Sylvaine spirits us away to share the guitar secrets behind her dreamy, shoegaze-inspired atmospheric metal sound

(Image credit: Martin Bärmann)

Sylvaine’s label describes Nova, her head-turning fourth album, as “atmospheric void gaze.” Sylvaine calls it “black gaze” or “atmospheric metal.” With its haunting layers of clean and distorted guitars alternating with crystal-clear rhythm tones and vocals that move seamlessly from angelic whispers to guttural screams, it’s not surprising that the music defies easy categorization. 

Sylvaine, aka Kathrine Shepard, hails from Norway. “My music doesn’t have a huge audience here; I did get a nomination for a Norwegian Grammy in the metal category in 2019, and after that things did change a little bit for me,” she says. Sylvaine sees a clear progression from her last release, 2018’s Atoms Aligned Coming Undone

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Mark McStea

Mark is a freelance writer with particular expertise in the fields of ‘70s glam, punk, rockabilly and classic ‘50s rock and roll. He sings and plays guitar in his own musical project, Star Studded Sham, which has been described as sounding like the hits of T. Rex and Slade as played by Johnny Thunders. He had several indie hits with his band, Private Sector and has worked with a host of UK punk luminaries. Mark also presents themed radio shows for Generating Steam Heat. He has just completed his first novel, The Bulletproof Truth, and is currently working on the sequel.