Obscure Sisterhood – Ashtar

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Anyone who loves music as much as I do, knows that feeling when a new song or record or even band gets to you right away. And then there are those tracks and artists you totally fall for at an instant. And this has been the case for me about three years ago with Ashtar and their debut album. A first public declaration of my affection was released on January 3rd 2016. Fast forward to the future and present as it is, I had the honour of interviewing founding member and front woman Witch N. Our virtual dialogue is also the first part to be published for my new series “Obscure Sisterhood”. Reading her answers, I finally found out why the art of Asthar is music to my ears – literally speaking, having had the same female rolemodel/idol as a teen: Courtney Love. 

Ashtar

Nadine, it’s been quite a while since ‘Ilmasaari was released and the new album is finally on the horizon. What can you tell us about the second coming of Ashtar?
We’re working on new songs and plan to enter the studio again in 2019. But at this moment we can’t say anything about a release date. We’re playing some of the new songs live already – so if you want to get a hint how the new album is going to be you need to see us live on stage soon!

Following pretty much all the news regarding Ashtar I know that a lot has changed for Marko and yourself – how much impact does your personal life have on the band?
I suppose you mean our two little kids. Yes, as we are the core of Ashtar, our personal life has of course a big impact. We’ve learned how it is to have a band while having no time at all. We’ve learned a lot about organizing and being creative on command as well. For me personally, having kids make me feel more comfortable with myself. I know better who I am and what is really important in my life. And music is definitely one very important thing in my and Markos life, so we give our best to keep Ashtar going.

You have been a member of Swiss Death/Doom band shEver before the birth of Ashtar – was there any difference in working with just female musicians compared to your current environment?
This is a very delicate question. Yes, I think there is a difference between working with women or men. Though in Ashtar, where I work with my husband, the comparison is not that significant. I played in some other bands with male members too, but I was hardly involved in the songwriting process – I just can say that women seem much more focused and efficient to me, they don’t just sit around and drink beer instead of rehearsing or writing new songs. And I think shEver would never have sounded like we did if there would have been some male members around. By the way, they still exist and have two male members nowadays. Beside that I generally think that women just write different songs with different attitudes and atmospheres.

At what age did you get into heavy music and why (if there is any particular reason at all)?
It depends on the definition of heavy, but I would say when I was about 16 or 17. When I first heard “Far beyond driven” from Pantera I was blown away and curious about more stuff like that. A bit later I got more into Gothic Metal and then into Black and Death Metal. The reason? I was fascinated by the heaviness, the brutality and the beauty at the same time in this kind of music.

MMXIV

You play the bass, guitars, the violin and sing – but what was your first love when it comes to a creative/musical outlet and how old where you?
My first instrument was, like pretty much every child’s, the recorder. Beside playing the children songs I sometimes created my own “songs”. I was 5 or 6 years old. But really creative I got when I learned to play the violin with 8 years. For some years I mainly played classical music until me and my girlfriend decided to start a band when we were 16 – I began to take bass lessons and wrote my own Grunge songs on my guitar.

Have you ever felt like there is anything you couldn’t (or shouldn’t) do because you are a woman?
When I was a little girl I was not allowed to play soccer in a club, because my parents told me that this is not a girl’s sport. And later, with Ashtar, I played a concert while being pregnant in the 7th month. There were men who came to me and told me that this is no good for my child. (BTW: This child is now 3 years old and very healthy. And he loves music!)

Would you consider yourself a feminist and what are your thoughts on feminism?                                                                                                      I would not consider myself a feminist but still many of my opinions are feministic. As long as women don’t have the same rights (or salary) as men I think feminism is very much-needed here. The really extreme forms of feminism I do not appreciate though. Biologically, women and men are not the same and I am really happy that there are differences. 😊 So women and men do not need to be equal in every part of their lives.

What was the first and the most recent record you bought?
The first record I bought from my own money was probably “What’s the story morning glory” by Oasis – when I was 12. The last record? Hmm, I think that was the album “Maltrér” from the German Black Metal band Verheerer.

Studio

What is more fun: Playing or watching a concert?
I love to see bands live, but nothing compares to the feeling when I am on stage myself.

Do you have a musical rolemodel/idol, maybe even a female one?
I had many idols when I was a teenager, especially Courtney Love of Hole or Jennifer Finch of L7. Nowadays my idols are not musicians anymore.

What advice would you give young girls when it comes to picking up an instrument/starting to sing and joining a band?
First you need to master your instrument or voice, like everybody who wants to join a serious band. Then just do what you feel you want to do! Never pretend to be something you aren’t. People will notice sooner or later. And you can only be good when you are true to yourself.

