Metal Chick of the Month – Adrienne Cowan

So sin ‘til you win, let your demons out! Lady Lightbringer!

It’s time for a true metal opera this February on The Headbanging Moose, courtesy of our multi-talented metal lady of the month. A metal vocalist, poet, vocal coach and musician best known for being the frontwoman and composer for American Symphonic Metal band Seven Spires, among several other amazing metal bands and projects, Adrienne Elizabeth Catli Cowan, who goes by her stage name of Adrienne Cowan, will mesmerize you with her unique vocals, both extreme and classic Heavy Metal clean vocals. In other words, she can sing pretty much any type of metal and non-metal music, from the Symphonic Metal of Seven Spires to Death Metal, Deathcore and Dark Jazz, and I’m sure you’ll have an absolute blast with Adrienne after knowing more about the life and career of such skillful artist.

Born on January 28, 1995 in Houston, the most populous city in Texas and the fourth most populous city in the United States, Adrienne is formally trained in classical and most contemporary styles as a graduate of both Berklee College of Music (with a degree in Music Composition) in Boston, Massachusetts and the Academy of Contemporary Music in the UK, although she was also self-taught in both extreme clean vocals for many years before finally finding a perfect vocal coach in Swedish singer David Äkesson. Her connection with music started a lot earlier than that, though, as since she was a child she was already taking part in choirs and taking piano lessons, performing in musicals and then entering music school, and from there starting to compose her music and to expand her knowledge and skills, especially as a singer. For instance, Adrienne had her first performance as a vocalist at the age of three at an event at the church her family attended, beginning her piano lessons after that at the age of six and being mainly into choir and darker popular musicals such as Phantom of the Opera throughout elementary and middle school. Not only that, her parents pulled her out of high school so that she could attend a music school full-time, so through that show of support she already had a good feeling about her potential skills.

When she was still living in England, in 2012, Adrienne was making demos by herself for a dark and theatrical project she had yet to debut, and after moving back to the United States in 2013 she met Jack Kosto in a bookstore in her first week at Berklee and told him about her project and songs. From there Seven Spires were born, with all band members having extensive musical knowledge and studies, therefore drawing on their backgrounds to express themselves musically without limits of genre or technique. Seven Spires released their first album in 2014, the EP The Cabaret of Dreams, with all of its songs representing half of their 2017 full-length opus Solveig, where not only Adrienne was responsible for all vocals, keyboards, lyrics and songwriting, but also for the production and vocal engineering, showcasing all her talent and professionalism. After Solveig, the band released the full-length albums Emerald Seas, in 2020, and Gods of Debauchery, in 2021, and if you want to enjoy all of the band’s epic creations you can find Seven Spires on Spotify and on YouTube, where you can also have a visual orgasm with their official videos for the songs Lightbringer, Succumb, The Unforgotten Name, The Cabaret Of Dreams, Drowner Of Worlds, Bury You, The Paradox, This God Is Dead, Silvery Moon, The Cursed Muse, and Dare To Live, as well as some live footage, making of’s, behind the scenes and other awesome videos by Adrienne and her crew.

Apart from her career with Seven Spires, you can also find Adrienne and her powerful vocals in distinct bands and projects such as International Power Metal band Light & Shade, with whom she recorded the vocals for the 2016 album The Essence of Everything; International Power Metal/Hard Rock band Sascha Paeth’s Masters of Ceremony, with whom she recorded the vocals (and piano for one track) in the 2019 album Signs of Wings; and American Symphonic Deathcore band Winds of Plague, with whom she recorded the keyboards and backing vocals in the 2017 album Blood of My Enemy. In addition, Adrienne was also part of American Melodic Heavy Metal band FirstBourne from 2016 to 2018, having recorded the vocals and keyboards in their 2016 album Riot and in the 2017 acoustic single Home, and of Frontiers All Stars in 2020 and Riot Underground between 2012 and 2013.

