Category Archives: Features

Parent category for all our assorted feature narratives. Each is filed under its proper theme.

PiercingMetal Talks To Moonspell’s Michael Gaspar (10/22/2006)

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Darkness would hit New York City hard and swift this evening as Moonspell performed a show with both Katatonia and Daylight Dies as their support but before this would happen I would secure a few moments of time with their drummer Michael Gaspar. Moonspell are truly the reigning Kings in the realm of Gothic Metal nowadays and have booked some shows in the States to support their latest album “Memorial”. The album, released on SPV Records, is a powerfully brooding and dark piece of Metal, which shows elements of drama and mood on every track. The tour would be labeled “The Nocturnal Mourning” tour and feature special guest openers Daylight Dies and Katatonia. My original plan was to speak to lead singer Fernando Ribeiro but when I arrived, he was busy with his sound check and planning out the performance for the night. A quick search of the halls of the venue had me find drummer Mike Gaspar who was more than happy to talk for a few minutes about the band, the album and their future plans for Metal heads everywhere.

PiercingMetal: Well here we are with Mike Gaspar, drummer from Moonspell – the Portuguese Masters Of Gothic Metal. Let us start off with this new tour, “The Nocturnal Mourning” as it is labeled. It just started the other night and you mentioned that this was your first time in this particular venue (B.B. King Blues Club) and you liked it. What about it led you to this impression when you walked in the place I am just curious.

Mike Gaspar: Overall, it had a lot to do with the attitude, for instance if you are receiving a band with a package tour that is working really hard to make sure everything goes smoothly. They want to give the audience the best performance and obviously the best stage show possible in terms of lights and sound. The first two shows were at these rock clubs more than venues and they had like four or five local bands before us you wondered if they were fighting more for the local bands than the main package. It struck me as wondering why some clubs or some promoters would want to do that.

PiercingMetal: And this is the third show on “The Nocturnal Mourning” Tour and that is a great title for the event by the way, so it would sound like this did not start off as best as you thought it would.

Mike Gaspar: Well first of all our bus didn’t arrive and then when we got to the airport we had to rent vans and U-Hauls just so we could make the first show. We finally got there about six or seven in the afternoon and the club was a shit hole that seemed almost impossible to do a show there. So of course you still want it to happen because so many people are coming to see you from the area.
Continue reading PiercingMetal Talks To Moonspell’s Michael Gaspar (10/22/2006)

PiercingMetal Talks To Stream Of Passion’s Marcela Bovio (11/2006)

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Marcela Bovio is the singer for the Gothic Progressive Hard Rock band Stream Of Passion. The group was formed by Arjen Lucassen’s who “discovered” Ms. Bovio after she submitted her demo to him over the Internet. The submission was to be a part of his composition, the amazing release by Ayreon “The Human Equation”. Shortly after the albums release, Lucassen contacted Bovio about a new and different kind of group that would be geared more towards her style of singing as opposed to the levels of Progressive Metal and the result would be the extraordinary debut by Stream Of Passion, “Embrace The Storm”. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I was able to “talk” to Marcela about her musical origins, her thoughts on the recorded work and plans for the future. Below is our conversation.

PiercingMetal: Marcela I guess the best place to start would be at the beginning. Tell me about your earliest musical experience and what made you decide to become a singer.

Marcela: I don’t think I recall my first musical experience exactly, I know that ever since I can remember I’ve enjoyed singing. When I was very little I started taking music lessons, and when I was on my teens I started singing with bands and stuff like that; that’s when it actually hit me that I wanted to become a singer.

PiercingMetal: I’ve read that you had a band called Elfonia but I don’t know much about them beyond the descriptions of it being a group that had levels of Atmospheric Rock. Tell us a little about them and if we shall hear anything more from this group in the future.

Marcela: There is definitely a lot of atmospheric rock influence in Elfonía’s music, but also a lot of experimental and progressive rock stuff in there; so we end up just calling it progressive rock actually. The band started in 2002 and we’ve released two albums: Elfonía (2003) and This sonic landscape (2005). We’re currently in a standby status, because we’re all working on different musical projects; but we never know what the future will bring!
Continue reading PiercingMetal Talks To Stream Of Passion’s Marcela Bovio (11/2006)

PiercingMetal Talks To Epica’s Mark Jansen & Simone Simons (9/20/2006)

