Album Review – Sunterra / Reborn EP (2017)

Under the sign of the ancient Egypt goddess Isis, one of the most important Industrial Metal bands from the underground Austrian scene is reborn with a new lineup and a reinvigorated attitude.

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coverUnder the sign of the ancient Egypt goddess Isis, Austrian Gothic/Industrial Metal act Sunterra are celebrating their reunion after a 10-year hiatus from the music scene with their brand new EP titled Reborn, which as you can imagine by its name marks the resurrection of the band, presenting a musical progression without forgetting their own roots. Combining Industrial and Gothic Metal with hints of Electro and Dubstep, Sunterra aim at creating their own, distinctive sound, oferring the listener fresh and thrilling music that will put you on a trance and certainly sharpen your senses while listening to it.

Formed in 1998 in the charming city of Vienna, Austria after the split of a band named Virgin Seed, and having chosen their new name Sunterra as a game of words standing for the gathering of fire and earth, the band led by bassist and lyricist Chris enjoyed almost a decade of considerable success in the independent Austrian scene, releasing the demo In Diebus Illis in 1999 and the full-length albums Lost Time, in 2002, and Graceful Tunes, in 2005, before calling it a day in 2006. In 2015, with a brand new lineup and a reinvigorated attitude, Sunterra were reborn from the ashes like a phoenix and are more than ready to rock again, with their brand new EP being the first and exciting installment in this second incarnation of the band.

Electronic and futuristic elements set the tone in the solid Industrial Metal composition Reign Supreme, with the harsh growls by Carlos and the clean, gentle voice of Slovakian singer Lilly reaching a great balance, complementing each other’s lines effectively. In addition, the song’s chorus is quite catchy and should work really well live. In Shadow in the Dark, the band “abandons” their heavy industrialized musicality a bit, focusing on their Gothic Metal vein, with gentle piano notes and the delicate vocals by Lilly guiding the listener in this eccentric voyage. This is a melancholic, alternative ballad that ends with Carlos and Ivan delivering some heavy gnarls and riffs respectively, generating an interesting contrast with the song’s initial smoothness. Then in Lord of Lies we face some obscure guitar and bass lines by Ivan and Chris, which together with the potent programmed beats will break your neck while Lilly keeps delivering her angelical vocals. Put differently, this is a high-end professional fusion of Industrial and Gothic Metal, with its background effects helping make the overall sonority truly menacing.

sunterra-1This is W.A.R. brings forward an eerie futuristic ambience with elements from electronic music, feeling like a dance hit from the 80’s or 90’s with a metallic approach and gentle breaks being thoroughly inserted amidst the fury emanating from Carlos’ guttural growls; whereas Ministry of Thoughts presents a strong Marilyn Manson-inspired atmosphere, sounding extremely alternative and mechanized. In this song highly recommended for lovers of the darkest side of Industrial Metal, Ivan showcases an excellent performance on both guitar and all programmed elements, turning it into one of the best tracks of the album. And concluding the EP, Shut Up!!! begins in an ominous way with a whimsical dialogue between Carlos and Lilly before becoming a feast of electronic Industrial Metal perfect for hitting the dance floor, a creepy track by Sunterra to end Reborn on a high note.

As one of the most important Industrial Metal bands from the underground Austrian scene is finally back in action, why not feed their newly reborn fire  with your passion for heavy music? You can watch a preview of the entire EP on YouTube to get a better sense of what the music by Sunterra is all about, or stream it in its entirety to be enchanted by their modern metal music, as well as follow them on Facebook to know more about the band and their future projects and live concerts. And if you want to show your true support for these Austrian industrialists of darkness, you can get your copy of Reborn at their BandCamp page, on iTunes, on Amazon, at Discogs and several other online retailers.

Best moments of the album: Lord of Lies and Ministry of Thoughts.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 NRT-Records

Track listing
1. Reign Supreme 4:28
2. Shadow in the Dark 5:15
3. Lord of Lies 5:05
4. This is W.A.R. 4:49
5. Ministry of Thoughts 4:47
6. Shut Up!!! 3:51

Band members
Carlos – male lead vocals
Lilly – female lead vocals
Ivan – lead guitars, programming
Chris – bass

Metal Chick of the Month – Kobra Paige

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I am, I am all that’s inside you… I am, I am evil burning through!

Have you ever been bitten by a cobra? If not, this is probably the best opportunity you will ever have in your life to finally feel the powerful venom of a spellbinding snake flowing through your veins in the form of old school Heavy Metal, and I’m sure you’ll just love the experience. I’m talking about the stunning Canadian metaller Brittany Paige, better known for her onstage moniker Kobra Paige, the fiery frontwoman of Canadian Heavy Metal band Kobra And The Lotus. Are you ready for a metallic snake bite?

Born and raised in Calgary, Canada, Kobra is a classically trained singer and pianist, having completed Grade 8 in vocals and Grade 6 in piano with The Royal Conservatory of Music, before forming Kobra And The Lotus in 2008 together with guitarist Chris Swenson and drummer Griffin Kissack. She said she was doing classical training from when she was very young until she lost interest in it, getting into Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll during her high school years especially because there was something in heavy music with a strong connection to what she loved the most in classical music, allowing her to explore her true voice. “I felt it was an extremely natural progression because metal allows for that chest voice to be used”, she explained. In addition, she mentioned she was going to university without a real intention of doing music seriously, although she truly wanted to start her own metal band anyway. After starting singing and writing music she felt so passionate and alive she decided to go ahead with her music career, which also meant the end of university for her.

