Rock the Summer: Stryfe returns to the world famous Whisky a Go Go on August 6th. The band will be sharing the stage with Zolto, Beyond My Afterlife and Raven’s Cry. This show is All Ages and you will have a chance to check out some new tunes and to purchase the band’s merchandise.
Mark your calendars,
August 6, Saturday
Show starts at 9:30PM,
Doors – 8:00PM
All Ages – $10 Advance – $15 Door
Tickets are available at the “Store


Hello friends,

Big news from the Stryfe camp. First and foremost, we’d like everyone to give a warm welcome to our new lead vocalist, Vincent Gray. We’re very happy to have him as part of the family and would also like to thank Nicole Bouffard for her efforts with the group.

Further, we’re excited to be, once again, part of Metal By the Sea in San Pedro with our friends in Scarred. It’ll be on April 30th at Harold’s Place at 9:00pm.

Thank you all for your friendship and support. We look forward to sharing more of our music with you.


Recently, we at Muses Of Metal had the opportunity to interview the California-based progressive metal band Stryfe, where we got to discuss the band’s debut release Beyond Reality, the challenges of being a musician and cake!


Stryfe was founded in Armenia, quite a distance away from the band’s current location. What prompted the relocation to California?

The relocation was never a planned band decision or anything like that—two of the founding members, Kay and Kore ended up moving to California at different times and decided to rebirth the band. They found the missing pieces in due time and thus the current incarnation of Stryfe was born.

How would you compare the metal sub culture in Armenia to that of the USA, or more locally in California?

It’s similar in many ways but also different. The main difference that we see is that the metal culture in Armenia seemed to be a lot more grass-roots and smaller than it is in the US. You can even go so far as saying that it was a bit more “true”; however, that certainly differs from person to person. The great thing about playing in the US is that you have a much greater potential reach and a greater number of musicians and bands that you can work with. Regardless of where you’re playing, the core of what makes metal, and the metal community special is the same and that’s what we like focusing on.

How would you, personally, define Stryfe’s sound?

We pride ourselves in having a clean and polished sound and work very hard in order to achieve it. We like to keep our music fairly progressive and interesting. We don’t like to be bored while listening to music and we write our music as such. We have a very wide range of influences and believe that those influences particularly help us produce music that is unique while also familiar enough to grasp right from the first time you listen to it. If you listen carefully, you can always hear influences from Armenian folk and Armenian classical music, but we decidedly don’t over-do it either, subtlety is key for us.

How much do you feel that American culture and the style of music present in the US, has influenced the band’s style?

It’d hard to say how much it has influenced is, it’s hard to measure it because those types of things happen subconsciously, but we can definitely hear a significant difference between our older material and our newer material, so we know that the influence is definitely there. I think it would be easier for our listeners to measure the difference than us.

Stryfe’s debut EP, Beyond Reality was released this February, around 12 years after the band’s initial formation. What were your main inspirations behind this release?

It’s pretty simple, really, we had some new material and wanted to put some of it out there. We wanted to get the songs to sound as good as we possibly could. Though we took a very long road to get there, we’re happy with the results and are proud of the material.

Could you tell us a little about each song from the EP?


Speak to Dream – that’s definitely the heaviest song on the EP. We wanted to make something that’s seriously worthy of a furious head-banging session while also providing an interesting rhythm which is present in the verse.

When all Hopes are Gone – This song is a bit more about dynamics than anything else. You’ve got the big heavy epic chorus and the toned done verse with a bunch of strumming and the quiet sections in between. The big ups and downs in the tune make it really fun to play and interesting to listen to.

Beyond Reality – The title track of the EP is the mellowest one. You could even go so far as to say that it’s more of a hard rock tune than a metal one but we feel that it fits in the EP just fine. There’s a good bit of Armenian influence in the music, it’s got a lot of groove, and a nice chorus that’s pretty catchy and easy to remember.

Are there any plans to release a follow up EP, or an album in the near future?

