Metal Chick of the Month – Jeanne Sagan

Am I the monster you created?

After such a difficult year for all of us, let’s start 2021 off with a bang to the sound of the rumbling, menacing bass by a woman that has been nothing but amazing to the metal community with her refined skills, her passion for heavy music and her immensurable contribution to the Heavy Metal, Hard Rock and Metalcore scene. Not only that, she’s also a very talented singer and pianist, showcasing all her versatility and allowing her to take part in any type of band from an array of styles. Born on January 11, 1979 in Springfield, Massachusetts, in the United States, Jeanne Sagan (also known as Jeanne Wawrzyniak) is the ass-kicking bassist and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal band Crossing Rubicon, and also known as the former bassist and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal/Metalcore band All That Remains from 2006 to 2015, having been embellishing the airwaves with her bass since 2001 and, more important than that, being ready to make this new year that has just been born a lot more fun with her music.

Having also played for a band called The Acacia Strain in 2003, Jeanne originally worked merchandise tables for Prosthetic Records before being called to join All That Remains in 2006 to replace their former bassist Matt Deis, which was by the way a funny story according to Jeanne herself as she had moved out to Arizona thinking she was done with Massachusetts, but after meeting someone at the record label and started helping out she ended up getting back to her birth state. In addition, if you think she comes from a family of musicians let me tell you that you’re absolutely wrong. When asked if she grew up in a musical household, Jeanne said that she only started in the world of music when she was in sixth grade, picking up the trumpet as her first instrument during high school, also mentioning her younger brother is also into music, DJ’ing and touring with bands, despite the fact their parents are not musicians. It was only when she was in college that she started playing bass and jamming with bands, and from that moment on the world of heavy music gained a new badass bass player.

Jeanne Sagan is also known as Jeanne Wawrzyniak due to the fact she’s married to American vocalist Scott Wawrzyniak, better known by his stage name of Scotty Anarchy, the frontman for metal bands Crossing Rubicon and Piercing Immortality. In one of their interviews together, Scott and Jeanne said they met through two mutual friends, Ian Jones and Rusty Kupier, sometime in 2011, with Scott saying he was instantly attracted to Jeanne’s passion and kindness, but as he was married at that time it wasn’t the right thing to do (and Jeanne said she used to run away from him because of that connection she felt with him). A few years later Scott was single and playing a Buckcherry show, and Jeanne approached her after the show to talk, asking for his number, and they have not stopped talking since, saying it’s easy to play in a band with his wife as he gets to look to his right every night and see his best friend, his soul mate and the love of his life sharing his passion with him. Jeanne complemented by saying their bond is greater and stronger than they could have ever dreamed, mentioning important milestones like their mutual fight for sobriety as one of the things that strengthen their relationship every single day.

Regarding her 10-year stint with American Metalcore band All That Remains, from 2006 to 2015, as aforementioned she joined the band while working on the merch table for Prosthetics Records, having recorded her first single with the band that same year, the excellent The Air That I Breathe, proving she was the perfect choice for handling the band’s bass duties. After that first single, Jeanne recorded an array of first-class albums with the band, those being The Fall of Ideals (2006), Overcome (2008), …for We Are Many (2010), A War You Cannot Win (2012) and The Order of Things (2015), as well as a live album and DVD in 2007 simply titled Live, and you can enjoy her rumbling bass smashing your senses in songs such as What If I Was Nothing, This Probably Won’t End Well, Two Weeks, The Last Time, Chiron and This Calling, or simply go to the band’s Spotify profile to stream each one of those albums in full.

However, in 2015 Jeanne announced her amicable departure from All That Remains in order to pursue personal interests (and by that I mean playing bass and backing vocals in Crossing Rubicon alongside her husband), being replaced by Aaron “Bubble” Patrick, formerly of the band Bury Your Dead. At the time of her departure form the band, Jeanne commented, “It is with heavy heart that I depart from All That Remains. I’ve decided to follow my heart and pursue other opportunities in life. I truly appreciate the amazing experiences and the great fans over the last decade. I wish ATR all the best going forward.” She said that just like in every band there are ups and downs to everything, and in that particular case the negatives started to outweigh the good, which drove her away eventually. She does take away growing as a person and as a musician, though, becoming more outgoing and overcoming insecurities, standing up for herself and getting the courage to follow her own path.

Now as the bass player and backing vocalist for American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Crossing Rubicon, Jeanne seems to be enjoying a lot more freedom in her bass playing style and in contributing to the band’s writing process, having already recorded with the band their two full-length albums so far, those being  No Less than Everything, in 2016, and more recently Seeing Red, in 2019. Formed in 2009 in Bristol, Connecticut, in the United States, and having their name inspired by the expression “Crossing (the) Rubicon”, which means to pass a point of no return after Julius Caesar’s crossing of the river Rubicon in Italy in 49 BC, the band offers a molten blend of 80’s hooks and musicianship with modern rock power and relevance, having already opened for renowned acts including Mötley Crüe, Queensrÿche, Pop Evil and many more. Hence, if you want to enjoy some of the creations by Crossing Rubicon, simply search for them on Spotify or watch their official videos on YouTube for songs like The Fallen, Who’s Gonna Save You, I Will Remain and Seeing Red.

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Apart from her career with All That Remains and Crossing Rubicon, Jeanne is also featured in several other bands and projects, all hailing form the United States. For instance, she has been the bass player for a Mathcore band called Blood Has Been Shed, known for having two members of Killswitch Engage (Howard Jones and Justin Foley) in the band, since 2012, but nothing official has been released with Jeanne on the band so far (and no one knows if that will ever happen). She’s also a member of a Heavy Metal band called Piercing Immortality under the moniker Jeanne Anarchy, also with her husband Scotty Anarchy on vocals as mentioned before, playing bass and backing vocals on their 2018 EP Systematic Global Poisoning and on their 2019 EP Risen from the Ashes, and in her years before All That Remains she was the bassist for Metalcore band Ligeia, for Technical Metalcore band Light Is the Language (having recorded with them the EP The Void Falls Silent, in 2001), and for Metalcore band The Acacia Strain in 2003. In addition, you can also find Jeanne as the guest bassist for Stoner/Sludge Metal band Oxen in their 2015 album The Vanishing.

As any true rock and metal fan, Jeanne has a lot of different influences and idols regarding not only her playing style but also her looks. She said that apart from her past in the Hardcore scene, which has obviously had an impact on her style, she also considers both of Tool bass players (Paul D’Amour and Justin Chancellor) and Jason Newsted-era Metallica as her biggest influences in music. Furthermore, although she has always looked up to rock stars with larger than life personas like David Bowie, being a little envious of all his bright and vibrant hair colors, she said she’s never done anything too extreme with her appearance, considering herself more of a Janis Joplin than a Lady Gaga, and when asked about which bands or artists she enjoys listening to, she mentioned amazing options from the rock and metal scene including Hatebreed, Nine Inch Nails, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, The Smiths and so on. Her equipment is also a very important part of her career, and you can see her in different stages of her life using several ass-kicking pieces such as a black cherry Spector Legend 4 Classic four-string bass with EMG 35DC active pickups and Ampeg SVT bass amplifiers, a Soundgear 4-strings and an ARTB100 four-string (the latter of which can be seen in the music video for the song Hold On), Orange amplifiers and Omega speaker cabinets, Tiny Terror 1000 watt, Boss tuner, Darkglass B7K, and Shure wireless system.

Touring is obviously a crucial piece in the career of any rock and metal musician, and it couldn’t be any different than that with Jeanne. In one of her interviews, she talked about how important it is not only to put on a great show on stage, but also to hang out with the other bands, to meet new people, to do great interviews and to convince people who are seeing the band for the first time how great their music is. Apart from festivals like Graspop and Ozzfest, where not only she said she had an amazing time and was able to watch performances by bands she enjoys a lot like Dragonforce, Jeanne mentioned that she would like to return to festivals such as Download and Rock Am Ring, and to explore a little more countries like Japan. She also said that playing a lot of shows in a short span of time plus all the traveling can be a little exhausting, but that in the end she feels great after seeing so many happy fans attending the concerts. Moreover, in order to stay fit and put on a kick-ass show on stage, Jeanne and her bandmates said that they try to stay in shape by running a lot (around the parking lots), going to the gym and cooking on the bus (instead of eating junk food), usually having much healthier eating habits than if they were all at home.

Our dauntless bassist also has some interesting thoughts about the current state of metal in the digital age we’re all living in, saying that although metal is alive and kicking, a lot of people refused to change and got stuck in their old mentalities, fighting and ignoring downloading music instead of finding a way to use it as an advantage. However, if there’s one thing that annoys Jeanne is the fact that people keep taking pictures, recording everything and posting that online when her band is playing live instead of enjoying the show. “What does get annoying is people just staring at their phones when we’re playing and I wonder, are we doing our jobs right? What can we do to get their attention? We’re there to put on a show and that’s our focus,” complained our skillful bass player, and we must all agree with her that such behavior is indeed quite disturbing. Jeanne also talked about the fact she’s been doing a lot more vocals both in the studio and on stage, both clean and harsh ones, something that she used to be insecure about and learned how to overcome by practicing and preparing until making herself more confident.

Both Jeanne and her husband Scott have mentioned in several interviews about their fight against alcoholism, their struggles and how they managed to get clean and sober, something both are really proud of. Jeanne said that she used to drink to numb herself from things that were bothering her, and that after some time she talked to Scott about sobriety and they inspired each other to get sober and stay sober, having a reason to want to wake up every single day, open their eyes and live life together to the fullest. In addition, she mentioned their involvement with Road Recovery, an organization founded in 1998 that helps addiction through music, which is very inspiring and humbling from a sobriety standpoint, and we must all celebrate everything the couple has accomplished in their lives and career by getting clean and, therefore, having more energy, creativity and focus to apply to their music. Hence, if you want to know more about Jeanne, her career, her relationship with Scott, her adventures on the road and so on, go check some of her interviews on YouTube such as this one at Carolina Rebellion in 2013, this one at Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2008, and this one at Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival in 2009, among several others, where you can see why Jeanne is not only a badass bass player, but also an awesome human being and a fantastic metalhead.

Crossing Rubicon’s Official Facebook page
Crossing Rubicon’s Official Twitter
Crossing Rubicon’s Official YouTube channel
Piercing Immortality’s Official Facebook page
Piercing Immortality’s Official Instagram
Piercing Immortality’s Official Twitter

“I think that Metal is alive. It seems that people are stuck in mentalities and refuse to change. The industry fought and ignored downloading rather than finding a way to make it work for them. Also because of the Internet, people think they are going to be overnight stars—that goes for TV also. No one wants to put their nose to grind, but we will. We believe in ourselves and we believe in the scene.” – Jeanne Sagan

Metal Chick of the Month – Cammie Gilbert

Holding on to everything you say… Cause’ your words they paint a picture of me…

In a very difficult year where the world sadly witnessed an increase in violence and racism against black people, and of course the more-than-necessary rise of the Black Lives Matter movement in their fight for freedom, liberation and justice, we at The Headbanging Moose want to share with all of you our humble tribute to another black woman who has been brilliantly fighting all that racism and showing to the world black women have their place in heavy music, just like other rock and metal divas who have already been honored here on our webzine like Melissa Bonny, Militia Vox, Alexis Brown, Thalìa Bellazecca and Kayla Dixon. I’m talking about the multi-talented and gorgeous vocalist and songwriter Cammie Gilbert, the stunning frontwoman for American Progressive Rock and Metal act Oceans of Slumber, a band that has already been labeled by many as “Opeth or Katatonia with female vocals”, but that in my opinion managed to craft their own sound and style, embellishing the airwaves with their delicate but at the same time scorching creations.

