Medeah and Maciej
click on images to visit official website
female vocal fronted gothic rock
album reviews and artist reflections
Hidden Dimension (1997)
In Nomine Noctis (1998)
In The Flowers Shade (2000)
Koncert w Trójce (2001)
Interview and HTML © Russell W Elliot 2002
Reviews © Chris Mitchell, Chris Bruce and
Bill Parkinson; edited by Russell W Elliot 2002
Images © Metal Mind Records 1998-2002
used with permission
Formatted for 800 x 600 or larger windows
Last updated: 23 February 2002
Although not widely known outside of Poland and the European territories, Artrosis have a loyal following in their home country and America. The band have released five compact discs—four of them with original material and the fifth with live material and considered by the band to be a compilation.
In early 2002 we caught up with Artrosis vocalist Medeah, keyboard player Maciej Nidzielski and guitar player Rafal "Grunthell" Grunt for an interview. The final band member, Marcin Pendowski (bass) was unable to join us. Learn about the artists' background, songwriting influences and other views and read reviews of their recordings with contributions from Musical Discoveries correspondents below.
Medeah, tell us a little about your personal background please.
I started to play piano at the age of nine piano in a school of music. The education took twelve years. Singing, I’ve discovered at the end of education when I was 18 and in that time Artrosis was formed. I’ve always listened to different music than my friends. They listened to pop and I was interested in rock. So, I was always a little different. In fact, Artrosis was my first band.
And who are your favourite artists/bands?
I really do not like such sort of questions because my favorites changes all the time. When I’ve started to listen to music seriously I was fascinated with punk and alternative. Next, time for metal came. During years and discovering new kinds of music I’ve felt in love in gothic and dark wave.
Nowadays, I really like Das Ich, Umbra At Imago, Deine Lakaien, Devil Doll but I’m also fascinated with Massive Attack, Madonna, David Bowie, Depeche Mode and Marilyn Manson. So, you can see there is no one music style. When the music is good arranged and produced even pop can be inspiriting. On the other hand lots of bands playing gothic really suck.
How did you develop your vocal style and how would you say your style has developed over the various Artrosis albums?
The only answer is included on our LPs. When I listen to our previous albums I’m really proud of my musical education. Together with Artrosis evolution, my vocal style is also developing. There is much more emotion, I’m trying to make some experiments. Nowadays, I’m more familiar with studio features so, it lets me imagine what I can do with my vocal and what is possible to do.
Who do you find yourself listening to all the time Maciej?
I do not listen to the music at all. It lets me keep distance to other artists and avoid plagiarism. Sometimes, I reach for albums of unknown artists or something extreme like Diamanda.
How would you describe your music—progressive metal, gothic—or does it defy categorisation?
Medeah: Now, I think Artrosis has rather nothing to do with metal. The most metal album is Hidden Dimension (Ukryty Wymiar) and over time our music style developed to include to gothic, industrial and dark wave, especially on our last album, Fetish where keyboards play the main role and guitars are in the backgrounds. So, it’s quite difficult to describe what style it is exactly.
How was your material written?
Our first album was just a compilation of our best songs which were created during the two years before recording the material and there was nothing interesting maybe except the members of band were quickly changing. The other albums are rather more uniform. The creation phase takes usually not more than two to three months and the last one was created in only three weeks. We meet together and work twenty four hours a day. It really works for us. We want to repeat this again during the work on the next album.
Where do you draw your inspiration for the lyrics and messages within the recordings?
Lyrics for the Hidden Dimension were written mainly by Vincent the Crow. I've written all the lyrics from the second album onwards. I just look around and write what I see. Fetish is about something which is treated by everybody as a holy thing. But the truth is different, this "thing" is just a thing and nothing more. This song explains the main idea of the name of album.
We used to treat some objects or people like a God. When I was writing these lyrics I was thinking about rock musicians who are Gods for their fans. You see it’s very nice to have faithful and devoted fans but for their good it’s better they think about musicians like artists not like a God.
