“It shows that you don’t have to necessarily be a heavy metal singer to start singing heavy metal.”

Over the past few years BATTLE BEAST have become one of Finland’s rising stars in Heavy Metal. Their powerful music reaching the airwaves and their passionate live performances gaining interest on a worldwide scale. Could they join the list of Finnish Metal legends along the likes of NIGHTWISH, SONATA ARCTICA and CHILDREN OF BODOM? Most definitely. ‘Bringer Of Pain’ is due for release in less than a month via Nuclear Blast Records.

Here’s what happened when I interview her for Power Of Metal Magazine.

15419627_1169038589816233_6721991878863492372_o

How are you doing this morning?

Actually, I woke up an hour and a half ago; this is the life of a musician. Last night I was at a gig with one party band, it was a long night and we did five sets.

Wait five sets in one night?

Yep [laughs]. I am professional singer so I don’t do just Battle Beast, I do different kinds of stuff. I’ve always wanted to be that kind of singer that does different kinds of music, for most musicians that’s normal as they don’t want to stick to just one style.

What other styles of music do you sing other than Heavy Metal?

Well Heavy Metal is actually the newest thing for me as a vocalist, I’ve listened to it since I was a teenager but back then I didn’t think I’d be able to be a Heavy Metal vocalist. My history as a vocalist; I’ve been singing since I was a kid; so pop stuff, blues and soul music, a lot of different genres.

At some point, I started singing more blues and rock music then I started singing Janis Joplin and that was where I found the raspiness in my voice. That was when I was about nineteen years old, I’m now 28.

That’s surprising to hear since you are new to metal when I think you are one of the best metal vocalists around.

It shows that you don’t have to necessarily be a heavy metal singer to start singing heavy metal. For me personally, it’s about using my voice as much as possible in different ways and to use different sounds. That’s an interesting thing about the human voice, there’s such a variety of sounds in your voice alone. So, that is something I am really interested in. I also give vocal and performance coaching because I feel it is very important to pass it on, the knowledge that I have.

I have a question from a fellow vocalist:  she wants to know what techniques and strategies you use to get that fire and passion in your voice.

She can find my contact details on my coaching page Sing Like A Beast by Noora Luhimo, she can actually have some Skype lessons with me if she wants to. In the future I hope to have a Sing Like A Beast clinic for groups of people who want to have a workshop in performing and vocals. My main goal is that I want to go touring with that concept and spread the talent around.

In Finland is quite hard to become a professional musician? In the UK, it is quite hard to become a professional musician.

It’s not too complicated but you have to have so much passion and determination. You have to be compulsive with it; when I go to sleep, I think about and when I get up I think about it. Music is the most important thing in my life and it has to be if you want to become a professional musician, in a good way it’s a disease. You just have to do it, those people who have that mindset tend to become professional musicians.

People should always think about this perspective; what is success? Is success to do with money, with fame or with being happiest person on the planet? I would pick the last option, it doesn’t come from the money and the fame. When you keep being good to people that are close to you, that is the most important thing. You must remember, even if you get the money or the fame the people are the most important thing. Nobody likes to celebrate alone.

I also think giving people tips helps, people feel so much pressure about getting successful or you know becoming a professional musician. That is something you stress about but I think you shouldn’t stress about it, you just have to do a lot of work; that means you have to sell yourself all the time. There are times and places to do it, just not funerals or weddings. Weddings can be a good place to do it. You always have to sell yourself as you never know where you will find contacts, so always keep your business cards with you, always talk to people about what you are doing and don’t talk down on yourself. Don’t say things like ‘I’m not so good’ or ‘I do a little of this’ because people don’t want to hear that, so always bring up the best qualities about yourself. That is not lying, that is selling yourself and you don’t have to lie if you tell the truth about yourself when you say ‘I am good at this and that’

That’s what I have been doing all my life and that is why I’m here now.

Let’s talk about Battle Beast’s upcoming album ‘Bringer Of Pain’; I read in the press release that your music relates to what you have said so far, about doing your best and not giving up. I take it that’s the message behind ‘Bringer Of Pain’ too.