You can also find her singing and playing live with German Symphonic Power Metal band Avantasia since 2018, with American Heavy Metal band Mike Kerr from 2015 until 2018, and with American Power/Thrash Metal band Sonic Pulse. Not only that, Adrienne was also a guest musician in an array of bands and projects, those being vocals for the song I Declare War from the 2020 album The Journey, by German Melodic Death Metal band Deliver the Galaxy; vocals for several songs from the 2021 album The Metal Opera by Magnus Karlsson, by Swedish Symphonic/Melodic/Power Metal band Heart Healer; vocals for the song My Guide My Hunger from the 2018 album As Above So Below, by Italian Melodic Death Metal band Hell’s Guardian; vocals for the song The End of Innocence from the 2017 album Reflections, by American Neoclassical Heavy Metal artist Jimi Mitchell; vocals for the song Mammoth from the 2017 album Pianometal, by American Symphonic/Progressive Metal artist Kyle Morrison; vocals for the song The Truth of the Lion from the 2015 album The Truth of the Lion, by Mike Kerr; harsh and clean vocals for the songs Conjunction of Souls and The Restitution from the 2020 album Pile of Priests, by American Progressive Death Metal band Pile of Priests; vocals for the song Let It Go from the 2018 album Re-Animated, by Italian Power Metal band Trick or Treat; and vocals and lyrics for the 2018 album Lights in the Murk, by Italian Symphonic Black Metal band Yass-Waddah. Do you want more? Because our she-wolf was also responsible for the songwriting for the song Hold Tight from the 2016 EP Dirty Lyxx, by American Heavy Metal/Hard Rock band Dirty Lyxx, and she also sung vocals in Black Science’s Freedom (Or Die Trying), featured in the outro of one Camp Camp episode, and sang both a duet with Casey Lee Williams in the RWBY Volume 6 credits song Nevermore, and in the song War of Volume 7. Adrienne has also been a part of the Freelance Orchestra in their RTX 2016 (where to her surprise she ended up in the RWBY music panel) and 2018 concerts, plus Anime Boston 2018, and you can always have a great time watching her own videos on her official YouTube channel.

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Adrienne got into the world of metal music around the age of 11 when her uncle showed her Metallica and Scorpions, but it wasn’t until she found out about musicians the likes of Alexi Laiho, Janne Wierman and Yngwie Malmsteen that she really started to feel at home listening to Heavy Metal. She mentioned it appealed in some way to her classical background, and watching live Children of Bodom videos was quite inspiring. However, she’s not only into metal, but showcases a wide variety of influences in her life. “I’m not a one-dimensional person – I’m a human – so I’m allowed to like other stuff”, she said in one of her interviews. “I’m not a huge K-pop fan or anything, but I really like good pop writing. From a technical standpoint, as a songwriter, I’m like: damn, good for you guys. And there’s a certain sassy energy – it just speaks to me in a way that a lot of metal doesn’t.” Another influence on our beloved diva as a writer are painters of the Romantic period, with German painter Caspar David Friedrich and Russian painter Ivan Aivazovsky being two of her main inspirations. “I’m also a big fan of (the English composer) Edward Elgar – he does this piece called ‘Sospiri Op. 70,’ which is the most beautiful thing, it sounds like the pain of falling in love. It was something I listened to a lot when we were writing this record. And of course, Chopin,” she said, also finding inspiration under night skies and in the darker depths of the human condition to write her lyrics. Adrienne also nurtures an amazing openness with her fans on social media, which she credits to her experience as a My Chemical Romance fan back when she was younger. “This one interview with them came out, and I remember one of the guys in the band saying basically, ‘We say these things in our music, we are a bunch of fucked up guys, and it helps our fans know… you’re not alone.’ That really made me feel less alone when I was a sad teenager, and then when I grew up into a sad adult, I thought, damn, I could be that for somebody else.”

Regarding her singing style, technique and how she maintains her vocal cords in great shape, Adrienne mentioned in one of her interviews that she likes to meditate before shows and uses her instincts to decide what she’ll sing or scream either high or low. “The low death metal style is more present and more grounded and more angry and earthier in a way. The higher black metal screams are more spiritually pitched or spiritually empty — when there’s black metal themes and nihilistic lyrics, of course I’m probably going to scream with that high tone”, said Adrienne. In addition, when she was enrolled at The Academy of Contemporary Music at the age of 16 she joined an after-school club where all metalhead students gathered to jam on a new song every week, opening her eyes to the rest of the metal world and challenging her to vocally try different styles of each subgenre of metal. She also mentioned that she has studied many techniques of singing including theatrical belting, Speech Level Singing, bel canto and even some throat singing, with the hardest part being unlearning things previous teachers had told her in order to properly approach whatever new technique she was learning, and with the very high Power Metal “scream” being one of the styles that took her the longest to develop. In order to maintain her vocal health, she mentioned that she basically has to just mind her sleep and hydration levels, trying to stay out of the direct blast of heaters or air conditioners, and trying not to get sick or allergic. However, at the end of the day, even dehydrated or sick the show must go on, which forced her to develop alternate techniques to sing through sickness.