Artrosis has released recordings in English and in Polish. What are some of the challenges that you face when doing the English versions?
Well, for me it’s easier to sing in Polish. So, at the beginning all songs are written in my mother language. But some people do not enjoy if they do not understand what an artist is singing about. English is common language for recording songs. Everybody has used to English lyrics. So, we always record two versions of album.
What are the challenges? I do not know, for me it’s just another recording session.
Do you have careers or work outside music?
Medeah: It’s almost impossible to live with such sort of music in Poland so, I do different things. I was even a teacher. Now I work with radio as reporter. It’d be perfect to have enough money from music, but if there is not enough, I can find myself in world outside music.
Grunthell: I’ve started my own business which is strictly connected with a music. I produce guitar amplifiers!
What about your live performances and the audience's reaction to your on-stage personna. Is the live sound similar to the recordings?
Medeah: The gigs are very similar to studio recordings. In fact, sometimes we do special versions of songs like "Emerald Night" or "We" in an acoustic version.
With four original albums, the band have a vast repertoire. Which are your favourites and why?
There are much more releases but there are original albums. For me the best one is Fetish or In The Flowers’ Shade. I can not decide which one because each one is beautiful but and each is quite different. In The Flowers’ Shade is like a greatest hits. There are a lots of catchy songs which can be even played in radio.
Fetish is different. It’s a more difficult album and you can see there much more emotion in it. So, if you really want to feel Fetish, you have to listen to it from first sound to the last in calm.
How do you view the response to your music outside Poland?
Well, now I’d like for Artrosis to be more known outside Poland. You know, in Poland we are one of the most popular bands but if you leave Poland. Some people say: "The Hidden Dimension was great but what are they doing now? Where can I can get more info about them?"
The problem is with our label which do not do much in this direction to promote band outside Poland. In fact, in August we have a tour in Mexico! We sometimes meet other bands like Moonight, Quidam and Centuria on festivals or tours.
How has the internet influenced your musical career and the promotion of your music?
The internet is the only one place in which we can create our own view and promote Artrosis ourselves. We caught lots of contacts and we have one of the best web pages. In fact, most of contents is available only in Polish but you can have a look at http://artrosis.rockmetal.art.pl. In the near future we plan to completely rebuild this site and make it more interactive.
Fetish.On their latest twelve track album (Metal Mind Records (PL) MM CD 0126, 2001), Artrosis has returned to their signature style of heavy, catchy, groovy goth metal as on In The Flowers Shade and Hidden Dimension rather than continue the more progressive direction of In Nomine Noctis.
Fetish is noticeably more atmospheric and subdued than their previous releases; the song structures are darker with less groove and catchiness, though still very melodic. They have added touches of light electronica and Medeah has widened her vocal styles. Rather than always sing in her superb soaring style, she sometimes adopts a more mellow style, especially for the more atmospheric passages. She also has an odd approach in certain parts of the first couple of songs, sort of a gruff, melodic, staccato shouting style, something I have never really heard before.
The variety in Medeah's singing is welcomed as is the light electronica. There are several very good songs, but they lack the excitement and drive so characteristic of In The Flowers Shade and Hidden Dimension. The atmospheric songs on In Nomine Noctis, are varied and progressive, while those on Fetish aren't as engaging or memorable That said, this is a very enjoyable album.
We hope they will continue in the more progressive direction on their next release, like they explored on In Nomine Noctis, one of our all-time favorite albums, a masterpiece of progressive gothic metal. The production on Fetish is excellent, warm and heavy, as it is on In The Flowers Shade Hidden Dimension. (October 2001, Chris Mitchell)
I don't really like to compare an album against its pre or post release. Because it is the artists' direction of travel and I can only ensue or dispel. This cd has to try to follow up In Nomine Noctis. Wow. But i do enjoy this one.
