There are songs which can change one’s general perceptions of a genre – that it’s loud, soft, sentimental, deep, superficial, or whatever. Many people identify rock and metal with deafening sound. The Bulgarian symphonic metal band Metalwings has a number of songs which can change that perception with their lyrical beauty and innovative approach to both technique and content.
Their genre is symphonic metal, perhaps an uncommon genre these days, especially to those who associate the term ‘metal’ with names like Black Sabbath and Metallica. As Stela puts it: “Perhaps in recent years there has been a withdrawal of fans from this style in music. Something that makes me sad because there is still a lot of potential in this style and I do not agree that it’s exhausted and that every new band that makes music in this style is doomed because they copy one of the big ones. This is not true. The band’s music is a reflection of the people who make it and, as we know on this earth there are identical people, with the same DNA, way of thinking or algorithm in making music, so for me each band is unique in itself.
“The fact that the music industry is currently trying to impose new, easily digestible styles for the larger audience – is the real problem of music as a whole, not just for symphonic metal. I never wanted to do cliché music – to follow the rules, to do the kind of music that would be listened to. I prefer to be an outsider, but to stay true to ourselves than to make the kind of music that is sold today. That’s because if this is the motive that leads us along the way, then what will we do tomorrow and which way will we take if we have already lost our right to choose after a few wrong turns in the name of money and fast glory?”
That is the voice of a dedicated artist. It came as a surprise that small Bulgaria, a former Soviet bloc country (111,000 sq. km., population 7.5 million) could support a vibrant sub-culture of locally created English medium pop. But there’s nothing surprising about this. Nor can English or pop in English over there can be called a sub-culture. It looks pretty much mainstream.
With Stela Atanasova as song writer, Metalwings are in the front ranks of the truly original contemporary bands. As for the music, one thing you notice about the good rock and metal musicians is that quite a few of them were classically trained, like Stela, before they chose a different path in music. This grounding is noticeable in Metalwings’ keyboard arrangements, with their Bach-like undulations, and in the use of viola and Irish flute, and of course in the vocals, a high flying sonic layer above the instruments.
Metalwings released their first full length album “For All Beyond” in April this year.
The music video released in November (like the band’s other videos) focuses on mood-emphasizing imagery, of light and dark, without bowing out to the easily marketable ‘sexy’ storytelling which rules the roost in pop and hiphop.
As Stela puts it: “Things happen here and now, not yesterday and tomorrow. Time’s job is to pass. Ours is to develop, grow up and improve ourselves in every area of life. There is time for everything if you wish to live through the dream.”
The band is busy right now preparing for a tour of Vienna and several Romanian cities in March 2019 with the Russian rock group Imperial Age. It looks as if Metalwings are ready to not just take off but soar.
Written by Gamini Akmeemana