Metal Chick of the Month – Fallon Bowman

Then we lay there… Embracing our last stare… On a moonlit afternoon…

As The Headbanging Moose is based in Toronto, Canada, probably the most multi-cultural city in the world, there’s nothing better than having as our last metal chick of the year of 2017 a woman of Dutch and Indonesian descent that was born in Cape Town, South Africa, but that currently resides here in Toronto, playing an also diverse range of musical styles such as Alternative Metal, Nu Metal, Rock, Industrial and even Electronica. This woman, who’s a skillful vocalist and guitarist, goes by the name of Fallon Bowman, known for her involvement with the bands Kittie, Pigface and Amphibious Assault, as well as a solo career which she’s been pursuing since around 2011. Having said that, are you ready to bang your head to the electrifying music by the exotic Fallon?

Born on November 16, 1983 in Cape Town, a port city on South Africa’s southwest coast, on a peninsula beneath the imposing Table Mountain, Fallon has been active in the world of alternative and heavy music since 1996, when at the age of fourteen years old she helped to form Canadian Alternative Metal act Kittie with classmate Mercedes Lander and Mercedes’ sister, Morgan Lander, playing guitar and performing backing vocals for the band from their inception in 1996 until August 2001, when she left the band. As a matter of fact, her passion for music actually started a few years before Kittie, when she was around 10 years old, when she was fascinated with a guitar her grandfather had at his home in South Africa. However, she mentioned the guitar was not her first choice, as at first she wanted to be a drummer when she was around 12, but her parents were against it and she ended up getting a guitar from them after they saw her performance playing the song Violet, by Hole, at a school assembly with a friend using a friend’s guitar. Getting back to Kittie, Fallon has already explained several times in different interviews why she left the band, saying she was unhappy with some things in the band so she felt that maybe it was time for her to depart. Our dauntless guitarist recorded two albums with Kittie, those being the full-length Spit, in 1999, and the EP Paperdoll, in 2000, comprised of a remix of Spit’s song Paperdoll and five songs from Spit recorded live on June 15, 2000 at the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden.

Regarding the writing and meaning of the song Choke in Spit, Fallon said that it is “about someone telling you that they love you so much, and they put you up on a pedestal and make you feel great, then they turn around and say “screw you”, and you can sense that feeling while listening to the song (which you can do HERE). Furthermore, just to give you an idea of the impact of the release of Spit, right after that Kittie went on tours with bands such as Chevelle, Slipknot, Suicidal Tendencies, and Shuvel, also performing at Ozzfest and at the 2001 SnoCore festival. Hence, if you want to listen to Fallon playing her flammable guitar with Kittie, I recommend the songs Brackish and Charlotte, both taken from Spit.

Right after her departure from Kittie, Fallon experienced a period of stress due to splitting up with her friends from the band, but she managed to overcome that difficult situation after a while and got involved with her two next endeavors, the distinct bands Pigface and Amphibious Assault. Pigface is an industrial music supergroup formed in 1990 by Martin Atkins (Ministry, Killing Joke) and William Rieflin (Ministry, KMFDM, R.E.M., King Crimson), featuring tons of guest musicians such as our metal babe Fallon. She ended up recording several tracks with Pigface for their 2003 album Easy Listening…, which led her to begin writing music again due to the enjoyment she had during the recording process. She then purchased a sequencer and began exploring the industrial music genre that she admired but had never actively pursued, also filling her basement in the following months with drum machines and synthesizers, which in the end led to the writing of the songs for District Six, the debut album by her upcoming industrial project Amphibious Assault, mixing lots of heavy elements and aspects with her passion for industrial music. The name of the project was chosen during a flight from Toronto to New Jersey, when Bowman, at the age of seventeen, was skimming through a Tom Clancy novel when she came upon the term “amphibious assault”, with the whole project being, according to our talented musician herself, her personal “homage” to her KMFDM days, when she was obsessed with them. Amphibious Assault went on for a few years, from 2003 until 2007, with two full-length albums released, the aforementioned District Six in 2003 and On Better Days and Sin-Eating in 2006. If you want to take a listen at this more electronic side of Fallon, I recommend you check the songs Tears In Rain, District 6, The Importance Of Finding Narcissism, Mistakes, Breaks, Way Too Lates, and Benedictine, among many others.

