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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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 – Octainium / Suffer The Clock (2014)

These South African metalheads bring us a vibrant Metalcore album full of heavy riffs, violent lyrics and lots of melody.

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Album Front CoverIt’s time to travel to the “Mother Continent”, more specifically to Centurion, in South Africa, an area located about 20 minutes from the city of Pretoria, to enjoy the music offered to us all by South African Metalcore band Octainium in their new album, Suffer The Clock, a very interesting mix of violence, harmony and melody tailored for all guys and girls that are fans of a more modern version of heavy music.

Octainium might be highly influenced by bands like Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God and Hatebreed, but their music is not limited to what those bands do only. Although labeled as a Metalcore band, their music is much broader that than, as those guys incorporate lots of elements from more brutal genres such as Thrash Metal and Melodic Death Metal, and sometimes even traditional Hard Rock from the 80’s.

The excellent mix of Death Metal and Metalcore present in the song that kicks off the album, The Writing’s on the Wall, perfectly exemplifies what I’m trying to say in regards to the range of Octainium’s music, with highlights to the awesome deep guttural vocals blended with melodic clean vocals and riffs as heavy as hell. Moreover, the polished production allows us to clearly listen to all instruments making the overall experience even better, which can also be noticed in Dethrone, a song that gains a lot of strength due to all its elements from Melodic Death Metal bands such as Arch Enemy and In Flames, the excellent job done by drummer Gerhard Booysen (which I’m sure will inspire you for some good headbanging) and its violent lyrics (“I believe the time has come to fight back / So are you man enough? / Are you up for the task?”).

Holier Than Thou is even heavier than the previous two tracks, especially the vocals, which sound truly furious here and lead all the spiteful brutality in the song, while Grist To the Mill, which has Scott Wareham (HOKUM) as a guest musician, is pure Metalcore with a good balance of guttural and clean vocals again. Then we have the title-track, Suffer The Clock, a song that talks about how you must take control of your life before it’s too late (“Free your senses, just for a moment / So light your candle and watch it burn!”), with a rhythm a lot faster than all previous songs and highly recommended for circle pits, followed by another one of the top moments of the album, Skeletons, where the addition of the beautiful female voice by guest vocalist Alicia van Wyk makes the entire song even more melodic and pleasant.

PosterAnd there’s still a lot more to come: in Another Day, Another Death, pay attention to the very technical and melodic guitar lines, which truly elevate the overall quality of the song, while in Ineptocracy the focus is on the strong lyrics about the current political, social and economic state of South Africa. What’s Your Poison? is a good heavy song but less inspired than the others, despite its interesting (but really  short) acoustic part in the middle, and in The Devil Take The Hindmost the band flirts once again with Melodic Death Metal, with guest vocalist Andrew Duggan (Cutting Jade) giving the song an amazing Hard Rock sonority. Would I be exaggerating if I said this song could easily become a radio hit?

The last two songs in Suffer The Clock are If The Shoe Fits, which riffs remind me of some of the recent songs by Trivium, and Vs. The World, another song that focus heavily on strong riffs and melodic vocal lines, closing the album on a high note. Unfortunately there isn’t a link available yet with any of the songs from Suffer The Clock, but you can keep checking the band’s official Facebook page, Twitter, YouTube, ReverbNation and SoundCloud for news and other information about their new album. Well, if you check their profile you’ll see they’re absolutely crazy for Jägermeister, which is a really good sign of how thrilling their music is. Think about it, have you ever seen a band or musician that loves having shots and shots of that awesome German digestif playing lounge or elevator music?

Best moments of the album: The Writing’s on the Wall, Holier Than Thou and Skeletons.

Worst moments of the album: What’s Your Poison? and If The Shoe Fits.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. The Writing’s on the Wall 3:30
2. Dethrone 4:58
3. Holier Than Thou 3:55
4. Grist To the Mill (feat. Scott Wareham) 3:17
5. Suffer The Clock 3:48
6. Skeletons (feat. Alicia van Wyk) 3:33
7. Another Day, Another Death 4:04
8. Ineptocracy 5:04
9. What’s Your Poison? 5:02
10. The Devil Take The Hindmost (feat. Andrew Duggan) 3:29
11. If The Shoe Fits 3:43
12. Vs. The World 4:40

Band members
Maritz Booysen – vocals
Kyle “Sikes” van Wyk – guitars
Sven Anderson – guitars
Arno Grundling – bass
Gerhard Booysen – drums