Rock Meeting Nº 106: Especial Hellfest Open Air Festival 2018

Julho chegou e com ele o nosso especial Hellfest. A edição nº13 do festival francês contou com grandes ícones do Heavy Metal como Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Nighwish e Europe. Atualmente, o Hellfest é símbolo de sucesso a cada ano e a Rock Meeting mais uma vez marcando presença e trazendo um resumo de como foi essa 13º edição.

Capa: Hellfest 2018

Coluna – Lapada | Skin | Review

Entrevista – Torture Squad | METALWINGS | Worst

Live Concert – Odin’s Krieger Fest | Armored Saint | HAVOK + Nervosa | Alcest | New Model Army | Vitamin X | Slapshot

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1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
I formed the band in the autumn of 2010 in Sofia, with the idea to make original music in the style of symphonic metal. The main themes of our songs are fulfilled with magical, mystical and secret reflections of life and the world in which we live. Over time, my ideas about music have changed with every single new song, actually I’ve been looking for new resources to complement its impact. We all changed with the development of the band – some faster, others slower. I suppose the level of development and the pace with which the band and the music began to change have made it possible for some of the first members of the band to leave. After a few changes in the band, I really think the band is finished now and everyone knows its place, strengths and knows why is in this band. The band is a dynamic system – it is not static and thanks to it – goes forward. If it stops in one place – it will stand and it will become a swamp. The pursuit of change and new things moves our entire world since we exist so that the main driving force in the band is the desire to develop and improve your skills. With such progress, it is difficult to stay at the level you entered the band at the beginning and to consider that it sufficient. The truth is that when you have a band, you have to develop every day and look for ways to get better in every way as a musician.
2. What’s the origin of the band’s name?
Metalwings was perhaps my second or third offer, which I discussed with the band, and in fact we were all agreed that this name best reflects our band’s concept. I wanted the name to combine the most characteristic features of our music, and namely, the combination of metal (something solid and stable) woven into the wings of a bird makes the emotional and direct impact much greater.
3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Our band is based in Sofia, Bulgaria. The metal scene is changing very dynamically here. For several years here have been organized great and very good metal festivals, great international bands visit them and I think for the famous international bands, the Bulgarian scene is a new and very good place for concerts. Unfortunately, with regard to local bands, the situation is not so pink, because we have no developed industry to support and encourage local bands. Most of the underground bands play here only in local clubs that are not so much, and at best, with more luck or relationships, some of the bands are able to play at one of the big festivals here, but this is rather an exception. It’s not easy for the metal bands here, but I guess this situation is no different in other countries. The symphonic metal style is not so popular here – yes, if Nightwish, Epica or Within Temptation make a concert – they will enjoy a huge audience, but local bands can not boast the same. As for recommending one of the local metal bands – I can say in our music style that a very good impression is made by Ani Lo Project and Enthronement.
4. How would you describe your style?
Our style is defined as a symphonic metal, with opera female fronted vocals. Some of our fans and media define us also as a gothic, power metal. The fact that we use the sound of electric viola and Irish flute also makes our style richer with different instruments, which is very important for this style because it differs from other bands. So our style can boldly be defined as a symphonic metal, with elements of gothic and power metal music.
5. What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?
So far, we have released in 2016 an EP “Fallen Angel in the Hell” containing four tracks and a bonus track, as well an album this year called “For All Beyond” containing 10 songs and two bonus tracks. Since it is not good to evaluate our own works, I would say that we should trust the reviews we receive for our EP and our album, and they are in most cases really good. What impresses in these reviews about our album is that we stand out in this style of music with a different structure, musical language, various instruments, beautiful vocals and interesting guitar riffs. If you ask me as a songwriter, I can only say that our songs are made with love and each of the songs longs to be heard, to be experienced and to find a way to the heart of everyone who is open to hear the beauty of our music. We do not make commercial and easily digestible music – I would say that our music is more about people who weary for complex, conceptual, classical and romantic music.
6. Do you have any new music in the works?
Yes, of course. Even now I’m composing a new song that’s totally different as a concept because I’m betting on the classic and symphonic element in it. Almost as soon as we released our album “For All Beyond” this April, we began to work on our new songs because we wanted to enter the studio as soon as possible.
7. How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?
At this stage we play in Bulgaria and we work with our promoter and booking agent Markus Eck (MetalMessage) to make a European tour very soon.
8. What plans do you have for the future as a band?
Our plans are to continue working, as we have done so far. Playing, recordings, albums, music videos and hopefully very soon a tour outside the borders of Bulgaria.
9. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
You can hear our stuff on our YouTube channel and on our BandCamp page. You can buy our stuff on all platforms that offer digital music sales like iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and so on.
10. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
Maybe I would like to hear how much beauty and power can hide in the soul of a single song created with love and hope. I will be glad if this song touches his heart and he wants to hear more. I will be happy if he finds out that we are Bulgarians and do our best in Music for the people who are ready to hear it.

