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Ravenheart Music: Interviews


Anatomy of the Sacred is a Symphonic Metal band from the USA, Pennsylvania to be precise. I rather like their EP 'Ashes to Ashes', and so should all that hear it. I arranged an interview with them and here it is!

Can we be introduced to the members of Anatomy Of The Sacred?
Brenda – Both Shane and I have written and produced all the music for Anatomy of the Sacred, but we each have our fortes. I do Lead and background vocals and write much of the lyrics and vocal melodies.

Shane – Bass, rhythm and lead guitars, keyboards and programming. I have been performing in many cover and original bands over the years and this is the evolution of my musical experience. Much of the material has been brewing for years and this project has given me the opportunity to let the world hear it now!

How did you arrive at the band name?
Shane - We kicked around ideas for weeks, until Brenda suggested this name and it seemed to stick. We wanted something catchy and unique, but also easy to remember.

Are you involved in any other band projects?
Shane – I’m currently playing bass for an American classic rock cover band called Kasper.

Brenda – I currently sing with the band Traces of Eden, as well as other bands that call upon me to join them doing lead & background vocal work. I was the Soprano in a New York/New Jersey based Christmas show and may do that again this coming Christmas Season.

Do you see your band as a long term musical project?
Shane - Yes. We started pulling material together for the album and then decided to release an EP instead. Once that got off the ground, we started looking forward and thought that we could pay for the next release with proceeds from the current EP. We are also looking towards crowd sourcing for additional funds.

Can you tell us about your new EP 'Ashes To Ashes'?
Shane - The EP is a first time collaboration between me and Brenda. Some songs were written years ago while others were written fairly recently. The music is written by me and Brenda provides most of the lyrics and vocal melodies. Oddly enough, some music and lyrics were written independently, but married up so well, they seemed that they were meant to go together! Just One Night is an example of this.

Brenda - Shane and I both served as Executive Producers on the ‘Ashes To Ashes’ EP. It was a great experience working together not only as song writers, but also as producers. The Album title “Ashes to Ashes” was Shane’s idea, which was based on the Album Cover image created by Photographer Renee Robyn……a beautiful heart disintegrating. The album within itself is a journey through many facets of life and love; Lust, Reflection, Hope, Disappointment, Fear, and Death…….taking facets of our humanity from ashes to ashes.

Where was the EP recorded and what was the studio experience like?
Shane - We recorded the EP over the course of about a year at The Demo Factory in Myerstown, PA. Myerstown is a small town in Lebanon County where you commonly pass Amish buggies on the way to the studio. Brenda wanted to use Scott Sobel to record since she’s worked with him in previous projects and she knows him to be a meticulous sound engineer. The studio experience was a little frustrating at first when we had several musicians that did not work out. However, once we got going, it was a pretty exciting process. Quite a learning process too!

Brenda - Working with Scott Sobel allowed us the opportunity to be creative with our sound, transforming each song into its own story, while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the music and continuity of the album.

And for those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your music?
Shane - Our music is best described as Symphonic Metal. Two good examples of the style are Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Evanescence, but we are also influenced by Nightwish, Delain, Stream Of Passion and Within Temptation. Several American classic rock bands such as Heart and Kansas are influences too.

Brenda - We’ve been told that our music sounds like a combination between the power of Evanescence, the vocal stylings of Heart and the orchestrations of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

And do you yourself have any fave tracks from your album?
Shane - Hope Holds On is my favorite track. I like the flow of the song as well as how the song builds to the end. I especially like full, lush choir, so this gave us a chance to throw that in to this song. This song was written after listening to Stream of Passion’s album The Flame Within.

Brenda – It’s really hard for me to pick a favorite. Every track from the album is literally my favorite…..which is a good sign! I absolutely love singing every song off the album. Each song allows me to do so much with my voice and to tell so many stories from a vocal perspective. I really love listening to Clinton Washington’s vocals on the song ‘Farewell to the Light’. His vocal work is amazing on that song and I love doing the haunting female voice that answers him!

You are from Pennsylvania, what is the metal music scene like there?
Shane - The band is located in south central PA, where the metal scene is not very good, but you can travel an hour or two in almost any direction to some pretty good bars and clubs. Baltimore, MD has many medium and large scale venues as well as Philadelphia, PA. We hope to soon find management that can lead us into some good places to play.

We here totally love the female fronted rock and metal scene. Some people however, still view the rock/metal scene as being a male domain. Do you feel that there is still a little prejudice in places against ladies fronting a rock/metal band?
Shane - To say that rock or metal bands should only have male lead vocals is like saying that all bass players should play a Fender. There are so many different styles and tastes... look at Alissa White-Gluz from Arch Enemy or Maria Brink from In This Moment. Perfect examples where female lead vocals fit in perfectly. For people that think girls can’t rock, they just haven’t heard the right band yet!

