Shiningstar from St Petersburg are an undeniable force of nature. Energetic heavy symphonic metal with the vocal talents of Elena Luka being both the calm and the maelstrom of their music as heard on their debut album Destiny. Never to repeat themselves their new album ‘’Songs of The Northern Land ‘’is a metal opera!
‘’All of us had an idea about this format for a long time. We wanted to create something large-scale, a little more than just compositions. And due to our symphonic sound metal opera suited our ideas very well. When we started rehearsing and coming up with new material, we decided to record songs in different metal genres: from black metal to heavy metal. This is the main feature of our metal opera.’’
‘’We didn't think about the instrumental part for long, because there were a lot of ideas and developments. Everything was invented in the rehearsal room. We came up with the material in about a month of hard work. Regarding the lyrics: we came up with the idea of the concept, Alex started to develop it and very quickly prepared the lyrics. The creative process went easily and quickly. Many musicians took part in the metal opera and the only difficulty was to record everyone quickly.
‘’It is based on the general concept of a magical North Country, which was born in the mind of a young man who is at war. No matter where it takes place, there is a lot of fighting going on around the world right now. And to somehow distract himself from the brutal reality, he lies in a trench and begins to doze off. In his mind there is a magical North Country with fairy tale characters and the Shining Star Queen. And everything that happens in the dream is reflected in every song. 1 song - 1 story - 1 metal genre. That's the kind of diverse world we have. Be sure to read the lyrics of each track and you will dive into our magical Northern world.
‘’Far Away in the North is a heavy track, it is. But there will be a couple more heavy tracks. The metal opera is so diverse, a lot of compositions that will surprise everyone. Very different from the first Shiningstar album.
Remaining True Metal?
‘’True Metal is definitely about feelings. That's what we feel when we listen to it. Any kind of metal, the main thing is that the compositions evoke emotions, feelings. Any feelings, if you feel like jumping, flying, running, whatever :) I think you know what I mean. And how cool the track is recorded is of secondary importance.
‘’It is important to stay within the metal framework, but also to explore new horizons. We have always been committed to a mix of classical metal, symphonic metal, electronic music, low guitar scales, diverse vocals. You can develop metal music and evolve in different ways and metal opera is a clear proof of that.
Elena's vocals and the characters of the story?
''Elena's vocals became more mature and the arrangements became much more interesting. And it's not surprising, as this is the third full-length album for Elena and 50+ songs she recorded in the studio. Experience is gained and of course the extreme vocals are getting tougher, the harmonies, clear parts are getting more beautiful. About characters: in opera there is no specific character for each song to be played. There is a third-person narrative and no performance by role in our metal opera. We have guest vocalists who are responsible for this or that mood in the composition, but not specifically the characters.
An Album hard to write lyrically?
‘’Alex didn't find it hard to write lyrics. On the contrary, it was very interesting. He had the idea for a metal opera and immersed himself in that world for a couple of weeks. And he got high from writing the lyrics. The feelings were added that were felt at that very moment. Honestly, it wasn't the easiest time for us, our country and the world. After the two-year pandemic, military events began and all that followed. It couldn't leave anyone indifferent. And sometimes we wanted to escape from these experiences, to hide. That's the essence of the narrative of the metal opera. It's about a young man who finds himself in the thick of things, and how his mind helps him get distracted in his sleep, transported to a magical world, and in that world, we're sure, everyone will find a piece of themselves.
The guests on the record?
''Yes, we have a lot of guests on the album. And we planned to have even more. The guests that we have are perfect for the compositions and we immediately determined which of the guests would be on which track. We wrote the songs for a certain guest. That's why they sound so organic on the album.
The plans to promote the album and plans to play abroad?
''It's a difficult question for us. We are in a state of limbo right now and depend on many factors. For promotion we will do our best, everything that depends on us. There are doubts about the effectiveness of the old methods of promotion and with some contacts, we suspended cooperation due to restrictions. Tours abroad are also in question at the moment. Many organizers are not ready to cooperate with Russian teams yet. We will gladly perform as soon as the opportunity arises. We had some agreements with booking agencies and label, but we had to stop all plans for now. But in spite of everything, we wanted to release metal opera now, not postpone the release for a year or more. We really want you to hear our creation. That's why we're preparing the release in-house.
The next single?
''We decided to release 1 single before the metal opera release. The full album will be released on February 9! It is already uploaded to digital platforms, as well as printed on physical media. So, we're all set!
Top 6 things you need while listening to Songs of The Northern Lands?
1. Free up an hour of your time. It's important to listen to the album from beginning to end because it's a single conceptual narrative.
2. Turn off all distractions.
3. Be open minded and be prepared for unexpected changes in musical genres.
4. Read all the lyrics.
5. Be in a good mood.
6. Good music speakers or good headphones.