Metal Chick of the Month – Kell Reis

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When you die… I’ll be there… ‘Cause I’m inside you… Tearing the veil of insanity!

A Brazilian singer who nurtures a deep passion for music, in special of course our beloved Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal, our metal chick of the month of July will hypnotize you with her potent and unique voice, making you addicted to her music and always eager for more of her classy vocal lines. I’m talking about Raquel Reis Gonçalves, better known as Kell Reis or sometimes as Kell Hell, the stunning frontwoman for Brazilian Heavy Metal act Sacrificed and a woman who can sing pretty much any metal or non-metal style you can think of, showcasing an undeniable talent, hard work and focus on everything she does in the world of music, therefore proving once again not only how awesome the Brazilian metal scene is, but also that there are tons of girls in Brazil who proudly carry the flag of heavy music anywhere they go.

Born on May 2, 1989 in the city of Belo Horizonte, the capital city of southeastern Brazil’s Minas Gerais state, which is by the way the same city that gave the world amazing metal acts the likes of Sarcófago and Holocausto, not to mention the one and only Sepultura, the skillful Kell, who has been singing since she was only two years old, started studying music when she was 11 at a non-credit course at UEMG – Universidade Estadual de Minas Gerais, where she spent the next four years studying classical singing. Highly influenced by her parents, as her mother is a singer and her father a singer, pianist and guitarist, not to mention her deceased brother who used to listen a lot to Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, Kell moved from Brazilian kids music like Sandy & Junior to Nirvana when she was around 13, then going straight into rock and metal bands including Black Sabbath, Metallica, Angra and System Of A Down, and joining her first ever band called No Stress, playing grunge music at school. At the age of 18 she joined a Brazilian Hard Rock band named Vienna, and at 19 she became the vocalist for a renowned act in the underground scene in her hometown named Helltown. It was after one of her several gigs with Helltown in a city called Cataguases, around 340km from Belo Horizonte, that she met the guys from Sacrificed, and that leads to our next part of our tribute to Kell.

Officially formed in 2006 in Belo Horizonte by guitarist Diego Oliveira under the name Sacriffice after changing the name from Metal Breath, when they basically played Metallica songs, the band evolved into a regular group playing their own songs influenced by names such as In Flames, Dream Theater, Evergrey, Lacuna Coil, Disturbed, Halestorm and Brazilian popular music known as MPB (plus cover songs for bands like Metallica, Megadeth and Iron Maiden) and changed their name to Sacrificed around 2009, when Kell joined them as their lead singer replacing their previous singer Fabricio just a few days after he left the band. Currently formed of the Kell on vocals and Diego on the guitars together with Sergio Barbieri also on the guitars, Gabriel Fernando on bass and Tiago Vitek on drums, Sacrificed released their debut self-titled EP in 2009, followed by the full-length albums The Path of Reflections, in 2011, and Enraged, in 2018, and more recently the EP Beyond the Gates, in 2021, plus a live album/video named Sacrificed no Release Showlivre in 2019 and appearances in two compilations named Woman from Brazil… The Brazilian Tribute to Deep Purple with the song Fireball, and Somewhere in Brazil… The Brazilian Tribute to Iron Maiden with the song Lord of the Flies, both released in 2020. You can enjoy Kell’s powerful vocals in several of Sacrificed’s songs and official videos such as Meet Your Fate, Silence is the Omen, Say My Name, Vertigo, Call of Insanity, Grudge is My Middle Name, and a cover version for Disturbed’s all-time classic Down With The Sickness, and of course you can always enjoy all of their wicked creations on Spotify.

Kell’s biggest influences in Rock N’ Roll and Heavy Metal perfectly depict her passion for music and singing, including names the likes of Ozzy Osbourne, Dio, Bruce Dickison, Ian Guillan, Eric Adams, Doro Pesch, Lita Ford, Rob Halford and Dani Nolden as her favorite singers, bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Sinergy, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Warlock, Judas Priest, Deep Purple and Manowar, and non-metal singers such as Whitney Houston, Ella Fitzgerald, Elis Regina and Maria Calas. She also mentioned during one of her interviews that her influences can vary from time to time, with bands like Halestorm, In This Moment, Arch Enemy and Alter Bridge being among her favorite ones from what can be called a “newer” generation of rock and metal acts. In addition, she mentioned Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale is currently her top vocalist, being influenced not only by her voice but also by her charisma.

When asked about the life of a band in her homeland, Kell said that despite the growing number of excellent metal bands arising from the Brazilian scene, as Brazil is even sometimes labeled as “the homeland of really good metal bands”, with the Death Metal scene being considered quite huge in her hometown Belo Horizonte, unfortunately the lack of new major bands like what Sepultura were in the 90’s makes it difficult for new bands to have their work published by the media, unless of course it’s something fully oriented to the rock and metal scene. She also said that due to the fact we live in a world where the illusory number of “likes” doesn’t actually translate into real fans, a band needs to properly manage their career to attract true people to their music, something a Brazilian Heavy Metal band called Project46 does really well according to her. And despite the fact she thinks that it’s almost impossible to live out of metal music in Brazil, the scene remains strong with a lot of collaboration between bands and, of course, the passion from each musician involved.

