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SACRED STEEL - Gerrit P Mutz (singer) (4 August 2013)
(Interviewer: Ad van Osch Tilburg, The Netherlands)

AD: Hi Gerrit, thanks for doing this interview with me for MARIO'S METAL MANIA:
GERRIT: Thank YOU for your support! Much appreciated.

AD: I have to admit that, although SACRED STEEL already exists for seventeen years, I never had heard of the band before. So, when I got your recent album "The Bloodshed Summoning" to review, I was really surprised. I like the album very much, so I gave "The Bloodshed Summoning" 86 out of 100 points (see the June update of 2013). How are the reviews of "The Bloodshed Summoning" in the magazines and on the webzines so far?
GERRIT: Haha, you see, that's HOW underground we are!! A lots of headbangers out there have never heard of us or didn't check us out yet because of some shit they read about us. It's never too late though. I encourage everyone interested in REAL metal to check out our latest album. You may like what you hear. So far the reactions to our newest album have been very, very positive! So we may have whimped out or done something crucially wrong, haha. No idea why this time people seem to not slam the shit out of this record. We're used to get negative reviews anyway and we're beyond caring about that at all. It's nevertheless a good feeling to get a positive feedback.

AD: Well, I am not familiar with your previous studio albums and the live album "Live Blessings", so I can't make a judgment. Do you consider "The Bloodshed Summoning" as the best SACRED STEEL album so far?
GERRIT: Mhh, if you only know the new album you should better check out "Carnage Victory" before you dare to check out our Jurassic period. Back then we've been a bit cheesier and more into the sword and sorcery stuff. Nowadays our lyrical topics are a bit more serious, at least here or there, haha. I can't say if the new album is our best. Time will tell. Right now it's up there with my favourite SS records. Maybe my second fave right after "Slaughter Prophecy". It's always difficult to judge something that you've been totally involved with from start to finish. You can't be very objective. Most people tell me that their fave SS record is "Wargods Of Metal" from 1998. It's a good one, no doubt but I never see the big difference to our other records. I mean, what does set it apart? Apart from the fact that in 1998 a record like this was a brave statement and something totally out of place. The songs are good and it has a nice flow but to me it's not better than anything else we've done.

AD: "The Bloodshed Summoning" also features three bonus tracks of which one is a cover version of THE MISFITS' "Dig Up Her Bones". Who's idea was it to do a cover version of this song and why did you put bonus tracks on the album?
GERRIT: Our drummer always wanted us to cover that song. Most of us thought that it would not really fit us though. Matze insisted that at least we tried. That's what we did and we all were surprised how well it sounded! We were not sure how it would sound in the studio and so we just recorded it after the other regular songs for the album had been finished. We liked the result and decided to keep it as a bonus track. After the recording of all the tracks we realized that the album would be way too long. You know, we grew up in a time when a record had to fit on a tape side, meaning it had to be 45-47 minutes. We didn't want to throw away the other tracks because we liked them so we thought that we could just include them as bonus tracks as well. Some people already mourned the fact that the album incl. the bonus tracks is too long now. Well, just skip what you don't like or burn a CD with only your fave tracks on it!

AD: In my review of "The Bloodshed Summoning" I wrote that to me SACRED STEEL sounds like a mixture of OVERKILL and SANCTUARY. Have you heard the comparison with OVERKILL and SANCTUARY more often?
GERRIT: Mhh, not really. Most of the time we get compared to crap and shit only, haha. I like that comparison with SANCTUARY and OVERKILL though! I love the first SANCTUARY record, one of the best debuts of all time. And the first two OVERKILL records plus the EP are timeless classics, too! The more I think about it, the more I think that this comparison hits the nail quite good... I like to see us as a band that you could classify as REAL POWER METAL! Talking about the time of the mid 80´s when POWER metal still meant that you had to have some more power than the usual heavy metal bands. Stuff bordering on thrash and speed without becoming a thrash or speed metal band totally. Like NASTY SAVAGE e.g., or OVERKILL :). Nowadays the term POWER METAL gets misused to describe POWERLESS fart bands that have no power at all but sound like 3rd rate RHAPSODY clones. That stuff should be labeled HAPPY MELODIC METAL instead.

AD: Well, let's get back in time. At what age and by which bands did you got interested into Hard Rock / Heavy Metal music?
GERRIT: In 1974 I first heard "Killer Queen" by QUEEN and started to get interested in heavy guitars. But fate would have it that I spent the 70´s listening to ABBA, BLONDIE, JOHNNY CASH, BONEY M, SMOKIE, SAILOR and only some Hard Rock on the radio, when they were kind enough to play some SABBATH, ZEPPELIN, DOORS, PURPLE, HEEP or ALICE COOPER. In 1980 I started to hunt for stuff myself and discovered the likes of KISS, AC/DC, MOTÖRHEAD, SAXON, SCORPIONS, ACCEPT, IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, RAINBOW, WHITESNAKE etc. In 1982 I got "Coup´d Etat" by THE PLASMATICS and listened to it night and day. Wendy R.I.P.!

AD: And at what age did you know you wanted to be a singer in a Metal band? So, at what age did you start to sing, and in which bands have you sung before SACRED STEEL?
GERRIT: I started singing when I was 2 (!) years old, running around naked in the local swimming area, mimicking to some silly German song that I had heard on the radio. I really started singing when I started my doom band DAWN OF WINTER in 1990. Nobody wanted to sing or even play in a doom band back then so I had to sing myself while playing guitar. My best friend played drums. It took us years to even find a bass player. Before I sang in SS, I sang in DAWN OF WINTER (I still do) and VARIETY OF ARTS / TRAGEDY DIVINE.

AD: When I listen to "The Bloodshed Summoning", vocally, you remind me of a mixture of Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth of OVERKILL and Warrel Dane of SANCTUARY / NEVERMORE. You sing very varied, so, are Bobby and Warrel one of your examples as singers, or do you have other singers by whom you are influenced?
GERRIT: I love Warrel's voice but he has not really influenced me. Yet I can't hold a candle to his talents. He's the man. But I know that we share the same love for Mr. King Diamond. So I guess we just have similar influences. Same goes for Bobby. I like his voice a lot but he's never been an influence to my singing. My main influences were and are still: Scott Reagers of SAINT VITUS, King Diamond of MERCYFUL FATE, Jim Morrison of THE DOORS, Eric Wagner of TROUBLE, Bobby Liebling of PENTAGRAM, John Arch of FATES WARNING, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, of course, David Byron of URIAH HEEP, Mark Shelton of MANILLA ROAD, Zeeb Parkes of WITCHFINDER GENERAL and KATE BUSH.

AD: Has SACRED STEEL ever played in The Netherlands before, since the existence of the band? If not, are you going to promote "The Bloodshed Summoning" by touring through Europe, and do one or more shows in Holland as well?
GERRIT: We've played The Netherlands several times. I doubt though that we'll be able to play there to promote our new album really. So far nobody in your country contacted us to get us over. Hey Dutch promoters: feel free to ask!! We do whatever shows we can do, on the weekends, besides our regular day jobs. A real big tour is something impossible though. We did that in the old days but nowadays it would cost us too much time and money. We have to focus on weekend shows and smaller 2-3 day tours.

AD: What are your personal favorite songs of "The Bloodshed Summoning", and what are your favorite SACRED STEEL songs in general?
GERRIT: Right now my favourite tracks on the new album are:
"Under The Banner Of Blasphemy" because it's short, thrashy, down to the point, aggressive and no bullshit, lyrically and "Journey Into Purgatory" because it's one of the most daring and adventurous tracks in our history. Full of twists and breaks. Also good lyrics.
Some favourite songs in general would be, cut down to my fave top 10 right now:
1. "Open Wide The Gate" (off "Iron Blessings")
2. "Broken Rites" (off "Carnage Victory")
3. "Denial Of Judas" (off "Carnage Victory")
4. "Metal Is War" (off "Bloodlust")
5. "Faces Of The Antichrist" (off "Slaughter Prophecy")
6. "Lay Me To My Grave" (off "Slaughter Prophecy")
7. "Black Church" (off "Hammer Of Destruction")
8. "The Chains Of The Nazarene" (off "Iron Blessings")
9. "Tonight The Witches Ride" (off "Wargods Of Metal")
10. "In The Mouth Of Madness" (off "Reborn In Steel").

AD: How do you choose the songs of each new album, to add to your set list. You vote which songs will be add to your set list as a band, or are you the one who makes the decision? And by adding new songs to your set list, also means there are songs which will have to disappear of that list. Is it a hard job to choose songs which will have to leave the set list, or are you guys working with a constantly varied set list?
GERRIT: It's always a hard task to choose the songs for a set list. As with every band that has released several albums there are always tracks that you have to play because people want to hear them. Standout tracks that can't be ignored. So you have to build the set list around these mandatory titles. We're always discussing and debating, high and low. Our manager and drummer Matze has the last word though. Democracy is a great thing but in the end you've got to have someone in charge to end the discussions. Otherwise we'd never be able to decide, haha. We try not to have a set list that is too predictable but also not too far out for the die hard fans. We also try to please ourselves by including stuff that we as a band like and just want to play. And we include cover versions here or there to keep it attractive for ourselves. To always play similar set lists can become boring quite quickly. Yes, it's always a hard decision to throw stuff out but we can't play 120 minute sets to please everybody, haha.

AD: During the career of the band, you must have shared stages with many major Metal bands. So, tell us, do you have some nice memories of touring with certain major bands?
GERRIT: The biggest bands we've toured with were CHILDREN OF BODOM & NEVERMORE. Especially the NEVERMORE tour was soaked in alcohol, so I don't have that many memories. But sharing the stage with Warrel somewhere in Spain, singing "Battle Angels" with him when I just had come out of the shower, still wearing nothing but a towel and slippers was surely something outstanding, haha. We've played tons of festivals though and met luminaries like Lemmy, SAXON, the guys in IMMORTAL, THE MISFITS etc, etc. That's the best thing of being a metal fan: you always get the chance to meet your faves when you play in a band as well!

AD: And with which bands, with whom you haven't shared the stage so far, would you like to go on tour as a support act?
GERRIT: Wow, good question. I guess my fave support slot would be to support a reunited MERCYFUL FATE in their original line-up. Supporting CIRITH UNGOL would also be great, if they just would try to come together again... I'd also love to support MANILLA ROAD once. Such a nice bunch of lovely people! I'd also love to compile a tour package of bands with "strange" singers, not everybody likes, like me :). In that case I'd combine the likes of WRATH (US), SIREN (US), TROUBLE (with Eric), GRIFFIN (US), TYRANT (US), NASTY SAVAGE, LIEGE LORD (with Andy Michaud). BLESSED DEATH, HOLY TERROR (R.I.P. - would need to find someone that can sing like Keith Deen...), THRUST and SABBAT (UK).

AD: Gerrit, are you still very fanatic yourself as well, by checking out new Metal albums, checking out upcoming bands, visiting Metal concerts etc.. If so, do you have some interesting names of upcoming bands who are worth checking out?
GERRIT: I'm totally fanatic about music and I spend most of my money on buying new or old stuff still. I still try to go to as many shows as possible. Bands worth checking out that are "newer"? Mhh, I'd recommend to check out: FATHER BEFOULED, ATTIC, ALUNAH, TROUBLED HORSE, ENCOFFINATION, SPIDERS, HEXVESSEL, SABBATH ASSEMBLY, THE FORESHADOWING, OM, PORTAL, SOUL MANIFEST, GHOST, PILGRIM, JESS & THE ANCIENT ONES, IN SOLITUDE, TYRANEX, OCCULTATION. I'm sure there are more but these are the ones that I can think of right now. I'm buying, listening to new music all the time. I also discovered lots of old stuff from the 60's/70's. The music never stops!

AD: Are you also an old school guy, by buying new albums on CD, or are you someone who's into the downloading stuff?
GERRIT: I buy stuff on vinyl and sometimes on CD, I normally don't download stuff. If I download something then just to check it out and buy it afterwards. I am old school to the bone.

AD: What are the last 5 albums you have bought (or downloaded)?
GERRIT:
1. KING DIAMOND - "The Puppet Master" (DLP re-issue/Metal Blade).
2. MANILLA ROAD - "Mystification" (DLP re-issue/High Roller").
3. MORBOSIDAD - "Muerte De Cristo En Golgota" (TAPE album/Iron Bonehead Prod.).
4. HANDS OF ORLAC - "s/t" (LP/Horror Records).
5. DREAM DEATH - "Somnium Excessum" (LP/Svart Records).

AD: And tell us, what's your top 5 of your all time favorite albums, since the moment you got into Metal, and can you explain why these 5 albums are your favorites?
GERRIT: I can't cut down these bands to only one album each, let's make it 2 each, OK?
1. SAINT VITUS - "Hallow´s Victim" & "s/t" - Because they teached me that doom metal doesn't necessarily have to be slow. It's the mood that counts.
2. MERCYFUL FATE - "Melissa" & "Don´t Break The Oath" - Because it has all that I love about metal: dark lyrics, original far out vocals, great solos, occult atmosphere and fantastic songs.
3. TROUBLE - "Psalm 9" & "The Skull" - Because they're depressing AND uplifting at the same time! Even though the lyrics are Christian they touch my atheistic heart.
4. MANILLA ROAD -"Crystal Logic" & "The Deluge" - Because they're like reading your favourite book over and over again. It never gets boring. Great stories, timeless masterpieces.
5. PENTAGRAM - "Relentless" & "Day Of Reckoning" - Because they're amongst the heaviest records ever. The guitar sound on "Relentless" is the best and heaviest EVER!

AD: Would you like to say something special to the readers of MMM?
GERRIT: Thanks again for the support man! Took me close to 2 hours to answer this beast but it was fun! Listened to ALICE COOPER all the while. Guess, I'll now put on some RORY GALLAGHER for a change.

AD: Once again, thanks for doing this interview Gerrit.
GERRIT: You're more than welcome!! Keep the metal raging!!!!










69 CHAMBERS - Nina Treml (Vocals) (10 August 2009)
(Interviewer: Ad van Osch, Tilburg, The Netherlands)



AD: First of all, Nina could you explain the name of the band 69 CHAMBERS?
NINA: The name goes back to 2001, when the band was founded by myself and two guys who are no longer in the band. That was a time when we actually never considered taking the band onto an international level and having to explain ourselves. But anyway, it was after one of our first rehearsals when we walked passed a cinema airing Marilyn Chambers' porn film "Behind The Green Doors", which had been pretty controversial in the seventies. We started talking about contradictions, sex and violence and Marilyn Chambers' interesting personality of being a porn star and a politically active feminist at the same time. Somewhere within this conversation, we came up with the name. Nowadays, the name doesn't have that meaning to me anymore... I guess that you could say those 69 chambers are simply the "rooms" where I can place all my ideas, inspirations, wishes and thoughts to create a music according to my taste and style.

AD: The band was formed by you way back in 2001. Before you released your debut album "War On The Inside" this year, you had released a demo and an EP. When was that demo and EP actually released and how many songs did the demo and EP have?
NINA: As I mentioned, the band was never formed in expectation of an international release. Though I was always very ambitious and would have liked to commit myself more to music, my band mates had a rather ambivalent attitude towards the band and weren't willing to contribute more money, time and work into the project. We were all pretty inexperienced and the band was more or less a "hobby project". We played a couple shows in Switzerland, but in order to have a decent chance of playing good shows, we needed a demo. So we spent one weekend in 2003 at a studio and recorded five songs. The result was somewhat better than a demo, so we decided to self-release the EP, which was available at certain independent music stores. But we never tried to find a label with this product, though.

AD: On YouTube I saw two videos of 69 CHAMBERS so far. The first video I saw was of "Alright" and the second one of "The Day Of The Locust", which is the first track of the debut album. So, "Alright" has to be a track of that EP, right?
NINA: Yes, "Alright" was a track on this self-released EP. A friend of ours made the video for practically no money. Internet can be a terrible thing when it comes to revealing one's dark past ;-). No, seriously, I am not ashamed of the video, but it is pretty out-of-date now and I am glad that we've moved on from there...

AD: What notices me in the video of "Alright" is that you had a male bass player and a male drummer. So, what was the line-up of 69 CHAMBERS during the demo and the EP?
NINA: Yes, the band was formed in 2001 by myself and a drummer called Scott Loren as well as a bass played named Christoph Dubach. Scott was part of the band until shortly before we went into the studio – he left because he had no interest in spending money and sacrificing more time. Mainly, because he has a demanding job and a family. That was extremely disappointing to us, but I guess it's a common thing, that bands split up as soon as the project becomes more demanding and acquires some professionalism... Anyway, Christoph left the band shortly after the recordings, also because he didn't want to handle with the pressure layed upon him. We are still on good terms, but it was definitely a difficult time for me, since I was all by myself in this. Of course, I saw the positive side because it doesn't make any sense to try to achieve something with band members that lack ambition. But I really did have a hard time finding the right people to play the songs in the time following the recording. Since I wrote all the songs, I decided that I would continue the band no matter what...

AD: What's the story behind "Alright", because at the end of the video you can see one member sitting in a car and the other member on a motorcycle. You are standing in front of them holding a scarf in your hand. When you let the scarf drop they are racing away, like in drag races. So, do you have any special interest in drag races, because you also had such promo pictures and a gig poster of 2004 on your MySpace page?
NINA: Actually, yes, I am a huge car racing fan, and I've even written a book about this topic. My former band members were motor sports enthusiasts as well, so that was a common interest we shared besides the music. I'm not so much into drag racing, but in that way, the car racing topic could be showed in a very bold manner. Besides that – we wouldn't have had the budget to film a regular racing scene on a track ;-).

AD: Did you released the EP yourself or was it released by a label? And is that EP still available?
NINA: The EP was self-released, we never made any efforts to find a label with it. And no, it's not available anymore, we only made a couple of hundred copies.

AD: So, since when is the current line-up of 69 CHAMBERS together?
NINA: It took me quite a while to find the right musicians with the same commitment, the same passion for music, the same visions and also the ability to play the songs right. I've had quite a few line-up changes before I finally met Maddy and Diego only about half a year ago. Maddy was actually just the substitute for my former bass player after he broke his leg before an important gig. But because she fit in so well, I asked her to stay. She's really valuable for the band, because she's not only a talented bass player but also sings the backing vocals really well. I had never been fond of the idea of having another girl in front, because it labels us „girl band", but with Maddy it works really well, so to hell with the prejudices many people have when girls play music... We met Diego at a show and he decided to try out. Since he's been playing with us, I think the band got a lot better live – he's a real „animal" on the drums...

AD: You were born in Seoul from Swiss parents and lived in South Korea and Singapore before you finally moved to Switzerland at the age of sixteen. Was it difficult for you to make the step to move?
NINA: Living in Asia was my reality during the first sixteen years. I knew Switzerland well, because my family and I visited relatives every year. But of course, the step of moving here for good wasn't all too easy for me. It wasn't all that hard to make new friends or change schools, but I guess that when you grow up in a completely different environment than where you're originally from, it's hard to tell where your roots are. At the same time, I'm probably pretty open-minded and wouldn't have too many problems assimilating to any kind of environment when asked to...

AD: You started your musical career as a bass player when you were sixteen. In what kind of bands have you played, before you formed 69 CHAMBERS?
NINA: My first band was a female rock band. A girl at school asked me whether I wanted to play the bass for them. I said okay, bought a bass, an amp, taught myself to play the instrument by listening to CD's and was up on stage within two weeks. The band, quite frankly, was crap, but at the time, female bands were quite in fashion in Switzerland, so we did have some exposure. The band's name was The Wannabes, quite an appropriate name for who we were at the time ;-). But anyways, it was a good start and we had a lot of fun. I then switched to guitar and vocals, because I felt that I could write my own songs. I had a project after that with a male drummer and my former guitar player, but it didn't last for long. The next band I had was 69 Chambers, so isn't really a long history of different bands in my past.

AD: Did you get lessons or are you self taught? When and why did you make the change from bass to guitar?
NINA: No, I never had any lessons on the bass or on guitar. I switched to guitar at the age of nineteen and taught myself to play just by seeking my own melodies. You can tell that I am not a very virtuous guitar player. I learn by playing the melodies in my head. If I can't play them yet, I practice until I can. Plus, since I also sing and were just a trio, the guitar has to be kept a little bit more simple.

AD: By the way, at what age did you start singing and which singers (male and female) inspired you to go singing as well?
NINA: Oh my goodness... I never ever sang as a kid. In fact, I was extremely ashamed of singing, so only moved my lips to the lyrics but never made a sound. It was during my time in the girl band, that I started singing because I felt that our singer's melodies were too boring. I had some ideas that I tried out. It was then, that I discovered singing and started training the range of my voice. I'd say that the first singers that really inspired me were Chris Cornell during the SOUNDGARDEN era, and Chris son from THE BLACK CROWES. There were never any female vocalists that I really admired to be quite honestly. It was later that I learned to appreciate singers like TORI AMOS or HEATHER NOVA for their unique melodies.

AD: You have written all the songs on the album. How do you write your songs and where do you get your inspirations from?
NINA: I usually just sit with my guitar and play around until I get some ideas in combination with vocal melodies. I use the crappy program "Garage Band" on my Mac so I don't forget the ideas. Sometimes it takes months before I know how to make a song out of an idea, sometimes it takes a couple of hours. It really all depends on my mood sometimes. When I'm in a foul mood, I play heavy riffs and really can just spend all day working on it. When it comes to lyrics, I usually write them after I wrote the melodies – according to the mood of the melodies. Most lyrics are autobiographical, I guess. I process things that bother me, thoughts, past events or conflicts. It's my way of dealing with emotions.

AD: The music style of 69 CHAMBERS is very varied and even your way of singing is very varied. Some songs are Metal but most of the songs are catchy rock songs and even some close to pop. Do you have a very varied taste of music as well?
NINA: Yes, definitely. I listen to a lot of metal, but I am not a traditional metal fan. I don't think in categories. A good rock or stoner album can appeal to me just as much. I don't really buy any pop music CD's, but I sometimes watch MTV for inspiration, that is, when they're actually playing music ;-). Some melodies from pop music can inspire me just as much as a metal CD that I listen to.

AD: What are your own favourite bands?
NINA: I love bands like Slayer, Meshuggah, Machine Head, Gojira or Bolt Thrower. But at the same time, I still enjoy listening to classics like Led Zeppelin or Black Sabbath. And I can't deny that my musical childhood was during the grunge era – I listened to a lot of Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Nirvana in the past.... I'm not into the post grunge "nu rock" or "nu metal" stuff that came into fashion the past couple of years though.

AD: You are on the cover of "War On The Inside", laying naked in a kind of bath tub. Can you explain the idea behind the album cover in combination with the title of the album?
NINA: The photographer and I spent a lot of time discussing what we should do for the cover... It was clear that the picture would have to be bold and striking – and not according to any metal or rock clichés. When someone came up with the image of me lying naked in the bathtub, I wasn't all too sure whether I wanted to do it. But it seemed right in combination with the album title... the nakedness shows the vulnerability, and the black of the water stands for the struggle going through the darkness without knowing what would happen – that was just the way I felt when we put the album together. I knew that there would be some contradiction and that critics would accuse me of relying on a "Sex sells"-strategy. But I was pretty convinced that the music had more to offer than that, so I figured I'd risk that kind of prejudgment.

AD: Tommy Vetterli, who also worked with bands as CORONER and KREATOR, produced the album. How did you get in touch with Tommy or was he chosen by Silverwolf Productions as the producer for the album?
NINA: I signed with Silverwolf after we had already finished the album, so working with Tommy had nothing to do with them. Tommy is a renowned producer in Switzerland for his large studio, and for some high-quality rock and metal productions. Really, no-one makes drums and guitars sound the way that he does – so when it came to recording a decent album, it was clear to me that I would want to work with him. And since he was really enthusiastic about the music and offered to support us, collaborating with him was just great. We had the same demands, the same ideas of how the music needed to sound, with what effects etc. He also challenged us a lot and when it came to recording the guitars, he was a tough teacher, of course, but he really knew how to bring out the best in all of us. I will definitely record the next album with him, no question about that.

AD: What are your personal favourite songs of "War On The Inside"?
NINA: I doubt that the album "War On The Inside" really has a song that you could call a keystone. It's the whole album that takes you on a trip, and the songs are pretty diverse. Personally, I like "The Day Of The Locust", because it's heavy, has a catchy chorus, but also features a softer part. We really enjoy playing "Return Of The Repressed" and "Judas Goat" live, and I can imagine that the next album will follow this direction even more. But there will always be mellow songs on our albums, such as "A Ruse" or "The Collapse Of Time And Space".

AD: Are you going to promote "War On The Inside" by a large European tour. If yes, can we expect to see 69 CHAMBERS live in Holland too?
NINA: We were actually supposed to go on tour with a German and Austrian metal band this fall. But the tour was cancelled for various reasons – we were going to play in Holland, the date was already confirmed. Now we don't exactly know what's to follow. But we just signed with a great booking agency, so I'm confident it's going to happen sometime in the winter.

AD: Nina, you are a very good looking woman. I can imagine that, besides being in a band, you could do some modeling work as well? Have you ever done modeling work in the past?
NINA: Haha, thank you. But no, I never had those kinds of aspirations. Making band photos is just about enough for me ;-)

AD: Nina, you've got several tattoos. Have I seen it right on the cover of the album, do you have a H.R. Giger inspired tattoo as well?
NINA: I love Giger's work! But no, that tattoos aren't really Giger inspired. I started off with some weird tribal stuff along my body and then continued with some Japanese work. Dragons, a crane and a Koi. The Japanese style appeals to me, also because it reminds me of my childhood in Asia.

AD: What does tattoos mean to you?
NINA: When I started getting tattooed at eighteen, I can't deny that it was an act of rebellion. I've had a good education and decent jobs, but I never wanted to fit into the scheme and become "one of them". Nowadays, I simply like the aesthetics of tattoos, especially Japanese work. Plus, I enjoy the contradiction of being a rather feminine woman and wearing heavy tattoos that don't seem to fit. Those different sides have a lot to do with who I am – as you can probably also tell by the music.

AD: Any last words to the readers of MMM?
NINA: Thank you so much for your interest in 69 CHAMBERS, for buying our CD, if you will :-). We'll keep it coming.


ACROSTICHON - Corinne v/d Brand (Bass & Vocals) (March 2010)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen, Heesch, The Netherlands)


When I heard the news of an Acrostichon reunion show at Mario's Metal Meeting last year I was as happy as a little kid in a toy store. In the early nineties I never had the change to see the band live because I was too young of age. The reunion show, at last was a real blast and I enjoyed every second of it. But will it stay this way or will there maybe be another studio album in the near future and why did Acrostichon ever call it quits in the mid-nineties. Vocalist and bassist Corinne van de Brand gives the answers to this all questions.

DENNIS: Could you please tell or reader –and especially the younger ones- where we know you from?
CORINNE: It could be that you know me from the game show Lingo, or maybe from my visits I pay to the Lidl (supermarket) or could it be that you know me as the vocalist and bassist from the Dutch death metal band Acrostichon?

DENNIS: After a few successful demos and the great debut album "Engraved in black" you did some tours with well known bands as Samael and Tiamat. What do you remember from that time?
CORINNE: The first tour was with the bands you mentioned. At first we thought that the guys from Samael would be barbaric black metal types. But they turned out to be nice and cute people. It was a great time! The tour with Master was also fantastic. Paul (Speckman) and his manager returned to Tilburg a few years later and lived for some time at our drummers (Serge) place.

DENNIS: "Engraved in black" is followed with two releases an EP and the full-length "Sentenced" After that it appeared that the band just petered out. Why was that?
CORINNE: Well, firstly our debut album actually came out one year late. Other death metal bands from Holland like Gorefest and Pestilence were much further than we are and we kind of hopped after them. Secondly we chose the wrong record label and third and last I told you that Paul from Master returned to Tilburg and he actually charmed the other members to play as a session member on the upcoming Master tour. Good for them because they could tour through Europe this way but it actually was the sign for the beginning of the end. After that period the death metal scene had such numerous good bands that we felt Acrostichon had nothing more to add. Besides that we had no more interesting ideas left.

DENNIS: Could you please shine a light on all your studio releases?
CORINNE: "Engraved in black" was our debut and came out in 1993 a year after the recording process had ended. It's a real death metal album with grindcore and hardcore influences. We are still kind of proud at it apart from some things that we would do different when we recorded the album nowadays. The "Forgotten" EP came out a year later (1994) and is a release I still like very much especially the song: "Monsters". The album "Sentenced" saw the light of day in 1995 and has more of a thrashy approach. The sound of the drums is really bad. A pity but I still like the songs on it although I find it embarrassing to hear my clean sung vocals. What was I thinking back then?

DENNIS: What did you guys do musically between "Sentenced" and the reunion show?
CORINNE: Jos and Serge went on with Outburst. Jos also plays in Crustacean in a Slayer cover band and in Motley Crust a glamrock cover band. Serge is also very busy with Milkman a crossover band. Richard went on with Robotmonster that is already defunct nowadays. And for myself: I play percussions in a percussion band called: Hihi.

DENNIS: Why did it last until 2009 before the time was right for a reunion?
CORINNE: Well, we all met each other on a party and talked about Acrostichon. We found out that all four of us would like to do something with the band again. Almost ten years had passed since I last saw Richard. We all had very good memories, especially from the first period when we started the band. Maybe it was possible to once more recapture that old feeling again. Shortly after Mario asked if we were interested to play a reunion show on Mario's Metal Meeting. After that it was not a difficult decision to say, yes to that question.

DENNIS: Dennis: It has now almost been a year ago since you guys decided to play at Mario's Metal Meeting. Could you tell me what happened in that period?
CORINNE: Well, we rehearsed almost every month and again had a great time together. All was very relaxing and it felt fantastic. Jos & Serge didn't stop playing together and Richard also got that old feeling back very fast. I had to practice a little longer because I hadn't touched my bass guitar for twelve years and didn't use my grunt for that long either. But after a few moths we were already playing pretty tied.

DENNIS: Dennis: I was in audience during the reunion show and really enjoyed what I saw. I had your debut album on tape in the early nineties but was too young too see you live during that period. What did you guys think of the show?
CORINNE: I was pretty nervous because I didn't know what to expect. The rest of the band members were also pretty nervous although they said that they weren't. After the first song I got rid of my nerves and really enjoyed the rest of the show. We did play really well I think and all went on wheels! Serge was playing really good. A day later I was still shining!

DENNIS: Your mom and dad were also present at the reunion show. I understood that this was the first time for them to see you in action on stage. How was their reaction afterwards?
CORINNE: They were both very proud. My father said that if had known than what he now saw he would have come more. They both never got tired of the subject. Funny, they never gave that much compliments.

DENNIS: Early 2001 Arch enemy got a new lead vocalist named Angela Grossow. She also foresees the music of grunted vocals. The press is lyrical and says that she is the first woman who does this kind of thing. Did that never border you and has Angela ever contacted you to let you know that you were a big influence? And who was your biggest example?
CORINNE: No, that never bordered me. It says more over the press than over me as a person. A few years ago we had some contact and she let me know that I was one of her biggest influences. She was planning the write a book about "girls in metal" but that never saw the light of day, I think. I didn't have main feminine examples although there were some great ones back than like: Lori Bravo (Nuclear Death) and Rachel Heyzer (Occult, Sinister etc.) who was also paved her way in the death metal scene back then. I was more charmed of my male colleagues: Chris Reifert (Autopsy) Martin van Drunen (Asphyx) and Larry Portelli (Blessed Death)

DENNIS: Over the years the albums of Acrostichon are difficult to purchase and go from person to person for very high prices at public sale sites such as: eBay. Is there a label interested to re-release your whole catalogue and do you guys own the rites?
CORINNE: In the meantime we do own the rites but were not planning to re-release something. But if there's someone interested to re-master the whole discography and then release it again he or she should contact us. Sometimes I see "Engraved in black" at sites like eBay. Funny to see that people often place high bids then.

DENNIS: I am glad to hear that the reunion show wasn't the last show of Acrostichon! The band will play at the Stonehenge festival in Steenwijk in August in July. Will this be it or will there be another studio album. I surely thought you guys had a lot of pleasure on stage.
CORINNE: We indeed had a lot of pleasure but we intent to keep it small. We won't record another album but sometimes do a show here and there. Stonehenge is a cool festival, we also played on the first edition of that festival. All of us are very busy so again we intent to keep it small so it's special for us too every time we play at a show.

DENNIS: What do you think of the Dutch (Death) metal scene at the moment?
CORINNE: I think it's still a strong scene. There are enough good bands and shows are always crowded. Nice to see that the "old school" bands like Asphyx, Deadhead and Hail of Bullets still consist of the same members and that most of the times they outplay the newer bands!

DENNIS: Since we are colleagues at the best e-zine from Holland. I would like to ask you what your favourite releases of the last few months are?
CORINNE: I liked the last Fuelblooded album a lot.

DENNIS: Feel free to give our readers a piece of your mind!
CORINNE: Come see us when we play live, it will for sure become a great party. And besides this: don't take live too seriously!

Copyright Mario van Dooren
AFTER FOREVER - Sander Gommans (Guitarist) ( 9 September 2006 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)

After the After Forever gig at the Appelpop festival on 8th and 9th September (After Forever played the 9th) I had the chance to interview Sander Gommans of After Forever. I talked with him about the gig, the new CD, about record companies, their Drummer André Borgman etc. Enjoy reading!

SUZANNE: First of all I want to say that the gig was absolutely awesome!! It was a very good show.
SANDER: Yes, thank you, it really was a great gig.

SUZANNE: How was it for you guys to play here on Appelpop after a couple of years?
SANDER: It was very cool. Currently we are busy in the studio, a complete different world. We are busy with complete different things. Then you don't have any idea where you come and what you can expect. I didn't expect that it would be this big! That is a big surprise. So it was really, really cool!

SUZANNE: The last months/year a lot of things happened in the After Forever camp, you've been through a lot, drummer André Borgman was very ill, you left the record company 'Transmission', how is André doing and of course the rest of you?
SANDER: André is doing very well, as you have seen and heard on stage. He is practically all better and I think that especially André gave everything a very positive turnaround. And I think that you can hear that too. Because we also could leave our old label. We are all very positive about the future and I think that we all are stronger then ever!

SUZANNE: You just started recording in the studio, with producer Gordon Groothedde, how is it going??
SANDER: Good, at this moment we have the drums on tape. And, we had a very good pre-production and we worked out everything very detailed. And, yes, I think that you can hear and see it too on stage. Because I hear old elements, new elements. I hear everything! Everything sounds like it should sound. You will hear a very enthusiastic band.

SUZANNE: Yes, I noticed it during the show too. You all are very enthusiastic on stage!
SANDER: That is absolutely right.

SUZANNE: Can you already tell us something about the new songs?
SANDER: Yes, the new songs will, of course, link up with what the fans are used to hear from us. But we also want to let everyone hear something new, nothing will always be the same. There will always be a difference. And I think it will be especially cool to hear us with the orchestra, you will hear a special orchestra. A big orchestra this time, but the other elements will sound different this time, and it will sound different in the way of sounding extremer. I think that that was a very clear choice of us and thereby you hear some very, very modern elements. So I think that it will be a surprise for everyone, but on the other side also very recognizable. But you will definitely hear it when the time is right.

SUZANNE: Once in a week you post a short movie on the website to keep the fans updated with the things you are doing. These movies are recorded by the whole band and edited by you. I think that is a nice initiative. What kind of reactions do you get from fans?
SANDER: We are currently going to a complete new process, because since we have left are label, we are allowed to do these things! As a band we always wanted to do such things. But just weren't allowed to do it and I think that it is completely normal that you try to involve your fans by what you are doing. Fans are a part of the band. A band can not exist without his fans. And that is why we really would like to show these things to our fans. The fans are curious of what they will hear and I'm curious to their reactions. That is an interaction.

SUZANNE: But the reactions are very good?
SANDER: Yes, the reactions are very good, I didn't receive even one negative reaction.

SUZANNE: I understand from your story that the whole band is happy that you left 'Transmission', can I say that?
SANDER: Yes.

SUZANNE: Currently the band is searching for a new record company, in which phase are you guys with that at this moment?
SANDER: Let me put it in this way, we received several offers, so we are actually in a very luxurious position and that is very cool! Now that we have left the old label we notice that there are much more labels who are interested and that is really awesome. But that is also pretty striking, because we are already recording in the studio, but we didn't made a decision yet. We really want to make a good decision and that needs time.

SUZANNE: I'm very curious which record company you will choose.
SANDER: Yes, so am I!

SUZANNE: You had a fanmeet in Heerlen (The Netherlands) in the summer after a gig. Floor (Jansen, vocals) & Joost (van den Broek, piano/keyboards) played some acoustic songs. How was this evening for the band? Was it a special experience?
SANDER: Well, to be honest I have to say that I wasn't there. Because during the gig before that everything went wrong. And at the end of the gig I just played a couple of songs because of all the trouble. And that was really annoying, so I decided to not go there. But I know that the rest of the band really liked it and that we want to do this more often. But to organize, that really everyone can come, is pretty difficult. But we really want to do this more often.

SUZANNE: In October you're going to South-America for a short tour, this must be very special for you all. Are you more famous there then here The Netherlands? And how is the vibe there?
SANDER: I think that we, you have to see this way, we are as famous here as over there, but much more people inhabit South-America. People over there are so enthusiastic and they really live for the music and then you really have an over-enthusiastic audience. That just gives us a huge kick!! Standing there in front of all that over-enthusiastic audience. Before we arrive at the gig, we have to make a detour and you drive through an incredibly excited crowd before you get there. And then you feel, for some reason, a bit special. It is very cool and awesome and fun but I'm always happy to go home again.

SUZANNE: Well today it was a bit the same. Lots of people came especially for After Forever. I was here last night too and the tent were you played hasn't been as full as during your gig this afternoon.
SANDER: That is very good to hear, really awesome!! I hoped a little that it would be like that. Because the numbers of Metal shirts walking around here is very big!! But it is really cool to hear!!

SUZANNE: After Forever is playing on just about all big festival in The Netherlands and Europe, you're playing in all big and smaller venues in The Netherlands and abroad, you're touring South-America, supported f.e. Nightwish. What has been the most special gig so far and why?
SANDER: Pffff…. That is hard to say. Because it depends mostly on the fact of how the gig is going. Will you play in Ahoy' (Rotterdam, The Netherlands), but the sound is terrible or you're having musical problems, then it sucks and it will not be a special gig. But when we play in a little venue were you can barely put in 200 people and you are playing the stars from heaven and everything is going like it should be going then I like that gig much mire then the Ahoy' gig. It is just very hard to pick one gig.

