(By Leanne Ridgeway, Owner/Chief Editor, RiffRelevant.com)
Kira Schlechter is technically a ‘Guest Contributor’ here at RiffRelevant.com, but she contributes so much, we’re not letting her leave. She’s ‘semi-staff’ now. Kira likes to cover certain metal styles, many with female power vocals, which fills a heavy niche for us. Her reviews constantly introduce me to bands I’d been unfamiliar with.
Aside from her presence here, Kira has spent much of her career as a freelance writer within press and media outlets based in Pennsylvania. With over a decade at the Associated Press in Philadelphia, and another at the Harrisburg Patriot-News covering music, specifically and frequently heavy metal. In the past, she has freelanced for RIP, The World Of Hibernia, and Mademoiselle.
Kira has written about music and listened to heavy metal since she was 15 years old. In addition to her many contributions to Riff Relevant, she also freelances for the Reading Eagle newspaper in Pennsylvania. She’s an amazing woman and we’re planning to keep Kira around here for as long as she likes. 🙂
RiffRelevant.com now presents Kira Schlechter’s Favorites of 2017! Kira chose a selection of 6 powerhouse releases from the year, which introduced me to some new sounds. See her list and check out these bands! – Leanne
To leave an established band (Eluveitie) and create another that is only vaguely reminiscent of the first one is a feat and Cellar Darling accomplished it in spades. I couldn’t stop listening to this one and I still can’t. Fairly certain their followup will be in this same spot next year, since they are working on it now.
Enslaved – “E” (October 2017): (Check out Kira’s review here.)
A big, challenging masterpiece that threw every limit of metal out the window and created its own subgenre. Part black metal, part prog, part nearly jazz, but all amazing.
Kobra and the Lotus – “Prevail I” (May 2017):
The first of the concept albums led by female singers. Kobra Paige’s big, deep voice only gets better and the band only gets tighter with each release. Part II is also coming soon.
Brittany Slayes powers a cinematic concept album about a supernatural power struggle. Another band, like KATL, that should be a lot bigger, and will be.
Burning Shadows – “Truth in Legend” (May 2017):
Bless you, David LaMay, for pointing this out to me (well, demanding I listen to it!). Sounds so completely European in its approach to power metal, you’d swear they were — how they got that sophisticated in Savage, MD, is a credit to their formidable ability.
This remarkably creative, highly ambitious Massachusetts band nailed a concept album about a seductive demon and his prey. Drawing on classical and Broadway elements, and with the amazingly versatile stylings of Adrienne Cowan giving voice to the characters, Seven Spires proves it can hang with the big bands.
Many thanks to Kira for sharing her favorites for the year, as well for all her contributions since she has joined us as a regular guest of Riff Relevant. – Leanne