Do you feel that social networking is now a very important medium regards getting your music out there? - something that of course was not there to assist musicians not all that long ago.
Shane - Yes. When I was in cover bands pre-internet, there were a lot of flyers being handed out and posters in clubs. Now you can reach a lot more people without ever leaving your house! Plus, with social media, you can reach out to the fans in a much more personal way through chats and messaging. Great tools!

A musician friend told me a few days ago that and I quote, "the physical cd is dead". Would you agree and is the way forward digital or physical?
Shane - People still buy vinyl, so the CD is not completely gone… yet. Don’t forget, you can also use limited release packaging to deliver special material on CD-only or vinyl only. Moonsorrow released their entire catalog back in 2014 on vinyl. I think that included some rare demo tracks you can’t get anywhere else.

Brenda – I don’t think the physical CD is dead, but it may be on Life Support. LOL! For myself, and I hate to admit this, but I rarely buy discs. I actually download most of my music digitally. However, if I see a disc that has a really cool cover, like our album (shameless plug)…I will more than likely buy the actual CD….hint, hint. ;)

However, vinyl is starting to re-appear again. Do you think it will make a big comeback?
Shane - Probably not in a big way. It will probably always be a niche thing.

What bands inspire you?
Shane - When writing, I draw inspiration from many places, such as classic American progressive bands like Kansas and Blue Oyster Cult or more modern European metal like Stream of Passion and Delain. I have always had a love of the orchestra and choir. Early on, I listened to metal bands such as Iron Maiden and Black Sabbath. The album Once from Nightwish was really the recording that inspired me to begin writing symphonic metal, as this album is one of the best examples of the style.

Brenda – I’m not sure that any band in particular inspires me when writing music. When writing, I really learned my craft from my former music pastor’s wife – Carole Telman. She’s a wonderful songwriter that took me under her wing. We wrote together for many, many years. I learned to never dismiss an idea, as it could lead to something later, so I have lots of musical hooks and lyrical ideas in various developmental stages. A lot of my writing comes from personal experience and I try not to write unless I feel I have something to say and I can say it in a manner that hasn’t been said before. When writing, I try to remember what many great song writers have said makes a great song; “A great song always tells a story, it conveys emotion and provides imagery, both vocally and lyrically, and it is always married well to the music.” I believe that every song has a life of its own, and I want to see it lived to the fullest.

And when chilling out, what music do you listen too?
Shane – I’m a huge black and folk metal fan. Recently, most listened to bands are Moonsorrow, Cradle of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, and Turisas. For some odd reason, there is also room for Lady Gaga, Katy Parry, and Kesha in there… who knew!

Brenda – I chill out to a variety of music. I love anything with a lot of passion and soul where vocal melodies and harmonies are at the forefront and I can sing along for hours on end….much to the dismay of those in my house! Any Evanescence album, Heart-The Essential album, Within Temptation – Black Symphony, Sarah McLachlan- Mirrorball, Annie Lennox-Diva, George Michael-Patience, Spencer Mackenzie Brown-Part 1 and Part 2, Jars of Clay and Enigma are just a few that could be considered my go-to’s. I also love to listen to Movie Soundtracks/Scores with ‘The Passion of the Christ’, ‘Amadeus’, ‘Perfume’ and ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ being my favorites.

Knowing the music business as it is, I assume that Anatomy Of The Sacred is not a full time project, so what do you do to pay those all important bills?
Shane - Yes, this music project is not full time. I have been a software analyst for more than 25 years and most recently work for Utz Quality Foods.

Brenda – I sure wish that I could do music full-time, but to pay the bills, I work as a professional benefits consultant having been in HR/Benefits for over 16 years.

If you could be in a band that plays another style of music, what style of music would that be?
Shane - Black or folk metal

Brenda – I would love to be Ann Wilson in a Heart Tribute band. Other than that, I think I would like to try my hand at Opera and Broadway. I also love doing background vocals.

Do you have any embarrassing songs on your mobile device?
Shane - Ashley Tisdale - Guilty Pleasure. It’s catchy, pop gold… don’t judge me!

Brenda - Manhattan Transfer’s – Birdland. Love, love, love singing that song! I also have all the Flight of the Conchords albums on my mobile device. Hilarious stuff that I love to sing and laugh to…. ‘A Kiss Is Not A Contract’ being my favorite!

And is there any genre of music that annoys you?
Shane - Rap

Brenda – Totally agree with Shane…Rap. Can’t stand it!

Me too! If you had the chance to tour with any band/artist of your choice, who would they be?
Shane - Delain

Brenda – Halestorm. Anatomy and Halestorm are both from the South Central PA area of the United States. I think we would totally rock together, a stage loaded with power and passion! It would be a match made in vocal/music heaven! I’ve heard that they are also super nice people to work with.

Thanks for the interview, is there anything you would like to say to readers of our website before we sign off?
Brenda - We really hope you enjoy our music! If you like what you hear, like us on Facebook ( ), and feel free to post a picture of yourself holding our album. We would love to see you and hear what you think!
Dave Smith (Jul 5, 2016)