SUZANNE: But, if you are still to name one?
SANDER: That is really hard to say! I don't know. There are more gigs that went just really good. But a very special gig was last year on 'Fields of Rock' (festival, 18-06-2006, Nijmegen, The Netherlands), that was the first gig with André joining us after his hospital- and recovery period. So yeah, that was for me a very special gig.

SUZANNE: What is the planning for the next following months/year? What can we expect from After Forever?
SANDER: I think that you can expect a band who decided to go for the music. And we really want to go and tour a lot! We want to go for music for the full 100%! And you will see that on our website, during the gigs, you will see it in us, the music etc. In everything you will notice that we are going for the full 1000%. And it is going to be amazing.

SUZANNE: Can you already say roughly when you are expecting the release of the new CD?
SANDER: No, not really. As said before we don't have a label yet. So the CD will be completely finished before we can release it. But I think that you have to count on March/April 2007.

SUZANNE: Is there anything that you would like say or add to this interview?
SANDER: Thanks for the interview!! I really had the idea that the fans felt that this would be the last gig before the studio period, and that we and the fans wanted to go for it just one more time for the full 100%. And then wait for the new period. It was just so cool.

SUZANNE: Thank you very much for your time and I wish you a lot of success in the future!
SANDER: Thank you very much to you too, really cool!

Masters of Metal!!
AGENT STEEL - Bruce Hall (vocals) & Juan Garcia (guitar) ( 11 March 2005 )
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov, New York, USA)

STAN: Bruce, how are you and how have you been?
BRUCE: I'm well. I decided to clean up my lifestyle and start excercising and taking my instrument more seriously and it's working out very well. I feel good, have more stamina, and have lost a ton of weight; 60 pounds at last count. I am at a very comfortable 180 lbs. now at I feel really good.
STAN: Juan, how have you been lately?
JUAN: I've been good; a bit busy but staying focused and preparing for the upcoming AGENT STEEL tour which begins in a few weeks; getting my guitars, and gear ready for the metal attack!!!

STAN: Bruce, how was the response to your performance at Blue Meannie Records in El Cajon?
BRUCE: It's was fun. We were a bit rough around the edges for sure but the energy carried us over the mistakes very well. George Robb from the Skeptics days joined us on stage for Agents and he kicked ass. As usual, all Agent Steel shows are full of energy. I don't know if we've ever been perfect but we're always full of juice and power. That's what Agent Steel live is all about, energy, passion and enthusiasm. We've all dedicated our lives to playing music and we do it with all the heart in the world. We are very sincere.

STAN: Juan, you mentioned that you enjoy listening to new bands such as Chimaira. Do you get influenced by bands like these to write similar music for Agent Steel?
JUAN: I like listening to new bands to see what is going on with the metal scene; and also because I am a metal fan as well, but as far as being influenced and writing similar type music for Agent Steel; I don't think it would work out; We have our own style and we'd like to keep it that way.

STAN: Bruce, I understand you knew Bernie Versye for a while before you got the job to sing for Agent Steel. Did you work with him on any projects before?
BRUCE: Yeah, after he left AS back in 1987 we played together in a band named Sybil. It was named after the schizophrenic character from the book because we couldn't decide what we wanted to be. We had a lot of different styles and ideas happening. Unfortunately, probably due to lack of a concrete direction, we never made it out of rehearsal. The main riff from Destroy The Hush was a Sybil song.

STAN: What is the current status on your new album? How many tracks will be on it and how much of it have you recorded so far?
JUAN: All the songs to the new album have been written as of December, 2004; all together there are 10-11 songs ready to go. We had to take a brake from writing to prepare for our upcoming tour which will be promoting the "live @ Dynamo Open Air" DVD. After the tour we will review the songs and rehearse and do some pre-production before recording the new album.
BRUCE: It's basically finished being written. I still have a few verses to finish but its essentially done. When we get home from the tour we'll start pre-production and then get into the studio as soon as possible. I hope we can get it out by the fall.

STAN: Is Bernie handling production duties on the new record?
JUAN: We have not finalized who will produce the new album; although Bernie did an amazing job on "Order of the illuminati". We still need to go over details and find out what we are going to do for the new album.

STAN: Will you decide to have 2 covers made for the new album, just like with Order of the Illuminati?
JUAN: I think it would be a good idea to have 2 different covers again; but this time I think the covers will be more similar in styles and theme; what happened on "order of the illuminati" was that the European distributors wanted something more interesting and the original cover was more plain, so we went with different cover for Europe and decided to keep the original cover artwork for the U.S. release, but for the new album I think it will be 2 different covers but real similar; just minor detail changes.

STAN:Bruce, tell us about your previous band. I heard that you played a similar style to Pantera.
BRUCE: My last band was often compared to Pantera but it wasn't particularly intentional. We were around in the very early 90's breaking past what metal had commonly become. We didn't want to be aggressive just for the sake of aggression because we wanted to have songs that were memorable but at the same time we were very anti-glam, anti-establishment, anti-everything. Because we were a metal band with a punk rock attitude and a bald headed singer we were labeled as similar to Pantera but the truth is we were both out there doing the same thing at the same time. They got famous and we made a lot of enemies in record companies.:) After 5 years of sold out shows and lots of local acclaim but no major record deal the band fell apart. Shame because we had something very special that anyone who ever saw us would acknowledge. My big mistake was talking too much shit about corporate America and record companies. It cost us our future because we were unwilling to play games and suck ass.

STAN: Bruce, here's a curious question: Have you ever met John Cyriis?
BRUCE: I met John at an after party in the Reseda neighborhood where the Country Club was back in 1985. We talked for quite a while about weird shit while all these other dudes were trying to pick up chicks. Perfect when ya think about it. Two dorks wasting their time talking about spaceships and armageddon when we could have been getting laid. Never again did I come across him but my experience was positive. I'm glad that he has heartily endorsed our version of his band. Like I mentioned earlier, we are very sincere and maintaining the integrity of the band and concept is paramount. I think, ultimately, when it was all said and done, he understood we mean well and that we aren't in this money or some ulterior motive. We'd be retarded if we were.:)

STAN: Juan, everyone wants to know what happened to John Cyriis. Last we heard, he had a band called Stellar Seed. I heard a sound clip of one of the songs, ''Godz of Men'' which sounded pretty good. The band's [cryptic] website has disappeared. Do you still keep in contact with him and is Stellar Seed active?
JUAN: John Cyriis is a very private person and we have ultimate respect for him and his family and his projects/workings. Me and John have communicated and everything is on the positive and he endorses what we are currently doing. I have no further details; we've talked and things are good; which I am thankful for.

STAN: ''Order of the Illuminati'' was such an outstanding album. It's a half-concept album which speaks about a group, the Illuminati, who are said to want total control of our planet. It is very original of bands to talk about this stuff, seeing as how most take the ''death and destruction'' path. When did you first get interested about the Illuminati and related topics?
BRUCE: I've been curious about the manipulation of humankind since I was a teenager. I felt like we barely had control over our thoughts because of advertising, money and religion. When I became aware of The Illuminati about 12 years ago it all clicked and I realized there really was a machine behind all these coercive agents. The only way they can be defeated is through acknowledging their existence. Their power is directly tied to their secrecy.

STAN: I'd like to ask if you can tell me what is the story behind the song, ''Human Bullet''? My guess that it's maybe ...mind control (?)
BRUCE: Absolutely. It's all about using the mind through hypnosis and installing triggers activated by either, audibly, with words or, visulally, using symbols. These experiments have been occuring for the last 50 years. The actual idea for the song came from a very cool (and I know this is hard to believe because about half his books are crap) Dean Koontz book called Night Chills. That and Dark Rivers Of The Heart are two books all fans of our band should check out. Since they are "fiction" they are pretty easy to read and digest as opposed to some of the manuals I've recommended and they'll really get you started thinking about the resources those in control have and the frightening possibilities.

STAN:Some of your lyrics are influenced by David Icke. Do you like to read his books to gather information for your lyrics, or do you come up with your own concepts and ideas?
BRUCE: I definitely appreciate David Icke. A lot of people think he is nuts to the point of hatred but I think that is to be expected when you are dealing with such radical thoughts. People hate to accept the possibility that they are sheep, that there is an elite group on earth manipulating us all. It's hard to swallow. My own concepts are certainly more fictional, like taking Arthur C Clarke's idea of igniting Jupiter, twisting it, and using the new sun as a symbol for a world leader like we did with the first half of OOTI. For the most part I don't want to spend my voice on pointlessness. There are many fine people who are working very hard for your freedom like Icke, William Bramley, Jim Marrs, Alex Jones. Zecharia Sitchin and many many others. They are doing the work and finding answers. I am just using my voice to get their conclusions heard by more people. That is my small contribution.

STAN: On the next album, will you discuss more about them [Illuminati] and go even more into detail, or will we expect something different this time? And do you have an album title that you are thinking about?
BRUCE: There's a little bit more alien influence in the new lyrics because Niburu's prophecized return is imminent. If you're unfamiliar with the concept do a quick search for Niburu and Planet X on the internet and read Sitchin's The 12th Planet and Earth Chronicles for more information. There are still a few songs about the New World Order but I see them as directly tied to the whole idea of the Nefilim and the course our planet has taken. It's all interconnected.

STAN: The response to your previous album, ''Order of the Illuminati'' was positive all the way. Did that put any pressure what so ever on you, as to what to do on your next album?
JUAN: I am glad that the response was positive for OOTI (order of the illuminati); because we worked very hard on that album. The new material we got I think is even better, but that is just my opinion; the pressure has been lifted because the songs have been written; all we need to do is some pre-production and recorded it and mix it.

STAN: You're soon departing for your European tour. It's already known that you will play the entire ''Skeptics Apocalypse'' album at the Keep-It-True festival. Will you play the whole album on other European dates as well?
BRUCE: I suppose that really depends on demand. If the crowd is large, willing, and unable to be denied we will play it. We're reserving it for the truly deserving.:)
JUAN: Perhaps so, I think for the Hardenburg, NL show at the Podium we will perform the whole "Skeptics Apocalypse" album as well.

STAN: Will you perform any new songs on your European tour?
JUAN: A lot of the new songs require different guitar tunings, so on this tour we will hold off on performing new songs live until the album is recorded; but perhaps we will work in one new song somewhere in the tour. We debuted a new song entitled "Wash the Planet Clean" at the Dynamo Open Air '04 for the fans.

STAN: Is your live DVD near being completed and ready for release?, and apart from your show at the Dynamo, will there be any bonus stuff included? Your live DVD was said to be released in late March, yet so little information has been given about the contents on the DVD. What will be included besides your live show at the Dynamo?
BRUCE: You should ask Juan. I think there is some stuff from the Effenaar in Eindhoven on it but I've never seen any of it. I have no idea about the DVD. I'm much more interested in audio than video.
JUAN: The full concert from Dynamo will be included; at first we thought about editing the set a bit that we performed because a few songs had guitar drop outs and a few songs were not up to our standards, but after further review we decided to procee d with the full concert and not edit anything, and infact we decided to keep it raw, live with no overdubs. The DVD will include 4 bonus songs; 2 from the Dynamo Pre-Party show at the Effenaar, and also 2 other songs from the "Bonded by Metal Exodus" tour; also included will be a photo gallery section; the DVD should be released by March 21, 2005 and we encourage fans to check it out.

STAN: Juan, do you ever plan on doing a re-union with your previous band Evil Dead in the future?
JUAN: Not really, those songs are hard to play live!!!! just kidding. I speak to some of the members of EvilDead and although we have talked about it; I don't think it will happen because I am busy with AGENT STEEL and keeping things moving forward; if there's any other type of reunion it would be ABATTOIR before EVILDEAD.

STAN: Bruce, what music/bands are you currently listening to?
BRUCE: On my IPOD I have Alice In Chains, Angel Witch, Anthrax, Ark, At The Gates, Atlanta Rhythm Section, Beyond Twilight, Black Sabbath, Cage, Crimson Glory, Def Leppard, Destruction, Dew Scented, Exodus, Faith No More, Freak Kitchen, Handsome, Heavy Pettin, Iced Earth, In Flames, Iron Maiden, John Arch, John Norum, Kate Bush, Killswitch Engage, Lamb Of God, Legs Diamond, Loch Vostock, Megadeth, MSG, Montrose, Motorhead, Nevermore, Nine Inch Nails, Pat Travers, Psychotic Waltz, Queensryche, The Quill, Rainbow, Riot, Sanctuary, Saxon, Scorpions, Sepultura, Shadows Fall, Slayer, Steel Prophet, Testament, Thin Lizzy, Tool, Tygers Of Pan Tang, UFO, and Y&T. That's pretty much what I am listening to right now.

STAN: You recruited a new drummer, Rigo Amezcua. Now from what I heard on ''Order of the Illuminati'', this guy can deliver such an awesome performance. Where did you find him and was he in any previous bands?
JUAN: Me, Rigo and Karlos (bassist) were working together in a prior band before AGENT STEEL. What happened was that AGENT STEEL had a live appearance scheduled and Chuck Profus (original drummer) got injured and we got Rigo t o fill in for the show, then later Chuck decided to just retire from music all together; although I am hearing rumours that he is playing drums again in a punk band. Rigo did a fantastic job on the tour and also on Order of the illuminati.

STAN: Chuck Profus has retired from the music industry. What made him decide to do that? Was it the arm injury that made him call it all quits?
JUAN: Well, like I mentioned; originally it was a hand injury and then he just got tired of the music business and just wanted out. I spoke to him the other day and he is fine and I heard he is playing drums again in a punk band.

STAN: Juan, you and Bernie are an amazing guitar duo. When writing songs, who usually comes up with the main riff?
JUAN: Depends who writes the idea main riff; it's a team effort, but Bernie is an amazing guitarist; he can take my idea and push it to another level; not to mention his solos are out of this world.

STAN: And my final question is, are you planning to do a complete U.S. tour anytime soon?
BRUCE: No plans but we are willing when the right offer comes up. It'll happen. I believe.
JUAN: That is a great question and I wish I can answer that one, but I don't know. The U.S. is a difficult market and for a band like us to properly tour the U.S.A. we would need to go out and support a bigger band. I don't know maybe some day a band like SHADOWS FALL, or JUDAS PRIEST perhaps will ask us to be join them as special guest; that would be awesome both of these bands are really great and I enjoy them a lot. One of these days we will finally properly tour the U.S.A.

STAN: Bruce, thank you for answering the questions. It is such an honor for me. Have a great time on tour and take care!
BRUCE: Touring is always a battle for the singer but I will do my very best and I will try to enjoy myself as much as possible. Thanks for the interst, Stan. We all appreciate your support.
Bruce

STAN: Juan, would you like to add anything else?
JUAN: for more information and band updates visit www.agentsteelonline.com and a big thanks to metal fans worldwide!!!

I want to thank Bruce and Juan for the interview, and of course Mario, for arranging this all. MASTERS OF METAL - AGENTS OF STEEL!

ALCHEMIST - Adam Agius (Vocals/Guitar) ( 1 February 2006 )
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov, New York, USA)

STAN: Hey Adam, what are you guys up to at the moment?
ADAM: We are writting for our new album, its coming together very nicely and we are rehearsing for the second leg of the Embryonics tour in Australia.

STAN: Tell us about the history of the band. How did you first come together?
ADAM: We first came together officialy in '89, we were a technical thrash band looking to forge our own style. We started experimenting with psychedelic sounds mixed with the thrash. We think it took three albums to get our style developed. We have had Australian record deals for the first 4 releases and in 2000 signed to Relapse for our first international deal, we toured Europe for the first time in 2004. We were teenagers when we started the band and originally it was myself , Rodney our drummer and a different guitarist and bassist, we have had the same line up since 1992. Our first album was "Jar of Kingdom" in 93, "Lunasphere" in 95, "Spiritech" in 97 , "Eve of the war" in 98 , "Organasm" in 2000 and "Austral" in 2003, all the pre Organasm titles have been condensed into a double album for the rest of the world called Embryonics released on Relapse

STAN: What sort of lyrical themes do you tackle in your songs?
ADAM: Anything from Astronomy to enviromental, scientific, political and personal believes. Sometimes we are very electric but we are writing very straight forward lyrics at the moment basically about the way we feel right now.

STAN: In the liner notes of Austral Alien, you wrote that the record almost killed you to make it, LOL. You wanted to record the best Alchemist album at the point, I guess?
ADAM: You got it mate and it was very difficult, I dare say that this one is proving just as hard, I guess I have learnt not to beat up on myself so much now and just to keep my head down and not let any shit riffs get through.

STAN: I noticed that if you say Austral Alien a bit quicker, it sounds like ''austrilian.'' Was this something you guys planned or kinda realized afterwards?
ADAM: Yes this is somthing we planned, we liked the play on words, we also liked the fact that Australia is so far from the rest of the western world and that we are alienated from the scene, by geography and musically

STAN: You are in songwriting mode right now. How are the new songs coming along?
ADAM: The songs are coming along great, its a heavier sound than Austral, very headbangable. I guess its a reaction to Austral, we really like Austral but its about as mellow as Alchemist can get, the new material is very dark and heavy sounding, cant wait to record it and tour the states if anyone will book us.

STAN: Alchemist truly has a very unique sound. How would you classify your music?
ADAM: Its metal with some world music, electronica, pschedelic twist , its proggy but its extreme prog not wailing Iron Maiden type.

STAN: How did METAL FOR THE BRAIN come about?
ADAM: Our friend Alec Hurly tried to break up a fight outside a club in 1990. He was pushed over and received bad brain injurys leaving him in a vegeative state that he still remains in today. The concert was held with 8 local bands to raise money and has grown to a 35 band event, its the best show an underground metal band can play in this country.

STAN: How has the success been with your new Double CD, ''Embryonics"?
ADAM: Its been great in Australia but its not released anywhere else yet, we tour again in oz in March. Its been great for all the new fans to be able to buy those old songs that they hear live all the time and great for the old fans to get some of the rare tracks on it.

STAN: Are you planning any shows this year, particularly in the States?
ADAM: We will play anywhere in the world. The problem is no one wants to book our shows or offer us an opening or support slot on their tour, sucks actually, we want to tour the world thats for sure, I guess it comes down to having a small profile.

STAN: Are their any upcoming projects you're planning to release soon?
ADAM: Yep, our new album will be released this year so look out for that one. Im in a grind band called Grind Pony and we are looking for to record this year as well, hopefully Relapse will pick it up and release it.

STAN: Any final words to all our readers?
ADAM: Hey guys if you want hear Alchemist goto www.relapse.com or www.alchemist.com.au for some free mp3s and video clips!
Take care and love your music, care for artists by buying their releases and have fun at their shows.


ALESTORM - Dani Evans (Guitar) (12 April 2009)
(Interviewer: Sammy de Maere, Beveren, Belgium)



SAMMY: Can you tell me a bit more about how the band started?
DANI: The band started in 2004 as Battleheart. After some line-up changes we changed our name into Alestorm in 2006. We did a lot of local shows and got noticed by the bigger boys. We signed a record deal with Napalm Records and released our debut in 2008. Things went very fast from there on as we toured the world and already played at some of the bigger European festivals. It's kind of weird to go from college straight into professional music but we're all enjoying it a lot.

SAMMY: Why did you choose to play pirate metal?
DANI: That's always a hard question to answer. We were looking for a style of music that isn't played yet cause it's always easier to get noticed when you're doing something that hasn't been done yet. We came up with the whole pirate idea and thought it was pretty cool. After experimenting with this for some time we came to realize that it really did work well.

SAMMY: What do you think about being compared to Running Wild?
DANI: I think it's something we'll probably not get away with for several more years since Running Wild did start the whole pirate theme and they were in the scene for over 20 years so it's obvious that every other band who starts something with pirates will get compared to them. But on the other hand I think it's quite annoying since we don't have anything in common with them. Running Wild was speed metal with just lyrics about the pirate scene while we are more power or folk metal with all the joho's and everything so I find it hard to compare us.

SAMMY: The new record sounds more bombastic, why did you choose to go that direction?
DANI: We actually always wanted to have this kind of sound but it took us a while to get it. After releasing Captain Morgan's Revenge we did get some more time to experiment with everything and we came to this sound with all the cool extra sounds and this is how we want to sound so we'll stick to this.

SAMMY: There is also a lot more keyboard in the new songs.
DANI: Yeah and that is pretty cool. It gives us more variety as a band. It's also a lot of fun to do twin solo's and duels between keyboard and guitar. They sound really nice and are fun to do on stage. We'll try to do some more of those to entertain us as well as the crowd.

SAMMY: Even with the new cd not yet for sale, are you going to play a lot of new material on this tour?
DANI: There is actually a whole merchandising pack for this tour with a shirt a poster and a cd with new songs from all the bands playing on this tour. We'll probably stick to the 3 songs on the new cd or throw in another new one if the crowd is really good. So basically this tour is more of a promotion for the albums that are coming up for us as well as for Tyr and Heidevolk and by selling the tour cd we can give some preview for the new album.

SAMMY: The 2 new songs on the Leviathan EP are also on the new record, was the EP more of a teaser to the new stuff ?
DANI: That is actually more because Napalm Records wanted us to release an EP since we did so well on the summer festivals. We already had some new material so we decided to put 2 of those on it. But it's more of a demo version of those 2 songs. We re-recorded them with better sound and all. Basically the EP is more something for collectors and for people who really want to have Heavy Metal Pirates on cd.

SAMMY: You're touring again with Tyr? How do you guys get along?
DANI: It's already the third time we're touring with them, we had the Ragnarock tour in October last year and we just got back from the US with them. They are really great guys to have fun with and it's also very nice to start the fun on the tour from day one cause we already know them so we don't have to get to know everybody on the tour bus. Tyr are definably the coolest guys we've ever been on tour with.

SAMMY: How did it go with Grave Digger?
DANI: I actually don't like to talk about them that much, that tour was probably the worst 3 weeks of our life as a band. We're sitting here now on the tour bus doing this interview but on the Grave Digger tour this wouldn't happen since we weren't even allowed to come downstairs. We were treated like dirt for the whole 3 weeks of the show. Grave Digger are the most pretentious assholes I've ever met, you put that on record.

SAMMY: Are we going to see you guys on any festivals this summer?
DANI: Unfortunately we're not doing Graspop again cause that was really cool last year but we are doing lot's of festival this summer including Bang Your Head, Metal Camp and Wacken Rocks.


ANGER AS ART - Steve Gaines (Vocals/Guitar) ( 22 December 2005 )
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren, Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)

MARIO: Hello Steve how are you doing lately?
STEVE: Hi. I cannot recall the last time I have been this busy. I am literally going 10 directions at once. And you, as a new father, you know what I mean, right? Except in this case, my child is my music!

MARIO: Your latest solo album was titled "Anger as Art" but now you decided to call the band that same name? Is there a particular reason for?? How are the reactions to this album so far?
STEVE: Well, it is a long story. I don't know if I could answer properly right here. But here's how it went. When I started working on it, the idea was that it could be the next Pagan War Machine recording – but with a new lineup. The idea was to call it NEW WAR... but when it became clear that PWM was finished, I realized that it was time to start over. The lyrics to the song Anger As Art are somewhat personal. Just the process of converting the anger that you have in your head into a form of art. The following thought was "hey, if a band grows out of this, that is what I will call it."

MARIO: Who are in the band at the moment and where did you get these guys from? Do some of them also play in other bands?
STEVE: In no particular order – I have known Mars for years – I first met him when I was in Bloodlust back in 1983. We did goof around playing cover tunes a few times, but really got to know him when he joined Dreams Of Damnation when I worked for that band. I always knew that he was the guy I wanted for a drummer. Mars was supposed to be the drummer for Pagan War Machine, but we could not make the schedule work out, so it never happened. And the bassist is another from way back in the Bloodlust days – Javier. He came along the first time Mars and I jammed on the AAA stuff, and fit perfectly. Guitarist William Rustrum was from a local LA band, but made a name for himself in Hangar 18 – the Megadeth tribute band. He plays the role of Dave Mustaine, and very well, I might add.

MARIO: What are the futureplans for Anger as Art? Any new albums or maybe a promotional (European) tour?
STEVE: Mario, you have no idea how much we'd love to play Europe. But, being realistic, I don't think it will happen any time soon. It may be a year away. We just signed with OSM records – they are re-issuing the AAA CD, and we start recording our 2nd album in January. Also are being offered some tours here in North America – will have answers on that soon.

MARIO: How did you get in touch with the Old School Metal Records label?? What is special about this label and what was the main reason you signed with them?
STEVE: I had known the CEO for a few years. He asked me to send a CD to him, and really seemed to enjoy it. Well, he asked us if we wanted to play at Thrash Against Cancer – a metal Festival in San Francisco earlier this year. When you stop to think how many bands wanted to get on this show, and he gave it to us – we were very humbled. So we stayed in contact over the following months – one thing leading to another, and before you know it, we were signing with them. But we didn't shop for a deal. It was a freindship / relationship from which this grew.
What is special about OSM is the fact that they love metal for the same reasons that we do. We are comitted to the same golas and work ethic. I know it is not a huge label with unlimited budget, but we all believe the same thing. I believe that we are in the best hands possible, and that together with some hard work, we will have great results.

MARIO: Are you still a member of the legendary Abattoir, Bloodlust, Pagan War Machine, Tactics & Dreams of Damnation? What is the status of these bands? Did they disband or are they still alive?
STEVE: Let me go down the list – Abattoir is still together, but not working at this time. We do plan to release that long awaited album someday, and also plan to do one last show ever with the VA lineup – this includes Juan Garcia – and release on video / DVD. But schedules conflict too greatly.
Bloodlust is still enjoying a nice rebirth – but we again have scheduling conflicts – one member lives about 2000 miles from the rest of us, and it is hard to get everyone together at once. But when we do, the band sounds better than it ever did. Tactics disbanded in 1999 – we had a long solid run, but we literally took the band to its end. It is my biggest regret that I did not market the band more actively in Europe – as it would have been huge. I remain good friends with all members, but the band is done. Good memories. As for the other 2 – let's just say that I will not be working with Jim Durkin anytime soon.

MARIO: You did record a live-CD with Abattoir a few years ago but that one is hard to find in Europe these days. Will there ever be a new studio album?
STEVE: We did do a studio album, but went through hell trying to finish it. When we had a rough mix, the whole thing was lost in a computer snafu. So all we have is a rough mix, and all of the different songs and demos going along with it. That kind of disaster really took the fire out of some of the guys. I wouldf like to belive that the rough mix will be available someday, and I never say never to another studio recording, but am not counting on it. Ideally, I would like to see Abattoir is a state of readiness to go out and play at festivals whenever we are asked. Abattoir will always be around, but not really functioning on a day to day basis.

MARIO: How is the metal-music scene in your area these days? Is traditional heavy/speedmetal still popular in the US these days?
STEVE: There are some good bands, and what scene exists is healthy. But it will never be like it was back in the glory days. Funny – AAA just played in the Midwest last week, and the scene is vibrant and booming in places like Salt Lake City, Utah. But in Los angeles – it exists on trends – and thankfully this kind of metal is not trendy enough. I like it thqat way. At least you know that what exists is the real deal.

MARIO: I heard that you are also a member of Bitch? Is that true and will this band ever do any live shows again in the near future?
STEVE: That story got let out too fast. It never came to fruition. What happened was that Bitch was approached to do some shows, and they didn't have a bass player. So Dave Carruth asked if I would learn a set, and be ready. So I learned their music, but the call never came. It is my understanding that they may have broken up. For the record, I was never a member – I would have been a 'hired gun', so to speak. But that would have been a ball to do. I have always been a fan of them, and friends with them.

MARIO: I reviewed the Pagan War Machine demo several years ago and i was very excited about that one; Are there any plans for recording a follow up to this demo?
STEVE: The logical follow-up for Pagan War Machine would be Anger As Art. And in fact, the reaction worldwide to AAA has been stronger than it was for PWM. But you have to understand that my co-collaborator with PWM Jim Durkin simply stopped – with no explanation. We'd ask " what's going on, Jim?" And the accusations would fly. Marcelo was his enemy, and I was his new Eric Meyer... anyone who isn't with him is against him... fucking whatever. He burned a lot of bridges with fans of this band around the world, damaged relationships within the band between myself and the other members, and created such a sense of ill-will that there will be no way I will ever work him again.

MARIO: I noticed that the PWM & Abattoir websites are offline?? What is the reason for this??
STEVE: Yes. Both came down to simple mistakes - people (not me) changing credit cards, or server accounts - and therefore missing the need/notice for updating the account. To buy the web domains back is cost prohibitive.

MARIO: Last year they told me that you would play the Headbangers Open Air festival in Germany in 2006. Is this still going on because i cant find any confirmation on the HOA website?
STEVE: feel free to post this on your site, or anywhere Are you ready for this? For whatever reason (I assume it would be to generate ticket sales) , they wanted Bloodlust to play an additional 30 minute set and call the band Abattoir. I found this to be an insult on par with asking Dave Mustaine to have Megadeth play a 30 minute set of Metallica tunes, and call the band Metallica. I explained that it was a stab in the back to both bands, and more importantly to the fans who would have been there. It literally would have severed friendships that in some cases took years to rebuild, and I wouldn't do it. It would have been a sure destruction of my credibility, and the fans would have been pissed.
I was only the voice for Abattoir, the band was most assuredly myself with Mel Sanchez and Mark Caro. I would not damage my credibility. I told them repeatedly that it was non negotiable, and please do not bring up the request again. So they came back with an offer of 200 euro more (this requires more explanation). I told them that I absolutely refuse to sell out my friends, and fans of both bands for 40 dollars ( Bloodlust is a 5 piece band - splitting the money evenly). With this they became insulted, and said they needed to re-evaluate their offer. After this, we never heard from them again.
To begin with, this trip would have costed Bloodlust approximately $15,000 to do. About $3000 each member. We had agreed to do the show knowing that we would have to pay our own expenses. But to offset the loss, we needed to add additional dates in other regions in Europe, and we would need their help in finding a promoter to secure additional dates. They refused to help - stating something about having the exclusive Bloodlust date in Europe. Next we asked to be paid for the appearance - the original request was that we do the show for free - which we would have agreed to do if we had additional dates. They came up with an agreement for $500 euro - merely a gesture of goodwill, but would have gone nowhere to offset our losses. We asked to be put up in lodging - any hotel or home of someone, and they refused. When looking at maps and realizing how far away the festival was from Hamburg airport, we asked for someone to pick us up at the airport, and return us to the airport. At first they agreed, but used this as an excuse when they decided to re-evaluate their offer. A ride to and from the airport changed their minds?
When bands come from America to play in Europe, it is less expensive for a band from the East Coast to go than a band from California. It is an additional $1000 per person to fly across North America, before changing flights. Bands on the East Coast - Attacker, October 31 and the like already have that $1000 advantage over us. Even with that , they'll take a huge loss. We were going to make tremendous sacrifices to do this show, and when we finally made agreement to do it, they sprung the Abattoir thing on us. It was wrong, disrespectful, unethical, and chicken-shit. If they wanted Abattoir they should have contacted Abattoir, and never dealt with Bloodlust.
Metal fans, this is what happens behind the scenes. This is the ugliness and the reality of negotiation. Bloodlust was ready to go - and ready to take that financial hit to do HOA in 2006. I hope we do not come across as Prima donnas - but let me ask you - put yourselves in my shoes, and what would you have done? Not just for metal, but from a business standpoint? Could you afford to take that hit? Were your requests unreasonable? And as a fan, how pissed off would you have been if you went expecting to see Abattoir, and instead Bloodlust never walked offstage, just stayed in place and played cover songs? And who would have the finger of blame pointed at directly? I rest my case.
I do not question anyone on HOA's staff's dedication to putting on a great show, or their dedication to metal. They are good guys, but I think they were thinking with their money, as opposed to reality. They saw an opportunity to pad their ticket sales by including Abattoir on the bill without actually providing Abattoir. The fans would have hated me for doing it, and them for trying to sell it.
It is my belief that they did not realize what kind of position they were putting me (or themselves) in. I wish them a succesful show this year, and hope that HOA continues to grow. I would like to believe that someday I can work for them at HOA, but am doubtful that it will ever happen.

MARIO: Anything you miss in this interview that should be told to the MMM readers?
STEVE: Part of what happens when you answer questions honestly is that you end up looking like a whiner. I hope I don't come across that way. I put a lot of work, and effort into everything I do. And you have to choose your 'horses' carefully. Many times you work with someone who on the surface appears to be the 'perfect fit'... but you find out after you are too deep into it that there are some serious problems that cannot be rectified.
That is why I chose to do the AAA album entirely by myself. After being involed with 4 bands at once, and having all of them implode at the same time, it starts to look like you arte the cause. After all, I was the common denominator in all of the bands. I wanted to prove to the world and myself that I can do this with no one else to blame. And I am so thankful that it worked out. Now, there are 3 guys who believe in me as much as I believe in them. And that is the strength of Anger As Art – the work ethic, and dedication to to what we do. Trust me, I will not be breaking up the band, hopping on a plane in the middle of the night and going home. Not in my fiber. I will stop at nothing to give you the best I've got with everything I do. And thanks for your support.
I do not bullshit anyone. I do not say anything that I cannot or will not back up. We are dedicated here in AAA – I can honestly say more than any band I have been involved with in a long time. And that is refreshing. I hope the fact that there are no emotional basketcases does not become boring here. But that is not what we are about. We are about the music – first and foremost. I hope that comes across honestly in the music.
If we do a cover song by Abattoir, it will be AAA doing it. I will never bullshit anyone and try to pass this off as the new Aba-lust, or whatever. My integrity is everything to me, because it is all I have with you guys. Okay, I am rambling... but thanks again for your support. Watch for the new Anger As Art album later in 2006. It is going to rule. METAL...........

MARIO: Thanx a lot for your time & honesty!
Mario van Dooren

ANNIHILATOR - Jeff Waters (Guitar) (12 April 2010)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen, Heesch, The Netherlands)


Interviewing one of metal's greatest guitar players is quite an honour. Especially when that person is such down to earth like Jeff Waters. The interview took place in a Gibson tourbus. Flying V's all over the wall and a huge plasma screen with the new Annihilator DVD playing on it. It turned to out to be a long interesting talk with Alice its maker…

DENNIS: "First of all could you give our readers a short overview what happened after your last studio album: "Metal"?
JEFF: The Metal album I guess was released in April 2006. There was a big long gap. A long time between albums for us which has never happened for us since we used to put out records averaging one every year since 1989. We were on tour in Europe supporting the album. We did about 80 or 90 shows I think, for that album. Everything looked great and we had a lot of guests on the record which got a lot of people talking and brought some new fans from the younger bands brought a lot of attention to us which was really cool. But when we were touring I noticed that all of a sudden there was no interviews, no promotion people nobody at the shows to do interviews and I called a few friends in other bands that were on our record company SPV. And they said that everything was quit now. I have been around the business for many years and I knew right away that' that meant the government is coming and it's authoring or they're going bankrupt. Something has to be happening. I didn't know so I checked the DVD called: "Masters of Rock" that we were working on. And I said to them: "Hey, could we get out of the deal?" "If we give you the DVD could we leave contract?" And normally most companies would say: "No", but they were really cool. They said: "Yeah, we can do that". One week after I left the contract, that was out, they announced on the news sites around the world that they were plying to go insolvent. When I heard that news I almost had a heart attack and thought: wow! I am the luckiest musician in the world. So after that I had a lot of time to write, record and mix my new CD, but also to shop for a new record deal. So , instead of panicking and try to get a quick deal and maybe making some mistakes I did the opposite and said: "You know what, I don't do this for the money" I have money from other things and from Annihilator in the past years. So I do this because I love the music and maybe it's better to don't rush anything. So my singer Dave (Padden) came in and we recorded the record and in a very relaxing way. We didn't work twelve hours a day. It was more like 7 or 8 hours. Just like a normal job. And instead of me rushing to mix it for a big deadline/ release date I went to Australia to do a production, came back and then I mixed the album. So I had time to make changes and fix things. So this time Dave and I decided that we will never do an album every year and a half. We're going to do it when were ready. It turned out really good, something was different but that was because we had this huge amount of time.

DENNIS: Are you happy with the DVD release?
JEFF: Yeah, technically I had to spent so much time in the studio mixing it and trying to make it better. You need to know that this wasn't supposed to be a DVD. You know when you see a concert and you see all those big screens? There's somebody standing there working the camera's. And we had to take that footage and some of it wasn't so good. It's easy for me to fix the audio because I have my own studio for years and I made it sound really good. It actually sound better on DVD than when you were in the crowd because I did a lot of work to fix it up so that it would sound better. The filming could have been a lot better. But again it wasn't meant to be a real DVD. The best thing that came out of it that the video circulated all over the internet and a lot of people who heard our new singer a few years ago and thought that he wasn't a good choice for Annihilator saw that he got better and actually besides singing playing Waters guitar parts. Like a Hetfield kind of style. Dave got a lot of respect just for the DVD.

DENNIS: At this moment you and Dave are the core members of Annihilator?
JEFF: Yes, Dave joined in 2003. The way Annihilator has always been even before I signed record deals was that I wanted a band but the problem I had that the guys that were in the band when I was a teenager was that these guys didn't want to sit in a room and practise for six or seven hours straight. They wanted to do what most of us want to do as teenagers: go out with their girlfriends and go out partying. In Canada back than there were so many metal- and stripclubs. It was one big party. You could go out on one night and see Razor in one club and Exciter in the other. But I wanted to get serious. I thought I can get girls, I can drink beer I can do all of that later if I work hard. So I ended up doing demo's by myself because I couldn't get the bassplayer to come down to record. So on the demo that got us signed in 1986 called "Phantasmagoria" which was in the top 3 of tape trading cassettes together with Metallica and Megadeth. That demo had got me a deal. I'm singing, playing bass and drumming on that demo. I had to do it. I didn't wanted to, I wanted a band. Than I did my first album "Alice in Hell" and it was the same thing. I had to hire a drummer, I played all the other instruments on the album, and than I found a singer just to do the vocals. That's the way it has always been. I just hire couple of guys when I go on tour. The only difference is now that Dave Padden joined in 2003 and it was just another singer in the band and than all of a sudden in 2005 turned in to be the guitarplayer/ singer. He did an album called "Schizo deluxe" which was not a well known record for us because the record company boss (AFM) got killed in a car accident. So more bad luck for everybody. Something happened around that time where Dave became more of a partner. I would find myself calling him on the phone when I had questions about: "What do you think about touring with this band? Or music or lyrics or something. After a few years I realised, fuck : I never did that with anyone else. Annihilator was my baby. So now we are at the point where I said to Dave Annihilator is also your band while he didn't ask for that. It used be Jeff Waters Annihilator solo project and now it is Jeff Waters and Dave Paddens solo project Annihilator (laughs) So we have half of the band so maybe in 20 years we have a full band!

