Archive for Chemikill

The Dames of Darkness Festival 2013 – Bilston, UK

Posted in Festival, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 24th May 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Delain, Visions of Atlantis and more
The Robin 2, Bilston, UK
Saturday 11th May 2013

For the first time in five years, The Dames of Darkness was set to return with one hell of a line-up. Featuring Delain as the headliners and Visions of Atlantis as main support, what more could be asked for? Well, how about six more bands from all around the UK and Europe, including Azylya, Ex Libris, Chemikill and more.

Beginning the day were melo-power metallers Incarna. Fronted by the innocent looking Emily, the four piece band stood out from other bands on the bill, dropping the use of keyboards (as is found with so many “female-fronted” bands on the scene) for a sound with more balls, more emotion and more crunchy riffs. Belting out enchanting melodies and a near operatic vocal sound, the 400 plus crowd were clearly mesmerized by Incarna; and who wouldn’t be after such a powerful and emotive performance? [5/5]

Chemikill brought a more thrashy, in-your-face sound with them – sort of what Megadeth would sound like if Mustaine was born a chick. The riffs were gritty and violent, contrasting with the ruthless drumming and the thundering bass and even during in the performance of the more calm track Wych, Chemikill were proving themselves to be a force to be reckoned with. The band’s frontwoman, Natalie, certainly knew how to work the crowd; whipping them into a near-bloody frenzy, with fist pumping and chanting. Natalie’s vocals were definitely one of the most impressive things about Chemikill’s set; incorporating growls and cleans vocals, as well as a more belting style as well. [4/5]

Following Chemikill were the Dutch powerhouse Ex Libris (Latin for “from the books”), fronted by the soprano Dianne, who took to the stage like a Gothic Aphrodite. The band sound was heavier and darker than could have been expected for anyone who wasn’t familiar with their music and it was made more mystifying by the overwhelming vocal range of Dianne, which was demonstrated to its full an extent during in their softer songs. The use of the ethereal keyboard passages and melodic guitar sections helped to emphasise the band’s dark sound that was beautifully portrayed throughout their performance. [4.5/5]

Playing the UK for the first time, Azylya brought with them a heavy Gothic sound mixed with in frontwoman Jamie-Lee’s performance art. Jamie-Lee’s vocals came out a like a siren’s call, luring the crowd into the rocks that was the band’s guitar-driven sound blended with the more death metal-based vocals of Yohann. Disappointingly though, the keyboards that make up the Gothic part of Azylya’s sound were played back, though it still helped to the eerie atmosphere of their performance. [4/5]

Apparition, the host band of The Dames of Darkness, belted out their own distinct brand of darkened rock and metal, with vocals that resembled the likes of Floor Jansen, Amy Lee and Anette Olzen. The cumbersome use of bass differed from the calmer yet aggressive use of guitars, though there were parts during in Apparition’s set that the guitars were barely audible due to technical issues. Barring the tech issues, Apparition still played a blistering set. [4.7/5]

With powerful and refined vocals and stage presence aplenty, Whyzdom went down a treat. The French “philharmonic metal” sextet blasted their way through an aphotic set with staunch symphonic elements and colossal riffs. The male vocals weren’t very inspiring and sounded flat compared to grandiose sound of Whyzdom. Lead vocalist Marie appeared to be in her element as she kept the crowd entranced with her soothing voice, one that added a certain Cimmerian touch to the performance. [4.5/5]

This was the second time that Visions of Atlantis had come to the UK, but the first time that they played a British festival and they were definitely one of the most anticipated bands of the night. Despite the fact that Maxi mistook Bilston for Birmingham, she worked to the crowd to her favour as did co-vocalist, Mario. The symphonic passages had a certain hypnotising and overwhelming effect to them, strengthening the band’s overall sound and making up for a lack of bass. Mario and Maxi proved to be a great duo, vocally; adding a new depth of emotion to VoA’s music though there were some issues with the microphones that Mario was using. The guitar sections were played with razor-sharp precision and energy, working well with the keyboards and drums. [5/5]

And then came Delain, who proved to have a strong live presence as well as a solid live sound, that made their studio work pale in comparison. Playing a set that featured songs from all four of their albums, everything seemed to meld together in perfect harmony. Charlotte sounded to be on top form as the keyboards, courtesy of Martijn, beautifully accompanied Charlotte’s vocals. The guitar and bass passages belted out harder than a leather belt being struck across the face. See Me In The Shadows was definitely one of the best parts of Delain’s performance at Dames of Darkness, though some of their newer material was extremely enjoyable as well. [4.5/5]

The Dames of Darkness Festival certainly had some of the UK’s and Europe’s best “female-fronted metal” bands with a great crowd from beginning to end. Hopefully we won’t have to wait another five years for the next one. And while it might be a bit adventurous to say at the moment, with festival season only around the corner, The Dames of Darkness might go down in the books as the best UK festival of 2013.