Definitely! We’re making plans to start recording again soon. The idea is to get as much material out there as possible. The process is really fun for us and the results are even more rewarding.

There have been numerous line up changes since the formation of Stryfe, and in June the departure of guitarist JD McGibney from the band was announced. How is the recruitment drive going so far?

Very well, actually. We’ve had a number of really talented players show up and jam with us, but we’re being really picky. We want someone that’s ideal for the band which is why we’re not rushing into anything.

I understand that it can be tough and pretty demoralising as a band to experience constant changes to a line up, how do you stay motivated?

The songs motivate us, actually. We feel that we owe it to our music to stay motivated, to keep going, and to make sure that we don’t let anything get in the way of that.

In another interview I read that in the band’s previous line up Stryfe had a male vocalist. How did you find the transition between the two vocalists, and how easy was it to adapt the band’s sound to the new vocal style – especially in a live setting?

It was pretty easy. Nicole’s a very powerful vocalist so she kind of fit right in. The crowd was very receptive to the change and it was almost a no-brainer for everyone. Obviously you can’t please everyone, but when it makes sense for you and it makes sense for the songs, there’s not too much else you should be thinking about.

What would you say have been the toughest challenges of being a musician?

Time management is probably the biggest difficulty. When you’re working in a band, you have a number of people who have completely different schedules, and completely different things going on. Finding the perfect slot of time for everyone to get together and work on whatever needs to be done is a challenge sometimes.

What are your thoughts on the use of the ‘female fronted metal’ tag?

We don’t like or dislike the tag. We found the right voice for our music and that’s really all that matters to us.

In the band’s biography, present on the website, it is mentioned that Stryfe, and yourself personally have been involved in festivals aimed at promoting social and political improvements. This mostly took place in Armenia, with festivals Rock The Borders and Rock the Referendum. Are you involved in many social and/or political movements in the US?

At this time, we’re not affiliated with any social movement, political party, or political movement. What I can say, though, is that Stryfe is a proponent of justice, peace, and fairness. If we happen to see something that we can really get behind and provide aid to, we’ll do it.

On the subject of social improvements, what are your thoughts on the Supreme Court’s ruling to legalise same-sex marriage throughout the US?

We feel that people should be able to do what they want so long as they’re not hurting others or society in general.

On a less serious note, and a more ‘fun’ question – what is your favourite cake?

You’re asking the hard hitting questions now! Damn, it’s hard to say. At this very point in time, I’ll go ahead and say red velvet, only because I wouldn’t mind a slice right about now.

Thank you very much for taking your time to do this interview with us. Do you have any final words for our readers?

We only want to say that we’re very appreciative and thankful to all of our fans and friends. This whole thing would be pointless without all of you. Thank you.


Read the full story


Formed in Yerevan, Armenia in 2003 is Stryfe, having been through much strife of their own the band relocated to California, USA in 2010. Following many line up changes, the band finally settled into their current style and formation, going on to release their debut EP Beyond Reality in February 2015.

Line up:

  • Nicole Bouffard – Vocals
  • Kay Khurshudyan – Guitars
  • Karo Torosyan – Bass
  • Koryun ‘Kore’ Bobikyan – Drums and percussion


  1. Speak To Dream
  2. When All Hopes Are Gone
  3. Beyond Reality

The EP opens with Speak To Dream, a song with an intro of heavy crunching guitars and almost menacing tones before launching into strong, clear vocal passages. Stryfe’s music is heavily laced with progressive metal elements that draws the band’s sound together. The occasional solo is well executed, although as standard for female fronted metal bands the guitar solos are quite short and considering the variance of the progressions it feels a bit dissatisfying.

The pace slows down a little on When All Hopes Are Gone. Nicole Bouffard’s vocals are pretty much central to the song, her voice rings out with absolute clarity, laced with husky tones when she uses a lower register. The song portrays a near defeated despair without being overly dark and I feel that the guitar solo that plays out the song presents this feeling at its peak. Lyrical themes, especially those present in title track Beyond Reality, encourage the listener to think a bit bigger, and challenge their perceptions of the world, as well as the perceptions of our reality.