Born on October 8, 1987 in Shepherd, a city located in San Jacinto County, Texas, in the United States, Cammie joined Houston, Texas-based Oceans of Slumber at the age of 27, more specifically in the year of 2014 after the departure of the band’s former vocalist Ronnie Allen, who had been with the band since their inception in 2011. Cammie, who’s by the way on a solid and healthy relationship with the band’s founder, drummer and pianist Dobber Beverly, the sole reminiscent of their original lineup, became the primary songwriter for the group after joining, having already released with Oceans of Slumber the EP Blue, in 2015, followed by the full-length albums Winter (2016), The Banished Heart (2018) and more recently Oceans of Slumber (2020), all available for a full listen on Spotify. You can enjoy tons of amazing official videos of Cammie and Oceans of Slumber kicking some serious ass on their YouTube channel, including the songs The Decay Of Disregard, Pray for Fire, The Colors of Grace, The Adorned Fathomless Creation, Winter, To the Sea (A Tolling of the Bells), The Banished Heart, Strange Fruit, Suffer The Last Bridge, a cover version for Candlemass’ Solitude, an acoustic version for Turpentine, and a live in the studio version for the song This Road.

Currently comprised of the aforementioned Cammie and Dobber together with keyboardist Mat V. Aleman and newcomers Jessie Santos and Alexander Lucian on the guitars and Semir Ozerkan on bass, Cammie said that the band’s former guitarists Sean Gary and Anthony Contreras and bassist Keegan Kelly wanted to explore different influences and styles which never fit with what Oceans of Slumber were doing at that time, the kind of tension that’s absolutely normal, but she also said there were tensions as soon as she got into the band, resulting in a split between the former members not wanting to be “female fronted”. “There is a certain metal crowd that thinks its a gimmick. I’m not growling, I just sing clean and am emotional, but a lot of male singers have that emotion too. There’s just stigmas that make anything a woman does, the wrong thing for metal. We had a couple of those old school attitudes and transition wasn’t their strong suite,” mentioned Cammie in one of her interviews.

Apart from her years with Oceans of Slumber, Cammie is also the lead singer for a Houston, Texas-based project called Genoa Band together with Dobber and guitarist Christian Larson, another branch from Oceans of Slumber’s musical tree drawing upon the lyrical and atmospheric production of bands and artists like Nick Cave, Portishead and This Mortal Coil while still sounding heavy but more intimate, playing a fusion of styles such as Southern, Gothic and Dark Rock. However, there’s nothing officially released by the band and no news since mid-2019 when they announced their first single Paraffin was almost ready to be released, making me think if they gave up the idea of moving forward with the project due to everything that has been going on with Oceans of Slumber, including the recording and release of their 2020 self-titled album. You can also find Cammie as a very special guest in the 2020 album Transitus, by Dutch Progressive Metal/Rock project Ayreon, playing the part of Abby throughout the entire album. “We met a friend of Arjen Lucassen over in the UK and he was interviewing us and asked if there was anything that we wanted to tell Arjen. And so Dobber is like, ‘Yeah, if he could get any of us on an album, we’re big fans, and if you could have him listen to The Banished Heart, that’d be great.’ And so he followed through with that request. Shortly after that Arjen wrote that he loved The Banished Heart and he would love to work with me someday. And we were like, ‘Yeah, of course that’d be great.’ And then maybe a couple more months after that, it was, ‘You want to be on the album?’ And I peed my pants,” commented Cammie about her collaboration with one of her idols in heavy music.

When asked to make a list of the top 10 albums that changed her life, Cammie listed a collection of albums that usually occupy a dark corner of her mind where often emotions outweigh the heaviness of the music, including 40 Watt Sun’s 2011 EP The Inside Room, Agnes Obel’s 2013 album Aventine, Alice In Chains’ 1992 album Dirt (which by the way reminds her why she loves the kind of music that she makes), Anathema’s 2012 album Weather Systems, Eivør’s 2015 album Slør, Evergrey’s 2016 album The Storm Within, Katatonia’s 2016 album The Fall Of Hearts, Swallow The Sun’s 2015 triple album Songs From The North I, II & III, Agents Of Oblivion’s 2000 self-titled album, and last but not least, Type O Negative’s 1996 masterpiece October Rust. “I love Peter Steele. We love Type O Negative, there’s  just nothing like it. We go through a lot of his albums but that’s the main one for me. I love Cinnamon Girl, Be My Druidess and also Wolf Moon. Dobber saw them live once. Super jealous. I’ve just had to make up for it by reading the autobiography, and he buys everything he can as far as media regarding the band. It’s an experience to go through their songs. He [Peter Steele] is such a clever lyricist. It’s the funniest kind of music I feel like I listen to. It brings up my energy and makes me happy,” commented our talented vocalist about the unparalleled work by Mr. Peter Steele (R.I.P.).

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In one of her interviews, when questioned about the lack of more black women in heavy music, Cammie said that it’s due to a multitude of reasons, including sexist comments saying that her voice would fit pop or hip hop music much better than metal, and that clean singing that isn’t symphonic is connotated to sounding pop, which might influence the decision of a black woman to move towards a soul, gospel, R&B or blues direction. Cammie herself was basically told to sing in hip hop or pop and to never go anywhere near rock and metal, but no one ever told her why except for the preconceptions already mentioned. “And what Dobber heard in my voice and what he heard from me… I’m a very melancholy person. I’m in and out of bouts of depression and what I identify with metal and metal-adjacent music is, what I identify with the music that I find, if it makes me, if I’m already sad and it makes me sadder then I’m like, “This is going on a playlist.” And I like things that give me these, not give me these dark feelings, but validate my dark feelings, because I feel like that helps me release them,” said Cammie, also saying that she feels that’s changing as there are more and more alternative black and black metalhead females out there. For instance, her own parents were extremely religious, not allowing her to listen to extreme styles like Death Metal or Grindcore, but that’s different now as younger black kids and people in general can have access to all types of metal music through their phones, for example.

When questioned about the Black Lives Matter movement, racism and if metal has a problem with racism, she said that racism is everywhere, and that it’s something more people have to unlearn than they realize, especially in America. Despite being fortunate enough to not experience too many issues related to racism since joining Oceans of Slumber, she stated that she can no longer approach this subject without a multitude of emotions overtaking her resolve, nor keep the angry tears from welling up and pouring out of her eyes when black senators, mayors, celebrities and brave people online share their frustrations over America’s shortcomings. She feels like her history and the entire country are broken, with George Floyd’s death being a tipping point or a catalyst for a new generation to finally say enough is enough due to the undeniable ruthlessness in which his life was taken. “When you think about the history of America, there’s very little that’s good for anyone who isn’t white. That’s just the truth. It leaves a hollow feeling in your chest taking this information in from so many different outlets. You realize this country isn’t fixing something, it’s letting something go,” complemented Cammie about such delicate matter, also saying that in the days ahead we face the challenge of putting these emotions into goal-focused actions.

Lastly, always evolving as a vocalist and always ready to experiment with her music, Cammie is more than sure Oceans of Slumber are already starting to break out of the Progressive Rock and Metal scene, letting her inspirations guide her music and warning people who already like the band that they’ll have to let go of any expectations for what comes next, leaving us curious to see what the future holds for her and for Oceans of Slumber. Furthermore, as the fantastic vocalist  that she is, Cammie surely misses the stage and performing live to the band’s fans and to newcomers to their progressive world, and they’re already thinking of ways of getting back onstage in Houston obeying all recommended protocols of social distancing to keep everyone safe, including obviously all band members. And, of course, all of us fans of a good fusion of progressiveness, emotions and heavy music can’t wait to see Cammie back to where she belongs, mesmerizing us all with her powerful voice and showing us all black girls can and will forever rock no matter what.

Cammie Gilbert’s Official Instagram
Oceans of Slumber’s Official Facebook page
Oceans of Slumber’s Official Instagram
Oceans of Slumber’s Official Twitter
Oceans of Slumber’s Official YouTube channel

“I am a black woman in America and I am the great, great granddaughter of slaves. Memories upheld only in photographs; as a little girl I would try to imagine what their lives were like. But as it goes, reality unravelled the mystery behind my childish imagination. Now when I see old photos in civil war documentaries, I see their faces. When I watch the grainy black and white footage depicting the Jim Crow era, I see their faces. When I watch the films of the marches inspired by Martin Luther King Jr., I see their faces. And now when I sign into social media and see protestors getting tear-gassed, I see their faces, only now mine is there too.” – Cammie Gilbert

Metal Chick of the Month – Madame Mayhem

Let the Mayhem begin!

As the year of 2020 has been nothing but pure chaos and mayhem, how about we celebrate the month of November and the fact we’re getting closer and closer to the end of such unique year in the history of mankind with our multi-talented metal chick of the month, the one and only Madame Mayhem, frontwoman of her own solo band Madame Mayhem? I’m sure you’ll enjoy knowing a little about her career, her personal life and, above all that, rocking like there’s no tomorrow to her electrifying and meaningful compositions, putting you to dance wherever you are even if it’s your own living room during this never-ending quarantine. Having said that, grab a cold beer, raise your horns and let the Mayhem begin!

Born on January 24, 1989 in Tenafly, one of the best places to live in New Jersey, in the United States, really close to the rich and multicultural Manhattan, Madame Mayhem, whose real name is Natalie Ann Cohen, began her musical training at the Manhattan School Of Music and went on to Frost School Of Music at the University Of Miami, where she completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Music, double majoring in Classical Opera and Musical Theatre, in three years. Before that, when she was still a little kid, she said her mom used to play music in the car when she drove her around to try to get her to nap, playing mostly grunge, which Mayhem’s likes to joke it was her “baby music”, making a big impression on her and helping develop her taste for heavier music as she grew older. Always having the will to perform, sing, write and create music, she said her nickname Madame Mayhem was actually created by her parents, meaning she needed to take control and rise above the “Mayhem” around her, taking charge of her own anxiety, hurt and frustrations, and then channeling all that towards her pulse-pounding anthems, instantly connecting with anyone who has struggled.

Madame Mayhem actually began her professional career back in 2011 when she was featured on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio New Discovered and Uncovered Artist chart, before opening for Buckcherry’s Live Nation tour at The Sands Casino, already creating some buzz in North America and internationally. Having already performed all across the United States in famous venues such as The Roxy, The Viper Room, Bowery Ballroom, Knitting Factory, The Cutting Room and the Bluebird Café, she has also headlined the VH1’s “That Metal Show” annual Christmas Party, performed on Shiprocked Cruise in 2017, scheduled to perform at Sunfest in 2017, and has recently performed on national tours with renowned and respected metal artists such as Doro and Mushroomhead. Not only that, owner of a ravishing looks that blends the colors of goth, glam and nuances of other rock styles, our beloved diva has also been covered in both fashion and rock music media including Aquarian Weekly, Brave Words, Fashion Style, Gannett, Guitar World, KNAC, Loudwire, New Noise, Revolver and The Day In Rock, among others, and has also been featured in international publications like Sweden Rock Magazine, Aardschok Magazine, Rock Hard Magazine France and Metal Hammer Magazine Spain.

Musically speaking, she has already collaborated with a vast array of renowned rock and metal artists and bands such as Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big, Winery Dogs), Ray Luzier (KoRn, KXM), Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (Guns N’ Roses), Russ Parrish (“Satchel” from Steel Panther), Earl Slick (David Bowie, John Lennon), Rudy Sarzo (Ozzy Osbourne, Quiet Riot, Whitesnake, Dio), John Moyer (Disturbed), Corey Lowery (Saint Asonia), Clint Lowery (Sevendust) and more, having also shared the stage with amazing bands the likes of Sevendust, Memphis May Fire, Fozzy and Doro. There’s a very good reason for all those connections with prominent names of the rock and metal scene, which is obviously the high quality of the music found in her three official albums released so far, those being her 2012 debut effort White Noise, produced by Grammy Award-winning songwriter Mark Hudson, her sophomore album Now You Know, from 2015, and her most recent album Ready For Me, released in 2017, always offering the listener a high-octane, fresh fusion of  Rock N’ Roll, Hard Rock and Alternative Rock and Metal.

Apart from those full-length installments, Madame Mayhem has also released a few more recent singles, those being her cover version for Paul McCartney’s My Valentine, in 2018, Broken, in 2019, and Breaking Down and an amazing cover version for Aerosmith’s Livin’ On The Edge now in 2020. Regarding her rendition of one of the biggest classics by Aerosmith, she said that “earlier in my career I covered Aerosmith’s Livin’ On The Edge during our live shows. We had recorded a version, but it stayed in the Mayhem vault of songs completed, yet never released…until now! During these times, I feel this song is especially relevant. I wanted to give fans and fellow music lovers alike, a little something to rock out to during these strange and difficult days which we are all experiencing together.” Hence, if you want to keep on rocking together with Madame Mayhem, you can also enjoy her official videos and live footage for songs such as Monster, a cover version for Alanis Morissette’s Uninvited, a live acoustic version of Broken, as well as Ready For Me, All Around The World, Left For Dead, Dead Will Rise and Save Me.