The band plays Symphonic metal and hás a lot to show. With personality, courage and humbleness, Metalwings trails the path through the scene. With their debut “For All Beyond” the band has earned really good reviews in the metal media.

GroundCast: To warm up, could you tell us a bit of the bands journey so far?

Stela Atanasova:Hi and thank you very much for this interview. Our bands journey so far has been eight years and it was really quite varied and dynamic. On the one hand, 8 years look great, but in fact time is going fast when you have fun. And for me, the band has always been an escape and salvation from reality. We have gone a long way since the beginning, which was quite difficult because the style of symphonic metal is not among the most popular in Bulgaria. It turned out that our song Crying of the Sun has become our ambassador to the world. From this point on, things started to happen to us. Especially because people understood about us, they liked our music and every day we get wonderful messages from all over the world. This reflects our work and efforts. Until this moment, besides the success of our video for Crying of the Sun, we managed to release one EP Fallen Angel in the Helland our debut albumFor All Beyond. We are pleased with what we have been able to do with our own efforts and above all to release a world-class album.

GroundCast: In April you released the full-length For All Beyond. How was the acceptance of the material in the media?

SA: I would say – very good. So far, our album has received many good reviews. In this connection, I would also like to thank to our promoter Markus Eck (MetalMessage), who gave us a lot of confidence. I think the album will still be enjoying media attention and I sincerely hope to be judged worthy of which I have no doubt.

GroundCast: The band exists since 2010, but only now you were able to release a full album, could you talk a bit about the production, composition process and why it took eight years to see the daylight?

SA: I never wanted to make an album at all costs. It’s important for me to release an album when you have something to say to people, not just to pop the market with the next album, just to boast how many albums we have released. For me quality is the most important thing – not  the quantity. It is also very important that when we release an album not to make one great song, while others are just for stuffing. I wanted to make an album in which all the songs to be great – to be hard to decide which one is your favorite. That’s why the release of the album was delayed. Besides, albums have to be released with people who are able to convey the music in the best way. And as you know, we do not suffer from a lack of new members. In my opinion, the album came at the most appropriate time for the band.

GroundCast: After 8 years of existence, how do you see the band now, what do you believe that evolved in Metalwings?

SA: The thing that evolvedin the band is our conviction that we have to fight and not give up. If, four or five years ago, I thought that if a member of the band went away, that would be a big problem, now I think this is just another opportunity for us to find a better musician and a person for the band. In time I realized that the most important thing is how much you are willing to give in the name of what you believe. As well as in what kind of person you become after you have suffered a defeat or loss. We can all talk about how great we are and what we are ready for in the name of something, but the real people are those who struggle to fall, and especially those who do not betray their faith when it becomes difficult. In our band, we changed the way we take things – we have suffered many blows, betrayal, and surely we will still get many more, but I know that after a heavy storm the sun always rises. And our sun is yet to rise above our band. 

GroundCast: We live in the internet era and nowadays is not common to buy CDs anymore. Lots of bands complain about the music sharing and how it damages the industry. What is your opinion about it?

SA: I think that music belongs to the people. After all – we do the music for them, not to keep it under the bed and to count the cents we have won. I think the music industry can not exist without sharing music. Very often our fans tell us that they have discovered our songs uploaded in different torrents for free to download. I think that if someone has bothered to upload our album there, then our music is looking for, and this is evident from the number of downloads. We may lose some money, but we will win new fans. And who really liked our music and wanted to support us, it could always order our album. Not everything is money in this world. Probably many people will not agree with me, but that’s their opinion. My opinion is that music belongs to the people. That the industry, the Internet, and the laws say you have to buy to have it means that people who want, but can not afford it, have not the right to listen to the music of the bands they love? Does that mean that music belongs only to those who can afford it? I do not accept such claims. I know there must be rules and that, thanks to the sale of albums, the bands exist, as well as the whole music industry behind them, but what’s so bad if someone downloads your album for free? Will you become poorer or less wealthy? Im pretty sure that the truth is somewhere else. I think there have always been and will be more wealthy people who can afford to support the bands by buying their albums, merchandise, tickets for concerts and so on. There will always be an industry that will win on the back of these bands. But there will always be some people who can not afford to buy your albums but thanks to their true love you exist. A band will not disappear if not all of the fans buy its albums – it will stop exist if forgott about its fans.