Yes, that is true, this is the first album with the latest line up of the band. Before this album, there was only one song writer but we had to go separate ways with him two years ago, due to artistic and personal differences. So, we couldn’t fix the situation but think after the two years it was the best decision we could make because we are now doing the stuff we love to do and in the way we love to do it. So, in the end I think everything went quite right

This album has that touch of Battle Beast and it contains that something for everyone. You don’t necessarily need to be a Heavy Metal fan or a dancing queen to not like this record. I think having different kinds of music on the album is good as you can have it as background music. It’s not just heavy guitars and it’s not just disco music; there’s different elements to the record that is our thing and I think you can hear that signature sound in the album that Battle Beast are known for.

I found that too when I was listening to the album on the way to work; from the first listen I felt that power that Battle Beast are known for.

Yes, and as a vocalist I felt I could bring all I got on that album, I thought I can show people how many different sounds I have. There are also many kinds of moods in the album and that is something as a vocalist when I interpret the song. That’s the most important thing that I interpret the way the song demands me to do. If the song, for example Beyond The Burning Skies I want to give that feeling of flying over the ocean and being full of hope. That is something that has to reflect from my voice.

People have asked why there isn’t the raspiness in my voice for some of the tracks; if the song doesn’t require it I won’t use it.

Do you have a personal favourite song on the album?

I really love each song in different ways, they are our little babies. It really depends on the mood; right now, my feeling is the same as Beyond The Burning Skies as it reflects the situation we have right now. We’re going on a new tour in USA and Canada, we’re also going on our second headline tour across Europe. We have so much hope for that. We have a lot of great stuff coming that we’re really excited for. Sometimes I can feel the same mood as Bastard Son Of Odin, it’s a fun song to sing and I can’t wait to perform it with Battle Beast.

What can fans expect from ‘Bringer Of Pain’?

They can expect ass kicking music, I think this is more powerful than before. When you put the first track on, say on your way to work, you can’t stop smiling and you get this sort of energy punch. Even you get off on the wrong foot this album will give you that energy back.

Finally, a fellow fan wanted to know what your workout plan is?

Different kinds of exercises and good nutrition always works. I love cycling, that is my favourite thing to do along with other cardio stuff. I also like running and jumping with a rope; that’s particularly important as I jump a lot on the stage. Sometimes I do boxing, I go to the gym. I like to try different stuff. The most important thing is to keep active.

Thank you so much Noora for taking time to talk to the Power Of Metal, good luck with album release and tour.

Album Review: Battle Beast – Bringer The Pain

battle-beast-bringer-of-pain-artworkTwo years have passed and all was quiet in the BATTLE BEAST camp…until now. They are due to release a belter among us in less than a month and it will bring even the laziest couch potatoes of their sofas and raring to go. This album packed with energy and fire is titled ‘Bringer Of Pain’ and it is due to be released 17th February 2017 via Nuclear Blast.

BATTLE BEAST are one of Finland’s rising stars; their music reaching the airwaves on an international scale, headline tours across Europe and support slots with some of the biggest names in metal including SABATON.

From the first opening notes of ‘Straight To Your Heart’ you feel the fire and passion that BATTLE BEAST are well known for, it’s enough to bring a warm smile across your face.

Each track contains an outstanding arrangement of dominant vocals, blistering guitar riffs, excellent synths and pounding drums; all these elements create an eclectic selection of tracks that suit every mood under the sun. Strong examples of this can be heard in the songs ‘Bey
ond The Burning Skies’, ‘Lost In Wars’ and ‘Familiar Hell’.

‘Beyond The Burning Skies’ gives the listener a sense of hope and fulfilment with its majestic musical arrangements backing the gratifying vocal work. ‘Lost In Wars’ is a powerful duet between Noora Luhimo and AMORPHIS frontman Tomi Jousten, the harmonisation between these two powerful voices is extraordinary. ‘Familiar Hell’ is an empowering song that encourages that inner rebel to start a revolution.

The album concludes beautifully with the moving ballad ‘Far From Heaven’ that shows the softer side to Noora’s versatile vocals.

Like its predecessors this record contains power, passion and a lot of tenacity. That encourage behind the music not to give up and to keep going no matter what.

EP Review: Seven Kingdoms – In The Walls

587906_phixrAs well as being associated with all things Disney and dubbed the sunshine state, Florida USA is now also known as the home of the hypothetical love child of DRAGONFORCE and NIGHTWISH. Power Metal troupe SEVEN KINGDOMS are that hypothetical love child; with their neck breaking solos and opera like vocals there could be a new power troupe in the midst of the metal community.