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Having always wanted to become a singer, a musician and a performer, therefore never having a plan B in life, Madame Mayhem has a very eclectic taste in music, looking up to and showing her deepest respect and admiration for countless artists, as for example Chris Cornell, whose incredible voice really got her and still does, and Alanis Morissette, a strong female artist who really impacted her as a child. According to Mayhem herself, Incubus was her first real rock concert, with every live show coming with awesome memories in her humble opinion. In addition, when asked about which artists she would love to collaborate on a song or album, she said she has been fortunate enough to already have collaborated with so many incredible musicians and artists, but some would be Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails), Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Korn, Halestorm, Evanescence and Sevendust, among many, many others. Also, she mentioned that opening up for Sevendust, Fozzy and Doro was an amazing experience, learning different things from each band she has toured with.

Regarding her life on the road, she mentioned that an average day on tour is not as glamorous as one might think, but when you’re surrounded by your band and team that all have each other’s backs every day is fun and great. When on tour, Madame Mayhem tries to interact with her fans as much as possible both on stage and after the concert is over, also trying to stay connected with them through all her social media profiles. Furthermore, in order to stay healthy while on tour, she said she tries to rest whenever possible, never partying too hard so that she can preserve her voice and put on the best show she can each night. However, as we’re all aware of, music concerts are pretty much nonexistent nowadays due to the coronavirus pandemic, and as bands cannot play live and sell merch to their fans, Mayhem said that apart from her social media, she’s more than happy to sell her products through her own webstore to keep her fans entertained, also making use of live streaming platforms like countless other bands around the world to keep the fires of rock and metal music alive while music concerts and festivals continue to be prohibited worldwide.

Still talking about the pandemic, she said that due to the fact she lives in New York she still spends most of her time in her apartment, having set up a small makeshift home studio and writing music, as well as playing some live cover songs for her Youtube page and doing some virtual festivals. Mayhem tries to stay active by doing cardio outside when she can and Les Mills’ Body Combat in her living room, saying those workouts have really helped keep her sane during such difficult times, and of course spending time home with her family has also been great. She even said that because of the extra time she has in her hands right now she was the one who put together the official lyric video for Breaking Down and the music video for Livin’ On The Edge, showcasing another one of her many talents as a musician and an artist. That’s also related to her belief as to how someone can become a better musician or singer, commenting that anyone should keep working hard and practicing as much as possible, complementing by saying that she’s an example of that by having periodic vocal training sessions, trying to practice every single day, and learning new things within the realm of her career as a musician and a singer, something she considers extremely important.

When asked about how she feels about streaming services like Spotify, Madame Mayhem said that although she has always been a fan of releasing full-length physical CD’s that you can hold and that the artwork and the music together can tell a story from front to back, streaming music has made it easier for people to discover new music and new artists, and I guess we must all agree with her on that as without streaming most independent and underground bands would have a hard time trying to spread their music everywhere. That also includes streaming of programs and movies, which in this case are very beneficial for the viewers who can enjoy an endless variety of shows and movies, just like what Madame Mayhem herself likes to do during her downtime. If you want to know more about our unstoppable vocalist and performer, you can find several online interviews with her such as this one to an online magazine named  Bionic Buzz,  where she talks about her latest releases, touring with Sevendust and Fozzy in Europe, and other fun stories. Having said all that, let’s keep banging our heads to our multi-talented artist and her incendiary Rock N’ Roll, and let the Mayhem continue forever and ever!

Madame Mayhem’s Official Facebook page
Madame Mayhem’s Official Instagram
Madame Mayhem’s Official Twitter
Madame Mayhem’s Official YouTube channel

“Music, singing, and performing have been my passions my entire life, and always will be.” – Madame Mayhem

Metal Chick of the Month – Diva Satanica

Kill’em all, Diva Satanica!

My dear metalheads, how about we celebrate SEVEN FUCKIN’ YEARS of The Headbanging Moose in great fashion with one of the most charismatic, hardworking and talented growlers of the current metal scene? Not only she will haunt your soul with her wicked screams and roars, but she’s also a stunning alternative model and a collaborator of one of the best metal magazines in her home country. I’m talking about the venomous she-wolf Rocío Vázquez, better known by her incendiary moniker Diva Satanica, the frontwoman for Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Bloodhunter and more recently for the international all-female Thrash Metal horde Nervosa, kicking some serious ass with her onstage performance and her beyond potent vocals wherever she goes. Are you ready to have Diva Satanica screaming like a beast right in your face on our humble tribute to such amazing exponent of the Spanish Extreme Metal scene?

Born on June 25, 1988 in La Coruña, Galícia, in the North-West of Spain, known as “the land of witches”, but currently residing in Madrid, the capital city of Spain, Diva Satanica is a lover of all kinds of music, but of course she nurtures a special, deep passion for Rock N’ Roll and almost all subgenres of Heavy Metal, especially the ones that suit her needs of talking about feelings. As mentioned by our unstoppable diva in one of her interviews, no one in her family enjoys metal music and in the beginning it was really hard for her to find friends with the same taste in music, but she managed to find her place in society as we can all witness now. In addition, although she said she was terrified the first time she listened to a Death Metal band, due to the fact she didn’t feel comfortable with melodic singing she decided to give growling a try, and well, we must all agree it was the best decision in her life, offering us all fans of heavy music the furious and thrilling creations brought forth by our diva together with her henchmen from Bloodhunter.

In regards to Bloodhunter, the band started about a year before Diva Satanica joined them, more specifically in 2008 in La Coruña (but also currently based in Madrid), by the hands of sole founding member, guitarist and main songwriter Dani Arcos, also known as Fenris, to develop some demos that didn’t fit at his other bands at that time, even with a melodic singer in the beginning. It was after several changes in their lineup and concept when Diva Satanica finally joined the band, currently comprised of our metal lady and Fenris, of course, together with guitarist G. Starless, bassist Daniel Luces and drummer Marcelo Aires. However, she only started singing (and growling) for the band in 2012, after writing the lyrics for a few of their songs and joining their rehearsals, and according to Diva Satanica her bandmates had to be very patient with her in the beginning as she used to sing looking to the wall instead of looking to the band, but from that moment on things started to happen for them, culminating with the release of their debut demo The First Insurrection, in 2013.

It was just a matter of time until the release of their debut full-length opus, self-titled Bloodhunter, which came to light in 2014 and quickly made a huge impact on the local Spanish scene, gathering the attention of fans and critics not only in Spain but anywhere else in the world where high-quality Melodic Death Metal is appreciated. A couple of years later, in 2017, the band released their sophomore effort, titled The End of Faith, showcasing a huge evolution in terms of sound quality, creativity, violence and, above all, in Diva Satanica’s guttural vocals, presenting a much more demonic, piercing and thrilling side of our devilish banshee. Apart from their two studio albums, Bloodhunter also released a couple of singles through the years, those being Ages of Darkness, in 2014, which was featured on a compilation called Oráculo Magazine: From the Shadows Vol.I, and a very entertaining cover version for Helloween’s all-time classic I Want Out, in 2018, where Diva Satanica shares the vocal duties with Spanish vocalist and guitarist Leo Jiménez, known for his solo band and other projects such as Stravaganzza and Saratoga. In addition to that, Bloodhunter also offered us fans a few more amazing cover songs, with their version for Arch Enemy’s hit Bury Me an Angel, featured on a compilation called Hardcore Hits Cancer Vol. III in 2018, Death’s Crystal Mountain, and more recently their rendition for Cradle of Filth’s demolishing tune Gilded Cunt, showing all of our diva’s versatility and range as the fantastic Extreme Metal singer she is.

Apart from those albums, singles and cover songs, you can also have a blast with Diva Satanica and the boys in their excellent 2020 live album Live in Madrid, containing six amazing live versions recorded on March 19, 2019 at the now (unfortunately) defunct We Rock in Madrid, including Dying Sun, All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, and Bring me Horror. Furthermore, you can find other non-official live footage from Bloodhunter on YouTube, such as for example Ancestors Ov All Gods also live at We Rock, but in 2015, The Bloody Throne live at Mangualde Hard Metal Fest 2017, and Eyes Wide Open live at Le Club in La Coruña in 2018, among many, many others. However, if you prefer watching official videos with all the usual production, special effects and other shenanigans, you can bang your head to the songs All These Souls Shall Serve… Forever!, Dying Sun, Embrace the Dark Light and Let the Storm Come.

As we don’t have anything official yet with Diva Satanica fronting the thrashing girls from Nervosa except for a live chat done in June 2020 with the “four horsewomen”, Brazilian guitarist and founder Prika Amaral, Italian bassist Mia Wallace (The true Endless, Triumph of Death, Niryth, Abbath), Greek drummer Eleni Nota (Lightfold, Mask of Prospero, Simplefast) and of course our beloved Diva Satanica, let’s talk a little about her previous bands, projects and special appearances in an array of bands from the most diverse styles, starting with a band she fronted from 2015 until 2019, Spanish Progressive/Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore band Outreach. Despite her short stint with Outreach, she recorded with the band the full-length Ephemeral Existence and the single Insane Mind, both in 2019, showcasing all her range and potency throughout the entire album (which I highly recommended you take a listen at).

You’ll also be able to enjoy her she-wolf roars in the songs Nothing to Believe, from the 2018 album Misanthropy, by El Salvadorian Thrash/Death Metal band Apes of God; Mutiladora Genital, from Spanish Death Metal masters Aposento’s 2014 self-titled album; Darkness Within, from the 2018 album Purgatory, by Spanish Melodic Death Metal band Suru; doing additional vocals in the entire album Mesías, released in 2019 by Spanish Heavy Metal band Leo Jiménez; impersonating the one and only Baphomet in the 2019 album El Secreto de los Templarios, by Spanish Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Legado de una Tragedia, together with soprano Nancy Catalina and Sara Grün from Hiranya (and you can enjoy this nice making of with an explanation as to why those three vocalists were chosen for the part); and last but not least, doing additional and choir vocals in the songs La Cantiga de las Brujas (check also this amazing live version of the same song) and El Séptimo Sello, from the 2019 album Ira Dei, by Spanish Celtic/Folk Metal institution Mägo de Oz.

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Such multi-talented metal diva would obviously have tons of distinguished influences in her style and career, and despite the fact that her moniker was clearly inspired by one of the best Arch Enemy songs of all time, Diva Satanica, and that most fans tried to label them as the Spanish version of Arch Enemy in the beginning, the members of Bloodhunter have many different influences in their musical careers, from Judas Priest to Behemoth and Death. When asked about her own personal favorites, Diva Satanica mentioned bands and artists the likes of Astarte, Eths, In This Moment, Skullfist, Behemoth, Axewound, Rotting Christ, Nightrage, Firewind and Lana del Rey, showing she enjoys any type of music, not only rock and metal, but also saying that it’s in Extreme Metal where she found her identity when singing. If you know Spanish and want to spend some time with Diva Satanica and her collection of metal and non-metal albums, you should definitely watch this video on YouTube, where she presents some of her favorite albums from bands and artists like Jimi Hendrix, Ramones, Bon Jovi, Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row, Alice In Chains, Firewind, Rotting Chirst, The Agonist and Eths. Regarding French metalcore band Eths, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the amazing Candice Clot, former frontwoman for what’s in my opinion one of the most underrated metal bands of all time, was essential in her decision to become an extreme music vocalist. In addition, you can enjoy Diva Satanica paying her own personal tribute to some of her biggest idols on her own YouTube channel, including her vocal performances of Septicflesh’s Prototype, Holy Moses’ Triggered, Behemoth’s Ov Fire And The Void, and a very unique version for Slayer’s darkest hit Raining Blood together with Spanish rock and metal cover band Femme Fractal.

