Five Years at Sonic Cathedral – A Retrospective, Part 4: Artists #5 through #1

We’ve reached the end of the Sonic Cathedral Retrospective countdown! I’ve been listing my 20 favorite artists that I’ve covered in my five years of writing at the Sonic Cathedral WebZine. And today, it’s time to reveal the top five – including the artist I chose for #1!

First, in case you’ve missed the previous installments, here they are:

Part 1: Artists #20 through #16

Part 2: Artists #15 through #11

Part 3: Artists #10 through #6

So if we left off at #6, that means we’ll start tonight with…

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The Mariana Hollow’s “Scars, Not Wounds” – A Documentary

I’m thrilled to announced that I’m one of several fans featured in The Mariana Hollow’s new documentary, “Scars, Not Wounds.” You may have read other posts here about The Mariana Hollow. This alternative metal quintet from the United Kingdom is one of my favorite musical discoveries of the past few years, on an artistic level as well as a personal level. (You’ll find out more in the next installment of my Sonic Cathedral Retrospective countdown, coming later this week.)

“Scars, Not Wounds” chronicles the making of The Mariana Hollow’s new EP of the same title. It also focuses on the major line-up change that led to the evolution in TMH’s sound. The band also took time to interview fans about why they like The Mariana Hollow’s music. Those fans include Mark Ashby of ProgTopia Radio, members of UK bands The Neon Choir and Breed77, photographer Thanira Rates, and some of TMH’s regular gig-goers in the London area. You can catch me twice in the documentary (2:37 to 2:47, and 24:42 to 24:58).

Prepare to listen, laugh, and learn. Be ready to lose yourself in the heavy, oceanic music of The Mariana Hollow. And most of all, enjoy! (NOTE: This video contains some adult language and may not be appropriate for young audiences.)

Coming Soon: As mentioned yesterday, I’ve got one more installment of the Sonic Cathedral 5-Year Retrospective countdown, as well as a new review coming at Sonic Cathedral and the next “Chronicling The Craft” article. It’s going to be an active week here, so stay tuned!

My Favorite Music of 2012


I hope your New Year has gotten off to a promising start. The end of 2012 was a busy time for me, between various writing projects, the holidays, and other things. However, I made sure to consider which albums from 2012 I considered as some of my favorites.

I always make two lists: a personal one that combines all of the music genres I listen to, and one for Sonic Cathedral that focuses exclusive on female-fronted rock and metal. Now that the Sonic Cathedral Best of 2012 article is online, it’s time for me to share my picks for both lists! And – ready for a shocker? – for the first time in a couple years, my #1 picks for both lists are different albums. Then again, that just goes to show how incredible some of 2012’s albums were.

So, here are the lists!

My Personal Top 10 Albums of 2012

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1. Anathema – Weather Systems

2. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit

3. The Mariana Hollow – Velvet Black Sky

4. Xandria – Neverworld’s End

5. Astral Tears – Hypnotic

6. Lyriel – Leverage

7. Kamelot – Silverthorn

8. Ideal Zero – Ideal Zero EP

9. Atoma – Skylight

10. Arjen Lucassen – Lost In The New Real

My Sonic Cathedral Top 10 of 2012
(click here to read the full article by the SC staff)

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1. Beyond The Bridge – The Old Man & The Spirit

2. The Mariana Hollow – Velvet Black Sky

3. Xandria – Neverworld’s End

4. Astral Tears – Hypnotic

5. Lyriel – Leverage

6. Ideal Zero – Ideal Zero EP

7. Leah – Of Earth & Angels

8. Venturia – Dawn Of A New Era

9. Vajra – Pleroma

10. Akoma – The Other Side EP

New at Sonic Cathedral: Second Interview with The Mariana Hollow

One of two articles I had hinted about last week is now online at Sonic Cathedral!

If you’ve visited this blog before, you may recall me talking about The Mariana Hollow. I’ve covered this UK alt-metal quintet several times at Sonic Cathedral, the previous article being a review of their second album Velvet Black Sky. (A glowing review, to be specific!) And now, I can say I’ve had the privilege of interviewing all five members of The Mariana Hollow for the second time! We talked about the making of Velvet Black Sky, upcoming touring plans, and stories of missing snares and “hairy” gigs. Insightful yet entertaining – my favorite kind of interview!

Click here to read my new interview with The Mariana Hollow.

More news and updates coming soon – including a new review at Suite101, as well as a big announcement regarding my poetry!

~ Sara

New CD Reviews: Beyond The Bridge and The Mariana Hollow


After a hectic January, I’m finally catching up with two new reviews at Sonic Cathedral. And after what has been a sour start musically to 2012 (sorry, Nightwish and Lacuna Coil fans, but I don’t like their latest offerings at all), I’m so thrilled to have covered two phenomenal albums – two that I’m sure will battle it out at year’s end for my favorite album of the year!

First up is The Old Man And The Spirit, the debut album by German progressive metal project Beyond The Bridge. This concept album features two very different singers – metal veteran Herbie Langhans, and up-and-coming jazz singer Dilenya Mar – as the title characters. Musically, The Old Man… is, as quoted from my review, “a page out of Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon book.” Progressive metal combined with various genres, salient melodies, and skillful arrangements galore. However, Beyond The Bridge have accomplished something that Mr. Lucassen – or any other artist whose album(s) I’ve reviewed – has never done before. I could tell you what that is – but that would spoil the end of my review. *wink*

Click here to read my review of Beyond The Bridge’s The Old Man And The Spirit.

The second album is Velvet Black Sky, the upcoming second album by UK alternative metallers The Mariana Hollow. You’ve probably heard that name mentioned numerous times on this blog – to the point that you might be thinking, “Pfffft! She’d never say anything bad about that band!” However, I gave Velvet Black Sky the same thoughtful and honest treatment that I’ve given all of my reviewed albums – and not only is Velvet Black Sky superior to The Mariana Hollow’s debut CD Coma Heart, it’s “the wake-up call that rock and metal fans will be sorry to miss.”

Click here to read my review of The Mariana Hollow’s Velvet Black Sky.

I’ve got much more coming at Sonic Cathedral in the next few months. So, as always, stay tuned!

~ Sara