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Interview By: Metal Mom

1. The band formed back in 2010, what made you decide that was the right time to form a band?

When I formed the band, I did not think whether it was the right time. Making a decision to create a band is not that difficult. The hard part comes when you have to save your band and not give up. Many people came and left the band. Only the people who are truly devoted remain in it.

2. You have had some band member changes over the years, so tell us how each of your members came to be in Metalwings:

Stela Atanasova – Lead Vocals, Electric Viola, Keys: I formed the band in 2010 and I have been leading it for 8 years;

Grigor Kostadinov – Guitars: He joined us in the winter of 2014 after Boyan Boyadzhiev’s – the second guitarist of the band decided to go to another project;

Krastyo Jordanov – Guitars, Irish Flute: Krastyo joined the band in late 2015 after we announced that we were looking for a second guitarist. We decided at that moment that the band needs a heavier sound and I was very glad when he contacted us because he already had another project called Dracovallis and our sense of music was very similar;

Milen Mavrov – Bass: Milen is the newest member of our band. He joined the band at the beginning of this year after the first bass player Konstantin Uzunov decided to left. Now we are all very happy that Milen joined the band;

Angel Kitanov – Keyboards:
 Angel is one of the first members of the band. If you look at our official video “Crying of the Sun” you’ll see that only me and Angel are part of the lineup of that time;

Nikola Ivanov (Blackie) – drums:
 Blackie joined the band in the Summer of 2016. Without a good and dedicated drummer things can quickly go wrong. He brought very good energy and dynamics to the band.

3. The music genre for the band is Symphonic Metal, why did you choose this over others? 

This is the style of music that unites all my searches as a musician and satisfies all my musical senses. It combines both great power and as well unbelievable beauty and romance. I think this is one of the most magnificent styles in modern music that is yet to develop and attracts many new fans.

4. You released a new album titled “For All Beyond”, tell us what we can expect from this album compared to previous debut “Fallen Angel in the Hell”? 

What you can expect and will surely hear from our album “For All Beyond” is the beauty of each song, much heavier guitars, more dynamic drums, many beautiful melodic lines and orchestral parts and great duets between me and Max Morton, who performed the male vocal parts in some of the songs.

5. Who composes all the songs? 

I am the composer of all the songs, all the lyrics to them, as well as all the orchestral arrangements.

6. Where does the inspiration come from to write? 

Inspiration can be found everywhere around us. If you do not want or you are not able to see the beauty of a flying butterfly, you can not expect the inspiration to get you when you are ready. I have always admired the beauty of life that surrounds us – as long as we have a desire to see it. I find inspiration in the sadness also, because often the joy and sorrow go hand in hand. There is no eternal happiness, and eternal sorrow. So, it’s up to you to find an inspiration every day.

7. Do find a certain time of the day/night is better for writing? 

Yes, I like to work in the evening but not too late. The perfect time for me to compose is late afternoon and evening.

8. Do you personally have a favourite song on the album? If so, why that one. 

I have a special relationship with each of the song. Of course, all of them are my favorites, but among all of them stands out the titled song “For All Beyond”. I feel it like that because it combines both a sadness and a strength. The duet at the beginning of the song between me and Max literally is breathtaking. The orchestral parts in the song are performed by a live orchestra, which further enhances the influence and power of the song. After the gentle and romantic duet, the powerful force of the orchestra and the whole band enters – the energy of the song changes. From melancholy and gentle it becomes a hurricane. On the very end of the song, again everything is quiet and finds its perfect harmony. That’s why this song is so special to me.

