album is a defining moment not only for Finntroll, but for folk metal as a whole. Finntroll has substantially raised the bar with this latest work and have very possibly started a new era of folk metal! 

Väktaren

This epic, symphonic and choir driven intro gives a small glimpse of what’s to come. This opening track easily sets the tone and amps you up for what’s to come.

Att Döda Med En Sten

Starting with a more folky sound with strings, this track quickly breaks out into a brutal assault of the senses! With blast beats, lots of double bass, heavy but melodic guitars and strings throughout, this track shows how versatile the whole band is. The drums are tight, and the melodies will hook you in for more. The main melody is driven with backing strings and this adds even more to the track.

Ormfolk  

The first single from this album! While there are definitely some strings throughout, this song is mostly driven by heart pounding drums and melodic, yet distorted heavy guitars! There are moments within this track that kind of emit some hardcore/punk vibes. I love how even at the faster tempos, the band stays locked in with each other! There is a blend of black metal vocals and some more hardcore like vocals on this track.

Grenars Väg

This song is probably one of my favorites from the album. It’s an awesome blend of metal and folk, and honestly just straight up fun. The beats and melodies are catchy. This song feels like The Dropkick Murphys married into black metal and this was the result of that union. This track would be amazing live as well! 

Forsen

The second single off the album starts off in your face with guitars and drums, and is definitely another favorite off of the album! The riffs are definitely another favorite of mine, with random breaks into short lasting folky sections throughout. The double bass in this song is tight! More vocal acrobats throughout this track with tongue-twisting lyrics. During the heavier parts of this track this song gives me vibes of Cradle of Filth from the “Midian” era.

Vid Häxans Härd

While we start off this track with an acoustic feel, that atmosphere is quickly changed by aggressive drums and guitars. This song is pretty aggressive all the way though, and I love the strings backing up the aggressiveness and making it even more full.

Myren

This track has got a thrash feel to it, along with definite folk influences. The vocals are fast, aggressive and in rapid-fire succession. Even if I spoke any Swedish, not sure I could keep up with it!

Stjärnors Mjöd

This track is another favorite for me and reminds me of Dimmu Borgir’s “Progenies of the Great Apocalypse”. From the guitar riffs, strings and choir-like atmosphere, to the pulse pounding tight drum fills, this song will likely be a fan favorite during live shows! 

Mask

Another in your face aggressive track, but this one starts off with a lighter and happier atmosphere for the first eight seconds before I envision a wall of death colliding! I love the skank beats throughout this one, and really love the guitars at 1:24! 

Ylaren

This song is completely different than I was expecting for an album closer! It’s just a bit lighter than I expected musically, but is still heavy with emotion. This track definitely feels a bit more experimental. I absolutely love the time changes this track is laced with. We start out by switching between what sounds like 9/8 and 6/8 then into a straight 4/4 time signature later on. Absolutely loved this as a final track!

Verdict

Overall, I’d have to give this album a 4.5 out of 5.0! In all honesty, I’ve never really been a huge fan of folk metal, but this album has changed my mind! In preparation for writing this review, I listened to not only some older works from Finntroll, but some other bands in the folk metal genre. This new work from Finntroll not only breaks down barriers for those who may not like folk metal, but it feels like a fresh new step forward for the genre as a whole. “Vredesvävd” has substantially raised the bar and has changed the face of folk metal for years to come! 

“Vredesvävd” releases this Friday, September 18th on all platforms, so be sure to check it out!

Review of Oceans of Slumber’s self-titled album


Review by Ryan Murray | September 1, 2020 | Official Facebook

Progressive metal band Oceans of Slumber, from Houston, Texas are releasing their self titled album “Oceans of Slumber” this Friday, September 4th 2020! 

This band has a unique sound that I absolutely love! While there is definitely a progressive metal feel to it, there are some elements of death metal, straight up hard rock and a melodic ballad feel at times as well. This is not your average, run of the mill progressive metal album, so get ready for some surprises!

Their press release states that “Oceans of Slumber” is a work that takes us on a journey to the inner struggles we all face, as well as the societal struggles we all face. There are cycles that hold us down and tear us apart, some that even give us anguish. The release also states that at some point we need to stop running from the pain and the truth that is brought about by these struggles. We can find peace in the light of this reflection. 