DENNIS: Over to the new album now. What can Jeff tell us about it?
JEFF: Self titled. That's because I couldn't think of a good name. Most of our other CD's I would look and the song titles and think that is a good song title, like for example "Alice in Hell" This time none of the songtitles were good at all to become the album title. So I actually had to sit down and think for a title and I couldn't do it. A lot of titles that were already used by other bands. But than my manager and Dave said that they really liked the CD more than the last ones and there was something special about this one, the writing and the production. Why don't you just call it "Annihilator" because 13 records in 20 years and 4 records where Dave is singing on. It's is kind of more like a partnership now and it seemed like a new era.

DENNIS: I have only heard the song "Cowards" from the new album. I think it's a great song. Does it represent for the sound on the other songs on the album?
JEFF: No, no that's something we don't want to. The problem with Annihilator is, if you take a band like Judas Priest. When the album "Painkiller" was released in 1990. The first time it came on the videochannel, from the very first drumbeat right away you were glued on the TV set your eyes couldn't leave the TV set. It hooks you immediately. Annihilator isn't like that, we're ones of those bands where it takes ten maybe fifteen times listening to the record before you start going: "Wow there's a lot of work but into that record, that's a different guitar part and hey that's song sounds actually pretty good. We' re that kind of band and that's the worst kind of music for a band to put singles out because people hear the one song and may not like it but maybe they'll love the next one.
DENNIS: On a readers poll of one of the e-zines in Holland Annihilator's on the second place concerning bands that didn't top there debut album. I find it rather strange because most of your albums sound completely different in stead op a copy of "Alice in Hell" What does this kind of feedback do to you?
JEFF: The biggest album for us was not "Alice in Hell" it was called "Never Never Land" And than we had one called "King of the Kill" which was also bigger.
DENNIS: Maybe people in Holland like the more aggressive and fast sound of Annihilator.
JEFF: Yeah, but that is only in Holland because in all the other countries that bought the record "Never Never Land" was the big seller and for me that is my favourite album. It's like Annihilator's "Back in Black" I'll never make a record that's going to be better than that, there's no way. But than again things like Judas Priest, when they did the "Painkiller" record it was their fourteenth album, an amazing one, very influential. But they also had: "Defenders of the Faith", "Screaming for Vengeance" they had great albums. Some like "British Steel" the best others like "Painkiller" If you go by the sales though, "Turbo" in the U.S. was huge. With Annihilator it is different countries. Sometimes I hear: "Will you ever make a record that's as good as "Set the World on Fire"? That was in Italy. And I'll go like: "Set the World on Fire?" that's the big one? That record was huge in Japan and Italy. That was it. It wasn't really that big in other countries. "King of the Kill" was the most famous record for me in Asia. I went to Japan in '95 for a press trip. I said cool two days? No, two weeks! I was treated like a rockstar over there for a year or so. That was a very funny experience. I think, for Annihilator it depends on the countries. Besides that it's impossible to make classic albums all the time.

DENNIS: Back to the new album now. The cover made me think of The Exorcist.
JEFF: That was exactly what I said to my artist. I always watch horror movies. My partner and son go to at about 10.30h. while I always stay up to watch a horror movie. It relaxes me, I don't know why? When I woke up one night there was this girl at the end of my bed, floating, white eyes. I was really scared but I thought perfect! Linda Blair of the Exorcist meets Alice in Hell. I immediately e- mailed my artist, and a week later he sends back the cover. I said wow, don't change anything. The thing is, I didn't say where do we put our band logo. He said you don't have to because the girl carved it in her head. I thought don't we need a logo. I called Dave and said what about the logo and he said don't use it, it's right there: Annihilator! These things are not technically well thought of decisions.

DENNIS: How much of a perfectionist are you?
JEFF: Actually I'm not. I like to keep the tourbus clean. We're pretty famous in touring world because sometimes when we tour with Judas Priest or Trivium or some other bands we're "special guests". Basically a support act but that's a fancy name. After the show the headliners would come in the bus to have a beer or something and we would always have the best bus. I always like to spend money even my own to have a comfortable bus. But to keep things clean, you know when you're on the road with a whole bunch of guys, there's always a few people that spill things or leave their dirty clothes on the floor or smelly shoes. So I'm a perfectionist when it comes to keep anybody clean and happy.
DENNIS: And when it comes to music?
JEFF: Yeah , that's what you're trying to get at. Yes and no. I probably would be more of a perfectionist if I hade more time to do the records I did in the past. But their was always a deadline. This time I had all the time of the world so I have 98% of what I want on the record. Right now I would like to get three or four songs off the record and put four new ones on it. But that will happen to the day you die when you're an artist.

DENNIS: A few months ago you gave a clinic at the Dynamo club here in Eindhoven. What kind of a teacher are you?
JEFF: I don't know if you can call it a clinic. It was just me showing up and playing some songs and introducing and talking to people. It was fun I really liked doing it.
DENNIS: Was this something new for you?
JEFF: No, no. Everybody was smiling I don't want to be the serious guy that is doing boring scales and showing boring things. I like talking with people and having fun.
DENNIS: What do you think of the new Dynamo club?
JEFF: We played the old one long time ago. I love the new building and would like to play there. What's this venue like? The tourbus was standing nearby de Effenaar.
DENNIS: Well it's de Effenaar. Did you never play there with Annihilator in the past. It's a completely new building . The venue was located at another place in the past.
JEFF: No, I don't remember that.

DENNIS: What can you tell us about your signature guitar?
JEFF: One is red and one is black. Very cool, they're metal guitars. One of the things I have done since I'm touring with Annihilator is collecting guitars and the last thing I need is a new guitar, I don't need anymore. I've had to many guitars for a long time. I had to pay money to store them in another place that has humidity and temperature control 24h a day. Just so they don't get old and die. It's expansive to insure them but, because it's a collection with a lot of guitars it's worth a lot of money. So I have to tread it well, it's like an investment. But I don't need anymore guitars I have a million of them. I was lucky when Gibson called me, I have a couple of fans working there. They asked me if I had an endorsement. And I said no not really. "Well, we like to do a signature line" I thought well that's an honour. Any guitarplayer teenager or old guy should be honoured when a company like that wants to talk to you. We started talking but I said I don't know if this will work because I don't want to do a deal with a company to sell guitars to make money. I just don't like the idea that my signature model needs to cost 1500,- euro. I wanted a high quality guitar for a very low price. It has to be below 1000,- euro. They got a guitar together and we went back and forth for about six months and we than actually stopped talking. We had contact for almost a year. The quality was low and the price was too high. I wanted a better quality. Finally the people at Gibson decided to do it. They were not going to make a profit on guitar. The main thing of the guitar is the neck, the neck is the money. And the pick ups used a very special pick ups they wanted to use stock cheaper pick ups. Don't knowing that the pick ups in metal are one of the most important things. You know the sound of your picking. I didn't want the cheap pick ups, didn't want the cheap neck. And there had to be Grover tuners, which are the better tuners. Everything else is kind of easy to do, but it's very expensive to make the neck. The tuners are a little more expensive and the pick ups especially. Gibson got these pick ups in the U.S. special edition and they went though five versions before I went "Yeah"! Not knowing that those were the most expensive ones! They came back to me and they were the coolest guys in the world because I have never seen this done with any of the other companies. They said: "O.k. we'll just eat the profit, we'll do just what you want". "Your attitude is right, you want kids to be able to afford it, you want higher quality and that just might attract more people to our brand. So finally I can say that this is the cheapest guitar (699,- euro) and the best guitar for metal (especially thrash) available at the moment.

DENNIS: You've been writing songs for over twenty years now. Is it difficult to avoid repeating what you've done in the past?
JEFF: Yeah, that's true, I guess. Maybe lyrically no our lyrics are about anything you see on the news, something that has happened to a friend. He got divorced and bankrupt, somebody in the family who gets cancer and dies. Anything. When you look at all the records we got anything from love songs to ballads to heavy instrumentals, totally commercial rock to blues, we've used a little jazz. Most of my guitar solo's on every album, if you slow them down they're blues. They're: Angus Young, Glenn Tipton, B.B. King, Chuck Berry all that kind of blues stuff just fast played with distortion and metal picking. So we've got all these different styles that we can do. Lyrically you just look out of the window and you can find something to write about. When people get the writers block it's all in your head maybe because money has infected you. The ideas are right out of the window. Musically it's more difficult because. I'm a fan of so many different styles of music. Annihilator is a cross between heavy metal music of the late seventies and early eighties and thrash metal from all the well known eighties bands. So it's thrash meeting heavy metal, and in heavy metal like Priest there are ballads on those albums so we're all that stuff and it's easy to pick from all those styles but a lot of times I will write riffs and Dave or my manager would come in and go: "I think you wrote that riff on another album, years ago" Sometimes you get hooked on certain riffs. Like Exodus or Metallica or Slayer I love them so much that sometimes I have to delete the biggest part of the song and re do it because it sounds too much like a Slayer riff. And I'm not copying it. It's just born in my DNA.

DENNIS: The goals you set when you started Annihilator are they different from the ones you have know?
JEFF: When I started I only had one. The only one I had was to get a record deal. So when I got my first LP from Roadrunner in the mail, it was a box of ten and when I opened it up I was a mess, I was like twenty three years old. I had a dream that came true. But a lot of hard work came before that. After that we toured with Testament. We came to Europe and toured. Our singer was doing a lot of drugs. My manager at the time said we had to organise a meeting and talk what we were going to do with the next record. I than didn't even understand we were going to do an other album. I had no goals except for bringing out our debut record. I could've quit there and would be totally happy. But ever since than the only goal I had was basically continue to survive money wise so that I could continue the band. All I had to do was to sell a minimum amount of records, so that we get the minimum amount of money from the record company to keep making records. And along the way my biggest albums that I made were in times when you would think it the worst time which was 1994 to 1997. Albums called "King of the Kill" and "Refresh the Demon" "King of the Kill" went through the roof. People didn't know about it. It was like an underground album. We had the big, big sales with our first three records but after that heavy metal kind of died. I was supposed to be finished. Roadrunner actually dropped me. They phoned me and said: "If you change the name of the band, change your image and write more hardcore or nu metal than you can stay." But I said: "No, I don't know how to do that." I wasn't a mean thing I just said I don't wanted to do that and they said "Bye bye"

DENNIS: Do you think that Annihilator can make profit out of the thrash revival that is going on at the moment?
JEFF: Sales, fanbase or money?
DENNIS: All of them.
JEFF: The goal for me is that I wanted to learn from the business and get something out of it so that I can continue with the band. I don't need the fame or image or big money. Image doesn't mean shit to me, I've got short hair at the moment. It's not important for me. Important is surviving and go to the next record.

DENNIS: How's your old singer Randy Rampage doing?
JEFF: He's o.k. I talk to him every now and than. He was on our first album and it's no secret that he was in a punk band called famous in Canada and the U.S. before he joined Annihilator. Years later I was hanging out with Duff McKagan (Guns 'n Roses) in Spain. I just talked to him for awhile and he said: "Hey, you smoke cigars?" I said: "No, but I will now!" We walked and talked. And after ten minutes he said: "What band are you in?" I thought he will never know Annihilator. But he said: "Annihilator, from Canada?" The story is he didn't knew me at all, but when you look at Duff in the early days of Guns 'n Roses everything he wears has something to do with Randy Rampage. When Duff was a kid he would go to Vancouver and watch D.O.A. with Randy on the bass and that's were Duff got his image from!

DENNIS: Feel free to give our readers a piece of your mind!
JEFF: Buy the new record it has 66 guitar solo's on it and is definitely one the better Annihilator albums. See you on tour!


ARCTIC FLAME - All members (17 December 2008)
(Interviewer: Alex Avdeev , Siberia, Russia)


There are only a few bands appearing in this century which deserve to be listed among metal bands, and Artic Flame from New Jersey is a bone-chilling, devastating band which has earned to be that exception - the heavy metal music they play is pure US Power Metal! The band has claimed the support of well-known bands across the world as well as it has been credited with two full-length records, "Primeval Aggressor" - 2006 and "Declaration" - 2008 (which was out on December, the 5th!!). I would like to thank Mike - the drummer of the band, with his own distinguished playing style with accentuated down beats - you know you hear him when Arctic Flame's song comes up on your stereo, Jon - the bass player, Dave - the singer, Rod and Sebastian who are filling in the guitars, for the following interview!
(Note): Rod could not be available for the interview as he has a family situation that he has to attend to at the moment. He sends his apologies.

ALEX: Hello, guys! You were at Mario's Metal Meeting, a metal festival hosted by Mario, the owner of this fanzine, in November: tell us about the reception in Netherlands and how would you compare the sound in the small venues of Europe to the small clubs of the USA where you have been playing?
DAVE: The scene in that part of the world is really amazing. It seems like the people over there just live for this music and show it by throwing these festivals almost every month. Reception was amazing, and while we were showing them songs off of our new album. Originally we were hoping to have "Declaration" out by that time, but it worked out as it was in anticipation. The small clubs like 013 and Juz Andernach (Swordbrothers) in Europe are great for US bands; they're appreciated because they don't get out there too often. Many times the crowds in the states treat traditional/power metal in a somewhat novelty fashion and usually only are interested in the current trend. There are many exceptions to the rule and we always come away with new flame heads.
SEBASTIAN: The reception was great. The people were very nice and friendly. We had an awesome time over there and I wish we could've stayed longer! The sound was good but it wasn't any different from what we are used to have here in USA, although the stage was one of the best I've seen, the lights, the fog, it was pretty cool.
JON: The reception overseas is always very warm and welcoming. The Netherlands was no exception. The sound was quite good too though I was enjoying the sound I was getting from the Ampeg (a bass amplifier – Alex) I was playing out of. I love playing through Ampeg amplifiers so that was a lot of fun. Hopefully everything sounded heavy out in the crowd though, that's the most important thing.
MIKE: The Netherlands fans are tough, especially if you are an up and coming band. I noticed during our set, people were rather subdued until around the 3rd song. Germany fans were just nuts from the first guitar note. So far every show we played the sound systems were very professional. The same is for the better venues that we've played in the US. Some places, especially some of the dive bars we play, you have to make best of what you have. It's all good.

ALEX: How would you define the general conception of Mario's Metal Meeting, where such bands as Wolf, Shadowkeep, Vicious Rumors, and Courageous were playing: diversity, straightfowardness, elitism, or something else?
DAVE: Each band had something slightly different to offer, as it shared the same thread. Courageous seemed to have more of a heavy straight forward dirtiness to it than the others. I think a lot of these organizers try to bring bands to the people that touch on different aspects of true metal as a genre. It's just awesome seeing the patch jackets of many bands we grew up with, harder to come by here. We especially had a great time viewing and hanging with our old friends in the band, WOLF again. They always put on a killer show, and we always end up creating alcoholic chaos with 'em!
SEBASTIAN: It was good, it was just what a metal festival is expected to be. Different bands, each one with a unique sound and attitude, and also representing a different side of the music, like a little more modern sounding, or more thrashy or melodic,...
JON: I think that the shows that we get put on overseas are well thought out and really good at showing that different kinds of old school metal bands will always sounds good together. Sometimes, we get shows here, in the USA, which have bizarre lineups. Shows like MMM are a ton of fun because the people going to show are going for the sole purpose of seeing heavy metal bands... Drinking, and seeing heavy metal bands. It was great to see Niklas and Johannes in Wolf also. Always a lot of fun with those guys.
MIKE: Let's call it a diversity of straight forwardness. Every band has the core sound of true metal but they may octopus out a little to create their own style. This keeps things interesting to the fans.

ALEX: There are bands with a variety of attitudes towards critics, and your band's motto is siding with ignoring all criticizing - have you ever been in a situation where this couldn't be avoided?
MIKE: Yes! Sometimes you can learn things from the critics especially if the all say the same thing. Just recently at our show in the Netherlands, the band wasn't as energetic on stage as we do in the states. This was in part because Sebastian was performing with the other guitarist, Jason Perez, who was filling in for Rod, for the first time live. We hired Jason and only had 3 practices with him. This may have had an impact on their stage performance as they were concentration more on the music. This was pointed out in most of the reviews and we totally agreed. It's something we appreciated and something that won't happen again.

ALEX: What are the major difficulties you have to encounter while running the band, Mike?
MIKE: This band runs pretty smoothly. Everyone basically has the same goals so that makes things a lot easier. The only things that come up are usually dealing with promoters or some bands that have attitudes. There are some bands we've played with that don't understand their position in the food chain of metal. They want a better slot on a particular bill even though they haven't done jack shit to deserve it. Hey, we'll play in any order but don't give me because your guitar player plays a million notes a second, that you're god's gift to heavy metal. I'm always democratic and try to work with people as long as they don't give me any bullshit. If it get to a point where I blow a gasket that means you went too far. But this rarely happens. We have great road crew that knows what to do and Steve, our stage manager and my right hand man, makes sure everything runs smoothly. This guy knows what he is doing and I trust him completely. He grew up in Scotland and when he turned 18, he roadied for Thin Lezzy on their 'Chinatown" tour in Europe.

ALEX: Remembering the experience of Bruce Dickinson in 90s with Iron Maiden, who was earnest in his attempts to incorporate experiments in his music, I was worried when I read that Dave enjoys doing "new things"? If it's music-wise, what exactly might that mean?
DAVE: Aah yes, plus his solo works like "Skunkworks" and "Balls to Picasso". Ha-ha not to worry my brother, it incorporates more my life style than anything else. Your soul only gets one shot at this short time we have here, so I want to try as many: foods, drinks, instruments, sports, games, as possible- only thing to stop you is fear, unless if it something ridiculous haha. Musically Arctic Flame will always evolve within the vein and classic NWOBH influences it has. I will always keep it within the realms of our sound and while incorporating something new (via "Shadow of a Broken Man", "Blind Leads the Blind".)I do enjoy other types of music and theatre, but I would experiment if I did my own project or something like that.

ALEX: There are two and four-year breaks between your LPs (the first one being a break since your foundation). How did the composing and recording process go for each, and especially the last, long-play album? Do you plan to accelerate the process of surprising your fans with more records?
MIKE: The plan is to put out an album every year or year and a half with the "Salem Gun Witch" EP series in between. Whether this works out or not, remains to be seen. Most plan don't go accordingly but we definitely want to put out full lengths every year. The songs for the 1st Cd were created as the band was forming, so we had a bit more time to flesh them out and correct them until the recording sessions. The 2nd CD was pretty much the same but we did write several songs a few weeks before those sessions such as "Declaration", "Hammer Down" and "Disciples of the Flame". Also several lyrics were completely changed as we were recording. "Blind leads the Blind" and "Hammer Down" are perfect examples of this.

ALEX: Rod's, Don's, and Steve's (Steve is a temporary fill-in for the band) guitar sound is perfect on both "Primeval Aggressor" and "Declaration" - the wall-crushing, voluminous sound of riffs remind me of the best records by such bands as Attacker, Agent Steel and Judas Priest, and every song keeps me anticipating for more of the higher range of the singer, whom I would like to compliment - he did his job right, and the high notes hit by Dave are sounding astonishingly pretty well! A question for all members: what has been improved on the latest record, "Declaration", and what seems that it could be improved on the next record?
DAVE: I would say that the song writing musically has developed into fuller songs than some of the more epic features of the last record. Everything seems pretty well balanced and the sound is heavier, which we wanted. Jack Frost did a phenomenal job on "Primeval Aggressor", and for this one we wanted to bring out a raw, yet diversified sound. Vocally I knew I sung in falsetto on "Primeval.." wherever I had the chance. I wanted to place them in a more accented direction in this one and show more variety in my voice. As far as improvement for the next, we want to be as prepared as possible and have more tracks. There are always a degree of unused songs that never make the cd, and I think we have a lot of material, especially with the current line-up with Sebastian.
SEBASTIAN: We are always looking to be better musicians, individually and as band too. But when it comes down to the songs or the records, it's not about making it better than the last one, each song and each record is a different story.
MIKE: One improvement on this CD, to me, is the "dirtier" or "raw" guitar sound. The 1st CD had a more polished sound. I'm more into the "rawer" sound. Also the drum sound, particularly in the bass and snare drums, come through more. The bass guitar and drum sounds are a lot better than "Primeval Aggressor". As for the next CD, more guitar wizardry. I would like to hear some dive bombing guitars.
JON: I think that the overall style of the band sounds fuller, heavier and, dare I say, a bit more modern, without losing the bite that we have come to love from the 80's sound. The first album had a good tone though, the heaviness and thickness of the guitar sound has been improved tenfold on Declaration. There are always things you wish you could change here and there and things you didn't care for or irk you. There are moments on the album I would change though I am generally really pleased with the outcome. I think on the next record, you just try and continue with the good and eliminate as much of the bad as you can. I know I want a slightly dirtier bass tone on the next one, like a Lemmy tone.

ALEX: Is there a conception behind the LP, "Declaration", or the songs are just dealing with various unrelated subjects?
DAVE: There is no conceptual story per say, but all have a message of declaring a certain emotion or feeling. Also the title track deals with not being afraid of who you are. On a the story note, I am a huge fan of bands like King Diamond and Dream Theater that do it so well. Each track is like a chapter of a story that unfolds in symphonic storytelling. We may, hehe have some plans for a tale or too in the future!
MIKE: Dave and I write the lyrics and we've never got together to discuss a concept. This album is just random stories. Dave writes on subjects in a roundabout way. I write either straightforward or metaphorically. I either write to tell a story or to paint metal imagery.

ALEX: Thank you! Remembering that your previous bass player (Jeff Scott) incorporated intricate patterns (as in "Kingdom Of Illusion" on "Primeval Aggressor", 2006), which please the ear, would you say that Jon, the new bass player did the job as great as Jeff Scott on "Declaration"?
MIKE: Jeff was a good basic metal bass player as well as a great guy. Jon is very technical and a very knowledgeable person. But they both fit the bill very well.

ALEX: Hearing that Jon has "some ridiculous parts" for your upcoming 2009 record (or even records!), I am interested what you, Jon, have prepared for us!
JON: Well, I don't want to give much away but it definitely will not sound like Traced In Air. I can guarantee you that. Some of the songs are a little more complex, more riffs and lead-work. I've been playing with melodies and trying to create more auditory depth. More subtlety without losing the heaviness and classic feel of the material. On the other hand, I think that at times, the material is less complex, catchier and encompassing. I think that my love of the extreme metal genres shows in the material. Don't worry, there won't be any growling or screeching. We won't be prancing around in corpse-paint and impaling goat heads on stage.

ALEX: Sebastian, you are working at your own recording studio, did Arctic Flame get any help or assistance from your studio?
SEBASTIAN: No, the album was recorded before I joined the band.
MIKE: But we will use all of Sebastian's talents not just as guitarist and songwriter but also his studio expertise.

ALEX: Mike is not only a songwriter, lyricist and a drummer - he is a writer too! Does the mystic horror story, "King of Toys" that you, Mike, have written has to do anything with the band? If not, did it really intervene with working with Arctic Flame?
MIKE: The book, "King of Toys" has nothing to do with the band or music in general. It is a horror/poetry story about a young boy you is abused by his drug addicted parents. After a serious episode of abuse, his toys spring to life and take revenge out on his parents and their friends. I wrote it mostly in my spare time. It took about a year and half to write and then it sat on the shelve for another year and a half before I actually got around to sending it out. The band always comes first but there is always time to do other things. Don't let anyone tell you differently.

ALEX: Your song "Hammer Down" is more of a direct song, but you are experimenting there with wah-wah, while, for example, in "Green Lady of The Hill" you operate more with high vocals. Is there an ultimate approach in your songs to get a zest in every song, or all of that has been done naturally?
MIKE: I think a little bit of both. First you write the song and see if sounds good. Then you try and add parts that will bring out certain aspects of that song.

ALEX: Are there any songs on your demo record which were never included on the either of the two LP records you have so far? If not, what were the reasons of not including them?
MIKE: Yes, there a song written by Steve Demalion that wasn't included. It was written a week or two before we went into the studio. Most of us only heard it when we got the scratch tracks. It needed some work, so we decided that it was best to leave it off.

ALEX: Reading a lot on your band, I was always wondering why do some mass media sources spell your name together, not separately.
MIKE: It was always our intention that it be two words in one. Maybe for internet reasons, people do that. I don't care though, it's a minor thing.

ALEX: I am personally interested in Hammer horror movies of 60s and 70s, I couldn't help but ask Dave about his huge interest in horror. Dave, what movies do you enjoy the most?
DAVE: This is a question that believe it or not I'm asked somewhat often, but my answers change with the newer films. Some of my favorites include the 80's cult slashers like the Nightmare On Elm Street series, especially part 3, Friday the 13 series, Evil Dead, Dolls, (somewhat unknown), Hell Raiser and many of the Stephen King books and movies made then. One of my favorite time periods is the classic silver screen era of the monster masterpieces like Frankenstein, Dracula, Godzilla, to the 70's classics, Dawn of the Dead, Texas Chainsaw, Zombie, Exorcist. In the 90's the genre became somewhat of a parody, but this decade has brought out on of my favorite series of all time- Saw. I hope they keep those going forever, even if they run out of ways to keep Jigsaw in flashbacks. And I can scare my wife every year because we see a new one in the theaters every anniversary.

ALEX: Haha, thank you, Dave – it seems that 90s were a parody for everything. Jon, In your biography section you are saying that you intend "to stay with the band for a long time to come and write a lot of great music." Does that mean that you will eventually quit it?
JON: No, I don't plan on leaving or quitting. Sometimes, shit happens though. You might think everything is fine one minute and the next guitars are being swung at each other and amps are being smashed over each other's heads. That's really not an issue with us though. I think we are bit too laid back sometimes. Plus, Mike is made of metal and can not feel pain. Not someone you would want to fight with.

ALEX: On your Myspace page Steve Demalion was listed playing "guitars and bullshitting". What is that latter instrument?
MIKE: Steve was supposed to join the band. He told us he loved the band and it was what he was looking for. Several months afterwards he tells us, by email, he was leaving because of his day job. We found out he was looking to audition for other bands. So he lied to us and that is where "bullshitting" comes in. It means in America that you're lying. It's a sarcastic statement.

ALEX: What influenced on your decision to switch from Battle Cry Records to Pure Steel Records?
MIKE: We loved Battle Cry Records just for the fact that Andi, the president, is a very honest man. He told us to go ahead and find a new company that could give us a better deal for the second album. Plus I think he folded Battle Cry Records soon after anyway. We had done the 5th Sword brothers festival and really found a professional company with Volker Raabe. We hit it off with Volker and then soon found out he was involved with Pure Steel records. At the time we were in middle of negotiations with another good metal label. But it seemed to be dragging a bit and we weren't about to go through what happened to us with Massacre Records. Massacre offered us a deal for the first album and then 3 months went by and we couldn't get a reply from them. That delayed the release of 1st album because we had to shop it all over again. We weren't taking any chances for the second one so I contacted Pure Steel to see if they would be interested and in 3 days a deal was done. Very good people at Pure Steel records.

ALEX: Yes, sadly, I heard exactly the same - that Andi has closed his label. I got a bit puzzled with the release date of "The Salem Gun Witch", an EP, which has been painstakingly described on your Myspace page. Would you please clear it up a bit? And why do you not intend to play it live?
MIKE: The "Salem Gun Witch" is a side project of ours in which we hope to release in between the full length CD's. I had written it earlier in the bands beginning stages. We had so much material going on, that I just set it aside. After the 1st album was released, Dave wanted to resurrect in some shape or form. So we came up with the EP idea. The plan was to start and release it last summer but, as usual, there were things that happened and we had to put a hold on it. These songs will be a bit more progressive than the songs on our CD's. Not that these songs sound like this, but the best I could describe it would be something in the style of Mercyful Fate. There will only be 3-4 songs on each EP. It is planned as a series of EP's that will tell the story of "The Salem Gun Witch". The reason that they will never be played is that in order to tell the stories, we may use orchestration or keyboards to create emotions or atmosphere and they may not fall into the ArcticFlame style. ArcticFlame as a live band, will not have keyboards, just bone crushing, true metal guitars. The songs are written for the first one, we just have to find the time to rehearse them and start recording them.

ALEX: Thank you very much for such an interview! The latest record from Arctic Flame, "Declaration" is already out in the stores of Pure Steel Records, Germany, (their page is: http://www.puresteel-records.com/ )! Metalheads, don't pay attention to the economical crisis and just get the records - I can't even tell which one you should get first - get both LPs!
The band pages are:
http://www.myspace.com/arcticfire
http://www.arcticflamemetal.com/

ASTRAL DOORS - Patrik Johanson (Singer) ( 19 April 2006 )
(Interviewer: Wim van Grunsven, Veghel, The Netherlands)

WIM: How have the reactions to "Astralism" been?
PATRIK: Very good so far. They are the best we have been extremely good, obviously. Definitely the best we ever have had. I guess you know that we have released three albums now and I really hope that this can be. I am really sure that this one can bring us be one step up the ladder against the start.

WIM: Well it should do, because it is a very strong album. Stronger than anything you have done before.
PATRIK: Yes, I really think so too. I think the songs are better overall on this one. That is why we are extremely happy with it. The media reactions have been overwhelming so far.

WIM: Did you change anything in the songwriting to make this album better?
PATRIK: Actually no. All the guys in this band live in the same small town here in the middle of Sweden and we meet each other almost every day. That is how we also write our stuff. When we write our stuff it always starts with a riff. The guitar players then create instrumental demos which they send over to me. I then create the vocal lines and afterwards I write the lyrics to it. When I have my part ready I just go into the studio and record my vocals. We have worked the same way on all of our albums. So I think we haven't changed anything, not really. What we might have changed is the guitar riffs. Our first album "Of The Son And The Father" was pretty much influenced by Black Sabbath and Rainbow. Our second album, "Evil Is Forever", also went in that direction, although it was a bit more modern. On this new one I think the guitar players have looked more at themselves. I think they have found their own style more. I think that it's great and that we are coming more and more into our own style.

WIM: : I also think that the power of the songs has never come out as good as it has on "Astralism".
PATRIK: You know, I think that especially the guitars sound very powerful. My vocals too, I wanted to give the world my best performance ever on this album. I really think I did a swell job. You could say that we are extremely happy with the result.

WIM: Do you think that the "Astral Doors" EP of last year gave you just that bit of extra attention which was profitable for the new album?
PATRIK: I don't know. I hope so. The EP we released in October 2005 does contain "Raiders Of The Ark" and it contains some songs that before were only released in Japan. One song on that record ("Easy Rider") had never been released before, it was a left over from the "Evil Is Forever" sessions. The reason we released it was because we wanted to have something just for the fans, we didn't want them to have to sit there and wait for new material. That is why we brought this as a little gift for the fans. I don't think we are going to make any money on it or so, but it was just a treat for them, for people that like Astral Doors. Also I know that "Raiders Of The Ark" has become a bit of a radio hit, so that's great.

WIM: You are a singer that will never be able to escape the comparison with Tony Martin and Ronnie James Dio, but on "Astralism" you have finally succeeded in putting your own mark on them, so that people do hear that these vocals are definitely sung by Patrik Johanson.
PATRIK: Thanks a lot, I appreciate that. I think you are right, because on the first album we wanted to do an album in the same league as the old classics like Black Sabbath's "Heaven And Hell" and stuff. On the second album we had found ourselves a little bit more and on this one, especially on the vocals, it has worked. I have never tried to steal anything from the people you mention, I have just been influenced by them. Of course those influences are still strong, but I think I rose onto a new level on "Astralism". I am glad you mentioned it, because the stuff I do is on very high level. I actually don't think that either Ronnie James Dio or Tony Martin could pull off what I have done on "Astralism". This is the best thing I have ever done on an album.

WIM: At least you are very self confident, which is an important aspect for a vocalist.
PATRIK: I have to be. What I do is pretty high up in the pitch, you know. If you really sit down and compare my stuff to that of Dio you will find that I sing a lot higher. As I said he is a very important influence, my all time favourite, but my vocals are much more aggressive, much more powerful.

WIM: I know you have a great voice, because I have also seen you perform live, at Sweden Rock 2004. Astral Doors was very good, then, and you especially impressed me. When will you be coming to show everyone what you can do?
PATRIK: Wow, you have seen us live? And I impressed you? That is a compliment. Thank you very much. The cool thing about Sweden Rock is that is was only our second live performance ever, so for you to tell me you liked it very much is very rewarding. We did one festival before that, but Sweden Rock was our second show. The third one was Wacken Open Air in Germany, so that is a list of shows to be very proud of. We don't only do big shows, but also do a lot of club gigs. I think we are best suited for big arena gigs. Our music does suit those venues perfectly. We play rock-'n-roll music and it is pure fun to do that.

WIM: Living in a small town, you have always been close together. Does that mean you were always friends, even at a young age?
PATRIK: Actually, drummer Johan Lindstedt and me have been playing together for many years now. The rest became friends as soon as Astral Doors started. That was when Johan and guitar player Joachim Nordlund got together to play music. I don't know how the hell they met, but they decided to get together and start writing some songs in old, classic hard rock style. They needed a singer and Johan said: what the hell, we should just call Patrik and do some vocals to this. That happened and we became very good friends. Now we hang out almost every day.

WIM: Did you know you had a good voice before you started with Astral Doors?
PATRIK: I have been around in the local scene for many years. I used to sing in a band with a local guitar player called Eric Bojfeldt, who has played with Glenn Hughes on his albums "From Now On" and "Burning Japan Live". We used to have a Deep Purple cover band. We called ourselves Purple Rain, just because we only played songs from Deep Purple and Rainbow. We did stuff like "Stargazer", "Long Live Rock-'n-Roll", "Speed King", "Burn"(obviously) and stuff like that, so I already knew I had a voice that was suited for the hard rocking music. To keep up with all of it I have to train my voice a lot. I have always been training so hard, because when you scream like I do and then have to out on tour, it is very important for the voice to be as strong as possible. I have to prepare myself properly, Have to train and practice a lot to make my voice stronger. That is also an advice I always give to young singers: practice and train your voice properly. Take care of your voice. Stay away from the whisky. I'm not saying lay off the alcohol, because I do drink the beers, you know. Beer is okay for me, but not the whiskies and so.

WIM: You are still growing with Astral Doors. How far have you come in your growth?
PATRIK: Patrik: That's a really tough question. I don't have the answer to that at all. I think that if you look at what we have done so far and who we are, I would say that we have the talent, the songs and the albums to become a big band. For the rest it's up to the people to like us and buy our stuff, so that we can keep on growing. Of course we can go all the way, but we need the support of the music lovers, and a bit of luck. The thing is that we have to tour a lot. That to me is essential. That's the most important thing we need to do; face the fans. Show ourselves on the stage, let them know what we stand for. It is a long hard road, but as long as we think it's fun we are going to do it. If you haven't got the heart to do it, you just can't go on.

WIM: Will you be coming out on the road soon?
PATRIK: This spring we are doing club gigs here in Sweden, just to promote the album. In the summer we're going to do some festivals. We are booking a few at this very moment. In the fall we will be touring Europe as the special guests of Blind Guardian. That will be a gigantic chance for us to meet new fans and we are really excited about it. We're going to do at least 30 shows with Blind Guardian,. Visiting 15 countries. We will be doing Holland as well and it definitely will be a big thrill for us. (29 September in 013, Tilburg)

WIM: When you tour, how do you keep your voice sharp for such a long time?
PATRIK: I have never been on a tour this long, so I'm not sure how everything is going to go. It will be interesting for me. I have done a tour of 14 gigs in 14 days before, but this is different. What I do is I just rest, as often as possible. After the gigs I rest my voice. The next day while waiting for the show I rest my voice as well. I am just drinking a lot of water and before the show starts I make sure that I warm up my voice by singing up, or however you say that. I'm like an athlete, so I have to take care of my voice.

WIM: Well, I would like to thank you for your time and effort and hope to see you on the tour.
PATRIK: Thank you and good luck to your webzine!



AVATAR - Johannes Eckerström (Vocals) (4 February 2009)
(Interviewer: Robin van Tilburg, Lepelstraat, The Netherlands)


ROBIN: First of all, did you already read a review on the new album that did not mention the movie Avatar? Because I didn't.
JOHANNES: Yeah, most of them don't actually. Why should they? They should focus on the task at hand and they mostly do. They give us damn good grades as well!

ROBIN: Do you think the blockbuster movie with the same name will give you more attention?
JOHANNES: No, not really. We do our thing anyway and we don't think much about James Cameron. 'Aliens' was a million times better anyway.

ROBIN: Let's talk about the band. this album is my first acquaintance with Avatar. For the people who also not know the band very well, how would you describe Avatar?
JOHANNES: We have evolved into a ruthless metal-meets-rock machine. We're here to entertain you and make you mosh. The music should speak for itself.

ROBIN: 'Thoughts of no Tomorrow' was released in 2006 and now you've already put out your third record. Seems like you are quite productive. How do you write your music?
JOHANNES: We do it in a million different ways actually. It always ends up with us gathering in circle finishing it together but there lots of different ways leading there. I guess that might be how we can be so productive.

ROBIN: When I was doing research for my review on 'Avatar,' I've listened also to the previous albums. The first thing I notice is the more melodic approach in the likes of In Flames. Since you've toured with them, how big of an influence are they on Avatar?
JOHANNES: We toured with In Flames for three weeks and we have been playing together for eight years. That tour was great but there was much more in our music than Jester Race-covers already back then. But yes, we were really in to the different strengths of Gothenburg acts in the beginning mixed with the technical ambitions of modern death metal. But that was then and this is now.

ROBIN: Did you gain a larger fan base because of this tour? Because there are a lot of similarities in the music.
JOHANNES: I feel I have already answered these questions above. All tours we've done has given us more fans. That's how it works.

ROBIN: Aside from In Flames, who do you consider an influence?
JOHANNES: Tons of bands and artists have influenced us. I can say Beatles and Beethoven or Blind Guardian and Cryptopsy. It's all over the map.

ROBIN: It may seem that I think that you are In Flames copycats, but that is certainly not the case. 'Avatar' sounds quite original and I was surprised with the strong song material. How have the reactions been so far?
JOHANNES: It's has been good in Sweden and great in the rest of Europe. We do a thing that isn't out there today. We're a rock band with a metal groove or the other way around. You can either dance or mosh to our stuff and it's all good!

ROBIN: What is, in your opinion, the biggest difference compared to the previous records?
JOHANNES: I guess the most obvious one to people is the vocals but the biggest in my opinion is actually the riffs. They are more focused on grooves and stuff like that.