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After the end of Amphibious Assault, Fallon mentioned that a new project was about to become a reality, tentatively named “Oh No, Torpedo!”, but that in the end became her solo project Fallon Bowman & The Grace Dynasty (with The Grace Dynasty being a five-piece band that included Rhim of The Birthday Massacre on drums), playing a series of live shows before announcing their forthcoming debut album, titled Human, Conditional, from 2011. However, right after the recording of the album was done, it was decided that the project would drop “The Grace Dynasty” from its name, being then just known as Fallon Bowman. You can take a detailed listen at Human, Conditional at Bowman’s own BandCamp page, with songs like the title-track Human, Conditional and Rio de Janeiro being a good sample of how her latest project sounds like.

Regarding her vocal range and her skills as a musician, Fallon mentioned in one of her interviews she’s highly influenced by R&B (thanks to her sister and parents), which allows her to do more than “just” scream and yell while singing, and that she hadn’t taken any singing lesson until she left Kittie. She said that her vocal teacher taught her all sorts of essential lessons about maintaining pitch while moving, and that she incorporated those into her performances to give it a more theatrical vibe. In addition, she also mentioned the emotion she transpires during her live performances is something that just happens, it’s very organic and it arises from the same place her lyrics and pain come from. And even in the middle of that sea of emotions, Fallon has time to sharpen her playing skills, being able to play guitar, keyboards, bass and sing (and getting there in regards to the piano), all helping her become a better composer. And did you know she has a degree in archeology? Well, that’s something almost no one actually knew until she was the subject of a prank for an episode of the short-lived Animal Planet series Freak Encounters a few years ago.

Fallon’s influences in music are just as diverse as her own background, with our talented multi-instrumentalist being highly influenced by R&B when it comes to her vocal style, but of course she also draws a lot of inspiration from electronic and rock music, saying that she loves the contrast between angelic singing and harder music. In terms of names, she said her taste for music varies from Whitney Houston to Deftones, from Calvin Harris to VNV Nation to Nirvana, and so on, mentioning that there’s beauty in all types of music. When asked about a band that she would have loved to tour with from the past, she promptly mentioned Nirvana, saying that meeting Kurt Cobain would have been a mind-blowing experience and that Nirvana, alongside with Hole, were the bands that made her want to be a musician. Furthermore, Fallon still had time to create her own dream band, that being David Gahan from Depeche Mode on vocals, Danny Carey from Tool on drums, Ryan from Mudvayne on bass, and Jimi Hendrix on guitar. How awesome do you think that supergroup would sound?

When asked about all changes that have impacted the music industry since she started her career back in 1996, she said when Kittie started they had almost no focus on the internet, as there wasn’t Facebook or anything like that at that time, saying it was all about street teams made up of fans that would spread the word about each band, something that doesn’t happen anymore nowadays. Fallon has been trying to learn about new apps and platforms to promote her music, and you can find her in several places, as for example you can buy her music on BandCamp, something that didn’t exist at all in the 90’s. Well, she’s also on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube, so let’s say she has adapted to this new reality in the music business as much as her taste in music has changed and evolved, right? Well, now let’s wait and see what the future holds for this young and restless musician, hoping that she keeps “invading” all current and new types of social media sites and music apps with her uniqueness and electricity.

Fallon Bowman’s Official Facebook page
Fallon Bowman’s Official Twitter
Fallon Bowman’s Official Instagram
Fallon Bowman’s Official YouTube channel
Fallon Bowman’s Official BandCamp

“I didn’t consciously think of what I was doing as a step for me as a woman of colour – it was more simple than that – being a teenager wanting to be a rockstar. In retrospect however, no one besides maybe Skin was doing that style of music and was also a woman of colour. It’s a bit mind blowing really. There was really no one else doing that at that level.” – Fallon Bowman

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Album Review – Matanza / Pior Cenário Possível (2015)

Death, misfortune, arrogance, serial killers, the end of the world and an immensurable amount of dark humor. This is not the worst-case scenario, but the best Countrycore you can find in the world.

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coverWhen I mentioned HERE, in one of our Classic Albums reviews, that the music by Brazilian Countrycore band Matanza is an excellent option for learning Brazilian Portuguese, I was not joking. All their lyrics are insanely poetic, it doesn’t matter which of their albums or songs you’re listening to. However, they’ve truly stepped their game up in Pior Cenário Possível (or “worst-case scenario” in English), the seventh studio album in their inebriate and bad-tempered career, evolving from the usual “women-drinking-partying” lyrics to more introspective and dark themes.

This subtle but important change was the perfect match for the mix of Hardcore, Punk Rock, Heavy Metal and Rock N’ Roll brought forth by this talented Rio de Janeiro-based band, refining their acidity and ill temper even more. Not only that, this is their first album ever to feature two guitarists, Marco Donida and Maurício Nogueira, another significant improvement to their musicality. Unfortunately the album also marks the departure of longtime bassist Jefferson “China” Cardim, replaced by Dony Escobar, but if you take into account all the positive changes the “worst-case scenario” proposed by Matanza is far from being bad after all.