I had the awesome privilege of listening to this album in full prior to its release, and I can say that it’s an amazing journey! The power, emotion, rawness and strength gets a hold of you. Musically and vocally, this band is really well balanced! Everything from the band being really tight musically, to the blend and balance of the mastering/mixing, this album is set to go far with this lineup! 

My thoughts on the album are below.

The Soundtrack to My Last Day

This opening track is powerful. It starts out with just an electric guitar riff, but is quickly joined by pulse pounding drums and more distortion. And I absolutely love the time signature in parts of this song! The 7 feel really makes this song unique! There’s some heavy growling vocals as well with some pretty hard grooves.

While there are some really heavy parts on this track, the light and pulled back sections are beautiful and add such emotion.

Cammie’s vocals throughout most of the song are light and beautiful, but full of emotion. However, the power of her voice is shown at 5:39!

“Here I stand! 
The greatest hope
The great equalizer 
The queen of the lost”


There is one line that REALLY stood out to me. 
“In death, we are all equal”

This is such a powerful statement. To me, death is described as the “great equalizer” in this song. With so much division and hatred going on in this world currently, we need to see that we are all human. We need to be a voice for those who can’t speak and for those who are being silenced. We need to view those around us, no matter what color their skin is, no matter what their sexual orientation is and no matter what their beliefs are as equals.

Pray for Fire

This song brings it down a notch with an acoustic feel to start. When Cammie comes in at :36, she starts out light and airy, but slowly builds and builds throughout the song. The song gets a bit heavier as it progresses. Absolutely love the atmosphere that’s created on this track! Also, the drum fills are tight! 

The emotion and power behind this song really hit you hard. Just read the lyrics and listen through it, you’ll see what I mean. 

To me, this song is about praying for hate, inequality and racism to burn and to come to an end by any means necessary. With all of the hatred, racism and bigotry all over the world, it’s so easy to feel like you’re among thorns everywhere, and because of that, the climb to equality is a never ending up hill battle. This song is a cry to burn all of this to the ground.

“Dying and alone
My roots are buried deep
But here among the thorns
The climb is much too steep”

A Return To The Earth Below

This track starts out with kind of an eerie synth atmosphere. The vocals start off with a lot of power right from the first lyric and don’t stop all the way through the track. They only continue to grow. Even in moments when they are pulled back, the emotion is still just as powerful. 

The drums on this track are insanely good, especially in the beginning. Dobber really smoothly sits in the pocket, even during some pretty complicated fills. 

This song, to me, is about the inner struggles that we all face. At one point in our lives, we all face the fear that we aren’t good enough. We feel defeated by everything and everyone. We feel a hopelessness that eats at us to our core. We spend our whole lives running away from ourselves and allowing these lies to consume us. Instead of running into the darkness, we need to stand in the light. If we look inwards and face our fears head on, we can actually find an inner peace.

“I have spent my whole life running 
And I have tried, I have tried to flee from myself 
I could never, no I could never weather the storm 
That was rising, rising, rising from within me 
It doesn’t matter the time in between
Darkness carved its mark in me
Carved its mark in everything
But I’m done, I’m done running, 
I stand in the rain
Here I stand
Purge my fear, and make my claim”

Imperfect Divinity

This epic instrumental track, for me, really nails it. Starting out lightly, this track quickly builds in both volume and emotion. The dynamics really make this track even more powerful and meaningful.

Close your eyes while listening to this one. After just finishing a song about the inner struggles we face and the peace that comes from facing those struggles instead of running from them, this song, to me, encapsulates that victory of finding inner peace. Even if only for a moment in time before the world starts kicking us down again. 

The Adorned Fathomless Creation

It’s time to pick it up again with this track, which immediately starts with a punch to the gut. With growls and distorted guitars, this song hits hard right off the bat. 

From blast beats to Cammie’s vocals getting soulful at times, this track has an awesome mix of heart pounding metal and a more laid back almost soulful feel. Overall though, this one is aggressive to its core! 

To The Sea

This track starts out with bells tolling, then a lightly distorted guitar comes in with an amazing solo which actually lasts awhile and sounds amazing!  

Cammie’s vocals are once again really powerful throughout this track.