Track by track. "Fetish" Enhancing. Maybe the drums. Nah, forget it. Vocals are a variance in tone? Song is still slowly growing on me. Like a glacier on a coffee break. No really, theres more groove in this cd. "The 2nd Face" Intro is leaning more towards electro/techno. But a smooth slow groove. A little lighter, but sways peacefully. Some violins could have been a hidden dimension here. "Zniewolona Mysl" This is better. This tune has a heavy confectionary sassiness to it. Vox are still different, but as we near the gates of babylon, theres that chanting style which is becoming signature. The techno portions are ... the word says it all tech-no... still a swell egg.
"Black Truth" Intro is oh so suave. Mmm very nn-ice. Izat chorus in there? Not enough O's in smoooth. Pleasant harmonies and vocalayering. Im losin it man. My friend this is a groovy tune. A minute longer mita been nice. I just play it three times in a row! "Sameul" aciej! on the Roland XF-50. You go boyyy you hold the keys! Medea does the vocals with some pure energy a nd devotion, Strong and unbound and can then hauntingly whisper like a long lost lover. Hearing a voice you've known from so many light years ago, and they decided to call. Willowing out your name ... gives new meaning to errie-descent light! Get it? Wait till the last 2:28 of this gem. Great interjection. Is this one a classic yet?
"The Poisoned" Marcin with some cool bass lines intro. If you have a super sub woofer its sounds better real muddy a foot thick. Reverb superb. This song to me is a tremendous love song. Become blanketed with sadness. Loosely draped in a joyful depression. Can you feel the poison slowly working ... like some creeping death? A Melancholy marvel. Gotsa ta like dis one, bruddah!
"Homini Noctus" Gritty. Nice intro and guitar work. Simplistically devine. Elegant vocals, has a sound of heritage and nostalgia. "Cosmos" Kramer's fav song; an instrumental. "Ostantni Raz" means last blow or last lick or something like that. Emotionally sung. I have some blank space on the disc before the next songs. "Murr" "Suita" Bravo! Its raining keys! into "00100101110" a monster closer. (February 2002, Bill Parkinson)
Hidden Dimension.Entitled Ukryty wymiar and sung entirely in Polish, including the liner notes (Metal Mind Records (PL) MMP CD 0124 DG, 1997), Hidden Dimension is the 1998 English version. The Polish version of the album has ten main tracks and three bonus tracks.
Artrosis is very much like The Gathering—very heavy, driving, energetic, guitars (lots of cool riffing much like Therion), tons of keys, strings, wind instruments and killer bells (I love bells), an excellent female vocalist named Medeah, playing fairly doomy metal.
Though the overall feel is doomy like The Gathering, the songs are more upbeat than gloomy, though some of them are quite eerie and creepy; all of them are very melodic, several to the point of catchy.
Medeah has a very high, clear, strong, beautiful voice, and she can really soar. There is certainly a sameness about many of the songs, though there is a lot of subtle variety and world music influences for the attentive listener. If you love that mesmerizing, captivating mood this kind of music just bathes you in, this is some of the best we’ve heard outside The Gathering. Very highly recommended. (November 2000, Chris Mitchell)
Artrosis-a journey into ambieyond. Webster's actually has this band listed in its modern definitions, See Artrosis (ar'-tro-sis) syn: ambient, that which encompasses, surrounds, audible engulfment, to bathe melodically, sonically contour. Well, actually it is just my synonyminal attempt to represent the sound and respectively more paramount the feel that this band provides.
This band, having originated in Poland, has transmigrated to us a sound that blends weighty riffing sounds a layered canopy of angelic voices and a sheer fabric of lushious keys that gell into music. They bring a stick to your guns/take hold the flame approach that is contrary to todays music. By maintaining its trademark style continuity and permanence of muscial concepts and ideas.
Hidden Dimension is a fine first release of great early material that expresses the band's fashion. Sincerely and illusively heavy. Then keys sprinkled throughout well-timed. Bells/windwork are excellent touches. Now onto the dreamy part, Enter Medea! Truly en"chant"ing vocals that which like finer tetrohydrocannabinol will take you soaring higher. All kidding aside she has great range and a revealing clarity unmatched.
