Metal Chick of the Month – Tanya Beickert

Take my guiding hand, take my guiding hand with you…

As the winter snow is starting to melt in the Northern Hemisphere, let’s turn up the heat even more here on The Headbanging Moose with another humble tribute to a woman who definitely knows how to set fire to heavy music with her unparalleled roars and clean vocals, showcasing a wide vocal range that’s not easy to find out there, allowing her to sing in pretty much any style from Metalcore to classic Heavy Metal, from Progressive Metal to Melodic Death Metal, and so on. I’m talking about Tanya Elizabeth Beickert, better known as Tanya Beickert, the stunning frontwoman for Long Island, New York-based Progressive Death Metal act Monochromatic Black, an up-and-coming metal entity that will put you to bang your head nonstop while at the same time offering fresh, innovative and intricate music for your avid ears. And let me tell you that after knowing more about our talented metal lady of this month of March and her awesome band, you’ll undoubtedly get addicted to her voice and to the pulverizing music by one of the most interesting new bands of the current American scene.

In case you know nothing about Monochromatic Black, the band was founded in January 2018 by vocalist and lyricist Tanya Beickert, guitarist and songwriter John Gribbin, and drummer and songwriter Eddie DeCesare, all seasoned musicians who had been in other previous projects in the scene, most notably Eddie’s previous band Painted In Exile, when their bands at the time were all gradually slowing down, joined on stage by guitarist Dan Rivera and bassist Arthur Erb (both found by Tanya through social media) to complete the five-piece live group. Whether it’s financial, creativity, shows or whatever decisions that need to be made, Tanya said John, Eddie and herself all come together and try to always do what’s best for the band (by the way, Tanya and John have been friends for years through their old bands), which is one of the main reasons why their music sounds so cohesive and melodic. When asked how she would define their sound, she said their genre could be considered Progressive Death Metal with Metalcore influences and even some Black Metal nuances, meshing a lot of different metal genres to keep things interesting.

There’s no denying of the talent of each band member, but it’s Tanya’s she-wolf, aggressive vocals that truly give their already brutal music an extra edge, with her soft, clean vocals also adding an extra touch of finesse to the overall result, displaying her broad vocal range and, consequently, supporting the band’s atmospheric vein. If you want to explore in more detail the metal realm ruled by Tanya and her henchmen and listen to some of their vibrant and meaningful creations, you can find Monochromatic Black on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, on YouTube and on Spotify, and also purchase their music and merch from their own BandCamp page and Big Cartel. If you want to have your mind blown by the visceral yet enthralling vocals by Tanya (and also enjoy her stunning looks, of course), you can take a very good look and listen at the official videos for the songs Warmth of the Sun, Phosphenes, The Herd, and their newest single Abbadon, or simply have a blast with their debut EP Pneuma in its entirety. There are also some very interesting interviews online with Tanya and the rest of the band, like this one for The Mosh Network where they answered some questions about how the band got started, how they write their music, and what sets them apart from other bands, among other topics, to give you an even better view of the importance of Monochromatic Black to the current underground scene.

Although Tanya acknowledges the similarities between her band and iconic acts like Jinjer and Entheos, bands which Monochromatic Black are usually compared to by fans, and of course that are a huge influence for Tanya herself, she said she doesn’t want her band to be compared to just other female-fronted bands, though, saying they have their own sound and that they want to be admired that way. In order to be on the same level as the aforementioned bands, she said Monochromatic Black have been working hard nonstop from day one, taking the whole project as serious as it can be, always touring, making new music and videos, and working hard to achieve all of their goals. Regarding her own personal influences in music, she mentioned bands like A Perfect Circle, Sikth and After the Burial as some of her top metal acts of all time, with her biggest influences as a singer varying depending on her vocal style. For instance, for clean vocals she’s a huge fan of Maynard James Keenan of A Perfect Circle and Tool, Jimmy Gnecco of Ours, Jeff Buckley (R.I.P.), and Michael Lessard of The Contortionist, while her harsh vocals are influenced by Travis Ryan of Cattle Decapitation, and Anthony Notarmaso of After the Burial. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that the different past projects all members of Monochromatic Black have been in and their personal experiences have surely helped them in the long run, but it’s hard to pinpoint the one that had the biggest influence in the making of Pneuma.

