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Asylum Pyre – Interview with Oxy Hart & ‘N°4’ Album Review
Jad | May 29, 2020
Are you stuck at home? Do you miss the night life and city lights and evenings at bars? Do you miss being close to friends and family and not swallowing the whole damn fridge because you’re bored? Do you? Well in that case you’re in for hell of a ride. The album we’re covering today is out of this world! It will take you to places you’ve never been to before!
Asylum Pyre is a band from France that makes exceptional Melodic Metal music soaked in power! Last year Asylum Pyre released their fourth album entitled ‘N°4’. We had the chance to write a review on the record. We also enjoyed chatting with Asylum Pyre’s lead vocalist, Oxy Hart!
‘N°4’ is a 49 minutes long album made of 12 songs exploding with beautiful exciting music! Here are four things we loved about ‘N°4’.
1. The breathtaking melodies
‘N°4’ is an album rich with melodic tunes that take each song to a whole different level of excitement. Introductory melodies play a huge role in setting the right mood for the song and help in a smooth shift between one song and the other. One Day is an example of how the intro’s melody built up a mood for the song. The growing electronic melody of Sex Drugs and Scars shifts us to a very different song. In songs like Lady Ivy the powerful guitar riffs join the melody in a stunning instrumental bridge. One song that had the most impressive and beautiful melody is Into the Wild.
2. Rich music
The music on ‘N°4’ is rich with the elements that form it up. If you see the number and names of guest musicians on the album you’d see how much variety the band wanted to create, and they did. Instrument-wise we’ve already discussed the quality of the melodies. Songs like Mcq Drama are one example of the wise variety of musical elements you’d pass by during listening to the album. Keyboard melodies, fantastic guitar solos and riffs, the lead vocals, additional grunts and addition male vocals, sick beats, and even some tribal chants around the end, all this in one song! The songs are very distinguishable from each other with not even two songs sounding alike. That is one of the reasons ‘N°4’ is one of the best Metal albums of 2019!
3. Oxy Hart’s magnificent vocals
I have used this analogy previously and here I am using it again! Some vocals are great, but one quality I love about the vocals is the ability of the vocalist to shape them differently based on the mood of the song or its speed and harshness, just like a liquid would take the shape of its container. Take Freddie Mercury for example: the emotional regretful feelings in “Mama, just killed a man” versus the rioting energetic “So you think you can stone me and spit in my eye?”.
Oxy did something similar. Compare her performance on songs like Sex Drugs and Scars to other songs like Into the Wild or Borderline. See how she shows emotions where emotions are needed, power where power is needed, recklessness where recklessness is needed and high tempo where high tempo is needed. It’s not pneumonia, but it’s seriously breathtaking!
I’ll pause here so you can laugh at my pneumonia joke.
4. Favourite Song: ‘Borderline’
Borderline checks ‘all of the above’ for the things I’ve loved on the album. A brilliant song with a beautiful melody and heavy riffs and wonderful vocals performing one of the best lyrics I’ve seen.
And these were four things we loved about ‘N°4’. Did you listen to it? If so, let us know what you liked or disliked about it in the comment section. (Oooh yeah we have a comment section).
We recommend ‘N°4’ for all fans of Melodic and Power Metal bands.
We talked with Oxy Hart about her music, their album and many other things! Hope you enjoy this interview with the vocalist of Asylum Pyre!
Hello Oxy! How are you and the other members of Asylum Pyre doing? Hope you’re all safe and sound!
Hello Jad! It’s a pleasure to talk with you! We are all doing well and we are quite safe! Thank you. Hope our readers are good as well!!
Before we talk about your 2019 album, ‘N°4’, would you like to tell FemMetal readers who don’t know you yet about your band, Asylum Pyre?
Asylum Pyre is 10 years old and we released in April 2019 our 4th album. It’s hard to put a label on Asylum Pyre’s music! Johann Cadot founded the band and started as a melodic metal project with several influences, especially from the prog and power scene. He’s the main composer, guitarist and programmer. We are used to say we are making Modern Power Metal, with meaningful lyrics based on ecological and societies problems. Furthermore, melodies are really catchy and served by one female and one man voices. Sometimes, we are flirting with pop music for our chorus like for instance, the song : “Sex, Drugs and Scars”.
You released ‘N°4’ in April last year. It’s your fourth album. How are you feeling about the reception the album received from your fans?
Really good! We received an incredible welcome and we also entered the charts for the first time of our history : in the top 50 of Rock Charts in France, in Switzerland, in Colombia and in Turkey ! It was truly a great surprise and honour! Each time we played to defend this new album, we had warm compliment, including people which aren’t really in that kind of metal music. It’s really funny to see people which are not metalhead playing the album and moving the head. And when you’re saying to them: “oh finally, your listening metal music” -”No, I’m not” – “Yes, you are!”. Just because they are filled out by cliche about our musical scene. It’s funny and I’m happy to “open” their mind regarding metal music through Asylum Pyre!