As we’re talking about women in rock and metal, Diva Satanica complemented her thoughts by saying that apart from Candice Clot (and Diva Satanica even said that when Candice left Eths she was offered to audition, but she had to refuse it as she was barely 20 years old and had no means to travel nor the equipment to record with), she also loves the music by In This Moment, Jinjer and a Spanish underground band named Bones of Minerva, which I highly recommend you go check their music on their BandCamp page. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the song The Queen Beast is dedicated to Maria “Tristessa” Kolokouri from Greek Black Metal horde Astarte, one of her main influences and a good friend that sadly passed away in 2014 due to complications from leukemia, saying she was the first woman to create the first Black Metal band formed only by women, and we can easily see that beautiful tribute Diva Satanica paid to Tristessa in the song’s amazing lyrics (“Feel her wrath / She’s watching from the stars / Abstraction of life / The air, the nature, the skies are now her reign / The shades in darkened silverlights / The black flame burns! / The highest priestess arise”).

If you think it was easy for Diva Satanica to reach her current vocal style and growth as an Extreme Metal vocalist, she said her path so far has demanded (and will always demand) from her a lot of hard work, discipline and trial and error, acknowledging that she couldn’t sing properly on the band’s first album as she didn’t know exactly what she was doing nor she could sustain her vocals for long periods of time. It was only after watching several tutorials on YouTube , after consulting with different extreme music singers and after studying in detail the performances of all vocalists of the concerts she attended that she properly began shaping her voice, spending about two years improving her technique, even taking melodic singing classes at a given point in her life, and applying necessary warmup and diaphragm strengthening exercises to improve her performance. Then she said that because she started her “Extreme Vocal Lessons” to help other growlers to improve their vocals in the early stages of their careers, she ended up discovering different vocal types and ranges that she considered great choices to incorporate to her own style. If you want to take a peak at some of her videos where she gives important tips for growlers like her, you can watch this tutorial (also in Spanish) where she teaches how to do guttural and screaming vocals, and also this short lesson where she explains the difference between growls and screams versus grunts, pig squeals, shrieks and other vocalizations. One thing that is quite annoying to Diva Satanica is when people use gender to justify why women can’t growl, with her solution to that simply being inviting those people to watch Bloodhunter live, which in my opinion is indeed an amazing experience for the non-believers who will undoubtedly be stunned by her vicious roars.

When asked about the current metal scene in Galicia, where she comes from, and if her music and Death Metal are well-received by the people from that region in Northwest Spain, she said that although they’re a small community there are different styles that people tend to listen to the most from time to time. Around a decade ago, the Gothic scene was the most prevalent, switching to Alternative Metal and Metalcore in recent years. She also mentioned the importance of their own summer festival, Resurrection Fest, which started years ago as a small act but that it’s now one of the most important festival in Europe, proving the scene in Galicia is in excellent shape. As you might have noticed already, Diva Satanica loves performing on stage, and among her favorite songs to play live she mentioned some of her band’s most violent creations such as Let the Storm Come, Possessed by Myself and of course The Queen Beast, as already mentioned, as this song has a strong meaning for her and helps her add an extra amount of emotional feeling to her singing.

Not only an accomplished vocalist, Diva Satanica has also done some modeling in the past and contributed as a writer and journalist to a couple of magazines, including La Heavy, one of the biggest rock and metal publication in Spain, managed by the website Mariskal Rock. She said she started her modeling career a few years ago, but as she discovered a lot of people are interested in many different things other than art, she gave up and decided to focus on the metal scene, starting with a Greek webzine named Subexistance Music Production and then moving on to La Heavy. Apart from that, she’s also working towards a Degree as a Doctor in Nursery, and was a participant in the Spanish TV program La Voz (the Spanish version of The Voice) in 2017, surprising the coaches by screaming and growling instead of only doing clean vocals, being the first contestant to perform this type of singing. The international artist Juanes chose her to be part of his team, where she performed songs like Eurythmics’ Sweet Dreams, Survivor’s Eye of the Tiger and Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. There’s even an interview she gave to a guy named Juan Destroyer on Mariskal Rock TV where she talks about her participation on the show, and how she inspired Juanes to get back on doing a heavier kind of rock. Moreover, she always mentions that being on La Voz was one of the best experiences of her life without any doubt, saying that as she was the first even participant to do guttural, she got a lot of recognition from fans and bands from all over the world, with icons such as  Michael Amott of Arch Enemy or Christos Antoniou of Septicflesh congratulating her for her amazing performance on the show.

Our dauntless diva also mentioned that there’s still a long road ahead of all musicians that dedicate their careers to more extreme styles of rock and metal, as there’s still a lot of prejudice everywhere (saying that even today in Madrid she has to cover her tattoos depending on the situation), but that it’s up to the musicians themselves to make their style more accepted by society, and that the more musicians bring their experience to light and defend their identity, the more the road will open up. As you can see, Diva Satanica is not only extremely talented and focused on her career, but she also has a strong opinion about the current state of the metal scene and about what any person needs to do to thrive in the music industry. Hence, you can check some extra interviews with this amazing Spanish she-wolf on YouTube, such as this one where she shares the latest update on both Bloodhunter and Nervosa, the current coronavirus pandemic situation and more, or this one to a show called “That Metal Interview with James”, recorded in June 2020, where she speaks of how she met Prika Amaral of Nervosa and how she was approached to join the Brazilian death metallers, about her experience being on the TV show La Voz, and about the future plans of both Bloodhunter and Nervosa regarding their musical direction for their next records. You’ll notice from all those interviews and from her music that Rocío Vázquez is more than just another vocalist; she’s a very humble and gentle human being, a hardworking musician, and a fulminating growler. Having said that, all that’s left to say is… ALL HAIL THE ONE AND ONLY DIVA SATANICA!

Diva Satanica’s Official Facebook page
Diva Satanica’s Official Instagram
Diva Satanica’s Official Twitter
Diva Satanica’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official Facebook page
Bloodhunter’s Official Instagram
Bloodhunter’s Official Twitter
Bloodhunter’s Official YouTube channel
Bloodhunter’s Official BandCamp
Nervosa’s Official Facebook page
Nervosa’s Official Instagram
Nervosa’s Official Twitter
Nervosa’s Official YouTube channel

“Sometimes it’s not easy, sometimes you feel scared and things don’t go as you planned before, but you must keep on fighting to discover what you want in your life and who you are.” – Diva Satanica

Metal Chick of the Month – Elli Berlin

Freiheit! Suche ich… Freiheit! Komm ans Licht… Sei mir unendlich!

Even if you don’t understand a single word in German, I bet you’ll fall in love with the talent, the charisma and the energy flowing from our metal chick of this month of September. Owner of a beyond versatile voice, which allows her to deliver from the most serene, cleanest lines to truly demonic growls and roars, German vocalist and alternative model Elli Berlin will rip your heart out and mesmerize your senses with her stunning looks and incendiary performance, showing you why her fantastic Alternative Metal band, which goes by the stylish name of Null Positiv, is on a constant rise in the world of heavy music. After reading more about Elli and listening to her wicked creations, you’ll be absolutely addicted to her voice and to her music, placing Null Positiv among one of your favorite bands of our modern times hands down.

Elli started her career as a vocalist at a young age, more specifically when she was around 13 years old, as she became aware of her skills and capabilities when different people started to approach her and compliment her for her talent. She then went to take singing lessons, starting with classical music and gradually moving on to pop and rock music, making her first recordings in a professional studio, and then forming her first band when she was only 16 years old. Elli said in one of her interviews that was a really hard time for her, with over 150 shows per year, but she’s very thankful for all that as she simply loves her touring life. At first her band only played cover songs, but of course they started writing their own music as time passed by, and although metal music has always been an important part of her life, she only began growling and screaming a few years ago.

It was in 2015 in Lübbenau, a small town in the Oberspreewald-Lausitz district of Brandenburg, Germany, when Elli began looking for like-minded musicians to join her project and work on powerful, modern metal music, resulting in what is known today as her very entertaining and electrifying band Null Positiv, bringing to our ears an incendiary hybrid of Alternative and Nu Metal with Neue Deutsche Härte. Since their inception a few years ago, Null Positiv have released an array of unique and vibrant albums, including their debut EP Krieger, in 2016, followed by the full-length albums Koma (2017), Amok (2018), and their 2020 brand new opus Independenz (which will be reviewed here at The Headbanging Moose sooner than you can say “Scheiße!”), having also toured extensively with over 100 shows in just a few years, having played with renowned acts the likes of Anthrax, The Raven Age and Life of Agony, while also having in their short but solid career an appearance at the Wacken Open Air Festival in 2017 and an European tour with the iconic band Therion.

Currently comprised of our gorgeous frontwoman Elli Berlin, guitarist Bene Gugerbauer, bassist Manu Altendorfer and drummer Flo Schnablo, Null Positiv got its name from 0+, one of the most common blood types, as Elli herself explained we all share it, we all have it flowing within our veins, being essential to keep us alive and, therefore, becoming a synonym to the general equality all band members believe in. “Furthermore, it also translates to the mindset within the band, lyrically and musically. We believe in telling things how they are, without sugar-coating stuff and digging deep into the sentiments, good or bad, that motivate or prevent people to do things. We do this intending to rouse people, to give the initial spark to start to deal with the problems that we as humanity are facing in modern times,” commented our multi-talented diva.

In addition, Elli and her henchmen are one hundred percent, purely independent from any label or management company, having founded their own label, named Triplebase Records, from which they have released all of their albums. Not only that, Null Positiv also shoot and produce all of their official videos, available through their YouTube channel. For instance, you can see Elli kicking some serious ass with her potent vocals and her ravishing looks in songs such as Freiheit (one of my favorite Null Positiv songs), Turm Der, Trauma, Amok, Kollaps, Koma, Hass, Hoffnung Ist Ein Suesses Gift, Friss Dich Auf, Wo Rauch Ist, Ist Auch Feuer, Unvergessen, Zukunft Ungewiss, and a short and eerie film called Puppets Of Hate. Furthermore, if live performances and everything that surrounds them are your cup of tea, you can also enjoy Elli and the boys blasting insane performances at Rock Am Stück in 2019 and at Near Castle Festival also in 2019, playing the song Labyrinth on a live tour rehearsal in 2019, or go behind the scenes with them during their European tours in 2018 and 2019, during Wacken Open Air in 2017, and during Gefle Metal Festival in 2018. Also, don’t forget to show Elli and her Null Positiv your utmost support by purchasing their music and merch from their official webstore, by streaming all of their insane albums and songs on Spotify and YouTube, and by following them on all social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Highly influences by several renowned rock and metal acts including Korn, Slipknot, In This Moment, System of a Down, Papa Roach, Marilyn Manson, Linkin Park and Prodigy, among many, many others, as well as obviously by her countrymen Rammstein, Elli mentioned in a recent interview that the first album she’s ever bought was Life is Peachy, the second studio album by American Nu Metal band Korn, released in 1996, saying she deeply loves that album, and complementing by saying she got to know the other aforementioned bands through festivals she used to attend as a fan in her early days, and that nowadays it would be a dream come true to tour with bands the likes of Korn, Rammstein or Arch Enemy, and that her playlist currently includes Slipknot, I Prevail, Korn, Parkway Drive, Asking Alexandria, Infected Rain, Amon Amarth and Arch Enemy. Moreover, you can sense how much all those modern metal bands have influenced her taste and her style by taking a listen at the cover songs she uploaded to her own YouTube channel, like her version for German Neue Deutsche Härte/Medieval Metal band Tanzwut’s Ich bin der Nachtwind, and mainly her gorgeous version for American music duo Simon & Garfunkel’s all-time classic The Sound Of Silence, drawing inspiration not from the original song but from Disturbed’s majestic version released in 2015.

Elli also said that it’s hard for her to choose her favorite song or songs to play live, as she feels that a concert is like one single, big explosion, hitting the stage and then leaving it at the end without “paying attention” to each song played, feeling like one huge energetic track. When asked how she manages to stay healthy while on tour, Elli said that as tours can be lengthy and exhausting, she has to integrate a daily fitness program to them, being very disciplined despite the fact there are tons of parties to attend and have fun. Also, in early 2019 Elli suffered an unfortunate back injury which forced her to take a break for a few months before getting back to touring, and she said that although it was a very difficult time for her, she always got the support from her bandmates. The final result was that not only Elli returned in full force to play with Null Positiv in countries like Switzerland, France, Belgium and Italy, but the band also won an award as best new band at the Mera Luna Festival in 2019.

