Metal Chick of the Month – Lahannya

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Justice ravaged by pain… I surrended my innocence in vain.

Our Heavy Metal diva this month is a tribute to Gothic Rock & Metal, a “love it or hate it” type of music that always divides the opinion of the more traditional metalheads. Fans of Iron Maiden, Slayer, Judas Priest and Metallica, for example, usually tend to despise almost everything from bands such as Rammstein, The Prodigy or Disturbed, mainly because “those bands are not true Heavy Metal”. However, they all have a lot of very interesting, creative and especially heavy material, which is also the case for the dark alternative music by our blue-haired gothic goddess Lahannya.

Lahannya was born in the United Kingdom, and although I’m not 100% sure, I believe her birthday is on January 20. Don’t ask me her full name or the year and city she was born (which by the way might be London), though, as it seems she’s one of those girls that doesn’t enjoy sharing her age nor many other details about her personal life with the rest of the world. Well, that doesn’t affect the quality of her work by any means, as what really matters here are her music, vocal performance and, of course, her stunning dark alternative looks.

Let’s say that Lahannya is not a regular singer, songwriter and performer: she’s a lot more than that, we should say a one-of-a-kind frontwoman, and her talent and skills can be enjoyed not only in the music from her own band, Lahannya, but also in the compositions from many other different bands and artists. Although she’s never made it to the mainstream, it’s in the underground world of heavy music where she has established her pillars and it’s also where she keeps influencing the newest generations of gothic and heavy musicians with her unique approach.

To begin with, it was back in 2004 when she met bassist Lutz Demmler, from German Gothic Metal band Umbra et Imago, at the M’Era Luna Festival where things really started to happen for Lahannya. After several projects since the beginning of her career in 1998, including the song Drowning for the compilation album Amduscias (1998) and her first EP entitled Drowning (2000), she finally formed the band Lahannya together with her then (and still) good friend Lutz in 2005, which is nowadays complemented live by German guitarist Christopher Milden and Italian drummer Luca Mazzucconi.

Lahannya’s Gothic Metal music is a complex and rich blend of the sonority from bands and artists such as The Prodigy, Disturbed, Loreena McKennitt, among many others. Actually, it’s kind of hard to truly define their music or compare it to other artists, although their lyrical themes are similar to what some of those artists also sing about, like darkness, pain, agony and relationships. The band has already released a good amount of material besides the EP Drowning: three full-length albums entitled Shotgun Reality (2007), Defiance (2009) and Dystopia ( 2011); another EP named Welcome to the Underground (2008); the live album Scavenger (2010); and the live DVD Sojourn (2013). You can take a listen at her mesmerizing voice in songs like Cocoon and Save Me, both from the album Dystopia.

The band has been touring a lot since its inception, especially in the UK and Germany, as for example in the Wave Gotik Treffen music festival, in Leipzig, in 2009, as well as many other dates in countries such as Austria, Netherlands, Poland and Switzerland, among others, with highlights to their exceptional performance during the Metal Female Voices Fest VII that happened in Wieze, Belgium, in 2009. There are some high quality videos on YouTube with Lahannya’s concert at that festival, like the ones for the songs Open Your Eyes and Burn, where it’s quite impossible to take your eyes out of her moves while her voice “invades” our ears with greatness. Another excellent live moments are the heavy and modern Inside the Machine, filmed at the X-Tra Club in Switzerland in 2008, and  the metallic Never Enough, during the band’s performance at the the M’Era Luna Festival 2012. There’s also a really nice interview with her during that same festival, which can be seen HERE, where she talks about her career and other stuff. It’s totally worth the time spent, especially because she’s a fun and humble woman, and her British accent is beyond beautiful.

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Among her infinite number of partnerships, projects and special guest appearances, the most important or famous ones are certainly her collaborations with English Electronic band Greenhaus, German Power Noise/Techno act Soman, Norwegian Aggrotech band Combichrist, German Industrial project Xotox, German Goth Rock band ASP, and German Gothic Electro band Dracul. None of these are close to Heavy or even Gothic Metal, but that doesn’t make the final results less enjoyable.

With Greenhaus, she was part of the songwriting and the vocalist for almost all tracks of their album Another life, from 2003, while with Soman she was the co-songwriter and vocalist for the following tracks: Tears, from the album Revenge (2004); Antique, from a compilation album with various artists entitled Machineries of Joy (2004); Mask and Eye to Eye, from the album Mask (2007); and Skin Deep, from the album Soman Noistyle (2010).