A huge fan of Lord of the Rings, all forms of art, Gothic style, cheesy Sci-Fi, vampire shows, coffee and fantasy games, Adrienne enjoys mountain hikes, spending time by any shore, and playing JRPG’s (Japanese Role-Playing Games) and games with friends between her musical ventures. “After a long tour, I like to sit at home and sleep in my own bed, play video games, maybe think about going out… If I get to go on a little holiday or something, I love road trips and anywhere remote with alpine forests and quiet waters. Wyoming is great for this, as are many spots on the West Coast. Anything to get me away from people and out of my regular world,” commented Adrienne, who despite being very fond of animals cannot take care of a dog or cat due to her lack of space and time to do so. And when asked which hobbit from Lord of the Rings she would choose to be part of her band for the rest of their days, she provided a curious and fun answer to that. “Either Sam or Pippin, I think. Because I think I’m a Frodo, and I need a support system like Sam. But also I need a Pippin to just make me laugh all the time no matter what, and just help lighten the mood, and tell me to eat my carrots and mushrooms.”

Last but not least, our raven-haired vocalist also had a few interesting words to say about the whole pandemic and how it has been impacting her life on the road with Seven Spires. “All of this resulted in connecting more with our fans online. So although it’s super frustrating to not know exactly when we’re going to be able to play live again, we have found a way to do the online equivalent of hugging people at the merch table and listening to their stories,” said Adrienne, who also mentioned she keeps working hard to entertain and stay in touch with her fanbase, also teaching online, private vocal lessons and running a weekly workshop on everything from orchestration to arranging to songwriting techniques, all of which you can find on Linktree and on Patreon. “Mostly I teach tools for people to be able to express what they have in mind, and I teach from a really emotional standpoint.” And if you want to know more about Adrienne, her likes and dislikes, her inspirations and so on, there are countless interview online with her such as this one to Rock Titan or this one called RichardMetalFan Interviews! Ep. 33: Adrienne Cowan of Seven Spires/Winds of Plague/Avantasia, where she talks about her journey with music from where she started until now. Having said all that, what are you waiting for to let Adrienne reach deep inside your heart and take you on a breathtaking musical voyage to the sound of her stunning vocals?

Adrienne Cowan’s Official Facebook page
Adrienne Cowan’s Official Instagram
Adrienne Cowan’s Official YouTube channel
Adrienne Cowan’s Official Twitter
Seven Spires’ Official Facebook page
Seven Spires’ Official Instagram
Seven Spires’ Official YouTube channel
Seven Spires’ Official Twitter

“I know that if I’m just stagnant and sitting on my ass, I’m not going to be happy. So if I want to be happy, I have to do something about it.” – Adrienne Cowan

Metal Chick of the Month – Britta Görtz

Follow me into the fire!

In times of turbulence, violence, uncertainty, hope and despair, perhaps the best subgenre of metal music to help us express all those feelings mixed together is our good old Death Metal, and in order to do that here at The Headbanging Moose let’s pay a humble tribute to a ferocious woman hailing from Germany that roars and growls with tons of passion when fronting her ass-kicking underground squads. Born on October 20, 1977 in Hannover, the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony, the unrelenting Extreme Metal vocalist, lyricist, songwriter and vocal coach Britta Görtz has been making a name for herself in the German and international scene with her potent guttural vocals since around 2005, standing out as the frontwoman for Thrash Metal act Cripper and more recently for Death Metal squads Critical Mess and Hiraes. Having said that, are you ready to bang your head and slam into the circle pit together with such talented growler?

Let’s kick off our tribute to Britta with her main band at the moment, the ruthless Death Metal horde known as Critical Mess, a Hannover-based act formed in 2012 that has already released two full-length albums so far in their career, those being Human Præy in 2018 and Man Made Machine Made Man in 2019, as well as the EP Zombie Apocoverlypse in 2020, all with Britta responsible for the vocal duties. After the band’s inception in 2012 they underwent many changes in lineup and writing styles until Britta replaced former vocalist Simon Körber in 2016, helping her bandmates Marco Schauff and Marco “Elmo” Evers on the guitars, Lommer Wiesener on bass and Benny Komatitsch on drums establish themselves and quickly finding their own, unique sound and style, always true to the familiar and beloved sound of old school Death Metal that they had all grown up with. Bringing forward crushing riffs, insane vocals, fierce harmonies and drum chops that put any industrial slaughterhouse soundscape to shame, Critical Mess have already shared the stage with insane acts the likes of Six Feet Under and Hatesphere, having also played in some of the most important festivals in the world like Wacken Open Air and Metaldays.