When questioned about the fact that women still face a lot of sexism both in our everyday life and in the metal community, Elli said that fortunately in her own case she has never experienced any negative experiences like that in her career, complementing by saying that she has always felt very comfortable and welcome in Heavy Metal, a very positive environment where people are united in the name of good music, in her opinion. In addition, when asked about who she considers the most influential women in metal today, her answer included the talented and unrelenting ladies Angela Gossow, Doro and Amy Lee, mainly for their hard work, technical capabilities and their persistence, and let’s say it’s easy to sense their influence on Elli’s vocal style, looks and taste for rock and metal, don’t you agree? Furthermore, besides her career with Null Positiv our dauntless vocalist said that among her hobbies we’ll find things like painting, editing the band’s videos and designing their own attire, saying she’s then an actress, director and alternative model beyond her vocal duties who loves to play with fashion and makeup and, therefore, showing how powerful and dynamic a woman can be.

Among other topics that Elli has already discussed in her career are crowdfunding, politics and social networks, and her opinion on all those subjects proves why she’s been experiencing such high level of success and admiration in the world of heavy music. First of all, when questioned about crowdfunding, she thinks it’s a great idea that gives interested people the direct possibility of influencing the market by supporting the artists, bands or any other projects they like, complementing by saying that as everybody knows the music business can be extremely hard in the beginning, and due to lack of funding many bands cannot put into practice all of their amazing ideas, which is why the band has an option for fans to financially support them directly through their official website (where you can also buy their music and merch). Regarding politics in music, Elli believes music is, and has always been throughout history, a very powerful tool for bringing positive change to the world and problems to the light, saying that writing about political issues is as useful and valuable as writing about human emotions like love, suffering or hate. And last but not least, our unstoppable, multi-talented artist considers social networking a beautiful way to communicate and to keep in touch with her fans, complementing by saying it’s a powerful way to receive love and encouragement and, therefore, to get all strength and inspiration needed to keep moving forward. However, she said people must not be obsessed with it, searching for what truly motivates you, being honest all the time and selective of who you follow. Well, I wonder who would dare to make any negative comments on social media about one of the most talented, promising and hardworking women from the current German rock and metal scene, right?

Elli Berlin’s Official Facebook page
Elli Berlin’s Official Instagram
Elli Berlin’s Official YouTube channel
Null Positiv’s Official Facebook page
Null Positiv’s Official Instagram
Null Positiv’s Official Twitter
Null Positiv’s Official YouTube channel

“I believe that music is, and has been throughout history, a very powerful tool for bringing positive change to the world and problems to the light.” – Elli Berlin

Metal Chick of the Month – Seraina Telli

Don’t leave me out in the cold…

She’s by far one of the best rock and metal singers of the current scene hands down. Owner of a beautiful, stunning and extremely potent voice, she’s also a songwriter, pianist, guitarist, vocal coach and designer, known for her awesome contributions to bands such as Dead Venus, Burning Witches and Surrilium, among other very interesting bands and projects, always ready to rock our hearts with her mesmerizing vocal lines. Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome our metal chick of the month of August, the ravishing Seraina Telli, the unstoppable musician from Aargau, one of the more northerly cantons of Switzerland, who can flawlessly translate all her passion for music and art into emotional and inspiring compositions that will certainly captivate your hearts from the very first second. Having said that, are you ready to rock together with Seraina here on The Headbanging Moose?

A self-employed musician and vocal coach, Seraina has always wanted to make music and sing, and although she’s a team player who loves to play in bands she sees independent people as their role models, saying that she didn’t want to be a singer who just needs a band to play with her, but that she wanted to learn what it’s like to make music herself, playing different instruments and therefore being independent. Her looks and attire are also an important part of her musical persona, with all of her piercings, tattoos and her dyed hair providing a unique look that more than fits in the world of rock and metal music, but you’re wrong if you think Seraina is only a beautiful woman, as she has years of formal and professional study that provided her an invaluable background, allowing her to become the exceptional performer she is. Just to give you an idea of her undeniable talent,  she took classical singing lessons between 2007 and 2008, studied at the Jazz & Rock School in Freiburg, Germany from 2010 to 2011, achieved a Bachelor of Arts at hKDM and International Music College also in Freiburg, with focus on Jazz, Rock and Pop, between 2012 and 2013, and attended the Musik- Akademie Basel in 2015.

In regards to her career with Swiss Heavy/Power Metal band Burning Witches, Seraina was the band’s frontwoman between 2015 and 2019, having recorded with the band their debut self-titled album in 2017 and their sophomore effort Hexenhammer in 2018, as well as a four-track live album released in 2018 titled Burning Alive, recorded on September 30, 2017 at the Z7 Club in Pratteln, Switzerland. There are a few official videos on YouTube from when Seraina was the band’s vocalist, such as Hexenhammer, Black Widow and Executed, and also some unofficial live footage including a concert in Mannheim, Germany in 2018, and a pocket show at Salzhaus Brugg in 2018. I’m not going to extend this tribute to Seraina with the origins of the Burning Witches, but as already mentioned when their guitarist and founding member Romana Kalkuhl was our metal chick of the month in July 2019, during a party at a festival she met Seraina, starting a very healthy and productive partnership between them, with Seraina’s ideas and experience from her studies at the Music Academy and her bands being exactly what Romana wanted for Burning Witches. Furthermore, although Seraina always mention Heavy Metal as one of her passions, at the moment she is determined to go full throttle with her own band Dead Venus, saying Progressive Rock has always been her thing; however, we can expect to see Seraina venturing through heavier and faster lands in a not-so-distant future without a shadow of a doubt.

As we already started talking about Seraina’s brainchild, female-fronted Progressive Rock unity Dead Venus, where she’s not only the band’s vocalist but she also plays acoustic guitars, keyboards and piano, let’s discuss a little about the origins of the band, their goals and what their music represents to Seraina. Formed in early 2015 by Seraina herself around a year after being singing for a German Neo-Progressive Rock band named Surrilium, Dead Venus is a triumvirate currently comprised of Seraina on vocals, obviously, together with bassist André Gärtner and drummer Mike Malloth, delivering music that’s at the same time charming, passionate and incendiary, applying her multidimensional vocals to bring the desired message with each and every song, that being through her piercing vocals or just by whispering the lyrics. As a matter of fact, Seraina mentioned that it’s difficult to tell when Dead Venus actually started, as she began writing songs at some point and then began studying music and developed it further with music theory, learning the instruments and techniques better, which helped in the development of the songs, before she started looking for people to play them with. Seraina placed an advertisement recruiting musicians for Dead Venus, getting a reply from Mike, who also referred André for the band, whom by the way she already knew through her father (who had always spoken very well of him).

Apart from a couple of singles, the trio recently released at the end of 2019 their debut album, a 12-track Progressive Rock extravaganza titled Bird of Paradise (available for a full listen on Spotify), pointing to a bright future for Seraina and her bandmates. In addition, Seraina said that their goals with Dead Venus do not include appealing to a broader or more demanding audience, saying their music already has enough pop character in it despite not being disco dance music, of course. She complemented by saying that what Dead Venus and any other band needs is an audience that listens and that feels inspired by the music being played, as long as the music is authentic like what she does with Dead Venus, putting no boundaries to what the trio can do. You can listen to their music and purchase their debut album by visiting the MUSIC page on their official website, or by subscribing to their YouTube channel, where you’ll find some amazing compositions (and videos) for the songs The Sirens Call, Bird of Paradise and Redemptionless in both regular and acoustic versions.

You can also enjoy Seraina’s unique voice in other interesting bands and projects, showcasing all her versatility and skills it doesn’t matter if it’s a rock band playing covers or a full-bodied progressive and symphonic act. For instance, she did female vocals for Swiss Melodic Heavy/Power Metal band Rizon from 2010 until 2014, having recorded with them the album Masquerade in 2012, which you can listen in its entirety HERE; and she’s been the vocalist for German Progressive Rock/Metal band Surrilium since 2011, having recorded with them the album Sir William in 2015. Seraina is also the vocalist for a distinct cover bands called Hit Grinder, taking hits that everyone knows and performing them in a unique way with heavy guitars, rocking drums and hard driving bass, giving those songs a more aggressive edge. The band is formed by Seraina on vocals, Stefan Schroff on the guitars, and a rotation between Yannick Schmidt and Emmi Lichtenhahn on bass and Franceso Gasparini and Alain Ackermann on drums, and you can get in touch with them and listen to more of their music on Facebook, on Instagram and on YouTube, with their renditions of Sia’s Chandelier and Michael Jackson’s Bad showing you all of the band’s awesomeness.

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Perhaps one of the most delicious works by Seraina is her personal YouTube channel, where she puts her heart and soul into delivering beautiful versions of several rock, pop and metal classics, usually only accompanied by her own piano. Simply visit her YouTube channel and you’ll be able to enjoy our talented singer kicking ass with her versions for Red hot Chilli Pepper’s classic Under the Bridge as a studio project band from the hKDM Music High School in Freiburg, Edgar Alan Poe’s The Haunted Palace, Rush’s masterpiece Closer to the Heart together with a children’s choir, Nancy Wilson’s The Nearness of You, The Misfits’ Dig Up Her Bones live at a pub in Zurich, Jason Mraz’s I Won’t Give Up, Sting’s The Hounds of Winter, Lady Gaga’s Million Reasons, John Lennon’s Imagine, and a very special version for Christina Aguilera’s Keep on Singin’ My Song, as according to Seraina herself Christina Aguilera was one of her teenage heroes and one of the reasons she started singing when she was around 13 years old. And let’s keep talking about her idols and influences, with bands like Opeth, Pain of Salvation and the almighty Judas Priest being among her favorite bands of all time. Seraina even mentioned in one of her interviews that playing with one of those three bands would be a dream come true for her, complementing by saying it would be beyond fantastic to be able to talk, interact and especially sing with the one and only Metal God Rob Halford.

When questioned about the fact she was in an all-girls band during her time with Burning Witches, our striking banshee said in the beginning the idea of only playing with other women in a band was quite funny for all of them, and that they never expected it to be such a big topic, having to face sexist comments and other situations related to the male/female gender differences. Needless to say, that didn’t have any impact on the way Seraina performs on stage, saying the most difficult part is actually dealing with her own emotions and feelings to make sure her voice perfectly sends the desired message. In addition, she said she usually has it under control, using the appropriate techniques to have the best results while playing live. Seraina is also responsible for designing her own outfits, saying it’s actually more like a hobby for her despite the fact she wanted to become a fashion designer before singing, mainly because it’s very time consuming. And regarding metal festivals, she said during her time with Burning Witches they always wanted to play something big such as Wacken Open Air, Sweden Rock Festival and Hellfest, but we must all agree that now with Dead Venus her focus is a lot more on smaller, more intimate venues and crowds.

When asked about her singing style, her limits as a vocalist and her writing and composing process, Seraina said she always puts her heart and soul into singing, it doesn’t matter if it’s a heavy-as-hell metal song or a serene rock ballad, complementing by saying that it’s all a matter of practice to know and understand your limits and what’s causing that barrier, such as breathing techniques and discipline. For example, she said she doesn’t do much Opera singing as she’s not professionally trained in it, but maybe with some time and by applying the right techniques she can reach a good performance singing it. Her process for writing and composing her songs is also very detailed and honest, with Seraina usually writing something on the piano and then complementing it with the guitar, not working with sequences and, therefore, sounding a lot more organic. She also said the order in which she writes the lyrics and the music is never the same, always depending on the song being composed and the situation she’s in, with most of the ideas for the music by Dead Venus coming from her past experiences, especially due to her anger, energy and creativity as a teenager, saying it wasn’t easy in the beginning for her as she doesn’t come from a family of musicians like several other artists.