What would you say is different between ‘N°4’ and previous Asylum Pyre releases?
I joined the band at Summer 2016 but definitely, the sound of the “N°4” album is completely different. We entered the mature phase of the band and we know how we want to sound. We also took 2 years to work on arrangement and involving everyone in the process of creation. We are most than only musicians playing together. We are friends and we had pleasure to record the album. Furthermore, even if Johann is composing all the song, he’s bringing them to us to work in it. “N°4” is a perfect example of power melodic metal including each of our influences. I mean especially Thomas Calegari, our drummer, who’s, beside Asylum Pyre, playing for several artist from African fusion music to jazz and french “chansons”. To my side, I’m highly influenced by traditional Europeans polyphonic choir. I grew up listening Dead Can Dance and my way of singing sometimes, on the arrangement of “Into the Wild”, is referring to Lisa Gerrard. Consequently, this new album explore new musical worlds and perspectives!
Oxy you’ve been in the music scene for more than 10 years now. You’ve been a member and guest in several bands. What would you say has changed in the way you perceive music and perform it with experience, and how has that reflected in your performance in ‘N°4’?
That’s a good question! Well, as well as I consider the professional world as a big theater scene, I consider also each project as a theater. It’s not a matter about sometimes which is more cool or funnier, but just like an exploration ground. I started music playing saxophone. I wasn’t dedicated to sing. I’ve an approach of the vocals as an instrument. As an instrument, I’m trying to adapt the voice to match with each songs, beyond the matter of sensibility and interpretation. I have the chance to be a kind of vocal chameleon. I do love sing weird parts. Referring to the lyrics, I can sometimes, using a Britney Spears pop vocals, or more weird, like David Fith in the web series “Salad Fingers”, with a kind of rusty and anxious voice. Through all the experiences I had, I have been able to put my influences in this album and add that kind of “extra voices”, especially in the song “Borderline”. I don’t think a song in a terms of vocal performances but as a laboratory to test my vocal tools and bring something else.
To get our readers more excited to listen to ‘N°4’, we’re going to play a game called ‘Which song on the album..’ I’ll list to you a bunch of tasks and you have to pick one song to do that task. Ready?
Here I am! Good idea Jad!
What song on ‘N°4’ would you recommend to someone who hasn’t heard of Asylum Pyre before?
I’d say “On First Earth”! This song has several faces. She’s really melodic, with few colors on the vocal lines, subtles and more catchy on the chorus.
What song on ‘N°4’ would you recommend to someone who doesn’t like Metal or Rock?
It’s really hard to pick just one of them, because they are all quite accessible to everyone. But I will say “One Day”. We released this one as a single and even people which aren’t in rock/metal music liked the dynamism of the song and that catchy chorus which stay in mind!
If all the songs on ‘N°4’ came to life and changed into humans, which one would be your best friend?
Into the Wild. Above playing live music and singing, the thing I love the most in life is traveling alone, me and my backpack. When I’m traveling, I’m going far away of touristic highlights and stand mostly with locals, even sleep at their home, share a breakfast with them and so on. Just simple things, far away from social networks and fake paradises. Into the Wild, as the eponymous movie’s title, talks about having a break in the last remaining silent paradise on earth, according of the album’s concept. This song makes even more sense since our societies are quite shaken by the Covid and its consequences / questions about States economy, globalization and capitalism
Aliens from outer space with much advanced technology invade the planet. You discover their only weakness is songs with high tempo. Which song on ‘N°4’ would you use to defeat the alien invaders?
Ahahaha, that would be so epic to spread the song “Sex, Drugs and Scars” to defeat alien invaders. We recorded this song with Yannis Papadopoulos from the mighty band Beast in Black. That would be a kind of European collaboration to defeat aliens, then! ahah.
Your life is a Netflix series. Which song would be the theme song?
I’d say, depending on the day, Borderline or Lady Ivy ! Ok, Lady Ivy. That song is so powerful, I love sing this one. I remember when I recorded it, I straddled the stool and the guys, Johann and our sound engineer, Angelo Buccolieri, were like : “Oh Lord, she’s going to break everything in the studio”. I put all of my rage and pain in it.
Thank you for playing! Now i’ll have a new perspective next time I listen to these songs 🙂 I believe like most artists you haven’t played for a live audience in a while. What do you miss most about singing live for an audience?
