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

Album Review – BlackWolf / The Hunt (2014)

If you think Rock N’ Roll is dead, think again. At least in the United Kingdom it is not only alive, but also stronger than ever.

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blackwolf_the huntDo you know that sad and annoying feeling when the specialized media insists on saying that Rock N’ Roll is dead, which gets even worse when we turn on the radio and realize the great majority of bands being played in Rock N’ Roll stations are too pop or commercial, not depicting at all the true essence of rock music? Well, if you’ve been suffering from that horrible “illness” lately and don’t know what to do, I have the perfect “remedy” for you: The Hunt, the awesome new album by British Hard Rock band BlackWolf.

It’s simply amazing how many excellent bands and albums are coming from the UK in the past few months, which is also true for this Bristol-based “Soulful Hard Rock N’ Roll” band as they like to call themselves. Mixing some great elements from classic bands such as Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Sabbath and Aerosmith, with a more contemporary sonority from Airbourne and Avenged Sevenfold, they were able to create “music from the 70’s” without sounding outdated or nostalgic, all thanks to the professionalism and creativity from all band members.

Their influence from the 70’s/80’s Hard Rock is evident from the very first notes of Mr. Maker, a song that could have been easily recorded by a band like Velvet Revolver, with highlights to its strong vocal work, or in the brilliant Keep Moving On, a song that was born to be a Rock N’ Roll radio hit due to its catchy chorus (you’ll start singing it without even noticing), lots of feeling and an excellent guitar solo. The groovy Moving Mountains, with its old school Black Sabbath riffs and an excellent work done by bassist Ben Webb and drummer Tom Lennox-Brown, will just make you more addicted to this album without any doubt and eager for what’s next.

And what comes after that is, of course, also very pleasant: Faith In Me is a kind of ballad with many elements used by bands like Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd, with singer Scott Sharp elevating the overall quality of the song with a great performance, while the fast and heavy Trouble, which is absolutely perfect for a road trip, presents a band entirely on fire. Moreover, it’s quite impossible not to get pumped up with this song and its awesome guitar solo. Things slow down a little with Only Said In Silence, a semi-acoustic ballad showcasing a more modern Hard Rock (with another powerful guitar solo by the end of it), but the band quickly gets back in full force with House of Emerald Wine, another memorable tune with an outstanding  touch of Blues Rock added to it.

blackwolfIf after all that awesomeness you still agree with the “specialists” that say Rock N’ Roll is dead, simply listen to Raised On the Sun and you’ll change your mind. this song is classic Stoner Rock at its best, with vocalist Scott Sharp killing it once again. Or maybe you should take a listen at the fast beats and awesome riffs from Black Hole Friend, another above-average Hard Rock track? But wait, there’s still more Rock N’ Roll to come with the very traditional approach and lots of feeling found in Dragging Ghosts and Relief, the latter being a very good proof that this band never gets tired of playing true rock music.

There are two more songs to go in The Hunt, the first called Sleepwalking, a ballad that will please most fans of that pure classic Rock N’ Roll, and Sea of Mercy, a high-end track that sounds more like a tribute to the 70’s than just a regular song. Besides that, the nice album art also seems totally inspired by some of the old Black Sabbath albums, such as the classic Sabbath Bloody Sabbath.

In short, all I can say about this album is that if BlackWolf were born let’s say about 30 or 40 years ago, they would be for sure one of the greatest Rock N’ Roll bands of all time, a reference in traditional Hard Rock, and we would see lots of grown-ups and kids wearing their T-shirts on the streets today. And if you got excited with this review and, more important than that, with BlackWolf’s thrilling and passionate music, you can purchase The Hunt as a shrink-wrapped 4 panel Digipack packaging with CD or as a digital copy on iTunes. It’s because of bands like BlackWolf that we can joyfully ignore the media and rest assured Rock N’ Roll will never die.

Best moments of the album: Keep Moving On, Trouble and House of Emerald Wine.

Worst moments of the album: Only Said In Silence and Dragging Ghosts.

Released in 2014 Independent

Track listing
1. Mr. Maker 4:00
2. Keep Moving On 4:10
3. Moving Mountains 3:28
4. Faith In Me 4:35
5. Trouble 3:16
6. Only Said In Silence 4:40
7. House of Emerald Wine 3:28
8. Raised On the Sun 4:48
9. Black Hole Friend 3:22
10. Dragging Ghosts 4:47
11. Relief 4:05
12. Sleepwalking 4:10
13. Sea of Mercy 4:50

Band members
Scott Sharp – vocals
John Greenhill – guitars
Jason Cronin – guitars
Ben Webb – bass
Tom Lennox-Brown – drums