If you also enjoy watching Seraina perform and not only listen to her powerful voice, you’ll notice she always carries a special chain or necklace, a symbol of luck that’s linked to her family. She said she had a very strong bond with her sister when they were kids, which by the way lasts until today, with the necklace being a gift she got for her 12th birthday from her stepfather that symbolizes two parts that are connected together and forever. As a matter of fact, the Dead Venus logo is a variation of that symbol, a Celtic cross knot with an “S” at the end. Talking about stunning looks in rock and metal, Seraina was asked what she would say if one day a band like Arch Enemy invited her to sing for them, and albeit she said she simply loves the charisma, the voice and the looks by the she-wolf Alissia White-Gluz, she said she couldn’t see herself fronting such distinct band.

Lastly, as an artist that has been making  music for a long time despite her young age, Seraina said she will always pursue a career in music no matter what, saying she got to know a lot of good people with both Dead Venus and Burning Witches that provide her all the support she needs to keep moving forward. She sees a lot of potential with Dead Venus, the type of music she has always wanted to do, but you can also hire her to feature on your next album doing backing vocals or singing one or more songs, for example, as she has already done a few studio and advertising jobs in her career. She can even sing in German (or Swiss German) if you prefer, and you can actually check Seraina speaking (not singing, though) in her mother tongue in a short interview where she talks about what it means for her to be from Aargau, how much she loves her hometown, and her life in the city. I guess after knowing about her personal life, her career and her passion for heavy music, there’s nothing better than banging our heads to Seraina’s piercing vocals or simply sitting down, relaxing and enjoying her more delicate creations, resting assured we’ll hear a lot more from such talented artist in the coming years.

Seraina Telli’s Official Facebook page
Seraina Telli’s Official Instagram
Seraina Telli’s Official YouTube channel
Dead Venus’ Official Facebook page
Dead Venus’ Official Instagram
Dead Venus’ Official YouTube channel

Metal Chick of the Month – Lena Scissorhands

Walking in the night, I am trying to find you…

Before even starting this tribute to our metal chick of the month of July, let me just say her life is pretty much an open book. I mean, you can find pretty much anything about her online, and what you’re about to read might not be a surprise for you at all. However, that doesn’t mean she doesn’t deserve to be featured on our webzine, as she’s not only extremely talented and passionate for heavy music, but she’s also a hardworking metalhead that never stops creating top-of-the-line music and videos for the delight of hundreds of thousands of metalheads from all over the world. Not only that, apart from her life in Heavy Metal she’s also a model and a makeup artist, proving her success, respect and admiration from her fans are not in vain. I’m talking about the unstoppable Moldovan vocalist Lena Scissorhands, the ravishing frontwoman for an up-and-coming Alternative and Nu Metal act that goes by the classy name of Infected Rain. Having said that, are you ready to be “infected” by Lena’s charisma and electricity here on The Headbanging Moose?

Born on November 22, 1986 in Chișinău, also known as Kishinev, the capital and largest city of the Republic of Moldova, nestled between Ukraine and Romania in Eastern Europe, Lena Scissorhands, whose real name is Elena Kataraga, fell in love with alternative music when she was 13 years old, although her real “crush” for metal music happened when she was 14 as she got simply mesmerized by the energy flowing from the sound of heavy guitar riffs and the brutality from harsh, guttural vocals. Due to her poor beginnings in Moldova, life was quite challenging for Lena and her family, forcing her to start working at a very young age to support her parents (who were very young when they had Lena) and her two younger sisters, with whom she mentioned she used to share her clothes and eat whatever was available (as well as pretend to be the Powerpuff Girls with them to lighten things up a bit). Looking on the bright side of life, those tough early days turned Lena into a very strong woman, always eager to achieve more through her work and always ready to provide help to the ones in need.

Currently residing in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States, Lena mentioned in one of her interviews that the idea that the “Sin City” is a weird place bursting with people from all over the world only works if you’re a visitor, as living there is a complete different thing. She said if you live in Vegas you’re not really that much in contact with that lifestyle, unless of course that’s part of your job, but living there is pretty quiet due to the city’s remote location. Furthermore, apart from her current life in Vegas, Lena has also lived in different European countries, which kind of explains why she’s fluent in four languages, those being Russian, Romanian, English and Italian. “I’m very proud to speak all these four languages, and unfortunately I used to speak another language fluently. When I was a child, I used to live in Armenia, and I used to know Armenian like I know English – very, very well. I lived there for many years. But unfortunately, because of different life changing and living in different countries, and I was not in touch with my father because my parents separated and stuff like that, so I didn’t really use it. And a language, you lose it when you don’t use it. I do understand a little bit, and I can say a few things, but that’s it. So I don’t even consider that,” said Lena, who also explained she writes all her lyrics in English as the language became very natural to her, especially when she was attending university, although she actually started writing lyrics in Russian when she was a teenager at the age of 14.

It’s time to get down to business and start talking about Lena’s life with her awesome band Infected Rain, the band she started over ten years ago together with guitarist Vidick and Dj Kapa. At first, Lena said she didn’t know if she would be able to sing in a band in a professional way, but with the support from her bandmates and after starting taking vocal lessons with Tatiana Robertovna, with whom Lena learned how to breathe, how to feel the music and how to sing, Infected Rain became her number one priority and her reason to live. Formed in 2008 in her hometown Chișinău, Infected Rain combine a wide variety of styles such as Alternative, Death and Nu Metal with Metalcore and even elements from electronic music in an infectious sound, having already released a self-titled demo in 2008, the EP Judgemental Trap in 2009, and four full-length albums, those being Asylum (2011), Embrace Eternity (2014), 86 (2017) and more recently the excellent Endorphin (2019), showcasing all the power and versatility of the band currently comprised of our metal goddess Lena and her henchmen Vidick and Sergey on the guitars, Vladimir on bass and Eugene on drums. There are several official videos on YouTube for some of the best creations by Infected Rain, such as Me Against You, Mold, Stop Waiting, At The Bottom Of The Bottle, Serendipity, Enslaved By A Dream, a kick-ass cover version for Slayer’s Stain Of Mind, Judgemental Trap, Sweet, Sweet Lies, Fool The Gravity, Intoxicating, Orphan Soul, the absolutely stunning The Earth Mantra, Storm, Lure and Passerby, or you can also go to their official website or Big Cartel page to purchase their albums and some pretty cool merch.

Before signing with Napalm Records in 2019, Lena and the boys used to manage Infected Rain by themselves for around 10 years, booking their own concerts, taking care of all agreements and duties of a regular manager and so on, facing tons of challenges and hassles along the way. In one of her interviews, she mentioned that one of the biggest obstacles for Infected Rain during those years were promoters and booking agencies that didn’t want to work with them simply because they were independent, thinking they were a difficult band and that’s the reason why they were independent, when the only reason for that was the fact they came from a poor country with no possibilities at all. Having said that, why not enjoying a full performance by Infected Rain from their independent years, more specifically from their 2016 incendiary performance at Rockstadt Extreme Fest or from their 2017 concert at Club Thing in Germany? In addition, simply check this video titled “10 questions with Lena Scissorhands | Infected Rain” to know a little more about Lena and the band.

Apart from her life with Infected Rain, you can also find our multi-talented artist on a few other distinguished bands and projects, showcasing all her skills as a musician and her passion for music in general. For instance, she has been doing some singing during the live performances for a Moldovan Progressive Death Metal act called Neuromist since 2010 (although I couldn’t find any online video recording of her with the band), she has recorded a cover version for Russian duo t.A.T.u’s biggest hit All The Things She Said together with LA-based Alternative Rock act Chase The Comet, and also participated in some of the songs by Moldovan Progressive Metal/Rock band Seas on the Moon such as Promise and Hovering. As you can see, singing and playing became Lena’s own type of “drug”, her personal and healthy addiction, inspiring her to exercise and experiment a lot with her voice in different styles. All that work and experimentation would leave her voiceless for days in the beginning, but after starting her vocal lessons with renowned vocal coach Melissa Cross in 2013 everything changed for better in her life and career, allowing Lena to start delivering all the emotions, experiences, fears and disappointments in life from her very personal lyrics on stage without hurting her vocal cords.

As the amazing frontwoman that Lena is, she has obviously been asked a lot of times about how she views the current role and importance of women in heavy music, and what can be done to further enhance their relevance in the scene. However, although feminism and sisterhood in the metal scene are quite popular topics nowadays, she doesn’t consider herself a true feminist. “I know a lot of people expect me to be a little bit more feminist, or to talk more about how awesome it is to be a girl in metal. I really don’t do this big of a difference. I love seeing many girls in metal in general. It’s really cool because it takes dedication and women usually are very busy with their everyday life, with their families, with their kids, and it’s not that easy if you’re a woman, to give up everything. It’s a little bit easier for a man. Maybe. I don’t know,” said Lena, who also thinks that there isn’t a big difference between men and women in metal music, especially due to the fact she grew up in the company of boys in her neighborhood and considered herself very boyish until she was 15 or 16 years old. “I became more feminine later, but that’s it. That’s only the way I look. Inside I’m very fragile, I like being a woman, I like being fragile, I like being loved, I like being taking care of. But trust me, a man can say the same. Men also love to be loved, men also loved to be weak sometimes, and men also have weaknesses and emotions. We have blood, muscles, we are the same! Right? So, I really don’t see a big difference.”

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Lena is unsurprisingly addicted to sports, to touring and to adrenaline, saying she’s disciplined enough to work out at home, backstage or in a hotel room before her concerts. “I love yoga a lot because I become stretched really well. I like building up my body and you know, doing some weights sometimes. I don’t do cardio, because I have very low blood pressure, but at the same time I love hiking, I tried climbing as well, and I like biking a lot,” said Lena, who also mentioned she has a ritual before hitting the stage every show and sometimes even during her days off, requiring between half and a full hour of exercising and a minimum half hour of vocal warm-up, plus another hour to do her makeup, allowing her to feel perfectly prepared, stretched and warmed up prior to each concert. Moreover, Lena’s creations with Infected Rain are all meant to be played live, as according to our talented growler they’re extremely close to reality, expressing exactly what Lena was feeling when writing them, with some songs becoming even stronger during the band’s live performances.

As a huge fan of cartoons and horror flicks, Lena seems to be really into Disney and vampire movies, two completely different things that ended up helping her shape up her own persona quite well. “I became a big Disney nerd at an older age. When I was a kid I grew up in a pretty poor family and we didn’t really watch Disney movies unless they were on TV. So, I would say I really love Lion King because this was my first Disney movie I’ve ever seen and it’s very emotional. I also absolutely love Snow White, because I think it’s just amazing how unique it is, and it was the first cartoon movie that was made so… I also love a lot Alice in Wonderland, because I’m a big fan of the book as well, and I really like how unique the movie is, but still – you know – having the lot from the book… I can go on and on like this forever and ever. There are so many good ones,” commented Lena, who also said in one of her interviews that as she grew up with the tales of Dracula, she loves every type of vampire movie ever made, even lower budget productions or comedies about vampires, complementing by saying that she has also been watching a lot of zombie movies, that she has already gone through all the Halloween and Friday the 13th franchises, and that now she wants to watch all the Resident Evil and A Nightmare on Elm Street movies as well.

As already mentioned, Lena also used to be a hair stylist and makeup artist, and as a proud vegan she usually tries to use vegan makeup instead of the regular brands you can find anywhere, saying one of her favorite brands is Kat Von D as she’s a vegan artist and all her makeup line is vegan as well. However, despite working with makeup, she truly believes charisma and kindness are what really attract her in people, saying that’s the true beauty in everyone. Furthermore, she also thinks there’s too much judgement or bias based on how a person looks nowadays, saying she doesn’t reply and she deletes all types of unnecessary comments such as “you’re too skinny”, “you have too many tattoos” and so on from her social media, complementing by saying we all punish ourselves too much already inside our minds to allow strangers to do the same for no reason.

Regarding veganism and her view of what’s happening to our environment, our skillful vocalist said she decided to become a vegan to see how she would feel, how much that would impact her health and her body, realizing she started to have a lot more energy on tour after adapting her eating habits around three years ago. Hence, you can notice the impact of her vegan lifestyle in the music by Infected Rain, with songs like the amazing The Earth Mantra beautifully (and darkly) representing everything that’s wrong with mankind in terms of all the wicked things we are doing to our planet. Despite not considering herself a true environmentalist, Lena is trying to be sensitive about nature, about animals and plants, and being more aware of her surroundings and how her actions impact everything and everyone in her life. Although a lot of people are trying hard to change their habits to have a minimal impact on our planet, Lena still thinks that’s not enough, that the current situation is extremely bad and that unfortunately it will take decades for the human race to change. If you’re also trying to make the world a better place you’ll certainly love the official video for The Earth Mantra, where Lena “interacts” with different bugs and other animals most people are not comfortable dealing with. “All the animals were real. I was very gentle with them. The owner of them was there, telling me how to hold those animals so no harm was done. I’m not scared of any bugs or anything. It’s actually a problem because I’m not afraid and I want to pet them and I want to touch them. So no, I’m not afraid,” commented the dauntless Lena.

