Thursday, October 20, 2011

A -Anonymous Confederate Ensemble- - "Black Butterfly"

I randomly found this video while browsing on Youtube today, and thought I'd share it with you guys, and also apologize for my lack of posts recently ^_^*

This song is by the band A -Anonymous Confederate Ensemble- (Also known as "A(ACE)," or "A(エース)") from Japan, a group that is part of the visual kei scene. 
They combine so many genres in their music it's hard to narrow them down to one genre - I've heard them combine jazz fusion, gothic symphonic, hard rock, and classic metal influences all in one song before - but as far as a description of this song goes, it's heavy, features rock vocals, both guitar and violin solos, and their violin player, Rookie, is playing an electric violin and is INCREDIBLY talented!
This song "Black Butterfly" is their newest single.
Hope you enjoy!


Official site:

~~~~Edit: So I guess "Black Butterfly" is a semi-cover of Metallica's "Enter Sandman," and their other song, "A Cruel Angel's Thesis," is a cover of the Evangelion Theme song. They're not a cover band, but let's face it, covers are awesome and a good way to get publicity. Yeah!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

News - Embers Viola Player Passes Away

Nine Katechis, former violist for ambient black metal band Embers, passed away in July due to medical complications associated with a relapse into a heroin addiction.
The band is releasing a remixed and remastered version of the song "Awakening," that she had recorded with them, as a bonus track on their newest album.

Our condolences go out to her family, friends, and the band.


Monday, July 25, 2011


Who doesn't love a good Tolkien band? Tengwar, named after the Elvish alphabet, is an excellent folk metal band from Argentina that combines lyrics about Lord of the Rings with intricate celtic fiddle playing, obscure medieval instruments, and metal. When I listened to the song "A Long Expected Fading" and heard the grunting vocals belt out "My precious..." I knew I was hooked. Their lyrics are mostly in English, but some songs are sung in what I believe is one of the Elvish languages. The music features a male singer, guitars, bass, drum, violin, Galician bagpipes, recorders, mandolin, bodhran, Iberian lute, hurdy-gurdy, flute, and crumhorn. Crumhorn! (If you've never heard of a crumhorn before, watch this video). Tengwar is an excellent band, with sophisticated song writing and great musicianship, but what stood out to me the most was the violin playing - they have possibly the best celtic fiddling I've ever heard featured in folk metal!
As I said, the violin playing in this band is spectacular. The violinist goes by the name of Feredur, and plays an acoustic violin both in studio and live. What I like about his playing is his attention to details and subtleties. He incorporates celtic fiddle techniques such as cuts and slides into his playing, that give it a distinctive folk music sound and prove that he is a knowledgable celtic fiddle player. The violin is mixed very much up front, making it easy to hear these subtleties. The violin also has a very raw and antiquated sound, appropriate, I think, for framing tales of Middle Earth. I am very impressed by Feredur's playing, he definitely stands out in the realm of folk metal violinists.
Tengwar's first 2 albums are available for free download on their official site, so go give them a listen!

Official Site:

Recommended Songs: "In the Land of the Golden Trees," "Snow and Defeat," "Namarie," "A Long Expected Fading," "The Pilgrim's Gone"

"Snow and Defeat":


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Moi Dix Mois

Moi Dix Mois is a solo project of Mana, the iconic Japanese guitarist and fashion designer. He became legendary for the theatric nature of his former band, Malice Mizer, and his feminine gothic aesthetic. The music of Moi Dix Mois strives to defy categorization, but can loosely be described as symphonic gothic black metal. The signature Moi Dix Mois sound is the harpsichord and church organ keyboard patches, and operatic baritone voices blended with harsh grunting.

They feature violins on the album Nocturnal Opera, and the violins are played by session musicians Yuichiro Goto on "Monophobia" and "Vestige," and Yuki Ishimaru on "Shadows Temple." I love the way these violins sound - they have a sweet and very expressive feel, with crescendos, lots of vibrato, and glissandos.

Recommended Songs: "Shadows Temple," "Metaphysical" (no violin), "Monophobia," "Vestige"

Official Site:

"Shadows Temple" :

Resources: [1]
Picture scanned by:

Saturday, May 28, 2011


Rhapsody of Fire (formerly Rhapsody) is a world-renown symphonic power metal band from Trieste, Italy. Led by guitarist and compositional mastermind Lucca Turilli, these mighty warriors bring you tales of dragons, heroes, and magic steel through powerful and inspiring epic compositions based around an original story contained in their lyrics and album booklets, complete with world maps and all. Their music is intricate, uplifting and mighty, fusing neo-classical guitar runs with operatic singing, metal guitar riffs, recorders, tambourines, and harpsichord. Their lyrics are incredibly cheesy, but I wouldn't want it any other way. Rhapsody is without a doubt one of the finest power metal bands in the scene today.