ROBIN: Also my compliments on the fantastic artwork. Who is responsible for this and what is the idea behind it?
JOHANNES: That's my cousin Phillip von Preuschen (http://cyte-concept.de). He's been with us since day one and we have always developed our ideas with him as a team. He's the best!

ROBIN: This is already your third record on Gain Records. It seems like you both are still satisfied with each other?
JOHANNES: They are the perfect label for us and they do a great job. There's no reason for either us or them to look for something else.

ROBIN: You've toured a lot supporting the previous albums. Will this also be the case this time?
JOHANNES: Yes. We take everything we can get. This album was made to be played live, which we already have proven.

ROBIN: You've also set foot on an American stage. Is Avatar set to gain more attention in the states?
JOHANNES: Europe is our first priority at the moment. This is home you know.

ROBIN: I for one will be looking forward to your shows in Holland. What can the audience expect from an Avatar show?
JOHANNES: No prisoners will be taken. You will move your ass and we will move ours. It'll be moshing heaven!

ROBIN: Well, that's it for me. Is there anything you would like to add?
JOHANNES: Check out www.avatar.net and spread the word. Holland will be invaded in April so be sure to learn the tunes in time. The party will be epic!

ROBIN: Thank you very much for taking the time to do this interview.
JOHANNES: Thank you! / Johannes Eckerström
ROBIN: Kind Regards,
Robin van Tilburg
Mario's Metal Mania


AXEL RUDI PELL - Axel Rudi Pell (guitar) (4 November 2008)
(Interviewer: Mr. Globbetrotter , Breda, The Netherlands)


Axel Rudi Pell recently released his 19th album, when you include his "Ballads" albums and his live releases. Axel began his career as promising axeman in the German band "Steeler". Mr. Globetrotter talked to the very polite and humorous Axel about his career so far, his latest release and future plans.

GLOBBETROTTER: Hi Axel, thank you for making time for us…
AXEL: No problem, it has been hectic the last few weeks but I'm up for it.

GLOBBETROTTER: Axel, "Steeler" is almost 25 years behind you. What did you take with you, music wise, from that period in time? "Call Her Princess" was on that first album, and it is still played live….
AXEL: That period was a learning school. To play live, record albums, write music and lyrics, I had to get used to that pattern and I have enjoyed that very much, it benefits me for what the band is now. It is true, we have played "Call Her Princess" a lot of years but we are going to change the set list for our upcoming tour and I don't think we will play it anymore; it is time for a new approach on stage.

GLOBBETROTTER: Back in 1989 you started your own band. Looking at the list of musicians over the years, you haven't really used a lot of people. Are you such a nice boss or what is the secret behind it it?
AXEL: Hahaha yes that's true, I have used a limited amount of musicians. Volker (bass) has been with us from the beginning, and I think I have used four vocalists. I think we now have found the balance because this line-up has been around for 10 years. When I look back, it seems that we lost other musicians because there was no 100% commitment to the band when we had to go on tour and there were other agreements with other bands. We don't have that anymore, everyone is dedicated to and focused on Axel Rudi Pell.

GLOBBETROTTER: Johnny Gioeli has been your vocalist for years now. Have you actively listened to what all vocalists had done before they got in the band?
AXEL: Oh yes, I was very much aware of what they had released. I still listen to what they do Nowadays. Rob Rock has been in the band for a year and I've heard practically everything that Impellitteri had released, so also the albums he did with Rob. He actually was our support act a few years back with another band. He asked me if I could play a part on his upcoming solo album and I did, we're still good friends. I heard that Charlie Huhn was on Sweden Rock when we played there last year, but security wouldn't let him through when he tried to look us up..oh well, we'll meet again for sure sometime…I actually heard that story when we were driving home. Jeff Scott Soto was advised to me by a Dutch guy, when I needed a replacement for Rob. We sat down and after a short while, we both knew we had chemistry. Unfortunately, he also left the band because of other arrangements with another band in the USA. Then came Johnny, and he never left……….

GLOBBETROTTER: Style wise, you have always been associated with Ritchie Blackmore and Yngwie Malmsteen. Don't you get tired of hearing that over and over again?
AXEL: Actually, Blackmore's last album has only a few nice songs, his play is not comparable to what he did before with Purple and Rainbow. I know, after every album I read that it's again a Blackmore-thing but that is not realistic. I think that the fact that we play a Stratocaster is the binding factor. The three of us had long hair and we were all dressed in black, or dark clothes. Our way of playing has diversified so much that you can't compare that anymore.

GLOBBETROTTER: "Diamonds Unlocked" was your cover project. But in the past you have covered other songs like Free's "Wishing Well" , Deep Purple's "When a blind man cries" and Uriah Heep's "July Morning". Diamonds Unlocked took a completely different path. Do you ever feel like re-recording your older songs that you really like but that might need a fresh approach?
AXEL: Oh no, I will not re-record older songs with the current line-up. Why would I ? I feel no need to repeat myself doing that. Our first album did not have a good production, but I'm fine with the others. For that reason, we are thinking of releasing a remastered box set, maybe with a t-shirt. I know that Kiss recorded some older songs with the current line-up but I fail to see what that could benefit us doing that. What we might do, is re- record an older song but then acoustic. I see value in that, but not copying what we released previously.

GLOBBETROTTER: Ballads gave you a part of your fame. I remember the first song I heard of you, which was "Come Back To Me" which I like very much, and later on, you released the Ballads-albums…..
AXEL: I agree, those albums were very successful.

GLOBBETROTTER: Now, "Tales Of The Crown" has just been released; some rhythm changes were announced but nothing fancy in terms of change in style. I must say I was surprised with the sound and tightness of the song material, and I have heard major changes….
AXEL: To some, it will sound quite different, but I feel we still kinda stuck to our own style. Except maybe for "Emotional Echoes" which is completely different, and the slight rhythm changes in "Ain't Gonna Win" and "Crossfire" to me are not so much different. But it is nice to hear that you noticed it…

GLOBBETROTTER: The title of the album is a continued story that links to the other album titles. The knights have returned with the crown. So…that story seems over. It is also kind of similar to the way that Ronnie James Dio wrote his lyrics, thematically. How are you going to proceed with that?
AXEL: Ah….well, the crown might have evil powers in it so it might get lost again, hahahaha. That is one of the things that I will have to develop next year. I spoke to Ronnie some time ago about our album covers and the album titles and he complimented me with that, which made me very proud; Ronnie is one of my heroes, he writes excellent stuff.

GLOBBETROTTER: Speaking about Dio, I heard that it is your dream to make an album or a project that involves all of your favourite singers. Is that a dream that you will persue? It sounds like an Ayreon project…..
AXEL: It would be great if I could pull that off, and I talked about that with the record company, but it has a lot of legal issues and problematical angles, so….one I get a "GO" , I will go for it. Maybe not with EVERY singer that I would like to have, but certainly it has to involve Ronnie James Dio, Paul Rodgers and Glenn Hughes…

GLOBBETROTTER: When Arjen Lucassen can pull that off, why wouldn't you be able to?
AXEL: I don't know, really. The issues must be solved before I could go ahead with it. It cannot be an Axel Rudi Pell album, it must be a project….
GLOBBETROTTER: I quite liked your latest DVD release which also contained some acoustical sets. Is an acoustical set part of your gigs?
AXEL: Yes, we have done this for a few years now and I want to go on with it. We might play "Fool Fool" acoustic…that would be great. But we also played "Love Gun"(Kiss) for years now, so that one is out…At festivals, we don't do that, only in club shows. There are lots of ideas for the upcoming tour.

GLOBBETROTTER: Finally, what are your plans for the future?
AXEL: For the near future we have to develop a new setlist, tour schedules, merchandise, and after the tour we will probably do some festivals again, starting in april, and after that I will write the music and lyrics for the next album, which is scheduled for 2010.

GLOBBETROTTER: OK Axel, thank you for your time and we will see eachother on tour in February 2009!
AXEL: My pleasure, see you in February!!
Copyright Mario van Dooren
AXEMASTER - Joe Sims (Guitarist) ( 5 August 2006 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Your band is started in the year 1985, is that right?
JOE: Officially yeah. Actually, I first used the name Axemaster a few years earlier when I was 16 as the name of the first recording project I ever did, it was a solo thing on a 4 track with me doing everything but drums. But it was 1985 when we first formed as a true band with the lineup that did our first recordings.

MARCO: Can you tell the European heavy metal fans something about the history of your band?
JOE: We recorded our first demo called "Slave to the Blade" in 1986. That got us a deal with Azra Records and with them we did the album "Blessing in the Skies" and 2 shaped picture discs called "The Vision" and "Crusades". After that, we changed the lineup, got a new singer and bass player. That lineup did "Death Before Dishonor", a tape of rehearsal and 4 track recordings that was put out by a promo company in Belgium and a manager we had in France. A year later we changed singers again to record "5 Demons". We ended up getting a couple new members and changing the name to The Awakening. That band did 1 CD and broke up in 95. Unisound Records did a couple re-releases of our stuff on CD in the early 2000s, and that brings us to now. We officially started the project again in March of this year. Since then we have been mostly writing, doing promo, and talking to record companies - getting things ready for a full scale assault!

MARCO: Axemaster is still one of the most legendary cult heavy metal bands from the states, why did you never change your style? I'm sure your a big heavy metal fan by yourself too?
JOE: Thanks! Oh yeah, I love metal, it's all I listen to. I'm a HUGE fan of bands like old Metallica, Black Sabbath, old Savatage, and Iron Maiden. Metal is more than music, it's a way of life. I'm a 100% metalhead. That's why I never changed the style of music I play. I would never play anything but metal, I'm not into doing anything else.

MARCO: You are recording a new studio album, still in the old style again?
JOE: Like I said,we will NEVER change our style!!! Axemaster is pure metal, that's it, always has been and always will be. Right now, well, at the time of this interview, we're getting ready to record 3 new songs to shop to record labels. We're ready to do a full length album, just need label backing. There are a couple companies who are interested in working with us before even listening to our new stuff because of our name and reputation, but even if one of them works out right away we still need to record and have something for people to check out right now so everybody knows that Axemaster still has the same style and sound that what we always did.

MARCO: Do you have planned some tour days yet and when ae you guys coming to Europe?
JOE: We haven't gotten into planning a tour yet. We want to get a CD done with a record company first. That's the most important thing. We want something new to support on tour! We have some offers to play some festivals over there!!!!! We also have a couple people from different parts of Europe who want to book some shows for us. That doesn't even include what a label would do.

MARCO: Anyway, your first demo tape was out in 1986. Why have you decided to use the "Josef Stalin" intro...? - How do you remember recording session of the "Slave To The Blade tape?
JOE: Josef Stalin was something we threw in at the end just because we thought it was cool and fit with our sound. It was a sort of poem that I wrote for a college class, the music came later. The keyboards weren't even meant for those words, they were just something I was messing around with. I ended up experimenting with some different stuff, put the 2 together, and an intro was born! We've always been into using intros and sound effects that are interesting and work with the overall mood of what we're trying to do. The sessions for "Slave to the Blade" were great. It wasn't totally planned out. Chris just called one day and said he booked us in the studio, we had no idea it was coming. It was just like, okay, fuck it, let's just do it. None of us had ever been in a real studio before so it was definitely a learning experience. It let us know a lot of what to do and what not to do in recording. It's funny to think of us back then, a bunch of new guys running around not knowing what the hell was going on but having a kick ass time doing it! It ended up being the best thing we ever could have done, it really got us started on the right track.

MARCO: Did you never need a bigger label to get more fans in the underground scene?
JOE: We would have liked to have gotten together with a bigger label to back us, it definitely would have helped get our stuff around. But even though that didn't end up happening we still got a big underground following worldwide. Since starting the band back up we really found out how big the following is and it's just getting bigger! Tons of people from all over are getting in touch and telling us how psyched they are that the band's back together, and others who are just now checking us out and digging the stuff we did. Anyway, because of that following we hope that we can land a deal with a bigger company.

MARCO: What actually came out first - the "Crusades" single, or the "Blessing In The Skies" LP?
JOE: To tell you the truth I didn't know for sure until a couple days ago! I just found out that "Blessing" came out 2 years earlier. Azra wasn't totally truthful with us and put out the "Crusades" disc without even bothering to tell us! I ended up finding out about it in like 2000 from the internet!!!!!! I had to get my copy off ebay, they should have at least gave us some free ones!!!!!!

MARCO: Who got the idea about the one track shape single?
JOE: Azra did. There were actually 2 songs on it, one from "Blessing" and a bonus live track. Azra specialized in doing shaped picture discs, I think they got some kind of world record as the company who did the most of them. Anyway, we thought it was a cool idea so we went for it. I'm glad we did, it's something kind of different that not everybody does. Plus it gave us the chance to use the extra live song that we probably wouldn't have used on a regular album. I'm pretty proud of the record, I definitely still like to show it to people.

MARCO: How do you think, in how many copies "Blessing In The Skies" was actually pressed? Currently it's rather hard to find this one!
JOE: Again, Azra never bothered to tell us. It was practically impossible to get a straight answer from them about anything. We just kept getting put off and never got any of the info we were looking for, just a lot of bullshit double-talk. It wasn't easy to deal with. Hell, if they never told us how many were pressed, we DEFINITELY have no real idea of how many they actually sold. Our licensing agreement was over in 1990 and Azra wasn't supposed to press any after that. Whether they actually did or not I have no idea. It looks to me like they sold out all they had so it would be hard to find a new copy. That's one reason that we want to re-release it.

MARCO: 1988 Azra released next shaped picture disc single... Why? Weren't they interested in doing second full length album?
JOE: Actually, WE didn't want to. Like I said, they weren't honest with us so we decided we'd be better off on our own. They gave us a lot of headaches and we weren't into dealing with them anymore. I think it was probably the right decision, you can only take so much bullshit. At least they helped get our name known internationally, that was a really positive thing to come out of it. It definitely makes our working with them a lot more worthwhile. But it's really too bad, it could have been a majorly kick ass partnership if they just would have just been up front and honest with us!

MARCO: Did you still got other offers since you splitt with Azra?
JOE: Yeah but nothing we wanted to go with at the time. After what we went through with Azra we were being really careful, well, more like paranoid about who we worked with and what kind of deal we got into. I think we might have been a little too careful and possibly missed out on some opportunities. I wish the stuff from "Death Before Dishonor" could have been done in a studio and released on a label. There were some great tunes on there but the recording, distribution, and packaging didn't do them justice. At least the material was put out and got around Europe, the 2 places we worked with on the release did a lot more than what we could have done alone. But it would have been a lot better with a decent label. But hey, it's easy to look back and second guess decisions you made, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. We might end up recording a couple of the songs again for a new release so they can be done right.

MARCO: The Five Demons tape from the year 1991 sounds great! Was it hard for you those days? Grunge was very big those days.
JOE: Thanks! I think it's some of the best guitar work I've done in the studio. It was VERY hard in those days, the 90's sucked, especially here. Heavy metal was at its very lowest point and that release was maybe the heaviest one we did. It got great reviews from metal mags, but the overall metal fan base was weak so it didn't reach enough people. If it would've come out a few years earlier or now I think it would have done GREAT. It sucks, but it was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We're gonna make up for that now!

MARCO: The year 1995 was the end of Axemaster but also heavy metal was dead those days. Do you also hate the mid 90's so much?
JOE: I hated the 90's scene more than you can ever know! I don't think metal was ever totally dead, but it was in really bad shape. It was almost impossible for underground metal bands to find any kind of success, especially here. I'm glad that decade is long gone!

MARCO: What did you do in the years without Axemaster?
JOE: I played in the bands The Awakening, Reign, and Dream or Nightmare. They were metal and we did some pretty cool stuff, but nothing that compares to Axemaster. They lacked something special. I can't tell you what it is, just a feel and an energy that this band has that those didn't. This is the band that I was born to play with and that will never change. Especially after going through the stuff I've been through I realise that there's something special here that can't be replaced.

MARCO: How do you think, where Axemaster could be now, if you wouldn't stop to play back then?
JOE: I've thought about that, it's really tough to say. I should have worked to keep it going since it's what I'm really into doing. But there's no use dwelling on it even though I do wish that things would have went different. The most important thing is that we're back and ready to kick some ass. It's GREAT to be playing this music again, I missed it.

MARCO: The Greece label Unisound released a best of, how did you choose songs for this album?
JOE: I took the songs I liked the most that had studio recordings. There were some other songs that I would have liked to include, but I didn't have the rights to them at the time.

MARCO: 2 Years later you released "Death Before Dishonor" album on CD, are you happy with them?
JOE: Yes and no. I'm glad that they got our music around, it's really helped keep the band name alive, gave us great promo, and got us a lot of new fans. Unisound definitely did a good job with that. At the time we did those discs I was in Dream or Nightmare and never imagined that Axemaster would come back. I had no idea that keeping the name alive would end up being so important. I was just happy that the stuff was finally on CD and that more people were able to check out what I did in the past. So I was happy with Unisound for a while, until I learned that they were keeping money that should have been ours. They didn't end up paying us any royalties!!!!! They definitely owe us some cash because I KNOW they sold a lot of those discs, we definitely got ripped off. So it was a good news, bad news sort of deal.

MARCO: How many unreleased Axemaster tracks from the 80s you still want to release?
JOE: There are just a couple with good recordings that we want to include on a re-release of "Blessing in the Skies". But there are a lot of different unreleased songs that have bad sounding recordings of us at practice or that I did on a 4 track. Too bad, there's a lot of good stuff there that I wish could have been released. Who knows, at some point in the future we might end up doing a good recording of a couple of those tunes.

MARCO: In 2005 I heard the great news about Axemaster's reunion...So, I hope that this mean that we will finally see and hear the original "Blessing In The Skies" on CD as well?
JOE: Yep, definitely. Like I said, it'll probably include 2 unreleased bonus tracks and 3 songs from the album that have never been on CD. Who knows, we might throw some video on there too. It'll definitely include a cool booklet with a bunch of pictures and liner notes. We have good offers from a couple different companies right now, so I know it will be out there, probably by the end of this year at the latest.

MARCO: Joe do you want to tell the fans something I'll forget to ask?
JOE: You can get in touch with me at AxemasterInfo@aol.com, feel free to write if you want more info. If you're interested in keeping up to date with what the band's doing, let me know and I'll put you on our mailing list. Our site for now is our Myspace page at www.myspace.com/thebandaxemaster. And I'd like to give a shout out to all the fans of the band from over the years. You guys kick some serious ass, we wouldn't be anywhere without you and we will never forget that. You're definitely the best fans any band could have!!!!!! KEEP IT METAL!

MARCO: Thank you very very much for the interview !
Looking forward to hear new stuff of Axemaster !
Good Luck & Heavy Metal Is King !!!



BENEDICTUM - Veronica Freeman (Singer) ( 1 April 2006 )
(Interviewer: Wim van Grunsven, Veghel, The Netherlands)

WIM: Hello Veronica, how is everything been going since the last time we spoke?
VERONICA: It's not going so very good. I have just started a new job and am constantly running around, working 10 to 12 hours per day. That means I do not have enough time to relax, let alone for the band and that is very frustrating. The worst part of it I am creating a whole new store and it is not even for me. It that was the case, it wouldn't bother me to do so much work, but it's not, so I do! I would rather be working for myself and I certainly would rather be working on this music.

WIM: Getting to the music. You're coming over to Europe!
VERONICA: I know! We are so looking forward to coming and I do need some chocolate.

WIM: Well, you are in the right place when you get to Belgium!
VERONICA: I can't wait to come over. I am really overwhelmed, because on a personal basis, for me, this is what I wanted for at least ten years. I thought about it every day and it has been in my head every living minute. Finally it is happening and I am really scared and excited at the same time. I am very nervous about the Gods Of Metal show in Italy. We still have to work out a lot of stuff, as in travelling arrangements, lodgings and so forth. I am the only girl and I have to figure out how and where I am going to change, how I will do my hair. It is part of my image, so I need some space for all my gear to make sure I can maintain that image on stage. It sounds silly, but I got to have what I have to have. I also know how nervous I get, so I am hoping that we can get there a few days early, so we can get over the jetlag. Then I am sure I will be in top form. It is in June, so it will be hot and also outdoors. Especially the last bit is that over which I concern myself so much, because we have never done that before, at least not on a scale like this before. There is going to be a ton of people and I don't know what to expect. As to the club venues, I am really looking forward to that, but I have mixed feelings about it, because I have never done back to back shows like that. I know it is going to be tasking on me, especially if we have to travel far from one day to another.

WIM: Well, I am coming to see you in Eindhoven and Vosselaar, and those two are only about 50 kilometres apart.
VERONICA: Thank God. I don't know how everything is going to pan out. I mean, we have never been the headliner before. That means that it is all very different. Also exciting, but mainly different. I am just hoping that we get a sound check and I have enough time to get ready for the shows. I can't wait.

WIM: Back to the album. How have the reactions to "Uncreation" been so far?
VERONICA: I would say beyond my expectations. Part of me was actually hoping for it, but it has been fabulous. I am still behind on my written interviews. I still have a lot of them to finish, but not enough time to do so. I have also done loads of telephone interviews, and yours actually was the first one from Europe! I am now also staring to get the magazines over from Europe, so thank you everybody for sending them to me. It is very good to see everything in print. It looks so far so good. Also the American press has just started. My first phone interview was with someone from New Jersey, and that was kind of cool. It was for an online magazine or something like that. I am also receiving many requests via our American promotional company, and that is great. So it is all starting to happen and the reactions so far are very good, so I am thrilled. We all are! Through the website we are getting more and more fan mail and stuff, and that is totally incredible. When I see and read all those great reviews I get extremely humble and grateful. I can't speak for the rest of the band, but for me this is something that I have always dreamed about and it kind of funny when the reality hits home and I am very relieved. I really didn't expect all of this. Others, like our producer Jeff Pilson and Craig Goldy, our good friend and guest guitar player on the album, did predict all of this. They told us it would really take off and emphasised that we were certainly going to get noticed. My thoughts when they said those things was that I thought it would be nice, but I absolutely did not expect all to happen that is happening to us right now. We have never had so much feedback as we are getting now. I still get nervous when I read a new review and then I look at the rating. Sometimes I am disappointed, because it ts lower than I expected. But then again, I have been getting such high ratings that I am very privileged. It is incredible and I just shake my head, because I am blown away.

WIM: What you just said sounds a bit like a paradox. You guys created this sound, this music. Why are you then so humbled if the response is the same as what you yourself think of the music. Is it not a good thing to see that the people rate your music just as high as you do yourself?
VERONICA: That is because I have been doing this for quite a while now, and up and until "Uncreation" the recognition has only been local, without any further consequences. Or I get told that I have a very distinctive voice and it sounds very different from anything they have heard before. But that's how far it goes, not an inch further. Therefore it is really strange to finally see the reviews we are getting now. When this happens you can only hope you are going to get a good reaction. The reality of it is that this is really humbling for me. It is also really cool. Yeah, of course you always dream about it, but the reality is sometimes different than the way I see it. Now it is finally going the way we always hoped I am really anxious to get over to Europe and play for all of you. The reactions were and are so very positive that it makes you want to come over and play. Over here "Uncreation" was only released a couple of weeks ago, so now hopefully the same is going to happen on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. But for now we want to go out and support this thing and see how far we can push the envelope. That is what frustrates me, because I can't be there to help boost ourselves all the time. It makes me look at my regular day job and think: "I wish that I could quit this boring job and be there, spend all my time to the music." Also I don't know whenever these set of circumstances will come into my life again and I want to take full advantage of the momentum we have going at this moment in time. I am in the midst of making some other arrangements in my life so I can afford to take a lot more time to fully join the promotion of our album.

WIM: As you said yourself, you have a very distinctive voice. What do you do to train it?
VERONICA: Not a damn thing. Absolutely nothing.. I get asked that a lot and I think that when I first started singing metal it was suggested that I take some lessons as to train my voice. So I did and most of the vocal coaches I went to were like: "If you're going to sing this kind of music you're not going to last long. We have to totally change your technique." But by changing that it also changes that power I need for my metal voice. The most I learned is from a professional opera singer, who saw my voice as a wild animal that needed to be tamed. He is the one who taught me the most, but he was very expensive, so I couldn't afford him. Even he was like WOW when it came to my voice. You've got to remember that almost no one was into this kind of music, so they just were not ready for someone like me to come along. So I don't take a lot of care to my voice. On the other hand I do take a lot of care in my health over all, because the voice just does it's own thing. I know my voice can come over kind of rough and even male if you like. That is also why our producer and friend Jeff Pilson was very adamant to put some softer stuff on "Uncreation". That would give people the chance to hear that I really am a woman. "Valkyrie Rising" and "Mysogyny" do that, I mean, I definitely sound like a woman on the last one, don't I?

WIM: You definitely do.
VERONICA: You know, that comments of me sounding like a man used to upset me at first because I just didn't know how to take it. But then my band members would tell me to let them think that, because it is actually great to catch the people unaware when we come to play for them. It just makes it stand out that much more. I love the angelic voices that singers like Sharon and Tarja can put out, but it is not me. Although I must admit that I am actually contemplating putting just one little piece of my version of the high pitched voice on the next album, just to show people I can. Not much, just al little bit hahaha.

WIM: Last time we spoke there was the possibility of Craig Goldy coming along to Europe with you guys. Is that still going to happen?
VERONICA: I don't think so. He said that if we would do just festivals for the summer he would definitely come with us and play on stage, but on this tour we are doing club gigs and outdoor shows mixed, so I reckon he is not coming. Even more important for him, I have just been told that Dio has asked him to participate in some new material, so he should at least have some good work coming his way now. The same goes for Jeff Pilson, because not only is he a good friend of us, but we also want to find out if and when he will have time to produce our next album. I definitely want to stick with him. I know you think that the production of "Uncreation" was just on the edge of being overproduced, but I am sure that that is exactly the sound that Jeff wanted for us. We gave him a complete free hand to do the production and he came up with a sound that is so in your face that it makes it melt. And yes, you are right, if he had gone just that little bit further it would have been too much. Now it is just perfect. Now we can duplicate the feel that is on the record, if he had gone over the top that would have become impossible. That was always my concern in the back of my mind. As it stands now, we can do it. Let's put it this way: It was produced to the max, without going over the line. I am really happy with that.

WIM: How often do you rehearse?
VERONICA: That will always be three or four nights per week. I know I am in Phoenix now, but that is just for the weekend to be with my loved one. During the week we all are in San Diego. I am very grateful to have everything I have at the moment. I just get a little bit stressed out when things are not going as I want them to, but I know everything is going to pan out in the end. That's what I keep thinking of when the panic sets in. I am so worried to come over to Europe unprepared, and it freaks me out. That would be my worst nightmare, to come over without the right preparation and the feeling that we are ready to kick some European ass! I am already planning the packing of my suitcase, am trying to wrap stuff up at work and that sort of stuff. I just want to go with a nice and clear mind, because that is paramount for me. I want us all to maximise it and make the most of our time there. I want it to be a wonderful experience for us, because you never know if you're going to get this chance ever again. That goes for everybody individually and as a group. I hope we can give the fans all they are hoping for and then some more. I have no idea what it's going to be like but we're definitely going to make the most of it

WIM: Having only done one album, how are you going to fill a headlining spot? Does it mean we might hear some Malady stuff live?
VERONICA: How we are going to fill the spots depends on how long the sets are. We do not have a lot of stuff of our own, so we will be have to be going for the quality of the songs instead of the quantity. We don't have enough songs to fill two hours a night. That would be very awkward. We will not be playing Malady songs, because that was just guitar player Peter (Wells) and me. The rest of the band were not part of that, they are Benedictum, and that's what we will be playing. What I would like is for every individual musician to finally have the chance to do a proper solo during the tour, because that has never been possible up and until now. We are not the kind of band to improvise on stage as to prolong a set. Don't forget we don't have a lot of live experience under our belt with this line up. I can tell you that we will be playing a new song when we come over.

WIM: How many new songs have you got? When you recorded "Uncreation", you had to write fast, because the Locomotive deal came on so fast.
VERONICA: Well, we are still in the midst of the writing process. After we made the demo that got us the record deal Jeff Pilson went over all of our songs and pointed out what the strengths and weaknesses of them were. He rearranged them with us and told us what to look out for in the future. That is also why all the songs on the album are so strong. It is also the reason for us taking our time right now, because we want to do it right from the word go. Yes, we had to hurry with "Uncreation", because just three months after the demo we were asked to do a whole record. Who knows if this will happen again? It will depend on the schedule of Jeff and on our ability to write good songs. The lyrics will not be a problem, because they all come from my mind. They all are about things that concern me in one way or the other. They are my way of dealing with those issues. Some of them are personal, others are not. It is at least very therapeutic for me to write down my thoughts and through this medium get rid of any skeleton that might be hiding in my closet. But to get back to the question, it is going slow. We have some frameworks done, but only one of them is finished far enough to take out on the road with us. We are going to keep on writing in our own pace and make it sound like clockwork instead of trying to throw together a lot of ideas in a hurry. You will just have to wait for the result. We always look at the live set, because that has to be filled with good songs that have a certain quality and that can really wow the audience, rather than using some fillers to prolong the set. That just doesn't work.

WIM: Thank you to Veronica for taking the time on her day off to speak to us!
Metal Wim

BEYOND FALLEN - Joe Karavis (Vocals) (10 August 2007 )
(Interviewer: Kostas Kounadinis, Athens, Greece)

KOSTAS: Congratulations on your new album.
JOE: Thank you!

KOSTAS: Please introduce the band to our readers and share some biography notes with us.
JOE: Well we got together in 2003, in the summer. I was not doing anything in a band, but perhaps looking to get involved in something. I had some songs that I wanted to record and was strictly looking for guys for a studio project. Steve and Mike came after me to try to get me to try out - I did not take them very serious because they were in my town and said they played real, or what is called true metal. I could not believe that. They were into stuff I was into. I was worried at first that the material was not going to go over very well here, as not enough people here care about metal to support a band like ours. I went, checked them out, and thought they were ok... saw some potential. They got me in, and we were banging away at some cover songs. We eventually did our own stuff, a demo, and started this long journey to where we are now. It was not easy, but as time went on the band developed our style and we got better gigs and once our stuff started getting heard in Europe things started to look much better. We kept at it, and got some good shows with bigger bands. Then we got signed to Melissa Records and invited to play in Germany at the Headbanger's Open Air. So it kept moving along and now we are considered one of the newer coming metal bands in the scene that play a classic true metal style. Europe, and in particular Germany, has been great for us. It has been a long road but we keep moving forward, and every year gets better and better for Beyond Fallen. We think good things are in the future for the band.

KOSTAS: Joe, I know that you have a rich musical background with participation in other bands. Please give us some info on your previous ventures and your band mates as well.
JOE: I was in many bands, but none really got of fthe ground like Beyond Fallen has. Anger Reign was one of the better ones, off and on in the 90's. We opened for Over Kill, and Motley Crue to name a few. Did a few demos, but never got signed. Most of the early years the internet was not an option like it is today, but had it been I think we could have done more with the band. I was in Unleashed Power, did a few demos and that was great stuff - but I wanted to be able to put my own stamp on the band's music and have creative input - but I did not, so I eventually left. There were several bands that never did much due to members not having teh head for what it takes to be in more serious metal band. The other guys don't have much past experience with bands, and have done nothing very serious.

KOSTAS: How would you describe your sound to a man who has never listened to any of your material?
JOE: It's metal. There's no question when you hear it. We try to work hard at keeping the music getting better, and you can hear that when you listen. The reviews have been very good. I think if you like classic or true metal, power metal, thrash, you will enjoy it. You can't please everyone. Some people only like high-pitched singers, some only like screaming or growling style. So we just do what we do - and the response from the real metal fans has always been positive.

KOSTAS: Are you completely satisfied with the result on the new album or is there something that you would like to change?
JOE: You always think you can do better. I think we can do better than Mindfire, but we are proud of it and the metal fans have loved not only the album, but when they see us live too. I am happy so many people are getting into the album. Now our next one our intention is going to be to blow this one away. We'd like work with a producer who really knows metal, we are open to that, and I think that might bring it to a whole new level. We'll see.

KOSTAS: What about the feedback on the new record and the band in general?
JOE: It has been great, and we are happy about that. I think we are accomplishing what we hoped for with this record. The fans especially in Germany really seemed to like us. I hope that we can get even more support to be able to come to Europe again soon and do a more extensive tour.

KOSTAS: You signed a contract with a record label for the first time. Why did it take you so long? Are you satisfied with the collaboration with Melissa Records?
Good question! We just did not get the chance until Melissa records came along, and let me tell you this label works hard and is everything a metal band wants. We are thrilled with this label, and I think they are indeed one of the big up and coming labels in the European metal scene. I'm really delighted to have them be our partner in this adventure, and we hope that our relationship continues.

KOSTAS: What are the differences between your new album and your previous works?
JOE: The music is the same style, but we upgraded the guitar sound a bit. The songs are very strong, and the lyrics forceful. This one also has the lyrics, which Lost In The Shadows did not. It's juts a better package all around. That's not taking anything away from Lost In The Shadows because we are very proud of that album as well.

KOSTAS: What do you think about heavy metal in the States? Any new bands worth checking out?
JOE: It's hard here. We play shows and sometimes nobody seems very excited out there. There are good bands, but they get disgusted because the music scene in teh USa is pretty poor right now. I did get to see some fantastic US bands who played the Headbanger's open air with us - Taunted, Wretch, Halloween to name a few. These bands are worth checking out. Our label has some good ones too - Seventh Calling and Ancient Creation - so there is some great talent. Seventh Calling will be coming to Germany next summer, so the fans will get another dose of the Melissa Records bands. I think all of us metal bands in the USA want to come to Europe.

KOSTAS: What are your plans for the future?
JOE: I think we have a lot left in us, and we hope to do some more dates in Europe. We are ready to book some more of the metal festivals so hopefully that will work out. Based on how well we did in Germany when we were there I think the fan base is growing by the day. There are people all over Europe that want to see the band and ask when we are coming back. We're going to finish up 2007 with a lot of gigs here in teh USA and then hopefully start writing the next album.

KOSTAS: I know that the band enjoys touring and entertaining live audiences. Any great bands you shared the stage with or would like to do so in the future?
JOE: Well all the great bands from all over the world we played with at the Headbanger's Open Air Festival. In the past here in the USA we got to play with Metal Church, Over Kill, WASP, and Joey Belladonna of Anthrax. We like meeting and playing with other bands. Again, we want to do more European festivals so that will be exciting to meet the other bands.

KOSTAS: Have you played any shows in Europe and if yes, please compare the European with the American audience.
JOE: Yes, again, we played with at the Headbanger's Open Air Festival and in Hamburg - the crowd was incredible both of these. Sometimes the USA crowds are good, but not as good as in Germany. I don't know how anyone could sit down during our set, or stand in the back. With all teh energy and power we put into playing live it is strange that people in teh USA can'r get more excited sometimes. European crowds just kill - they are the best!

KOSTAS: Who writes the band's lyrics and what are they about? Are you into politics and what do you think about your country's policy?
JOE: Well I write the lyrics and come up with the concepts. Sometimes the politics come into the lyrics. If you get the new album you can read all the words inside. My personal opinion of our country's policy - I am disgusted by most of what I see. It is a shame. There's a lot of propaganda and lies being forced on the people. We have many problems here, but our Government seems to care more about other places. I'm ashamed of what the government is doing... but I am proud to be an American because I believe we have many great and talented people here, and some wonderful things. We just need some major change, or we are going to be in more serious trouble.

KOSTAS: What are your main influences both as a person and a band?
JOE: I am influenced just by what happens around me... history, sci-fi. I grew up listening to Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden etc. The guys share these influences too... a little Iced Earth, Rush, Dream Theatre... even stuff liek Pink Floyd, Slayer, old school thrash... lots of stuff. We bring a lot of influences together and try to do our own thing.

KOSTAS: Would you disband Beyond Fallen if offered a spot in a band you always admired?
JOE: I think it would depend on the situation if I were to do anything outside of this band. It would have to be something really big that my heart was into. But no I would not disband Beyond Fallen. I worked hard the last 4 years on this band and it would not be fair to the fans to just quit. Beyond Fallen is going to be around for a long time!

KOSTAS: Thank you for this interview. The last words belong to you.
JOE: Well I thank you and everyone. Hopefully you all get the new album and let us know what you think. Also, tell everyone that you want to see Beyond Fallen back in Europe to play live! We can't wait to come back!


BEYOND TWILIGHT - Kelly Carpenter (vocals) ( 10 April 2005 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)

SUZANNE: Hello Kelly,
Thanks a lot for your time, how are you doing?
KELLY: Hi Suzanne, I'm fine...Hope you are well :-)

SUZANNE: How long are you busy in the fascinating world of music.
KELLY: I have been singing in bands since I was about 19...it's been a long road getting here...glad to be here!!!

SUZANNE: What are your plans for the future?
KELLY: In the immediate future I look forward to the release of Section X and playing for the fans.

SUZANNE: How did you came in contact with Beyond Twilight?
KELLY: That's sort of an interesting story...I was at ProgPower USA watching a band called Ark.I really liked their singer...I didn't know who he was at the time. I approached him and told him that I loved his voice and also asked him if he had done any really dark heavy music...he wrote down "Beyond Twilight" on a bar napkin. I got the disc and was blown away by everything on it...what a band, what an album!!! A while later My band Outworld signed up with Intromental Management which is also Beyond Twilight's management...Claus (Director at Intromental) told me that Finn really liked my voice and that he might ask me to do the album...I said "sign me up!!" I was really honored just to be considered for the job... it's the best thing that ever happened to me.

SUZANNE: Did they ask you to join the band or did you do an audition? How did it go?
KELLY: Finn asked me to write melodies and interpret the songs in my own way and to record some demos to see how everything would work out and luckily all the guys including Finn really liked what I came up with for some of the songs.

SUZANNE: Are you still active in the band Outworld and what are the future expectations of that band?
KELLY: Yes-We are recording our debut album in May...we hope that people will connect with what we are doing, we call it "extreme metal"... hopefully it will be out on Replica later this year and after that we have plans to do some touring in Europe.

SUZANNE: Jacob Hansen (ex-Invocator) is also new in the band. How were you two taken into the band?
KELLY: As far as being accepted into the band, I think we both got a really warm welcome from the rest of the guys...they all have a great sense of humor and are really easygoing.

SUZANNE: One can find in your biography that your favorite bands are "The Beatles", "Black Sabbath", "Dio" and "Iron Maiden". Which singer or band influences you the most and why?
KELLY: I guess The Beatles had the biggest influence on me...they opened up the door an really expanded the musical landscape for the world. Ronnie James Dio is really my favorite singer...he has it all...power, beauty, melody and great skill with language...he's the man!!!