Lastly, as also mentioned in the beginning of this tribute to Lena, her life is like an open book online, and let’s say she’s very proud of not being afraid of sharing all aspects of her life with her family, friends and fans worldwide. One of the main places where you can know everything about Lena is her official YouTube channel curiously titled BANANAS (as well as her own Patreon page), where you’ll find pretty much anything about her life, her hobbies, her career, her tattoos and other nice-to-know details, including also some interviews and chats with artists the likes of Melissa Cross and CJ McMahon (Thy Art Is Murder), and with all videos being edited by one of her bandmates, guitarist Vidick. For instance, there’s a very interesting video of Lena talking about the origins of Infected Rain which you might find very entertaining and informative, showing how much she’s not only a fantastic singer, but also that she was born to be in the spotlight so natural and smooth her onscreen performance is, and that’s exactly how she wants her YouTube channel to be for the foreseeable future. “When I decided to have my own YouTube channel and I saw that the band is becoming more known around the world and people are curious about me as a person, I made myself one promise, and I’m just trying to stick with that, and that’s it. It’s just I’m always going to be myself, and if people are not gonna like what they see or what they hear, it’s not in my power to change anybody’s mind, and I will never try to do that,” said Lena, inviting us all to join her in her world of heavy music, veganism, tattoos, and of course, bananas.

Lena Scissorhands’ Official Facebook page
Lena Scissorhands’ Official VKontakte
Lena Scissorhands’ Official Instagram
Lena Scissorhands’ Official Twitter
Lena Scissorhands’ Official YouTube channel
Infected Rain’s Official Facebook page
Infected Rain’s Official VKontakte
Infected Rain’s Official Instagram
Infected Rain’s Official Twitter
Infected Rain’s Official YouTube channel

“Reality is frustrating sometimes, music has become my escape. I want to help as many people as I can with my music. I want to touch people somewhere deep inside, try to end their fears and give them that escape that they always search for. Music saved my life, but when I started to sing is when my life acquired color.” – Lena Scissorhands

Metal Chick of the Month – Mia Wallace

Hecate awaits where crossroads split…

If there’s a woman that loves heavy music from the bottom of her (darkened) heart, more specifically our always controversial and blasphemous Black Metal, as well as music in general, that lady has to be the unrelenting Italian-born bassist Mia Wallace, who you’ll also find in several bands and projects under the names Michelle Mia Wallace, Mia W. Wallace, White Wallace or even Winter Wallace. As a matter of fact, either being a coincidence or not, the name Mia Wallace was given to the fictional character portrayed by the stunning Uma Thurman in the 1994 Quentin Tarantino cult movie Pulp Fiction, just to give you an idea of how mysterious, sexy and provocative our metal chick of the month of May can be, exactly how we expect from any true Black Metal musician. Known for her work in distinguished metal projects such as The True Endless (under the controversial moniker Soulfucker), Abbath, Triumph of Death and Niryth, among several others, Mia will undoubtedly hypnotize you with her obscure looks and smash your senses with her thunderous bass, proving once and for all Black Metal is and will always be home for some of the most talented women in the history of music.

Born somewhere, sometime in the always gorgeous Italy, Mia Wallace started playing bass in the now distant year of 1994. She said in one of her interviews that her boyfriend at the time, Italian multi-instrumentalist Marco De Rosa (R.I.P.), also known as simply M., who would become her bandmate in distinct bands and projects and best friend for over 25 years, encouraged her to try his white Fender Squier Vintage bass. She mentioned it was extremely heavy, but she immediately became passionate about that amazing instrument. Her first bass was then a four-string Hoyer SG-type from 1970, helping Mia become most probably the first female bass player in the entire Italy to wear corpsepaint, to play Black Metal on stage, and to perform fire-breathing during her live concerts. Among her gear, you’ll find some amazing stuff such as the Epiphone Nikki Sixx Blackbird, the BC Rich Beast and the Clover BassTard bass guitars; the Boss ODB-3, Boss DD-3 and Marshall Reflector RF-1 effects; and the Warwick Profet 5.2 amps.

There are several bands and projects where you can enjoy Mia kicking some serious ass with her rumbling bass, and in order to tell you a little about each one of those let’s start with the most recent or active ones and then move on to her previous bands which have either disbanded or have been put on an indefinite hiatus. Right now, we can say Mia is involved in two main projects, those being an Italian Electronic/Industrial/Alien/Darkwave Pop/Rock project entitled Kirlian Camera, where not only she plays bass but also keyboards (also doing backing vocals), and a mysterious Swiss project that goes by the name of Niryth, where she’s a co-founder, songwriter and lead bassist. There might be a third project which could be called her solo band Mia Wallace, but as there’s nothing online anywhere about it let’s just say there’s no reason for extending the topic on it.

Anyway, her role with Kirlian Camera (which name was taken from what’s known as Kirlian photography, a collection of photographic techniques used to capture the phenomenon of electrical coronal discharges) obviously goes beyond her usual bass playing duties, providing a unique support to the band’s mastermind Angelo Bergamini and frontwoman Elena Alice Fossi during their live performances. The band was founded in the distant year of in 1979 in the city of Parma by Angelo Bergamini and was a pioneering act of the Italian synthpop scene, featuring musicians from four distinct locations (Piombino, Marciana, Parma and Novara, all in Italy), and after a few ups and downs the duo now shares the stage with obviously Mia and other renowned musicians form the Italian scene such as Alessandro Comerio, Davide Mazza and Falk Pitschk. Having released a good amount of albums since their inception, starting with their 1983 debut effort It Doesn’t Matter Now until their most recent installment Hellfire, released in 2019, the project has always pushed the boundaries of experimental and electronic music, winning several awards through the years, with Mia bringing her share of heaviness and creativity to the band on stage. You won’t be able to listen to Mia in any of their studio albums, of course, but you can certainly enjoy some awesome live footage on YouTube such as this soundcheck in 2018 at a festival in Switzerland, this live version of the song V2K in Leipzig, Germany in 2020, or this 30-minute footage of the band live in Torino, Italy in 2018 playing some of their songs such as Holograms, Black August and News.

Her other project is considerably unique and I can’t even say if it’s still going on or if it has been archived by its band members. I’m talking about Nyrith, a distinguished metal project founded by Mia together with the one and only Tom. G Warrior (Hellhammer, Celtic Fost, Trypticon) with tastes of heavy and obscure doom, blending different styles from the music by Sisters of Mercy to Pink Floyd, all performed by not only one, not two, but three bass players. In one of her interviews Mia mentioned that Nyrith were ready to release their debut album depicting their visions of life and death, their struggles and pains, but so far nothing has been made official yet. She also said the idea of Nyrith came from Tom after Mia was left without a band a few years ago (and we’ll talk more about that later), including the idea of having three bass players on the same band, as at that time nobody was comfortable giving a woman the control of a new or existing band. In this project, Mia mentioned she was working on all the music which was refused by her previous band, a very restricted and traditional Black Metal act by the way, with all of her ideas being pretty much outside the Black Metal world. As aforementioned, there’s nothing officially released up to now, but we should all keep an eye on Nyrith as this is a very promising metal project (if it truly happens one day, of course). In addition, as an accomplished bass player, Mia has been asked several times about her technique, about how she enjoys playing bass and other nice-to-know details. For instance, when questioned about the fact she would play a five-string bass with Nyrith, she said that “I’ve been playing four-string basses for 20 years, but with Niryth, it is absolutely essential to play five-string bass, as the music requires far more versatility. I always felt good vibes with BC Rich basses. Among my favorite basses is a BC Rich Beast, in fact.”

Now it’s time to talk about all of her previous bands, starting with the one that’s in my opinion her most interesting and powerful project to date, Italian Black Metal horde The True Endless, founded in 1997 by M. and Mia (under the moniker Pollon, and later under her most controversial moniker Soulfucker) with the main goal of crafting violent and trendkiller music. After a couple of rehearsal tapes and some shows, The True Endless recorded their first studio work in 1999 called The Trendkiller EP, followed by an array of EP’s, splits, compilations, livr albums and obviously some very interesting and heavy-as-hell full-length albums, those being Wings of Wrath (2003), A Climb to Eternity (2005), Buried by Time and Dust (2006), 1888 from Hell (2008), An Year in Black (2009), Legacy of Hate (2013), and last but not least, Blacklight Inferno (2017), all with Mia kicking ass on bass and even working in the mastering of their 2008 album 1888 from Hell. Featuring lyrics in English, Italian and Novaras, a dialect of the Piedmontese language (Piemontèis) that was used to give their sound a more ancestral feeling, the scorching Black Metal played by The True Endless led the band to share the stage with some of the most important names of the extreme music scene such as Marduk, Deicide, Vader, Helheim, Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult, Besatt, Morrigan, Vesna, Mortuary Drape, Opera IX and many more, playing through countless countries across Europe. You’ll “only” be able to find their latest released Blacklight Inferno on their official BandCamp page, but you can enjoy several of their songs and live footage by visiting their official YouTube channel (as well as other channels), as for example their cover version for Hellhammer’s classic Massacra, the songs Pale Waves, Under The Horned Waning Moon, Black Swamp, I Drink The Devil’s Blood and Nightfall, and this live version of Freezing Moon in the Czech Republic in 2011.

Unfortunately, after months fighting against a deadly cancer, the multi-talented M. sadly passed away on November 16, 2017 at the age of 43, and due to such tragic loss Mia and the band’s drummer Algol decided to end the project after 20 years of intense activity. However, as Mia herself always says, “the flame will burn forever.” And the skillful M. was also the founder of many other amazing projects such as Darkness, Huggin, Skoll and Teuta, most of them featuring our dauntless Mia on bass and/or on keyboards, and usually under the moniker Pollon. For instance, she played bass on the 2013 album Anti Human Life, by Italian Black/Thrash Metal band Darkness, on the 1998 demo Tales (from the Ancient Times), by Italian Black Metal horde Huginn, and played keyboards on the 1999 album Through the Mist We Come Back and on the 2000 split Keep Alive Your Heathenfolk/La oss slakte Guds lam, both by Italian Pagan Black/Viking Metal band Skoll. After listening to such amazing bands, we must all agree with Mia that the flame of M. will always burn bright through his classy and dark music across the centuries, no doubt about that.

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Another memorable moment in Mia’s undisputed career happened between 2019 and 2020 when she joined the iconic Norwegian Black Metal act Abbath, spearheaded by one of the co-founders of Immortal, one of the trailblazers of the infamous Norwegian Black Metal scene. When asked about how the invitation to join Abbath in 2019 happened, Mia said that she always been part of the Bergen family, and as Abbath needed a strong figure to replace his previous bassist he noticed her as an experienced musician who would fit perfectly into his lineup. Mia was the bass player in Abbath’s latest opus, his 2019 album Outstrider, and you can enjoy her thunderous and menacing bass lines in songs like Harvest Pyre and Calm in Ire of Hurricane. Mia mentioned Outstrider was pretty much written when she joined the band, with Abbath asking her to write the bass lines and then they decided together about some adjustments on them, also saying that she didn’t feel any real pressure as the replacement of one of the most recognizable bassist in Black Metal, the iconic King ov Hell (God Seed, Gorgoroth), as they’re two musicians with different skills that were not actually competing nor anything like that. However, on January 28, 2020, Mia revealed that she was no longer part of the band, being informed over the phone by the Abbath’s manager shortly before the beginning of the Outstrider 2020 European tour. No formal announcement was made by the band, but she was replaced on bass by touring member, Rusty Cornell. As you can check HERE, Mia was not happy about the way things happened. “I am disappointed that none of my former colleagues have contacted me in this process except for the five minute phone call from Abbath’s manager in which I was told I would no longer be needed. I was told not to contact anyone in the band. The explanation for this had no substance and just made more questions and confusion for me. Up until then I had been preparing for the European tour as I had been told to do. I had to cancel other plans, and get time off work for the tour which I spent much time preparing for,” said Mia, also citing her comments to the media after the disastrous Abbath two-song concert in Argentina in 2019 as one of the probable reasons for being fired from the band.