Although Rhapsody has never had a full-time violin player, they have used session violinists numerous times on their albums. Recently, their use of violins has been strictly orchestral, but in their earlier albums Symphony of Enchanted Lands and Dawn of Victory (both released when they were just "Rhapsody") they also featured solo and ensemble violin parts - on Symphony of Enchanted Lands it sounded more like an ensemble, while on Dawn of Victory there were more distinct solo violins. The violin parts are classical in nature, sometimes having solos, sometimes doubling with a neo-classical guitar part, and sometimes playing a melody in the background. The violins are acoustic, and Rhapsody has not had violinists play with them live that I know of.

Songs with Prominent Violin Parts: "The Dark Tower of Abyss," "Wisdom of the Kings," "Triumph for my Magic Steel," "Emerald Sword," "Riding the Winds of Eternity," "Eternal Glory," "Symphony of Enchanted Lands," "Holy Thunderforce," "The Last Winged Unicorn," "Sacred Power of Raging Winds," "The Bloody Rage of the Titans,"

"The Dark Tower of Abyss" (Symphony of Enchanted Lands):

"Triumph for My Magic Steel" (Dawn of Victory):

Monday, April 25, 2011

How to Play Violin in a Metal Band - Types of Violins

What kind of violin should you get if you want to play violin in a metal band, acoustic or electric?
Preferably, both.
Electric violins are great for achieving the volume needed while practicing with the band or playing live shows, but when it comes to recordings, nothing beats the sound of an acoustic violin.
If I had to choose one? I would say electric. But it also depends on your priorities, and most importantly, your budget.
Here's a little comparison that may be helpful, but also keep in mind I'm not an expert on the technicalities of electric violins or violins in general, this is based on experience and observation

Thursday, April 14, 2011


Lumsk is a progressive folk metal band from Trondheim Norway. Ethereal and otherworldly, their music weaves together the story-like qualities of progressive rock with lyrics based on tales from Nordic mythology. Gorgeous female vocals invoke images of ancient princesses, and male vocals recall mythic heroes. The tone of the pieces ranges from foreboding to jubilant and victorious, sometimes even changing within a song. Mature and intricate compositions make Lumsk memorable and set them apart from other folk metal bands. While their earlier albums can easily be considered metal, their last album is more ambient, and better described as progressive rock. Aside from male and female vocals, the band also features keyboards, which often use the classic Hammond organ sound, violin, trombone, and the standard 2 guitars, bass, and drums.

The violinist is Siv Lena Waterloo Laugtug, who has been with the band since it's beginning, but left in 2007. The violin is mixed very high in the recordings. Violin parts range from being very folky to haunting and ethereal, and feature trills, tremolo, flowing legato parts, and possibly even distortion. It sounds like Siv Lena plays both acoustic and electric violin on the recordings, and she plays a Yamaha SV-200 electric live.

Official Site:

Recommended songs: "Skip Under Lide," "Skomegyvri," "Nøkken," "Perpålsa," "Olafs Belti"

"Skip Under Lide" :

"Nøkken" :

*If you're interested in seeing a music video, here's "Trolltind," it's not a particularly heavy song, but the video is neat.

**The beautiful picture of Siv Lena is from Metal Blast Photo.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Resolution 15

Resolution 15 is post-thrash metal band from Astoria, New York that not only tackles heavy riffs on their two 7-string electric violins, but also addresses heavy social issues in their music. Their technical prowess is undeniable - their riffing rivals that of the finest metal guitarists, and watching them play is just awe-inspiring. Their music is brutal, with heavy riffs and assaulting vocals. Unlike many other violin-imitating-guitar acts, Resolution 15 has their own distinct musical and thematic direction that would allow them to hold their own even if they were a guitar-based metal band. But what also makes them unique in their niche is their use of the violin as a melodic component of their music as well as a rhythm instrument, most notably seen in the song "Malus Olympia."
The two violinists are Earl Maneein (bottom left) and Joel Lambdin (bottom right). Earl was the one who started the band - after first getting into metal, he started transcribing Metallica, Anthrax, and Iron Maiden (among other bands) for the violin, then later decided to write metal for the violin himself. Both Earl and Joel play custom 7-string electric violins from the Electric Violin Shop (with the lowest string being tuned to B flat). And I know you're interested in what gear they use (cause I sure was): Earl plays through a Peavy amp with a wah and delay pedal, and Joel plays through a Framus head and cab, with a noise gate for the sound from the violin pickups.
The violin parts consist of lots of spiccatto for the riffing, distorted violin solos, expressive legato parts during interludes, and occasional fast moving parts on top of riffing.