9. You started to record your 2nd album in August 2017, was that an easy process, or were there difficulties?

The recordings lasted for nearly two months and the hard part was not in the records themselves but in the details. We wanted to record the tracks in the best possible way and it took a little more time, but the most important thing is that at the end we were really pleased with the material we sent to our mixing engineer. Post production was not easy too and it took about six months. I’m once again convinced that mixing a symphonic metal is a very difficult task. For us, it is very important to emphasize the power of the orchestra tracks combined with vocals, drums, two guitars, bass, piano and viola. This task is not for everyone, but here is the time to express my gratitude and respect to Max Morton, who did an incredible job and made our songs sound world class. We are really pleased with the sound of our album – it was important to produce a quality album with very good songs and great sound and we did it.

10. Where was the album recorded, mixed and produced?

The album was recorded by Alexander Nakov at studio “Na Vilata” and mixed and mastered by Max Morton at Morton Studio. All orchestral tracks as well as the piano tracks were recorded by myself in my personal studio. Sofia Session Orchestra was recorded at Sofia Session Studio.

11. Being together since 2010, is there anything you regret, or this is definitely the life for you?

The only thing I regret is that during these 8 years I was too patient and good, and for that reason I lost valuable time in which I could find more suitable people for the band. I couldn’t split up on time. When you know that a person or a musician is not right for you and your cause, you have to be able to split up and move on. But probably it must have happened that way and, as we say, every evil for good!

12. If you couldn’t be doing music, what do you think you would be doing instead?

Probably I’ll live near the ocean, watching the waves and dreaming about the day I can make music again.

13. Who inspires you musically?

I love to listen to the music of many composers and many bands. But what truly touches my heart is Music of Mozart, Vangelis, Queen and Thomas Bergersen.

14. When you were growing up, what age was it that you decided you wanted the band life?

I can not say the exact age, but from a very small age, while I was studying at the music school, I dreamed to be more than just playing an orchestra all day. I was a rebel in my sould, but a great perfectionist and I wanted to be the best in everything – playing, education. This perfection prevented me from doing what I really want and it took me a long time to balance these two opposing features and to use them both to follow my dream.

15. Tell us something about Metalwings, that we might not know…

At this stage, perhaps the most interesting thing to know about Metalwings is that I have already composed the music and wrote the lyrics for two more albums. So, get ready for us!

Is there anything you would like to add to this interview that we should know?

I would like to say: Thank you to all our fans who support us and like our Music. It really means a lot to us!  Respect!

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview with us, we greatly appreciate it.

Hallo, wie geht es Euch?                                                                                                    

Mir und dem Rest der Band geht es gut. Wir bereiten uns auf den großen Tag vor – den 19. April. Es ist immer sehr spannend, wenn man etwas Neues zeigt, in das man so viel Mühe, Zeit und einen Teil von sich selbst investiert hat. Wir freuen uns, der Welt unser neues Album zu zeigen, und wir freuen uns auf die Reaktionen unserer Fans. Hoffentlich sind sie genauso aufgeregt wie wir.

Ihr macht Classic Symphonic Metal, aber was ist das einzigartige und spezielle an Eurer Musik?

Unsere Musik ist besonders, weil es eine interessante Kombination aus sanften weiblichen Vocals und schweren Gitarrenriffs ist, schönen Orchestrierungen und dem unterschiedlichen Klang der Instrumente, die wir verwenden, sowie die elektrische Bratsche und irische Flöte.

Wir haben keine Angst zu experimentieren, verschiedene Stile in einem Song zu verwenden, und ein anderes Tempo. Wir lieben die innovativen Dinge und streben danach, dass jedes neue Lied etwas Neues bringt, das seine Wirkung verstärkt. Jede Band sollte meiner Meinung nach unterschiedliche Wege, Ausdrucksmittel und Werkzeuge entwickeln und anstreben.

Dies würde nur die Musik bereichern und die Grundidee unterstützen. Deshalb ist es schwer für uns zu sagen, dass wir nur eine klassische Symphonic Metal-Band sind. Wir haben keine Angst, verschiedene Genres und Stile zu mischen, und in einige unserer Songs typische bulgarische Folklore zu implizieren. Irgendwann würde ich gerne ein Lied mit einem authentischen bulgarischen Instrument wie einem Dudelsack oder einem Kaval (Flöte) machen.