In case you’ve never heard any of the wicked creations by Critical Mess until today, you can stream all of their albums and songs on Spotify and enjoy their official videos on their YouTube channel, including the awesome videos for the songs Feasting, Into Oblivion, Cut The Cord, Pansperm; the song Echo live at Wacken Open Air 2019; live-recordings of the songs Gluttony (for the Apes Enraged Re-Live Online Festival) and Preacher of Lies (for Godslaves “Access All Areas” Online Festival), both recorded in their band practice room in Hannover; and a special video dedicated to their fans for the song Demise, from conception to stage. However, if you think Critical Mess are only brutality and rage, you must check their insane cover versions for the songs Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), by the infamous Backstreet Boys, Remmidemmi (Yippie Yippie Yeah), by Hamburg’s own Hip-Hop/Electro band Deichkind, and my favorite one Blinding Lights, by The Weeknd, all as seen on the German television show Halloween Gamenight with Luke Mockridge, which aired during last year’s Halloween. Britta is flawless on all three songs, but what she does in “Blinding Lights” is beyond awesome I must say.

Our skillful growler is also involved in a brand new project named Hiraes, a Melodic Death Metal band formed in 2020 that combines the full force of all four instrumentalists from Dawn Of Disease, those being Lukas Kerk, Oliver Kirchner, Christian Wösten and Mathias Blässe, with the powerful vocals by Britta in order to create an exciting new melodic death emergence. Currently, Hiraes are working on their debut album, which will certainly be highly recommended for fans of the Scandinavian madness brought forth by renowned acts the likes of Insomnium, At The Gates, Arch Enemy and Amon Amarth, pointing to a very interesting path ahead of Britta, therefore allowing her to showcase all her vocal range and potency outside of the purely Death Metal style she’s used to with Critical Mess. I honestly can’t wait to see what she’ll be able to do when venturing through more melodic realms, and let’s hope this never-ending pandemic doesn’t stop Britta and her henchmen from releasing new, vibrant music for all of us metalheads in a not-so-distant future.

Of course, we cannot talk about Britta and her pulverizing vocals without talking about the band that launched her to stardom in the metal community. I’m talking about German Death and Thrash Metal platoon Cripper, formed in 2005 in Hannover, with whom she recorded the EP Killer Escort Service in 2006, followed by the full-length albums Freak Inside (2007), Devil Reveals (2009), Antagonist (2012), Hyëna (2014) and Follow Me: Kill! (2017), with the last two being available on their BandCamp page, and all of them on Spotify. Hence, you can also visit their YouTube channel for official videos, interviews, unboxing of their albums and tons of other amazing footage from this hard-hitting band that unfortunately split up in 2018. Having toured with renowned acts like Overkill and Onslaught, in addition to repeat performances at major European festivals the likes of Summer Breeze, Wacken Rocks, Metalfest and Rockharz Open Air, Cripper effectively converted fans to their cause with their riveting mix of old school and modern thrash, as you can see in the official videos for the songs Animal Of Prey, Mother, Into the Fire, Tourniquet, Pressure, Totmann, A Dime For The Establishment, Shortcut, God Spoken Prayer/Cocoon and Damocles, as well as in their infernal live performances at Rock Im Betonwerk in 2012, at Metaldays in 2014 and at Wacken Open Air in 2016. As you might have noticed, when Critical Mess were formed, Britta was still singing for Cripper, but according to Britta herself it wasn’t difficult at all to manage both bands at the same time. “The two bands feel completely different,” she commented at that time, complementing by saying that “lyrically, Cripper is more expressive, while Critical Mess has so far been more storytelling.”

You can also find Britta screaming and roaring like a true she-wolf in several distinct bands and projects, where she was able to add her own share of violence and creativity to their music. For instance, you can enjoy Britta’s unique guttural vocals in the song My Abomination, from the album ED, released in 2020 by German Death Metal act Corrosive; in the song Into Darkness, from the 2014 album Drone, by German Groove Metal/Metalcore unity Drone; in the song Children of the Pit, from the 2016 album Welcome to the Green Zone, by German Thrash Metal squad Godslave; and doing backing vocals in the 2009 album Marauders, by German Death/Thrash Metal act Lost World Order. Not only that, Britta also showcased her skills as a photographer in the 2007 album Hate Is the Law, by German Death Metal band Ancient Existence.