Recommended Songs: "Malus Olympia," "Sufferers Rise"

Official Site:
Watch this, it will blow your mind:

Friday, January 21, 2011


Korpiklaani is a Finnish folk metal band, unique in the fact that they were first a folk music band but later turned metal. Known for their happy danceable folk metal tunes and their lyrical themes of beer and partying, Korpiklaani's music makes you feel like you are out in the woods partying with bears. In sum, Korpiklaani's music is very lively and fun.
Korpiklaani is impressive in their use of a variety of folk instruments, as they not only have guitars, bass, and drums, but also an accordion, violin, jouhikko (2-string bowed lyre), tin whistle, recorder, mandolin, bagpipes, and mouth harp. The singer is unique in his use of traditional yoik vocals. In addition to their authenticity, Korpiklaani also has an exceptionally clear and crisp recording quality of their folk instruments.
Their violinist is Jaakko "Hittavainen" Lemmetty (usually referred to as Hittavainen). He plays both acoustic and electric violins. At one point he played a Yamaha SV 120 or 130 (as seen in the "Happy Little Boozer" live video), but now it looks like he plays an NS Design violin (seen in the "Vodka" music video and live). The violin parts are of a fast folky fiddle style, which uses many double-stops and often doubles with the accordion. Sometimes there are even distorted violin solos, such as in "Wooden Pints."

Recommended Songs: "Hide Your Riches," "Wooden Pints," "Happy Little Boozer," "Fields in Flame," "Spring Dance" (Inst.), "Vodka," "You Looked Into My Eyes"

Official Site:

"Hide Your Riches":

"Wooden Pints" live, solo @ 2:24:

(Watch the music video for "Wooden Pints" if you're in the mood for hilarity)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Embers (viola)

Embers is an ambient black metal band from Oakland, California who uses their music to address the social issue of humanity's toll on the environment. Their atmospheric guitars and down-tempo drums provide for a gloomy yet relaxing kind of background music - until the blood-chilling vocals come in. The screams and growls of their male and female vocalists immediately convey the violence inherent in their message, while the organic sound of the acoustic viola and the melodic keyboards add a touch of beauty to their music. Their songs are constantly developing and changing, grabbing and swaying your emotions along with the rhythmic and tempo changes. Their music is powerful in its subtlety, and strangely addicting!
Their violist, Nine Katechis, has had over 15 years of experience playing viola, and has played in other Bay Area bands before. She plays a 5-string viola, with the highest string tuned to the E of the violin. The viola parts are very melodic and often eerie, using lots of reverb and playing softly in the background. Because of the ambient nature of the music, the viola has a lot of freedom in what it is able to play without interfering with the other instruments, allowing for interesting viola parts.

Unfortunately, Embers has lost both their violist and keyboardist, and is looking for people to take their place. If any of you are in the Bay Area and interested in joining Embers, go to their website and write them!

Recommended Songs: "The Reprise," "Suicide," "Corruption," "Awakening" (solo in middle)

(Listen to the songs HERE)

Official Site:

"The Reprise" and "Corruption":

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Stream of Passion

Stream of Passion was originally intended to be a one-time side project of Dutch composer Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One). But under the direction of Mexican-born singer and violinist Marcela Bovio, Stream of Passion has taken flight as an independent and ongoing band. This Holland-based band plays gothic metal with strong progressive influences, featuring heavy use of piano and piano keyboard sounds, as well as syncopated guitar riffs. Marcela's vocals are the main attraction of Stream of Passion, however - her sweet and haunting voice coupled with unconventional vocal melodies makes her singing unique and memorable.
Marcela also plays violin for the band. "My favorite is the violin," she says, "even though I’m not a very skilled violinist. I just love this instrument’s sound." The violin parts mostly play softly in the background, adding a subtle but beautiful effect, but sometimes it can play the lead melody, and sometimes it even doubles with guitar. On their first album Embrace the Storm, Marcela played a Yamaha SV-100, but now she has a 5-string Yamaha EV (pictured). There is an additional string quartet on their second album, The Flame Within: Ben Mathot and Judith van Driel (violin), Mark Mulder (viola), and David Faber (cello). As both the singer and violinist, Marcela cannot play all the violin parts live, but she does play an occasional intro or interlude on the violin in concert.

Recommended Songs: "This Endless Night," "Embrace the Storm," "Now or Never," "Out in the Real World," "Street Spirit" (Radiohead cover), "Passion"

Official Site:

"Out in the Real World" (Embrace the Storm), with Arjen Lucassen and Lori Linstruth on guitar:

"This Endless Night" (The Flame Within) live, with Marcela on violin for the intro:

Resources: [1] [2] [3]