Jede Band ist auf ihre Weise einzigartig, und sollte neue Wege entdecken und suchen, um sich durch Ihre Musik auszudrücken. So ist für mich jede Band wichtig und besonders, wenn sie sich entwickelt und zur Musik der Welt beiträgt. Wenn der Tag kommt, wo wir sagen – wir sind perfekt und es gibt keinen Weg weiter, dann ist es der Anfang vom Ende. Musik ist ein Weg, der sich durch unser Leben zieht, und um ihr zu folgen, müssen wir uns anpassen, entwickeln und verändern, so gut wir können.

Euer neues Album “For All Beyond” – welcher Song ist für Euch persönlich am großartigsten?

Der großartigste Song unseres neuen Albums ist für mich der selbstbetitelte Song “For All Beyond”, denn er bringt viel Reinheit, Musik und Schönheit. Es gibt viele versteckte Diamanten, die man bei jedem neuen Hören findet. Außerdem werden die Orchesterparts in dem Lied von einem Live-Orchester aufgeführt, was die Energie dieses Liedes noch größer und einflussreicher macht. Aber natürlich liebe ich jeden Song auf dem Album und wenn “For All Beyond” für mich die ganze Schönheit, den Ausdruck und die Botschaften kombiniert, die ein Song ausdrücken kann, sind die restlichen Songs auch versteckte Schätze. Es gibt viele schöne Hooklines, Dynamik und kraftvolle Riffs. Einer der Songs, von dem ich denke, dass er auch unsere Fans anspricht, ist wahrscheinlich “A Wish”, weil er viele verschiedene Elemente in sich vereint und gleichzeitig sehr lyrisch ist und die Menschen berührt.

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Approximately one year ago I found a bulgarian symphonic metal band, by name METALWINGS on YouTube – I became a fan immediately and I was so obsessed to find and buy their albums. I soon realized that they hadn’t yet released their debut material. But the times are changing – and “For All Beyond” is available worldwide since the middle of April.

“Most of all we feel satisfied. Time for us does not fly with the same speed that it can fly for our fans. But during these 8 years, it was more important to keep the band and to find the best people and musicians for it” – replied the singer, Stela Atanasova when we asked her about the last eight years (the bulgarian band was formed in 2010) and their current feelings. “After that creating the album was just a pleasure. I personally, and my colleagues feel very happy after the release of the album, because we could not wait to introduce it to the world and through it to reach more fans to this style of music. The reviews for the album are great and we are really happy.

At the moment, we have a short break, after which we’ll start work on new songs because we do not intend to wait 8 years for the next album.

The sooner we create the new songs so sooner we will start to record it. Overall, this is the goal we have set in the near future.”

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Depth of feeling and highest devotion are the primary mission statements in the uplifting sound of the romantic sextet, which pays a touching homage to the yearning for the beautiful. With the original debut album „For All Beyond“, the musicians are now looking forward to further expanding their name recognition.

As singer and main composer, classically trained Stela Atanasova knows to report, her band has become a tight-knit group over the years since its founding in 2010.

The more than 12 million (!) views of „Crying Of The Sun“ surprises so many Metalwings-newcomers. Many of them may puzzle, how a rather unknown and small band out of Bulgaria reached this great result … be so kind and bring light into the dark!

„Maybe some things can not be explained – they just happen. And your question immediately reminds me of ‚The Lord Of The Rings‘. [smiles] Sometimes the smallest, even inconspicuous things or people can roll over the world. The fact that the world nowadays moves under certain rules and laws does not mean that it is the best order or that it will continue to dominate forever. Why do we have to stereotype that only famous bands from the western world can attract people’s attention. Why do not we think that people are thirsty for new music, new faces, unknown and small bands from small countries like Bulgaria. [smiles] Another reason to get so big attention to our band is the fact that many people are more and more thirsty for beautiful and sentimental music – against the backdrop of the increasingly aggressive and brutal world we live in. I guess this is also one of the reasons why people need something beautiful that inspires them and save them from reality. We are all creators and we have the talent to give joy to people – this is our biggest prize. Several years ago I asked myself a question – why am I making music? To become popular and rich? To become a star? I needed just one minute to answer this question. Because I want my music to be heard by as many people as possible. It is not important whether this will make us popular – the important thing is that people want to listen to us, to watch us and to look forward to every our new song or album. So I know we are already rich because our music sounds in the homes of so many people all over the world and because we have our families, friends and fans. There is no secret behind the success of ‚Crying Of The Sun‘. There is only a magic. I have always said it – when you do something with your heart, with no hidden motives, it returns to you a hundredfold.“

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