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In regards to touring, due to the obvious restrictions imposed to stop the spread of COVID-19 there aren’t any upcoming concerts scheduled for Monochromatic Black in the next few months, but that doesn’t mean Tanya and the boys are not getting ready for hitting the road once all this madness is finally over. They will focus on the United States at first for obvious reasons, but based on the quality of their music and how fans from all over the world really love that style of metal music I’m sure we’ll see the band kicking some serious ass in foreign lands soon enough. Also, despite the fact Monochromatic Black is fairly new to the scene, as mentioned Tanya and her bandmates are seasoned musicians, having played with countless bands from the New York Death Metal scene and being open to playing alongside all local bands like The Machinist, Internal Bleeding, Dehumanized, Pyrexia and so on. In order to get ready to kick some ass on stage with her powerful voice, Tanya  mentioned she warms up beforehand by screaming the alphabet in low, mid and high screams, and to keep her voice fit she practices as much as possible all the time (not to mention she also took a few vocal lessons years ago).

Our skillful growler was also asked in some of her interviews to give more details about the writing process and meaning of Monochromatic Black’s debut effort, where she said that Pneuma is a concept album that walks the listener through, starting from rock bottom to finally rising to the top, as everyone has different struggles and experiences and the album is just one journey written about that. She also said together with her bandmates that their unique sound came naturally as they all write and bring material to the table, meeting up twice a week while writing on their own time and shaping the songs on the spot together, with no planned out idea, just what they sound like when they come together. She also commented a little about two of the songs featured in Pneuma, more specifically Phosphenes and Dream Catcher; while she mentioned that Phosphenes for her is about losing your confidence, inner peace or who you truly are as a person to someone extremely negative or abusive, she said that her favorite song of the album is Dream Catcher, simply because it goes from serene to eerie to brutal all in one track.

Lastly, when asked about how she sees the band in the coming years, she said that hopefully they’ll already be headlining professional level tours and releasing more records (and stay tuned as their new opus is about to hit the market in the coming year or so), a combination which as you can see seems to be the biggest passion of all band members. Hence, you can check some awesome video interviews online with Tanya (either alone or together with the rest of Monochromatic Black) to not only learn more about such promising American act, but to also see how humble, focused and entertaining the entire band is, as for example Tanya’s interview on The Metal Magdalene with Jet international radio broadcast on Metal Messiah Radio, where she talks about some of her main influences, about her clean and guttural vocals, about Pneuma and about the future of the band; and an interview to Showbiz Music where the band talks about their “preshow rituals”. Also, you might not know about this, but Monochromatic Black are affiliated with Blakhart Coffee in their mission in helping wildlife, with a portion of the sales from their branded coffee, “Monochromatic Black Roast” NY Style Dark Ground, going to a local non-profit organization. Having said that, what are you waiting for to join Tanya and the boys in their quest for metal music and wildlife, while at the same time enjoying some high-quality coffee? I’m sure Tanya would love to see us all metalheads supporting a very noble cause, raising our horns while she growls and screams the lyrics to her insanely good and heavy creations.

Monochromatic Black’s Official Facebook page
Monochromatic Black’s Official Instagram
Monochromatic Black’s Official Twitter
Monochromatic Black’s Official YouTube channel
Monochromatic Black’s BandCamp page
Monochromatic Black’s Big Cartel

“I think what makes us stand out is the genre we play. It’s all different genres and energy combined into one and a lot of people have noticed that which is awesome.” – Tanya Beickert

Concert Review – Trivium & DevilDriver (Phoenix Concert Theatre,Toronto, ON, 09/24/2013)

A celebration of music with two of the best contemporary Heavy Metal bands from the USA on a pleasant Tuesday night in Toronto.

OPENING ACTS: Sylosis and After The Burial

As I don’t live exactly in Toronto, it takes a while for me to get to the city whenever there’s a concert I’m attending, especially if it’s on a Tuesday after a full day of work. Seriously, only Mondays are worse than Tuesdays for Metal concerts, like the Rock Allegiance Tour with Volbeat & HIM that screwed up my whole week! The organizers should think about that when scheduling Metal concerts to the middle of the week: we don’t have seats and we don’t just watch the concert, we participate a lot! Heavy Metal demands a lot of energy from the crowd, so please, if you’re an organizer, try to book the shows from Thursday to Saturday! Going back to the opening acts, I completely missed Sylosis (which unfortunately suffered a car accident that same night going to their next concert) and half of ATB. From what I could see, ATB was pretty heavy and the fans had a great time there, so next time they open for a band I like I’ll do my best to be there and analyze their music properly.