Nowadays it seems like no band/musician will have a chance without Fcebook, Instagram etc. – what is your personal take on social media?
I grew up without social media and I am really grateful for that because I know the “other side” too. I learned to use social media for promoting my bands, so I think they can be really useful. But I think it’s important that we don’t take the number of “likes” as indicator for our success.

And finally: Will you be touring to promote the upcoming new album? Yes, this is our plan: We will give everything to get on the road for at least one or two weeks in Europe. But this will take a while, the album has to be recorded first.

Stage

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Psychorizon – Der Schwesternschaft obskure Ausblicke auf 2019

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Hallo 2019! Und Euch allen an den Bildschirmen ein frohes neues Jahr!

Ein spannendes und ereignisreiches Jahr liegt hinter mir und für die kommenden 364 Tage habe ich einiges für Psychorizon geplant. Eine der aufregendsten News kam direkt im Januar 2018 mit dem neuen Lineup der Trashlegende Sodom. Für mich hat dies auch persönlich große Bedeutung, da einer der zwei neuen Gitarristen Teil meines engsten Freundeskreises ist. Und für die Live-Premiere hätte es kein besseres Event geben können als das Rock Hard Festival. Für mich war es nunmehr das zehnte Jahr in Folge und das insgesamt 12 mal, dass ich dort war. Ob ich 2019 auch wieder mit dabei bin, kann ich zur Stunde noch nicht sagen – möglich ist alles.

Tribulation & Turnschuhe beim TuRock Open Air 2018

Insgesamt war das vergangene Jahr fast schon zu entspannt, aber dafür mit einigen echten Highlights erfüllt. Schon die erste Show, die ich besuchte war eine besondere: Maggot Heart – mehr muss ich dazu nicht sagen. Es folgte eine der besten Clubshows seit langem mit Horisont, Spiders und Dead Lord im TuRock. Beim alljährlichen TuRock Open Air gab es zudem ein Wiedersehen mit Tribulation. Und auch eine der größten Enttäuschungen habe ich erlebt: Guns N’ Roses – die Meinungen hierzu gehen so weit auseinander, wie der Körperumfang von Axl Rose bzw. er und Slash auf der Bühne. Direkt am Tag danach haben mich Queen mit Sänger Adam Lambert wieder versöhnt und bisweilen zu Tränen gerührt. Doch die größte Überraschung war mit großem Abstand Ozzy, der wie ein junger Bursche über die Bühne hüpfte und so viel Lebensfreude versprühte, dass ich noch jetzt davon zehre – Wahnsinn!

Wenn fast alle Deine Lieblingsmenschen beim RHF sind

Auch wenn ich gar nicht an frühere Erfolge anknüpfen möchte, so werde ich zumindest zur alten Stärke zurück kehren und wieder mehr für die ursprüngliche Idee hinter Psychorizon stehen. Mit meiner neuen Interviewreihe werde ich wieder dem nachgehen, das mir immer das wichtigste war: Frauen unterstützen, die in der Rock- und Metal Szene aktiv sind. Ihnen widme ich die neue Kategorie “Obscure Sisterhood“.

In diesem Sinne: Auf 2019, es wird legendär!

Und zum Abschluss noch meine Top-Liste aller verpassten Bands & Events 2018 und ein Ausblick auf die bisherige Planung für 2019:

Maggot Heart & Slægt und Lucifer jeweils in Dortmund aufgrund einer Knieverletzung

Muskelrock mit Jubiläums-Lineup…was soll ich dazu sagen?!

Jex Thoth und Coven, weil zu weit weg und zeitgleich zu anderen Events…zum Heulen

The Vintage Caravan, Black Mirrors, Wucan weil wegen blöd und viel zu viele mehr!

Und was steht bisher im Kalender: Mindestens einmal Maggot Heart in Köln, vielleicht auch in Oldenburg. Hällas, Vulva und Cherokee bei der fünften Auflage der Feverdance Rituals im TuRock (!!!), Wolf City Fest und die Smashing Pumpkins beides in Berlin und OMG die göttliche CHER, AUSFUCKINFLIPP! Und ja, ich trage tatsächlich ein Cher-Shirt unter meiner Kutte.

 

MUSKELROCK PÅ TYROLEN 2018 – 10 Years Anniversary Visuals

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While I was enjoying an extra day off at home right after this years Rock Hard Festival, my partner in crime Queen Of Spades Photography was out and about for some Swedish shenanigans to celebrate ten years of Muskelrock.