Let’s ignite some serious mosh pits with the sick bass lines by China in the opening track A Sua Assinatura (“your signature”), where its solid instrumental gets impregnated by the band’s acid lyrics and attitude, always boosted by one of the strongest characteristics of their music, Jimmy London’s grumpy and rough vocals. O Que Está Feito, Está Feito (“what’s done, is done”) is pure Countrycore, with its rhythmic drumming and poetic lyrics tailored for enjoying a pint of a strong Irish beer while listening to it, while the hardcore riffs and beats in Matadouro 18 (“slaughterhouse 18”) showcase how brutal and fun Matanza can be at the same time. Moreover, I love how they manage to turn a horrifying story or situation into thrilling music, just like what they do with this song.

matanzaWhen they slow down and focus on a more Stoner Rock musicality they sound as awesome as their faster songs, which is exactly the case in A Casa em Frente ao Cemitério (“the house in front of the cemetery”), with highlights to its angry chorus and the heavy guitar riffs by Marco and Maurício. Sob a Mira (“under the gun”) sounds almost like Country Metal, with one of the best lyrics of the whole album about how some men are capable of defying death no matter what. Its exciting rhythm is enhanced by a nice slower break, including a good guitar solo, and of course by Jimmy wishing all of you good luck when you go down to hell. And the title-track Pior Cenário Possível (“worst-case scenario”), a slow and somber tune, is not happy at all. Quite the contrary, it’s about things getting worse and worse for a poor sailor at the sea even if that seems impossible, with only the bad-tempered vocals by Jimmy being able to translate all that misfortune into words (“Quando vê a tempestade se formando no horizonte / A nuvem carregada vindo em sua direção / Gira o botão, mas o rádio não responde / Água subindo de nível / Pior cenário possível / Casco na proa esta rachado / O barco já está adernado / Teria alguma sugestão? / Não!”).

The last part of the album keeps kicking ass, starting with O Pessimista (“the pessimist”), an authentic Countrycore track with great performances by drummer Jonas Cáffaro and bassist China, and yet another song where lyrics go beyond poetry so actual they are, followed by Chance pro Azar (“chance to bad luck”), the worst of all tracks where its bland instrumental and lackluster chorus do some serious harm to the final result. What about the awesome Orgulho e Cinismo  (“pride and cynism”), a very exciting tune that will undoubtedly generate some sick headbanging and circle pits during their live performances, where the bass lines by China keep rumbling inside your head while Jimmy flawlessly sings about the end of our arrogant society? Its riffs get a lot heavier and faster like what we usually find in Thrash Metal, just like the galloping hardcore sounding in Conversa de Assassino Serial (“serial killer conversation”), the perfect soundtrack for a pub fight with highlights to the powerful beats by Jonas and its climatic ending. In addition, this is how they depict two serial killers peacefully discussing about their demented actions (“Eu cometi o mesmo erro que você tempos atrás / Me colocaram na cadeia, mas eu consegui fugir / Me escondi numa cabana na montanha por um mês / E não é pra me gabar, mas eu matei bem mais de seis”). Do I need to say more?

You can purchase this ode to death, misfortune and arrogance at the official Deckdisc website or on iTunes, and don’t forget to check Matanza’s official Facebook page for their latest news and tour dates. The worst-case scenario in case you don’t acquire Pior Cenário Possível? Well, let’s say that not only you’ll be deprived of the best Countrycore you can find in the world, but you’ll also be taking one more step towards the inevitable end of the world together with the rest of our egotistic and devious society.

Best moments of the album: Matadouro 18, Sob a Mira, Orgulho e Cinismo and Conversa de Assassino Serial.

Worst moments of the album: Chance pro Azar.

Released in 2015 Deckdisc

Track listing
1. A Sua Assinatura 3:28
2. O Que Está Feito, Está Feito 2:40
3. Matadouro 18 2:47
4. A Casa em Frente ao Cemitério 3:49
5. Sob a Mira 4:01
6. Pior Cenário Possível 3:32
7. O Pessimista 3:08
8. Chance pro Azar 3:04
9. Orgulho e Cinismo 3:20
10. Conversa de Assassino Serial 5:27

Band members
Jimmy London – vocals
Marco Donida – guitar
Maurício Nogueira – guitar
Jefferson “China” Cardim – bass
Jonas Cáffaro – drums

Album Review – Matanza / A Arte do Insulto (2006)

Learning Brazilian Portuguese can be a lot easier and more fun with this awesome countrycore album.

