STAROFASH – Ghouleh

Twelve years after STAROFASH‘s excellent debut, Iter.Viator, the brainchild of Heidi S. Tveitan proves to only reach new heights over the course of time.  Ghouleh, featuring a song for every month of the year plus one bonus track, is an imaginative, ethereal album.

Unlike Lakhesis, Ghouleh‘s foundation is not entirely dependent on a traditional band configuration (drums, guitar, bass).  Instead, a portion is based on electronic/programming in addition to the trademark STAROFASH classical instruments of pianos and synth.  New dimensions of the band’s sound are sometimes obvious yet often subtle.

The variety of the material is wide yet cohesive.  A song like “Shimmer” is on the grandiose side of things compared to the minimalist electronics of “Draum.”  The results are always beautiful, delicate, organic soundscapes.

What really matters most with Ghouleh is that the music is compelling and straight from the heart.  STAROFASH directly communicates with the listener on a deep level.  With music this good, it’s so easy to just drift off to another place.  One of the best albums of the year.  (Mnemosyne Productions)

STAROFASH’s New Meisterwerk Ghouleh is Available Now

Notodden, Norway’s STAROFASH, featuring Heidi S. Tveitan (ex-PECCATUM), has just released their fourth album entitled  Ghouleh.  The album is available for free streaming and purchase on Bandcamp (http://starofash-official.bandcamp.com/) in addition to iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, and Spotify.  In other words, Ghouleh is a digital only release via Mnemosyne Productions.

Here is what she had to say about the album:

“I am very happy to share the following announcement with you 🙂
Mnemosyne Productions are proud to present the fourth album from Starofash, titled ‘Ghouleh‘. This completes Heidi S. Tveitan‘s 2013 project, where she wrote, recorded and released one song for each month of the year. The album contains all twelve songs, and finishes off with a bonus track. Artwork and design by Ideophony. Photos by Heidi S. Tveitan.”

After listening to the first few tracks, it looks like STAROFASH have another winner on their hands.  Awesome.

STAROFASH: Preview Two Brand New Cuts

Norwegian avant garde band STAROFASH have been working on the follow up to 2011’s excellent, Lakhesis.  Here is what mastermind Heidi S. Tveitan had to say about the new record:

“The swift and short February is over today, and I´m almost ready to share some new music with you. When writing music, my main motivation is to create something I like, that is honest and heart felt. I often start with a chord progression, and keep writing and rewriting it, until it sounds right to me. Sometimes I add some parameters to work within, and for these two first songs of my 2013 project I wanted to:

“1. Have a winter kind of feel to them

“2. You should be able to dance to them.

“3. Approval from my number 1 fan. He´s five, and is probably the only person in the world who ranks me higher than Kiss.

“So did I succeed? I think I have number one under control, as I have sampled and used the winter, making it into beats, drums and textures. Number two can maybe be a yes if I am not very particular about it, however it´s definitely not dance club hits. Point three was a Hurrah, so that worked well 🙂

“Wishing everyone a lovely day and hope to be with you again soon x

“(If you don´t know what I am talking about and want to know more, please feel free to read my first blog post).”

Check out two new songs here: http://www.starofash.com/tagged/sounds

New LEPROUS Album in the Works

After spending a very eventful and busy year promoting their latest album release, Bilateral, acclaimed Norwegian progsters LEPROUS have now started their recording sessions for their upcoming, currently untitled studio album, set to be released before summer 2013 worldwide via InsideOut Music.

LEPROUS singer/synth-player Einar Solberg checked in with a status report:

“As many of you already know, we’ve started recording our new album. The drums are finished, and we’re now focusing on the guitars. Also this time we’re using Vegard ‘Ihsahn’ Tveitan and Heidi ‘StarOfAsh’ S. Tveitan as our producers / technicians. The drums were recorded in the really cool and old school Juke Joint Studio (http://www.jukejointstudio.com/ ), and we’re really satisfied with the result.

“As far as the new music, we can only remind you that LEPROUS will never be the kind of band to re-create the mood from previous works, and it’s very important for us that each album has its own strong character. We have great belief in this album and we promise something fresh, challenging and soulful! This album will also be mixed and mastered by Mr. Jens Bogren @ Fascination Street Studios.”

Check out a special studio video from the drum recording sessions here:

IHSAHN: Eremita Release Date Announced

Candlelight Records has announced that Ihsahn’s new album, Eremita, will be released in North America on June 19, 2012.

Alongside Ihsahn, the album features performances from drummer Tobias Ornes Andersen (LEPROUS), saxophonist Jorgen Munkeby (SHINING (Norway)), guitarist Jeff Loomis (ex-NEVERMORE), and vocalists Devin Townsend, Einar Solberg (LEPROUS), and Heidi S. Tveitan (STAROFASH). The album’s packaging has been created by award-winning Spanish designer Ritxi Ostariz viewable here.

Reflecting on the recording process Ihsahn notes, “This is right where I want to be musically, with lots of room for dynamics and expressive variety. Tobias and Jorgen have really added to the organic vibe I was going for and have contributed to the overall feel with their fantastic musicianship. And to have Devin, Jeff, Einar and Heidi adding their special moments, I am very privileged to be able to work with such a talented group of people. I really feel this is some of my most inspired work yet.”

A special two-minute video preview for Eremita, featuring audio segments from the record and exclusive footage filmed during the album’s creation can be viewed below:

Eremita will be available on standard CD and a limited edition deluxe digibook (featuring an exclusive bonus track).