Swedish Killer Machine: Spiders

The first edition of this fine event was held in June 2009 and it was a success right from the start. Now it has become a tradition and every year about 1500 headbangers come to the small amusement park Tyrolen to meet old and new friends and listen to good heavy metal music.

Summoning the living: Night Viper

The creators and organizers of the three-day festival have always had a reputation for inviting only the best bands available and this anniversary edition was no exception with legendary acts like Ashbury, Cirith Ungol and Manilla Road garning the line up next to up and coming ones like Death Alley and Slægt. Local bands like Bullet and Horisont shared stages with the likes of Hällas, none of them would miss the chance to play an event like this in their native Sweden. And with Jex Thoth, Spiders, Lucifer, Honeymoon Disease, Night Viper and more, the ladies finally took over!

Star Riders on stage: Hällas

All pictures courtesy of Queen Of Spades Photography

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METAL HAMMER AWARDS 2018 – 10 Years Anniversary Visuals

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As the leading Hardrock- and Metal magazine in Germany, Metal Hammer started its own award ceremony ten years ago. After the initiation at Wacken Open Air 2009, the event found a permanent location in 2011 at Berlin Kesselhaus. For the ten years anniversary event, the evening featured all shades of black and a most illustrious guestlist.

Proper party people: Night Demon

On Friday, September 14th stars of the international Rock- and Metalscene gathered to witness new talents being awarded with the prestigious price after walking down the black carpet next to the likes of David Draiman (Disturbed), Attila Dorn (Powerwolf) and Phil Campbell (Motörhead). And of course an event like this would only be half the fun without some live shows. After opening acts Thunder And Lightning, as the local support and King Creature from Cornwall, co-headlining acts Night Demon (last years winner of the Up & Coming award) and Dirkschneider playing a final set with Accept classics, the night was on fire.

Metal Hammer staff cleans up nicely: Gernot Krebs & Thorsten Zahn

All recipients personally took home their awards, only Judas Priest, who received the Maximum Metal Award, were forced to send a laudatory speech via video. The legendary band is currently touring the US. Upon its 50th anniversary, the band thanked their fans. And even without winning any price, Berlin-based trio Kadavar joined the party as well – next year a new category could be created, honouring “Best Facial Hair”. The German trio would clearly be a runner-up for this one, coming in second after everyone’s favourite bearded bros, ZZ Top.

Every fan’s crazy ’bout a sharp dressed band: Kadavar

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LUCIFER – Sharing The Magic & Casting A Spell On Europe This Fall

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Kicking off a month from today, magically infused Rock revelation Lucifer will cast a Spell on Europe this fall. Lucifer is a multinational Heavy Rock band from Stockholm. Founded in 2014 in Berlin by The Oath front woman Johanna Sadonis who had then parted ways with former band mate Linnéa Olsson (Maggot Heart) just as their praiseworthy debut saw the light of day. Lucifer is defined by their very heavy 1970s Hard Rock sound, spiced with a good dose of Proto Heavy Metal and Doom Rock. Main influences are groups such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Blue Öyster Cult, Lucifer’s Friend, Steppenwolf, 70’s Heart and Fleetwood Mac. With a shift of constellation within the band in 2016 and Johanna Sadonis’ move from Berlin to Stockholm, Lucifer were ready for chapter two. With the critically acclaimed release of their long-awaited second album ‘Lucifer II’ via Century Media on July 6th 2018 and the videos for their new singles ‘California Son’ and ‘Dreamer’, Lucifer is facing a new grand chapter.

Lucifer corrupted the souls of many and achieved international recognition on their past tours. Starting this years live ritual on October 7th, the band will be homebound, playing the first show in the fair city of Stockholm. A most logical step as both sticksman Nicke Andersson (Entombed, The Hellacopters) and his now wife singer Johanna Sadonis call the Swedish capital their home. The newly weds tied the knot on Friday, July 13th 2018  – congrats to the happy couple!

Make sure to catch their magic and love live on stage at any of the upcoming dates in October – check flyer below.

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ROCK HARD FESTIVAL 2018 – Rocking A Personal Reminiscence

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Blues Pills’ Elin in 2014 – On Sunday Morning

One morning in June some twenty years ago, I was…15 and this is a totally different story. It was the end of May actually some 14 years ago when it all started, my personal Rock Hard history. After the very first and supposed one-off event, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Rock Hard Megazine, the second coming came and would be my initial visit to what became an institution not just among the international Metal madness, but in my life as well. It was the third festival I would ever visit, back then at the tender age of 21 – back in the days we didn’t have fucking facebook to keep up with what’s going on. Getting to know new people demanded to go to places and meet in person – it was a wild time and I loved it! The first two times as a more or less regular visitor and some time in between, attending Rock am Rind in 2006, being your typical broke student and a sick interlude, 2009 I finally had turned into one of those annoying media folks, attending RHF for ten consecutive years! 

