Album Review – Lindsay Schoolcraft / Martyr (2019)

Renowned Canadian keyboardist and vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft will take you on a very entertaining journey through the realms of Gothic Rock and Metal in her debut solo album.

An accomplished singer, songwriter, harpist, and pianist in her own right, Canadian keyboardist and vocalist Lindsay Schoolcraft (Cradle of Filth, Antiqva, The Astroplex, Daedalean Complex) is about to release her debut solo album entitled Martyr, a very entertaining feast of Gothic Rock and Metal recommended for admirers of the dark music played by bands like Evanescence and Nightwish, while  Cradle of Filth enthusiasts will certainly enjoy hearing this darkly romantic side of Schoolcraft’s music. Hailing from Oshawa, a city on the Lake Ontario shoreline, Lindsay is not only deeply proud of her Canadian roots, but she’s also a declared fan and a connoisseur of all things rock and metal, making us at The Headbanging Moose really proud of her development and growth as a musician, and with Martyr being the perfect depiction of all her dedication and passion for heavy music.

Produced, engineered, and mixed by Tyler Williams of Monolithic Productions, mastered by Lasse Lammert, and featuring a classy cover artwork by Anastasia Solti and logo by Lindsey Márton, Martyr is Lindsay’s personal tribute to rock and metal, channeling her years of experience as a musician and as a human being into ten original composition written by Lindsay herself together with American multi-instrumentalist Rocky Gray (Living Sacrifice, Evanescence, We Are the Fallen, Soul Embraced, Machina), who’s also responsible for all guitars, bass and drums in the album. Not only that, Martyr also brings an array of very special guests, including Xenoyr, vocalist for Australian Extreme Progressive Metal band Ne Obliviscaris, and who also plays with Lindsay in her Black Metal project Antiqva, adding an extra touch of darkness to Lindsay and Rocky’s goth-rock extravaganza.

Somber piano notes and a modernized vibe set the tone in Saviour, with Rocky slashing his strings before Lindsay comes ripping with her Amy Lee-inspired vocals in a top-notch Gothic Rock and Metal exhibit by our beloved Canadian musician, and a delicious feeling keeps permeating the air in Dangerous Game, where Lindsay not only does a great job on vocals, but her trademark keys also bring a nice touch to the music. Moreover, Rocky and his low-tuned bass punches sound as thunderous as they can be, adding the word “Gothic” to the final result. Stranger is even more delicate than its predecessors, but still presenting the electricity of Gothic Rock, and you can sense elements from bands like Evanescence, The Cure and Depeche Mode in the music; and her smooth piano notes keep dictating the rhythm in Into The Night, where it’s impressive how Lindsay can sound so gentle and dark at the same time (maybe a “side effect” of her years with Cradle of Filth), offering us all a ballad perfect for enjoying together with your loved one.

Can we call Blood From A Stone a Gothic, darker version of Enya, mainly due to the gorgeous way Lindsay declaims the song’s touching lyrics? Put differently, let Lindsay and her serene vocals and piano mesmerize you for over five minutes, which is also the case in the cinematic Dawn, where Lindsay is unstoppable with her melancholic piano notes in this ethereal and almost instrumental composition. Then supported by the innocent voices from a children’s choir, Lindsay’s keys get more piercing while Rocky brings heaviness to the musicality with his riffs and (programmed) beats in Remember, whereas in the metallic and gracious See The Light it’s time to put the pedal to the metal, reminding me of some of the best creations by UK’s Industrial Rock/Metal band Lahannya, featuring nonstop drums and the guttural vocals by guest Xenoyr, bringing the “beast” to the music while Lindsay obviously represents the “beauty”.

Where I Fall, another touching ballad by Lindsay, is perfect for soothing your soul on a cold and dark night, bringing to our ears spot-on piano notes and keys, whereas My Way Without You, featuring guest Lauren Francis (Devilment) on backing vocals, is almost just a “vocal and piano” song, showing how much Lindsay loves this variation of Gothic Rock. And last but not least, although the whole album is amazing, I must admit her version for The Cure’s dark classic Lullaby (you can check the original version HERE) is beyond hypnotizing,  and I’m sure Robert Smith is proud of Lindsay not only for the amazing job she does on the piano, but especially by the way she declaims the song’s wicked lyrics with so much feeling.

As already mentioned, we at The Headbanging Moose couldn’t be happier and prouder of Lindsay Schoolcraft and her newborn spawn Martyr, and if you also want to show your sincere support to such talented Canadian woman you should definitely follow her on Facebook, subscribe to her YouTube channel, listen to more of her music on Spotify, and purchase Martyr (anytime soon) and all of her other releases from her own BandCamp page. In a nutshell, Martyr a a more-than-enjoyable album of rock and metal music, and let’s hope it inspires Lindsay to keep releasing albums under her solo career for years to come and, consequently, to visit your city or town in a not-so-distant future for live performances, embellishing the airwaves with her undeniable talent and charisma.

Best moments of the album: Saviour, See The Light and Lullaby.

Worst moments of the album: Dawn.