This song, to me, is about the battle against time. The calling of the bells, to me, is like a timer on our lives. A timer that is counting down until our last breath. Once we die, the ground ‘holds us’ and becomes ‘an ocean of slumber’ in which we’ll sleep forever. We need to spend our time wisely while still alive. We need to spend time doing things that are of importance and will make lasting change.

“The ground, it holds you in
An ocean of slumber
Forever you’ll sleep
But I’m there too, dreading 
The longing of those days gone by”

The Colors of Grace

This track has a more laid back sound, but the vocals are still just as powerful! This track also has an old school Lacuna Coil feel! Don’t let this more acoustic-like track fool you! It’s still really powerful, especially with the male clean vocals that harmonize throughout certain parts! 

This song is honestly one of my favorites. 

To me, this song talks about the power depression and a lack of self worth can have over us. Everyone faces the sting of regret and failure, some more than others. 

During my junior and senior years in high school, I faced a really bad depression. In my senior year, it got so bad I stopped going to school for over a month before I could make myself go back. After I left school after my senior year was complete, things got a little easier, but still had this weight of depression pulling me down. In 2008, I became a Christian and my life has changed so much. I bring this up because, while we all have something or someone that we find peace in, my peace is found in God and the grace that He provides me. It’s because of my faith that I have found true peace and true joy. 

“Holding on to everything you say
Cause’ your words they paint a picture of me
A beautiful one of what I could be
If I’d simply learn to shake away the blame
You save me from myself
You save me from myself“

I Mourn These Yellowed Leaves

Starting with just keys, followed by drums and distorted guitars, Cammie comes in nice and strong. Heavier distortion kicks in at about 2:17 and is met with some heavy growls at 2:26! I really like how Cammie comes in with the growls at 3:21.

I really like this song and had to listen to it a few times in a row because it kept drawing me back.

This song, for me, is about the seasons we go through in life. We all have our highs and we all have our lows. During those lows, it’s really easy to feel like falling wet fall leaves. Countless leaves fall from trees and coat the ground and eventually completely dry up and die. At our lowest, we feel like we can’t make it anymore. We feel as useless as leaves covering the ground. 

But for me, that’s not the end. Fall is actually my favorite season. One reason is that even though leaves die and fall, they grow back again. In our lowest moments, we have the opportunity to face our low point head on and to grow back better than we were before. There’s so much we can learn in these moments and in these seasons.

“The fires lit, night is now drawing in
We’ve settled down to try and warm ourselves
Everything’s dying now, only to be reborn again
But now we must wait, the seasons can’t be rushed”

Momentaria (September)

Another beautiful instrumental. This one is mostly just keys and strings. The strings from 2:50 and on are simply amazing. Go ahead and close your eyes and listen to this track beginning to end. 

Total Failure Apparatus

This track opens with strings creating an ominous atmosphere, but is then met with growls and distorted guitars. This song has a lot of death metal elements with fast trigger blast beats and in your face guitars and growling, but also has some really nice pulled back sections as well. 

For me, this song is about those dark and lonely paths we sometimes find our selves on. Sometimes, the right road to take is the hardest one to travel. You run into obstacles everywhere you go and get knocked down at every turn. When you’re on the right path, you have to persevere because getting knocked down will happen frequently, especially when fighting for what’s right. 

The Red Flower

This track is pulled way back. An almost dirge-like track is filled with many references to infertility and possibly even the “unwanted seedlings” of rape?

This track is steeped in emotion and heartbreak that is palpable even just at the surface. The more you listen, the more you feel the anguish. 

Wolfmoon 

The final track and a Type o Negative cover! Musically, not too much was changed, but I really like the crunchy distorted guitars in the OoS version! It’s got a more heavy and full sound! Cammie’s vocals sound amazing as well, and I really like her interpretation of the lyrical melody!

Verdict

I have to give this album a 4.9 out of 5! Though Oceans of Slumber is a progressive metal band, they are so much more than that as well! This album doesn’t fit into any one specific genre. It really blurs the lines of genres quite nicely! “Oceans of Slumber” is without a doubt a must hear masterpiece that doesn’t follow most genre-defining rules! 

“Oceans of Slumber” is out this Friday, September 4th 2020, don’t miss it! 

