After numerous requests from you guys for some sneak previews of the album, we decided to give in and release a snippet of one of the songs to come. This song,” Burning fire with fire”, is a duet with the incredible Jessica Mercy of Anaria, and because the vocals are not done yet, it actually gives you the chance to appreciate the incredible musicianship on the track. The African drummers and strings are just bloody amazing!! Enjoy!
We are very pleased to announce that after an 9 month working relationship, CC will from now on officially be managed by Stephen Wrench, former vice-president of a division of RCA, and currently President of Musik & Film, in the US. Mr Wrench was in charge of global radio promotion of CC since October last year, and we started working together after he invited us for a live tv performance in the US. Unfortunately I was tied to a contract in Uganda then, but we have been working together since. They are actively starting promo work on the new album, that will officially be launched in both South Africa, as well as in the US. Official dates will be announced closer to the time. There is even the possibility of a full Symphonic orchestra!
August is going to be another busy and exciting month for CC! We are going to studio with the live sessions of the new batch of songs, which we are very excited about, as the pre-productions sounds great! Meanwhile, the first 4 songs that we finished in May are back from New York, mastered by Ted Jensen (Within Temptation, Evanescence, Delain, Muse, Green Day etc), and they are truly sounding awesome!
We are again recording with a string ensemble of 15 musicians, like we did in February. We have 2 awesome collaborations coming on this album, but I can only talk about one of them at this point. Mercy Roulette (Jessica Jackson), front woman of US band Anaria, is already working her magic on our duet “The Morrigan & Eire (burning fire with fire)”, and I can’t wait to share it with you! We are also bringing in, apart from the normal drum kit, 4 live African drummers on the song. The pre-production already sounds awesome, so I can’t even imagine what the final product will sound like! Add the unbelievable voice of Madam Mercy, and you can’t help getting feverish! :-)
We are also shooting the first video of the new album in August, and we chose one of our personal favorites, Surrender”. We are furthermore upgrading the look of the website a bit, and are doing a new photo shoot for that, as well as for the new album cover. We will update you with nice pics from all of the above. Watch this space for news and updates!
Autor: Branimir Lokner
Out of Pretoria, South Africa comes a new attractive and possible successful female fronted act -Crimson Chrysalis. They have introduced to worldwide audience with the full-length album, entitled “Crimson Passion Cry” , where we can find 12 plus 2 bonus songs, done in symphonic rock/metal vain. A group has in its line-up a brilliant vocalist Rene van den Berg, and her melancholic voice is in the center of complete songs structures. Making a compares with Nightwish or Epica legacies is in the one hand realistic, but not quite complete. A songs of South African act posses also one additional pop pastiche, as same as classic rock includings.Productional work as same as arrangments threathenings touches one positive so call 80′s atmosphere, and this is another interesting part of band’s complete offering. “Crimson Passion Cry” deserve a constant listening, and this is also an enjoyable product, even if you are not a fan of mentioned symphonic metal/rock tendencies.
From Time Machine Music
|From Music Web Express 3000|
With song titles like “Fuck Off And Die” it’s hard to say how the band Crimson Chrysalis will be accepted in progressive rock circles. The track is actually a powerful, hook-laden prog-rocker of a song and one of the many highlights from the 2013 CD release of Crimson Passion Cry—a wide ranging and excellent album featuring the talents of Crimson Chrysalis leader and vocalist René van den Berg, who shares song writing credits with the band’s lyricist Esther Slabbert. Not only does Ms. van den Berg possess tremendous vocal skills in the spirit of Ann Wilson of the group Heart, but (after enjoying their “Fuck Off And Die” video on you tube), she’s also clearly a competent guitarist as well. In addition to Rene’s and Esther’s memorable songs, the Crimson Passion Cry album also benefits thanks to the stellar guitar and bass work of Cobus Schutte, drummer Franschois Lessing and a host of other backing vocalists—the sum total of which is brought further into focus, thanks to the ultra tight arrangements, keyboards and strings of Elben Schutte. Crimson Chrysalis come from South Africa and you can sense there’s also some unique and exotic elements in their sound. Singing in English, the band possesses the ability to attain a comprehensive global musical appeal. Crimson Chrysalis has a solid rock edge and their orchestral arrangements place them quite rightly in world of 21st century hard rock meets progressive orchestral rock. www.RavenHeartmusic.com / www.CrimsonChrysalis.com
mwe3.com presents an interview with
mwe3: Tell us something about where you live now in South Africa and how it affects you musically. Crimson Chrysalis seems like a pretty exotic progressive rock sound to come out of South Africa. How did the band start and how did that lead to the release of theCrimson Passion Cry CD?
