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

Album Review – Harakiri For The Sky / Mӕre (2021)

This Atmospheric Black Metal duo from Austria returns with a breathtaking collection of tales from feverish dreams in the form of their fifth full-length opus.

Mӕre, a malicious folkloristic entity creeping on sleeping people’s chest during the night and causing breathlessness and anxiety, is the exact state of diffuse terror and paralysis that has been enshrined in Vienna, Austria-based Atmospheric Black Metal duo Harakiri For The Sky’s music ever since their debut album. Now in 2021, a breathtaking collection of tales from feverish dreams is being released in the form of the band’s fifth full-length opus Mӕre, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed 2018 album Arson. Founded in 2011 by vocalist J.J. and multi-instrumentalist M.S., the aim of Harakiri For The Sky has always been to create a unique mixture of melancholy and aggression, madness and meaning, wrapped in alternately manic and mellow songs that bridged Black Metal and Atmospheric Post-Rock. Featuring session drummer Kerim “Krimh” Lechner (Septicflesh, Act of Denial) and an atmospheric artwork by Meike Hakkaart (Art of Maquenda), Mӕre will haunt your soul and darken your heart in a majestic way, being therefore highly recommended for fans of the somber music crafted by bands like Alcest, Wolves In The Throne Room and Agalloch.

The atmospheric guitars by M.S. kick off the venomous opening track I, Pallbearer, with Kerim hammering his drums in great Black Metal fashion, providing J.J. al he needs to vociferate rabidly. In other words, what a sensational start to the album, ending with gorgeous, serene piano notes and setting the tone for Sing for the Damage We’ve Done, a lesson in Atmospheric Post-Black Metal that’s as visceral and aggressive as it’s melodic and epic, with guest vocalist Neige (from bands like Alcest and Zero) helping J.J. declaim the song’s poetic and introspective words (“It’s been so long, it’s difficult to tell / If I truly miss what I once called home / It’s been so long, it’s difficult to tell / If this truly was my longest way home”). Another round of their imposing and captivating sounds fills our ears in the pulverizing Us Against December Skies, where J.J. sounds bestial with his sick screams while M.S. slashes his stringed weapons mercilessly supported by the always infernal blast beats by Kerim, and you better prepare your senses for 11 minutes of modern-day, vibrant Atmospheric Black Metal in the form of I’m All About the Dusk, where M.S. will hit you in the head with his low-tuned bass while piercing your mind with his riffage, being full of breaks and variations and an endless sense of despair. And the duo continues to spread darkness and rage through their devilish roars and riffs in Three Empty Words, another good tune blending the heaviness of Melodic Black Metal with Post-Black Metal where Kerim proves why he was invited by J.J. and M.S. to be responsible for the drumming duties.

Atmospheric Black Metal usually means lengthy songs, and in the case of Harakiri For The Sky that’s translated into a thrilling musical voyage through obscure lands titled Once upon a Winter, a multi-layered and very detailed composition where J.J. takes his rage and despair to the next level, whereas in And Oceans Between Us we face more of their cryptic, somber lyrics (“You were the ailment / And leaving was the cure / I fell away and I still suffer / And year by year I’m fading away”) enfolded by a beyond mesmerizing sonority led by the strident guitars by M.S., exhaling epicness and bringing to our ears grandiose passages intertwined with classic Black Metal beats. The anonymous vocalist of Portuguese Black Metal band Gaerea lends his sharp vocals to the Stygian tune Silver Needle // Golden Dawn, with the song’s guitars overflowing pure Atmospheric Black Metal while drums and vocals lean towards contemporary Post-Metal, and acoustic guitars kick off the melancholic and embracing Time Is a Ghost, growing in intensity as the music progresses with Kerim stealing the spotlight with his infernal drumming, while J.J. continues to growl and bark just the way we like it in extreme music. And as the icing on the cake, Harakiri For The Sky offer our ears a fantastic version for Song to Say Goodbye, from the 2006 album Meds by Placebo (you can check the original version HERE), and let me tell you the band did a tremendous job adding a gargantuan amount of obscurity and heaviness to their version, with J.J. taking the lead with his trademark hellish roars.

As you might already know, the word “harakiri” means a ritual suicide by disembowelment with a sword, formerly practiced in Japan by samurai as an honorable alternative to disgrace or execution, and after listening to the deep, scorching music found in Mӕre it’s easy to understand why the name of the band was chosen to be Harakiri For The Sky, piercing your soul like a samurai sword and eliminating all traces of life from your body, therefore leaving you in pitch black darkness for all eternity. Hence, don’t forget to give the duo a shout on Facebook and on Instagram, to stream more of their enfolding music on Spotify, and to purchase their excellent new opus by clicking HERE. Needless to say, you should definitely go for the very special CD Wooden Boxset edition of the album, available from AOP Records, EMP, Nuclear Blast and Amazon. Melancholic and aggressive, Mӕre represents another solid stone in the career of Harakiri For The Sky, showing us all that in Atmospheric Black Metal there’s nothing better than a never-ending, eerie onrush of fear and terror.