Review of ‘Doom II’ by Witnesses


Review by Ryan Murray | July 25, 2020 | Official Facebook

Witnesses, a genre-defying Doom Metal band out of New York, NY, that was formed in 2016, released their 6 track album “Doom II” as a self release on May 31st, 2020.

In their press release, it’s stated that this album is about a plague that is born at sea, which makes it to land, to a village that hopes its story will not be forgotten.

This album is simply a masterpiece! From beginning to end, I absolutely love the story it tells. The instrumentation is perfect, and really carries a story of its own! The vocals are filled with emotions of both pain and hope.

To me, this album reminds us that even in the darkest of times, we need to have hope and try to survive even the hardest of plagues.

On This Black Ocean
This album opens up out on the dark ocean. Drums and guitars start off this dirge like track, followed by just bass and vocals. This track is more down tempo, but that doesn’t take away from the power behind the vocals, instrumentation and emotion. 

To me, while this song is about the beginnings of a plague at sea, it can also refer to the plague of a life without hope. When we go through life without hope, we very easily become “another blind ship in the fog”. 

“Alas, another blind ship in the fog
Starboard – it’s too late
There’s no one living

On that vessel
A mirage of life
Was all it was
A trick born of hope
On this black ocean”

I Hope Their Prayers Aren’t Answered
This 11-minute plus track opens up with more of a black metal sound, with heart pounding drums and a lot of speed/tremolo picking on the guitars. After about a minute, the atmosphere completely changes into more of a dirge like feel, which is where it stays for the remainder of the track.

At 3:12, all instruments pull back and we get just keys with a very low and eerie chord progression.

At 4:40, there’s a really interesting section, both instrumentally and vocally. I almost feel as though I’m listening to jazz-like acoustic guitars during this, and it’s a nice atmosphere with the vocals. And the vocal range is really shown as well.

At 7:01, the drums and guitars starts picking up again to bring back that dirge like atmosphere.

The music ends at 9:17, but is followed by sounds of a creaking empty ship with low growling like winds blowing in the background.

“Now they throw themselves
Men overboard
Women overboard
Children overboard”

This track was hard to listen to while reading the lyrics. Such sadness and hurt throughout. With the global pandemic happening right now, there are a lot of correlations lyrically. I think of the many lives of men, women and children that have been effected. I’ve read stories of adults and teens who have taken their own lives due to the isolation of quarantines. A good friend of mine was going through a separation during this whole thing and unable to find work, so he took his on life.

Doom II
The plague makes its way to land! This track starts with just a cymbal, low keys and some occasional drums. Then the vocals come in with strings, which really add to the atmosphere, and I really enjoy the stings throughout this track.

The guitars come in strong at 2:12, but at 3:12 everything pulls back into a lighter, almost soft jazz like acoustic atmosphere. This only lasts a moment until the distorted guitars follow back in.

There’s also a really nice guitar solo at 6:42 which goes through to the end. 

“They brought all the dead into town
The dead want to be found

But none’s more selfish than a dead man
Who wants to be remembered
After three days
The wails in the night began
A murder here
A murder there
We called it doom
We knew it was too late”

For me, this song can refer to the plague of hatred as well. Hatred kills and spreads like a plague.

Worse With Time
This track kinda reminds me a bit of Tool. It opens with synth pads, which create this somber atmosphere, soon to be met by distorted power chords.

Lyrically, this song is kind of a continuation of the previous track. Plagues, no matter what kind, get worse with time. What we do with our time is so important because time is fleeting. Before we know it, we’ll be at our end. What will we have to show for it? Will we be remembered for succumbing to the plague without a fight, or for standing up and fighting against it until the very end?

“Everything I once knew
Everyone I once knew
Is fading away
Like we were never here
We sent a rider with our history
But there was pursuit
And we lost sight at the horizon“

Who Were You Before All This
This track opens with synth pads and keys for about 1:15, then vocals come in along with distorted guitars and drums. We also get a blast beat about half way through this track!

This track, to me, is about how when it comes to the end, we’re all the same. Mothers, fathers, rich bankers, poor farmers, smiths and the like. When we get to the end, is it going to matter how rich we were? Or is it going to be about what we did with our time and did we stand up to the plagues in our lives? Right before your end, who were you?