Blues Pills in 2017 – Friday Headliner Bliss

It was that very year, 2009, that I immortalized myself as part of the Rock Hard history, performing on the main stage as a winner of the karaoke contest that took place the first few festival editions. And I hadn’t had it any other way than screaming my lungs out with the Judas Priest classic “Painkiller” – not to mention I would have needed some painkillers afterwards to sooth my sore throat from performing in front of a 6000 plus audience, let alone at an open air event! What a time to be alive. Just like the magazine, the festival itself has always been dedicated to a wide range of genres and as a support of the underground. We saw bands working their way up from tiny club shows to entering the charts on the pole position. Yes, this is the story of Blues Pills – a band I’ve always loved and that will have a special place in my heart forever and ever. I will spear your all the personal anecdotes for now.

Sodom in 2018 – Hairy Headliner For A Friday Night

Within the course of 14 years I had some of the best times ever, crowd surfing while Children Of Bodom played, banning my head hard for Amon Amarth and having my boobs signed by the Swedish sons of Ozzy Osbourne, Hellfueled, all in 2005. After a short absence in 2006, I also caught up with Bolt Thrower at their second time at RHF in 2012. And who could forget King Diamond‘s theatrical act in 2013, still gives me chills. But most memorable for me will be The Devil’s Blood, headlining in 2010, since no one wanted the stage after their blood-ridden ritual. Besides all these great bands, Rock Hard has always been a festival for families and friends and it really is and has been for me. Some folks I would just see once a year during the pentecoast weekend.

Partner in Crime & BFF – Queen Of Spades at RHF 2018

You’ve come a long way within the past 15 years, dear Rock Hard Festival and for the past ten years I couldn’t even imagine being anywhere else around this time of year, but now I feel that it’s time to move on. So much has changed and not all of it for the better. But I will always treasure my memories, specially of spending time with some of my best friends at the annual festivities. Most of all teaming up with my friend Susan at Queen Of Spades Photography in 2015 after the untimely demise of Jörg Litges, my former partner in crime of two years. And 2018 will always be a very special one to look back at as my former band mate Sonja joined in the fierce fun and my bestie Yorck made his debut as a real Rockstar and latest addition to Thrash legend Sodom. It might have been the last time for me for now, but it was one heck of a ride! Thanks.

Festival, Fun & Friendships – Rock Hard Festival 2018

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BLACK MIRRORS RELEASE – Look Into The Black Mirror

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Hailing from Brussels, Belgian four-piece BLACK MIRRORS offers a great blend of groove enthused Garage Rock, taking inspiration from the likes of Janis Joplin, Jack White, Anouk, Nirvana and Queens Of The Stone Age – this is pure, raw Rock-entertainment. Vocalist Marcella Di Troia impresses with her vigorous and well-trained voice, looking like a younger version or younger sister of Jex Thoth. Their eponymous first EP came out March 3rd 2017 via Napalm Records. Just a month from today, BLACK MIRROS will release their much anticipated full-length debut entitled “Look Into The Black Mirror”. 

An endless amount of influences which have been ruling within the Rock music universe for decades. With songs like the funktastic “Funky Queen” and their latest uptemto track “Günther Kimmich”, BLACK MIRRORS will stand prove that they are here to stay. Furthermore they will be joining Iceland’s powerhouse trio The Vintage Caravan and German Krautrockers Wucan this fall for the 2018 Gateways Tour. After my first encounter with them was at a sold out  sweaty show at Pitcher Duesseldorf, when they opened up for Horisont und ’77 in March ’17. So it does not come as a surprise it only took me a split second to decide which band to book as a headliner for the Psychorizon anniverary last year!

Be sure to check out this awesome package at any of the dates below!

Live picture courtesy of Queen Of Spades Photograpy!