René van den Berg: It started very naturally. I was rehearsing for a show and included a Meatloaf rock cover. Esther commented that the rock genre fits me like a glove… At the time I wrote and performed my own Afrikaans songs. I told her that she must write me English rock lyrics. Our first attempt was “Lost” and the rest just followed naturally! The sound is very exotic, even for South Africa, where the symphonic rock and metal scene are limited to the select few who import their music.
mwe3: For those who don’t know anything about it, is there a way to reflect on the history of pop, rock and progressive rock in South Africa?
René van den Berg: South Africa has a rich and diverse musical history. Although South Africa rock is less known overseas, other genres do get international recognition. Grammy’s were awarded to great bands and musician like Ladysmith Black Mambazo & The Sowetan Gospel Choir. Well known in the US is Johnny Clegg and Savuka, and the most recent export is The Parlotones.
Esther Slabbert: Currently the rock scene is in transition with a lot of folk influences and mostly strong male vocals. But our genre is not prominent in SA. As far as we are aware we are the only band to release a symphonic rock album in South Africa that was picked up by overseas labels.
mwe3: What were your early musical studies like and what artists, bands and musicians and favorite albums inspired you while growing up in South Africa?
Esther Slabbert: Rene studied piano and guitar. I dabbled in some guitar and flute. But Rene is the truly musically gifted one that composes all the music for CC. Believe it or not, she is a diehard ABBA fanatic but we both like various artists and bands. Our tastes are eclectic at best! We both had some classical training as children… I hated every theory session and thought my teacher was a witch!… but I think our love for Bach, Mahler, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky and the great composers are evident in our work.
mwe3: How would you describe the chemistry between the both of you and how and when did you meet and decide to work together? What’s the synergy like between lyricist and songwriter / musician in Crimson Chrysalis? How do you spark each other to come up with a great song and where do you get the ideas for your songs? News, politics, art, culture?
René van den Berg: As mentioned before we started writing by accident. Through the years our respect for each other and our friendship molded us into a song writing team that inspires and challenges each other constantly. Esther is inspired by politics and current events. She is a conceptual writer, we decide what we want on the album and then we create that. We push each other quite hard to improve on previous songs. We strongly believe that good structure both musically and lyrically will provide a good quality album.
mwe3: Is there a single from the Crimson Passion Cry album and what are some of your favorite tracks from the CD? I love the way “Epilogue”, which is so majestic and full of remorse, perfectly segues into the fist-pumping track “Fuck Off And Die”… it’s a brilliant idea! Can you say something about those two tracks? They seem so opposite yet complimentary… Does Crimson Chrysalis thrive on sonic extremes?
René van den Berg: There was not a single, but we released an online EP with the first 6 songs. We liked creating something as diverse as the Crimson Passion Cry album. It is simply impossible for either of us to choose a favorite. We wanted to create an album that consists of music that can be played from beginning to end. It is important to us to place the songs in such an order that we create a natural rise and fall on the album, while listening, to answer your question about “Epilogue” and “Fuck Off And Die”.
mwe3: Anything to add on the songwriting process in Crimson Chrysalis?
René van den Berg: Esther usually conceptualizes a song and work from an idea… this can be a line, a word or a musical inspiration.
Esther Slabbert: I will then write a lyric… Rene will compose from there. This is usually a process of mutual exchange between us. In my opinion, Rene has a singular ability to create very catchy and hauntingly beautiful compositions.
mwe3: What other musicians, arrangers and producers were involved in helping Crimson Chrysalis attain such a great sound in the studio and on record?