This troupe formed in 2007 and began to play shows. They went through the usual underground route; members coming and going, numerous local shows, an independently released album etc. They signed a deal with Intromental Worldwide in 2009 when they had a solid line-up. Since then, they have shared the stage with Metal giants such as BLIND GUARDIAN, SYMPONY X, BEHEMOTH, QUEENSRYCHE and AVANTASIA.

Their latest EP ‘In The Walls’ reinforces the statement they could be the love child of two of the biggest names in metal.

‘In The Walls’:  The finger blistering guitar work reminds one of DRAGONFORCE and HAMMERFALL, it’s straight to the point with some memorable riffs and solos. The vocals come in sometime later and they do make hair stand on end when they are heard, especially with the powerful back from the choirs in the chorus. The opera like vocals, provided by Sabrina Valentine and the majestic choir have strong tints of NIGHTWISH and the older material from TRISTANIA. What a way to make a grand entrance.

‘Undying’:  A similar start to its previous track, later you hear some elements that make it stand out. This contains a sweeping melody and a genuinely darker theme, it’s not as majestic as the choirs are a lot quieter. It’s great that they keep up a variety.

‘The Bloody Meadow’:  The title alone doesn’t exactly suggest a cutesy woodland with bunny rabbits, deer and squirrels playfully chasing each other in a vast field of green. The vibe of the track reinforces this fact with it’s heavy, pounding riffs and eerily serene vocals. The choirs and vocals bring forth the heroic battle that is clearly either taking place in the track or the soldiers are preparing for it.

‘Stormborn’:  Concluding track ‘Stormborn’ shows off the beauty and the beast technique for the first time, the harsh and clean vocals harmonise together perfectly. It is the track that is contains the uplifting end to a very promising EP.

Overall verdict is that this EP is quite a powerful release that shows the quality of their sound.

Album Review: Autokrator – The Obedience To Authority

569662_phixrAs well as being well known for its fine wine, strong cheese and rolling country sides, France has become a rare breeding ground for Metal bands alike. Following in GOJIRA’s roots is Death Metal duo AUTOKRATOR. They are new to the scene but they are already spawning a huge fan following on social media with their suffocating Death Metal. They released their second full length album ‘The Obedience To Authority’ which could be interpreted as explaining the fearful feelings if you don’t follow the rules, even if these rules are against your better judgment.

This duo formed in the year 2014 in the French capital Paris by guitarist/bassist Loïc.F and vocalist David Bailey, little did this city of love know that this duo was to concoct and release despair and misery onto the world. In terms of the sort of music they planned to produce this is a huge compliment.

They describe themselves as Suffocating Death Metal and this record gives this the listeners that. Each chapter brings out a sense of panic, fear and anxiety; these feelings actually come on physically as the listener may feel a tightness in the chest and the fear of not being able to breath by the end of this work. They do this by deploying drone like elements and echoed effects into the music that emphasise the dread and horror the listener feels.

Their influences from Milgram’s experiments fits extremely well within the record. For those of you who don’t know, Stanley Milgram was an America social psychologist who conducted controversial experiments on obedience and how far we would go to follow orders, even if they were against the participant’s conscious and gut feelings. After researching his works in greater detail, the listener will be able to hear these intense influences within this penetrating music.

Overall verdict, a recommendation for those who love Extreme Metal in any shape or form and those who are into the psychology side of things. Not for the faint hearted or the easily offended.

Brand New Me and a Brand New Laptop

Hello there

Yes it has been a while since I last posted, things have been taking place in my mind and in my life. There has been more stability in my life and more challenges to take on. The first one being that I am writing for a new magazine project that is title Warrior Women; it is the alternative to the typical women’s magazine, those that seem to encourage taunting when someone has put on weight, going out with no make up, basically just being human. It encourages positivity and ambition. It was started up by Steph Kiddle, all round creative. To find out more watch this video.