Stryfe present a nice blend of progressive metal and the well-known American alternative hard rock/metal scene. The compositions are so on point that it feels frustrating when the EP ends so soon, after just three songs. As the listener I was left wanting to know where the message went, how the music continued its journey and what was being built up to. Definitely looking forward to an album in the near future to quench that thirst.

Highlights: When All Hopes Are Gone



Author: Tayla Dickinson

Read the full story here


Interview with Los Angeles based Armenian Prog Metal band Stryfe

As a Los Angeles, California based webzine, we’re always on the lookout for local progressive metal talent and we’ve recently found out about the local band Stryfe.  Well local may be a stretch, cause even though they reside in LA, they’re originally all the way from Armenia!  The band is led by guitarist Kay Khurshudyan and features an aggressive two-guitar attack, accessible yet sophisticated compositions that feature the subtle use of the band’s musical heritage. They’ve also now fronted by a new female vocalist. Nicole Bouffard who’s powerful vocals really complement Stryfe’s music in a very compelling way.  I had the chance to meet up with Kay and bassist Karo Troysyan to talk about the band’s music, what brought them to the U.S. and how they plan on using their music to promote peace and harmony.  After the interview, you can check out the song Speak To Dream fromStryfe‘s debut EP Beyond Reality as well as pick up a copy of it from the link, also below.

I’m here with the guys from Stryfe, guitarist Kay Khurshudyan and bassist Karo Torosyan. How are you guys doing?
Great! Thanks for the interview.

To get started, who are your main musical influences?
Kay: I like all kinds of music actually, not only progressive bands

Karo: Yeah, I’m definitely not just like a straight metal guy. I’m actually more into stuff that’s not metal than metal. Everybody has their rock influences like The Beatles, Zeppelin, Sabbath, all of those guys but I also listen to a lot of fusion, a lot of jazz, classical music and a lot of just like 70s rock for me is the main thing because as a bass player I think it’s a good idea to venture out because, especially in metal, most of the time you’re basically a third guitar player. It doesn’t give you too much movement and if you get too used to that when you do need to move and supplement the guitar part with the bass as its own thing rather than just a third guitar you could get lost pretty easily so it’s important to listen to other things I think.

Kay: We all like Dream Theater, Opeth, maybe Nightwish, I like Symphony X, Black Sabbath, Led Zepellin.

Karo: Metallica, Black Sabbath. I’m just a huge Geezer Butler fan!

Kay: Pantera, Deep Purple. There are just so many bands, I can’t list ‘em all!

So how does a group of Armenian guys end up in California?
Kay: It’s a long story! We actually started the band in Armenia. It was in 2003 with a totally different lineup. Out of the founding members now it’s just me and Kore (Bobikyan), the drummer. There have been a lot of changes in the lineup. We played a lot of festivals and shows there. We even organized a couple of international festivals. We found some grants, I mean some organizations gave us some funds for organizing the international festivals we did there. The biggest one was Rock The Borders. I don’t know if you know the band Sadist from Italy?

For sure!
Kay: Yeah we invited them and a couple of bands from Russia and surrounding areas. It was a very nice festival, just a lot of fun. Then in 2010 I moved to California and the interesting part is that our drummer also moved to California at the same time and we decided to continue our musical journey here. Then we met Karo and we actually had another lineup before this one. We had a male singer then, but there were some changes after that and then we found Nicole.

How did you find her?
Kay: You know what, we were looking for a singer for a long time and one who can fit, I mean a good one because with progressive music, it’s…

Karo: Very demanding vocally.

Kay: Demanding yeah. You should definitely have a strong vocalist to do this music well and so we were searching online on many different websites, even the university ones. I don’t remember where actually but my wife found Nicole online. Then we met up with her and we decided to work together.

Getting to the music of Stryfe, is your lineup now pretty stable?
Kay: Definitely! In January, 2015, we found a second guitarist—JD McGibney and now we are working with the full force.