SUZANNE: Finn Zierler is the founder of the band, does that mean that he decides everything that the band is going to do, what happens etc?
KELLY: It really isn't a dictatorship. Every member has a lot of input...Finn is the principal writer but it is really a band...not a project. For instance, I wrote quite a bit of the melodies and lyrics on Section X and the rest of the guys put a lot of themselves into this album.

SUZANNE: Who writes the most songs for Beyond Twilight? Do you contribute to the songwriting as well?
KELLY: See above...he he he :-)

SUZANNE: The new album (Section X) is a lot heavier then the first album, is this a wittingly choice?
KELLY: I think it was just a natural progression not really a mindful choice.

SUZANNE: Are there any plans for an European tour?
KELLY: Yes - Sometime in October...nothing solid yet but absolutely...we can't wait to play for the fans.

SUZANNE: Four years ago the first album (The Devil's Hall Of Fame) came out, why did it take so long before the second album was released?
KELLY: Finn really destroys himself mentally and physically during the writing and especially in the recording/production phase... this time his parents had to make him go to the hospital and get treated for exhaustion...he slaves over this music...so I think he needs time to rejuvenate himself...he's crazy man...one of a kind!!!

SUZANNE: What is your favorite Beyond Twilight song and why?
KELLY: I can't say I have a favorite song...but I really love "Sleeping Beauty" for many reasons...it's the oddball song... I also love it because I sang it with Truls from Circus Maximus, we do some soulful trade-off wailing...so cool!!!

SUZANNE: What do you think of your Beyond Twilight predecessor Jorn Lande?
KELLY: I think Jorn is one best singers who ever lived...he's truly one of the all time greats.

SUZANNE: Thanks for this interview and your time is there anything that you would like to say to your fans?
KELLY: I want to thank all the fans for the warm welcome and the overwhelming response to Section X...it's more than I or any of us in the band could ever hope for!!! You guys are the reason we're here...we can't wait to play for you on stage!!!
Thank You Suzanne :
Kelly Sundown Carpenter.

SUZANNE: Stay heavy!
Greetings, Suzanne Smaling


BITCH - Betsy (Singer) (25 March 2007 )
(Interviewer: Steve Gaines, USA)

It doesn't seem that long ago, but Los Angeles in the 1980's was a different time, and place. There were new bands finding their way into the underground metal scene – and for the first time, some of the harder edged metal bands featured women – who beyond their beauty proved that they belonged right along side their male counterparts. That it was okay to be a musician first and foremost. In Los Angeles, THE band to see was BITCH. Fronted by the controversial Betsy Weiss a.k.a. Betsy Bitch. The band's stage show is legendary – and in the early Reagan era – it scared the hell out of people. But, once the shock wore off – what you had was a really solid metal band with a vocalist who absolutely commanded every stage she stepped on – and a voice that is stronger than it ever got credit for. I have known Betsy for 23 years now… and thought it was time that you got to know BETSY BITCH – the woman, the myth, the legend…

STEVE: Betsy, before we start… I want to know this – you're voice is still amazing. In fact it may be better in 2007 than ever. For all of the things you have been known for over the years, how important is it to be known as a vocalist?
BETSY: As the lead vocalist of BITCH, as much as I enjoy being flashy, provocative, charismatic, sexy, attractive, etc. etc., I also want to back that up with good vocals. It is extremely important for me to be taken seriously as a vocalist, as well as a front-person. And yes, my vocals have matured and improved throughout the years. My range and control have improved and I'm very happy about that. Sometimes it's difficult to sing through the Marshall stacks, but I've taken a technique that I was taught some years ago by a vocal coach and have been able to apply it to our music throughout the years.

STEVE: How do you maintain your voice? Did you ever fall victim to the rock and roll lifestyle?
BETSY: As I mentioned above, I maintain my voice by always keeping in mind what my former vocal coach taught me, and by always trying to "sing correctly". The singers who have longevity in this business are the ones who are using their instruments right.

STEVE: Going back to the formative years of Bitch – you had a pretty steady lineup through the history of the band with yourself on lead vox, Robby Settles on Drums, and David Carruth on guitar. When the 3 of you decided to put together a band ( a 2 part question ) what was the impetus for the music – was your style a representation of where you were musically? And of course – the image. How much of it was planned, or was it something that developed over time?
BETSY: When BITCH first got together, it was sort of a mixed bag of each of our musical influences. Guitarist, David Carruth, was freshly out of a hard rock band called "BADAXE" (playing the bassist Dana Strum, currently of SLAUGHTER) , Drummer Robby Settles had been in a southern-rock type band called "THE EZRA BROOK BAND", and I (believe it or not) had just fled, kicking and screaming, from a ska band called "THE BOXBOYS", but had always been influenced musically by bands such as ALICE COOPER and CHEAP TRICK). If I had to say that anyone brought the main hard rock musical influence to the band, it would have been David. He already had a few songs written, and we brainstormed on the rest the early songs. "Live For The Whip" was the first song we all wrote as a group.  As far as the image goes, that just kind of evolved. When David and Robby first had the idea to put this band together, they had it in mind to have a male singer. But when the name of the band was thought-up, and after I "auditioned", they thought, what better than to have a female singer fronting an otherwise male musician band called "BITCH". At first we were just kind of, dare I say, posers on stage...the image was not clearly defined. The S&M and leather and studs image came from the fact that we just wanted to look tough, and also to give the audience a visual, instead of us just coming out and playing our songs.

STEVE: I first became aware of Bitch on Metal Massacre volumes 1 and 2. Back in 1982 Brian Slagel started his label Metal Blade with these records – and of course, you released all of your albums through Metal Blade. Before this, women in Metal or Hard Rock were still painted as demure and dainty. You pretty much said forget that… I wanna rock! Were you aware at the time of how groundbreaking it was?
BETSY: I was aware that I was doing something that few, if any, female singers were doing at the time. Back then I heard myself referred to as "Rob Halford's little sister"!

STEVE: Here we are in 2007 – and women in metal are doing some amazing music – and the road was paved by work that you, and the likes of Doro Pesch. What do you think of the current metal scene – both in the US and Europe? Is the next generation of women making you proud of all of the work you have done?
BETSY: Well, first let me say that I am thoroughly impressed by the metal scene in Europe, evidenced by the time we played the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany to an adoring crowd of about 15,000. We hung out at a club the night before the gig, and let me tell ya, it's not just a "fad" or a "scene" there....it's a way of life. They love their metal! As far as the U.S. goes, I think there will always be a fan base for hard rock and heavy metal, albeit not as enthusiastically as in Europe. In response to the "next generation of women in metal", I don't know....I hear a lot of "Cookie Monster" growling from some of these women. In my opinion, that's not singing. I don't mean to sound reverse-discriminating , but my favorite hard rock/metal singers are of the male persuasion  (myself excluded, of course).

STEVE: Your music has a timeless feel to it. From Damnation Alley, through Betsy, and onward – there was always a very good vibe to your music. The song 'Save you from the world" for example is a great powerful song with inspirational lyrics. Do you think that people sometimes 'listen with their eyes' to music? And as a result, do we sometimes miss what the writer is trying to say because we are so caught up in the image they portray?
BETSY: I think people are more apt to get the meaning of a song when they sit down and listen to the actual recording. When playing live, even though the vocals and vocal tones are audible, I think it's more difficult to understand song lyrics with everything else going on musically on stage.

STEVE: There were some quiet years for Bitch – through the 90's. However you returned to live action with an appearance at the Bang Your Head festival. If I am correct, it was your first time to play in Europe. European metal fans are certainly different than fans in the USA. What did you expect going into it? And how much different was it when all was said and done? Your thoughts, memories of that show?
BETSY: The Bang Your Head Festival was the best and most gratifying performing experience I, personally, have had in the history of BITCH. The promoters flew us out there all expenses paid, set us up with hotel accommodations, our own driver, backstage access to absolutely everything, fed us, (free alcohol, too!), and the fan adoration was overwhelming. In between playing our set and watching the other bands (we played with Dio, Twisted Sister, Udo, Dokken, Y&T, Thin Lizzy, to name just a few), we were fully booked with interviews, autograph sessions and photo sessions. We really felt like V.I.P.'s!   It was the first time we had the opportunity to play in Europe so I was a bit apprehensive about going (the 11 and a half hour flight was ominous to think about). But it was quite rewarding. I think I was so awed by the whole thing that I even shed a tear or two (awww....Betsy Bitch has a sensitive side...isn't that adorable?!)

STEVE: And now you have returned to full fledged action. You and Robby have a new lineup of BITCH. I notice that David Carruth is no longer there, but in place you have 2 stellar guitarists, and a bassist who is a veteran of the metal scene. These 3 have really kick started your return to action – and the band is sounding amazing. What can you tell us about the new lineup?
BETSY: The current line up is re-creating the old BITCH chestnuts in a new, exciting and refreshing way. The songs have never sounded better and tighter. They are an extremely decent and professional group of guys and we all get along great. I'm proud of myself for putting it together. I picked a great bunch of rockers!    We've played several gigs together, and the next phase will take us into the studio to record an E.P. (four or five songs) of all new, rock solid material, which is currently in the beginning-writing stages.  We hope to release it by late summer/early fall - ballpark.

STEVE: A lot of bands have reunited recently – and many of them are finding it hard to either live up to expectations, or live down the demons. You were groundbreakers, so you will be looked at very intently. Have you given this much thought? Will the music change? Will you record and or tour in the future?
BETSY: My main goal with this come-back is to impress our fans enough to make the come-back valid and worthwhile. I don't want people thinking we should have stayed on hiatus. With this new recording that I mentioned in the last response, I do hope to get out and tour in support of it. We'll get the release under our belts first and then take on the tour support issue.

STEVE: With groups like the Genitorturers, or Marilyn Manson, maybe shocking people doesn't have the same impact. The leather, the whip, and the sucker (on Skullcrusher) are all there, yet you are all laughing while doing it. Is it on a par with… say… Rob Halford and the Harley? Where it is something expected?
BETSY: We've always treated the BITCH image with a very tongue-in-cheek attitude. We don't want the image to be taken too very seriously because, after all, it is theater. I've always sort of modeled my character, Betsy Bitch, after my main-man, Alice Cooper. It's flashy and entertaining, but also done with a sense of humor. Also, it's very important to have good music and good musicianship with which to back up that image.

STEVE: Today's metal scene – everything seems to be built on the internet. A far cry from the days of tape trading, and fanzines on 8.5 x 11 paper. You can record a song today, and it can be all over the world tomorrow. This interview originates in Holland, you in L.A. and will be posted probably within days of completion. How much will you be utilizing the net? If you record new songs, will they be on iTunes? In other words, where can we find you online?
BETSY: Well, first of all we finally have a website: www.bitchtheband.com - designed by the very talented Dave Strong and his hard rock website design company "The Wrecking Krew". The site is something we've never had before. I know how important it is to be on the internet these days, so I'm sure we will be utilizing all of those outlets available to us. Most importantly, always check our website to hear the latest and the greatest regarding BITCH.

STEVE: There are probably many preconceived notions that people may have made about the band over the years. Is there any issue that you ever wanted to set straight? Are there things about you that you have always wanted to let people know?
BETSY: The most asked question seems to be "are you really into S&M and bondage"...and my answer is: Betsy Bitch is into S&M and bondage. Come to our shows to be entertained, but don't expect me to hand-cuff you to my four-poster bed after the gig. (Well...maybe a lucky few have had that honor in the past....but that's a whole different interview!)

STEVE: Any final thoughts that you'd like to share with the readers of Mario's Metal Mania around the world?
BETSY: I'd like to wrap up this interview by relaying just how appreciative I am that the fans are still interested in myself and my band BITCH after all these years. It's nice to know we haven't been forgotten about and that people are still up for what's new with us these days. There are a lot of bands in the metal heap, and to be a cut above the pile is quite gratifying. Once again, keep checking our website, www.bitchtheband.com. for the latest BITCH developments. Thanks for your support!


BLACK MAJESTY - Stevie Janevski (Guitar) (5 August 2012)
(Interviewer: Manfred Werger, Stampersgat, The Netherlands)


MANFRED: Black Majesty has roots in the Melbourne music scene. Many reviewers, readers and listeners only know the household names of Australian rock, like AC / DC, Rose Tattoo, The Angels, Cold Chisel, etc.. Can you describe this scene? What's it like?
STEVIE: Hi it's Stevie Janevski – one of the guitarist's from Australia's Black Majesty here.
There is a very small but loyal scene in Australia. Many people downunder love their heavy rock and metal and love supporting live music. We are definitely big fans of bands such as AC/DC although we don't typically sound Australian such as Ac/Dc, Rose Tattoo etc. We were influenced by more of the European & Amercian bands of hard rock and metal. Rainbow, Judas Priest, Dio, Iron Maiden, Helloween, Manowar, early Queensryche & Dokken are bands we many of the bands we grew up with. Black Majesty has a good core following here which is great! Unfortunately like many places, Heavy metal is often swept under the carpet and is underground! However, we have many good friends in the scene and some great bands in Oz. Eyefear and Vanishing Point are also from Melbourne – and it's quite often that members from both bands will jump on stage with us at local shows!

MANFRED: The band initially had another name: Kymera. There are more bands carrying this name, why did you chose the new name? What is behind this choice?
STEVIE: That was a transition time with the band and yes we decided to change our name because of other bands using the same name. It didn't make sense to have a name that was already being used. Therefore, after a few discussions we came up with Black Majesty. The 'majesty' part is reflected in Australia's ties with the British monarchy – we also liked the majestic element and brought in the word 'black' to toughen the name up a bit.

MANFRED: Another Australian band, Vanishing Point, is mentioned / marked in a phase of the band's history. What's the connection between Kymera / Black Majesty and Vanishing Point?
STEVIE: Vanishing Point are good friends of ours. Our singer John sang a duet with Silvio on a song of theirs called 'Surreal' and Silvio returned the favour by dueting on one of Black Majesty's songs called 'Colliding Worlds'. It's often that both John and Silvio will jump on stage and sing these songs live as both bands are from Melbourne.

MANFRED: In reviews and in magazines the band is often associated with Roland Grapow and Piet Sielck, two famous German musicians. How did this friendship / musical friendship started?
STEVIE: Piet Sielck helped record and produce some of the Silent Company cd. Our drummer Pavel came up with the idea to record drums at the studio and we also got Piet to produce our cd. He taught us a lot and for that we are greatful! We decided to work with Roland Grapow from Masterplan on the last two cds to try and keep building on our sound and production. We are fond of his work from Helloween and equally had huge respect for Masterplan. Personally I was also a big fan of his guitar tones, therefore it was great to learn some more about getting what we wanted with the production. Piet and Roland are great people and very talented musician's/producers. We've been very fortunate to work with many great producers!

MANFRED: From the first EP 'Sands of time ' to the new release 'Stargazer', the band's power metal has evolved and you've developed a style of your own. What are the band's influences?
STEVIE: Our main influences range from Dio, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Helloween, Queensryche & early Dokken. We are very happy playing traditional true melodic metal. We have always stuck with our style and not changed as a result of whatever was hip/bandwagon kind of stuff. I also think our fans like that about us too. We receive so many positive emails from people all over the world complimenting our albums and live shows which is awesome! Our aim has always been to write the best possible songs that make up consistent no filler albums.

MANFRED: The closing track of the new album will be different in the Australian continent, in Europe and in Japan. Why? What / Who is behind these choices?
STEVIE: Honestly this doesn't have much to do with us. Our label always wants us to add some bonus stuff to help make each region have that 'something special' to their release. Japan has been asking for bonus tracks for years so I guess the rest of the world are rightfully equalling things up and getting what they deserve. Limb really liked the acoustic ballad 'Shine' so that went on the Euro release. Australia and Japan got two different metal tracks – Ariel for australia & Lykan for Japan. I personally wish they were available in every region! LOL

MANFRED: The artwork is made by Dirk Illing, a German photographer and he's made photo-art and cover-arts for a lot of ( German) artists. Why did you choose his art? Is the artwork a band's issue?
STEVIE: When we formed the band we were referred to Dirk Illing (Scorpions, Wizard etc.) by our label Limb Music. We wanted an ongoing theme - kind of like the old school Iron Maiden, Dio, Manowar kind of album covers. Dirk has created the 'Black Majesty' girl and kept the majestic lions on all album covers which puts a nice finish on what we're about. Yes the artwork is something both Dirk and the band works together on. The warrior that is featured on all album covers is our 'Black Majesty' girl. Both the lion and Black Majesty figure are the saviours of our time. This similar theme has evolved from our first album Sands Of Time all the way through to the current Stargazer cover. They convey a sci-fi type of theme which also has the Leo star sign present. Dirk Illing has done a mighty job with all of the album covers! We actually had the pleasure of meeting Dirk Illing at Wacken Open Air back in 2007 – a great guy!

MANFRED: The band doesn't seem to have a permanent bass player in the ranks. Why?
STEVIE: We've pretty much had the same bassist - 'Evan Harris' for most of our career. He has recorded on all five albums. However, back when we signed our record contract back in 2003 we were only a four piece (minus a bassist) so the contract holds precedent in terms of the members of the band and we were advised by our label to keep the line-up as is hence the 4 piece. We've always considered Evan a part of the band and he's been great! As for touring, Evan has always been available to the band!

MANFRED: Your guitar player Steve Janeski is the endorser of the new EVH 5150 amps. How did such an endoresement take place?
STEVIE: Both Hanny and myself have been playing Jackson Guitars for years and after doing a few local guitar clinics over the years we were often supplied with Fender amps to play through. After playing through The EVH by Fender I was blown away with the tone and the endorsement deal developed from there. I'm more than happy playing Jackson Guitars and EVH – a ballsy guitar sound I thoroughly reccommend! For those people unaware, Jackson Guitars and EVH are both made at the Fender factory.

MANFRED: How are the reactions on the new album so far?
STEVIE: The early reviews for Stargazer have been very favourable which is great! The album has been already released in Europe and Australia with Japn and America to follow. After chatting to our label Limb Music it's promising to hear there has been a lot of interest in our new album. It has also been great to hear from our Australian Distributor that the album is already selling better than our previous album which is also very encouraging. We're really looking forward to touring the new cd with album launches throughout Australia and the upcoming support shows we'll be doing with Nightwish on their upcoming Australian tour will also help spread the word.
Many thanks for your support!
Metal cheers from downunder, Australia
Stevie & Black Majesty
www.blackmajesty.com

BULLDOZER - Andy Panigada (Guitarist) (17 December 2007)
(Interviewer: Tom de Jaeger & Marco van Empel , Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO & TOM: Hi guys, great to do this interview with you! Bulldozer had a very hard carreer, the band was formed in 1980 but due to army services disbanded in 1981 and reformed in 1983. In 1988 Founding member Dario Carria committed suicide and in 1990 the band has split up till now. Could you tell me something more about the tragic background of the band and is there still the feeling & spirit to reunite someday?
ANDY: Well Dario Carria, after the exit from the band took a dangerous way to drugs, and the final time he was full of extasy, a mixed cocktail killed him!! No, Bulldozer never will reborn ever !!!! The times are changed, the 80' never returned, it is the end of an era!! For the reunion of other bands, I don't like it a lot, It's better to remember them.

MARCO & TOM: Day Of Wrath ( 1985 ) is kind of an Evil album and Final Seperation ( 1986 ) has got more of that pure true metal feeling we all like. Could you tell me something about the background of these two records?
ANDY: In 1985 was the first time & we'll break all, Algy Ward was called for producing the record. It's a hard & rough sound like Venom & Motorhead, songs like Cut-throat, The Great Deceiver, Mad Man are in pure Venom style, others like Whiskey Time & Fallen Angel is similar like a Motorhead sound. In 1986 Roadrunner would save money for the producer and we mixed the tracks on The Final Separaiton LP. The sound remembers Hell Awaits, with the drums in evidence and the guitars are not very pump at the volume, but 2 month's later Slayer released Reign In Blood, for me the best record of Slayer, the guitars very high & pumped, the Contrary vs. The Final Separation, the future metal sound take another way to power. The songs for me are very great, like:Ride Hard,Die Fast, Don Andras, Never Relax and sex symbol bullshit. But the sound quality is not better than other productions at the same time....

MARCO & TOM: You never choose for a commercial way, haven't you ever got the feeling you might want to change your sound?
ANDY: No, Bulldozer was a classic group Black/Speed/Thrash, never changed the sound & the feeling for a commercial way, we didn't care, We needed passion & to amuse ourself..............No other ways!

MARCO & TOM: How important were/are Venom and Motorhead to you?
ANDY: Much more important, Motorhead "Ace Of Spades" changed my life, the sound is fuckin' great now too, all great songs, no more bullshit.....the best for the 1980's....and Eddie Fast, Lemmy, Philthy....a great era...
Venom sounded new for 1981, the power of the Welcome To Hell LP, and after Black Metal, another brick in the wall of the sound. A Carismatic Cronos, Mantas, Abbadon, me & AC Wild are going to Zurich to see the first of The Seven Dates Of Hell tour, with Metallica as support act. Great gig, I remember it now like yesterday, there was Tom Warrior in the mob.....

MARCO & TOM: You where also with three band members and sounded like the Italian version of it. Are you still having contact with some old Bulldozer members and how are they doing right now?
ANDY: Yes, I hear AC Wild 1 or 2 times a year, he works very much, and Rob K was Crashed the last month with his motorcycle, he was in hospital and now at home for the rehabilition....god bless him!!

MARCO & TOM: What's your connection with Poland and why did you choose to record a live album in Poland?
ANDY: The boss of Discomagic had some good contacts with Polish Managers and we thought: why not finish the Bulldozer time with a live CD? It was natural to take the occasion to recording "Alive In Poland".

MARCO & TOM: Did you like your gig in Scum Katwijk 1989 and what was/is your opinion about the Dutch Metal fans?
ANDY: I remember well. We played in the afternoon and Raven & Kreator in the night.. The Dutch metal fans are very attentive at our show, but didn't drive crazy. I think Italian fans are the best, warm, mad & crazy......

MARCO & TOM: How many shows did you do outside Italy and did you ever play in Belgium?
ANDY: If I remember good we played in Losanna, Katowice, Katwijk, but never in Belgium......... sorry !!!

MARCO & TOM: What do you think about the Italian Thrash Metal Scene nowadays?
ANDY: There are a lot of very great bands, like Death Mechanism, Hatred, Minkions, Brainless, Tsubo, National Suicide, Executitioners, Intoxicated, Warmong, who played with passion in the 80's sound but better production with the best technologies.

MARCO & TOM: Do you still follow the scene and what are your favorite bands today?
ANDY: I hear much more music, in all the directions , but for the Metal , I like & hear very loud now Slayer (old), Bathory (old- Under The Sign Of The Blackmark), Motorhead (with Fast Eddie), Venom (old), The Classic........Oldschool Rulezz!!!

MARCO & TOM: Some favorite bands in Holland and/or Belgium?
ANDY: I don't know.......................... sorry !!!

MARCO & TOM: What was the best show you ever played in the past?
ANDY: Maybe our last show in Italy, 1-12-1990. There is a dvd-video of the gig. Bulldozer is very fast, precise, a war-machine. Like a bulldozer!!

MARCO & TOM: Do you miss the good old Bulldozer groupies ;)
ANDY: ……

MARCO & TOM: What is your relation with Cicciolina (Ilona) the (ex-?) PornStar/Politician?
ANDY: We saw Cicciolina in the 1988/1989 in the sexy shows, with pissing, snakes and after a show we consigned IX & Neurodeliri albums with the 2 songs dedicated to her. I remember, I soak my hand in her piss on the foor, ahhhhhh good sensation…lol.

MARCO & TOM: Are you still in contact with her and what made you decide to write a song about this person?
ANDY: No, we never saw Cicciolina after these times………. AC Wild decide to write a songs for celebrating an old myth…….. It was a piece of the Italian story, and also a piece of my story, when in the 1976/77 I remember a lot of masturbations with the photo's & magazines….. very cunt and bastard bitch for my thoughts……. Ah, great times, I was very young………

MARCO & TOM: Are some of you guys still active in the metal scene and what are you doing nowadays?
ANDY: I go to same concerts but only to get drunk & convulse me , till'the end…….. I know AC Wild in December 2007 played with Labirynth (Italian powerband) during the Japan tour 2 songs, Minkions & Overkill (Motorheadcover). MARCO & TOM: Would you like to share the stage with Venom and Motorhead someday?
ANDY: I would like to play directly in the Venom band, and in Motorhead (but only to replace fast Eddie, not with 2 guitar version) and also in Slayer with Kerry King but my eternal dream is to play a record or a liveshow with Bathory. Face to face with Quorthon (may he R.I.P. & sleep in the eternal fire & so light… the 13 candles……))))))

MARCO & TOM: Do you think a new Bulldozer Record would sound like the good old days of the 80's?
ANDY: ?????????????????? I don't know....................Maybe..........

MARCO & TOM: The price of the Day Of Wrath vinyl is extremely high, are you guys happy with these extreme prices?
ANDY: No, no, the music is for everyone so when you cannot fortune the cd & the new releases, download the music free from the net and listen all you want, no problem!!

MARCO & TOM: Would you like to play at the "Tilburg Headbangers Fest" someday?
ANDY: I know, Hyades played at last edition of your rock festival rock, and the band played "Minkions"-cover, but Bulldozer never, ever can play at any festival because these times are over.

MARCO & TOM: Any last words to all those readers of Marios Metal Mania?
ANDY: Living your fucking life to amuse & fuck & drunk… Work at minimum only for survive…… and all the be(a)st at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you Metalheads and Keep It True!

CAGE - Sean Peck (vocals) ( 10 April 2005 )
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov, New York, USA)

STAN: Hello Sean, what's up and what's going on with Cage at the moment?
SEAN: We are keeping things quite on the downlow at the moment due to some ugly record business stuff that is happenning right now. So I am under strict orders not to say much as lame as that sounds.

STAN: How was the response to your performance at last year's Monterrey festival?
SEAN: It was fantastic! Mexico is so sweet and the fans are the best. We went sick and just had a ripping show. It was very emotional for me because my Father had just passed away the day before and I almost cancelled the show. But I dedicated it to him and it was very hard. The promoters appreciated it and the band was very supportive. The stage and sound system was incredible as well as meeting all of the older legends. I hung out with Jamie Jasta for hours talking about metal.

STAN: You played a new song at that event, which was called "King Diamond." Why did you decide to write a song based on King Diamond?
SEAN: I am a big fan of the King's work and love all of the vocal harmonies and voices. I will give more details on the song itself later on as things clear up.

STAN: The response to "Darker Than Black" gave great ratings and reviews. Did that put any pressure on you on what to do with your next album? (Before you started writing.)
SEAN: Tons of pressure! I cannot comment any further on the tremendous pressure to top such a magical album as that.

STAN: Every single track on "Darker Than Black" totally stands out. Black and Death vocals have become additional ingredients in making Cage's trademark sound. From all the great response you got from the album, are you confident that your next record can top "DTB"?
SEAN: See above, but yes.

STAN: There has been talk about a DVD you guys were planning. Is it ready for release yet?
SEAN: No but if and when we do one it will be found in the dictionary under the word SICK!!!

STAN: Europe has a great metal fanbase. Do you think the U.S. is catching up so far and are alot of the younger audiences listening to true heavy metal?
SEAN: Yes now here is a question I can actually answer. It is coming on strong and we have our own highschool contingency here in San Diego running around with CAGE shirts. Lots of kids were at the Maiden show when we played with them at Universal amphitheatre. That was a sick show! Metal will transend all trends and fads and is quite timeless I feel. Especialy our type of true, classic heavy metal sound. Some of this hardcore, screamo shit that all sounds the same that you see on headbangers ball will not even be remembered 5 years from now but the bands that are uniquiely identified by a signature sounding vocalist will live on forever like Priest, DIO, Saxon, WASP, KISS, Scorpions etc. The instant you hear them you know who it is. That is one reason I am a little hesitant to do side projects because I feel that takes away from the magic of a bands new release.

STAN: Is a complete U.S. tour being in the works for Cage, and will you take your performance to Europe anytime soon?
SEAN: Our next attack will be swift, precise, merciless and overwhelming.....EARTHSHAKER FESTIVAL JULY 26 2005 (Germany)

STAN: Knowing you're a big Priest fan. Did you get "Angel of Retribution" yet? What do you think of it?
SEAN: I have to be careful here. Priest is my favorite band of all time first of all. I would give the cd about a 7/10. It covers a lot of bases and has some good songs but I still think of what could have been. I like all of the ballads and Loch Ness but worth fighting for I didnt like. I think Roy Z did a great job on the production but I selfishly wanted Painkiller 2 and even though that was one of their weakest selling records, the power of that cd was what I wanted to experience again. I am just glad they are back together and making records again.

STAN: Any last words for all the Cage maniacs?
SEAN: Sorry so evasive but the mystery will become clear very soon I hope and the truth will be revealed to the delight of all CAGE fans everywhere!!!!

STAN: Sean, thanks alot for doing this interview!


CANDLEMASS - Leif Edling (Bassguitar) ( 1 August 2005)
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov, New York, USA)
STAN: Hi, what is going on with Candlemass at the present time?
LEIF: We are playing the big european festivals like Bang Your Head, Rockwave Athens, Wacken.

STAN: How was the response to the re-union shows so far?
LEIF: The re-union shows we did in 2002 - 2003 were fantastic. Met so many old and new fans. That's why we later decided to do an album. And this far we have received super response for the gigs.

STAN: Are you all satisfied with the results of the new album?
LEIF: Absolutely!! Album of the month in so many big european metal magazines. Haven't seen one bad review of it!! And they also tell me it sells.........

STAN: I think before, you wanted to have Andy Sneap produce the new album. (?) What went wrong?
LEIF: Nothing went wrong. We just decided to do it ourselves with our sound engineer co-producing, and having Niklas Flyckt to mix it. To do it in Stockholm was easier than going to England I guess.

STAN: The lyrics on the new record are more based on real life situations than the usual fantasy concepts you've done on your previous records. What was the reason you decided to focus more on the reality of things?
LEIF: Got sick and tired of fantasy after the "Chapter VI" album in 1992. Can't be stuck in the world of dungeons and dragons forever. Reality is a far more interesting concept.

STAN: So far, the feedback to ''Candlemass'' has been great, the album is very loud and has a powerful production. Is this how Candlemass was intended to sound in the first place?
LEIF: I think both "Epicus.." and "Nightfall" came out pretty good and shows that Candlemass were heavy and loud even in 1987. I also love the production of the new album and it was very important to get a modern and fresh sound. To show people that were still hungry and up to date etc. People really praise the production which is great!!

STAN: You broke up, re-formed, broke up and re-formed again and have to this new album recorded. Will Candlemass do another album again?
LEIF: Were tied to Nuclear Blast for at least another album and I'm pretty convinced we'll do it next year. Would be stupid to sign with such a good label and then disappear again.

STAN: Why did the band break up in the first place, where there things you found hard to agree on together?
LEIF: We toured and recorded for 7 years. Most bands doesn't last that long. When you are fed up with the whole thing its not important who says what and when. It was time to say bye-bye......

STAN: Will you ever choose to re-record ''Battlecry'' for a future release?
LEIF: Can't see why.

STAN: Do you still keep in contact with the past members, like Johan who sang on Epicus?
LEIF: Nope. Haven't seen him for a long time.

STAN: Regarding touring, when are you guys coming to the USA?
LEIF: When somebody comes up with an offer that works for us. It might happen before christmas.

STAN: Is a new Krux album being planned?
LEIF: Yes, we are going to do a new Krux album in dec/jan.

STAN: What are your thoughts on the current metal scene, particularly in America?
LEIF: I haven't heard anything good from the US since the latest Clutch and Corrosion albums. In general I don't like american muscle/aggro/collage/rap/commercial metal. I just wait for the new Trouble album.

STAN: Hopefully, Candlemass will be able to tour with Black Sabbath in the future. What do you think about that?
LEIF: We were almost on the Tyr tour. That was very close. If it happens sometime in the future it would be great but not very likely.

STAN: When you look back, are you satisfied with everything Candlemass has achieved? Any regrets?
LEIF: I'm pretty satisfied with the carrere. We defined a genre and are in all the metal books. We're still on mag covers, we still sell alot of record, still pull alot of people to the gigs etc etc. Not many bands can say that.

STAN: Any final words to all the doomsters out there?
LEIF: See ya in the states soon!!

Thanks to Ole Bang for arranging the interview and of course, the guys in Candlemass! Stan Efraimov for MMM


CASTLE - Eric (Vocals) (4 November 2009)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen, Heesch, The Netherlands)

In the beginning of the nineties the doom metal scene kind of flourished. Mainly the bands from the area of Yorkshire, Great Britain (Ananthema, Paradise Lost ) set the scene on the map for the second time with their dreadful, heavy and of course slow doom metal with death grunt. In the Netherlands there also was a band that, say it for a short period of time put their stamp upon the scene Castle was together with Celestial Season the flagship of the Dutch doomsound of the early nineties. After a long period of the time I finally found the debut album of Castle and after a reaction on the song "Travelling" on You Tube I got in contact with the former singer of the band: Eric. Eric was so kind to dig up the past with us and gave us the answer to why his band actually left the scene as quick as it came.

DENNIS: Where do we know you from?
ERIC: As the former singer of Castle of course.

DENNIS: Could you refresh our minds and gave a short biography about Castle?
ERIC: In 1987 Lucien and I started the band. We were at high school then. Guitarists and drummers were a problem the first few years until I met Ilja in the local record store. He would visit us together with his friend Richard and after a small period of time Jean-Marie joined us at drums. This is the Castle line-up that played on all the music we released and that did all the live shows. Erik:Vocals, Lucien: Bass, Richard: Rhythm Guitar and Piano/Keyboards, Ilja; Lead Guitar and Jean-Marie: Drums.

DENNIS: Listening to your music I can hear a lot of influences from the early nineties doom bands from Great Britain. Were those your main inspirations?
ERIC: Yes and No. Our roots were very diverse as to say so. Lucien came out of the punk scene which he witnessed very strong as a seven year old because of his brother. Myself, I was a "classic metalhead" Ilja loved blues and Richard loved to listen to classical music. Jean-Marie liked all kinds of music. We all loved metal but I take notice of this I somewhat of educated the other band members with Infernal Majesty, Celtic Frost, Death , Candlemass, Mercyful Fate etc. Al in all I think we all listen to the bands you mentioned in your question. So you could say that our sources were the same.

DENNIS: What happened after your debut album Castle? It looked like the band petered out.
ERIC: Unfortunately it happened this way. A couple of months after the release of our debut album Ilja and Richard left the band due to musical indifferences. Our strength was that we all were such diverse and that we could all manage to create such a beautiful entity combining all these influences with each other. That same strength also became our downfall. Very "doom" of course! In that period I had to serve the army for a couple of years and from there I got a job in Great Britain where I worked and lived for nearly two years. When I got back to Holland I had no real connections anymore with the scene and Castle was a closed book.

DENNIS: What is your dearest memory concerning Castle?
ERIC: Our fourth concert at the Deventer Metal Attack festival. All Dutch bands that played there were up and coming. The Gathering, DeadHead, Gorefest 3 others and Castle of course. We only had done 3 shows in the past. One for the grindcore maniacs of Agathocles. The second time on a hardcore event in Maastricht, you can imagine that the people there weren't quite "into" our music *understatement*. And our third concert was with Delirious in Zon-Bodegraven for 13! paying visitors. At the Deventer Metal Attack festival we played late in the afternoon as third or fourth band, I wasn't that really sober anymore. Halfway through the first song I looked at the crowd and saw literally hundreds of people moving at our music. People that actually liked our music. I kind of exploded. The rush that I felt at that moment I will never forget!

DENNIS: Are you still in some way active in the music scene?
ERIC: No , unless you count listening to music wit that?

DENNIS: Do you know what the other band members are doing at the moment?
ERIC: The last things I heard about them were that Lucien works in the city of Groningen as a cook. Ilja has completed this study as a psychologist, Richard does something with engineering and for myself, I work as public salesman (sounds nicer than it is!) As for Jean-Marie, I have no idea what he is doing.

DENNIS: Is it possible that there maybe sometime will be a reunion show with the original members?
ERIC: I would like to do that but I wouldn't hold my breath for it because I absolutely have no contact with the other guys.

DENNIS: The already mentioned debut album is "out of print" for a long time now. You can only buy it at public sale sites for usurious rates. Has there never been a label that contacted you for a re-release. The rights of this album are they in your hands or in the hands of your former label Malodorous Mangled Innards records?
ERIC: I honestly, really don't know! What I do know is that I am going to digitalise our demo's and than burn it on one cd together with the full- length for the fans. Especially two songs of our second demo are an eternal sin they never got a proper release. I am going to do this before the end of the year.

DENNIS: Do you still follow the metalscene closely? What do you think of for example the genre Funeral doom?
ERIC: Don't know what that is but it sounds good. I will search the internet for some bands that play that style. I am still listening to heavy music as said. Favourite bands are: Solitude Aeturnus, Dimmu Borgir, Sabaton and of course I still listen to old shit!

DENNIS: I got in contact with you via the site of YouTube what do you think of the medium internet towards music:
ERIC: I think it's fantastic!

DENNIS: Thanks for your time and please give our readers a piece of your mind!
ERIC: No thanks at all! I see it as a pleasant surprise that there are still people out there listening to our music. I wish I would be handy enough to make a website where I could place all our music on for free downloading. Provided that it will not be used for commercial ends. If there is somebody who is interest to contact me. Mail me on my fresh made address: eric.castle@xs4all.nl


CAULDRON BORN - Howie Bentley (Guitarist) (6 February 2008)
(Interviewer: Alex Avdeev , Siberia, Russia)

ALEXANDER: Hello, Howie! I hear that your debut record "Born of The Cauldron", which had been released back in 1997, has been released again. Many people are interested where they can obtain this record.
HOWIE: They can order it directly from http://stormspell.com or try http://cdbaby.com or http://sentinelsteel.com. There are many online distributors carrying it.

ALEXANDER: How did you come up with such a timely idea to release an old album, which is considered to be the best record by many of your listeners?
HOWIE: The album has been out of print for a long time and there were a few guys wanting it. Stormspell Records contacted me through the http://www.forgotten-scroll.net message forum and asked if I would be interested in reissuing it. I really like Stormspell's attitude so I went with them.

ALEXANDER: Whom did you work with to remaster and distribute these CDs?
HOWIE: Stormspell Records from California, USA reissued the CD. Corbin King remastered it and did an exceptional job, I might add.

