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Marta Samitowska - Through My Eyes In Their Own Words: Females In Metal And Beyond, Part I - Book Cover
Image © Muse(ic) Books 2008

portraits of and interviews with:
Kari Rueslåtten
Amanda Somerville
Anette Olzon
Monika Edvardsen
Irene Jansen
Manda Ophuis
Laurie Ann Haus
Ellen Schutyser
Dawn Desirée
Sabine Dünser
Maja Konarska
Diana Serra
Franziska Huth
Marta Batinic
Paulina Maslanka

Marta Samitowska
Marta Samitowska (author)
Image © Muse(ic) Books 2008


(16 November 2008) Marta Samitowska's book Through My Eyes In Their Own Words: Females In Metal And Beyond (Muse(ic) Books (Netherlands), ISBN: 978-90-79789-01, 2008) is a 133 page collection of personal reflections, quotes from other artists, and interview responses by fiourteen established or emerging female vocalists and one violinist, many who have been reviewed here previously.

The book begins with the story of the Norwegian, Kari Rueslåtten beginning with her work with Third and The Mortal and eventual depature into a solo singer songwriter career. Kari's crystalline voice provides the perfect backdrop when reading the opening chapter. It moves on to cover the very well established Amanda Somerville, an American living in Germany, whose career has spanned every color of music but is now focused on her not yet released solo work and contributions to After Forever, Epica and an array of both female- and male-fronted metal projects.

We were pleased that Marta wrote of Sweden's Anette Olzon, the new frontwoman for Nightwish. Anette reflects on her audition, selection and commitment to work with Nightwish in this second generation of the band after Tarja Turunen's difficult departure in 2005. Tuomos provides sensitive inputs to the story. Marta then moves onto Norway's Monica Edvardsen, who cut her music chops with the metal band Atrox and then moved onto the more interesting project Tactile Gemma. While Atrox may be on the outside edge of our readers' interests, Tactile Gemma is likely closer to the sweet spot. The fact that Marta is into a broad variety of other artistic pursuits makes an interesting read.

The book presses on with Holland's Irene Jansen's story which begins with Star One, moves into Karma and then back into her work with Ayreon. As Floor Jansen's sister, Irene's story is heavily interwoven in the shadows, alongside and at times in front of Floor's. The book does a good job differentiating the work of the two sisters, complimenting both on their achievements to date. One of the best chapters of the book is the story about Holland's Manda Ophuis, her music and continuing education, the forming of Nemesea and the significant step taken with their album In Control. Interested readers should check out our own interview with Manda.

Maryland, USA-based Laurie Ann Haus' diverse vocal contributions are described in Marta's chapter on the singer's work. Laurie Ann's career spans Rain Fell Within, Ephemeral Sun and Autumn Tears and the book tells the story of how she formed her stunning, and actually most diverse, solo project Todesbonden. The book continues with a short story of Holland's Ellen Schutyser the vocalist of Sengir, a melodic metal edged band that released two albums before calling it a day. We especially enjoyed the story of Reston, VA, USA-based Dawn Desiree, the second lead vocalist of Rain Fell Within. The story reveals Dawn's modeling career (check out the photos at her MySpace) and describes her two operatically oriented and stunning solo releases.

The book shares the author's personal interviews and MSN chats Sabine Dünser, the former the lead singer of the Liechtenstein band Elis. Sabine died tragically of a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 29. Sabine had released 4 albums, the first one was in 2001 when the band was known as Erben der Schöpfung, but by the second album, some of the the members of Erben Der Schöpfung left to form the band Elis. The book also covers careers of two Polish vocalists, the first being Maja Konarska of Moonlight. Maja describes the translation of her lyrics into English in some detail within the story.

American Diana Serra's work with Aghora is covered next. The shortest story in the book, it also differentiate's Aghora's music from European metal in some detail. The story about Franziska Huth front woman for the German band Eyes Of Eden is also short but based on the short run of the band to date, there is not as much for the singer to say. The short story of Croatian Marta Batinic, the violin player for the Belgian band Ashes You Leave, differs from the others in the book because the artist is not the band's lead vocalist. So it indeed provides a different perspective. The book concludes with a final short chapter on Paulina Maslanka, the lead singer for the Polish metal band Delight. Paulina's story also talks about singing in her native tongue and makes for an interesting read.

Marta's book is an insightful journey into the world of female artists in and around the metal scene. Indeed metal music today incorporates a vast variety of female vocals, especially when compared to the scene fifteen years ago and the book goes a long way to illustrate how so without interviewing some of most well established ladies on the scene: Cristina Scabbia, Floor Jansen, Tarja Turunen, Sabine Simons or Anneke van Giersbergen. But it does a good job drawing on the emerging artists' influences which interestingly more often than not include Tori Amos and Kate Bush. References to the vocalists' other projects made for many interesting discoveries.

Don't expect a fancy coffee table book. This is a decently paperbound black and white collection of reflections, photographs and interviews. The book can be ordered through The Muse(ic) website. Marta writes that the second volume will be out in early 2009. It will include stories about Marcela Bovio, Saskia van Heugten, Julie Kiss, Lauren Harris and the ladies of Midnattsol and Octavia Sperati. We'll be equally keen to read Marta s next installment!

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