Track by track. "Lisa" is the first track intro and song does well in that regard. "Black and White Dreams" opens with some cool bass lines and that drummer who is too mechanical but his timing is proficient--ha ha--drum machine! Who cares; it's working well this far. I'm not convinced its pertinent. Bring in tubular bells, add some cool catch riffing while Medea chants in. Another great intro. This song has an operatic flair/symphonic setting. Very nice.
"Dance" has a certain ballady sadness to it that is automatically appealing. "Nazgul, "Rzeka Istnien" unconfined insurmontable forces. "Seventh Seal" I think you'll appreciate the urgency or comprehend the vitalness of this song. It's anticipant and musically enjoyable. "Epitafium" has beautiful gentle gitara notes and always that heavy riff and raffin. Stirred not shaken to achieve that superior blend & great composition. Unequivocal vocalization.
"Emerald Night" Viola! Well actually violin. Way cool in this application. String arrangements work well with this band. I like this song but some how, double pumping of some bass drums might add a little depth? Or maybe Paiste' on some Zildjians! This whole album is highly recommended. For an introduction to this femnominal (phenominal) band. Line up: Magdalena "Medea" Dobosz-ultravox and superoctavator Spacey-Maciej Neizielski: keyboards, Krysztof "Chris" Bialas-gitara addtnl musicians: Magdalena Stemaszyk-violin/Emerald night. Paul Sloniowski-bass gitara. (February 2002, Bill Parkinson)
Koncert w Trójce.Viewed as a [live] compilation by the band, this album (Metal Mind Records (PL) MMP CD 0126 DG, 2000) is comprised of twelve audio tracks with one bonus audio and another bonus video track. Available only in Polish, production credits include Polskie Radio, S. A. The digipack includes excellent photographs of each of the band members from one of their live performances.
I wasn't always keen on live recordings as much because you lose the quality of the sound out of the studio. But my informant has told me that this was a good live recording. And it still retained its essence and so it does. You may try this cd for a compilation of their work. Theres like a bakers dozen of tracks, a vivid Videoclip of "Morfeusz." I watched it so much. I now dream in infrared. Some songs on the live deal contain songs not on the studio albums. (February 2002, Bill Parkinson)
There is always something special about a live album and this one is certainly a recording to behold. A fantastic compilation of the band's work with tracks from and outside their other recorded output. Polskie Radio have done a good job capturing the band's live performance ambience illustrating in their own way what Artrosis would be if we could see them perform on stage in front of our very eyes. Even though the band don't consider it a separate and distinct album, certainly serious fans of the band will do.
In The Flowers Shade.Released in Poland as Posród Kwiatów I Cieni in 1999, an English version (Metal Mind Records (PL) MMP CD 0105, 2000) of this eleven track album is also available. The album is even better than Hidden Dimension released earlier. The English release includes heaps of additional material, including a video track, that you can view with a personal computer.
The album has absolutely the same signature sound—a mix of heavy, mesmerizing, atmospheric, somewhat dark gothic metal and catchy, energetic, upbeat grooves and riffs—but now the production is even better. Medeah's vocal work is stunning, mixed way up over the arrangements and she soars to new heights. The bonus material—including a symphonic/vocalise outro after the main set following a long pause and a twelfth unlisted and highly accessible bonus track sung in Polish—is wonderful.
The songs are more progressive with more variety than the earlier albums. The song writing as a whole is also much improved and shows a noticeable maturity. Medeah's voice will send shivers up and down your spine. Somebody once told me Polish is a harsh language, but not the way she sings it. (November 2000, Chris Mitchell)
If you are heavy into lyrics and meanings of songs you may not be as interested in the Polish version. All songs and credits are in (Tubylec Polska) native Polish. But for straight up listening both the English and Polish versions are equally good. Line up change: Rafal Grunt (siekiera) lead axe and Marcin Pendowski (bass). And perhaps a minute incline in the actual song writing, I like when Medea writes the lyrics like for the balance of releases. Which is appropriate on account of she breathes the life of "Artie". This sireena suprema draws out vocals like some mad Banshee woman calling out into the blackened night. It will shadow you and embrace you kinda warm, fuzzy, feeling.