ALEXANDER: What's new on the rereleased CD? Are there any bonuses for a metal fan who obtains this record?
HOWIE: There are two versions of the Warlord cover, "Lucifer's Hammer". There were originally only 8 tracks on the CD. The better version of the Warlord song was included as a ninth bonus track. The 9th track is the better mix and, in my opinion, has the better guitar solo. The lesser version (in my opinion) of the song is included in the multimedia section of the CD. The differences in the two versions are that the ninth track has a better mix and a better guitar solo. The ninth track version was intended for a Warlord tribute album that never got released by Underground Symphony. The multimedia track was a quick mix and had a one-take solo I improvised because we were in a hurry. The multimedia track was originally featured on a very limited two-song promo that we handed out at the 2000 Powermad Festival in Baltimore, Maryland

ALEXANDER: Let's speak about the Warlord cover: who is in the line-up on that song?
HOWIE: I played guitar. Bill Parsons played drums and Shawn Kascak played bass. David Louden, the singer from "... And Rome Shall Fall", sung the song. I just chose the song because I like it. Not to sound like a smart-ass but I don't know what else to say about it.

ALEXANDER: Apart from Warlord, what are your major influences and bands you enjoy listening to?
HOWIE: I wouldn't say that Warlord was a big influence on my music. I like Warlord but they aren't what I would consider an influential band as far as the music I have written. On my own time I listen to Heavy Metal music exclusively, so I listen to a lot of it. There are a lot of bands I enjoy who aren't what I would call an influence. For instance, I am listening to "Griffin - Flight Of The Griffin" as I am typing this. My main influences are Maiden, Sabbath, Priest, Mercyful Fate, early Fate's Warning and Venom. I was spinning stuff like Witchfinder General - Death Penalty and Venom - Black Metal on vinyl when they came out back in the early 80's. This kind of stuff will always be a part of who I am as a musician.. Nowdays I mostly listen to Doom stuff: Witchfinder General, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus, Reverend Bizarre, Trouble etc.. Most of that stuff I have been into for years and years aside from Reverend Bizarre who I just got into a few years back. They got me going back and listening to my old Witchfinder General albums and appreciating their brilliance all over again.

ALEXANDER: What about your future plans for the band? Will there be any reunion, shows and new material coming?
HOWIE: Well, Cauldron Born is disbanded but at some point I would like to record another album as a project. I don't want to have Cauldron Born as a band that plays gigs anymore. That's too much of a hassle.

ALEXANDER: What other projects are you currently working on?
HOWIE: I am working on some traditional Doom stuff. I am not sure when I will ever get around to recording it but I hope to someday.

ALEXANDER: Looking back at your lyrical and musical content, are you quite satisfied with the work you have done on "Born of The Cauldron"?
HOWIE: Yeah. I really like that album.

ALEXANDER: What do you think about the current situation with the "mp3s" and "ipods" and the internet industry?
HOWIE: It will most likely be the death of the music business. Not the "music business as we know it" but I think it is probably the beginning of the end. Musicians aren't going to be able to afford to play music for free and make anything with any standard of quality if it just becomes an expensive hobby. A lot of internet goons will just say: "Oh well, I support the band. I buy tickets to their shows. That is really how they make a living." That is a common misconception with the internet age nerds. Where do they think the bands get the money to tour in the first place? If you aren't selling CDs you aren't going to be able to tour. At one time it was the record labels screwing the artists. Now it is the record labels AND the "fans" screwing the artists.

ALEXANDER: Many of your die-hard fans desire to get a vinyl release of any of the albums you have made so far, what do you think about it, would you ever release that?
HOWIE: Possibly. If a label contacts me and wants to do it I would be interested. As long as it doesn't interfere with what Stormspell is doing with the CDs.

ALEXANDER: What is your opinion on people who give up playing metal, their ideas and "Grow up" from such music?
HOWIE: I think they really never were into Metal in the first place. They must have been doing it for attention or some other superficial reason. From my own experience I can understand why someone would quit trying to play music for a living and there is really is no money to be made playing Pure Metal. But if you really love something how do you turn your back on it?

ALEXANDER: What were the best two moments you had while recording and remastering this album?
HOWIE: My favorite moment was when "The Sword's Lament" was finished and I listened back to the vocal tracks in the beginning. Other than that the only other great moment that I can remember was when it was finally finished.

ALEXANDER: Apart from musical influences there must be lyrical influences too. Who were they for you at the time of the release of the album?
HOWIE: Robert E. Howard, H.P. Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith, Frank Belknap Long, Poul Anderson and Michael Moorcock immediately spring to mind.

ALEXANDER: Thank you, Howie for this interview, I hope many of your fans will just go and buy this record!
HOWIE: Thank you for the opportunity to do the interview, Alex. Send HAILS to our Metal Brothers in Russia.

CEREBRAL BORE - Paul Mcguire (Guitar & Manager) (25 September 2012)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen, Heesch, The Netherlands)


Cerebral Bore is one band you want to keep an eye on for the upcoming couple of years. With "Maniacal Miscreation" this Scottish band -with a Dutch female vocalist- have released a fantastic debut album. After the show we met guitarist Paul in the tourbus he is in the middle of a European tour with Dying Fetus, Job for a Cowboy and Revocation and this morning discovered the "green plants" Holland is famous for.

DENNIS: How is the tour going thus far, Paul?
PAUL: Well it's going pretty awesome so to speak. There's been some bloodshed at a couple of shows. A couple of guys have been taken to the hospital. Mostly when Dying Fetus were playing people tend to get that crazy when it's 11 'o clock at night!

DENNIS: You guys seem to be on a constant tour modus since your debut album "Maniacal Miscreation" came out. How inportant is it for a death metal band to tour nowadays. I read that some of the bandmembers work as a barkeeper?
PAUL: Yeah, that must be our drummer. For me Cerebral Bore is my main focus and besides some other bands that I play with the thing all the enery goes into.But I am actually so busy with Cerebral Bore that I am not really active in those bands. Touring for us is very important since the sales for cd's went backwards. I can't say that I don't like it. Our next tour will be one in the U.S.A. Also with Dying Fetus and I am glad we can travel the world and play for all kind of different audiences.

DENNIS: Could you tell our readers something about a new album? Are you guys already in the writing mode?
PAUL: The new album has already been written! It should be recorded in January 2013. And it should be out hopefully by April or May. Right now as a stand it's written. Maybe will review some of the stuff but all in all it's good to go.

DENNIS: Will it be released by Earache again and are you happy with them?
PAUL: Yeah, we're happy with them. So far everything has been how it should be, so no complaints.

DENNIS: After all the Suffocation clones you hear nowaday, what musical methods did Cerebral Bore pursue tot differentiate themselves from lesser bands?
PAUL: Hmm, I don't know. Musically I didn't try that hard to sound different, it's basically just that what comes out. We were also kind of lucky. When we started we just wanted to play. Luckily we got the opportunity and after that it really went fast.

DENNIS: I read in some of the magazines that the Cerebral Bore sound is subsribed as brutal death metal with personality and compositional diversity. People do think that your sounding quite original.
PAUL: Well that's a very nice thing. It's pretty hard to be diverse in this scene. So people think that and that's pretty awesome.

DENNIS: Cerebral Bore seem to invest a lot in fantastic looking videos. How inportant is that medium for a death metal band today?
PAUL: Well, most of the times people seem to preview all of their music on YouTube these days. Type the bands name and you can find tons of death metal on the internet. It seems to be the most air wide medium picking up for new music so I think it's pretty important. At the same I think that if you are going to go to the effort of making a music video or kinda exposure yourself you should go for it and do it properly and not really spare any expense so to speak on.

DENNIS: Your videos are really good looking you wanna say that it's not that expensive?
PAUL: The first two that we did with a friend of us wo wanted to do more videos for bands like us. So basically he gave us a really cheap deal on both the videos and getting a bit more business which he has done at the moment. Both the videos that we have done were great and we haven given us a good fimpression for somebody who sees us for the first time. I am pretty sure that more people see those music videos as there firt ting that they ever see concerning Cerebral Bore.

DENNIS: Outside of music how are you exploring the concept that motivated you to create Cerebral Bore?
PAUL: I don't really do anything outside the music to be honest with you. My life doesn't really exist much outside the realms of Cerebral Bore. Most of the time for what I am doing unless it's watching T.V. or doing nothing but 9 out of 10 times I am doing something that is Cerebral Bore orientated.

DENNIS: I have been to Scotland two years ago mainly for the whisky. We have been to the area of Campbeltown where the Springbank distillery is at. Springbank is my favourite whisky. What's yours?
PAUL: Well believe it or not I am not much of a fan of Scotch. I like Jack Daniels, I prefer bourbons and stuff like that.

DENNIS: You guys come from Glasgow. Is that a fine place to live as a death metal musician?
PAUL: 2014 the Commonwealth games will come to Glasgow, so they invested a lot of money and are regenerating the city. I looks better now as it did a couple of years ago. A few days back we played in Glasgow and the place was packed. For me it's a fine place to live.

DENNIS: Trainspotting is a movie you really like. A fragment from the movie even made it's was to the record. I really like the moment in the movie when all of the guys are standing in the Highlands and saying that it's "shite" being Scottish.
PAUL: Well it's not that but but it comes from the angle of a junky. People are ancestoring Scotland from all over the world so people tend to quite admire the Scottish and speaking of Trainspotting I actually met Robert Carlyle at the airport when we were going to America last month. We had only a couple of minutes before going on to plane. We spend some time talking to him but it wasn't till afterwards that we thought "shit, we told him that he is the first thing that people hear on our album.

DENNIS: How much guitar harmonization do you do in the studio? Is layering a neccesity for the Cerebral Bore formula to work?
PAUL: I don't do like dual guitarparts. I mean most of the time there are like four guitar tracks lied down per song. When we did our fist demo back in 2006 I was meaning to get a new, second guitarist. So for the demo I wrote a lot of second guitar parts that would have been used if another guitarist would come in to the band. But we never found anybody who would fit in the band so I we now came to pass the point getting another guitarist into the band. Although it would be good. Most of the songs that were on the first album had like second guitar parts and they really actually make the songs a really bit more interesting so we are not going to out rule it. Maybe some songs on the new album will have harmonized parts to bring the song up a bit more.

DENNIS: Please give our readers a piece of your mind!
PAUL: Well, that's a though one! In Holland you have some pretty good weed. We arrived here this morning, woke at about 9 a.m. Find a little coffee shop and probably smoked too much. I didn't feel that awesome on stage. I normally don't smoke weed before we play. But yeah, smoked way too much today!


CHIMAERA - Pan (Singer) & Nico (Keyboards) (26 April 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hey Chimaera ! First of all congratulations with your new album. It really kicks ass!!!
NICO: Thank you very much. We hope so. ;o)
PAN: Thanks a lot! That was our intention! :)

MARCO: Are you all satisfied with the record and what are the reactions to it so far?
NICO: In the whole we all are satisfied with the record. Of course there are always some points you would like to change, when you hear the finished product first. But I think it's not worth mentioning. The reactions of the fans are completely positive. The view of the press sadly is really forked. Some zines and authors love the album, other scorn it.
PAN: The record is a killer! Sure, nobody's perfect. The next one will be better again than that one. We still have lots to learn!

MARCO: Did you enjoy working with Volker and his Pure Steel Records?
NICO: Yes, it's always pleasant to work with Volker. And the other PSR-guys are absolutely a good sort, too. Of course here and there arised some differences during the CD-production, the perspective of a musician and of a producer is often another cup of tea. But this was no problem and we always found a solution we all reconciled with.
PAN: Yeah! Volker really rules!

MARCO: How did your fans react on your latest record?
NICO: From our fans we got great responces only. Many guys appealed me becouse they did not await an album sounding a bit different to the "Myths and Legends". But there was no one who criticised those changes. uite the opposite.
PAN: Everybody gratulated us for this album. It is more powerful, better arranged and with more aspects of metal than the other recordings we did before. But till now I can not tell wich song is the „No 1 Hit" as the opinions differ a lot!

MARCO: You guys started back in 1999, how many demo's and cd's/vinyl's did you released before?
PAN: Sadly no Vinyls. As a schoolband we recorded in 1994 a small demo with a horrible sound. My voice was still that of a child. This are the bonus tracks on M&L. In 2001 we released the Demo MC „Kinights of the Dragon", 2002 came the „Blade Master" Demo. 2004 was the online Demo (no CD-opies, shared online for the fans) „Metalians" and 2005 the „Myths & Legends" CD.

MARCO: Who is your songwriter in the band and where did he gets his inspiration from?
NICO: I think Pan is the man to answer this question.
PAN: The main songwriter is me. My inspirations come from my life. I tell the tale of my life, painted in a picture of a fantasy realm in which I play, as „the Warlord", the main role. Okay, some songs escape from that but most are written in that style. The melodies I write come from deep inside. When writing lyrics I have an idea what they should sound like. And as I also play guitar I can handle it writing these ideas down. Afterwards everybody shares his own fantasies, ideas and style into the songs. So that's the secret!

MARCO: Your band had many line-up changes and "Pan Vogiatzis" is the only official bandmember who survived , tell me why there was no stabel line-up in the past 8 years?
PAN: Because I am a veeeeeery difficult person.
NICO: That's fucking right! ;)
PAN: I have my own mind, not to tame, sometimes a bit too strict and it isn't easy working with a person like me. Other reasons were illnesses or lack of time and money as CHIMAERA consumes both in masses.

MARCO: How can you describe your style of heavy metal, mostly I call it true heavy metal, sounds that okay for you?
NICO: Hmmm...maybe this is the right word, maybe not. I think the style we do can not be explained with one term. There are many different metal-styles we involve in our songs. So "Heavy Metal" may be the right word. If it is true, everybody has got to decide for himself, because there is no definition for this word.

MARCO: I heard many influences from bands as Running Wild and Grave Digger do you like them and do you agree?
PAN: Uh, well... I like both of them but I wouldn't call myself influenced by them. Perhaps in some small points but mainly there are other bands I heard much more often and I would name as influences. Iron Maiden, Helloween (Kiske times), Blind Guardian, Pretty Maids, etc would suit better!

MARCO: Are you touring a lot in Germany and do you have many fans in your own region ( Saarlanden )?
NICO: At first a little correction: The band moved some years ago from the Saarland to Düsseldorf, what we would call "our own region" now. In Düsseldorf we of course have got a lot of great fans and I think there also remained some in Saarbrücken.
PAN: Sure there are also some in Saarbrücken. But mainly we play here in our region Rhein-Ruhr. Driving to Saarbrücken is very far and we cannot predict how many people will come there...

MARCO: Did you allready played with some big bands and how was it like?
NICO: I think the biggst band I played with was "Rebellion", we were on tour with. Although I sometimes felt like a bloody greenhorn, it was really a great feeling to play the concerts with guys like Uwe Lulis and Tomy Göttlich.
PAN: We also played with other Bands. Testament, Wizard, Majesty, Napalm Death... Chuck Billy is a nice guy!

MARCO: Did anyone of you ever played in another band before Chimaera?
NICO: I think all members played in other bands, before they joined Chimaera. All them played Heavy Metal or had got Heavy Metal - Roots. Me, as the misfit, only had got a kind of schoolboy-punk-rock-project when I was about 13, where I played bass. But it was more a kind of trial and error than an identification with the music.
PAN: Hmmm... Not really. The first band I played was the school band from wich arose CHIMAERA. I was 13 years old by that time and we (thought ...hehehe... that we) kicked ass! But the Rock'n'Roll attitude was the same as today!

MARCO: Are you visiting many gigs by your self and what are your favorite bands and influences?
NICO: I always try to visit as many gigs as possible. But the missing time forces me mostly to keep away from concerts, I would like to visit. I think many underground-people do not like to hear, but the band I visited the most gigs and I see my largest influences of is Hammerfall. My favorite band at the moment is Sabaton, which I also saw a lot of times. The last concert I visited was Manowar. You can say about them, what you want, but their show is really sensational.
PAN: I also try to go to as many concerts possible. My last one was Keep it True Festival. But I don't go to big concerts normally. I prefer the underground stuff... It's a more familiar atmosphere.

MARCO: Are there any plans for the future and what do you want to achieve with Chimaera?
NICO: At first Pan and me have to rebuild the band, because Dan, Ümit and Steffen sadly left Chimaera some weeks ago. But by now we have some good musicians up our's sleeve, so most of the work is done. What we want to achieve is a good question. Of course we want to play a lot of great shows, be with a lot of fans and have many, many beers. The thing I really dream of is to go on tour again. At best as headliner. But I think to make this dream come true, we have got a lot of work before us.
PAN: Well noticed... At the moment I am already working on the next Album. So I have got double work to do. But as Nico already said, I want to play lots of shows, drink lots of beers (and other stuff... Hehehe) and „meet" lots of girls. Hahaha! And, of course, get to the point of having the possibility to release another album.

MARCO: Thank you very much for your time! Do you have any last words for the MMM readers and fans?
NICO: You're welcome! I send big steely greetings to all the brothers and sisters in The Netherlands and I hope to have one or two concerts in holland in the near future, so that we can have a big party and a lot of beer with the great Dutch heavy-metal-people!
PAN: Thanks to our fans, you and all Metalheads on this fucking planet! Again, I have to say that we are only a few. So we shouldn't waste our time in discussing what's „metal" and what's not. No one can see in another Metalhead's heart and say, just by hearing music or the musical preferences, that this person lives the spirit. There are too many intrigues in the scene. We aren't gothics, we're Metalheads! Keep that in mind and heart. And to all motherfuckers who believe in their self-created supremacy: „Up yours! Fuck you! We don't need you!" I had to say that again. And I won't get tired of doing that as long as there are people like that. Cheers, Metalheads!

MARCO: We wish you all the best for the future and I really hope I can see you live onstage very very soon.
NICO: Thanks a lot! Rock on!


CIRCLE II CIRCLE - Zak Stevens (vocals) ( 10 April 2005 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)


Circle II Circle interview with Zak Stevens 28 March 2005 On 28 March 2005 Circle II Circle, with a new line-up, played in "de Bosuil" in Weert. At this moment they are touring with Pure Inc, Rob Rock and Masterplan. The release of the second Circle II Circle CD (The Middle Of Nowhere) is 29 March. These are enough reasons to go there and interview singer Zak Stevens after the show. I talked with him about the new album, his band, Savatage, the show and some other stuff.

SUZANNE: In 2003 the first C II C CD (Watching In Silence) was released and tomorrow (29 march) is the release of the new CD "The Middle Of Nowhere". What can you tell me about this new album?
ZAK: Well, we are pretty excited about it. I came together with Jon Oliva (Savatage), Chris Caffery (Savatage) and Bernd Aufferman. We played running wild and it was like let the songs breathe and let them go where they want to go. And make it a real European record.

SUZANNE: On the first CD Jon Olivia helped you with writing songs, Is he also involved during the writing process of this new album? And did the other Savatage members help you with the new album?
ZAK: Yeah, Jon and I collaborate of 7 songs. Chris Caffery and I came together on 3 songs. And after that Bernd Aufferman and I collaborate on 2 other songs. His songs are the first song and the last song on the CD … interesting enough. His songs are like book ends, they start the record of and end it. And everything else is in between. So it's very interesting.

SUZANNE: "Watching in Silence", "Into The Wind" and "Forgiven" are my some of my favorite songs of the CD, were do you find your inspiration?
ZAK: You know it's like the thing that's between me and Jon, the magic. Me and Jon wrote Watching In Silence together. Because we have so much diverse musical upbringing and very different influences, something special is happening then. We come from very different places and it's brining in the most crazy ideas. And "Watching In Silence" is an example of that kind of writing process.

SUZANNE: Why didn't you play "Watching In Silence" this evening?
ZAK: We wanted to do some more up tempo from the first record. For the live scenario we want to show more stuff from the new record as we could. For the time we wanted to have a show with quiet a lot of songs from the new record which you can go and buy after the show on by the merchandise table. You can hear and say then, wow I've heard 6 or 7 songs during the show. There are 12 tracks total, because 2 songs are on the 5-track maxi single that's called "All That Remains".

SUZANNE: What is your favorite C II C song and why?
ZAK: I don't know, there are a lot of good songs. I kinda like … I think "Face To Face". Yeah, I like "Face To Face" of the first record. And then I think, maybe … "Middle Of Nowhere" has something special to. The song, the title track "Middle Of Nowhere" If I look to all of them now. I took of a month of listening to any of it, because I needed to clear my head. And after that I went listening to it again and I started picking up on different perspective. But I think that probably "Middle Of Nowhere" and … "Faces In The Dark" is very cool. I don't know. That's what I have to choose now, if you ask me next week it might be different.

SUZANNE: At this moment C II C is touring with Masterplan, Rob Rock & Pure Inc. How is that?
ZAK: It's great!! I'm very familiar with Masterplan. Not that familiar with Pure Inc. And Rob Rock, you know, he has a long history and all that. It's very interesting I think and I have a great time listening to every band. The vocals go to a boozy type like Soundgarden type by Pure Inc. And then you have Rob Rock with the traditional high metal vocals. I don't even go that high! I come in there with more power vocal! SCHOOL OF POWERVOCAL ROCK! SIGN UP NOW, SCHOOL OF POWERVOCAL! And then you know of course, with Jorn (Masterplan) doing awesome, combining heavy rock/metal with blues touch. This is amazing for me! I'm loving it! Every guy from every band is great! And I have a really good time. I like this tour a lot!

SUZANNE: Do you have enough time to see the other bands?
ZAK: Yeah! Oh yeah. Sometimes I very busy with interviews and stuff, but most of the time I'm going to sit Stage Left or Stage Right, wherever the monitor guy is sitting. That's most of the time the place where I go and see the other bands.

SUZANNE: How is it possible that C II C changed the line-up several times? And with which musicians are your touring now?
ZAK: Oh men, sometimes you have a line-up and you think, okay let's give it a try, and than it doesn't work at all! And then I need to get away from that. I need to put a million miles between me and those guys. And that's what we did. And we have got a great situation now, I will never stop until I found the best musicians, I don't care. I don't mind changing line-up, if that takes to get great than I'll do it every time. I don't give a shit!
The musicians of Circle II Circle are:
Zak Stevens: Vocals
Andy Lee: Guitars
Evan Christopher: Guitars
Paul M. Stewart: Bass guitar/keyboards/vocals
Tom Drennan: Drums/vocals

SUZANNE: Do you have the best line-up now?
ZAK: Oh yeah! This is it! This has to be, this is the one. I finally got it, it took me a couple of years but I found it.

SUZANNE: What do you think of the fact that your first line-up from C II C now is the band of Jon Oliva's Pain and how is the relationship with the band and with Jon?
ZAK: I don't know, it's their decision. The decided to do that. It was good, they are a good fit for Jon. They are just a better fit for Jon. Because Jon needed a band at the time and I'm glad that they could help him out. We get along fine. Mat La Porte played on my record, he played a bit on the new record. We're fine, we're friends. It turned better out for everybody and I think that they are happy playing with Jon, so good! That's great. My relationship is still good, especially with Mat La Porte, he is always been a good friend.

SUZANNE: What can you tell me over the metalscene in the States? Is C II C there as famous there as you are in here in Europe? Or are you more famous here in Europe.
ZAK: We are probably more famous in Europe as in the States. But we have got a contingent in America, we're kinda fit right in there. It's very interesting. With the next album or possible with this one we can get a deal and we will be released on American radio. I will be able to do show with Dee Snider (Twister Sister) and Alice Cooper. The Radio Rock show, were we will be lined-up. And lot of more radio shows. When the time is right I will do all that radio shows. And then I think we will see a big difference.

SUZANNE: Name 1 highlight from your career
ZAK: Wow … every night playing with Oliva was a highlight. I mean, he is like a dad to me, Jon Oliva. Every time we see each other I get a big bear hug, because you know he is a bear of a man. And if I see him I know that I will get a big bear hug from daddy. We are just friends helping each other out. That's all. What's good for me, is good for Jon. If the album is doing good, it's good for Jon too, because he helped me writing the songs. It's good for everybody.

SUZANNE: But can you give me 1 highlight?
ZAK: Oh, 1 highlight, I tried to avoid that question (he laughs). But that doesn't work. Well I will say Wacken 1998 with Savatage. That was a pretty good highlight, I liked it. Big crowd, over 50.000 people that night. That was great. Playing al the Savatage songs. That brought Savatage back together.

SUZANNE: Is it possible that Savatage will come back together?
ZAK: Oh sure, absolutely!

SUZANNE: And will you sing there again?
ZAK: Yeah, of course, sure I will sing there! If they want me, I'm there!

SUZANNE: Name 1 non-highlight from your career.
ZAK: I think the fact that I have to change line-up one time. But nobody likes to go get through it. You get all the questions. What happened to the line-up etc? But everyone wanted to go it's own direction.

SUZANNE: How was is to play on the Criss Oliva Memorial Concert, with C II C and Savatage and how was the atmosphere under the musicians? A friend of mine went to that Memorial concert and he told me that is was a heavy and emotionally charged concert.
ZAK: It was great! I mean the first thing John Lee Middleton said when we came of stage was: "Dude, I looked over at you and it was just like old times". That went very deep. I didn't want to go old times, I want to be present times. I'm sure that we want to get together and we should do that. I mean go for it. I can easily do Circle II Circle and Savatage in one year! That doesn't matter. But I don't how it's going to work out. It was indeed a heavy and emotional charged concert because we were all Criss' best friends, and he had a lot. I only played with him for a year-and-a-half, I came there in August 1992 and the record was out in following April, and that October he got killed. I only had the chance to work over a year with him. But wow … it felt like a lifetime. It was great, he was so sure and wow we just keep going. That was the big one ... that was the big one. At that moment Savatage was breaking huge. No one wanted to step aside and wanted to give up. We made a lot of great music after that, but … I wanted him to be there for all of that.

SUZANNE: Will you sing in the future op on a new album from Transsiberian Orchestra??
ZAK: Sure, I like to. I think that they are about finished recording that. The new one. But I'm not sure. I mean I would love to and when there is enough time, I would like to tour with the Christmas Company, in America we have 2 Christmas Companies, the east side and the west side. So I probably will stick in the East coast. I was there for writing almost all of the songs, so I'm familiar with them.

SUZANNE: Is there anything that you would to add before we end? Or would you like to say something to your fans?
ZAK: I just want to say thanks to everybody in the Netherlands, Holland because we are best friends for many, many years. A lot of great fans of Savatage and Circle II Circle. I appreciate that everyone is coming to the shows. We always have a great time here and hopefully we soon have more great times when we play here more and more times.
So we would like to say thanks to everybody and ROCK ON!!!!!


CONQUEST OF STEEL - Daniel Durrant (Vocals) (21 August 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hi mates, do you want a pint from me…..?
DANIEL: Hi Marco, a pint is no good for the Conquest boys we need an entire brewery.

MARCO: Your new album sounds very very well, Are you all satisfied with the record and what are the reactions so far?
DANIEL: Thanks, we were really pleased with the way the album turned out. A lot of criticism was aimed at the debut regarding the production and we feel with the new album we took a big step forward with this. We also feel our songwriting has come on in leaps and bounds. Reviews so far have been really positive with people saying we bring a fresh feel to the NWOBHM genre.

MARCO: Guys, when and were did you Metalheads start and what was the very first line up of the band?
DANIEL: We formed in Birmingham, the birth place of heavy metal before moving to Yorkshire. CONQUEST OF STEEL formed to bring about the true wave of British heavy metal. Due to our demand for nothing less than a true metal warrior to be part of our ranks 7 early guitarists quickly went by the wayside. Finally DD Danger and Diesel Dave proved their worth and easily rose above the rest. After Diesel Dave's departure we found in James Claymore Clarke a more than worthy successor.

MARCO: Why did you choose to start a True Heavy Metal band those days ( late 90's )?
DANIEL: I think the late 90's was a key time to start a true heavy metal band due to the amount of manufactured nu-metal souless pap that was around at that time. Today this can also be applied to emo and metalcore bands. As far as we're concerned these bands are nothing to do with heavy metal, they're simply boy bands with guitars. The masses needed to be reminded True Metal is played with passion, sweat and blood. We continue the fight for true heavy metal.

MARCO: How was the Yorkshire Scene like those days and was there still a market for this kind of real Heavy Metal ?
DANIEL: Yorkshire at the time was one of the best places in the UK for true metal. We had some of the best metal venues about. Unfortunately the good venues around our local town have closed and the scene has died. However there is still a market for our kind of metal and thankfully there are some great venues that we are able to play just a little further afield.

MARCO: Was there a cool Metal Pub in Town and did you have many support from your friends in England ?
DANIEL: There was a cool metal venue near us called The Empress, which sadly closed down leaving the local scene devastated. The local rock pubs now do not match up to The Empress at all. We do have a very strong fan base around England which we hope will continue to grow in the rest of europe.

MARCO: What was the very first gig you ever played and how was it like?
DANIEL: It was at Birmingham University, at the time we had not rehearsed as a full band. Instead demo tapes had been passed back and forth between members and I recall being introduced to the guitarists about half an hour before we went on stage! Despite this we put on a fine metal performance paving the way for future greatness.

MARCO: Did you enjoy the gig in my Home Town Tilburg and what was/is your opinion about the Tilburg Metal Scene?
DANIEL: Hell Yeah! it was a great gig, fantastic metal crowd and it was a particular highlight of the tour to see you headbanging to our soundcheck...

MARCO: Dan are you always walking without shoes onstage and why?
Yes it's to be at one with the stage.

MARCO: Your new album Hammer & Fist sounds a lot more grown up, do you agree ?
DANIEL: We feel we have naturally progressed from the last album and it continues the themes of the debut, however for us the fun factor in heavy metal is essential and we bring it to everything we do.

MARCO: What are the main influences of Conquest Of Steel ?
DANIEL: 80's Heavy Metal, Band's like Manowar, Dio, Twisted Sister, Maiden and Priest.

MARCO: Can you tell me something about the lyrics of Conquest Of Steel?
DANIEL: The lyrics are all about the glorification of Heavy Metal. They are tales of War, Battle and Honour - these are used as metaphors for how we feel about Metal. We use our lyrics to preach the word of Metal to the unconverted. we are the Priests of Metal!

MARCO: What is to your opinion the best Heavy Metal Record ever made?
DANIEL: It is impossible to answer this question - there are too many great Metal records. Of course our favourite albums all come from the 80's and we worship the sound of True Heavy Metal.

MARCO: What was the very best gig you ever played and how was it like?
DANIEL: We have played so many gigs it is very difficult to name just one. We play some fantastic gigs in the UK, but we have also played some brilliant gigs in mainland Europe. We have particularly enjoyed the undergound festivals in Europe - Heavy Metal Maniacs was a highlight of 2006 and Zorofest in Germany was great - the beer was flowing, the sun was out, we were served shots on stage and we got exceedingly wasted after the show - that is the way to play a heavy Metal show!!

MARCO: Are there any moments you like to forget?
DANIEL: We have many great moments with this band, but occasionally there are times we would like to forget. We recently went to play a gig in the UK and the promoter had not provided us with the equipment that she had promised. We were therefore unable to play the gig. We gave free CD's to all the fans that had turned up and told them to demand their money back. The upside of this was that we were able to get very drunk due to not having to perform. Thankfully this was a one off and most of the promoters we deal with are well organised and know their arse from their elbow!

MARCO: Do you like all these new Heavy Metal bands from nowadays and what is your opinion about the comeback of Heavy Metal and Thrash Metal.
DANIEL: It has got to be a good thing that Metal is becoming more popular. However this only applies to theTrue Metal warriors and not just those who are into it because it is a new trend. Heavy Metal is a way of life not a fashion trend! We are fully supportive of the underground Metal and Thrash bands that are rising up and have the privilege of playing with many of these great Metal bands.

MARCO: Do you like to play at our "Tilburg Headbangers Fest" and do you like Holland?
DANIEL: Of course! We would love to come over and play this fest. It is great to see another underground True Heavy Metal festival in Holland - hopefully one day soon we will come and play. We have really enjoyed all our trips to Holland and we hope to come back soon, play some Metal and enjoy some fine Dutch beers with you headbangers!

MARCO: What are your plans for the future?
DANIEL: World domination! We will continue to Play True Heavy Metal long into the future. We will write new music and play as many gigs as we can in as many places as possible. We hope to have a 7" out next year, followed by our 3rd album. A European tour will be planned for early next year and we will continue to gig up and down the UK. The Conquest goes on........................

MARCO: Do you think Conquest Of Steel will ever change their sound or mind?
DANIEL: No and no again. We are true metal warriors 'til the day we die. As I said earlier, Metal is a way of life and we therefore think, live and bleed Heavy Metal. We will never change.

MARCO: Any last words for the readers?
DANIEL: Cheers for all the support from our great Dutch fans- we hope to be back in Holland soon to play some True British Metal. Check out the new album - you will not be dissapointed. For more info go to www.myspace.com/conquestofsteel and www.conquestofsteel.co.uk

MARCO: Guys thank you for your time and my name in your booklet/thank-list, you guys Rock !!! Cheers Marco - we hope to see you soon. Keep on supporting and promoting Metal!!
Marco van Empel.

CRYSTAL VIPER - Marta Gabriel (Vocals & Guitar) (6 December 2010)
(Interviewer: Ad van Osch, Tilburg, The Netherlands)


AD: First of all, thanks Marta for doing this interview with me for Dutch underground webzine MARIO'S METAL MANIA. Well, CRYSTAL VIPER was formed in 2003 by you and your husband. But can you tell us how you did find the other band members?
MARTA: You're totally right, CRYSTAL VIPER was formed in 2003, but it took a lot of time before CRYSTAL VIPER's first line-up was established... Andy was the first on the board, we contacted each other through internet. Not so much time later Golem joined us, we met each other by our common friend. Since the release of the debut album, there was only one major line up change, Tom joined us on bass guitar 3 years ago. He was a friend of Golem, they played in one band in the past.

AD: Do you still remember when you discovered Heavy Metal? At what age did you discover Heavy Metal and what was the first metal band you've ever heard in your life?
MARTA: Well, heavy metal music has always been my favorite genre. I was taught as a classical musician, and later, I found a piece of classical music in metal. In my family home there were a lot of rock vinyls and so on, so since I was a child I've been in touch with rock music. I don't remember the very first metal band, but I started listen to heavy metal with such great bands like Virgin Steele, Judas Priest, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, Blind Guardian, Warlock...

AD: Have you always wanted to be a singer in a band?
MARTA: Yes! That was always my biggest dream, to have a band, to be a part of metal music!

AD: At what age did you start to sing and at what age did you start playing guitar?
MARTA: As I mentioned I was taught as a classical musician, at the age of 7 my parents sent me to music school, but I was in the piano class. I started to sing many years later, when I started my very first band in the high school. I started playing guitar while composing material for CRYSTAL VIPER's second album "Metal Nation", because I had many ideas for guitar arrangements, and wanted to be able to play and record them myself. You know, to have more possibilities while composing songs... But I became a full-time guitarist in CRYSTAL VIPER one year ago, when our previous live guitarist left the band, and guys from my band saw me recording some guitar parts in the studio... It had no sense to look for additional person: CRYSTAL VIPER was always 4-piece band in the studio and 5-piece band on stage, now it's the same 4 persons here and there.

AD: About the guitar, are you self taught or did you take lessons?
MARTA: No, no lessons, I'm self taught and of course I'm still learning. Sometimes while rehearsing Andy is giving me some useful advices.

AD: In which bands have you sung and played guitar before, before you formed CRYSTAL VIPER?
MARTA: I joined my very first band in the high school, but it wasn't really serious, we simply met to play between the lessons (we were rehearsing in the school's basement). Later, my friend found and advert that a band is looking for a vocalist, so I joined them. We played a lot of shows in the local clubs, recorded two demos... But I decided to left them and form CRYSTAL VIPER, a heavy metal band that I've always dreamt of.

AD: Well, there are the big bands from Poland like BEHEMOTH, VADER and HATE, but there are more bands of course, so can you tell us how the Metal scene in Poland is in general?
MARTA: Yes, Polish Metal scene is mainly known from bands like VADER or BEHEMOTH. Black and death metal scene is quite big here, totally unlike to heavy metal scene, that almost doesn't exist here at all. Of course we have here few heavy metal live shows per year, but most of them are a bands from the foreign countries. If I'm not wrong, we're still the only one traditional heavy metal band in Poland, that play regular shows and keep on releasing albums...

AD: In 2010 the band released two albums (both on AFM records), namely the live album "Defenders Of The Magic Circle - Live In Germany" (see MMM update November 2010) and the in October released third studio album "Legends". Can you explain why you released two albums in one year?
MARTA: I know it looks like we did two albums one year, but the live material for "Defenders Of The Magic Circle - Live In Germany" was recorded one year ago. It took of course some time to get the material, to mix it in the studio, and to release it. Back then we were also working on our new album "Legends", that we planned to release at the end of 2010. At the beginning of 2010 live material was ready, and we signed new deal with AFM Records. The same year our new album was also finished, so it wouldn't have sense to wait and release it next year. Well, the live album is also not really a "regular" release, it's more like a gift to our fans, that keep on supporting us. The material was good, so we didn't want to hide it, that's all.

AD: So far as I know the band got some varied reviews of the last album "Legends". Some reviews are a bit negative and some are pretty good and positive. What does a good or bad review do with you?
MARTA: There are of course good and bad reviews, but it's normal, and we don't expect that all people will like our music. Everyone has his own taste, and we aren't able to satisfy everyone with what we play. But it's nice that there are more of these good ones (laugh)... So far we have seen 2 or 3 bad reviews, but what's quite funny, there was written that the reviewer don't like our album because he heard all of this on JUDAS PRIEST or MAIDEN albums... Well, such comparison is a huge compliment for us, so I could discuss if it's really a bad review then, haha...

AD: Can we say that "Legends" is the best CRYSTAL VIPER album so far?
MARTA: In this moment it's our favorite one, but you know, it's still hot and we are still very excited because of it. I don't know if it's the best, let our fans to decide. In my opinion "Legends" is a quintessence of CRYSTAL VIPER - for sure it's our most classic heavy metal album.

AD: What are your personal favorite songs of the new album?
MARTA: "Night Of The Sin", "Ghost Ship", "Goddess Of Death"... But truly I love all of them!

AD: On "Legends" you also did a cover version of the ACCEPT song "TV War" from their album "Russian Roulette" (1986). Can you explain why you choose that song of ACCEPT?
MARTA: ACCEPT is one of the very important bands for us, that influenced us as a band, and as musicians. "T.V. War" is a great song, and perfectly fits to the CRYSTAL VIPER style. It was also a chance for us to pay a tribute to this great band! And as far as we know, they really like our version of "T.V.War", what is a huge honor for us.