Our goth diva’s collaboration with Combichrist happened in the form of a spoken sample for the Soman remix of the title-track from their second EP Sex, Drogen Und Industrial (2004), while with Xotox she recorded a spoken intro for the video of the track [psi], from the album [psi] (2005), and was the vocalist on the song Habitat, from the album In Den Zehn Morgen (2008). Finally, she was featured in the remix of the song Nie Mehr, from the album Nie Mehr (2007) by ASP, and was the co-songwriter and vocalist for the tracks Vampiras Dream and Deathwish, from the album Like an Animal (2006) by Dracul.

There are a few other projects she’s involved which unfortunately I cannot list here, otherwise I would never be able finish this document. However, there’s one more interesting detail about Lahannya in regards to her career that you should know: if you’re in London and you are that type of person that likes to party, you might have a chance to see our blue-haired beauty in person doing something very different from singing with her band, which is being a DJ at the London alternative club Slimelight once in a while. Do you want to know where Lahannya finds all that energy to do everything she does? “I think it’s my purpose for living. I don’t really want to find a family or whatever. For me it’s my passion, it’s the legacy I want to leave behind, it’s how I express myself. If I didn’t do it, I would feel like I’m not actually living or breathing.”, she said. That explains a lot.

In regards to her idols in music, the pretty Lahannya mentioned she enjoys listening to and is constantly inspired by many distinct and excellent artists such as Kidneythieves, Dimmu Borgir, The Prodigy, Tori Amos, Celldweller, Bush, Disturbed, Mankind Is Obsolete, Loreena McKennitt, The Cranes etc. However, her inspiration in terms of lyrics comes from what is happening around her life and from her own emotions. Moreover, Lahannya mentioned a couple of times her “dream tour” would be with Industrial Metal icons Rammstein or English Electronic group The Prodigy, which in my opinion are outsdaning options for a full professional and exciting tour, don’t you agree?

Lastly, this nonstop frontwoman said she hasn’t had any free time for hobbies, but when she did she used to go scuba diving and climbing, which in my opinion are “not-so-common” activities for people who live in the gothic world, but each person does what they feel like doing, right? And in order to chill out, Lahannya’s choices often include a good DVD and a glass of wine, especially after a long day of hard work. That’s something even people like us, mere mortals who are not famous masterminds behind a successful band, can relate to, and maybe one of us is lucky enough to enjoy those rare free moments Lahannya has together with her. In the meantime, let’s keep on appreciating her dark and beautiful music.

Lahannya’s Official Facebook page
Lahannya’s Official YouTube channel
Lahannya’s Official Twitter

“The best piece of advice I can give is, don’t waste your time waiting for a manager, booking agent or record label to make things happen for you. If you are prepared to work hard, not just on the music but also on the business side, and you don’t give up, you can achieve an awful lot. No one will work as hard for you as you do yourself and no one will invest more money into your band than you are prepared to do yourself. If you don’t put the work in, why should anyone else?” – Lahannya

Metal Chick of the Month – Ceira Mahoney

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Save us, Ceira!

A couple of months ago, I had the pleasure to review the excellent EP The Way I Feel Pt. 2, by British Electronic Rock band SouLost and, of course, couldn’t help noticing the talent and awesome voice from their gorgeous lead singer Ceira Mahoney. Although SouLost is a brand new band, why not showing the world how promising Ceira’s career is with the band and how lucky Stef G, Lux and Law (the other members of the band) are?

Born on Februrary 7, 1992, Ceira (a tricky name for people who don’t know her, that’s actually pronounced “Kira”) began her music and acting career really early in her life. She started singing when she was only four years old, and began training at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in the UK on weekends. Once she turned seven, Ceira joined the Ravenscourt Theatre School full time, where she did a few acting roles such as extra work in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and About a Boy. Our stunning Brit-girl also had some experience overseas during her childhood, as she also played the part of a young goth aged 9 for a company called Malabar, in South Africa.

Then at the age of 14 Ceira got into the BRIT School of Performing Arts and Technology and went on to join a few bands. However, according to Ceira herself, up until SouLost she had not found any band she had a real passion for like the one she has developed for her current London-based rock group. Based on her two EP’s with SouLost (The Way I Feel Pt. 1 and The Way I Feel Pt. 2, both released now in 2014), it’s easy to understand why she loves her current job so much: the music by SouLost is powerful, captivating and modern, and it can be easily enjoyed by any type of person, from those regular “Top 40 Mainstream” guys and girls to the most diehard Heavy Metal fan you can think of.