Track by track. "Niepradwdziwa Historia Cz1" starts out this cd wonderfully. A heavy harmonic and melodic masterpiece. Hey whats that cool bonging sound? Well its bongosy (bongos). Courtesy Artur Dominik (Artie) on the wampums. "Nieprawdziwa Historia Cz11" has a likeable intro. Serious and delicious vocals throughout. Medea does boastfully well here. Very attractive portions and the song isn't bad either. It closes with a bizarre and chrunching sound. Neat closer.
"Biarta Karta" I like it when they get that classy symphonic sorrow thing goin and the lumbering, wandering guitar work and when Medea shoots off like a cosmic fireball thru a twilighted equinox. Then she talks thru you in her native tongue. You can tell shes serious. In "A Ja" You'll notice how these last five songs gently follow the next. Like lemmings off a cliff each doing its duty giving way moving on. To be replaced by its sucessor. So far so cool. "A ja" rules! holla.
"Morfeusz" and "Posrod Kwaitow I Cieni" I think they utilize intros to the ultimost. Good work from Rafal. Heavy and gentle plays. And Medea's vocal layers. Like those of a rich dark chocolate torte'. Yummy. Audible edibles. The next songs somehow captures the female persona. Beautiful and yet complexing. "Dwie Drogi Ill" Actually the translation means two expensive? Starts out rough and ready lays back jumps in and out of a sonic daydream while a guitar gently sweeps then back into the pandemonium. Did I mention very adhesive vocal and lyrics? Song closes like a Polish sunset.
"My" in oh my? No, really means us/we. Yet another good track. I don't know if the next song is considered bonus track or extension of the previous track but it is such a treat. Production and recording are well done. You can spin this whole cd for enjoyable listening and makes a great late night snack. (sounds even better at nite). The extra video clip on this is another treat. It says alot about the band. I found it interesting. I think it relays a seriousness and devotion of the musicians and artists that they are. (February 2002, Bill Parkinson)
In Nomine Noctis.As with the other Artrosis albums both a Polish version, entitled W Imie Nocy released in 2000 and an English version (Metal Mind (PL) MMP CD 0123, 2001) are available. While In Nomine Noctis was released in 2000, according to Artrosis’s website, it was actually recorded in 1998, between between Hidden Dimension and In The Flowers Shade. The album is comprised of twelve tracks.
The album sounds remarkably unlike either of those that bracket it and is the best thing Artrosis has done. It is more complex and adventurous than anything else heard from them, much more progressive with a greater variety of styles and moods. Much of it is still their signature fast, crunchy, upbeat, groovy gothic metal with Medeah’s soaring vocals and chants, along with lots of keys, strings and bells, but this time out they add long, sometimes meandering, and always very pretty atmospheric passages reminscent of The 3rd and Mortal.
The guitars have a scratchier quality than the band's other releases. And much like On Thorns I Lay, Medeah has pitched her voice a little deeper, and is often n oticeably farther back in the mix. The really nice thing about this album is the excellent song-writing. They weave together the beautiful atmospheric melodies and the catchy goth groove into a nicely progressive tapestry of music that sounds fresh and interesting, never tiring. The production is not as clear and crisp as it is on their other albums, but has a rawer, less lush feel—this darkens and cools the music a bit, but also gives it a more serious character that I’ve come to like more and more with every listen. Highest possible recommendation for fans of gothic or progressive metal with female vocals. (April 2001, Chris Mitchell)
This cd is my chronic. All aspects spiral upwards and outwards. From song writing to production. It is a little heavier sound but has retained its ardor and fervor while heightening their music to a new plateau. A little more throttle added. Variable steps in progressiveness and stratospheric passaging. Coupled with that mesmelodic voice to bring a heavier compilation of tracks that can't be beat.