AD: As you probably know yourself, CRYSTAL VIPER is often compared with WARLOCK, because you sound like Doro Pesch. So, wouldn't it be more logical, that you did a WARLOCK cover, instead of the ACCEPT cover?
MARTA: I wouldn't say I sound like Doro, but the truth is that I really like and respect her. Regarding WARLOCK cover song - well, we already did one. We recorded "Mr. Gold" for "A Tribute To Warlock" CD compilation, that was out 3 years ago.

AD: Is Doro Pesch also your big example as a singer, or are you inspired by more female singers in the metal scene?
MARTA: Yes, Doro is of course one of my favorite vocalists, but there are and were a lot of great female metal singers, like Lee Aaron, Gigi Hangach of PHANTOM BLUE, Jutta Weinhold of ZED YAGO, Leather Leone, girls of ROCK GODDESS, Barbara Malteze, Janet Gardner of VIXEN, Federica De Boni...

AD: And which guitar players have inspired you to start playing guitar?
MARTA: Well, maybe it's strange, but I wasn't inspired by any musician, I simply wanted to play guitar. But of course there are some fantastic guitar players that I'm impressed by!

AD: What are your personal favorite guitarists?
MARTA: My favorite guitarists are Glenn Tipton, Eddie Van Halen, Kai Hansen, Janick Gers and all of these guys that rocked the stages in the 80s. You know, they always had fantastic clothes, and their behavior on the stage was just awesome!

AD: The band has played on festivals like "Keep It True", "Swordbrothers" and "Headbangers Open Air". How is it to be on the bills of those very popular festivals in Germany?
MARTA: We didn't play on "Headbangers Open Air" yet, but we will next year. How is it like? You know, you form the band to record albums, to play the shows... Playing on every single festival is fantastic thing for us, because we write and play music that we all love, which is heavy metal, and these festivals are a fantastic places to spread this music to the world!

AD: Now that the band is signed on AFM records, is the new album "Legends" going to be promoted by a large European tour? If so, can we expect CRYSTAL VIPER also in The Netherlands?
MARTA: We're planning a tour for the next near, but it's too early to talk about it for now. There are already confirmed random shows for the next year, so please keep on checking our website! Of course we would love to play in The Netherlands!

AD: Maybe you can contact Mario, for a possibility to be on his fifth edition of MMM in 2011?
MARTA: It would be cool, of course!

AD: Would you like to say something special to the readers of MMM?
MARTA: Yes! Thank you for a nice talk, and Heavy Metal Greetings to all the Heavy Metal maniacs out there! See you on the road!

AD: Once again, thanks for doing this interview with me for MMM!
MARTA: Thank you too! Heavy Metal to the end!


DAWN OF TEARS - J. Alonso (Vocals) (26 August 2009)
(Interviewer: Robin van Tilburg, Lepelstraat, The Netherlands)



ROBIN: First of all, thank you to for taking the time to do this interview with MMM.
J. ALONSO: We are happy to answer it for you, thanks!

ROBIN: 'Dark Chamber Litanies' was my first acquaintance with the band. For the people who do not know you, how would you describe Dawn of Tears?
J. ALONSO: It's hard for us to describe the music, because… its better if you listen to it yourself. Maybe our style rides between "Sweden death metal", "melodic black metal", "German power metal", "Gothic metal", "dark metal"… We usually say that D.O.T. are a mix between Dark Tranquility, In Flames, Cradle Of Filth, Blind Guardian, Sentenced… you can find a lot of metal styles inside our music.

ROBIN: 'Dark Chamber Litanies' is out for a few months now. How have the reactions been so far?
J. ALONSO: Taking into account that our album is self-financed and we don't have a label contract, the response has been incredible outside our country. In Spain there's no a good metal culture, unlike in other countries, so the satisfaction is double for us.

ROBIN: Promotion is a must nowadays to get noticed. Maybe more than ever. Are you satisfied with the attention 'Dark Chamber Litanies' is getting?
J. ALONSO: We are working with 2 promo agencies, "Laballo comunicación" in Spain and outside with "Lugga Music". They are professionals and the response has been great. Its thanks to them that interviews like this are possible…

ROBIN: Anyway, a copy of this E.P. reached me and I've got to say: I'm glad it did. I was especially very fond of the spherical melody lines. Who is responsible for the music?
J. ALONSO: J.L. Trébol is the guitar player and composer of all the basic melody lines of each instrument, until now. He brings us the new song, we take it to make the arrangements, everyone gives their opinion and a new song is born. We've got a new line up also, so we're anxious to hear their contributions too.

ROBIN: Let's talk lyrics. What kind of lyrical themes do you use in your songs?
J. ALONSO: We use gothic fantasy themes, vampiric stories, esoteric and oniric elements. We also use stories of our own creation or mixed with classical tales…

ROBIN: Where do you get your inspiration?
J. ALONSO: First of all, from the music. We get our influences too from terror movies and literature…, all mixed with personal feelings, love, rage, despair, sorrow… we wanna tell a different story inside of a poem in every song.

ROBIN: Although you are around for a decade now, your debut album 'Descent' was released in 2007. Did you write new material for this record, or does it contain songs that were written over the years?
J. ALONSO: In "Descent" you can find old themes that suffered a transformation with the evolution of the own band, songs that we have played since the beginning. Other songs from "Descent" were newly composed for the album, so "Descent" is a compilation from the beginning to the release date.

ROBIN: 'Descent' got great reviews and even was nominated for the Metal Storm Awards alongside Arch Enemy and Dark Tranquility. How did it feel to get this kind of recognition with your first full length?
J. ALONSO: Well, for an underground metal band…?, from Spain…?, first album…?, without a label…? Oh, so truly fucking great!

ROBIN: Now the E.P. is out and this year you will also start recording the second album. do you feel some kind of pressure since 'Descent' was received so well?
J. ALONSO: Of course, we felt the responsibility of keeping the level high and making the best of ourselves, and I think we did it.

ROBIN: In my opinion, you take good care of your releases. Better take some extra time than to rush it and record a mediocre record. Sometimes the pressure of a record company is not very good for the artistic side of things. Is that part of the reason that you're still unsigned? I mean, 'Dark Chamber Litanies' is one of my favorite new releases in the genre at this moment. I figure that I'm not the only one. Did some labels already shown interest in you?
J. ALONSO: Not really. We want to sign with a serious label which can support us to spread our metal all around the fucking world, make our dream come true and give to the metal world the best that we can, because we don´t have resources to make it on our own. We don´t have any serious offer, actually. (By the way... thanks for your comment.) I hope that the offers come to us soon.

ROBIN: Ok, let's talk about another aspect over the band. Playing live! Is Dawn of Tears a live band?
J. ALONSO: Live band to the bone! To make live shows keeps us alive. The crowd is great with us everywhere. We got fans that travel long distances to see us in a gig, so we've got a responsibility to them, we must give it our all in every show.

ROBIN: Which performance of touring anecdote makes you smile from time to time?
J. ALONSO: A lot…., but it´s better for us not tell, maybe in private…

ROBIN: On your website I am able to find some tour dates in Spain. Are there also plans for touring outside your home country?
J. ALONSO: We just played three weeks ago in Portugal, in "Vagos Open Air", with great bands like "Dark tranquility", "Amon Amarth", "Epica"… We've always wanted to play all around the world. We are searching for it, so I hope I can announce tour dates outside of our country to you soon …

ROBIN: What can we expect from the band in the near future?
J. ALONSO: Tour dates, new album… "Uncertain Life"…

ROBIN: Thank you very much for this interview. I wish you all the best with recording the new album and I'm really looking forward to it. Perhaps you have anything you would like to share with our readers?
J. ALONSO: Thanks to you again for the interview and support. Headbangers from MMM, I'm J. Alonso from DAWN OF TEARS, please, give us a chance… and stay always metal!

ROBIN: Thanks again and keep up the good work! Dawn of Tears has great potential!


DEAD END TRAGEDY - All the members (6 March 2013)
(Interviewer: Marcin Kwiecinski , Poland)


Dead End Tragedy is the one of my favourite hardcore/metal bands. They represent a new wave of this music – beatdown, and they are often setting near to the bands like Nasty or Words Of Concrete. If you like the brutality of metal and felling of hardcore music, you have to check it.

MARCIN: Some time ago your vocalist left Dead End Tragedy. Could you tell me something about the reasons why?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: First of all, it has had very personal reasons, why he left the band. Finally we can just say, that there have been much more important things in his life, that he had to take care of than Dead End Tragedy.

MARCIN: What do you think, what Dead End Tragedy lost because of this personal change? Have you any replacer? What type of features must have a vocalist of your band?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: In the End, we lost one of our best friends. It is not only a matter of talent, commitment or other stuff. What was really sad is that we lost Raphael as a person, who was always a close friend. After a few months without a vocalist and a bit too much beer, we came up with the idea, that Tim, our former rhythm guitar player could try to do the vocals, because he also always did some lines in older songs before. Tim also did most of the lyrics for "Unpreventable" already, so it all started pretty well when he started with the vocals a few months ago. Well, so now Dead End Tragedy has only four members left, but we`re defiantely fine with it.

MARCIN: I heard a medley preview of your new album on myspace and it sounds huge! What could we expect from this album? Did you toy around with the sound and did you get the result you were looking for?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: To be arnest, we recorded the songs you have heard in the medley in a period where a lot changed for us. The Songs were finished a long time before some of them were published. So for us some of them had lost their energy before people ever had the chance to hear them. Some of the Songs, we can still identifiy with, were recorded with Tim again and will be offered as a free Download, when our brandnew full length album, called "Stagnation is death", will be released in a few months. We had a lot of time to focus on making new songs during the time without a new vocalist and "Stagnation is death" will be a really huge result, we think.

MARCIN: "Unpreventable" is a great piece of beatdown, in my opinion, one of the best cd`s in this genre. How has it been received by the fans and media?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: Thank you very much, we really appreciate that! We see "Unpreventable" today as our Debut, that helped us getting a great base of fans and listeners around the world. The release itself was kind of unexpected and didn`t have the intention to reach a certain genre or growd. But maybe that`s what so many people like about the record. We don`t care too much about the new media. Sometimes we just google our Bandname to see what`s the result. Somewhere between Beatdownhardwear and some downloadoffers we once found a little review about the record.

MARCIN: Your music is full of death metal influences. Do you listen this genre a lot? Your all time favorite death metal album?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: This question can be answered pretty fast. We don`t really listen to Death Metal, so we also don´t have a favourite album in this genre. We listen to a lot of different genres and if we are creating a new song and a riff sounds good to us, we use it. As simple as that.

MARCIN: You`re in Beatdown Hardwear. How did you end up with them? What about the cooperation with them? Are you satisfied of that?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: Well Toni, the owner of BDHW wrote us a message on myspace one day and said that he wanted to cooperate with us. He invited us to his home in Münster and we had a lot of beer and some good food. Being drunk, we signed a contract, where we had to play 200 Shows a year and pay Toni 500 Euros a month to finance his party lifestyle. NO JUST KIDDING! We became really good friends over the years and we really appreciate the freedom Toni gave us as a band and the trust he always had in us. He also definitely helped us become more popular because of the release of "unpreventable" back then.

MARCIN: What do you think, from which countries you`ve got the most of fans (besides Germany)? What country gives you the best support?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: We think, that the support of a scene can mostly be seen in doing DIY-Shows. So far, we definitely had the most shows, besides Germany, in Belgium.

MARCIN: How is the process of creating songs? Do you write in the practice room or at home?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: When we have some money in our pockets, we hire professional musicians and see what`s the result, while we are sitting on a couch drinking beer. But this doesn`t happen really often and that`s why we usually just start with some guitar riffs for a new song in the practice room. If everyone likes it, we work on it till the song ist done, otherwise we skip the ideas. But we definitely have to like the song 100 % before it is getting recorded and published.

MARCIN: You`ve written on myspace that you play death metal/ hardcore/ punk. What do you think how much role in your music plays punk influences? Do you fell as a part of this scene? And why?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: Punk Music still plays a fundamental role for us. We all have our musical roots in this genre and still listen a lot of bands coming from there. We sure can identify with some of the attitude, like criticism on society, hating fascism and intolerance or the DIY-attitude. You will also hear some more punkriffs in our latest songs, bescause we use it as valve for everything we see in this world.

MARCIN: You lyrics are full of angryness, brutality and fury. What is your inspiration? What is the target of this uncompromising words?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: To be arnest, we were pretty young back then and didn`t think too much about the message while we were writing these lyrics. We also never expected to reach so many people around the world with it. But this isn`t meant as an excuse. Back then, we wanted to be as brutal and tough as possible. Today we all grew up and want to write lyrics that make people think about different things in life and have more subastance and better messages.

MARCIN: In "F.C.P." you attack some kind of hardcore wannabe`s. Could you spread this shortcut? How often do you meet a people who are at this scene for fashion?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: The actual meaning of FCP is Fashion Core Pussy and was headed against people who wanted to be part of a scene, no matter if hardcore, hip hop or metal by wearing the "typical" clothes and who, in the end, were harming those scenes with their appearance. Those people fortunately come and go and just make idiots of theirselves. By getting older and making more experience, you are able to look at this behavior with a huge smile.

MARCIN: "Cherish Being Alive" is about the problem of drugs. What do you think, is this a big problem of today youth? Have you any personal experiences with this things?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: If you believe the german statistics for 2013, the number of drugusers is going down, but the number of internetaddicts is rising fast. So today we would probably have to sing "Another post you make, another click you take". Drugs are not only a problem of today youth. In your youth you lay some stepstones for your future life and it's a tragedy to see this all go to waste because of drugs. We all lost some people around us to drugs, but fortunately never lost our own trail.

MARCIN: What about your opinion about the straight edge? Any sex in band?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: Straight edge is a great movement and respect to all those who are living their life with this attitude. Never the less, hardliners who are always trying to convince you of their attitude are just annoying. Everyone should live the way he`s satisfied with his life, as long as he doesn`t harm hisself or the people around him. We are not straight edge, but we are sure, that most of us also lived with that attitude a few years in our childhood.

MARCIN: "Protect the ones we love/Nothing can stop us/When you take on them" - How strong meaning have this words for you? How do you try to make this in your private life? DEAD END TRAGEDY: Like already said: we were young, naive and needed the money. Everyone should stand up for the ones in his life that mean the most and they are always worth fighting for.

MARCIN: What about the lyrical themes for a new album? Any innovations?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: The album will be called „Stagnation is death". This theme will probably be a line through the whole record. We as persons and our music has just evolved into something better, we think. And this progress should be seen in every situation in life. Many things are going into the wrong direction and that`s what had an influence on the whole theme. So we just write about everything we see and experience every day. From society, to environment or even technology. We are now concretizing everything for the new album.

MARCIN: Being a part of the german scene how do you see it? Are there any upcoming bands that people should look out for? What about the most fascinating and irritating aspects of your native scene?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: The german scene is pretty huge and strong. It also has been stronger, but that`s the past. We are living now and we are proud to ba a part of what bands like Slime, Recharge, Ryker`s and so on once began. There are a lot of new and great Bands, but the list would be too huge now and we would probably forget some. One band that overwhelmed us lately was Bitterness Exhumed, for example. We think the german Hardcorescene stands for diversity. There are so many subgenres, young and motivated bands and always a feeling of solidarity no matter where you play shows in Germany. But in some areas you can also see, that the scene is becoming more and more dead. We also already made the experience to visit DIY-shows with an international line-up of great bands and there were like 12 visitors standing in front of the stage. That´s a fucking tragedy. People should be more open minded to new bands and not only come to shows for bands they already know for years and "deserve" to be seen in their opinion.

MARCIN: What are your views on the present political climate in Germany?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: If we look at the European situation, we can`t really complain living in Germany. There will always be misatkes made by the government and tries to fix them. We also have elections for our parlament coming up this year. So we will see what happens next.

MARCIN: What is your opinion about the turkish immigrants in Germany? I heard that differences between islamic culture and european culture often is a source of many problems. Is it right? Are there visible any several disturbance of asimilation process?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: Turkish and moslem immigrants belong to the german culture for decades now. A lot of uneducated people try to put all the different Arabian cultures into one scheme and say that they would harm the country. In the End these uneducated, intolerant, media-manipulated people cause the real damage for our society. What is really sad is that immigrants that grow up and finish college in Germany often turn their backs after that and go back to their country to work there. This has probably many reasons like family or returning to his own roots. Our country could benefit so much from these people and it`s sad to see that obviously they don`t see any reason to stay here, even if there were born and raised in Germany. This definitely should have to change. Some time ago, there were news from am Islamic movement called salafism, that tried to take influence on younger people and society with their extremist attitude. These are problems we should definitely fight against. Like every other extremist attitude.

MARCIN: What could you tell me about the role of history in german politic? You know, we still have in Poland references to communism, discussions about the times of World War II and so on. What about the your country?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: Our historical past still follows us like a shadow, not only in politics. Even our generation still isn`t sure if it is ok to say that we "like" our country and being german. Even putting a german flagg on your house during some world championships doesn`t seem always right in some eyes. It has definitely been an unthinkable tragedy what happened in world war II. But our generation and those who will follow had nothing to do with this. People who were involved are mostly dead or disdained by the rest of the nation. We should never forget what happened, but also prove that no one still has to judge our generation or those who will follow.

MARCIN: What do you think, this references to history in politic are needed? On the one hand we have to think about the experience from past times to not repeat the old mistakes, but on the other hand does it make sense still sitting in the past when we have to go ahead?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: The question is which mistakes you mean? Taking over other countries with an army, burning down villages, killing countless innocent people? We live in the 21. Century in Europe. This will never happen again, thank God. Humanity can only survive, if it learns from mistakes and tries to make it better, because stagnation is death. But we have to look forward and take care of our problems today. Like we should strengthen the worldwide union in all hardcore scenes. Like you being from Poland giving as a hard time answering all of your questions to get to know us a bit better. Thanks for that and respect! We are creating a poltical and economic untity in Europe. There are no borders anymore. Why shouldn`t we create one European Hardcore scene? Too utopian?

MARCIN: Can you say some words about german life and mentality in your eyes? What about the best and worst features of your nation?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: 80 % of the Germans are fat and balled, like to eat sausages and drink beer. We think that Germans often like to complain on a very high level and never seem satisfied and happy with what they have. But that`s probably a typical First-World-Problem around the world. Also most Germans are pretty narrow-minded. But we are the exception from all these things.

MARCIN: What next do you have planned for the band?
DEAD END TRAGEDY: We will be going to the studio next week to finally record our new full length album.

MARCIN: Thanx a lot for your time! I hope we will meet in Poland soon! Cheers! Last words are yours!
DEAD END TRAGEDY: We thank you for your huge interest and are deeply sorry for letting you wait so long. We hope that you`re allright with our answers. Be curious for our new stuff that will probably be coming out in summer this year! We are too! Last Words: Poland has the most beautiful women, besides Brazil! What the hell are you putting in your drinking water!?


DEBAUCHERY - Thomas (Vocals, Guitars, Bass) (29 May 2008)
(Interviewer: Sammy de Maere , Beveren, Belgium)


SAMMY: How did it all start for Debauchery?
THOMAS: I started in 2002 with the recording of the first Debauchery record "Kill Maim Burn". Since then I recorded another album every year and Debauchery toured several times through Europe, with bands like Napalm Death, Six Feet Under, Dismember and others. Our last tour brought us to China, together with the band Raunchy. The latest instalment is the "Continue To Kill" record.

SAMMY: As we look at the previous albums we see a lot of changes during the years, to me the new album is a combination of the previous one's: brutal yet groovy.Is this the direction you guys are looking for in the end?
THOMAS: I don't think there is a real masterplan or something like that. I allways do what I like.Sometimes it's a little bit more brutal, sometimes a little bit more Rock'n'Roll. But the intention behind all the records is the same: Good songs, heavy groove sound, brutal, no progressive shit, that's it. The newer records are just better then the older ones, that's for me the main difference.

SAMMY: Last album was almost pure death 'n roll while the new one, while groovy doesn't have a lot of those sounds. Does this mean you were a bit dissapointed with 'Back in Blood'?
THOMAS: I do not think like that, the last record's got some fast songs too. This time the fast songs are only much faster and the groove songs are more Rock'n'Roll. That brings more diversity. And I used a deeper guitar tuning too, it worked out really well. I like the new record more, but I allways like my newest most. "Continue To Kill" is the natural development, it's a new and better "Back In Blood".

SAMMY: This is probably your hardest and most brutal album yet. Why did you go back to your early sound, or even more brutal?
THOMAS: I don't know, perhaps because of all the hate. The new record is no step back, the old Debauchery records are all in all very slow and "Continue to Kill" has some 50% fast and brutal songs on it. But that was not really intentionally. The songwriting goes as it goes, I do not try to control it, if all the songs are fast then so be it.

SAMMY: For the new record you worked together with Denis Ward. He mostly does the producing for heavy metal bands, as a death metal band why did you chose to work with him?
THOMAS: I worked with him for "Torture Pit" and "Back In Blood" as well. He is a very good producer and sound engineer. He creates a very brutal and modern Debauchery sound. I don't want a sound like all the other Death Metal bands, so Dennis is a perfect choice, he is no Death Metal producer, he is more of a Rock'n'Roller.

SAMMY: You did an excellent Slayer cover on "Continue to Kill". Why did you choose to cover that song? Isn't it extremely difficult to live up to the expectations when you're covering a song that is practically worshipped around the globe?
THOMAS: We did this cover for a Slayer tribute sampler. I like it very much so I just put it on the record too. And I covered it in the first place because it's the best one from Slayer.

SAMMY: Besides the fast and agressive stuff there is still some 'rock & roll' in the new album, and there was a lot of it in the previous one. Which bands are your main influences?
THOMAS: I think the biggest influence is AC/DC, they have the perfect groove and I use their "Ballbreaker" and "Stiff Upper Lip" records as sound reference in the studio. Other big influences are Judas Priest and Manowar, time and time again they try something new. And they have ballads, slow songs, fast songs, modern stuff, old school, just like Debauchery. That are my roots.

SAMMY: Did you enjoy working with the guest musicians on this record (Tom Naumann (ex-Primal Fear), Schmier (Destruction & Headhunter) and Tomasz (ex-Belphegor))?
THOMAS: Yes of course. They bring in their own spirit. I like that. And they are all great musicians too, they make Debauchery a bigger thing.

SAMMY: Debauchery is often compared to Six Feet Under, what do you think about that yourself?
THOMAS: The first time I heard it, it was very cool for me, but nowadays I hate it. I do not even know why we are allways compared to them, they have no keyboards, no samples, no accoustic guitars, no blast beat, actually they sound very different to me, the only thing is that they rock too.

SAMMY: Are there any plans to tour Europe? If so are you touring headliner or will you be supporting a death metal legend? Any chances of seeing you guys live in Holland or Belgium this year?
THOMAS: I hope so, but nothing for sure.

SAMMY: Thanks for the interview!

DECADENCE - Kitty Saric (Vocals) (3 October 2007)
(Interviewer: Alexander Avdeev, Siberia, Russia)

Today we have an interview with Kitty Saric, the lead singer of Decadence, the band that has released three albums and one demo so far, peaking with the last record, "3rd Stage of Decay" which was released on HTI records in 2006. Today's line-up consists of Kitty Saric on vocals; Kenneth Lantz on lead guitars; Joakim Antman on bass; Erik Röjås on drums and Simon Galle on guitars.

ALEXANDER: Hello, Kitty, I have recently listened to your three last records, which are rare jewels for those who appreciate Thrash Metal in the vein of Kreator. Is the business of sales expanding, and how are these sales?
KITTY: Hello Alex, it is a pleasure for us in Decadence to hear that you enjoyed our albums. Up until this point, the sales have gradually been rising and still are, which is really great. We want to thank all of our loyal fans for making it possible for us to continue doing what we love doing the most!

ALEXANDER: What are your influences?
KITTY: To mention some of the bands that have been inspiring to me I could say: Metallica, Death, Vader, Kreator, Testament, Children of Bodom, Megadeth, Slayer, Pantera and so on. As you can see, the list mostly consists of various Thrash Metal bands with some exceptions. I find both vocal and instrumental inspiration in acts such as mentioned above which constantly makes me what to express myself in Decadence. To mention some musicians in particular (with focus on vocals) I would say James Hetfield (Metallica), both as a guitarist, vocalist and song/lyrical writer, same with Chuck Shuldiner (Death), Mille Petrozza (Kreator), Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), Piotr Wiwczarek (Vader) and the like.

ALEXANDER: You've been playing in Sweden, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Netherlands and planning to play a show in Belgium in March. Are you going to negotiate to play at Wacken anytime soon? Also, I think people would like to know if your CDs are available in their area, so what countries are your CDs being sold in currently?
KITTY: We have been traveling some every year and, as you said, Belgium is one of the countries on the bill for next year, and we look forwards to that a lot. Wacken is not scheduled but it is definitely in the plans so with a little more patience we can hope for the best. Our albums are currently distributed by Universal Music Japan, which focuses on the Asian territory. That is of course a problem for people living in other parts of the world. But, up until this point, our sales have worked excellently with fans contacting us directly and purchasing albums through our website.

ALEXANDER: You are able to remain very productive, you always have material for a new album and the next one to come, you seem to never lose the inspirational seed of riffs, vocal parts, philosophy of songs and solos - the zest peculiar to exquisite metal records like yours. What have you sacrified to make these four records in three years since 2003 while planning to release another highly anticipated full-length soon?
KITTY: That is an interesting question. I think that the main answer to that is time. The time being put into making all of this work is the sacrifice. Many things in life had to be put aside and making Decadence the priority. But, one thing must be remembered here, first of all it is a passion, and working for a passion is not that hard. Also, it's not impossible to do many things at a time. For instance, I study, work and work with the band. Of course, that demands some very tough scheduling and focus but like I always say: if there's a will there's a way. You bring up the word sacrifice, of course it's some hard work being put into this to making it work, but one thing that is the driving force in this is our passion to do this. Due to that fact, it feels like we can do almost anything. That's what we feel when it comes to making music.

ALEXANDER: Your last three records symbolize your gradual shift from Death Metal towards Thrash Metal, showing your devotion to the music, not the sales, since Thrash metal and the absence of keyboards are less popular these days; you also have mentioned that the current Swedish Metal scene is filled with Death Metal. Is there any discrimination in Sweden for bands making it to the international market? For example, I've seen that some festivals descriminate bands by some specific trait, like by genres (not accepting Heavy Metal at all), by friendship or by the the presence of female musicians in a band, not the music and lyrics themselves though. So that in the end producers notice only these bands of inferior quality.
KITTY: It's so great to hear your appreciation of our work, thank you. Sweden nowadays is holding on quite tightly on the growing "Swedish Death Metal" scene. Pretty much all the bands around here are, in one way or another, working on that particular genre. Also, because this genre is getting bigger and bigger, it's only bands playing that type of music that usually makes it big in other countries as well. Sweden has not shown a good support to bands in the old Thrash Metal spirit (or other subgenres for that matter) because of the high and isolated interest of Swedish Death Metal. That has lead to Decadence growing bigger cross borders where the support to our particular music has been overwhelming.

ALEXANDER: Your lyrics remind me of Megadeth, Kreator and early Annihilator, touching technical, humane, emotional and psychological spheres multiplied by the intensity and sentiments of your vocal capabilities, what topics or literary inspirations do you plan to encompass in your next songs?
KITTY: Those are some great bands that you mentioned, thank you. I cannot however reveal my next lyrical themes and inspirations at this time. The main reason to that is that the lyrics will be adapted many times until I feel that they fit the theme of the new album and I wouldn't want to comment anything that is half finished.

ALEXANDER: "The Creature" record turns out to show the aftermath of violence, the inner side of the rage and passion, as it gradually rills from aggressive and intense to the yielding and melancholic side of our lives, while "3rd Stage of Decay" manifests your consolidation with the band, showing traces of the stronger part of you, dipping the listener in the atmosphere of the 80s and early 90s Thrash Metal. What are your inspirations in lyricism on these albums?
KITTY: "The Creature" was written during a more depressive and melancholic period and the lyrics are apparently reflecting that as well. The words are inspired by various happenings and even dreams and nightmares. "3rd Stage of Decay" was the way to express the new turn. There were lyrical references to such authors as Samuel Beckett and Alexandre Dumas which focused on payback, strength, power and the will to make a change.

ALEXANDER: Are there any active old school thrash metal bands from your country or from any other country you are aware of?
KITTY: Among other bands cross borders, there is one Swedish underground, 80's inspired Thrash band from around our area who we have gigged with some times and that we support by going to their shows and so on. They are called Chainsaw and definitely worth checking out.

ALEXANDER: As living in Europe, where everything is packed tightly together, you must be recognized very well in the everyday life and all the time you are attracting a lot of unnecessary attention, how do you cope with the onset of this imposing threat? Many people become reserved, reticent and aggressive to outward irritations as they gain popularity, but you keep on contacting fans and listeners, uphold the status of a live band and staying amiable towards anyone.
KITTY: Indeed, I do get recognized on the street and so on. But, at the time, the more extreme cases are cross borders where Decadence is far more recognized as mentioned before. I think it's only natural to get slightly more reserved as you don't know people's true intentions at times like that. However, I appreciate all the fans very much and I always take the time to reply to their mails or talk a bit on the street. I believe that is the very least thing I can do to show my appreciation.

ALEXANDER: You are often being compared to female fronted bands like Holy Moses, Ice Age, Meanstreak, what are your feelings when you are compared to a male-fronted band such as Kreator or Artillery?
KITTY: When I'm compared to, for instance, Kreator which is one of my favorite bands, I of course get very flattered. My vocal inspirations have always come from male fronted bands so for me it's only an honor.

ALEXANDER: What do you think about the female musicianship in metal music?
KITTY: The female musicianship in Metal music is certainly a step forward in a way. For me it seems like women are expressing themselves more in all kinds of fields nowadays, and I think this world of Metal is only a part of it. You even see more and more females in politics, business, CEO posts etc. so Metal seems to be one in the flow. It is however still too new to me with female clean voices in Metal and I haven't been able to listen to such female fronted bands yet. I guess I'm still to old school for that! *laughs*

ALEXANDER: I want to ask a couple of questions from your other musicians, since they have put their one hundred percent effort in the music. A question for the solo guitarist, Kenneth. How do you usually come up with those amazing riffs for the songs? As we all know that in 80s James Hetfield could wake up, drink half of bottle of whiskey and write something as metal as "Master of Puppets", do you follow his steps or you have your own approach to the music?
KENNETH: I mostly just sit down alone with no idea for a song. Alcohol or not, I just play until I find some riff catchy enough, even if it takes 2 or 5 hours. The lead riff becomes the guideline and therefore all new riffs have to be worked on with respect to the lead riff. That way, I believe that the song's entirety becomes more satisfying. I write most of the music at the night or in early morning hours.

ALEXANDER: Now questions for the drummer, Erik. How and when did you start to learn drumming? Are you feeling yourself progressing with the time spent with the band?
ERIK: The first time I wanted to play drums was when I heard a ZZ Top album when I was about 3 years old. Time went by and I got to play the drums for the first time through a music school we were attending with my class in 2nd or 3rd grade, which only lasted for about one or two terms. After that there was a gap drumwise for me, and I started again for real in 8-9th grade. Right now in total I've been playing for approximately 5 years. Of course you're progressing as a musician all the time and during these 2 years I've been in the band I want to think that I have done just that. If this is my peak then there is no point in continuing playing. You can never stop learning your instrument, therefore I think it's essential to keep on going and never stop rocking!

ALEXANDER: A question to Joakim, the bass player. How do you feel when a metal band lets the bass player play a high-speed, technical solo, Joakim?
JOAKIM: Well, I personally really like when the bass is more in focus with the guitars and not just in the background. I like to challenge myself and my sound, and high-speed technical shit helps me doing that. It's always nice to hear good bass players!

ALEXANDER: Now back to Kitty. Could you tell us about your latest addition, a new guitar player, Simon Galle?
KITTY: Certainly, Simon Galle – 2nd guitar, entered the band as a session guitarist in late October of 2006. He is 21 years old, around the same age as the rest of us, and it felt good already from the beginning. The plan from the start was to make him a permanent member. We have however had some bad experiences with our previous 2nd guitarists and we wanted to be careful this time before taking the new person in. So, we played some shows, we did some touring and hung out together and got to know Simon. In July of 2007, after our summer touring was over, we decided that Simon was the perfect person to join. He was as thrilled as we were and since then, things have worked out excellently.

ALEXANDER: What are your religious views? Do you believe that we are all marionettes in our lives and we follow the whim of a puppet master, a fate, something predestined as it is sung in the "Theater of The Absurd"? I even find it esoteric and mystical when I see the words on the "The Creature" artwork as they repeat the lyrics of the similar song on the album, as if revealing your true nature, scattered across the landscape of whatever is associated and affiliated with crimson: blood, aggression, prohibition, demons.
KITTY: I believe, as our fans have probably listened themselves tired to already, that if there's a will, there's a way. Nothing is impossible unless you find the strength to make a change, and there are many solutions to one problem. Also, sometimes you don't know what you're looking for until you find it. To find the solution, the answer or the right way, many hurdles must be passed. Sometimes, that way can be very dark and make you fall straight into the deepest ditch, which is the mystery behind "The Creature". Falling sometimes makes you realize, and also gives you the strength to hit back.

ALEXANDER: How do you combine everyday jobs, education and music? Do they go along well?
KITTY: Well, I study at University, and I'm there a couple of times a week. When I'm not studying, I'm working with Decadence and my label HTI Records. And then again, when I have some moments off from that, I earn some extra cash by IT work. It all works out fine if the planning of all is good. Life certainly gets way too scheduled this way but it works, and the hope and will is to make Decadence continue to grow and thrive.

ALEXANDER: A lot of bands in Russia, Urkaine, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Finland, France, Slovakia play at international festivals for free, they even pay for their tickets to the place of where the festival is held, have you ever been in such a situation before and how did you deal with it?
KITTY: No, we have not been in such a situation. I believe this is one of the worst parts with the musical industry. The bands get through all of this trouble to come to a place, carry their equipment pay the flights and all, and then they perform and don't even get a dime for it. Pay-To-Play is not the way this industry should work.

ALEXANDER: Are you planning to shoot a video clip to any of your songs or release a live DVD?
KITTY: Yes we are, we always have something in the plans! Both a video and a live DVD is something we want to do in the nearest future.

ALEXANDER: I heard a rumour that you were signed to a less successful label prior to HTI, is that true?
KITTY: We have not been signed to another label other than my own label HTI Records, so those rumors are not true – luckily. The work with HTI Records has worked out excellently and we are happy with it so far. But, we always seek to develop and grow so we will see what the future will bring!

ALEXANDER: Thank you, Kitty, I hope everything goes better day by day with your band while you astound your audience with your thrashing headbanging and musician skills! Stay as metal as you are!
KITTY: Thank you for this interview Alex. I must compliment you here since this was the most interesting interview to reply to ever! I hope the readers will enjoy it as much as I did. All the best to you, all of us in Decadence appreciate your work too. If there's a will there's a way – Metallic Kitty of Decadence.

DIE SO FLUID - All bandmembers (6 June 2009)
(Interviewer: Frans Neelen, Stampersgat, The Netherlands)



I saw Die So Fluid for the first time when they supported Girlschool at "The Garage" in London. Well, they blew me away with their combination of musical beauty and raw aggression. Since then they have brought out two brilliant albums called "Spawn of Dysfunction" and "Not Everybody gets a Happy Ending". Last year they visited Holland for the first time in a short tour with Pimpersticker and now they're back, opening up for Prong. Now, that's a fine opportunity to have a talk with this awesome three piece consisting of Grog – Vocals and Bass, Mr. Drew – Guitar and Al Fletcher – Drums and Backing vocals. A very relaxed and, by times, hilarious talk about past, present and future of the band ending up with discussions of haircuts and tattooing pigs .........

FRANS: Hello guys, enjoying the tour so far?
GROG: Yes we are, we get along pretty good with the guys from Prong and we are pleased to perform in new places in Europe.

FRANS: Have you always been "infected" by music?
GROG: Well yeah, I always loved music and it has always been a part of my life since I was born. I learned to play lots of different instruments, but I really started to play in bands after I left school.
AL: I started playing drums when I was about 10 and my parents were musicians as well, so it runs in the family I guess. I'd rather say it choose me, instead of the other way around.
DREW: In my younger days, it always had a real powerful imagination to me, but my folks couldn't effort music lessons, so I always thought it was something I couldn't do. After some time I realised you can teach yourself by getting a guitar and learn yourself to play, so that is what I did.

FRANS: The name "Die So Fluid", can anyone explain to me where it came from, does it refer to something?
AL: Well, it's my fault actually.
FRANS: It is original.
AL: That was the main reason of takin'it. We somehow got attached to it during the years.
DREW: It's a poetic way of saying "live well, so you can leave a peaceful legacy behind you". There are a lot of people who put ugliness and negative things into the world. Many people think that being an artist isn't a responsible job, but I think that all artists should put peaceful things into the world. People who do important jobs should take care of an enjoyable world that's worth to live in.

FRANS: You guys are together for quite some time now. Before Die So Fluid you played together in another band called Feline. Would you say this was a softer version of Die So Fluid?
GROG: Yeah, but in a different way. We used to write more "Torch" songs, so in a way it was a softer version. The first band I was in was called Flinch and that was a three piece with a sparky sound and playing with three sounded like a "full circle". Die So Fluid is a combination of those two with a much better sound and we are very tight together.

FRANS: Your music is very alternated. I think this is one of the strong points of Die So Fluid. But it is also hard to describe because it has so much influences like rock/wave/gothic/powerpop/metal. To my opinion you have succeeded in, while combining all this, making something original; how would you describe it yourself?
GROG: Well, the best description someone did was that we sounded like Suzy Q meets Slayer which we quite like. Basically it's very difficult because there are several bands we like but for each of us it's in a different direction/style. The individuality comes out of the character and out of this comes our strong point, the originality of it.

FRANS: Between Feline and Die So Fluid is a "gap" of 2 years; what did you do in between?
GROG: We just experimented and did a lot of demo songs. We tried different directions; even poppiër, so basically we were just finding out what we loved doing. It's confusing when a band stops and you start questioning yourself "what are you doing and why are you doing it". But I think we ended up much stronger because we now are doing exactly what we wanted to do; so it came out very natural.
DREW: To be honest I am going slightly back to your earlier question, because in my opinion I don't really see any connection between this band ad the previous ones. That is because Feline is very much like prog rock and everything and was based more in an organisational way. Al just came with us at the end, so he was playing parts that already were written by another drummer. In this band it's more that we have all three our share in the music and so we care much more for it. It's much more an even thing, so it represents what the three of us do.
FRANS: So now it's more a "bandthing".
DREW: That's right.
GROG: Yeah, because we have been to different experiences we know have found what represents our passion and our lives.