René van den Berg: We are blessed with a uniquely gifted arranger, Elben Schutte, who takes the basics and transforms it into a masterful end product.
Esther Slabbert: Rene’s vocal coach, Ruan Zen, became a vocal inspiration to us both . After hearing a live performance by him, I wrote “Epilogue” for him and René. He is a core member of Crimson Chrysalis and delivers the best vocals on all the songs, together with Rene. He also partners with René vocally on “Fatal Lie”. We are blessed in having excellent musicians who lend their talents to the studio sessions and on stage.
mwe3: Where do you see Crimson Chrysalis fitting in the world of 21st century prog rock and also symphonic metal music? Do you differentiate between music genres or do you break down walls to create something new?
René van den Berg & Esther Slabbert: Although we love and listen to different music genres, we are both rockers at heart. We do not box our sound into one genre. We create in isolation at the southern tip of Africa, and we would like to think that our roots gives us a unique take on the symphonic metal and rock genre.
mwe3: With such a great album design that really seems to capture the mood of the music, can you tell us something about how the Crimson Passion Cry album artwork enhances the listening experience?
Esther Slabbert: Sometimes one gets blessed with gifted people along the way. Rene is the musically gifted but usually I must think out the visual aspects of our product. I love fantasy music and books, and Coenie van Staden, photographer and the brilliant video director of the “Crimson Passion Cry” vid project, created exactly what we wanted.
mwe3: Now that progressive rock has proven to be a truly worldwide musical phenomenon, especially in the internet age, how are you planning to get the word out about Crimson Chrysalis and how are you planning to take your next music and lyrics one step further in 2014 and beyond?
René van den Berg & Esther Slabbert: We have just finished the first four new songs of the new album due for release 2015. The overall sound will be the same as the Crimson Passion Cry album, as that is the Crimson Chrysalis sound. We brought in more live strings than with the previous album, and it sounds amazing. We plan to start performing abroad as soon as possible, as that is crucial to get the Crimson Chrysalis name out and the music heard. We will also prerelease a few of the new tracks, to start creating a buzz and make the people curious.
Thanks to René van den Berg & Esther Slabbert @ www.CrimsonChrysalis.com
|Written by Doctor T.|
|Friday, 24 January 2014|
|Interview with Esther and Rene of Crimson Chrysalis.
Africa has not exactly been a hot spot for Femme Metal so the first release from Crimson Chrysalis was a bit of a shock. And, the review of that release seems to have drawn a lot of interest on the SonicCathedral site. I’ve gotten to know vocalist René van den Berg a little but was interested in speaking to both René and lyricist Esther Slabbert about both the music and topics related to the project. That’s difficult because of the nature of René’s work. But, we finally got together, largely through a difficult Skype contact, and the results proved more than a little interesting
René: The CC creative team consists of 3 people – I’m the vocalist, composer and producer of the music, Esther, the lyricist and my co-executive producer, and Elben Schutte, the arranger. It starts with Esther conceptualizing a song and then writing the lyric, and then, before I start working on the music, Es and myself sit down and talk about the song. It’s important for me to understand what direction she intended the song to go, otherwise, no matter what I do, it will just not ring true. The lyric determine the mood yes, but there are one of a few different avenues to follow musically, and it’s important for us that we start off on the same page. We’ll talk about the vibe, maybe mention some references or influences before I start working on the music. Once we’ve finished the song, I’ll take it to our arranger, along with some notes on what direction I want him to take, maybe mention specific riffs I have in my head, or specific musical movements I hear, or whatever.
Doctor T: I understand that you two are the core of the band but I wonder how you go about bringing in additional musicians. Are you flexible in terms of who the background musicians are or do you have a relatively stable group.
René: As stated, the CC creative team consists of myself, Esther, and Elben. We use session muso’s for the rest because we want to have 100% control over the creative process, the production and the end product. We do, however, use as far as possible te same session musicians for obvious reasons. The better we all know one another, and they the CC songs, the tighter the sound. We plan on getting session musicians in both the US, and Europe, for tours, as it is too expensive to fly the band from South Africa for tours every time. But as far as recording the new album goes, we’ll use the same session musicians in South Africa again.