Another amazing project where we were all able to enjoy Mia’s crushing bass lines between 2018 and 2019 was Tom G. Warrior’s Triumph Of Death, a tribute to his former group Hellhammer, consisting of playing the legendary music by Hellhammer from their  three demos (Death Fiend, Triumph of Death and Satanic Rites) and the EP Apocalyptic Raids onstage after 37 years, starting in the summer of 2019. According to Tom and Mia, Triumph of Death is a Zurich, Switzerland-based open-ended project playing only select concerts and festivals, basically choosing the songs from the band’s small but rich catalog depending on how they felt at that moment, always open to change from time to time. When asked about how she felt playing those songs together with Tom and therefore continuing the legacy of one of the pioneers of Black Metal, she said it was a true honor for her as she’s been highly influenced by Hellhammer throughout her entire career, and you can see how happy Mia truly was by watching her interviews together with Tom in 2019 at some of the best metal festivals in the world such as Hellfest, Wacken Open Air and Brutal Assault, always talking about how it feels to play with Triumph of Death, the legacy of Hellhammer and why the name Hellhammer wasn’t used, as well as performing at the same time with Tom and Abbath. In addition, if you want to experience the music by Triumph of Death live, you can check some awesome live footage on YouTube such as the song Vision of Mortality at Kilkim Žaibu (the biggest ancient traditions and Extreme Metal festival in the Baltic States), Blood Insanity at Hellfest, Triumph of Death in Essen, Germany, or this full concert at Psycho Fest in Las Vegas, Nevada, in the United States.

Lastly, there’s one more metal project that’s worth mentioning, which is Swiss Goregrind/Death Metal band Embalming Theatre, where Mia didn’t play bass or keyboards, but instead she was the one responsible for crafting the intros and outros to pretty much all of their releases from 2000 until 2006, such as the intro, intermezzo and outro to the 2003 album Sweet Chainsaw Melodies, and the intro to the 2004 split Death Metal Karaoke/My Flesh Creeps at Insects. One curious thing is that if you go to the band’s official BandCamp page you’ll notice most of the albums there do not contain the intros and outros by Mia, and I have absolutely no idea why those pieces are missing. Anyway, Embalming Theatre are a very entertaining Goregrind act, with all of their albums being worth a shot with or without Mia’s insane collaboration.

Regarding her main influences and idols in music and in life in general, as mentioned a couple of times already she sees the iconic Tom G. Warrior as her master and mentor, even saying that “he is the one who unleashed the dormant beast inside me.” Without him, Mia said she would not have been able to effectively express her music and her creativity, complementing by saying her writing and composing process is very similar to his due to the huge influence his music has always had on her since her childhood, even before knowing him in person.  According to our badass bassist, there would be no Black Metal without Tom, with his classic bands Hellhammer and Celtic Frost being obviously among her favorite metal acts of all time. Mia also mentioned in some of her interviews the huge influence she also had from Abbath himself, whose real name is Olve Eikemo, always acknowledging the humongous importance his former band Immortal has always had on the birth and evolution of our beloved Norwegian Black Metal. I guess even after being fired from Abbath’s solo band the way it happened, Mia still sees him as a legend and as a true inspiration, and I’m sure she’ll always keep those moments onstage with him among her best memories in her musical career. Furthermore, in regards to bass players, Mia always mentions the enigmatic and multi-talented Peter Steele (R.I.P.), the lead singer, bassist and composer for Gothic Metal band Type O Negative, as her personal bass hero, but she also said she has always been fascinated by the onstage charisma of Martin Eric Ain (R.I.P.), the former bassist for Extreme Metal titans Celtic Frost, proving Mia definitely knows how to choose her music idols.

Finally, as much as we all see Mia as the talented and indestructible Black Metal bass player that she is, needless to say she’s also a human being like the rest of us, having to handle her own issues and struggles just like any regular person. As you can see in this article by Blabbermouth from the end of February, Mia mentioned in a special and very personal Facebook post that the past few months have been the been the darkest and most painful period of her life, with all recent events leaving her physically and emotionally destroyed. “I tried to face hell trying not to crack, always holding hard in front of events which, daily, were destroying my soul and my emotions, unfortunately, also physically, by pushing up that strong Mia everyone knows,” she wrote, complementing that by saying that “these terrible experiences are always destructive, but they also left a positive note: the ability to see who stayed, who, day after day, try to be close to me, without judging me or making me feel wrong, without making me feel the weight of my reactions dictated by despair, but simply making me feel that even though Mia is going through a negative phase, something good in her is still there, holding my hands and telling me that it will pass, listening to my pain, drying my tears and looking for the best way not to make me collapse.These people are the people who love me, my family, the people to whom my gratitude and love will remain as long as I am alive, and to whom I will give all of myself, with my strength and, unfortunately, flaws.” Those were the honest and austere words by “the imperfect” Mia, who we all wish a quick and healthy recovery and, of course, who we wish to see on stage smashing our skulls with her thunderous bass as soon as possible.

May 6, 2020 UPDATE: As you can see HERE, the unrelenting Mia Wallace has just been announced as the new bass player for Brazilian all-female Thrash Metal band Nervosa! The band’s mastermind Prika Amaral couldn’t have made a better choice to take care of their bass duties! Congratulations, Mia!

Mia Wallace’s Official Facebook page
Mia Wallace’s Official Instagram
Mia Wallace’s Official Twitter

“As I have often been wont to do, I’ll quote Friedrich Nietzsche: ‘Without music, life would be a mistake.’ That has always been my modus vivendi.” – Mia Wallace

Metal Chick of the Month – Thalìa Bellazecca

I was raised by the storm and I’m living to serve my own pride!

Amidst one of the worst crisis the world has ever been through, with the COVID-19 pandemic bringing nothing but fear, anger and darkness to our hearts, let’s pay a humble tribute to the beautiful Italy, where the virus has had so far the most devastating outcome, by providing you, our dear readers, with an overview of the life and career of the gorgeous, skillful and unstoppable Thalìa Bellazecca, the young and restless guitarist for Italian Power Metal band Frozen Crown, bringing some joy to our hearts and souls during such difficult times. If you, like almost all of us here, are quarantined and getting bored due to the lack of things to do, perhaps this short and sweet homage to Thalìa and all her countrymen, and of course her razor-edged riffs and solos, can help you enjoy your time of confinement a lot better.

Born on April 19, 2000 in Cantù, a city and commune in the Province of Como, located at the center of the Brianza zone in Lombardy, Italy, Thalìa Bellazecca is of Italian and Cuban origin, which explains her undeniable talent, groove and passion for music, and that’s exactly what we are going to focus on in this humble tribute to such distinguished shredder, as Thalìa seems to be a very reserved woman who lives and breathes music 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Furthermore, it’s impossible not to talk about Italian Power Metal band Frozen Crown, the band where we have all been able to witness Thalìa kicking some serious ass with her incendiary guitar since 2017.

Formed back in 2017 by guitarist and vocalist Federico Mondelli in the Italian metropolis of Milan, one of the global capitals of fashion and design, and fronted by the powerful singer Giada Etro (already known for her work in Ashes You Leave), Frozen Crown are a Power Metal band infused with classic Heavy Metal and Melodic Death Metal vibes, having released since their inception the singles The Shieldmaiden and Kings, in 2017, and Neverending, in 2019, and the full-length albums The Fallen King, in 2018, and Crowned in Frost, in 2019, where the band minimized their  Symphonic Metal side and amplified their core Heavy and Power Metal considerably. As a matter of fact, although you can enjoy Thalìa’s refined technique and stunning looks in pretty much all of Frozen Crown’s official videos, all guitars in both of their albums were recorded by Federico (except for the guitar solo in Kings, which was recorded by our metal lady Thalìa), who was also responsible for all keyboards and artworks as well. You can enjoy all of their albums and songs directly from their BandCamp page (where you can obviously buy their music, as well as from their Big Cartel page) and also stream everything on Spotify.

However, as aforementioned, who said we cannot have a blast with Thalìa in all official videos released by Frozen Crown through the years? You can definitely enjoy Thalìa shredding her strings in great fashion while she bangs her head like a maniac in amazing Power Metal anthems such as  Neverending, Kings, Everwinter, I Am The Tyrant, Forever and The Shieldmaiden, and if live performances are your cup of tea how about taking a shot at some of the band’s live footage playing their ass-kicking metal music to the masses like in the songs Kings, Fail No More, The Shieldmaiden and I Am The Tyrant live at C.G. Busto Arsizio in 2018 in Varese, Italy; Kings live in Toulouse in 2020; Arctic Gales/Neverending and Winterfall live at Dagda Retorbido in 2019 in Pavia, Italy; To Infinity live at Arci Tom in 2018 in Mantua, Italy; or simply enjoy this live footage of Frozen Crown taking the German cities of Munich, Augsburg and Aschaffenburg by storm in 2019.

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Apart from her career with Frozen Crown, we can also witness Thalìa embellishing the airwaves with her riffs and solos in a few other very interesting projects and bands; for instance, during part of 2018, Thalìa was one of the live guitarists for Russian Thrash Metal female-fronted band Pokerface, whose music can be described as a fusion of the music by Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom and Kreator. Also, Thalìa is one of the guitarists for a sensational Megadeth tribute band called Nuclear Winter, formed in 2015 by vocalist and guitarist Paolo Ingianni and active in the best Lombard and Piedmontese rock clubs since 2016. You can check their official Instagram and YouTube channel for more information on the band, such as this incendiary cover version for Tornado of Souls live in 2019 at Rock’N’Roll Milano.

In addition to all that, our dauntless left-handed shredder plays the guitar for the Italian Women Tribute, a music project that was born in 2016 from an idea by Andy Rox and is the first and only rock tribute to Italian female voices existing in Italy (and you can also find more information about it on their Instagram besides their official website), and was recruited to record a solo on one of the songs for a Syrian project called Storm of Death, of Adnan Al Hamdan, his third album featuring a selection of over 120 guest musicians from over 44 countries, which you can take a better look on the project’s official Facebook page. The song where we’ll have the pleasure of listening to Thalìa slashing her strings is not available yet, but I’m sure soon enough we’ll hear more from Adnan or from Thalìa herself with a link to listen to it.

Highly influenced by a vast array of guitar heroes such as Kiko Loureiro, Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Guthrie Govan, Paul Gilbert, Andy Timmons, Marty Friedman, Jason Becker and Yngwie Malmsteen, among countless others, our stunning guitarist manages her own YouTube channel, uploading several videos on a regular basis showcasing all her skills and passion for heavy music and rock in general. You can enjoy Thalìa and her inseparable ax playing cover versions for Kiko Loureiro’s Moment Of Truth, Frozen Crown’s Queen Of Blades, Joe Satriani’s Headrush and Satch Boogie, and Megadeth’s Conquer or Die, or simply watch her doing some guitar improvisation showing how talented she is. And last but not least, I believe I don’t need to say Thalìa also ventures through the realms of modeling, right? Just by looking at her gorgeous photos you probably guessed that yourself, and if you’re curious to know more about that distinguished side of our guitar hero you can check her work (and of other models) on the official Instagram of PERSONA, from Milan. Having said all that, I think we must all admit that Thalìa has it all, a ravishing look and style, an undeniable talent armed with her guitar, endless stamina and a deep and healthy addiction to Heavy Metal. If that’s not the perfect combination for a true headbanging woman, I honestly don’t know what could be.

Thalìa Bellazecca’s Official Facebook page
Thalìa Bellazecca’s Official Instagram
Thalìa Bellazecca’s Official Twitter
Thalìa Bellazecca’s Official YouTube channel
Frozen Crown’s Official Facebook page
Frozen Crown’s Official Instagram
Frozen Crown’s Official Twitter
Frozen Crown’s Official BandCamp page