It cannot be denied that metal music has transformed and shifted into many sounds since Black Sabbath recorded their first ever riff, as time has passed the genre has taken on many forms and styles, uniting and dividing fans in the process but above all keeping the industry on it's toes for the next wave of music innovations.
One avenue that does not seem to have been explored until now, is the thought of having a metal vocal group backed by musicians, enter Venus 5. Imagine the Spice Girls taking on a metal form, and delivering a sound that is darker and dirtier than their looks and outfits suggest, yes Venus 5 may straddle themselves between pop and symphonic metal, but the force they present is so captivating and original, you would find it hard to name another band as unique as Venus 5; not even Babymetal makes it close.
If Vanilla Ninja, Amaranthe and Within Temptation had a child together, then Venus 5 would be the offspring, spewing out modern symphonic anthems that would set any stadium alight.
GMA spoke with Karmen Klinc, one of the five vocalists fronting Venus 5. Check out their music video "Because Of You" down below.
Venus 5 has very humble beginnings, could you explain how the group came to be and where the name originated from?
"The group was actually put together by Frontiers Music Srl.; Serafino Perugino (who is also the owner of the label) got the idea of doing something new and different, something that hasn’t been done yet in the European area. So him and Mr. Mario De Riso decided to find five girls, from five different countries and make a metal band in the form of a pop group. I’m not actually sure, how we got the name, but I think it’s quite obvious, they named us after Venus – the Roman goddess of beauty and love. There’s 5 of us, each one is different, so here comes the Venus 5."
How would you describe your personalities - who is the funniest, feistiest, etc? What was it like meeting for the first time?
"Oh, we definitely have totally different personalities. Herma is our Italian power-girl, who cooks for us if necessary, and takes care of our videos. She’s a very capable girl. Tezzi is the kindest pure-hearted woman. Jelena is very honest and will never hesitate to speak her mind. Erina, who’s the youngest is also the funniest towards me. There’s always some funny story she has to tell, and she speaks in such an adorable way, you just have to laugh. And then there’s me, it’s hard for me to speak about myself, but I do know that I always try to stay positive and that I can act a little goofy from time to time 😊"
Arguably 'pop metal' has become increasingly popular over the past few years, how would you describe your sound if not pop metal?
"It’s quite hard to describe, since there’s many different mixed genres on the album. But I could say it’s a mixture of melodic / symphonic / heavy metal. Sometimes a little bit of hard rock as well."
You released your single / music video "Tom And Ms. Amy Lee" back in February, does it have any relation to the vocalist of Evanescence?
"Well, the Lyric was actually written by Per Aldeheim (Def Leppard, H.E.A.T, Stanfour, etc.) He was once watching 'The Voice' talent show, and there was a guy, who worked as a crane operator. He used to sing soul covers up in his crane, and he didn’t dare to show his talent to anyone. So his brother was actually the one who got him to the show without even telling him. And Ms Amy Lee isn’t the famous Amy from Evanescence, even though a lot of people think so. It’s a made up story about a girl, who was picking up cans from the street and making sculptures out of them. She was hiding those sculptures in the attic. If she dared to show her piece of art, she would become very rich and famous. So, the song’s about taking risks in life, because you never know what might happen if you don’t try. It might surprise you."
As you all deliver various vocal styles, was it a challenging process in recording the debut album - knowing which vocals belong where?
"No, not really. Some of the vocal lines were already predetermined by the song writers, Aldo Lonobile, Jake E, Stefan Helleblad and Per Aldeheim. They knew how our voices sounded like and they chose which part is going to be sung by whom. But it is true, that in studio things often change. So If we saw, that some part would be better for one girl, and another one for other, we changed the positions a bit. The most important is the final result, and I think we really made it great."
Behind the sonic vocals you have a backline of 6 musicians, did this pose more challenges for your debut album?
"I think the sound is amazing, and the more musicians that cooperate on such an album, the better the result you can get, because everyone leaves a piece of themselves in it. I think having so many talented musicians playing and singing is also the reason why our album is really coloured with so many different sounds. All together we got an amazing result with the sound of Venus 5, and we’re very happy with it."
Your debut album clearly has something for everyone, with varying different song styles, how did you choose the songs for the album?
"It does have something for everyone. Not only because of the melodies, but the lyrics as well. I always say, anyone who loves metal, rock or even pop, can identify with at least few songs on the album. The songs were chosen by the label Frontiers Music Srl. I can remember there was one song, that I liked very much at the beginning, but it didn’t end up on the album. Today I’m not sorry that it didn’t, because I like the album just the way it is."
Would it be fair to say that Venus 5 is bringing a new dimension to metal music in the form of being a metal vocal group?