That’s great. And you’re doing shows now?
Kay: Yeah, we’re planning to have some shows. The first one I think is in May but it’s not going to be in LA, San Bernardino and the first one in LA is going to be June 12th at the famous Whiskey.

Getting to your music, what do you think is your uniqueness? I know you have a great singer now and I know your album wasn’t focused on overt technicality but more on just an emotional connection with the listener.
Kay: I really think our uniqueness is our Armenian heritage and influence in the music overall. It’s like these metal influences mixed with Armenian traditional and classical music is what really sets us apart.

Karo: It’s mostly that for sure. It’s the culture that makes it a little bit different and it’s not done in the traditional way that Armenians like to mix our cultural music in the metal. Kay does it a little differently I got to be honest, like you’ll listen to System of a Down for example and they have a lot of that too…

Karo: Our music is actually very different from that style but it does have a lot of that, the music that we grew up listening to. It’s like you can’t help but end up putting it in your music, just the way your brain kind of works and it does provide for a unique sound. I experienced it mostly when I was learning the songs when I first joined the band and I kept noticing this weird scale so I’m like what is it? It’s almost like a harmonic minor but then it’ll blend into natural minor and it does like a lot of these really weird things that you don’t learn in other songs because they’re not using those types of scales. I really enjoyed it, it’s a bit different and I think it sounds fantastic!

Kay: Yeah, we’ve also been working on our overall sound for a long time and it’s very hard to just have a guitar and bass with no keyboards and get a really good sound, which we really think we have now, especially with two guitars.

Yeah personally I gravitate towards that a lot. Like I love a lot of Middle Eastern bands that bring in those melodies sounds and rhythms and I think that’s really an exciting way to present the music of that culture.
Kay: The thing is I think that a lot of bands often focus too much on those Middle Eastern scales and melodies. If you listen to Stryfe, I think the uniqueness in our music, the unique part is that when you’re listening to it you don’t …

Karo: It’s not too overt.

Kay: Yeah it’s not too up front. There is a balance of Middle Eastern, Armenian, metal and all these influences together. I think that’s the real uniqueness of our music.

Personally I think I heard a little of that in some of the vocals, the vocal melodies but not as much elsewhere.
Karo: Yeah that’s the thing. That’s what I was saying. It’s very subtle but it’s there so without realizing it you notice that the music is a little different.

Yeah I think in this day and age there are so many great bands. If you have something that’s really especially yours then I think that’s really the key to standing out from the crowd. I was also reading your bio and I know you guys have a really strong ethos of promoting harmony and peace, can you talk about that a little bit?
Kay: Well, when we started the band the goal was definitely to bring people together. We had a message like you can’t just go and talk to all the people right? The music was like the tool for communication with people.

That’s really great. Anything else you’d like to add?
Kay: Well, just one more thing. I want to add a couple of words about our message. STRYFE comes from the word “strife” which means struggle – mainly struggle against human evil, hatred and treachery. Most of the songs are about the anxiety of the inner world of the human, desperately searching for harmony and purity. Stryfe’s utmost focus is to bring people together and create a sense of unity. Thanks for the opportunity to share our music and the message with your readers and we hope to see you at one of our upcoming shows!

interview by Jeff Stevens

Read the full story here


A fun interview Nicole and Kay had with Dan and Anna from Entertainment Drive-Thru.





Stryfe’s single Speak to Dream was played at Metal Moose Radio.

You can check it out at (107:24 min):




Introducing our new tribal symbol. We’d like to thank our friend Gegham Vardanyan for this beautiful artwork!


STRYFE’s new E.P. Beyond Reality consists of three brand new songs, Speak to Dream, When All Hopes Are Gone and Beyond Reality. The E.P. is available for download on:


It is also available on Spotify, Shazam and many others!


E.P. Beyond Reality to be released FEBRUARY 17th!!

The Time Has Arrived!
Stryfe’s new highly anticipated EP Beyond Reality will be available for download on February 17th, 2015. The album features the hit single Speak to Dream and two brand new songs.
Stay Tuned!!!