The contact with the audience and touring with my buddies. Of course, when you’re singing, you have fun. But when you’re singing, and when you see on the front of you people headbanging, sending you little hearts with the fingers, having little stars in the eyes -especially kids -, it’s priceless. I love having a bit time with each persons at the end of the show and talk with them, exchanging experiences, jokes, sometimes a beer. It’s all about giving, receiving, and sharing. And touring with my buddies is something for real. Of course, sometimes, we argue like grumpy frenchies we are, but this is nothing compare to all the giggling we can have, every time, even on stage sometimes. I mean… a band which isn’t a bunch of friends can’t truly spread good vibes to the audience. Of course, it’s also a business and a job and sometimes, you have to put your feelings in parenthesis. But you can also count of this unique friendship to deliver the best to the audience!
What bands did you grow up listening to and how did they influence your music career?
My dad is fond of progressive rock, like Pendragon, IQ, Marillion, Gentle Giants and so on. My mum was more listening french artist like France Gall or Mylène Farmer, or also Stefan Eicher. I was fond of classical and baroque music, and still mostly listen that kind of music. Teenager, I discovered Dead Can Dance, thanks to my dad who bought Aion in 1990. He gave me it when I was 9 or 10 and simply said : “Listen, you might like it”. I had a huge crush and never stop to listen it. Later, he gave me Nightwish, “Oceanborn”, and I loved it as well. I discovered Cradle of Filth and black metal at the same age. I still listen black metal of course but I ever pushed myself to discover new artist in different music gender. I’m fond of Bishop Briggs, Screamin Jay Hawkins or Jill Scott for example. I’m in love with those big, warm voices. It influenced my way of singing, of course. And the ambiances I want in the songs… it can be jazz, tribal, ethno… A lot of things! Music world citizen!
How is work on the fifth album going?
Very well! I’m still working on the vocal lines, testing things, vocal arrangements…We are going to start the graphism process, and planning record schedule. We want to release one album every 2 years and not waiting. It means that we started to work on the 5th one just after we released “N°4”.
That’s great! If you could get rid of one problem the world is facing, be it poverty, hunger, racism…etc, which one would you choose?
It’s a difficult question… I’d better say, working really on the distribution of wealth. It has been proven that we have enough food for everyone, despite the limited resources of our planet. We could solve several problems, just by acting in a conscious way – if capitalism wasn’t existing like he is now-. But it means also being able to change economic paradigm and also, mentalities. If mean, those from our occidental societies, because we want always more and more, especially things we don’t need. This is the job of marketers and advertisers. Having a true conscious about worldwide ecological problems might change things. We are just diving into new war perspectives… People are going to immigrate even more, others will die for a drop of water and a piece of food. I’m really worried about our future to be honest. We need to create a new model but the question is how? I read a book few years ago, written by the sociologist Paul Jorion. This is called : “Capitalism in agony”. He isn’t calling for a revolution but reset counters, saying that capitalism isn’t an economic system, but a defect in our economic system. Stopping the speculation could be a lever. Of course, it supposed also a new social paradigm. Working is now seen as the main goal for everyone. It would be good to review our value system based on the acquisition of good and social position. Living with less, less competitiveness, but better lives. But in the globalization… it’s quite impossible. By the way, we have few examples, like Podemos in Spain, and local organisations all around the world, testing new models on a reduce scale.
Probably the most brilliant answer I’ve ever received for this question! As a woman with a successful career, what advice would you give young girls who live in places and communities where they’re not allowed to dream or say their opinion?
Thank you! I never consider myself having a successful career, ahaha. To say Fuck off to everyone who tries to muzzle them, might be a good start! And speak even louder 🙂 I had to fight in both my professional and musical career. You know, even in France, I’m the kind of woman that some guys don’t like. I laugh hard, I am eloquent and charismatic, I have 3 master’s degrees, I am educated and I speak 4 languages (on the way to the 5th: D). I leave them no grip to attack me because I am firm on my positions and self-confident. And the more they tell me to shut up, the more I will find a way to impose myself. However, I am lucky to have had exceptional men around me, very open-minded. But as a woman, you always have to fight and assert yourself. And work much harder than a man to prove that you are trustworthy. So, ladies, please. Move forward and impose yourself. Without aggressiveness, just being smart and subtle. Of course, I can’t advice young girls living in places and communities I don’t know… Depends on cultural codes. Just… education is the best weapon. I have one ladies model, the Sun Ladies. These Yazidi women who escaped from ISIS slavery and took up arms to fight with the army of Kurdistan and deliver their sisters who were sold as sex slaves. If you love virtual reality, go watch the 7mn short movie “The Sun Ladies” by Maria Belo. By the way : keep focus on your dreams and opinions, nobody have to thing for you. (PS: If you’re one of them, I’d love to talk with you, contact me!).
Thank you for the interview Oxy! It has been a pleasure! Good luck for you and Asylum Pyre in all your future projects!
Thank you so much! You did a really good journalist job and your questions were awesome! Long life to FemMetal and members of the team! \m/