"It definitely brings a new dimension to the metal music. It’s something fresh and special in the European area. And that is why some metalheads have a problem accepting it. Just because the form of the band reminds them of pop groups. Even though the music is high quality in my opinion. We’ll see where it takes us, opinions are always on both sides. But I’d like to say, we have to stay open minded. In music and art everything should be allowed. With no changes, there can be no progress and we could only stay at one place for decades. Imagine nothing would change since the 80’s… we don’t want that. We want to bring metal also to people who don’t listen to it. And that’s why we’re pushing the boundaries. Sure, It would probably be fair to say that it’s a vocal group, but we should not forget, we always have our band with us."
What are your plans for the 2nd half of 2022 and do you have any greetings / thanks, that you wish to send out to people?
"Maybe we will get some more shows, the next half of the year. It would be amazing. And of course I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart in the name of all Venuses, to
everyone who supports us and our music. I hope people enjoy it and of course I hope to see everyone at one of our shows very soon."
"Venus 5" is out now via Frontiers Music srl.
"Slovenia is such a tiny country you could visit several places in one day, from the seaside to the mountains."
Marax are a Symphonic Black Metal band from Slovenia whose lyrics revolve around Satanism... now to most metalheads the response will be 'not another Dimmu Borgir surely?' Well to answer this in the most cliche of responses, no they are not, they are their own sound and own style... probably what makes Slovenian Black Metal so unique, so much so Marax could not even explain why this is and thus just confirms that there clearly is something special about the said geographical variation of said genre. They have managed to deliver their debut album "The Witch" even in these dark times with the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc worldwide. Here they talk to GMA about the album, the Europe-wide reception, the Slovenian Metal scene and why (as said) it's hard to explain why Slovenian Black Metal is different to other geographical variations of Black Metal.
For those who have not heard of Marax, could you give us a brief history of the band? What does the band name mean?
"The band was founded in the winter of 2017 by guitarist Nord Slayer (Cordura, Cvinger, Cursed Be Thy Flesh), drummer Morgoth (Cordura, Cvinger, Kholn, Cursed Be Thy Flesh) and vocalist Anin Astaroth (Morana) to play extreme, symphonic black metal. They joined forces with violinist Žica for the first two EP's ("The Abyss Of Illusions" in 2018 and "Dance Within The Flames Of Burning Fire" in 2019). In late 2019, violinist Mors Violinis joined the band, and in April 2020 we released our first full-length album "The Witch". The name designates the daemon Marax (also known as Morax, Forfax or even Ma’at), who is, generally, the daemon of justice."
Symphonic Black Metal is such an overloaded genre, with that in mind how would you describe your sound without the use of genre tagging?
"We aim to compose and perform extreme metal music. The sound of the violin (or, in the future, of various bowed string instruments) is always present, as well as some symphonic elements. Otherwise, we are pretty open in style, there are usually some more death metal elements in our songs, and we create what we feel."
Regarding your debut album "The Witch", what was the reception like? Has anyone outside of Slovenia bought the album; any surprising places?
"In fact, even more people bought the album throughout the Europe (compared to Slovenia). For the digital format we cannot know exactly."
Talk us through the making of the album from the production to mixing and mastering, the whole process.
"For the latest album, "The Witch", Nord Slayer first composed all the songs, at least the foundations. He wrote and recorded the parts for the guitars, the bass and the keyboards. Next, Morgoth composed and recorded the drums, then Mors Violinis composed and recorded the violin parts. Lastly, Anin Astaroth wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals. For some songs, the backing vocals were recorded by Anin Astaroth and Nord Slayer, as well as some additional “instruments”. Everything was recorded, mixed and mastered in Studio Toplica by Nord Slayer and Morgoth."
Slovenia seems to have a rather strong Black Metal (and related metal) scene, what is it that makes Slovenian Black Metal strong?
"The answer to this question is much more complex than we could explain here. We think it could, on one hand, be do to with the nature here, or on the other hand, with the historical background."
On a broader note what challenges do Slovenian Metal bands tend to face these days? (ignoring COVID-19)
"Probably it is relatively poor concert attendance, but still, it’s not so bad. There are approximately two million people in Slovenia, a minority of which are metalheads. In fact, there are a relatively large number of bands compared to the audience sometimes. But we don’t want to complain; as soon as this crisis is over, we cannot wait to perform again."
For metalheads visiting Savinjska Dolina, what sights / attractions and bars / venues could you recommend?
"Firstly, the members of Marax are not from this region only (contrary to what the internet says). They are from the mentioned valleys (the towns of Velenje and Šoštanj) and from Kranj and Ljubljana. In the surroundings of every town mentioned you could just encounter nature, there are some forests, lakes, mountains etc. Slovenia is such a tiny country you could visit several places in one day, from the seaside to the mountains. In the valley of Savinjska Dolina, you could visit venues like MC Šoštanj or any bar actually. In Kranj, the most “metal” or alternative venue is Trainstation Squat Subart, and in Ljubljana there are several places like Orto bar, Metelkova or Kino Šiška where the concerts are held."
Do you have any thanks or greetings you wish to send to friends, family or fans?
"Greetings to everyone who reads this! Keep supporting extreme metal \m/"