|» Michael/Mel - Crescent Shield||
Over the past weekend, the task of my kind works were shared most enthusiastically when I was presented the opportunity to spend some quality time with the California's Cruz Del Sur Music recording artist - Crescent Shield. This band is comprised of some serious sonic talent and mettle character. They are fronted by the Legendmaker himself - Michael Grant, whose vocal range takes the listener inward, onward, and beyond. Then there are the superb guitar melodies, and creatively new even riffage enhanced by Dan Delucie; whose destiny never ends. Drummer Craig Anderson will get your engine started and fulfill your severed wishes; while the Raven Mad Maiden - Melanie Sisneros plucks the bass strings of your metal heart with a certain synergistic bit of madness. Altogether, it was so much fun to hang around and discuss the metal, music, and joy that this band brings to each other, and us all!
MettleAngel: Thank you Michael, Mel, Dan, And Craig for agreeing to do this in person interview. Michael, I know we have been playing phone tag trying to get together. I apologize for dissing you when you called initially, as I was interviewing Doro at the time.
MettleAngel: Anyway thanks to Greg of Bible Of The Devil, and this Alehorn II Festival, we can all sit down and do the interview together. I really love when I can gather the whole band together for a honest discussion. After all, I am familiar with all of your other bands; and Mel we go back to when we first met at the first Classic Metal Fest in 2001. If you recall Dan, I actually met you when you toured with Destiny's End. You played Annies Club here in Cincinnati, and James Rivera was trying to confiscate my Judas Priest like leather jacket in the parking lot.
MettleAngel: Yes, and I represent the American side of the metal mileu. Now, one thing about Crescent Shield is the affinity you three (Michael, Dan & Mel) share for having played in New Eden. Mel was actually their bass player when we saw her at Classic Metal Fest in Kalamazoo (pointing to Wendy's shirt, depicting this very landmark event).
MettleAngel: I have that CD, I'd imagine that it's pretty rare now. I remember how Denis really promoted that. I read an interview with New Eden in an issue of Snakepit, which really sparked my interest. If only I had not sold my original Gothic Knights debut. Anyway, I digress,...so Michael, then you hooked up with Legend Maker - correct?
MettleAngel: I have this CD as well, and it too, probably is now quite rare. I'm grateful that I bought this as this was the first time I got to hear your amazing vocal style and range. I so love your singing style with Onward - my favourite of all your bands. You also do an amazing job with Crescent Shield and Cypher Seer - your latest project.
MettleAngel: I actually discovered Onward from a Century Media sampler and a Sentinel Steel sampler. Once I heard Evermoving I was hooked!
MettleAngel: I've heard the Neverending Sun demos from the third Onward album, which was never released. It's such a shame, because you sing so well on it. Century Media really just should have marketed that.
MettleAngel: I heard that Toby did finally release it this spring, independently.
MettleAngel: Yes, Mel mentioned earlier you were all from the same locale. It's like the Dublin Death Patrol band with Chuck Billy, Zetro Sousa, Willie Lange, etc.
MettleAngel: I dig the new CD, but it is lacking in certain parts, whether it's the obligatory Motorhead, Thin Lizzy, UFO covers - or the annoying Indian Chant at the end of the CD. Still I'd love to see them live and meet with them. At least on Lights Out, they say, "Lights out, lights out...lights out in Dublin..."; thereby putting a twist on an often times, over covered UFO classic. There are some killer thrash cuts like DDP For Life, Trail Of The Executioner, and Sid Vicious, which borrows heavy from Testament.
MettleAngel: I know, and being from Dublin, California keeps them tight knit, and well-connected. Now Mel, are you still playing with Raven Mad? I still have not heard that material. I know you recorded two demos: Corvus Insanus & A Bit Of Madness. It figures, given your love for the Classics, and your exceptional knowledge of Antiquity and ancient languages, you would choose a befitting title in Latin.
MettleAngel: You will have to get me some Raven Mad demos. I always thought that name was quite clever. I understand you worked with The Iron Maidens, as well?
MettleAngel: Didn't the girls from Phantom Blue also play in The Iron Maidens?