Best moments of the album: Sing for the Damage We’ve Done, I’m All About the Dusk and And Oceans Between Us.

Worst moments of the album: Three Empty Words.

Released in 2021 AOP Records

Track listing
1. I, Pallbearer 7:06
2. Sing for the Damage We’ve Done 8:05
3. Us Against December Skies 8:21
4. I’m All About the Dusk 11:09
5. Three Empty Words 9:29
6. Once upon a Winter 10:27
7. And Oceans Between Us 8:57
8. Silver Needle // Golden Dawn 7:09
9. Time Is a Ghost 8:33
10. Song to Say Goodbye (Placebo cover) 5:25

Band members
J.J. – vocals
M.S. – all instruments

Guest musicians
Kerim “Krimh” Lechner – drums (session)
Neige – additional vocals on “Sing for the Damage We’ve Done”
Anonymous – additional vocals on “Silver Needle // Golden Dawn”

Album Review – Sunterra / Reborn EP (2017)

Under the sign of the ancient Egypt goddess Isis, one of the most important Industrial Metal bands from the underground Austrian scene is reborn with a new lineup and a reinvigorated attitude.

Rating5

coverUnder the sign of the ancient Egypt goddess Isis, Austrian Gothic/Industrial Metal act Sunterra are celebrating their reunion after a 10-year hiatus from the music scene with their brand new EP titled Reborn, which as you can imagine by its name marks the resurrection of the band, presenting a musical progression without forgetting their own roots. Combining Industrial and Gothic Metal with hints of Electro and Dubstep, Sunterra aim at creating their own, distinctive sound, oferring the listener fresh and thrilling music that will put you on a trance and certainly sharpen your senses while listening to it.

Formed in 1998 in the charming city of Vienna, Austria after the split of a band named Virgin Seed, and having chosen their new name Sunterra as a game of words standing for the gathering of fire and earth, the band led by bassist and lyricist Chris enjoyed almost a decade of considerable success in the independent Austrian scene, releasing the demo In Diebus Illis in 1999 and the full-length albums Lost Time, in 2002, and Graceful Tunes, in 2005, before calling it a day in 2006. In 2015, with a brand new lineup and a reinvigorated attitude, Sunterra were reborn from the ashes like a phoenix and are more than ready to rock again, with their brand new EP being the first and exciting installment in this second incarnation of the band.

Electronic and futuristic elements set the tone in the solid Industrial Metal composition Reign Supreme, with the harsh growls by Carlos and the clean, gentle voice of Slovakian singer Lilly reaching a great balance, complementing each other’s lines effectively. In addition, the song’s chorus is quite catchy and should work really well live. In Shadow in the Dark, the band “abandons” their heavy industrialized musicality a bit, focusing on their Gothic Metal vein, with gentle piano notes and the delicate vocals by Lilly guiding the listener in this eccentric voyage. This is a melancholic, alternative ballad that ends with Carlos and Ivan delivering some heavy gnarls and riffs respectively, generating an interesting contrast with the song’s initial smoothness. Then in Lord of Lies we face some obscure guitar and bass lines by Ivan and Chris, which together with the potent programmed beats will break your neck while Lilly keeps delivering her angelical vocals. Put differently, this is a high-end professional fusion of Industrial and Gothic Metal, with its background effects helping make the overall sonority truly menacing.

sunterra-1This is W.A.R. brings forward an eerie futuristic ambience with elements from electronic music, feeling like a dance hit from the 80’s or 90’s with a metallic approach and gentle breaks being thoroughly inserted amidst the fury emanating from Carlos’ guttural growls; whereas Ministry of Thoughts presents a strong Marilyn Manson-inspired atmosphere, sounding extremely alternative and mechanized. In this song highly recommended for lovers of the darkest side of Industrial Metal, Ivan showcases an excellent performance on both guitar and all programmed elements, turning it into one of the best tracks of the album. And concluding the EP, Shut Up!!! begins in an ominous way with a whimsical dialogue between Carlos and Lilly before becoming a feast of electronic Industrial Metal perfect for hitting the dance floor, a creepy track by Sunterra to end Reborn on a high note.

As one of the most important Industrial Metal bands from the underground Austrian scene is finally back in action, why not feed their newly reborn fire  with your passion for heavy music? You can watch a preview of the entire EP on YouTube to get a better sense of what the music by Sunterra is all about, or stream it in its entirety to be enchanted by their modern metal music, as well as follow them on Facebook to know more about the band and their future projects and live concerts. And if you want to show your true support for these Austrian industrialists of darkness, you can get your copy of Reborn at their BandCamp page, on iTunes, on Amazon, at Discogs and several other online retailers.

