From Wales comes Paraskenia. A metal band that released with "When Darkness Falls" their debut single. An interview with singer Lee David Bowen who likes to traverse the worlds of opera, musical and metal.
Now you sing with Paraskenia next to opera/classical repertoire (and musical) also metal. What was there first: your interest in opera/classical music or your interest in pop/hardrock/metal?
As a teenager I was a massive metal fan and loved anything to do with Iron Maiden. My favourite albums being Powerslave, Iron Maiden [their self titled debut] and Killers. Halloween's Keeper of the Severn Keys Part one & two were also favourites of mine for the drama and storytelling. I was lucky enough to see both these bands live during the 80's and 90's.
Growing up in Wales, "The Land of Song", I was also introduced to classical music at a young age and the first opera I saw was WNO's production of Tosca with its powerful opening had me hooked.
What are the technical differences for you between singing opera and metal?
The style of Paraskenia's music allows me to sing in the same way for both metal and opera. I believe that good technique and building stamina are integral in both styles. Having worked as a principal in the West End in The Phantom of the Opera. where we performed 8 shows a week and with many major Opera companies in the UK, I believe I have a good stamina so I'm not pushing my voice.
Do you need to take special care when singing metal (with amplified instruments). Do you (have to) take special measures to protect your voice?
It's all about good technique and not pushing the voice. Also the other members of Paraskenia are knowledgeable musicians and understand the nature of both classical and metal singing. Gareth Long on keyboards is an operatic bass (touring with Scottish opera at the moment).
Before any performance whether classical or metal I try to get plenty of rest and avoid alcohol. I also find meditation and yoga really beneficial.
4. There is perhaps a tendency to held pop/rock music, from an artistic point of view, in less higher esteem than opera/classical music. How does that work for you? How do you value both? And do you encounter any prejudices against pop/rockmusic in your own classical music environment?
I haven't really come across much prejudice in the classical music world and generally find that most musicians appreciate all good quality music even if its not to their particular taste.
5. What are your favorite singers? (Any genre possible.)
Bruce Dickenson (Iron Maiden), Siegfried Jerusalem, Simon O'Neil, Sir Bryn Terfel and Stuart Burrows.
Lee Bowen – Vocals
Gareth Long – Keyboards
Andy Slade – Lead Guitar
Richard Emanuel – Rhythm Guitar
Ben Thomas – Bass Guitar
Ceiran Jenkins – Drums
With the release of ALIF, Algerian band LELAHELL delivered a knuckle sandwich of a death metal album that takes the listener by desert storm. Wagner & Heavy Metal spoke with frontman and founder of the band, Redouane Aouameur.
. What is the story (if there is one) behind the name Lelahell?
Lelahel (with one 'l' letter in the end) is an angel of the zodiac exercising dominion over love, art, science and fortune. We appeal to this being of light for good luck and good fortune. We added an 'l' because there is already an Italian rock band named Lelahel, and Lelahel is also my nickname so to make a difference between them I added a second 'l' in the end of Lelahel.
2. On both your albums you are telling the story of Abderrahmane. What lies at the root of this character? (e.g. religion, mythology, folk stories, real life events etc.)
Each Lelahell release is conceptually linked to the character of Abderrahmane, yet focusing on another evolutionary step—another chapter in his own book. In the lyrics of our first EP "Al Intihar" Abderrahmane is tired of his own life full of constraints, so he commits suicide. Our first album "Al Insane... the (Re)Birth of Aberrahmane" deals with his rebirth. Our new album "Alif" is now focusing on Abderrahmane's first steps in his new life, just like a child learning to speak, walk, learning about the world around him. Yet this is full of foes and fears, that's why Abderrahmane needs to save himself from those dangers.
The root of that character is a pure fiction!
3. Is there a special reason why you choose to write your lyrics from the perspective of Abderrahmane? (What inspires the band the most when it comes to writing lyrics?)
Abderrahmane is the name of my father (R.I.P) and my son. When it comes to writing lyrics we get our inspiration from our past experience, our daily life and everything around us (nature, society …)
4. What are your main motivations to play this kind of music (death metal)?
The main motivation is we like that sound, we like the sound of the guitars, we like the fast rhythms and the guttural vocals!
5. What musician / bands made you wanted to play music yourself? What bands are of the biggest influence on your music?
The biggest influence is the old school death metal scene with bands such as: Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, Deicide, Death and more …
6. Is there a metal scene in Algeria? And if so, what is it alike? (Does is know subgenres? If so, which of the subgenres are most popular?)
The metal scene in Algeria isn’t as new as people imagine, it exists since almost 3 decades. I’m one of the formers of that scene, and one of the last active survivors!
When we started in the early 90’s it was really difficult because we were the firsts, there was no models to follow, no experienced musicians to ask, no references, but we were very ambitious and motivated . Some years after in the mid 90’s it was the golden era of the Algerian Metal, a lot of bands were formed, a lot of people in the concerts, full support from government, … But 10 years later a lot of commercial musical styles appeared in Algeria, and the authorities were not supporting that music anymore because it was something ‘non’ conventional and ‘occidental’ so it was really difficult to find venues for that music and a lot of musicians have stopped playing because they approached the 30’s and preferred to focus on their life (job, marriage,…).
In 2018, things have changed. There are some new promising bands that were formed and have made some interesting releases, there are also more concerts but not enough, we are trying to change things with government to get more access to the venues, and why not create a big international festival!
The most popular subgenre in Heavy Metal are Death Metal and Thrash Metal.
7. What is the writing dynamic among members of the band (does only one person write the songs or is song writing more a band effort)? Does each band member bring their own specific influences or are all the band members into the exact same music?
I’m the only one who writes the music and lyrics. The band started first as a one man band, it is the right method since the begining of Lelahell, and maybe it will change for the future.
8. Lelahell's music has influences of Algerian folk music. Does the band (its members) have more influences outside metal?
We all listen to different music than metal, but we don’t use it in the music of Lelahell, we just add some folk scales and rhythms!
9. How do you see your own musical development? Are there musical areas that you still want to explore?
For the future we will focus more on the music itself, I mean the arrangements and the interaction between the instruments. We will add new sounds to the music of Lelahell. Stay in touch and you will see!
10. Do you believe that music (and heavy metal in particular) can be more than just entertainment? Can it be a force that can change things for the good on a larger scale? (Music as a mean that can raise awareness about, for instance, political and environmental issues.)
There are many people that consider it as more than an entertainment; it is a way of life in certain regions like Finland, Norway or Sweden.
Bonus question: do you have any specific goals in mind for the band (besides world domination of course)?
Our main goal is to create something in the music that people will remember it for a long time, for example a new sound or maybe a different way to play the music, or a new concept, or I don’t know something different.
BANDS & Musicians