Released in 2019 Independent

Track listing
1. Saviour 4:17
2. Dangerous Game 4:35
3. Stranger 4:15
4. Into The Night 5:02
5. Blood From A Stone 5:03
6. Dawn 3:10
7. Remember 4:01
8. See The Light 3:47
9. Where I Fall 4:48
10. My Way Without You 4:48
11. Lullaby (The Cure cover) 4:32

Band members
Lindsay Schoolcraft – vocals, piano, harp
Rocky Gray – guitars, bass, drum programming

Guest musicians
Spencer Creaghan – orchestrations
Matthew Van Dreil – additional orchestrations
Vassilis Thomas – Orthodox chant on “Saviour”
David Michael Moote – Gregorian chant on “Saviour”
Chanel Martins – support with children’s choirs on “Dangerous Game”, “Warm Me” and “Remember”
Xenoyr – guest vocals on “See The Light”
Lauren Francis – backing vocals on “My Way Without You”

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Album Review – Delain / The Human Contradiction (2014)

Very symphonic, professional and pleasant. That’s the new album from Delain.

Rating4

coverIf the only Heavy Metal band you know from the Netherlands is Within Temptation, and especially if you are a fan of their work, you have to listen to the new album by Dutch Symphonic Metal band Delain, named The Human Contradiction. The band was formed in 2002 by former Within Temptation keyboardist Martijn Westerholt, which explains all the similarities between his current and his former bands, and the gorgeous redhead singer Charlotte Wessels, another good example of how talent and beauty always walk hand in hand in the Netherlands.

Delain might not be that new, but it seems that the quality of their music and overall production has achieved a higher level with The Human Contradiction, with all instruments sounding pretty clear and Charlotte’s voice being very polished and strong. Moreover, if the band has already toured so many different countries with their previous records, I believe this time their music will take them to even further places, which is something they deserve due to all their hard work to produce high quality heavy music.

Talking about each track of the album, we have an excellent beginning with Here Come The Vultures, a 6-minute song (which is a bold move to open an album nowadays, as the attention span of people doesn’t seem to go over 3 minutes) with a beautiful intro by Charlotte Wessels and dark and heavy riffs that work pretty well to warm us up for the rest of the album; and Your Body Is A Battleground, the first track to feature Finnish bassist Marco Hietala (Nightwish), who does a great duet with Charlotte and makes me wonder how good this song will sound live if he joins the band for a few concerts. The lyrics to this song are also an interesting and effective part of it (“Any disorder? / No restriction / Too hard to handle? / No hesitation / For your protection / Just an injection / We’ll write you a letter / The younger, the better”), making the overall result even better.

delainStardust showcases a good duo of drums and keyboards and has an excellent chorus, while My Masquerade, despite its more commercial approach (especially the chorus), is another good song from the album. Then come Tell Me, Mechanist, featuring Dutch musician George Oosthoek (Celestial Season, ex-Orphanage) doing guttural vocals in another great duet with Charlotte; and Sing To Me, another good song with Marco as a guest musician, although not as powerful as the first one.

The last songs of the regular version of the album are Army Of Dolls, an average song with its “80’s dance music” intro, which might sound better live; the beautiful Lullaby, a more gothic track with dense riffs, atmospheric keyboards, and Charlotte kickin’ ass on vocals one more time; and The Tragedy Of The Commons, featuring Alissa White-Gluz (Arch Enemy, ex-The Agonist), a very symphonic track where Alissa’s characteristic guttural vocals add a lot of energy to it.

Although the regular album is relatively short, if you purchase the special edition you’ll put your hands on a lot of excellent extra material, including songs like the beautiful ballad Scarlet, excellent live versions for some of the bands old songs and even of the new My Masquerade, which sounds a lot more powerful live, and unique orchestral versions for two of their new songs. It’s surely the wisest choice if you’re a fan of Delain’s music, or even if you’re just starting to know the band better.

To sum up, The Human Contradiction is a very consistent and pleasant album, perfect for fans of Symphonic Metal with female vocals. And if the band is performing live in your town this year, don’t miss the chance to check them. It’s an awesome choice for taking your boyfriend or girlfriend and enjoying together some good heavy music from a non-arena band, which is something we really need to support nowadays.

Best moments of the album: Here Come The Vultures, Your Body Is A Battleground and Lullaby.

Worst moments of the album: Sing To Me and Army Of Dolls.

Released in 2014 Napalm Records

Track listing
1. Here Come The Vultures 6:05
2. Your Body Is A Battleground (feat. Marco Hietala) 3:49
3. Stardust 3:56
4. My Masquerade 3:43
5. Tell Me, Mechanist (feat. George Oosthoek) 4:51
6. Sing To Me (feat. Marco Hietala) 5:08
7. Army Of Dolls 4:55
8. Lullaby 4:54
9. The Tragedy Of The Commons (feat. Alissa White-Gluz) 4:30

Special Edition bonus tracks
10. Scarlet 4:36
11. Don’t Let Go 3:56
12. My Masquerade (Live) 5:02
13. April Rain (Live) 4:45
14. Go Away (Live) 3:42
15. Sever (Live) 4:54
16. Stay Forever (Live) 4:31
17. Sing To Me (Orchestral Version) 3:41
18. Your Body Is A Battleground (Orchestral Version) 3:20

Band members
Charlotte Wessels – vocals
Martijn Westerholt – keyboards
Otto Schimmelpenninck van der Oije – bass
Sander Zoer – drums
Timo Somers – guitar

Guest musicians
Marco Hietala – clean male vocals
George Oosthoek – death growls
Alissa White-Gluz – clean female vocals & death growls