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Regarding her influences, idols and first experiences in music, Britta has a very eclectic and wide range of musicians and bands that she admires. For instance, she said the first-ever concert in her life was back in 1990 in the small town of Seelze, where she grew up, of German Pop Rock band Die Prinzen; her first record was one containing the hit Bruttosozialprodukt, released in the 80’s by Neue Deutsche Welle group Geier Sturzflug; the first CD she bought herself was a live album by Guns N’ Roses (at the same time she bought her first CD player); and she would love to share the stage with the one and only Mike Patton, especially if it’s with his insane cult band Fantômas, which is quite easy to understand why as Mr. Patton is indeed one of the most talented, one of the wildest and one of the most creative vocalists ever. Also, on a side note, if you think Britta makes any distinction between male and female vocalists, or if she cares about the term “female-fronted metal”, she thinks that’s a stupid and very sexist concept, saying that she got tired of it right after her first interview where questions about her being a girl in a Death Metal band started to come up. Having said that, let’s simply stop asking that type of question when interviewing Britta, sounds good?

As mentioned, Britta has already been in several different festivals with all of her bands like the unparalleled holy land of metal music Wacken Open Air, having toured extensively across the entire European continent as well as being part of renowned and innovative events such as being aboard 70,000 Tons of Metal, saying the vibe in each one of those unique events might be different due to the number of people that attend each one, the ticket prices, the age of the fans and so on, but that in the end it’s always a pleasure for her to show her music and art to all types of metalheads. She also said that whenever someone can’t believe how powerful and aggressive her guttural vocals are when seeing he live for the first time, that doesn’t really amuse her as she thinks if you’re a true metal fan you’re already used to women growling for ages. In addition, she mentioned in one of her interviews that she dreams of touring around South America, as (unfortunately) she’s never been there and she would love to experience all South American countries as a touring band, immersing herself in each local youth and music culture.

All that recording, touring and screaming can be extremely strenuous on one’s vocal chords, demanding a lot from the singer, and of course it couldn’t be any different with Britta. She mentioned that there are some warmup exercises she does prior to each show, such as humming and singing some scales, saying that those aren’t only important for her  vocal cords, but they also serve as a ritual to prepare herself mentally for hitting the stage, working at the same time as physical and mental warmups. In addition, our talented growler also listed lots of sleep and lots of water as necessary methods for anyone’s vocals to stay in shape, balancing her partying and avoiding drinking too much alcohol, working out regularly and eating healthy, fresh food (without stressing too much about that). If you want to have a one-hour online lesson (or even a face-to-face one after this pandemic is finally over) in growling, shouting and screaming with Britta, you can visit the LCHQ Online Shop and purchase a vocal coaching voucher, hiring her services to provide you some useful tips, teach you new techniques and warmups, and anything else related to guttural singing, and coming from such talented singer like Britta that’s definitely worth the investment.

Last but not least, Britta has a very strong opinion on populism and the tensions we’ve been experiencing worldwide, saying that it doesn’t matter which perspective you take, be it the way the media reports it or how the reporting is perceived, the desire for security paired with the abandonment of freedom, or the contribution that the so-called “western world” makes to all of this, in the end the situation is pretty tricky, leading people to think they have simple solutions to complex problems. There are countless interviews online with Britta where you can know more about her as a person, as an artist, her opinions, her likes and dislikes and so on, such as this one to Mama Goes Wacken where she talks about her passion for chocolate (among other topics, of course),  this one to The Metal Gods Meltdown where she discusses the decision of Cripper to call it quits, this one to Rock Titan and this one to DJ Vampire talking about Cripper, and this one to Metal & High Heels when they played at FEMME (Female Metal Event). As you can see, Britta is an extremely talented musician with an open heart and an open mind, always willing to share her ideas, experiences and opinions with her fans and, more important than that, always ready to scream and roar in the name of our good old Death Metal.

Britta Görtz’s Official Facebook page
Britta Görtz’s Official Instagram
Critical Mess’ Official Facebook page
Critical Mess’ Official Instagram
Critical Mess’ Official YouTube channel

“I never thought ‘oh look at what she is doing, a girl in a heavy metal, that’s what I wanna do, too’. What got me to wanting to play in a band was probably that I thought it was a good way for me to express myself and at the same time channel my energy. Energetic live shows no matter of which genre attract me. Shows where you can feel the electricity in the air, where it kicks your butt and really grabs you. I am trying to find a certain kind of flow on stage and to share my energy with the fans. That’s not easy, cause it is nothing that you can create every time, but that’s what I am aiming for.” – Britta Görtz