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Seraphic have emerged from the shadows of Brisbane’s underground metal scene in a short space of time, culminating with their support of metal legends Queensryche at their recent gig at the Triffid.


Vocalist and pianist Sam Wolstenholme explains that while it seems like they have come from nowhere, there have been many hours of work that have gone into bringing the band to their current position.


“We formed in early 2014,” she said. “I formed the band after my previous band Alpine Fault disbanded. That was the first melodic metal band I’d been front woman for and when they disbanded, my hunger to keep going was strong. I’d been writing my own songs on the piano so I decided to form my own band. We spent most of 2014 just writing and developing the songs from the skeleton format, which was just piano and voice, and everyone else wrote their own parts. We had our first gig in March 2015. By then we’d released a couple of demos to introduce ourselves to the music world and since then, we’ve been building slowly until the Queensryche gig which was really exciting for us. Recently we added a second guitarist to beef up our sound and make it a bit stronger – we’re really happy with the sound. It’s exactly what we envisaged which is melodic metal with a heavier edge.”


Having got their first major support out of the way, Seraphic recently spent time in the studio recording their debut album ‘Journey into Illumination’, with Wolstenholme barely able to hide her excitement.


“It’s not a concept album, but it is thematically linked through the songs,” she enthused. “It’s a journey from start to finish. The vision we had was talking about how everybody is searching for answers to the big questions that we all ponder. It starts from a place of self-doubt and darkness then it kind of gets lighter as it goes on. You’re finding the answers to those questions: about yourself, your place in the universe, those kinds of things before ending in a more positive, hopeful note.”


Aside from their obvious energy and passion for music, one thing that stands out about Seraphic is the eclectic nature of their members, with each respective member bringing their own dynamic to the band.


“We have lots of different influences and lots of different characters within the band,” Wolstenholme laughed. “We all get along well and everyone brings something different to the band and the sound. I’m influenced very much by symphonic metal and bands like Epica and Delain, and we’ve also got Erwin, the lead guitarist, who has more power metal influences like Symphony X and Dream Theatre and that shows through his lead parts. Our drummer likes his old school thrash like Metallica and Megadeth and our bassist is into heavier progressive stuff like Opeth and our newest rhythm guitarist is into progressive with a background in thrash so all of that comes into play.”




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As frontwoman and focal point for Seraphic, Wolstenholme does an outstanding job with her haunting and searing vocals that resonate through and over every song, adding a dynamic and intimacy to a style of music that too often can feel mismatched.


“I started singing in choirs when I was about eight years old,” she explains of her background in music, “and then at the age of seventeen I picked up classical vocal lessons and on the recommendation of my teacher I pursued those more classical styles because it suited the style of my voice. I also studied at the University of Queensland for a year doing classical voice so I’m quite classically influenced and trained. Because of the style of music that I write I like to experiment with different styles as well, more of a rock style, so I’ve been working on that myself and taking influences from some of my favourite singers.”


While not new, the blending of classical and metal music is still an odd pairing, with Wolstenholme quick to explain that when you have a love and a passion for something you should not let perception get in the way of your goals.

“Metal is my favourite style of music,” she quipped, “because nothing else effects or touches me in the way metal does, especially the style Seraphic are performing. It’s so all encompassing that I feel completely sucked into the music. It’s very satisfying and cathartic in a way and no other music has that effect on me. I know when I started writing my own music after many years of piano and music lessons that I wanted to write music that was dark and interesting and multi layered and heavy. It was the music that affected me the most and that I related to the most.”


While drawing heavily from bands like Epica and Nightwish, Wolstenholme says Seraphic were determined from the outset to forge their own identity within the genre, not just be a copy of their influences. While the parallels are obvious, it is the subtle changes that have given Seraphic their individuality.


“I guess the biggest difference with Seraphic is we have the piano functioning as the lead instrument and the way I play it makes it more than a background thing,” she offered. “It’s very much at the forefront of our music andrealisedized that would be a point of interest. With a lot of symphonic metal you’ve got the orchestrations in the background but we decided to remove ourselves from that which worked. There’s also differences with the way we write. We like to try different tonalities and chord progressions that are a bit less conventional. We just try different sounds that we haven’t heard those other bands do before and because everyone brings their own influences in to writing their own parts when we jam them together it gives us our own unique sound.”



Written by Kris Peters






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