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One thing Kell always complains about is the fact that organizing, attending and playing live concerts in Brazil has always been extremely difficult due to several facts such as exorbitant prices, lack of good public transportations, horrible roads and highways, and above all that, the lack of decent proposals that respect the band and its value. Apart from bands like Sepultura and Angra, she mentioned it’s difficult to see independent bands touring around Brazil. For instance, Sacrificed currently focuses their tours in the states of Minas Gerais and São Paulo, although they’re working on expanding their reach to the northern and southern parts of Brazil. Still regarding her life on the road, Kell said that playing alongside Kamelot, Eluviete, Blaze Bayley and The Agonist was truly amazing, but that sharing the stage with Lacuna Coil, one of their main influences, has been indeed one of the most special moments of the band’s career so far.

In addition to her up-and-coming career with Sacrified, Kell also became an active figure in terms of female representation in the Brazilian metal scene, promoting lives on her social media to discuss the theme together with special guests. When questioned how she sees the role of women in the Brazilian metal scene, she said that when she first stepped on stage over a decade ago the scene for women was completely different, having changed to something much better over time, but even today there’s still a lot of prejudice and an unbalance in terms of the number of women in roles such as roadies and sound technicians, and even band members like drummers. She commented she has been barred from entering the dressing room several times because “girlfriends” are not allowed, having to prove she was part of the band and not a groupie, complementing by saying the current women’s movement in metal will surely bring a lot of benefits to any woman worldwide who loves metal and who wants to have equal opportunities to any man, less discrimination and more respect. Furthermore, when asked what advice she would give to girls who want to pursue a career in heavy music, her message was loud and clear. “Don’t give up! Don’t be silent. Don’t settle for less for being a woman! You are not alone,” said Kell, pointing out the crucial importance of the support all girls should provide to each other.

Last but not least, our talented diva, who’s by the way crazy for pasta, whiskey, beer ad wine, strongly believes the underground should be more united in order to make a difference out there, also saying the true support from music fans by attending concerts and buying merch is also essential for the scene to get stronger and stronger. As the frontwoman for an independent band like Sacrificed, she mentioned it’s important for bands and musicians to never give up and keep working hard to make the band as professional as possible, and keep following your dreams no matter what. As Kell mentioned in one of her interviews, the lyrics form Sacrificed’s song Before a Dream, from the album The Path of Reflections, say that “before a dream a storm comes,” but your dream will get closer and closer if you keep walking even during the toughest times. Wise words from a woman that beautifully represents all the passion, talented and hard work of all Brazilians who love metal music from the bottom of their hearts.

Kell Reis’ Official Facebook page
Kell Reis’ Official Instagram
Sacrificed’s Official Facebook page
Sacrificed’s Official Instagram
Sacrificed’s Official YouTube channel

Metal Chick of the Month – Mia Coldheart

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Rock Me Like The Devil!

Despite the fact that Angela Gossow is German, she is the lead singer of a Swedish band, so let’s stay around that same country for the second edition of the Metal Chick of the Month. This time I’m going to talk about Mia Coldheart, the lead singer and guitar of the awesome all-female hard rock band Crucified Barbara. Actually, I could talk about all four girls from the band, but let’s focus on one at a time to avoid any heart attacks, right?

Of course her last name is not Coldheart, and I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have a cold heart at all. Her real name is Mia Karlsson and she was born on August 21, 1980 in the municipality of Tyresö, located in the Stockholm County in Sweden. And as you can see, she’s the only non-blonde in the band, which doesn’t mean she’s less beautiful than the others. Quite the contrary, her long dark hair makes her stand out among the other girls, and adding to that her powerful voice we have the perfect recipe for not only an amazing singer, but for a true hard rock frontwoman.

I believe Crucified Barbara would not be the same successful band without Mia’s voice. However, for those who don’t know it, the band started as a punk rock band back in 1998 and at that time she used to play the guitar only (unfortunately, I couldn’t finds any old material of the band to show how their music was). She became the lead singer of the band in 2003, just a couple of years before the band released their debut album, and in less than 10 years she has become a reference for many hard rock female singers all over the world.

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One thing that always comes to my mind while listening to Mia Coldeheart singing are the similarities between her voice and Lzzy Hale’s voice, from Halestorm. However, I prefer Mia’s voice a thousand times, and in my opinion the only reason for Crucified Barbara not being as famous as Halestorm is the fact that they’re not from North America, as I mentioned here. Pay attention to Mia’s voice in different songs and you’ll see how versatile her voice is, from a soft and smooth singing in the ballad Count Me In to a more hard rock approach in Rock Me Like The Devil, and a true heavy metal voice in the Motörhead-ish song The Crucifier. Lzzy is a great singer, but her voice sounds the same in every song, and besides, I’ve had the chance to check Mia and Lzzy singing live in some videos and Mia kicks fuckin’ ass. Besides, she plays the guitar all the time while singing, not only in some songs. If you don’t trust me, take a look at Crucified Barbara playing Bad Hangover live at Sweden Rock Festival (also check how cool the Swedish language is) and you’ll see what i’m talking about!