Epica is one of the most outstanding Symphonic Power Metal acts to hit the scene in some time. As the opener for Kamelot it was great to find the band coming to New York as their opener for the tour. The two have worked together in the past and this was met with approval in the Metal world. The band visited the Prog-Power USA Festival earlier that week and now were off and running with Kamelot. I had reviewed a majority of their releases and as a result I was very interested in speaking with them yet was unsure of how possible this would actually be on the night of the show. The uncertainty led me to not have a “formal” interview written up and of course, as luck would have it I was able to meet both Simone Simons and Mark Janssen. After introductions were made, we secured some space in the depths of the back halls of the venue where we also found Yves relaxing. Mark joked that if I wanted to know anything related to Belgium, like about the fries that I should ask him. We were off to a great start with this one it seemed for there would more joking ahead with this very good-natured and friendly bunch of musicians.

Mark: Yves is here so if you need to know about anything from Belgium, such as Belgium fries you can ask him.

PiercingMetal: What do I need to know about fries and beer? What do you want to tell us about them?

Yves: It depends on what you want to know.

Simone: They’re tasty, they’re thick……
Continue reading PiercingMetal Talks To Epica’s Mark Jansen & Simone Simons (9/20/2006)

PiercingMetal Talks To Mnemic’s Tony Jelencovich (10/7/2005)

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Artist: Mnemic – Tony Jelencovich (Vocals)
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Date: 10-7-2005

Mnemic is one of those bands that have been kicking off the tours of some really great bands, but since they are often playing first there is the slight chance that you would miss them if you ran late to the gig. I first caught them when they opened for Soilwork & Dark Tranquility and at the time the band was fronted by Michael Bogballe, who while very good at what he did, simply did not take the band to the next Metal level. Shortly after that tour, he would leave the lineup to pursue other interests and the band would bring on Tony Jelencovich to handle the microphone duties. Immediately after this the group was brought on the road with the ever-innovative juggernaut that is Meshuggah. I attended this Meshuggah show with my friend and colleague Peter Pardo, Publisher of Sea Of Tranquility and we found ourselves backstage after Mnemic had finished. Some quick introductions and hellos enabled us to snare some of Tony’s time just minutes after he completed a blistering set of music with the band. Both Peter and I conducted the questions and all of them are provided for the readers. The funny thing about interviews like this is the last minute spontaneity to them. Nothing was scripted it was just talk so don’t over analyze it, just enjoy.

PiercingMetal: ok, so we are hanging out with Tony Jelencovich, lead singer for the band Mnemic, he is the new singer for the band, and he has just walked off the stage after a killer 45 minute set. So is this the first time you have ever played in New York as a singer for a Metal band or have you done this before with another group that we are unaware of.

Jelencovich: Yeah I guess you can say that yes. I have played one show before in my old band, but it was like an invite only showcase at SIR Studio. So you play but it is not necessarily a gig.
Continue reading PiercingMetal Talks To Mnemic’s Tony Jelencovich (10/7/2005)

PiercingMetal Talks To Sonata Arctica’s Tony Kakko (1/18/2006)

Logo - Sonata Arctica

Long before I had become the Metal Journalist and Photographer I had begun to develop a strong like for the bands that were coming out of Finland and along with Nightwish there was Sonata Arctica who really delivered the goods. We saw the band when they appeared as direct support for Overkill on their first ever US visit and it was awesome. Clearly Finnish Power Metal has a great ally in the group Sonata Arctica. Their musical textures richly mixing powerful riffs with explosive vocals and harmonies. I had the chance to discuss a wide variety of topics with lead singer Tony Kakko when the band arrived in New York City for their first-headlining appearance. We began our discussion with Tony having some level of curiousity as to the recording device I was using. I always bring one of the Sandisk devices which do a great job under these circumstances. Below is our exact conversation.

KP: I’m trying to make sure this thing is started correctly but my hands are freezing, it seems you brought the Finnish weather with you. It was 60 degrees the other day and now it is a cold blast from Finland out there.

Tony: You’re telling me.

KP: So let’s talk about the last time we were planning on talking you guys were on the eve of the Nightwish tour which was very abruptly cancelled. I wondered if you guys thought you were not going to be able to play the USA at that time.

Tony: Yes, that was the fear, and then suddenly we got a lot of response from the promoters who were doing those shows and the audience and they said we should still come. So, we decided to see that if the promoters could still do it and we are able to come then we would. When it seemed that it could be done that was how we were able to arrive in the USA that time.
Continue reading PiercingMetal Talks To Sonata Arctica’s Tony Kakko (1/18/2006)