MettleAngel: They don't have you listed at http://www.metal-archives for this. You never recorded any CDs with them, why is this?
MettleAngel: So Kim and Alexi invited you to join Sinergy and you just up and quit The Iron Maidens?
MettleAngel: Sadly, you did not stick with Sinergy and returned home, right?
MettleAngel: I know what you mean, we interviewed Janne Warman last year when we saw Children Of Bodom. The mere mention of Kimberly Goss was like a "Yoko Ono" affair.
MettleAngel: Yeah, we hung out with him too. He was amazed how much I knew about Stone - quoting lyrics and waxing nostalgic.
MettleAngel: Now from birth to truly being live! (Ha, Ha). Although, I though that on the original demo from 2002 you used a drum machine.
MettleMaiden: So how did you finally decide on the name Crescent Shield?
MettleAngel: Yeah, a shield shaped like a moon crescent won't protect him from assault - unless he chooses to use it like a sycthe. That's funny, I thought the name held more of an astrological nature; a deeper more solicitous rendering. Don't astonomers call the waning of the moon in the fourth cycle the crescent moon shield? You know like the dark side of the moon; the shield shaded by the sun in the north quadrant?
MettleAngel: No seriously, when you look at the cover art, the warrior stands aside the moon, almost creating a crescent pose between his long, flowing hair and upturned hand which flicks the cards of fate from his weary fingers. I thought this was intentional; especially, given the title - "The Last Of My Kind".
MettleAngel: Oh yes indeed! I just wish your tour shirts were not black and white, and had more of an orange, burnt sienna, and brownish hue to them like the CD cover depicts.
MettleAngel: They do, I just get tired of the drab black and white designs. Now Michael, the album has some great lyrics, well written, and very truly expressed. I know that you provide a brief synopsis for each song on you website, and even allow free sample streaming. The album is not a concept though, correct?
MettleAngel: That is what I thought. You begin the CD with tracks like Above Mere Mortals and Slaves To The Metal Horde praising metal, then half way through, you question religion and man's nature - so I assumed each cut was individualized and more personal.
MettleAngel: I agree, and with Crescent Shield you have truly achieved this. Although, on your new project Cypher Seer, I love your rant on the Act Of Desparation track. I can totally realate to your frustration,even if critics find it inappropriate. I've noticed that so many journalist tend to compare your vocal style to James Rivera. I hear certain references to James, but I think you have a unique rage and range.
MettleAngel: Oh I know, James has sung for so many acts outside Helstar, Seven Witches and Destiny's End. Dan and Craig have both toured with him. He now also sings for new Vicious Rumors & Killing Machine, he even sang briefly for Flotsam. He definitely has his own unique style; something easily recognizable over the last two decades. He also has a very individualized personality. Unfortunately, as a journalist myself - everything is subjective. People want to know that band A sounds like band B, and which vocal styles a singer emulates. Don't worry Michael, when I review Cypher Seer, I promise that there will be no James Rivera references! I apologize for never reviewing the Crescent Shield CD. I actually purchased it from The End, before my promo ever arrived. Unfortunately, that was the same month when we were robbed in Cleveland and my father died. It took a while to play the CD and divorce myself from this pejorative association. That is why I am so truly grateful to interview you all here and now. I will say, I am quite pleased with the overall recording. Dan, did you carry over with some unrecorded Destiny's End material for the Crescent Shield demos?
MettleAngel: And Michael, you actually recorded a song which later became a Destiny's End song on their debut, right?
MettleAngel: So everything has come full circle and now everyone has truly found their niche. I'm glad this has finally reached it's fruition. Dan, have you begun writing new material for the next album?
MettleAngel: Cool, I can't wait to hear the next release and see you play live tonight. Mel, besides Hanger 18, you also play in an AC/DC cover band right?
MettleMaiden: Yeah, I got a picture of that, and it's Widow Valkyrie, with no separation.
MettleAngel: No doubt, they just left you hanging around, feelind wired; twisting your metal... ha ha...Anyway, Michael, Dan, Mel, Craig. Thank you so much for your time. Michael I'll let you know when I review Cypher Seer. Mel hook me up with some Raven Mad tracks, Dan - Happy Father's Day!