The Mighty Niviane Presents The Ruthless Divine
The Mighty Niviane Presents The Ruthless Divine
California power metallers Niviane are back with their new album entitled The Ruthless Divine – now available worldwide via Pure Steel Records. They’ve toured with the likes of Vicious Rumors and are ready to hit the road with an all-out vengeance once this pandemic comes to an end. Fans of classic metal acts such as Iron Maiden and Judas Priest should really check into the mighty refrains of The Ruthless Divine by Niviane, and prepare to be enraptured by the sonic intensity contained within. Highwire Daze recently interviewed front man Norman Skinner to find out a whole lot more about the mighty Niviane, the making of The Ruthless Divine, touring with Vicious Rumors, and other topics of head banging intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Niviane, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Norman Skinner and I am the vocalist for heavy Power Metal band Niviane. Niviane originally formed in late 2014 but didn’t have a full band line-up until 2015. So the band has been in existence for 5-6 years now.
Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
Niviane are based out of Sacramento, CA. Before Covid hit we had a very good music scene. Lots of venues to play and many great bands and genres of rock\metal. We are hoping to get back to some form of normal in the near future.
How did you wind up signing with Pure Steel Records?
In 2019 Pure Steel Records released the album Hate Machine by my side band Hellscream so I was already familiar having worked with their team on that release. When it came time to search for a new label to release our upcoming album The Ruthless Divine I approached my representative within Pure Steel and asked if they would be interested in the new Niviane. They asked to hear it, they loved it and now here we are.
Is there any overall story or concept behind The Ruthless Divine title?
Initially I was inspired by the character Xerxes of Persia from the movie 300. The concept of a mortal man who deems himself a God as well as a conqueror. I took the term Divinity and combined it with Ruthlessness and Hence the title The Ruthless Divine was created.
Select two songs from The Ruthless Divine and what inspired the lyrics.
Let’s see… Fallen From Elysium lyrically is great. That one is based on Lucifer’s fall from grace. The story of the favorite Angel cast out for simply questioning God’s love towards humans. Lucifer finds himself on Earth (Eden) among the humans he despises. Angry & bitter. A second song… Forgotten Centurion is a tale of a Roman Centurion mortally injured in battle and left behind during a retreat. He is dying but still trying to make it home. I like to tell a good story.
Who produced The Ruthless Divine and what was it like working with them?
Zack Ohren of Castle Ultimate Productions was the engineer for this album. He handled the recording of the drums as well as all the mixing. We in Niviane all have our own home studios so we did all the tracking ourselves. Zack is a phenomenal engineer and I can easily say The Ruthless Divine is the best sounding album I have ever worked on. Zack understood the sound we were going for and was very easy to work with. We plan to work with him again for our next release as well.
Who did the cover art for The Ruthless Divine and how much input did you have on it?
Freelance illustrator Dusan Markovic did the album cover art for both our 1st release The Druid King as well as this new album. The band gives me a lot of free reign on the designs. I basically give Dusan the song lyrics and an overall idea of what I want to see. He then takes the concept and makes all the magic happen. Each time it is so much more epic than I could’ve imagined.
What has it been like to release a new album right in the middle of a pandemic? Have you had any shows or tours cancelled because of it?
The only real difference is we are currently unable to tour in support of the album but the release and distribution is business as usual. We had only a few shows cancelled but when Covid hit, no tours were planned. We hope with our new management company and the pandemic going away sooner than later that we will have an opportunity to play some shows and properly tour in support for this new release. Meantime we have taken this time to write for album #3. So, Niviane should be back in the studio by Spring 2021 if all goes well.
What could one expect from a live Niviane show?
We are absolutely a live band. Fans that have not seen Niviane in concert should expect high energy and a great time. We are about the music and putting on a great show. No gimmicks just great Metal!
How did your tour with Vicious Rumors go and what were some of the highlights?
It was a fun tour to do. It was our 2nd North American tour in support of our 1st album The Druid King and Niviane’s 1st time performing for our Canadian fans. We got along really well with all the members of Vicious Rumors who were fantastic hosts. The highlights with this band are always our own comedic shenanigans. We definitely like to keep things light and fun. A bunch of jokers and the VR guys didn’t mind joining in on the fun.
Another tour you did was with Sirenia and Threat Signal. How did those shows go and what were they like to tour with?
That tour was a bit different for us. It was Niviane’s 1st tour as a band and we were still figuring our each other’s personalities. We wanted to make sure to present ourselves in the best way so we were perhaps a little shy and less engaging with the other bands on that tour. We showed up, set-up sound checked played and then moved on to the next town. We did have a decent amount of interaction with the boys in Threat Signal who are awesome people and now good friends of ours. Sirenia we honestly didn’t talk with until our final show of that tour.
If Niviane could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
So many bands we’d love to play with. I guess we may as well go big or go home. I’ll say Iron Maiden. It’s a band we all admire on some level and they are one of the biggest Metal bands of all time. That would be an insane tour. Plus, we want to be pushed to deliver each night. We don’t shy away from a good musical challenge.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside Niviane?
Yes, I currently front many bands/projects but Niviane is my #1 priority. Many may recognize me from the band Imagika. We just released our 8th studio release Only Dark Hearts Survive last year and are currently writing for our next release. I have my solo project Skinner which I am currently recording my upcoming release The Dark Design. I front the band Hellscream as well which 2 albums have to date been released. Additionally, I also have a recording project titled Elemantis. The debut album Call of The Kindred is being written and recorded right now. I am always a busy bee.
What do you hope 2021 brings for Niviane?
Ultimately touring and recording a new album are the big 2 items. We just signed with a brand new and much larger management company and our new album The Ruthless Divine is being released on a bigger label. We are hoping our music is introduced to a new audience and our fan base grows by leaps and bounds. We are currently looking into tour options both in North America as well as Europe and other territories.
Any final words of wisdom?
We hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during this pandemic. For readers unfamiliar with our band please do give us a listen… you may find it’s exactly your kind of Metal!
Norman Skinner – vocals
Gary Tarplee – guitars
Rick Stallkamp – bass
Mark Miner – guitars
Aaron Robitch – keyboards
Noe Luna – drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)