Despite not pursuing a career in classical music, the classical training was essential for our blonde bombshell to learn the art of singing and how to properly take good care of her voice. “I’m so scared of that because I can’t just buy a new guitar. I only have this one instrument and you don’t want to blow it, so absolutely the breath exercises and the tools that I learned from it have very much helped, made me more knowledgeable”, she said in one of her interviews. Well, she said she was blown away at a Judas Priest concert after the band played their thunderous classic Painkiller, and she also fell in love for the powerful multi-layered voice by Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, so it makes total sense for her to be so worried about her voice as we all know how demanding singing like Rob Halford and Robert Plant can be to any mortal person, right?

Still under the name Brittany Paige, she released with Kobra And The Lotus their debut album Out of the Pit, in 2009, before adopting the name Kobra Paige and releasing two more albums with the band, the self-titled Kobra and the Lotus in 2012 and their most recent full-length album High Priestess in 2014, as well as an EP with cover versions for renowned Canadian rock bands entitled Words of the Prophets in 2015, and a 7″ vinyl EP named Zombie also in 2015, released as a Halloween treat and containing the songs Zombie and Remember Me. She also took part in the Heavy Metal/Hard Rock project Tony Gabriele’s Orbynot, recording vocals for their 2012 album Try to Stop Me, and is constantly lending her voice to the metal army known as Metal All Stars, sharing the stage with iconic musicians such as Tim “Ripper” Owens, Ross the Boss, Vinny Appice and Paul Di’Anno, and more recently to the cult Melodic Power Metal act Kamelot during their latest world tour. And you better get ready, because Kobra And The Lotus announced back in November 2015 they are gearing up for their fourth full-length album, a double disc entitled Prevail, to be released in a not-so-distant future (you can pre-order it HERE).

There are several videos on YouTube where you can enjoy her electrifying vocals and looks, and more important than that, feel the remarkable shift in her voice through the years. As a “few” suggestions, I believe you can take a listen at the old school thrashy tunes Snake Pit, Ride Like Sugar and Cynical Wasteland, the thunderous Welcome To My Funeral and I Am, I Am, the sexy heavy ballad Black Velvet, the Power Metal epicness of 50 Shades Of Evil and Forever One, the band’s thrilling cover versions for Motörhead’s all-time classic Ace of Spades and Rush’s groovy anthem The Spirit Of Radio, and their awesome performance at the famous festival Bloodstock Open Air in 2012. When asked about that change, Kobra said it happened mainly from their first to their second album, when she started following a direction where she felt more comfortable with her voice, sounding more organic, honest and authentic, and also evolving with the other band members in terms of skills and songwriting.

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Based on her vocal style and the music played by Kobra and The Lotus, you might think her biggest influences come only from traditional Heavy Metal, like Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, who obviously had a huge impact on her life and who she would simply love to tour with. However, our gorgeous Kobra is a fan of all types of music, from old school metal the likes of Ronnie James Dio (R.I.P.) and Iced Earth, to Folk/Viking Metal such as Eluveitie and Amon Amarth, to obviously classical music, in special German composer and pianist Ludwig van Beethoven. As pretty much all successful musicians, she doesn’t stick to only one music genre, which helps her evolve as a singer and songwriter by expanding her horizons and bringing to her mind huge amounts of creativity and passion.

As expected for such a charismatic persona like Kobra, she was invited to take part on an interesting documentary called Soaring Highs and Brutal Lows: The Voices of Women in Metal after her performance at the famous Metal Female Voices Fest in 2013, touring then with other female vocalists in different festivals and telling their own stories in the world of heavy music. Talking about the life on the road, Kobra said once that “any person obviously has to be really into heavy metal, living and breathing for it, in order to be on the road constantly”, and in regards to being a beautiful woman among so many male metalheads, she said that one of the funniest things that ever happened to her on tour was when Kobra and The Lotus were touring around Canada the first time and she got a lot of questions like “are you the merch girl?”, surprising them all the minute she got onstage.

Her hobbies and interests are also very common for most of us, especially if you enjoy more physical stuff such as kickboxing and hiking on a mountain. Moreover, as she’s so focused on her music career and loves all things music so much, she has also nurtured an interest in musical theater, something she used to do at a younger age, looking into some Broadway scoring to improve her skills and capacity for innovation. One curious detail about her is that, even after spending so much time on the road with the band, she’s an avid traveler, always searching for exotic destinations to visit and new cultures to learn about.

Lastly, in case you haven’t noticed yet, our metal viper has the tattoo of a dream catcher on her arm, something very meaningful to her since she was a little girl. Her mom used to take her to sun dances, increasing Native American influences on her while she was growing up. Besides, she used to have constant nightmares until she was 13, when her parents put a dream catcher over her bed as a protective symbol, which ended up working really well for her. I’m pretty sure her nightmares are long gone by now, not due to the dream catcher but mainly because of her badass attitude and inner strength. In other words, I can’t think of any entity brave enough to disturb the peace of our headbanging cobra, and if anyone or anything dares to do so, they will mercilessly have their asses kicked pretty bad.

Kobra Paige’s Official Facebook page
Kobra Paige’s Official Twitter
Kobra Paige’s Official Instagram

Kobra And The Lotus’ Official Facebook page
Kobra And The Lotus’ Official Twitter

“I am who I am and this is my voice; if it’s not bad-ass enough for some people, that’s just too bad.” – Kobra Paige