Metal Chick of the Month – Ambre Vourvahis

I will not give up… I will not stand down!

Greece, France and Germany are three countries well known for their immensurable contributions to rock and metal music, and here on The Headbanging Moose how about we unite all three and have an absolute blast with our metal lady of the month of July? That’s exactly what you’ll get with the talented, gorgeous vocalist Ambre Vourvahis, the new frontwoman for German Symphonic Metal act Xandria, and a woman who definitely knows how to add tons of passion and feeling to her already powerful vocal lines. Having said all that, are you ready to join us and Ambre in this short but sweet tribute to one of the most promising names of the Symphonic Metal scene worldwide?

Half-Greek and half-French, but currently residing in Germany, the mesmerizing Ambre Vourvahis was already singing in choirs and musicals when she was in middle school, saying in one of her interviews that her life has always revolved around music, although she continued her studies in literature and philosophy and concluded it with a philosophy degree while at the same time she was still dreaming of making music, singing and going to concerts (which she confessed she sometimes did instead of going to class, just like all of us metalheads have already done at a given point in our lives). She said she started listening to metal music when she was around 11 years old, saying metal has been a crucial part of her whole life, and let’s say it’s quite easy to notice that by the way she sings, always putting her heart and soul into her performances.

Just a few weeks ago, our Greek goddess was announced as the new vocalist of Xandria, and in her own words, “I am beyond happy to be part of this adventure, I gave everything I had on the songs that are about to come and I love every single one of them. I hope you will do too. I can’t wait to meet you all and hear about your own musical journey.” Combining atmospheric, delicate vocals with harsh, visceral roars, her potent and versatile voice fits perfectly with the new musical direction of the band, which can already be seen in their new single title Reborn (which you can also stream on Spotify). Formed in 1994 in Bielefeld, a city in the Ostwestfalen-Lippe Region in the north-east of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, Xandria have already had in their career the impressive number of eight vocalists, those being Nicole Tobien, Lisa Middelhauve, Kerstin Bischof, Manuela Kraller, Dianne van Giersbergen, Lisa Middelhauve, Aeva Maurelle, and now our metal lady Ambre Vourvahis. Accompanied by fellow musicians Robert Klawonn on the guitars, Tim Schwarz on bass and Dimitrios Gatsios on drums, as well as of course Ambre on vocals, the newly formed outfit around band leader, main songwriter, composer and guitarist Marco Heubaum is ready to bring its impressive career to the next level.

“Xandria is reborn… and the first sign of the return to life is the respectively titled song. Like before, Xandria are taking you on a voyage to your imagination, and the emotional and varied voice of new frontwoman Ambre Vourvahis will show you the way there with more facets then ever – prepare for some surprises! The new line up around mastermind Marco Heubaum will definitely start a whole new chapter that is fascinating and fresh, but still genuinely Xandria. Because this is what Xandria always has been – a voyager and explorer in the inspiring world of symphonic and heavy music. And now it is reborn,” commented the band about this new phase in their career, with Ambre also having some words to say about her new band. “I knew the band personally for a long time now and during their break Marco and I started to work on music for a possible project, while at the same time he was writing already some new Xandria songs, and then he thought my voice would fit very well on them, too. In the end we even took some of the ideas for that project into Xandria as it was fitting also really well actually and brought some new elements and diversity.”

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Although nothing is known about the new album yet, Ambre seems to be very excited and can’t wait to meet the band’s fans on the road. “I feel grateful, especially with the overwhelming warm welcome I got so far by the wonderful Xandria fans,” said our raven-haired diva, and I bet you can’t wait to listen to the follow-up to their 2017 album Theater of Dimensions and to see Ambre taking the stages by storm when the band begins their tour to promote their upcoming album. By the way, starting this September the band will embark on a massive European double headlining tour with Austrian Melodic/Symphonic Power Metal band Visions of Atlantis, inviting fans to dive deep into breathtaking soundscapes of Symphonic Metal, and hopefully that tour will also be extended to other places such as North and South America, Japan and Australia. “We want to plan a lot of tours, in as many countries as we can. But especially continue to make music that will be exciting for us and our fans,” said Ambre, also mentioning that she wants to thank all of the band’s fans in person and discover their musical journeys and taste as well, as she really loves to talk about music. Well, I bet you don’t want to miss that opportunity when Ambre hits the road together with Xandria, right?