APESHIT’s Top Metal Albums of 2011

2011 was a very productive and enjoyable year for extreme music, perhaps the best in years. Thus, it was not an easy task choosing what we enjoyed best since they were just so many. 2011 also gave us unforgettably bad albums by LOU REED and METALLICA, flops by THE HAUNTED as well as controversial ones by MORBID ANGEL.

We look forward to another strong year in 2012 in which we will celebrate our 10 years online. Cheers for all of your support in 2011! Radikult!!
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LEPROUS – Bilateral

There are two things that come to mind after listening to Bilateral: (1) Wow, this is very impressive; and (2) why haven’t I heard of this band earlier? Album number three from this Norwegian progressive band is just so damn impressive that it easily nullifies the existence of lesser bands (and there are plenty of those).

LEPROUS can do so much and they exercise that ability by blending in progressive rock/metal (i.e. DREAM THEATER, KING CRIMSON), Norwegian black metal, heavy rock (i.e. FAITH NO MORE), MESHUGGAH, and DEVIN TOWNSEND among others. While they do show their incredible musicianship, it’s never done as a wank fest like so many contemporary progressive bands indulge in. It’s always done within the context of the songs. A standout characteristic of Bilateral is that with each song, you don’t know what to expect. They never tread the same ground or follow a predictable song formula but at the same time, this isn’t a cut and paste or genre hopping record. A song like “Mb. Indiferrentia” is very quiet and gentle whereas the preceding song, “Thorns,” has a slow, heavy, and dark part with none other than friend, Ihsahn (EMPEROR), on guest vocals. Contrast that with “Waste of Air” that starts off with blast beats and becomes an exercise in building and releasing tension.

While I hate to single one member out among this talented band, Einar Solberg (vocals/synth) is absolutely fantastic. He’s got a comparable vocal range and presence to that of the great Devin Townsend and Mike Patton. So often with these kinds of bands, the vocalist can really make or break it for many listeners and Einar definitely makes it. C’mon, EMPEROR and IHSAHN have utilized him for live performances. What does that say?

Bilateral is an intriguing, adventurous, compelling, and stimulating experience. If you’re looking for such music, then look no further. (Inside Out Music)

Leprous – Restless by officialinsideoutmusic

STAROFASH – Lakhesis

For those familiar with STAROFASH‘s back catalogue, it’s a fact that the band’s releases are all precious gems of art. The beautiful new record, Lakhesis, is no different. Never looking to repeat themselves, the new record is distinct and unique compared to its predecessors.

Lakhesis is a predominantly guitar/piano/drum driven record with some subtle programmed samples that add color and atmosphere to the songs. Band leader Ihriel chose to write an more uptempo album that still retains those fragile quiet moments yet does not go into those ethereal, atmospheric moments on previous records.

Touch guitarist Markus Reuter returns with his unique progressive fusion style. LEPROUSTobias Ø. Andersen and Einar Solberg appear on drums and vocals, respectively. EMPEROR fans may recognize Einar Solberg from his live session work with EMPEROR for their farewell shows. He does an amazing job with his soothing yet strong vocals on songs such as “Panther in the Glove,” “Nona” and “The Fooling of the Fates.” It’s fair to say that he channels his inner Ihsahn for his performance.

Songs like “Sunlight Scattered” and “The Cereyneian Hin” are stripped down and straight forward by STAROFASH standards when it comes to the verse song sections that feature Ihriel‘s vocals, quiet guitars, and drums. Opener “Panther in the Glove” is the most decadent and heavy song on Lakhesis. Closer “The Fooling of the Fates” sucks the air out of the room due to its heavy tone and profoundness.

While Lakhesis may be the band’s most stripped down and straight forward album to date, it does not take away from the express of the band in any degree. If anything, it clearly demonstrates the songwriting mastery that we have grown accustomed to enjoying from STAROFASH. (Mnemosyne Productions/The End Records)

IHSAHN: Progressive Thrills and Chills for a Post-Black Metal Age

The following interview with Ihsahn was conducted and gracefully provided by MetalGeorge for Examiner.com, as the site’s Cape Cod Rock Music Examiner (original article).

Having first acquired a copy of After-the third solo effort from former EMPEROR frontman Ihsahn-in late 2009, it was clear from the get-go that this truly was going to be the first great album of 2010. Time has proven this initial analysis correct, as After survives further investigation in spades, spreading the wealth of its expansive songwriting and proving-beyond a shadow of doubt-that Ihsahn has certifiably arrived as a solo artist. Notoriously perfectionist in his regard for art and music, Ihsahn spoke to Cape Cod Rock and shed a little light into exactly what sort of thoughts drive this creative, driven mind to unleash sounds beyond the oft-limiting parameters of the black metal spectrum.
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STAROFASH Working on New Album, Lakhesis

Heidi Tveitan (Ihriel) is busy working on a new STAROFASH album, currently carrying the title Lakhesis.  The album is planned for a release early next year.  Tveitan posted a short update describing the new material:

“I am approximately half way there in the song-writing process, and quite happy with the direction it is taking. Musically this album will be more up-beat and rock oriented than before, and also more vocal driven. I spent more time on the compositional stage, exploring different compositional techniques and forms. All material is written on piano, pen and paper to focus fully on the actual song rather than production.”

STAROFASH‘s last release was a special release via her label, Mnemosyne Productions, for the soundtrack to the Irish film, Ulterior, which came out earlier this year.