“Take this father
Then take this banker
The farmer and the rich
They pile up all the same

Catch fire
And sweeten the air
‘Tis them
Who lost humanity”

An Ending
The final track! This track opens right away with distorted, dirge like guitars. From 2:44-4:44, everything pulls way back creating a very light atmosphere. I really like the vocals here during this pulled back section.

Will the plague be our ending? Or will we rise up to defeat the plague?

“And these are my last words
Spoken from another place
Between two worlds
In a deep dark void
There’s nothing left for me
To see, hear, or feel
Nothing here begins again“

Verdict
This album is amazing! Truly a masterpiece! The vocals are simply amazing with very nice range and emotion throughout. The instrumentation is just perfect.

To me, while this album is about a plague out on the sea, that plague symbolizes so much in real life. Hatred, anger, resentment, selfishness, racism, a lack of hope and so much more. We can rise above these plagues, and that’s why to me personally, this album is just as much about hope as it is about the plagues.

I give this album a 4.9 out of 5!

If you haven’t heard “Doom II” by Witnesses yet, you’re missing out! Please give it a listen!

Review of ‘Darkness’ by Stitched Up Heart


Review by Joshua Becker | June 30, 2020

Stitched Up Heart is a rock band originating from Los Angeles, California, and founded by Alecia “Mixi” Demner. Their latest album “Darkness” was released on Friday, March 13th, 2020.

Upon listening to the album, it seems be a nice mix of rock, and some industrial metal elements, with the electronic sounds in the background. Even though the band is labeled “rock”, it seems like they may have experimented with some industrial metal, given the heavy presence of electronic sounds throughout the tracks.

Another thing I am noticing about the album, is it kind of reminds me a bit of Paramore, and has a bit of a punk rock element to it as well. Lyrically, a lot of the lyrics from the album are very dark, and suggest a struggle, whether internal or external.

I get the feeling “Mixi” may have went through some very dark times during the song-writer process that inspired the somber lyrics. The first three tracks of the album, I get the sense of an inner struggle “Mixi” is doing what she can to face.

When we get to “Warrior”, it sounds like she has finally started to piece things together, and even build up the strength to know her worth and fight the good fight.

“I’m a warrior, and I know what I’m fighting for”. This line reiterates what I mentioned earlier: she has found her strength and knows how to use it.

In “Dead Roses” there is a line of the song “you can’t break a heart that’s already broken”.

This tells the listener “Mixi” has been through some shit, and it’s almost as if she’s saying “you can’t hurt me anymore, I have been down more than you can imagine, and what you are doing, or trying to do won’t make any difference to me.”

The next track “Crooked Halo” is very harrowing, with lyrics like

“I saw you making eyes, you don’t want none of this
I’m a one way ticket to a sinking ship
You can march to the beat of my awful symphony”

Why does it seem like “Mixi” is suggesting that she is a disaster and you should avoid her or you’ll regret it the rest of your days?  There seems to be a lot of deep pain being reflected in this track, and it is extremely disheartening.

Finishing off the album, we get to “My Demon”.
This would have to be the darkest most metal-sounding track on the album.
One of the lines in the song really speaks to the vibe of the whole album.

“I become one with my demon
Let the beast outside of my mind
I become one with my demon
My dark side keeps me alive”

Suggesting to me that through her journey (the album), “Mixi” has fought with herself, and fought with others, and she has become one with her demon (possibly herself and her experiences).

In terms of an overall, this was a very interesting listen, and it definitely stands out from a lot of other rock/metal albums I have listened to before.

I want to give this album a 5/5.

The composition and lyrics are very dark, and very telling of pain, of emotion, of anguish, so many multi-faceted emotions throughout. The production sounds great, the mixing and mastering sound very professional, and you don’t have any tracks where the singing gets washed out by the instruments, or vice-versa.

I am very impressed; great work!

Interview with Stitched Up Heart’s Alecia “Mixi” (2020)


Interview by Joshua Becker & Jessica Clingempeel | June 25, 2020

First, I wanted to say that I saw you in concert last year in Cleveland, and you guys were great.
Awww thank you! That means the world to us.