You can also find Ambre doing the female vocals for Fragment Soul, a Progressive Metal band formed in 2016 in Greece which has another metal lady featured already on our webzine, the charming Heike Langhans, as a special member on vocals. How can she sing in such different bands at the same time, one might ask? Well, Ambre mentioned in one of her interviews that she loves to challenge herself vocally and to try new things, and as she can do both clean and guttural vocals it won’t be a surprise if other musicians and bands start recruiting her to be part of their new albums or live concerts, consequently leading her to visit more and more cities and countries while on tour. Hence, let’s show our total support to Ambre in this new phase of her career, and hope that sooner than later we’ll be able to witness her kicking some ass onstage with her bandmates from Xandria in our hometowns, showing once again why Symphonic Metal has always been the perfect place for skillful and hard working women who rock our world like our up-and-coming Greek vocalist.

Ambre Vourvahis’ Official Facebook page
Ambre Vourvahis’ Official Instagram
Xandria’s Official Facebook page
Xandria’s Official Instagram
Xandria’s Official YouTube channel
Xandria’s Official Twitter

“I trained and developed my singing on my own (especially the harsh vocals) as well as with vocal coaches for many years, and still today – there is always so much more to learn and to achieve so I will probably never stop working with a professional vocal coach.” – Ambre Vourvahis

Album Review – Scent Of Darkness / Insanitude EP (2020)

Touching themes like depression, psychosis and solitude, the debut album by this promising Italian project will take you on a one-way journey to the desolate lands of doom.

Formed in 2018 in Brescia, a city in the northern Italian region of Lombardy, Funeral Doom project Scent Of Darkness was born from the artistic expression of the band’s mastermind and guitarist Gianluca Moreo, known from his work with Vereor Nox, aiming at delivering lugubrious and unsettling doom tailored for fans of bands like Saturnus, Novembers Doom and Ahab. Now in 2020, after partnering with vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lorenzo Telve (from Canticum Diaboli), Gianluca and his Scent Of Darkness are unleashing upon us the project’s debut EP entitled Insanitude, a concept album which speaks of psychological and social experiences lived in first person by Gianluca himself, touching themes like depression, psychosis, abandonment, mistrust, delirium, solitude and hope. And let me tell you that the final result, consisting of four Depressive Funeral Doom Metal songs with painful, desolated and sick traits, will certainly leave you completely disoriented after the album’s 30 macabre and sluggish minutes are over.

The somber acoustic guitars by Gianluca kick off the first track of the EP, the grim Reborn, being gradually accompanied by Lorenzo’s slow and steady beats and an enfolding atmosphere, with Lorenzo growling deeply and demonically and, consequently, resulting in a black mass of Funeral Doom for admirers of the genre. Then featuring lyrics by Alex Gothnesia and guest vocals by Gray Ravenmoon (Hateful Desolation), Trust Issues sounds even heavier and more caustic than the opening tune, with Gianluca and Lorenzo generating a menacing ambience with their Stygian riffs, bass jabs and drums, and with the raspy and hellish roars by Gray bringing an extra dosage of malignancy to their already visceral Doom Metal, followed by Crowded Solitude, another brutal, smashing Doom Metal extravaganza led by the funereal drums by Lorenzo while Gianluca keeps extracting sheer obscurity from his razor-edge riffs, sounding perfect for savoring each second in pitch black darkness. And last but not least, anguished spoken words will penetrate deep inside your psyche in the 10-minute aria entitled Whispers From Nowhere, where the band’s infernal duo continues to pave a sinister and dark path with their rumbling music, also presenting cryptic passages, eerie narrations, endless solitude and savage madness, all embraced by the gruesome gnarls by Lorenzo while the music flows like a dark river from hell until the song’s grandiose finale.

This 30-minute ode to all things doom can be better appreciated in full on YouTube, but of course I highly recommend you purchase a copy of the album from the Masked Dead Records’ BandCamp page or from Discogs to show your support to such up-and-coming Italian project, keeping the flames of doom burning in the depths of the underworld of heavy music. Also, you can get to know more about Scent Of Darkness by following the project on Facebook and by subscribing to its YouTube channel, darkening your heart and your thoughts even more as you join Gianluca in his one-way journey to hopelessness and desolation. If this high-end and very detailed EP is just the first release by Scent Of Darkness, I wonder where the project can go in the Doom Metal universe, leaving all fans of the slow, visceral and somber side of doom eager for more of his unrelenting creations in a not-so-distant future.

Best moments of the album: Trust Issues and Whispers From Nowhere.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2020 Masked Dead Records

Track listing
1. Reborn 5:45
2. Trust Issues 7:41
3. Crowded Solitude 6:26
4. Whispers From Nowhere 10:04

Band members
Gianluca Moreo – guitars
Lorenzo Telve – vocals, bass, drums

Guest musician
Gray Ravenmoon – vocals on “Trust Issues”