The Israeli symphonic metal band Stormbound are in the Meet The Band spotlight this week. They just released their debut album December. Vocalist Yael Horwitz, guitarists Shani Friedman and Ofer Friedman, bassist Pavel Kleiman, drummer Yuval Partush and keyboarist Rotem Sadia introduce us to their band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Stormbound.
Almost eight years ago, Pavel (bass) and Ofer (guitar and male vocals) met and decided to start a band together. After several lineup changes and a long writing process, everyone felt that the current lineup was the right fit, especially after the first rehearsal with lead vocalist Yael. That’s when we felt we were good to go. The lineup includes founding members Pavel Kleiman and Ofer Friedman, guitarist Shani Friedman (yes, they are a married couple), Rotem Sadia on keys, Yuval Partush on drums, and singer Yael Horwitz.
Describe the songwriting process for December.
Some songs were written by a specific member and some were a joint effort. More importantly, all songs were arranged by the entire band and we have done our best to let everyone shine through and utilize each other.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
There were quite a few great moments. When we recorded “Shadows,” Yael nailed the song’s most dramatic part at the first take and it was gigantic. Also, Shani played the solos for the title song “December” and “Sacred Lies.”
How would you characterize its style/genre?
We’re being referred to as symphonic metal, but if you listen to the album you can hear that there’s a lot more going on. We never had any intention to play a specific genre, we just do what sits well with our abilities.
What lyrical topics do you cover?
The album includes songs about personal subjects such as romantic issues and relationships with close people in general, but also about global matters – especially global warming and how the human race treats the planet.
What led you to go the independent route for the album’s release?
As a brand new band, our chances to sign with a well-established label are practically zero. We thought that the right thing to do was to find great PR experts, and so far we are very pleased with the results. We also have a good digital label that runs the whole streaming thing and that makes a significant difference.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
Our main goal is to create a following for the band and so far we see that it most certainly works. The singles that are already out get a lot of compliments everywhere, our shows get bigger, and so on. The second and equally important goal is to learn what works better for us musically, see what our crowd likes more and so forth, and we will utilize that for our next album.
What has been your most memorable Stormbound live show?
Opening for Epica in Tel-Aviv. Also, from time to time we see more people sing our lyrics along, and for an upcoming band that’s the greatest feeling.
What are your upcoming show/tour plans?
We are planning to tour Europe, but there’s nothing we can announce just yet. We also have shows coming up in Israel.
How did you get started in music?
Yuval Partush: I started music when I was three years old, my first instrument was the piano.
Ofer Friedman: I started playing guitar at the age of 13, but even before that I knew music would be my thing in life.
Rotem Sadia: My father sent me to piano lessons when I was young because he always wanted to learn music properly, good thing I actually went. (laughs)
Shani Friedman: I started playing guitar as a teenager, and my guitar teacher introduced me to metal bands like Metallica, Symphony X, and Dream Theater.
Yael Horwitz: I started singing from very early on. The first time was at my older brother’s Bar Mitzvah, at the age of five. At school, I sang everywhere I could. At the age of 15 I started taking voice lessons and that’s when I began listening to metal.
Pavel Kleiman: I started playing guitar at a very young age, after that, I became a pro drummer for a while, then back to guitar and bass.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
Ofer Friedman: Classical music is my main influence. other than that – Mago de Oz, In Extremo, In flames, Queen, Metallica.
Shani Friedman: Arch Enemy, Animals as Leaders, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater.
Yael Horwitz: Queen, Amy Lee, Lzzy Hale, Epica, Nightwish.
Yuval Partush: Meshuggah, Jinjer, Dream Theater, Laco Tyfa, Animals as Leaders.
Pavel Kleiman: Nightwish, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Al di Meola, Dream Theater, Sons of Apollo, Symphony X.
Rotem Sadia: Dark Moor, Soilwork, Warman, Myrath, Diablo Swing Orchestra.
What was the first metal concert you attended?
Rotem Sadia: Hard to say, it was so many years ago. I think local metal bands at the only bar that played metal in Jerusalem. I guess it was WhoreXcore in 2005.
Yuval Partush: Metallica, 2010.
Ofer Friedman: I honestly can’t remember. Probably something local. It must have been the mid-nineties.
Shani Friedman: Nightwish in Tel-Aviv, 17 years ago.
Yael Horwitz: Lacuna Coil, Tel-Aviv, 2017. Actually, I got to sing at a metal concert many years beforehand. the first time was a metal cover of Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” in 2010.
Pavel Kleiman: Iron Maiden in Tel-Aviv, 1994.
What’s the metal scene in Tel Aviv like?
It’s great! Israel has many good metal bands of different subgenres. The crowd is also fantastic and very supportive of the local groups.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
Ofer Friedman: I don’t have any, Just a little bit of workout everyday.
Rotem Sadia: Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Warhammer 40K, 3D printing & design.
Yuval Partush: Sports of different kinds. I had weight problems and decided to make a change.
Yael Horwitz: I’m actually a biologist and a researcher. Other than I have a very unique hobby of helping whoever’s flying abroad for a vacation – everything from scheduling their flights to museums or concert tickets.
Shani Friedman: I will soon be a doctor in the field of Cognitive Psychology, and I love my job as a researcher. Other than that I really enjoy cooking.
Pavel Kleiman: I have three amazing children so my free time is spent with them. I also like cooking traditional Carpathian food.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
We wanna thank you for having us. We love what you do and it’s an honor and a pleasure for us.
(interview published August 6, 2022)
Watch Stormbound – “Child’s Play” Video