Doctor T: We don’t do a lot of work with musicians from Africa. But this release strikes me as being “African” at some level. Was this an intent and, if so, how did you bring that about.
René: Although we never officially decided to leave a fingerprint of Africa on the album, it was inevitable that it would find it’s way into our work. Africa has a rich and varied musical history of song, dance and rhythm, and although we never made a conscious decision about it, it had to surface somewhere – especially because the genre does not exist at all here, and we created in isolation.
Doctor T: Esther, as I mentioned in the review, I was blown away by the song Blood Diamond. Could you talk a little about that track and what your intention was with it.
Esther: As a student of history I have always been interested in world politics. It is ironic to me that through the ages we cannot seem to solve our problems through any other way than war and blood. And in the end women and children pay the price through heartache and loss. As a child of Africa this heartache and loss is often more in our faces. I wanted to write a song as an epitaph to those people, but struggled for almost four years to find the right words. I wrote the bridge in 2007, but the rest of the song just didn’t happen. When I finally wrote the rest, one night past twelve, the whole song was done within 10-15 minutes. I told René the next morning her song is done, but I am not changing one word. And she did – compose the music without one word being changed. René said on our album launch, when introducing “Blood diamond”: ” History has always been a testimony of power hunger individuals, or belief systems, and yet, the inocent always end up paying the price. This is their post script”. We can only hope this song does them justice. . .
Doctor T: Well, on a personal note, when do we get a video? And what would that video focus on?
René: Yeah, you’ve been nagging me about that one since your review. :-) There are a few things in the pipeline for 2014. A video of Blood Diamond is definitely a possibility, but the process itself will determines what happens next.
Doctor T: René, you have an interesting background professionally and it has some impact on your musical career. I wonder if you could address that a little.
René: I have a degree in nursing, and an honors in Forensic Medicine. Although the two fields are very clinical, and light years away from the arts, it sure teaches one the art of fine observation. I would love to do music fulltime though – not only as a performing artist, but as a producer for other artists as well.
Doctor T: Esther, you also have an interesting professional track, how has that influenced your lyrical work on this release and song writing in general.
Esther: I think that one’s profession does influence your world view, and the way you observe people and their behaviour. Psychology has produced some very practical thinkers, as well as a lot of symbolism in for instance the archetypes and dream analysis. From time to time I will draw from all of this when writing a lyric.
Doctor T: There’s a number of musical directions with this release. We get some symphonic metal, some solid ballads. But there’s one track that stays from the fold. Could you talk a little about Fuck Off and Die.
René: We see ourselves far more rooted in rock, as in metal. We do cross over to the Symphonic metal genre in some songs yes, but 70% of the album is more Symphonic rock. That’s why a song like FOAD made sense, being included on the album. I love performing that song – it is such a feel-good, release song. I gave Es the title and said I want a song about that. Es loved writing it and I love singing it.
Doctor T: That track certainly went in a little different direction from most of the tracks on the release. How did that one sneak in there?
René: I wanted a songs with that title, and so Es wrote it. It was written in the early days of CC, when we were still developing the sound. But we all love the song, and I love singing it, so we decided to include it. We knew it might be somewhat of a gamble, because some people are offended by the word, but we decided that is the beauty of modern technology. That is why skip buttons were created! :-)
Doctor T: There was a little use of Latin in the track Dio Volente. Given the various languages you speak, is there an interest in doing some lyrics in another language, Afrikaans, for instance? That would be different.
René: No, there will definitely be no CC track in Afrikaans. The language itself is more suited for folk/acoustic music. I did that for many years and then made a directional change with CC.
Doctor T: Given the rather unusual professional career René is following, how exactly is the project being organized. How and where do you perform live? How do you plan to move forward?