After a recent visit and hopefully last counselling session I realise how important it is to like yourself and have strong self confidence, not to the point where you’re completely arrogant mind but enough to know full well you are good enough and you are perfect just the way you are. I realised that after years of not liking myself as a person, at school I was often ignored or teased for being that little bit different; they say sticks and stones will break bones but names won’t hurt you. In fact words can hurt, they stick with you and encourage self doubt. So when I tried to say a nice out loud to myself, I found I couldn’t. I have been practicing since, it gets easier each time but I still need to believe it’s true.

Anyways

Happy New Year and here’s to more writing from me.

Take care

Lotty

My Top Albums of 2016

 

eternal-halloween

10. Eternal Halloween – Eternal Halloween

Kicking off my top ten for 2016 is the self titled abomination from terrifying troupe ETERNAL HALLOWEEN. There are a few things I admire about this troupe; their outrageous (well not to us metal heads) appearance, their brilliantly heavy sound and their ability to entice the listener in within the first few seconds. What I liked the most is their scarily accurate lyrical content about some dark issues, these lyrics hit you hard. Not recommend for the faint hearted or easily offended.

 

rottingchristritualscd_phixr

9. Rotting Christ – Rituals

As I’ve mentioned previously; watching Greek Extreme Metallers ROTTING CHRIST at Bloodstock 2014 converted me into a fan. Their latest release ‘Rituals’ is a stunning masterpiece with brutal yet beautiful melodies that have you submerged from the word go. From the hypnotic and pounding beats of ‘Devadevam –देवदेवं-‘ to dominant single ‘Elthie Kyrie’ it’s a treasure for fans of the band and Extreme Metal.

 

diabalbualbumaug_phixr

8. Diablus In Musica – Dirge For The Archons

They hail from Spain and are fronted by a voice of beauty. Number eight comes in the form of DIABLUS IN MUSICA’s ‘Dirge For The Archons’. This album is a portfolio of grand melodies infused by huge orchestras, loud riffs and a powerful voice. Highlights of this album for me included the empowering ‘Marble Embrace’, Metal/Tim Burton-esque fairy tale ‘Ring Around The Fairies’ Carousel’ and the ballads emphasising the vocal work such as ‘A Speck In The Universe’ and closing track ‘Zauria’. NIGHTWISH watch out, there’s a new troupe in town.

 

edens-curse_cardinal_phixr

7. Eden’s Curse – Cardinal

It’s no secret they’ve been personal favourites since first reviewing their London show over two years ago. ‘Cardinal’ from Multi-National Melodic Metal outfit EDEN’S CURSE is an assortment of great quality tracks consisting of great guitar work, powerful vocals and excellent arrangements on keyboards, bass and drums. This is the first studio album with drummer John Clelland and new master of the keys Christian ‘Chrism’ Pulkkinen, if this album doesn’t say they’ve settled in who knows what will. With some strong melodies such as ‘The Great Pretender’, ‘Unconditional’ (featuring Metal siren Liv Kristine) and ‘Find My Way’ it’s a must have for fans of Hard Rock and Melodic Metal.

kissin-dynamitejpeg_phixr

6. Kissin’ Dynamite – Generation Goodbye

KISSIN’ DYNAMITE have been a growing presence in the Hard Rock scene and their latest release containing strong melodies will ensure their increasing recognition. This album contains some Hard Rock masterpieces containing great guitar work, prevailing vocal work and pounding drums. These include the fist pumping ‘She Came She Saw’, the empowering concluding track ‘Utopia’ and moving ballad ‘If Clocks Are Running Backwards’.  If you love epic sounding Hard Rock tracks that you can imagine hearing in stadiums then this is the album for you.

 

moonsorrow_cover-2_phixr

5. Moonsorrow – Jumalten Aika

I understand MOONSORROW have been round for a while but this year was the year I got to experience their sound and live presence. Ever since listening to the album’s single ‘Suden Tunti’ and catching them live with fellow Finnish Folk Metalheads KORPIKLANNI I have been addicted to their sound ever since. With its prevailing, sweeping melodies it’s no wonder the album has been a regular occurrence on my playlist this year. I particularly admire the Pagan like melodies infused with heavy riffs, harsh vocals and pounding drums; it’s an album I can listen to from start to finish without growing bored.