An audio assult, a bombardment of euphonic missles. The keys and Medea set a nice buffer for the crunchy-munchy guitar work. I've always thought the best guitar sounds came from a Fender strat through a Marshall amp (Hendrix, Blackmore, Malmsteen). I think Rafal is torqing a Kramer thru one of those fine German, Hughes and Kettner amps. But i notice on their live cd, he was using a Marshall amp. Either sound does very well. I still think he should go off a little more. I know he can.
Track by track. "Hidden Dimension" is an excellent opening track. I run an irregular heartbeat to match that heavy guitaring, maybe it's playing too loud. "World Without an End" lets use a an iron-butterfly connotation to best describe the refined contrast of the heavy guitar (iron). And the keys and Medea's vocals being (butterfly). To me this is patent Artrosis.
"Hypnosis" is great. Entrancing. "Toward The Top" has a very fine intro, like angel hair pasta. This cd is so good i play both sides! The B side plays weird but i love it. "Nothingness" -- did you notice the classical texture of the cd so far. Medea showing her warm and fuzzy side again. But on "Crazy," whoa Jack! Nice rough intro riffs in "Nothingness and "Crazy" capturing and indentifying their titles."1/4 Moon Left" is an instrumental while "The Request" has opening lyrics that tell it all "Rock me-in sound which alleviate the pain in sound that drifts like a cloud." The final track is the Polish version of "Hidden Dimension." Enjoy it either way. Give extra credit to Medea. Fluently talented to sing in both tongues. A congrat to GRAAL for cover art work that portraits this cd personality only using 2 -3 colors. It tells me a terrific tale and conceptually captures I N Noctus. The artist also did nice work on Moonlights Floe (review). (February 2002, Bill Parkinson)
Closing thoughts from an open mind; open thoughts from a closing mind. Lets face it this band is to Goth Metal, what xtain resistant carpeting was to the oval office in the Monica Lewinski years. I have always been partial to very heavy, thrashy, speedy, shred and the neo-classical/prog-metal scene. And the guitar masters Malmsteen, Masi, McAlpine. But this band is heavy enough for this type of metal.
And in todays world of music. With such a broad and brilliant spectrum of variations in the metal genre. This band appears to be the flagship sailing up from the horizon. The fore frontrunner, the vertabral disc in a scholyized backbone of "Darkmonic Metal" A crossvection of dark and harmonic metal. Feel free to use it.
Those of us femmiliar with Artrosis woo hoo if not, you've been missing out. Regardless of what type of music you like. If you appreciate female lead vocals. You may very well enjoy this sound and feel. Add this bands cd's for that hidden dimension to your repretoire. I try not to compare bands too much. Each band is its own. Theoretically by concepts and musically. And should be recognized and interpreted the way the band would like it to be perceived.
Another bright point for me, I found appreciation in the fact that this band and music stays somewhat clean and down to earth. I also appreciate no lowly growls. Not too much death or evilness portrayed. Just great music from Poland. Note that on some cds, actual tracks vary version to version or per releases and re-releases. For example, the US version of Hidden Dimension has ten tracks. The original US release only had only six. The Polish version has ten tracks. Discuss this with a well stocked supplier who may assist you in deciding which one you may enjoy to a greater extent. Possibly get signed material? In the horrid event you are unable to feed your need, try Sonic Catheral or Potem! [later!] (February 2002, Bill Parkinson)
The band's compact discs are generally available throughout Europe and other territories. Readers interested in exploring the genre further should check out Chris Mitchell's Dweeb Metal website.
Enthusiasts seeking autographed copies of the band's albums are encouraged to order them from Sonic Cathedral. With stunning vocals, excellent arrangements and superior production, Artrosis' albums are worth a journey and are each a must listen!
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