Archive for Ex Libris

Northern Oak and more confirmed for Valkyrian Festival 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 11th February 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

ValkFest14-MarchAnnouncement

Suavely dressed Yorkshire folk metal septet Northern Oak have been announced to support Belgian symphonic metallers Azylya at this year’s Valkyrian Festival, which will take place from 21st November to 23rd November, while the gothic metal opera septet Aonia have been announced to support Dutch progressive metallers Ex Libris the following night at this year’s Valkyrian Festival.

Joining Northern Oak to support Azylya are Midlandic female-fronted thrash sextet Chemikill who will be gracing Valkyrian Festival with their old school metal sound while joining Aonia to support Ex Libris will be Glaswegian death metal thugs Exile The Traitor.

Two local acts, in the form of instrumental death metal trio Bharghest and classic rockers Alice In Thunderland, have also been announced for Valkyrian Festival. Bharghest will be sharing the stage with Scottish black metal royalty Cnoc An Tursa on the first night where as Alice In Thunderland will be joining Aonia and Exile The Traitor as support to Ex Libris on the final night of Valkyrian Festival 2014.

Valkyrian Festival will take place at Basement in Bridlington from Friday 21st November to Sunday 23rd November. The event is all-ages but valid ID will be required for the bar. It will also be the first edition of the Valkyrian Festival to feature a European headliner. Tickets are available for £15 from this location. The line-up is as follows:

Fri. 21st November
CNOC AN TURSA
(Headliner) – Bharghest (Main Support) – Drekavac Pantheon

Sat. 22nd November
AZYLYA
(Headliner) – Sakara (Main Support) – Northern Oak ChemikillMørktår – Divided We Fall

Sun. 23rd November
EX LIBRIS
(Headliner) – Reign of Fury (Main Support) Alice In ThunderlandAoniaExile The Traitor

Valkyrian Festival is sponsored by The Crypt of Curiosities and Black Phoenix Rising Metal Forums. For further details, head over to the official Valkyrian Festival Facebook page. Other Valk-Fest news can be found on the official Valk-Fest Twitter.

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Magion replace Ex Libris at Metalnight in Dordrecht

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 29th January 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Due to unforseen circumstances, progressive metallers Ex Libris have had to pull out of their upcoming show at Popcentrale in Dordrecht, Holland on 22nd February. Fellow Dutch metallers Magion have been announced as their replacement. Other bands on the bill are Azylya, making it their first show in The Netherlands, and Beyond God. Further details can be found at this location.

Magion online:

http://www.facebook.com/Magionband

Ex Libris, Drekavac, Mørktår and Reign of Fury announced for Valkyrian Festival 2014

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 21st January 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Drekavac have been announced as support to fellow Scottish black metallers Cnoc an Tursa on Friday 21st November at Basement in Bridlington as part of Valkyrian Festival, which is in aid of Rape Crisis. Founded in 2011 by lead singer Hyperion, guitarist Mite, and drummer Mephistopheles, Drekavac made their debut onto the underground metal scene via a limited CD demo entitled The Litanies of the Dead in 2012. Inspired by black metal from its inception to its modern incarnations and inspired by folk, death metal and other musical elements, the band’s music was resplendent in its aggressive and melodic vocals, guitar work and relentless drums.

Less than a year later, the band’s fluid line up solidified with Xross on bass and Sceadugenga on Lead guitars. The band recently entered the studio to record their debut album Incipit Demonas Pandorum, which promises to be an impressive release.

Keeping in the vein of black metal, London misanthropic black metal coven Mørktår have been announced for the second day of Valkyrian Festival on 22nd November, where they will be sharing the stage with Belgium’s Azylya as well as Hamerex, Sakara and Divided We Fall. This will be Mørktår’s second show in Bridlington, following their show on 22nd November 2013 where they supported Finnish death metal titans Re-Armed at an almost sold-out show.

Created in 2006 as a solo project, Mørktår had never released a demo until an anonymous drummer was hired in 2008. Cries from the Dungeon was originally self-released in just London and Bergen, Norway. After this release, the drummer parted from Mørktår due to personal and musical differences with Thrym Mørktår. Again Mørktår was a solo project. This time self-releasing Reaped by Death E.P. Mørktår signed onto Thorn Laceration Records in early 2009 and re-released Cries from the Dungeon and Reaped by Death. Fra dette Mørk… was another self-release, limited to just 9 copies with blood stained cassette covers. In 2011, Vordhr (ex-Salems Orchid) was hired and an instrumental demo was released, limited again to just 9 copies on cassette only. Later in 2011 Mørktår recorded another demo, Now Cold and Dead… this time with a new bassist, Morrigan. This demo caught the attention of Salute Records from Sweden, who re-released it on a professional CD-R format. In 2013, a new drummer in the name of Sinmara has been added to the roster, replacing Vordhr, who left in 2012, creating an even more stable line up than the previous.

Bringing with them a more 80s styled thrash and NWOBHM dominated sound to the final night of Valkyrian Festival 2014 with them are metal band Reign of Fury, who played their festival show at Bloodstock 2012. Since the release of their highly acclaimed debut album the band have made an impressive impact on the live scene, becoming well known for their shows. Reign of Fury are also currently working on their second album which is due for release later this. The band commented:

Reign of Fury are very excited to be part of a fantastic event in aid of such an important cause. As a band that’s highly motivated to use their music for positive effect, playing Valkyrian Festival has been an ambition since we first found out about it. The blend of bands planned for 2014 make this one to watch, and we can’t wait to hit the stage and play for the NE fans!