René: I realized that I have to get abroad if I want to take this further. Although the peole love the music, we get no support from the South African media. I have resigned and started doing remote site work abroad. We give medical assistance for specific projects. My contract is 4 weeks on site, 4 weeks back home, for the rest of the year. That gives me essentially 6 months of the year to show, tour, whatever, which is awesome. I still have the security and back-up of a steady day job, but I can actively pursue my dream.
Doctor T: Rene, given that you tend to develop the music component, how do you two merge the music and the lyrics. And how do you develop the music, on keyboards, on guitar, what’s the model?
René: Yes, Es writes the lyrics and I write the music. I think it helps that we know and understand each other so well. I really get her writing and so it’s easy for me to bring her words to life. Es sets the scene, or describes the emotion – it is my job to make people feel it. . .We have learned to trust each other’s opinion, and are truly each other’s best critics. We know what the other is capable of, so we are constantly pushing each other’s boundaries.
I write some songs on the guitar, and some on the keyboard. Some songs are by nature just more guitar based, or more piano based. Normally I have a gut feel about it and then work on that instrument. But I sometimes hit a dead end, and whatever I do is just not a comfortable fit. “Crimson passion cry” was one of them. I tried the song on guitar and it stayed mediocre, no matter what I did. Es agreed and sent me back to the drawing board. I then realized what the problem was, and the moment I changed to piano, and brought in the 9ths etc in the chords, I finished the song within 15 minutes.
Doctor T: I understand there’s a new release being planned. How far along are you in that process and will it differ from the previous release.
René: Yes, the new album is well on its way. We have finished the pre-production of the first 4 songs, and will be going to studio with them from February. Personally I like to work with the full, mixed tracks at least a month before I go do vocals, so we’ll only record the vocals in April.
The studio time is booked for everything so we are very excited about it. The rest of the album will be written and recorded over the next 12-18 months. We believe attention to detail pays off in the end, so we like to take our time with it. The full new CC album wil probably be released only in 2015, but we will release these new 4 tracks the moment they are done. We’re planning on releasing another new track before Christmas as well.
We have written half of the album already, and Es walks around currently with the other half in her head. She knows exactly where she is going with it, and will write them the moment she’s ready. She sometimes walk around with an idea for months, sometimes only days. The conceptualizing part takes the longest – the minute she has everything structured and formulated and starts writing, it normally goes very quickly.
The album is pretty much going to be the same musically as the “Crimson passion cry” album, as that is the CC sound. Conceptually we think this album will be better, because with the first album we were still experimenting and developing the CC sound. This time around we know exactly what we want to create. As with all work in progress, the process will determine the album’s ending. As with “Crimson passion cry”, we hope that all of us will be equally surprised by the end product.
Doctor T: Esther, what are the literary topics that you’re planning to address in the upcoming release?
Esther: Without giving away too much, I will aim for the middle ground between Danté’s Inferno, Macbeth and Trial and Retribution. :-) I can however reveal that the first 4 new song titles (to be released in April/May 2014), are: “Sacred vow”, “The raven”, “Fear” & ” Surrender”.
Doctor T: What are the big picture plans for CC? How do you expect things to unfold in the next year, the next two years?
René: The next 12-18 months we will spend on finishing the next album, and performing as much as possible internationally.
Doctor T: When you say internationally, what countries do you have in mind?
René: Europe, and spesifically Germany, Holland & Belgium, the UK, and the US are first in line. After that we’ll look at the rest of Europe and Japan.
Doctor T: Some interesting thoughts from an interesting team. Any final comments for our readers at Sonic Cathedral?
René: Nothing I have ever done musically has pushed and shifted my boundaries remotely as this album did. It was an amazing experience and an incredible priviledge to start sharing it with the world. I promise that the next CC album won’t dissapoint! *evil grin* Thank you to you Terry & Sonic Cathedral for your support.
Esther: Writing this album has been an amazing experience. Thank you for all the support from Sonic Cathedral and you guys Terry. I promise that we will deliver an even better album the scond time around.
Doctor T: Thanks René and Esther for your thoughts and Good Luck René in New Guinea with your next assignment. We’re looking forward to more from Africa, and sure hope to see you in Belgium next October.