Best moments of the album: Lord of Lies and Ministry of Thoughts.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2017 NRT-Records

Track listing
1. Reign Supreme 4:28
2. Shadow in the Dark 5:15
3. Lord of Lies 5:05
4. This is W.A.R. 4:49
5. Ministry of Thoughts 4:47
6. Shut Up!!! 3:51

Band members
Carlos – male lead vocals
Lilly – female lead vocals
Ivan – lead guitars, programming
Chris – bass

Album Review – Void Creation / Deadnology (2015)

A perishing and decaying world in the form of extreme music by an outstanding Death Metal band from Austria.

Rating4

void creation_deadnologyDo you love happy and cheerful music? Do you feel deep affection for bands and artists who sing about butterflies, unicorns and other cute animals? If so, stay away from Deadnology, the brand new studio album by Austrian Death/Thrash Metal band Void Creation. Deadnology is a heinous feast of extreme music which will crush your body and soul, leaving you totally beaten and bruised rolling around in your own blood, but also with an awesome feeling of “mission accomplished” when the war spearheaded by Void Creation is over.

Founded in Vienna, Austria in 2006 by ex-members of Diabolica and Saviour, and having already participated in events like Wacken Open Air 2010 and supported bands like Nile, Gorguts and Possessed, Void Creation are back with their second full-length album to tell us the confusions of a perishing and decaying world along 10 tracks of utter savagery, and they do it in such an impressive way that not only your neck will break, but also your jaw will drop after listening to this excellent release.

It doesn’t take more than two seconds for Void Creation to start fuckin’ slaying everything around them with their technical and totally brutal Death Metal in the opening track 1984, a song full of variations and breaks where the deep bloodcurdling guttural by lead singer Alex will infect your ears while drummer Börni delivers some fast and complex drumming perfect for this type of music. Following that carnage we have Devoided, with guitarists Gilli and Piz making sure we do not stop banging our heads to the sound of their sick heavy riffs inspired by bands such as Deicide and Cannibal Corpse, and Sepsis, with its even more diabolic vocal lines and its violent but melodic guitars and drums maintaining a good flow of the music.

MMA01_photo_voidcreation_promo_01We Give You Hell Tonight is an awesome exhibit of old school Death Metal from the 90’s, very Deicide-ish, and with a name like that we couldn’t expect less than that level of devastation, right?  In addition, Börni once again is an unstoppable beast on drums, and you’ll feel impelled to scream “HELL! HELL! HELL!” together with Alex for sure. Then we have an impetuous track named Ruthless, where the band gets even faster and heavier with the intricate bass lines by Berna giving it even more substance; Symbols From The Soul, the shortest song of all which demonstrates absolutely no mercy for our necks thanks to more of Void Creation’s relentless and technical riffs and beats; and the magnificent Dystopia, which focuses on slower and heavier headbanging riffs strengthened by its dark and hopeless lyrics perfectly vociferated by Alex.

The last part of the album keeps annihilating everything, starting with The Plagues and its harsher screams nicely mixed with deeper guttural vocals. Moreover, it’s simply amazing how skillful this band is, capable of crafting such aggressive music with so much harmony in it. The next song, Thelema, is another good old school Death Metal track with hints of the music by Sepultura in its guitars, with its end being a raid of sheer brutality, before Earthlings 2.0 closes the album in a unique way: this song is completely different from the rest of the album, with more introspective and melodic passages, as if the band wanted it to represent a horribly melancholic end of the world with their music.

Lastly, isn’t the fetus/unborn baby in the album art cute? Of course not, but unfortunately that’s the world we’re living in and we have to deal with that, and nothing better than some extreme music to help us face this brutal reality. Thus, go visit Metal Music Austria’s official BandCamp page or their official online shop to get ahold of your copy of Deadnology. And may God or any other deity of your choice have mercy on your cursed neck.

Best moments of the album: 1984, We Give You Hell Tonight and Dystopia.

Worst moments of the album: Sepsis and Earthlings 2.0.

Released in 2015 Metal Music Austria

Track listing
1. 1984 3:09
2. Devoided 2:49
3. Sepsis 2:57
4. We Give You Hell Tonight 2:49
5. Ruthless 3:44
6. Symbols From The Soul 1:57
7. Dystopia 4:08
8. The Plagues 3:49
9. Thelema 3:02
10. Earthlings 2.0 4:16

Band members
Alex – vocals
Gilli – guitar
Piz – guitar
Berna – bass
Börni – drums