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A+Arte+do+InsultoWith less than 3 months to the 2014 World Cup, lots of soccer fans from all around the world are probably heading to Brazil pretty soon and, of course, are trying to learn some basic words and sentences in Brazilian Portuguese (well, the original Portuguese from Portugal might be helpful too) in order to have an even better experience during the event there. However, if you really want to mingle with the locals, you’ll need more than a simple “por favor” (please) or “obrigado” (thank you), and Brazilian Countrycore band Matanza can help you out with that.

This very talented band from Rio de Janeiro plays an awesome mix of heavy music, hardcore, punk and country, being highly influenced by sacred monsters such as Johnny Cash, Motörhead, Slayer and The Exploited, and adding a huge amount of irony and sarcasm in their lyrics about women, alcohol, violence and human ignorance. After two excellent full-length albums (Santa Madre Cassino, from 2001, and Música para Beber e Brigar, from 2003) and a tribute album composed in its entirety by heavy versions of many classics from Johnny Cash called To Hell With Johnny Cash, from 2005, Matanza released A Arte do Insulto in 2006, or “The Art of Insult” if translated to English, considered their best album until today by the fans.

The title-track, A Arte do Insulto (The Art of Insult), is pure hardcore that will teach you a vast cursing vocabulary for you to use whenever you meet a Brazilian, while Clube dos Canalhas (Scoundrels’ Club) reminds us men what it really is to be a man. The next track is also mandatory for anyone that wants to party in Brazil:  O Chamado do Bar (The Call of the Bar) has some awesome fast riffs and is perfect for some insane circle pits. Sabendo Que Posso Morrer (Knowing I Can Die), a song that talks about love, and Quem Perde Sai (Who Loses Leaves), focused on the pitfalls of poker, are also pretty good fast songs that showcase all the talent of the band’s musicians, as well as the amazing Meio Psicopata (Half Psychopath) with its funny lyrics.

matanzaThe album continues its feast of black humor and bad mood with the classic Eu Não Gosto De Ninguém (I Don’t Like Anyone), an excellent hardcore song with one of the most acid lyrics I’ve ever seen, and the slow-paced O Caminho Da Escada e Da Corda (The Way of the Ladder and the Rope), which despite its cool lyrics is not as exciting as the previous songs. Then we have another great example of what countrycore is with Ressaca Sem Fim (Endless Hangover), the intelligent Tempo Ruim (Bad Weather), and Quem Leva A Sério O Quê? (Who Takes What Seriously?) which is pretty much filler. The last two tracks are pretty cool:  both Whisky Para Um Condenado (Whisky for a Convicted) and Estamos Todos Bêbados (We’re all Drunk) are some kind of funny tribute to alcoholism, with the last being even funnier due to its “pirate song” atmosphere.

Regarding the musicians, I would say the heart and soul of the band are the guitar player Donida (who wrote pretty much all the songs from A Arte do Insulto), and especially the lead singer Jimmy London. Although he was born in Rio, he doesn’t look like a “carioca” at all, resembling a lot more with a metalhead from Ireland, and his voice and attitude add a lot of value to the music of Matanza. And finally, the album art is simple but very effective, inspired by sexy saloon dancers, alcohol and guns, a constant in all of their albums.

Do you understand now how Matanza will help you during the World Cup? It’s heavy music with lots of sarcasm, bad words, and the perfect soundtrack for partying and having some drinks at a pub, which is pretty much everything you’ll be doing in Brazil, right? Or are you going to tell me you are planning to get there just to support your national squad?

Best moments of the album: A Arte do Insulto, O Chamado do Bar and Eu Não Gosto De Ninguém.

Worst moments of the album: O Caminho Da Escada e Da Corda and Quem Leva A Sério O Quê?

Released in 2006 Deckdisc

Track listing
1. A Arte do Insulto 1:51
2. Clube dos Canalhas 3:01
3. O Chamado do Bar 2:06
4. Sabendo Que Posso Morrer 2:19
5. Quem Perde Sai 2:32
6. Meio Psicopata 2:18
7. Eu Não Gosto De Ninguém 3:53
8. O Caminho Da Escada e Da Corda 3:00
9. Ressaca Sem Fim 3:08
10. Tempo Ruim 2:43
11. Quem Leva A Sério O Quê? 2:50
12. Whisky Para Um Condenado 2:22
13. Estamos Todos Bêbados 3:32

Band members
Jimmy London – vocals
China – bass
Fausto – drums
Donida – lead and rhythm guitar