Nico Davidson

Interview with Gaz [Chemikill]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 12th January 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson, the North Sea Poet

Hailing from Birmingham, the birthplace of metal, Chemikill have forged themselves a a long-lasting career upon the anvil of British underground metal scene. Confirmed to support Delain at The Dames of Darkness Festival in May, Nico interrogates the band’s bassist Gaz.

Nico: Chemikill have been on the scene for over 20 years, what’s been the highlight of the band’s existence so far?

Gaz: Well, I suppose it’s just staying power. Twenty seven years this year and we’ve had a fair few highlights, [such as] winning the Tamworth Battle of the Bands in 1995 and also supporting all American girl thrash band Wench. We’ve played along some great bands last year like Beholder, Blaze Bayley, Apperition, Dakesis, Tytan and more. We’re just glad to be doing what we do.

Nico: You’ve been confirmed to play the Dames of Darkness Festival next, where you’ll be supporting Delain. How are you feeling about that?

Gaz: Really happy and stoked to the hilt! I can’t wait for it! I saw Delain a few years back at Leamington Spa and hadn’t seen ‘em before and only was going for the support band Serenity but god when Delain came on my jaw hit the floor and been a fan ever since – They’re a great live band!

Nico: Are there any other bands you’re looking forward to playing with at the Dames of Darkness?

Gaz: Yeah! Everyone to be honest. It will be great catching up with Apparition whom we thank for getting us on the bill, Whyzdom too but all the bands to be honest. I just love live music.

Nico: In your own opinion, how does Chemikill differ from t’other “female-fronted” bands on the scene?

Gaz: I think we have our own little genre going on. It’s like old school eighties metal with a twist of today’s metal scene, so it covers Sabbath, Priest, Metallica, Slayer, Slipknot and Pantera. I suppose we really can’t say who and where we belong but it’s metal and that’s all that counts. Natalie brings a voice that can be singing like a song bird one minute and the next growling like Angela from Arch Enemy, so we can cover two different bases in one song if we wish and to see peoples’ faces when she does it is so funny as they don’t expect it at all.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Chemikill?

Gaz: There isn’t a meaning really. We just decided it was going to have the word kill in the name, so in the end it was a toss up between Nu-Killer or Chemikill. This is way before Exodus did their track by the same name too. So Chemikill came out the hat first but I suppose it could stand for being honest pure driven British heavy metal!

Nico: Excluding yourselves, which band from the UK would you say are the best on the current British metal scene?

Gaz: Well, I wouldn’t call us one of the best. We just do what we do and if people like it, fair enough. We’re glad if you’ve had a good time at a Chemikill show then we hope you come back again and bring some friends but bands at the moment who are doing well are Beholder, Hostile and Absolva, but there’s so many good bands out there at the moment, it’s getting round to see ‘em all but with all this NWOBHM thing kicking off again looks like we could be in the 2nd wave of it, if it picks up, so let’s all get ready for the ride.

Nico: If you could replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Gaz: I always look on our tracks as film music anyway. Each one tells a story which could easily be a film, but we have our track Psycho, which speaks for itself really with the film, and our new mini epic Wych, the original old way of spelling witch, which (no pun intended) could fit into any hammer horror type film on witches or something. It would just be an honour to get the offer of adding one of our songs I suppose to a film track but if i had to pick just one then it would be Demons, all about the wolf man because it explains the torment of the curse, the hunger and the lost soul which as the chorus goes: What was will be, what is will be no more – So, it covers the changing of the human part to animal and back again, so yeah.

Nico: Is there anything you’d like to say to our readers before we finish?

Gaz: We all hope to see you all soon at The Dames of Darkness Festival. Cheers all and we wish you the best, Gaz and the rest of the Chemikill crew.

Chemikill are:

Natalie: Vocals
Damo: Lead Guitar
Wayne: Lead Guitar
Gaz: Bass
Luke: Drums

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