You were so interactive with the fans in the audience, acknowledging them in the crowd as they were singing along to your songs, and that was just awesome.
You’re very sweet. I try to connect with everyone I can at the show as much as possible. I know, for me as an audience member, I love when bands notice me, so I know how it feels and want everyone to know I see them and I’m grateful they took the time out to watch us!

Are concerts easy for you to get right into, or do you get nervous at times? From what I saw, you seemed so comfortable like you were right at home.
Honestly, it took me a while to be comfortable when I first started. I forced myself out of my comfort zone when I realized I wanted to play my songs in public. It took time to eventually be one with the stage. I still get butterflies before I go on for any show but it seems like as soon as I start a switch is turned on and I’m a whole different person.

Your latest album “Darkness” was such a powerful record, and the lyrics were so dark, and so profound.
Thank you. Hence the album title Darkness.

When did the decision arise to name the album “Darkness?’ and what led you to that?
We wanted to be consistent with Never Alone by using a song title off the album as the album title. The song “Darkness” was dedicated to a few close followers of the band. It was written to take them out of the dark and scary mental state they were in and bring them out stronger. The whole album is meant for every listener to attempt to do the same.

During the writing process, what was going through your mind? It seemed like you were dealing with some very personal things in your life.
I dug deep. I definitely had some major challenges that I was working through at the time. I decided to let myself be vulnerable and voice my thoughts and feelings honestly. I wanted to connect with anyone feeling that way and be their medicine.

When it comes to songwriting, do you have a certain routine like a cup of coffee, or something, to get the creative juices flowing?
I have found that meditation before I write is very helpful. When I’m in writing mode I also listen to a lot of motivational speakers to learn and teach concepts that I’ve attached to the music.

Continuing with the album, I could not help but notice the industrial metal influences in the background. What made the band decide to add the electronic sounds in the background?
It was really just to try something different. There are so many ways to create sounds through electronics and in rock we aren’t just limited to guitar, bass, and drums. It doesn’t have to be that way. We can make it sound much different by messing with synths and chopping up my voice to create its own electronic sounding instrument in the background. We just wanted a modern edge to this album.

I know the Coronavirus outbreak came about late in the making of this album, but did it have any influences on the writing, or even the instrumentals?
No. We were done writing this over a year before the virus hit.

Being that you are all in California, one of the hardest-hit states for the Coronavirus, how has this affected your day-to-day?
I am a homebody as it is, so I am pretty good at staying home. That part hasn’t changed. I haven’t been exercising as much and have been surviving on cupcakes since the pandemic started. Which, by the way, I have perfected the art of. Also, wearing a mask and trying to smile at people you pass at the grocery store is a little awkward. We all have to do our part.

Did you take up any new hobbies while you are waiting this out like everyone else?
Baking has been a new one, and gardening, which I have a lot to learn still. I also redecorated the house!

Is it possible the Coronavirus may be inspiring you to write material for your next album too?
It will definitely have some influence as I draw from current life events in the writing process.

I found in an interview way back that you experienced homeless when you first arrived in L.A., and that really made me tear up. I want to say I am so glad you have since found a home, and you are doing much better.
Yes. That was a scary time. I had just moved to LA with a boyfriend and it didn’t work out. I was lucky enough to find couches to crash on and at times would just sleep in the back of my car on a pile of clothes. But this city is tough and it made me who I am today by going through that. I’m definitely a road warrior from living like a gypsy.

If you knew you years ahead of time this would happen, would you do anything different, or plan anything different?
I would save more money. $1,000 was all I had and I didn’t realize how expensive it was gonna be to survive here. But I stuck it out and am now living comfortably.

Furthermore, with so many in the world facing homelessness, what can we do to really make an impact?
I try to give change if I have it on me when I pass by someone. Some aren’t mentally stable enough to take care of themselves and hold a job. Some have other reasons. Some people choose that life. It’s very sad. But $1 goes a long way.

Do you have any homeless charities you have worked with that we could donate to, for example?
I used to work for the Los Angeles Homeless Service Coalition when I was actually homeless. We would petition at grocery stores and raise money for the homeless. It was too difficult for me to do as I was currently living out of my car at the time, so I didn’t work there very long. I would suggest looking up a church that feeds the homeless or a local food bank in your area online.