DEVILDRIVER

devildriver-2This was the second time I had the pleasure to see DD live (the first was back in 2011, opening for Arch Enemy), and they were even better this time. From the very first song Ruthless to the violent ending with Meet the Wretched, the leader of the band, Dez Fafara, didn’t let any single person from the crowd remain quiet. I believe he mentioned the word fuck and its variations (fuckin’, motherfucker, motherfuckin’ etc.) at least a hundred times, plus other “nice” words such as pussy and shit, demanding that everybody banged their heads all the time and almost killed themselves in the mosh pits, showing why he’s a true frontman and not just a singer. He was pretty decent in the beginning of his career with Coal Chamber, but now he’s getting better and more violent on stage, which is awesome.

I enjoy concerts at the Phoenix Concert Theatre due to the proximity with the band and the quality of the sound (and of course, it’s easy to get a beer there without the hassle of huge and slow lines), and this time it wasn’t different. All songs were really well executed by the band, which was sometimes headbanging even more than the crowd, and there was a lot of interaction between band and fans. They played a lot of songs from their new album Winter Kills (which I really want to listen to now), including a very good cover for the song Sail, from the band Awolnation, mixed with some classics such as Clouds Over California, which was my favorite from this concert. I hope I can see DD live again soon!

Setlist
Ruthless
I Could Care Less
Not All Who Wander Are Lost
Before the Hangman’s Noose
Cry for Me Sky (Eulogy of the Scorned)
Oath of the Abyss
The Appetite
Hold Back the Day
Curses and Epitaphs
Sail (AWOLNATION cover)
Head on to Heartache (Let Them Rot)
Dead to Rights
Clouds Over California
End of the Line
Meet the Wretched

Band members
Dez Fafara – lead vocals
Jeff Kendrick – guitar
John Boecklin – drums
Mike Spreitzer – guitar
Chris Towning – bass

TRIVIUM

trivium-1They are heavy, they have the speed, the technique, great albums and are awesome on stage. Together with Volbeat, I consider Trivium the future of Heavy Metal. I had the chance to see them live at Heavy TO 2012, but as that was a festival and they were playing in the middle of the afternoon, they couldn’t show their full power. However, this time in Toronto they were able to provide their fans a fantastic concert! After the intro Divinity I, the band entered the stage and played three of the most complex and heavy songs of their entire career: Throes of Perdition, Down from the Sky and Becoming the Dragon, showing all of us that was going to be a special night.

Although I missed some classics such as Ember to Inferno and The Deceived in the setlist, there was a pretty good mix of songs from all of their albums, including two new ones (Brave This Storm and Strife) from their upcoming album Vengeance Falls, which sounded like old classics by the way the audience responded to them. And no matter which song they were playing, the riffs and solos were perfectly executed (I would say even better than the studio versions in most of the cases). I still believe the feeling is more important than the technique in Heavy Metal, but what the guys from Trivium do with their guitars is simply amazing.

The best songs of the night were for sure A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation (isn’t it one of the coolest song names ever?), with the crowd jumping all the time together with the band, and Shogun, a 12-minute masterpiece that sounds like if Dream Theater decided to become Megadeth or vice-versa. It can be really tricky for any band to play songs so long as that because the crowd can die at any minute, but fortunately for Trivium that wasn’t an issue at all as the fans at the Phoenix loved the fact they played Shogun.

The only (small) issues I see with Trivium now are first the drummer: I don’t know why but he sometimes seems to be out of sync with the rest of the band; and second the fact that Corey is doing 95% of the guttural vocals. Although I enjoy Corey screaming, it sounds a lot better when Matt does that. But as I said, nothing that will stop Trivium from becoming a Heavy Metal giant in the coming years, mainly due to the constant and brilliant evolution in all of their albums and to their exceptional performance on stage.

Setlist
Divinity I (tape/intro)
Throes of Perdition
Down from the Sky
Becoming the Dragon
Brave This Storm
Watch the World Burn
Strife
A Gunshot to the Head of Trepidation
Kirisute Gomen
Shogun 

Encore:
Capsizing the Sea (tape/intro)
In Waves
Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr
One Winged Angel (tape/outro)

Band members
Matt Heafy – guitar, lead vocals
Corey Beaulieu – guitar, vocals
Paolo Gregoletto – bass guitar, vocals
Nick Augusto – drums, percussion