Dutch progressive powerhouse Ex Libris will also be making their return to the UK as the final headliner for Valkyrian Festival 2014, making this their first UK show since The Dames of Darkness Festival in 2013 where they support fellow Dutch metallers Delain. The band whom features the very talented soprano vocalist Dianne van Giersbergen, also the frontwoman for German symphonic metallers Xandria, released their new album Medea on 18th January. Ex Libris will also be playing a number of shows around Europe this year, including one with Azylya in Holland on 22nd February. Further Ex Libris news can be found at their official Facebook page.

Valkyrian Festival will take place at Basement in Bridlington from Friday 21st November to Sunday 23rd November. The event is all-ages but valid ID will be required for the bar. It will also be the first edition of the Valkyrian Festival to feature a European headliner. Tickets are available for £15 from this location. The line-up is as follows:

Fri. 21st November

CNOC AN TURSA
Drekavac
Pantheon

Sat. 22nd November

AZYLYA
Sakara
Mørktår
Divided We Fall

Sun. 23rd November

EX LIBRIS
Reign of Fury

Valkyrian Festival is sponsored by The Crypt of Curiosities and Black Phoenix Rising Metal Forums. For further details, head over to the official Valkyrian Festival Facebook page. Other Valk-Fest news can be found on the official Valk-Fest Twitter.

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Ex Libris – Medea

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 13th January 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Ex Libris
Medea
Released 18th January 2014
Progressive Metal/Symphonic Metal
Self-Released

Holland has become a country known for its female-fronted talent, such as Within Temptation, ReVamp, Epica and Delain, so it won’t come as a surprise to many when I say that’s the country that progressive powerhouse Ex Libris hail from. Having played as support to a few of the above mentioned bands, Ex Libris, who are fronted by the talented Dianne van Giersbergen, are slowly building a reputation for themselves on the international metal scene for their unique and bombastic sound sound. Whilst Medea is their second album, the band have achieved a lot more than most bands have.

Named after the Medea of Greek mythology, the album is kick started by the title track, Medea, which is a raging storm composed of swaying guitar passages and crashing waves of percussion, lined with vocals sharp enough the cut Mount Olympus in two. The lashings of orchestration help add to the tragic and dramatic character of the song. Sailing from the seas of the tragic Medea into the fearsome ocean that is Murderess In Me, the album’s atmosphere morphs into something more sinister, allowing for the music to become more cut-throat whilst retaining its classical and mythic vibe. The riffs have a sharper edge than the previous track, allowing for Dianne’s vocals to glide swiftly over the ocean of the music without hindrance.

On The Ocean’s Command begins with the soothing sound of the sea and the creaking wood abroad a ship as the climatic use of guitars, courtesy of Paul, make themselves heard before the vivid keyboards, as supplied by Koen, make their striking entrance. The song builds itself up into a tense masterpiece, tightly knitting each element of the song together. Dianne’s vocal work is particularly impressive during this track, changing like the winds, expectedly and unexpectedly. The following song, My Dream I Dream, focuses more on the emotion than the dramatics, allowing for a vast river of feeling to flow through each aspect of the track. Peter’s basswork sound more profound, making itself known from beginning to end, especially in sudden thrilling and heavy portion of the track, colliding smoothly with Eeclo’s clear-cut and strict drumming.

Song Of Discord marches in like a column of hoplites on their way to war. There is a powerful and harrowing atmosphere conjured up throughout the song, giving the music more punch than would be expected. The vocal duet of Dianne van Giersbergen and Damien Wilson opened up new possibilities for this song, not just vocally but throughout its performance in which the two vocalists play the parts of Medea and her husband, the hero Jason. It will be interesting to see how Ex Libris can pull this one off live. A Mother’s Lament begins straight away with a hook, grabbing attention from every angle and refusing to let go. The guitars and rhythm sections hammer away, fortifying the song whilst the vocals and keyboards add the glitz and the glam to the song, keeping it from becoming a dull affair.

Daughter Of Corinth sees another drastic change in the pace and sound of Medea, turning into a fearsome hydra of progressive riffs, eerie vocals and hypnotic drum passages while other aspects of the song are more shadowy, keeping withdrawn like a Gorgon hunting their victim. A Tale Told makes use of other elements but remains true to Ex Libris’ overall sound as well before the album moves onto the ten minute and fifty second long epic From Birth To Bloodshed which like some of the previous tracks paves way for a drastic change in the album. The riffs during this track are callous, leaving no room for mercy whilst the vocals are at their pinnacle, adding emphasis to the rest of the song. The instrumentation throughout the song take sup the spirit of the ocean, changing from the violent crashing of waves to gentler sailing.

Ex Libris have a knack for writing good music and Medea takes you down more twists and turns than the Labyrinth, keeping focus on the music as new life is breathed into Medea’s impressively tragic story by one talented band.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Ex Libris online:

http://exlibrismusic.com
http://facebook.com/exlibrismusic

 

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Xandria unveil album details and artwork

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 10th January 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

German symphonic metallers Xandria, who are now fronted by the talented Dianne van Giersbergen (Ex Libris), are set to release their sixth studio album Sacrificium via Napalm Records on 5th May, later this year. Five days after the release of the album, the band will headline the Dames of Darkness Festival in Bilston, near Wolverhampton.

According to Xandria, the follow-up to 2012’s Neverworld’s End will continue the musical journey and direction of the last CD but will bring in even more of everything people liked about Neverworld’s End. The album artwork can be seen above.

Xandria online:

http://facebook.com/xandriaofficial

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The Dames of Darkness Festival 2013 – Bilston, UK

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

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