 

devilskin-be-like-the-river-album-cover-1_phixr

4. Devilskin – Be Like The River

New Zealand based Hard Rock quartet DEVILSKIN have been favourites of mine since last year when I listened to their first album containing straight up, non nonsense melodies. Their latest record ‘Be Like The River’ holds up this statement loud and proud, the first few seconds of ‘Dressed In Black’ had me hooked from the word go. The rest of the album follows suit with tracks such as ‘Bury Me’, ‘Limbs’ and the mighty single ‘Mountains’. This album and band are highly recommended for fans of HALESTORM, giving that they are due to tour together in New Zealand later this month.

 

delainmoonbatherscd_phixr

3. Delain – Moonbathers

It’s no secret DELAIN are a mounting presence on the Metal scene and their latest release ‘Moonbathers’ will ensure they are still renowned within the scene. The first few seconds of ‘Hands Of Gold’ featuring guest vocals from ARCH ENEMY’s own Alissa Whyte Gluz gives us a taste of the epic sounding music that is expected on the rest of the album. The album contains a great selection of tracks such as empowering ballad ‘Chrysalis – The Last Breath’, fist pumping ‘Pendulum’ and incredible single ‘Suckerpunch’.

 

last-stand_phixr

2. Sabaton – The Last Stand

‘When the winged hussars arrive’ have been the words on every SABATON’s fans lips and with their powerful new release ‘The Last Stand’ it is easy to see why. Love them or hate them this camouflaged troupe of talented Swedish musicians have made a huge impact on the Metal scene. The first few seconds of opener ‘Sparta’ was enough to grab my attention and made me punch the air with glory. The release contains some incredible belters such as ‘The Last Stand’, ‘Winged Hussars’, ‘The Last Battle’ and ‘Blood Of Bannockburn’.  It appears these Power Metal heroes have conquered once more.

 

vancantomvm_voicesoffire_small_phixr

1.Van Canto – Voices Of Fire

My number one album of 2016 comes from the almighty acapella troupe VAN CANTO. This is their very first concept album and the first one not to contain covers. It goes to show that you can create an epic release using only five voices and a drum kit. At first listen the spoken prologue and ‘Clashings Of Armour Plates’ send shivers down the spine and hair raising on end with the sheer beauty of this majestic sound. It keeps up this stately feel with songs such as ‘Firevows (Join The Journey)’, ‘Time And Time Again’, ‘The Bardcall’ and ‘To Catharsis’. With striking sounding voices harmonising to create grand melodies, this makes VAN CANTO’s album ‘Voices Of Fire’ my number one record of 2016. I highly recommended getting the album with beautiful bonus track ’Hymn’.

Album Review: Airbourne – Breakin’ Outta Hell

airbournejpeg_phixr-1Here’s a band that don’t an introduction, especially within the Hard Rock community. Aussie born AIRBOURNE have wowed audiences with their brilliant Hard Rock tunes such as ‘No Way But The Hard Way’, ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Live It Up’. They released their latest creation earlier this year; there is no doubt that it is blowing people’s minds with its powerful content.

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the past thirteen years, here’s what AIRBOURNE are all about. They formed in their hometown of Warrnambool, Australia. Their first album ‘Runnin Wild’ was the most talked about and best reviewed debuts around. Since then they have released many chart worthy records such as ‘Black Dog Barking’ and ‘No Guts No Glory’. Following in their fellow Australian Hard Rockers AC/DC’s footsteps ‘Breakin’ Outta Hell’ will ensure they stay ahead of the game.

No matter what you are doing and no matter where you are, the record itself contains some excellent material that will encourage you to let yourself go. Each track contains blistering guitar work, beats that make you want headbang and dance on the spot and prevailing vocals that encompass the best qualities from fellow Hard Rockers AC/DC and JUDAS PRIEST.

Many of the tracks on this record are more than suitable to be play at arenas and stadiums. A few examples include ‘Thin The Blood’ and ‘When I Drink I Go Crazy’, these tracks will encourage you to let go of all inhibitions and to go for it. There’s sassiness in tracks such as ‘Get Back Up’ and ‘Do Me Like You Do Yourself’. Of course no Hard Rock record is complete without fist pumping anthems; these come in the forms of the single ‘Rivalry’ and ‘I’m Going To Hell For This’.

Bearing all of the above in mind, diehard fans of AIRBOURNE and Hard Rock will not be disappointed with this release.