If you don’t believe me, take a listen at some of the songs by SouLost, such as The Way I Feel and Save Me, and also watch their official video for the amazing song Without Me. You’ll see that not only her voice is perfect for this type of contemporary rock music, but also her performance as a frontwoman is really above average, truly boosting the quality of the music by SouLost.

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But how can such a young girl like Ceira look and sound so professional with so little time on the road with SouLost? Well, her origins and early start explain part of that, as previously mentioned, but I strongly believe all the inspiration she got from the legend, the unique, the immortal singer Freddie Mercury was the actual spark that ignited her love for music. She has loved British Rock icons Queen and their theatrical side since she was very young (who hasn’t, right?), especially Freddie’s unparalleled performance and voice, of course.

Besides Queen, she grew up listening to bands such as My Chemical Romance and Bullet For My Valentine, and the dramatic quality of their music has been instilled in her forever. Moreover, in regards to her top vocalists of all time, she also draws a lot of inspiration from artists like Alanis Morissette, Amy Lee, Gerard Way and Idina Menzel, among others. I should say this is a very eclectic list of performers, by the way.

Last but not least, as for hobbies our beautiful singer mentioned that, if she wasn’t devoted to music, she would definitely want to train as a tattoo artist, as she has always had a passion for art and body modification.

If you want to know more about this remarkable girl and her cool band SouLost, you can visit the band’s official website, Facebook page and Twitter, buy their music at their official online store, check where you can see them playing live, and also join the uprising #SouLostArmy. And let’s face it: with an “army captain” like Ceira, it will always be a pleasure to follow all her orders.

Ceira Mahoney’s Official Facebook page
Ceira Mahoney’s Official Twitter

“Every moment I’m able to perform is my favourite moment.” – Ceira Mahoney

Album Review – SouLost / The Way I Feel Pt. 2 EP (2014)

This promising new band from the UK brings forth a very melodic and captivating mix of Electronic and Hard Rock.

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SouLost-The-Way-I-Feel-Part-2After releasing their first EP in February 2014, entitled The Way I Feel Pt. 1 EP (which you can take a listen HERE), and featuring on the Best of British Unsigned playlist, leading to airplay in 16 countries over 88 radio stations, it’s time for British Electronic Rock band SouLost to take the next step in their promising career with the excellent The Way I Feel Pt. 2 EP.

Although at first glance it seems this is simply the second part of this London-based group’s February release, there are many noticeable differences between parts 1 and 2, starting by the fact that now what once was a three-piece became a quartet, with the addition of bassist Lux to the band. But even more significant than that is the evolution in the musicality by SouLost, moving from some basic Electronic Pop Rock to a full-bodied Melodic Speed Rock, which ends up expanding their music horizons and allowing them to be a lot more creative in their writing process.

SouLost_01Let’s say the only issue with the EP is that it’s too short, with only two original tracks and an acoustic version of one of the songs from the previous EP. However, there’s still a lot to enjoy in its almost 10 minutes, starting with Bring You Down, a great song that fluctuates between Alternative Rock, Hard Rock and heavier stuff as if Evanescence met Lacuna Coil, with the addition of some symphonic elements in order to make it more robust. Furthermore, the catchy chorus pushes the song a little further for becoming a radio hit, if the radio stations are OK with the mild coarse language found in its acid lyrics, of course.

Without Me showcases stronger synths and keyboards than the first track, flirting with Pop Rock and boosted by the excellent percussion by drummer Law, who doesn’t let the rhythm become stale, and the stunning Ceira stealing the show with her outstanding vocal performance. And last but not least, the acoustic version for the song Save Me is a lot more heartwarming than the original one (it was too electronic for me), with Ceira’s tender voice definitely being what makes it so delightful.

To sum up, SouLost excel in everything that’s needed in the showbiz, not only musically speaking but also in terms of their looks and attitude. For instance, the band’s logo is something you can visualize on the T-shirts of many rockers all over the world, don’t you agree? The Way I Feel Pt. 2 EP, which will soon be on sale at their official webstore as well as the previous EP and some cool merchandising, presents a more mature band heading into the right direction with their music. Moreover, you can also check their live performances especially if you’re in the UK, and hopefully really soon everywhere else in the world, and see with your own eyes an excellent band that will probably be part of the mainstream in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Bring You Down.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Bring You Down 3:21
2. Without Me 3:23
3. Save Me (Acoustic) 2:52

Band members
Ceira Mahoney – vocals
Stef G – guitar, synths
Lux – bass
Law – drums, percussions