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ROCK HARD FESTIVAL 2018 – Full Circle Celebration

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2018 marks a special year for me and thus for Psychorizon as I am celebrating ten consecutive years as one of those cheap folks that hang around the VIP area, hardly ever watch all the bands and get a hotel room to stay at – or in my case sleep at home instead of enjoying the annual campout offered by any festival. And yes, it’s the enemy, the Rock’n’Roll writer, some might even call them members of the press. Back in 2009 I took part in the karaoke and ended up performing Judas Priest’s Painkiller in front of over 6000 people. 2010 I met former Sodom guitarist Andy Brings when none other than the Metal Queen Doro had her birthday party at Helvete Metal Club. 2011 we celebrated with Andy at RHF and of course it was a total blast. But nothing could compare to last years’ bday-bash, which saw me and my partner in crime Queen Of Spades Photography on the first ever DCS-Cruise. Currently Andy is working on his first ever rockumentary “Full Circle – Last Exit Rock’n’Roll“- and just in time for my personal party, it just so happened that my best friend and occasional writer for Psychorizon – Yorck Segatz – is on of the new guys in Sodom, being in the same spot our former neighbour Mr. Brings was way back in the days with the first ever Thrash Metal record I would listen to “Get What You Deserve” from 1994. I guess we all get what we deserve sooner or later and everything really ends up as a full circle. Hence I couldn’t be any more exited to see the first Sodom show with the new line up at Rock Hard Festival! Need I say more?

Sodom 2018 – picture courtesy of Monsterpics Fotografien

Yes, of course I need to say more. But enough of the personal flabbergasting. Although it was the nicest coincidence that the Running Order for this years’ event was published yesterday which just so happens to be Yorck’s birthday!

Without further ado here it is now.

See you in there, rain or shine! Celebrating the full circle!

Friday, May 18th

15:00 – 15:40 Dawn Of Disease
16:00 – 16:40 Attic
17:05 – 17:50 Dool
18:15 – 19:15 Diamond Head
19:45 – 21:00 Tiamat
21:30 – 23:00 Sodom

Saturday, May 19th

12:30 – 13:10 Traitor
13:30 – 14:10 Nocturnal Rites
14:30 – 15:15 The New Roses
15:40 – 16:35 Leatherwolf
17:00 – 17:55 Cirith Ungol
18:20 – 19:15 Marduk
19:45 – 21:00 Axel Rudi Pell
21:30 – 23:00 Overkill

Sunday, May 20th

12:00 – 12:40 Thundermother
13:00 – 13:45 Memoriam
14:10 – 14:55 Night Demon
15:20 – 16:20 Uli Jon Roth
16:45 – 17:45 Coroner
18:10 – 19:15 Backyard Babies
19:45 – 21:00 Armored Saint
21:30 – 23:00 Saxon

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MAGGOT HEART – Showing Their Teeth & Banging Their Hair

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Strong, fearless, uncompromising – the next big thing.

For those who missed the show last night, here are some impressions!

Video courtesy of Queen Of Spades Photography

PSYCHORIZON – Rollercoaster Of Rock

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Just a about a month ago my review on the past year was so much fun and I really look back on 2017 with a good feeling. And now that we’re well into February, 2018 has already been quite a ride already. First off, my best friend finally made his way into the Metal-Olymp by joining veteran Thrash band SODOM. Looks like he’s gonna be a real Rockstar after all. Besides, his own band BEYONDITION is much of a class act within the local underground itself. Offering a fine blend of Old School Death Metal in the vein of BOLT THROWER with a twist of Swedish Death to it. Guess I should try and do an interview with the guys to introduce them to the rest of the world. They are currently working on a debut album, with a 2017 demo sold out by now. Anyone who missed out on buying the tape: The demo is available as a full download via bandcamp. Totally looking forward to seeing them again soon!

BEYONDITION – Red Light Special

Speaking of which, it only took me a good month to spend more money on concerts than I have in the past few years. And the amount that other people are willing to pay for the entire Wacken weekend, I will be celebrating two days of pure Rock’n’Roll awesomeness. After my failed attempt to see one of my all-time favorite bands at Rock Am Ring in 2006, this year will totally make up for it, as I will finally see GUNS N’ ROSES with BOTH Axl and Slash sharing stages again! And to top it all, just one day later, QUEEN and ADAM LAMBERT are playing have a tour stop in Cologne. Only took me about eight years to catch up with Adam again. But I’m 100 percent sure that it will be totally worth the wait. Additionally, 2018 also marks my personal anniversary of ten consecutive years as an official press member at the annual Rock Hard Festival. Kicking off my run of live show shenanigans, will be the ever so amazing Linnéa Olsson with her very own MAGGOT HEART – featuring her former GRAVE PLEASURES bandmate Uno Bruniusson (PROCESSION, DEATH ALLEY, ex-IN SOLITUDE) on drums. With quite some more thins on my list of possible activities for the year ahead, including OZZY OSBOURNE, 2018 will really rock!

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