What about advice for those who are homeless?
I would suggest staying off substances. For a lot of them, that is unfortunately what keeps them on the streets. Substance abuse is a real disease and is very hard to overcome. For some with mental illness, or who choose to fly under the radar, it’s difficult to tell someone how to live their life. Jobs definitely help and there are programs to help shelter and feed them.

I also see you are a huge animal lover and work a lot with Kitten Rescue. Did the passion for animals start with you as a child, or is this something you discovered later in life?
Animals are simple innocent creatures to me. There is something so simple yet so complex that draws me to them. There is a peace and sense of purpose I feel when I am helping an animal. Doing something selfless for something else is my soul food.

Do others in the band have the same passion as you Alecia?
They all love animals. You’re not allowed to be in the band if you don’t! Hahaha but I’m the one with the intense drive to keep doing the volunteer work and connecting with fundraisers.

At present, how many animals do you all co-habitate with?
Well… I have 3 cats. I am currently fostering 3 two month old kittens who will be going to a different foster mother soon. I am currently volunteering at California Equine Retirement Foundation (Cerf) that helps care of retired racehorses and rescues. It gives those homeless animals a sanctuary to live out their days.

With Covid, we wanted to do something to get others minds off it, so I have some additional questions I would like to ask (if you have the time, since there are quite a few).
Even when you don’t have much, do something selfless. That is all 🙂


Survey Questions

What made you want to become a musician?
I have just been drawn to instruments since recorder class in elementary school. It was my favorite class, so I continued band in middle school playing the tuba. Once I got to high school, I found the guitar and it was all downhill from there!

What are some of your hobbies outside of music/career?
Painting, animal rescue (obviously), art.

If you had to be anyone else for a day, who would that be and why?
I am comfortable being me, but maybe a bird so I could fly!

Do you have any pets?
I have 3 fluffy cats

What is your favourite animal?
This answer has changed over time but I’m gonna go with a unicorn this time!

Are you a Herbivore, Carnivore, or Omnivore?
I like to say a liberal vegetarian. I try to eat very little meat but sometimes I feel like my body needs the nutrients and I cave in.

A new law has passed where only one genre of music is allowed, which would you choose? (It is totally alright if you choose Disney music! No judgment here.)
Rock ‘n’ roll babyyyy!

What is your favourite country?
Well, I haven’t traveled anywhere aside from Canada & Mexico, yet, so I’m gonna say it would be the one I was born and raised in…USA.

What foods do you love to devour?
My grandma’s recipe of mac ‘n’ cheese!

Apple or Android?
Apple! 100%.

Where are you from?
Born in Atlanta GA. Grew up in Orlando FL. Lived my adult life in Los Angeles, CA and I am currently in Riverside CA

What was your favourite possession as a child?
My pets, even though they weren’t my possession. They’re my friends. They probably own me more.

What is your favourite possession now?
Same answer!

What motto do you live by?
Be kind.

Do you play video games? If so, what do you like playing the most?
I have a love hate relationship with video games. When I get sucked into a game I will play forever. I have to stop myself or it will consume me! World of Warcraft is my kryptonite.

Which gaming platform do you prefer?
PlayStation or PC

Any particular soundtrack you would recommend to people?
All of the God of War soundtracks or Doom is pretty sick too!

Are you into any comics, manga, or anime?
I was into anime for a while. Watched over 250 episodes of Nature till it became fuller and I got bored.

You are now stuck on an island with only one item (cannot be phone.) What is the item you choose?
Guitar

What is your favourite colour?
Fluorescent clear.

You can bring one famous figure from our past back to life, who do you choose and why?
Jesus would be interesting!

Any embarrassing moments to tell?
One year at Rock on the Range I was crowd surfing on this epic inflatable Pegasus pool float and it popped. That was pretty embarrassing.

Were you a good student or a class clown in school?
I was a B student artsy kinda kid.

Ocean or Mountains?
Beach babe.

If you had to play in a film, what kind of part would you want to play?
The rocker chick

Top 5 Musicians/Bands
The Beatles, Metallica, Louis Armstrong, NIN, and Linkin Park

Top 5 Shows/Movies
South Park, Ancient Aliens, Supernatural, Grandmas Boy, and anything with The Rock.

Top 5 Books
The Missing Piece. Mindfulness books and self help books.