Talking about Mia’s biggest influences in music, I saw an interview where she said she started to play guitar because of Nirvana and the whole Grunge music scene, but then she started listening to bands like Dream Theater, Megadeth, and Helloween, and guys like Marty Friedman helped define her guitar style. Regarding her vocals, she said her biggest influence was Gigi Hangach, from the band Phantom Blue, who by the way was her motivation to actually start singing heavy music.

Mia’s entire career has been built with Crucified Barbara only, with which she has recorded three albums so far: In Distortion We Trust (2005), ‘Til Death Do Us Party (2009), and their most recent and my favorite one called The Midnight Chase (2012). Besides that, she has just recorded some additional vocals to some material from a Swedish progressive metal band called Mind’s Eye in two of their albums (Walking on H20, from 2006, and A Gentleman’s Hurricane, from 2007).

If you’re a fan of Halestorm, but would like to listen to something faster and heavier, you will love Crucified Barbara and especially Mia Coldheart’s voice. She will rock you like the devil, I’m pretty sure about that.

Equipment
Gibson Flying V (Gothic 2001)
Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier amp
Mesa Boogie 4×12 Rectifier cabinet
Rotosound strings 10-52

Personal website/blog
www.coldheart.se

“Don’t wait to find the perfect band. You can’t sit home and dream about a band. You have to get out, meet people, play with a lot of different people.” – Mia Coldheart

Album Review – Halestorm / ReAniMate 2.0: The CoVeRs eP (2013)

Why instead of launching two EPs with cover songs in less than two years didn’t they launch only one full album?

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ReAniMate 2.0I’m not a fan of Halestorm nor will ever buy any of their albums, but when I saw they launched another covers EP which included one of my favorite Priest tracks of all time, Dissident Aggressor, I decided to give them a try. In 2011 they launched ReAniMate: The CoVeRs eP with cover versions for Slave To The Grind (Skid Row) and Out Ta Get Me (Guns N’ Roses), among others, and now they come up with another covers EP. This either means that they simply love playing songs from their biggest influences, or that they don’t trust their own music that much, because I can’t understand why they had to launch two covers EPs instead of only one full album, such as the magnificent Undisputed Attitude recorded by Slayer back in 1996.

Dissident Aggressor opens the EP and it’s undoubtedly the best track of all, although I prefer a million times the version from Slayer and a billion times the original song from Judas Priest. Anyway, there’s nothing special in this version, it’s just a well-played cover song. Then comes Get Lucky from Daft Punk, and here we have one of those cases where the cover version is superior to the original, such as DevilDriver’s version of Sail (Awolnation), mainly because the original song is not really heavy, but again nothing special. In Shoot to Thrill (AC/DC), they turned an all-time classic into a regular song, despite all the effort from Lzzy to sing as “Hard N’ Heavy” as possible. Hell is for Children from Pat Benatar and Gold Dust Woman from Fleetwood Mac are so close to the original ones that, in my opinion, do not add any true value to the EP. Finally, their version for Marilyn Manson’s 1996 is not as good as the original one, and it even lacks the energy Manson had when he recorded it.

HALESTORMThe album art is too generic, especially if compared to the first covers EP. And regarding the musicians, although they are all pretty good I guess no one cares too much about any of them except for the beautiful and competent lead singer Elizabeth “Lzzy” Hale: she’s the only reason why Halestorm became so famous in the world of music, and the only thing that can keep the band alive in the following years. Nevertheless, her voice might be powerful but it’s certainly not unique; if you listen to Mia Coldheart, from the Swedish band Crucified Barbara, you’ll understand why I’m saying this. By the way, Crucified Barbara is not as famous as Halestorm only because (GUESS WHAT?) they’re not from North America.

In summary, it’s an interesting EP with some good covers from a band that is currently under the spotlights, but that’s it. And if they launch another ReAniMate covers EP in 2014, well, then they’ll take the 1st place of “best professional band in the world that only plays cover songs” from Finland’s Children of Bodom.

Best moments of the album: Dissident Aggressor and Shoot To Thrill.

Worst moments of the album: As I previously mentioned, the fact that it is their second covers EP turns it into some kind of “rip-off”.

Released in 2013 Atlantic Records

Track listing
1. Dissident Aggressor (Judas Priest cover) 3:12
2. Get Lucky (Daft Punk cover) 3:08
3. Shoot to Thrill (AC/DC cover) 5:07
4. Hell is for Children (Pat Benatar cover) 4:46
5. Gold Dust Woman (Fleetwood Mac cover) 4:10
6. 1996 (Marilyn Manson cover) 4:22

Band members
Lzzy Hale – lead vocals, rhythm and lead guitar, keyboard
Arejay Hale – drums, percussion, backing vocals
Joe Hottinger – lead guitar, backing vocals
Josh Smith – bass guitar, backing vocals