FRANS: How does the songwriting take place; by jamming, during tour or at home?
GROG: Well, we just finished recording the next album, so we aren't in a writing process at this time. It's going to be mixed right know.
DREW: Actually, know I am having some ideas right know, and I will work them out, so I am already thinking of the fourth album, even the third hasn't come out yet.
GROG: It's just thinking one step ahead right now, especially because we do a lot more touring, it would be to demanding for us so we keep our writing up the background.

FRANS: Your first album "Spawn of Dysfunction" was a pretty heavy and dark album; was it a statement; did you had to let go all the energy/frustration etc. Or was it exactly what you had in mind?
GROG: Well it was; certainly about the lyrics who are inspired by the state of the music business and commerciality like that music labels aren't in for the long goal.

FRANS: The second album "Not Everybody gets a Happy Ending" starts with a song called "Gang of One". According to your bio, this song almost caused a crises in the band because with this song you, at that moment, had achieved what you wanted to with the band.
GROG: There is a parallel between that and me getting very ill from drinking too much alcohol. It was a really heavy experience because I nearly died of pancreatitis and had to go to the hospital. So I had to give up drinking completely. So that is reflecting the feeling of being a "Gang of One" and being strong enough to deal with that and also doing the right thing in the band, just having that conviction to carry on.
DREW: Crisis is a bit strong but there was definitely a "low" because we worked on it a very long time and suddenly all the parts fitted together and I myself ran to the others and said "Great, all the rest of you give up, I've written the best song I have ever ... ", you know and after that I thought about it and asked myself " what am I going to do know ? ". But then, there are always other things that you want to do. The album just recorded contains by far the best set of songs we've ever done. So it proves you always can do better; or not especially saying "better" but there are always "other" things that you can do. Just explore the "space" in music.

FRANS: Is the new album recorded with the same producer?
GROG: With Mark Williams yes. He is like a fourth member of the band. He threatens this album like a kind of masterpiece and he is taking real care of doing it. He is a real perfectionist.

FRANS: What can we expect of the new album?
DREW: This one is going to sound richer; more three-dimensional. We took a lot of care of the sounds and we have never been able to spend this long on a recording before. The first album was done in about two weeks and the second one was more like two days here, three days there. For this one we took five weeks and I think it really helped for the sound.

FRANS: You finally have a management now in form of George Jackson; can you tell me more about it.
GROG: Well, we are definitely on our way up and achieving a lot, especially since we joined forces with Tiefdruk Musik in Germany. They have been a great label and helped us a lot elevating our status in Germany and they brought also a lot more potential to the band in Europe.
FRANS: Germany is a good country to start.
GROG: Germany has a big music scene so that is, and we don't want to defend our home territory or something like that, we just see the whole world as potential fans so we go where people like us.
FRANS: Well, you already made it to become on a post stamp in Finland ! GROG: Yeah, that is a big mystery of the way how that happened. I think George knew some important mafia people or something like that .......

FRANS: The thirst thing you brought out was "Operation Hypocrit", is this one still available
? GROG: I think it is actually, if you start looking on e-bay.
DREW: That's kind of.. well, we released that with Sanctuary as label management. That's the problem with the music industry. We paid the recordings but they own this record. Since then we kind of changed things. Everything we record know, we own. When I want to sell a copy, I can go and press one up myself, it is in my control, but Operation Hypocrit isn't really.

FRANS: The album covers, do you design them yourself?
DREW: No. The original artwork was done by Vania, the lay-outs were done by different people. We are going to do something different on the new album. The sound on the album is more three dimensional and real and so we want to reflect that on the cover.
FRANS: A lot of bands keep doing covers in the same style.
GROG: I think it's better to keep things fresh, than saying "o yeah, that's the guy we used, let's use him again". So, yes we got a different kind of angle on the new one.

FRANS: About the famous "Rock'n Roll lifestyle", I guess electrocution isn't really part of the game. (Grog nearly got electrocuted while doing a gig, supporting Ill Nino) Did it make you more careful in, for example, checking the equipment.
GROG: Yeah, because of that, I bought a wireless system for my bass. So that's a life saver. It also makes it more easy to run around on stage without being limited by a cable.
FRANS: What will be next step after you have finished this tour. Will you focus on bringing out the new album or are there plans to visit for example Australia.
DREW: First we have a couple of dates for festivals and maybe we visit America again. But after that we first finish the record before coming back here and going to Japan. It also depends on what comes on our way. A few months ago, we didn't even knew we were going to be on this tour and if it's something good, we will do it.
GROG: It's kind of a case where each thing we do brings new tension to the band and we get off with new things and we are meeting new people all the time, so you never know what comes out of that.
FRANS: I think the combination with Prong is pretty good.
GROG: Well it's interesting because their crowd seems to like us however most of them never heard of us before. We've got down really well with them so far.

FRANS: Are you satisfied with you're playing time, is it long enough to represent yourself.
GROG: We get 40 minutes on this tour, which is okay. It's difficult, because everyone wants to do different songs and we have to pick the ones we want to do, but I think we have a good set now.

FRANS: Will your next tour be a headliner tour or will that depend on the success of the new album.
GROG: Yeah, it will really depend on that and we will judge it as it comes along. What we like to do is touring with a big band so we can reach more people. But let's see how the record goes.

FRANS: What's your favourite track to play?
GROG: "Gang of One", because it is a very personal song for me.
AL: I would say "Kiss the Floor"
DREW: "Gang of One", I really love the riffs. One song I love to play that we don't play during this tour is "Everybody gets a Happy Ending", because it is a very simple song to play. It's one of those situations when you play music to sort of really "draw" people in or to communicate with people and you can really see that working.

FRANS: Can you already live from the music?
DREW: Well, we can live from it ... half the year, so we have to do a bit of work sometimes.

FRANS: Who is responsible for writing the lyrics?
DREW: Grog writes the lyrics and the music we do all together. On the new album I have experimented writing some lyrics, but that's unusual.
GROG: The way it works in the band is that mostly Drew comes up with a lot of riffs and sometimes with words or an idea. After that I let my imagination go over it. Then we give the riffs a melody line and turn it into a song.

FRANS: If you shouldn't be in the music, what would you be probably be doing right now?
GROG: Gods knows ! Wow, let's see.... I certainly would be a bohemian artist, I must do something creative.
DREW: Be a barber, have a shop, cut peoples hair. I'll have three kinds of haircuts; one of them is this (Drew has a Mohawk) and I probably could do yours (thanks Drew, I am bold !) ....
FRANS: Okay, okay, it's creative too.
DREW: Apparently some people sorted out the question "How happy you are at work" and hairdressers and barbers always come at the top. They are always in contact with people and they have the possibility to work with their hands and create something that people like, so they mostly have friendly and satisfied people around them.
GROG: I also do a lot of drawing in my spare time and I wish to learn tattoo, but it is very time consuming. AL: How would you learn to do that?
GROG: You have to be actually a friend of a tattooist and then they let you practice the style of drawing. You can actually practice on synthetic flesh.
AL: O, I thought you were gonna say animals.
DREW: Well, I know someone who used a pig to practice on.
GROG: Tattooing a pig!
DREW: Yeah, that's how he learned it, by practicing on a dead pig. He has become a really popular artist right now so.
GROG: I would love to do it, but not on a pig, maybe I should practice on you ....
DREW: Well, you can't rub it off when you are doing it wrong ...........

FRANS: Well guys, thank you very much for this interview. Do you have any last words for the MMM readers?
GROG: It is good to be back!
AL: Cheers!
DREW: Well, I guess the interview is not gonna come out before our next shows , but I hope to see some more people than last time on our shows in Holland, so you are all very welcome and I hope to see you!

DOOM: VS - Johan Ericson (All instruments) (26 January 2009)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen, Heesch, The Netherlands)

"Dead Words Speak" was one of the highlights of 2008 if you ask me. If you like the typical British sound of the early nineties than Doom:VS something you must check out. It took a while before Johan answered my questions which is not weird because he is active in 2 other bands besides Doom:VS.

DENNIS: The title made me think about the movie "White Noise" where people contact the dead by using radio signals. Do you actually believe this kind of stories or are you just fascinated by the concept: "death"?
JOHAN: There's a completely different meaning behind the title. "Dead Words" are referring to the past. Things that should have been dead a long forgotten but keeps haunting you. Very personal stuff that I just can't let go of. This was for me some kind of closure.

DENNIS: Could you please tell me the main differences between your debut album "Aeturnum Vale" and "Dead Words Speak"?
JOHAN: This one is a lot more on the heavy side and a bit more monotone with less melody. The production is a lot better as well.

DENNIS: In some of the songs on the new album I think your vocals sound a lot like Aaron Stainthorpe from My Dying Bride. Could you say that he is one of your biggest influences? Are there any other musicians, writers or maybe visual artists that inspired you?
JOHAN: No, MDB is a great band but Aaron isn't an influence so to speak. I don't know what my influences are these days.

DENNIS: Is there a chance that Doom:VS will become a real band in the near future and will play live shows?
JOHAN: No, it will not happen. It will take to much time putting a band together, I'm very busy with other bands and projects.

DENNIS: How was the energy that inspired you to form Doom:VS in 2004. Was it different from any other energy you once felt?
JOHAN: More of an idea and inspiration to write some more doom oriented stuff than DRACONIAN, rather than energy. The idea for DOOM:VS was to make some good songs from the first riff I come up with. I write the music for DOOM:VS very quickly compared to DRACONIAN.

DENNIS: Are emotions part of the logical process of the mind in your opinion or; are they of the mind?
JOHAN: Haven't thought about really. I'm just an easy going bastard from Sweden.

DENNIS: I once read in an interview with Sigur Ros (Iceland) that Icelandic people think that there country is so ugly that it becomes beautiful. And that perhaps sometimes a foreign eye is needed in order to see that beauty. How does that count for your opinion about Sweden?
JOHAN: Sweden is great country to live in. I have no complaints.

DENNIS: What do you think of ambient music? Nowadays more and more (black,doom) metal bands use this style of music besides their original sound.
JOHAN: I listened to a lot of ambient stuff earlier in my life, not so much these days. Bands like Arcana, Ordo Equilibrium, a lot of stuff from the Cold Meat Industry label. Also early Delerium and even Jean Michel Jarre.

DENNIS: What kind of instruments do/can you play? Are you a multi instrumentalist?
JOHAN: I can play the guitar, drums, bass and keys mainly. I'm not that good but I have always written music after my own playing ability. I'm considering the guitar my main instrument these days.

DENNIS: Do you think that drugs etc. help to create emotional art like yours?
JOHAN: No, I can't imagine how it would. Drugs make you sloppy and not in touch with your real emotions.

DENNIS: What about the future plans for your other bands: Draconian and Shadowgarden?
JOHAN: Start writing for the next Draconian album is the plan for now. Shadowgarden's future is very uncertain at the moment.


DORO - Doro Pesch (vocals) ( 10 April 2005 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)


Her first CD came out in 1985 when she sang at Warlock, now she's solo under the name Doro. Recently she played some shows with the "Metal Classic Night Orchestra". In this interview we go back to her past and she will tell what the plans are for the future.

DORO: "Hallo this is Doro and here are the answers. ROCK ON you guys!"

SUZANNE: How long are you in the music business?
DORO: For over 20 years.

SUZANNE: Your first album, "Burning The Witches", was released in 1985, how long will you stay in the music business?
DORO: I always wanted to do music and sing for the rest of my life, since I was a little girl, so I'm very glad that everything somehow worked out and I hope I will make records for a long time and keep going 'till I die.

SUZANNE: Name 1 highlight from you career
DORO: The legendary Monsters of Rock festival in England 1986 and than the following tour 1986 tour with my favorite band Judas Priest.

SUZANNE: Name 1 non-highlight from your career
DORO: The nineties were a really hard time for all of us metal bands. So I would say the whole time wasn't so great.

SUZANNE: Will there ever be another Warlock reunion?
DORO: I don't know, we have some legal problems right now. But I can't talk about it 'till everything is solved.

SUZANNE: What are the developments at this moment?
DORO: I'm working on a new record and we are just doing the summer festivals this year, not really a tour.

SUZANNE: What are your plans for the future?
DORO: The new record will come out early 2006 and than a big tour will follow … At the end of this year I'm doing a part in a movie and do some music for the soundtrack of this movie as well. So there's lots of stuff going on, and I'm really exited about it. The songwriting for the new CD is coming out very good and it sounds really, really heavy at the moment. I think I would like to make a heavy record with good anthems and some surprises. Maybe like the "Triumph and Agony" record. We'll see …

SUZANNE: Your latest CD, "Classic Diamonds", is with the "Metal Classic Night Orchestra", and it contains old hits and some new songs, why did you make that choice?
DORO: I wanted to do a record with the Symphony Orchestra for a long time. And we had many great live concerts with this Metal classic Night Orchestra. First it started out as a Benefit concert and than we all thought we have to continue because it went so well and the fans who seen it live, really liked it. Then after a while we all wanted to do a real album and a DVD because it felt so great. The right people at the right time and lots of fun too. We picked our favorites songs old and new and I wrote some new songs for the album as well. It was all a team effort, and we really had a great time.

SUZANNE: You've toured in autumn 2004 in Germany and Switzerland, how was it to tour and do shows with the orchestra?
DORO: It was really, really fantastic. So many people on tour but it all worked out great. We all had a wonderful time and I think the fans really liked it too. When you look at the reaction in Wacken Open Air 2004 which is on the "Classic Diamond DVD" than you know. Sometimes I could not hear my vocals because the fans were singing along so loud, it was amazing!! Very, very exciting!!

SUZANNE: You're very popular in Germany, but why aren't you that popular in the Netherlands?
DORO: Yes, that is true but I tell you, we have extremely strong and loyal fans in the Netherlands and I love to play there. That is always a good feeling and when you feel that the fans are 100% behind you that means more to me than anything else. This summer we're going to play some festivals in the Netherlands as well, and I'm really looking forward to that.

SUZANNE: How is it to be a Metal woman standing in front of a crowd of mostly wild and crazy men?
DORO: Oh this is al great feeling … I love the fans and I'm very happy when the audience is wild and crazy, then I know we're doing something right! This is what I call a great show ... wild and crazy. And everybody has a great time.

SUZANNE: You have done a duet with Blaze Bayley and Udo Dirkschneider this last one is audible on the last CD, with who would you like to do a duet now?
DORO: Oh … I think with Ronnie James Dio or Coco Robincheaut.

SUZANNE: And which song would you like to do, one of your own, a cover or a new song?
DORO: It all depends. I could not tell you right now. Whatever would feel right for this situation and for the person.

SUZANNE: Which famous song would you like to be yours?
DORO: "Radar Love" for Golden Earring for example.

SUZANNE: Is there anything you would like to say for the end of the interview?
DORO: Yes, I wanna thank all the fans for their great strong support in all these years. And I hope I see them all alive in the near future, on tour or maybe at the summer festivals.

ROCK ON guys
With Love
Doro

SUZANNE: I would like to thank you for this interview and wish you al the best and al the luck in the future. Take care.
DORO: I hope we have many, many years to come and you guys are always "deep inside my heart"
"Fur Immer" you can count on that!!!
Lots of love
Stay heavy & see you soon
Doro


DORO - Doro Pesch (singer) (27 December 2008)
(Interviewer: Kees Schijven & Frans Neelen, Roosendaal & Stampersgat, The Netherlands)

DORO just celebrated her 25th. Anniversary at the ISS Dome in Dusseldorf, and with a new album "Fear No Evil", this is the right time to do an interview with the queen of metal!

KEES & FRANS: First of all, congratulations with your 25th. Anniversary, did everything worked out the way you wanted to?
DORO: Well everything was ok, but when we came back from England a few days ago, we had to ride 20 hours in the tourbus, and our guitarist got sick, and when somebody gets sick in the band, I know I am gonna be sick too, actually I'm always sick on tour; (she laughed). It is hard to eat well and rest during touring. You eat what you get, mostly not healthy. I stopped smoking a few years ago and I don't drink when I have to perform. I just try to keep my head together.

KEES & FRANS: Do you work out a lot to keep in shape, being on stage for almost 4 hours?
DORO: I used to but when you are on the road it is quite difficult. But the body and the voice is always there when I need it to. After the show I was completely exhausted and my feet where bleeding, I had blisters and I got an eye infection which made me go to the hospital a few hours later. It was highly contagious so I wasn't able to be with my friends who where staying over for a couple of days, so that was very pity. Anyway everybody had a good time partying. But the anniversary was very good and was a gift for me as well. Some people who came where really a surprise like Jean Beauvoir (Plasmatics) booked just 1 day before and the Scorpions a couple of days before. I got my first gold DVD for "Fur Immer" and this was given to me by SPV. And some nice gifts from the fans as well.

KEES & FRANS: About the stage Warlock; did they build it especially for this show?
DORO: Yes, i think we probably cannot use it anymore because it is to big. Maybe for some festivals but then you have to headline.
KEES & FRANS: It was very impressive.
DORO: Well, it took 8 months to build it and it was that day it got finished. So we did not had the time to rehearse with it. The main problem was to lift the whole Warlock but in the end it all worked out fine.
KEES & FRANS: Well, the result was there.
DORO: We where very happy that everything went well, and that it didn't fall down, hahaha. I couldn't sleep for 5 days before because you have to think of so many things.

KEES & FRANS: Did you invite the guests yourself or had the record company something to do with it?
DORO: I invited them myself and Duke our booker/manager settled the things. I contacted Rudolf from the Scorpions and he said they had plans for touring South America but when it would be possible they would be there. So I thought that there was just a slight chance, but 5 days before the show he called me up and said "we're coming" so that just made me very happy.
KEES & FRANS: It was a highlight of the evening.
DORO: Yes it was, it was so good to rock with these guys. We met them at the Monsters of Rock Festival in Donnington in 1986 so we where friends since then and it is always a great honour to play with them. Warrel Dane we knew from our first American tour in 1988 with Sanctuary and Megadeth, and all the girls on the full metal female version of celebrate I knew, by example the Girlschool girls I know them since 1982.

KEES & FRANS: How did you get in touch with Tarja?
DORO: We met some times briefly and then we saw each other at the last fight of Regina Halmich and we both did a song, We spoke together and said to each other that it would be so nice to do something together. I wanted to write a song about Angel Power and I thought it would be great to do it with Tarja, so I called her up. She said; well I have a song called "The Seer" do you want to sing on it, so it all came together.

KEES & FRANS: Are you still in contact with you old Warlock mates?
DORO: With Michael, the drummer, I always stayed good friends. Frank the bass player has given up music and he is already a long time out of the business and he didn't want to much stress because that was just the reason he stopped so Nick felt in for him. We had a lot of fun while rehearsing. For a long time we could not use the name Warlock because of some legal problems, but a few years back I got the rights, so there is no problem anymore.

KEES & FRANS: Is there any change for a reunion tour with the guys?
DORO: We have no plans for that. First we wanted to do this 25th Anniversary show. It was great to do it, but I have my own band now, maybe something for in the future if it will all work out.

KEES & FRANS: What can you tell about the new album, and who produced it?
DORO: Well unfortunately I couldn't get it finished before the 25th. Anniversary. I always have a good team around me, like Andreas Bruhn (ex-guitarplayer Sisters of Mercy), Torsten Sickert with whom I worked on the Classic Diamonds album also, so I don't really have a producer, not since '95 anymore actually. I like to make decisions on my own.

KEES & FRANS: To my opinion the album is very good and it breaths the same atmosphere as the "Triumph and Agony" album, is this what you had in mind?
DORO: If you feel that way I'm so happy, from superhard like "Caught in a Battle", to super soft like "Herzblut", the whole spectrum. It always feels as if it's your first record! I wanted songs that sums up all the 25 years, old school song writing to newer modern sound songs. I can imagine that a song like "Night of the Warlock" always finds a place in the set.
KEES & FRANS: Also the cover is back to the early days, like "Triumph";
DORO: Yeah, it's done by Jeffrey Gillespie, who did like all the other painted covers. It's in a different colour, not blue like the others but more red.

KEES & FRANS: You have so much classics, you could keep playing all night long;
DORO: Yeah, the fans always ask, why didn't you play this and this song, well now with the 25th Anniversary show I had about 30 songs on the setlist. While my guitarplayer asks me how to remember over 30 songs, are you crazy? We rehearsed even more songs like "Rock On" from the album which Gene Simmons produced, the band I think they hated me, the setlist was never ending. But in the end everybody was happy. Once every five years you gotta do it!

KEES & FRANS: Did I see you have a new guitar player?
DORO: His name is Luca Princiotta, he's 24 and from Italy, he plays some times for Olly (Oliver Palotai) because he is sometimes on the road with Kamelot, if Olly can't play Luca plays for him. He is now also learning to play keyboards, he is in the Italian band The Clairvoyants. I heard he is going on tour now with them, but it's always between Olly or Luca, Luca did the America tour and the China tour. He's also a guitar teacher now, so he's a busy guy.

KEES & FRANS: Are you already planning the tour for the new album?
DORO: We want to start in April do some gigs in China, and then some summerfestivals, and then a tour in September.

KEES & FRANS: And you don't forget Holland right?
DORO: Offcourse not, this is where it all started, we were always playing in the Dynamo. At that time there was a bigger metal scene in Belgium and Holland, than it was in Germany, that came later and made it really big. But here it was the start for us.

KEES & FRANS: How did you get involved in the Christmas Metal Symphony?
DORO: Well we became really good friends with After Forever, after we did a South American tour together, so when the plan came up they asked me to be part of it, and do a few songs. Are you guys gonna be there too tomorrow?

KEES & FRANS: Sure, we will be there, we wouldn't want to miss it.
Unfortunately time was up, so thanx very much to DORO for her time, and after wishing her success for the next night, she promised to go on for another 25 years!

DUST N BRUSH - All Members (20 November 2011)
(Interviewer: Marcin Kwiecinski (Kwiecio), Poland)



KWIECIO: Hi! What`s up! :) How about your mood after the Gotta Go Festival? :) Could you tell about this event?
DUST N BRUSH: Hello, I'm really excited about Gotta Go! That was great festival, great organization and great crew of course.

KWIECIO: First of all we would like to get know your history. How did the band form and why the name Dust N Brush?
DUST N BRUSH: The band was created in 2009 by Maciek (guitar) and Grzegorz (drums). Initially they were just playing in a garage, then I joined them and that were 3 of us and then we were in three. Jacek (vocals) joined the band soon and we started playing together. After a few weeks, we had 3 tracks and we were looking for second guitarist. Maciek join as soon and the band was complete. Few months later and few played gigs, Grzegorz had to leave the band. We hadn't drummer. Maciek also playing drums, so he start playing drums in DNB. We met Kmieto (guitar) soon and band was complete. Why Dust N Brush? I don't know, but I love it :P hahaha

KWIECIO: "Filth Of Our Blood" - your debut stuff got a great reviews and in effect, you singed a contract with a Ultimhate Records. How do you evaluate this album in retrospect? Do you see some disadvantages?
DUST N BRUSH: We are so excited about the contract. I think the album could be longer. But next it will be. I'll promise!

KWIECIO: What're your personal favourite tracks from the album?
DUST N BRUSH: I like all of them! haha, but my favourite are: "The beginning" and "Across the world" Why? I love playing them on bass. These two songs gives me a shot of energy on stage.

KWIECIO: Could you tell about the process of composing this stuff? How did you create this songs and did you expect this great answer from fans, label etc.?
DUST N BRUSH: Mainly all songs was composed by Maciek (guitar), lyrics written by Jacek. Usually Maciek shows us new song, then we change some parts like we want and song is already done. We weren't sure what people think about our music, but now we are sure that Dust N Brush can be liked.

KWIECIO: Your genre is a melodic death metal/deathcore. People often compare you with a The Black Dahlia Murder and it seems that you are proud from this comparison, right? Is it your the biggest inspiration? And why?
DUST N BRUSH: I think... yes it is. We love TBDM and we are inspired by them, but we are listening to many many more stuff. Are we "Polish Black Dahlia Murder"? I don't think so.

KWIECIO: A few weeks ago you recorded your first video. Could you tell something about the works with that and the concept?
DUST N BRUSH: We are so glad about the video. That was new experience for us, and we felt good doing it. The crew was professional and done well their job. There were 3 footage days, two with band and one with actors. I think our fans like the video. The concept has been written by Micha³ Pa³uszny director of the video. He present us the concept and we decided what we accept and like.

KWIECIO: What do you think, if you would be born in USA for example, would you have the easier way to develop your band? Do you agree with me that the good bands from the east Europe must have a incredible determination to make their bands more significant?
DUST N BRUSH: Hmm however I think it's easier in west Europe or USA, but first you have to do the same – make good music. Metalcore, deathcore and others are still underground kind of music in east Europe. in the west that music is more popular – more music – more fans – more gigs etc. There are much more great bands. However we live in Poland and we are proud of being metal band here.

KWIECIO: If you could change anything in the polish hardcore/metal scene, what would it be?
DUST N BRUSH: People start going on gigs and listen to metal ! And everything went good.

KWIECIO: Your all time favorite death metal album?
DUST N BRUSH: Death – Symbolic

KWIECIO: What are your goals from now on? Have you any new composed tracks?
DUST N BRUSH: Biggest goal is to promote the "Filth of our blood" and the band. In the early 2012 we'll go on Europe tour so stay tuned on our facebook profile (don't forget to like it! haha). We want to release some T-shirts and maybe something more. We have got some new stuff, about 6-7 tracks, still composing, but its too early to talk about it.

KWIECIO: Thanx a lot for your time! It`s a time for your last words!
DUST N BRUSH: Thanks a lot ! Thanks for fans and people who support us, its pleasure play for You! See You somewhere on tour! Stay tuned on our facebook profile for news!


E-FORCE - Eric Forrest (Vocals & Bass) ( 10 April 2005 )
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren, Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)

MARIO: Hello Eric, how are you doing lately?
ERIC: O.K.....Just relaxing in the South of France, recharging the batteries....etc.
Getting ready for pre-production and another record out later this year...."Evil Forces" was released October 2003, finally did a tour with a new line up a few months ago.....so now it is time to get back to the drawing board and create something very unique.....and see what happens.

MARIO: What was the main reason you left Voivod a few years ago?
ERIC: Despite what you may have heard, I did not quit VOIVOD....We had a band meeting March 2001 and the guys told me that VOIVOD was over....period.
Meaning no more VOIVOD for anyone. Well, I did not believe it for a minute... I had a feeling Snake was on his way back.....Basically the Ferrari ran out of gas...and the guys refueled the Lamghorgini (whatever) and kept going....
But honestly, it was an honour and priviledge to be there from day 1! I feel very fortunent and lucky to work with those guys in the first place. I lived and learned a lot and really everyone is still rockin....ya know what I mean? There playin...etc...and so am I with E-FORCE, Project: Failing Flesh and other projects. So it seems every one is happy. I also believe that Snake is the real voice of Voivod so it makes sense in alot of ways for him to be back with his old friends from the early 80's....and doing what they do best.

MARIO: You had a car accident years ago while you drove to the Wacken Festival. What happened & did it had some influence on your Voivod career?
ERIC: We were driving down the highway and the van rolled about 6, 7 times or something like that...major fucking accident!! I was injured and spent about a week in an coma, and months in hospitals.Though able to make a return to life and make the most of it. I am not 100 percent physically as I suffer from problems in my lower spine but able to still GIVE ER....!! Meaning still rock and roll........etc.

MARIO: What do you think of the fact that Jason Newsted (ex-Flotsam & Jetsam, ex-Metallica) is your substitute in Voivod these days? I know he wrote some incredible songs for Flotsam in the past but will he get the chance to do that for Voivod also??
ERIC: Mr .Newsted is a very disiplined professional!!!!!!....Away and Piggy have been freinds with Jason for a while. I think that when they met, they probably thought 1 day we will do some work together...and now is there time. I am very happy for those guys and Snake...... I had an amazing time but now it is there turn...NO hard feelings. I feel Jason will have an influence to some point, but I think really that is a question that only they could answer.

MARIO: If Voivod would ask you to do a tour with them as a support act, would you take that chance? Or is there any particular other band you would love to do a tour with?
ERIC: For sure!!!! If it could be possible....
These days I find that you do not have alot of choice unless your record has made some sales etc... Just being able to play is cool. Those that know the financial reality of this music business know what I am talking about...... But a show, tour with VOIVOD?? Are fucking kidding me? Absolute......!!

MARIO: Why did you lately left the Carpathian Forrest tour? Had it to do with the other bands or with the promotor (Metallysee)?
ERIC: The other bands were very cool!!! Everyone had a certain respect for one another to keep it together and tour day by day as a team. Everyone wanted to play...etc....lets just say that due to personal and business reasons we had to leave. Certain issues were not handled professionally therefore is was time to go.......................

MARIO: Will there soon be another tour in (especially) Europe with E-Force?
ERIC: Not until the next record is released...date??? T.B.A.

MARIO: Will there also be a tour with Project: Failing Flesh in the near future?
ERIC: NO...It is just really a recording project..... As I intend to sing on another 1 later this year....But who knows?? Perhaps a festival or 1 off some day!!!!

MARIO: What or who are your main influences in music?
ERIC: Metal from the 80's..... AC/DC, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motorhead, even Deep Purple....all the way to the Banzai days of Slayer, early Mettallica etc.....Though I really dig all kinds of music ...like some 70's shit, blues, classical, flamenco...........

MARIO: Why did you move from Canada to France?
ERIC: Due to personal and business reasons.......I got married to Nathalie Denaclara (from France), and prefer the European way of life more than Amercia..It is better for business and personal reasons.....

MARIO: Do you have any musical goals in the near future?
ERIC: Another E-FORCE record, P:FF record, going to sing a track on Jack Frost's next solo record, other projects here in town (TOULOUSE) etc......

MARIO: Are there any questions/things left that you would like to say to the MMM readers?
ERIC: Thanks for your support through the years...and hope to see you guys soon 1 day on tour!!!!!
check out www.evil-forces.org for some cool shit (live video, mp3, etc.) if you got the time......
Thanks Mario,all the best EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
CHEERS
ERIC


ELIS - Sandra Schleret (Vocals), Pete Streit (Guitars) & Tom Saxer (Bass and additional vocals) (20 November 2009)
(Interviewers: Frans Neelen & Kees Schijven, Stampersgat & Roosendaal, The Netherlands)

As a member of the awesome "Beauty and the Beast" package, the proud of Liechtenstein's metal scene named Elis is touring Europe. With a great new album coming out at the end of November this is a fine opportunity to talk to them after their show in Biebob. We even get the chance to start with Sandra, Pete and Tom. Luxury's don't last long so unfortunately after a while Tom has to leave for a live radio interview and Sandra has to excuse herself because she has to enter the stage with Atrocity, replacing Liv Kristine who is to sick to fulfil two shows on one evening this tour. No big deal, because Tom shows himself capable enough to deliver us some answers and all three of them are very enthusiastic about their new album and the tour.

FRANS & KEES: After the tragic death of leadsinger Sabine Dunser, the remaining members of Elis chose to move on and find themselves a new frontwoman. So the first question is for you Sandra. What made you decide to audition Elis? Where you familiar with the band?
SANDRA: Well I wasn't. I only knew the song "Der Letzte Tag" because it was often shown on television. A friend of my informed me that their singer past away tragically and that they were looking for a new one. I listened to "Griefshire" and concluded that this was heavier than the former one. I liked it and it made me decide to give it a try.

FRANS & KEES: Sabine was like "the driving force" of the band. Did the band ever thought of quitting?
TOM: Sure we thought about that. It was a very difficult time for us and we took our time to get ourselves together again. After a few weeks we came back together and everybody agreed that we wanted to continue making music as Elis. We were convinced that Sabine would have wanted that too. Also the vocals for "Griefshire" were just finished so we definitely wanted to finish the album and bring it out as a homage to Sabine. Sabine certainly was important for the band in an organisational way and she wrote all the lyrics that's true, but the music is for a great deal written by Pete, so musically there was no "gap".

FRANS & KEES: Sandra, was it hard for you to fulfil the shoes of Sabine; what were the expectations of the other members?
SANDRA: Well, Sabine was indeed the one who took care of the interviews, promotional stuff etc. so they were expecting that from me too. First it took some time to get used to this and getting to know everybody but know I'm feeling comfortable with the situation. It's fun writing the lyrics by myself, it stimulates my creativity.

FRANS & KEES: Speaking of the lyrics, "Warrior's Tale" is a more epic song and even contains a duet with Michelle Darkness of End of Green. How did you get in contact with him?

At this moment the live radio interview had to start and Sandra askes Tom or Pete who wants to do that one. Pete certainly not (hey, I need some back up !), so Tom is the "lucky one" and after thanking him very much for his time, he has to leave us, fulfilling his duty.

SANDRA: When I was busy writing the vocal lines for this number it was clear for me that we should need a guest vocalist who has a dark, sad but also strong voice because the main character in the song is a warrior. Someone like Peter Steele (Type O Negative) but that was no option. Alexander (producer) came up with Michelle and gladly he said yes. It turned out great and it was very nice working with him.

FRANS & KEES: I'm very fond of tracks like "Twinkling Shadow" and "The Dark Bridge" because of their "heaviness" and Tom's grunting parts in the middle of the tracks, which sound awesome and they contrast brilliant with your voice.
SANDRA: Thank you, Tom's voice certainly has grown and we are very satisfied with that. Pete: Yeah, we really like this kind of stuff, heavy with thrashy riffs and the alternation between a beautiful female voice and a rough male grunt. That's the way we want it.

Sandra tells us that she has to enter the stage soon to perform with Atrocity, replacing Liv so we go on asking the "Sandra" questions first.

FRANS & KEES: Sandra, you are also a member of Siegfried, a band whose lyrics are based on the Nibelung Saga. Their new album "Nibelung" comes out on the 30th of November. Well, bringing out 2 albums in 3 days with 2 bands is quite unusual!
SANDRA: That is ! It's pure a coincidence that this happens. The former album dates from 2003, so it was finally time to finish the next episode.

FRANS & KEES: In Siegfried you only sing in German; do you have a preference of singing in English or German?
SANDRA: No, I really don't mind. Sometimes lyrically it works out better in German or in English, it just depends. From the beginning it was clear that in Siegfried we would sing in German because we find it fits better lyrically.

FRANS & KEES: Will there be some touring with Siegfried?
SANDRA: O no, I don't think so. In all these years we only did two or three shows. It's just too difficult to get the seven of us together and perform. It's one of the reasons I joined Elis, to be more on stage and performing live.

Sandra excuses herself because she has to hit the stage with Atrocity and we thank the charming young lady very much for her time and enthusiasm. Leaving Pete behind without his "back up" ….

FRANS & KEES: Well Pete, you are on your own now, are you a bit uncomfortable with that?
PETE: Well, a bit, you see, my English isn't that good. That's why Sandra and Tom mostly do the interviews.

FRANS & KEES: Okay Pete, our English isn't that brilliant either so we certainly don't mind. So, back to the German/English stuff. Elis has an certain trademark. On every album there are a few songs that are sung in German. Why's that?
PETE: It's something we did on our first album and our fans liked it. We like doing both and indeed it has become a sort of a trademark. Most of the fans keep asking for the "English" and the "German" songs as well, so we probably keep on doing this.

FRANS & KEES: As said by Tom earlier, you are the main "music" composer of the band. Can you tell us more about your influences?
PETE: Oh man, I just love music. I listen to almost everything I can lent my ear to. By far the most of it is metal, but in a very broad perspective. Just all kinds of stuff. From rock, progressive, trash, just name it, I like to listen all day widening my horizons. My heart lies with writing music, not lyrics ! How Sandra writes lyrics, man I really don't know, that's just not for me, deep respect for her and I'm glad she is very capable doing that.

FRANS & KEES: Okay, so were talking to a real metal head ! According to the thrashy, angular riffs you write, I guess we have to look for your favourites in the more heavier genre?
PETE: Indeed, that is. Bands like In Flames and Machine Head for example, but also the more progressive ones like Evergrey.

FRANS & KEES: Catharsis is darker and heavier, was that what you had in mind?
PETE: Yeah, I wanted it to be heavier, that it has become darker has also to do with the difficult times we went through. But hey, I am very satisfied with it.

FRANS & KEES: Sandra lives in Innsbruck; does it give a problem rehearsing?
PETE: It's a two hour drive, so it's feasible, but yeah, driving two hours, rehearse two hours and then driving two hours back is pretty tough. So when she is with us we do our best not to waste time.

FRANS & KEES: Do you work on songs while touring?
PETE: Normally not, because it's just too difficult to take some recording stuff with us. On this tour we share a bus with three bands including all of our gear, so there is really no place left for something like that. By the way, we are getting along pretty good with Stream of Passion and Sirenia, so it's a lot of fun, and man, those Norwegians can drink!

FRANS & KEES: This tour is indeed a fine opportunity to promote Elis in Europe. It's a very strong line up. The only thing missing is your new album on the merchandise table. Is it because it's not officially out yet?
PETE: Oh man, that is so frustrating ! Every evening people ask for the new album and we have to say no. You can't imagine how horrible this is. We asked our label to bring it out just a few weeks earlier, but that couldn't be done. The fact is, first there was the release date, second there was this opportunity to get on tour. But it really sucks, it's a missed opportunity for selling the record and promoting ourselves even better.

FRANS & KEES: As a bonus with the digi pack there is a DVD from the MFVF 2007. Was this filmed especially to come along with this album?
PETE: Not that I know. The show of Leaves' Eyes was filmed that day and so everything was there to make live recordings. Our show was filmed also and because the recordings turned out pretty well we thought it was a good idea to bring out a digi pack with this stuff as a bonus.

FRANS & KEES: Elis has very close bonds with Alexander Krull (Leaves' Eyes/Atrocity) in the way he has produced all their albums and getting them on this tour. Isn't it a becoming a bit too familiar?
PETE: No, I don't think so. Alex is, besides a very good friend, a real professional and because we know each other so well, he knows what we want and what we are capable off. That works great and very smooth. We aren't afraid that we become too depending of him or something like that. It just works fine. And getting us on tour, well that's just a bonus for us and we are very glad with that.

FRANS & KEES: You only have half an hour showtime; is it difficult to pick the numbers for the setlist?
PETE: It's always a hard nut to crack. Because our new album isn't officially out, we don't put to many new songs in it. But we have a fine set that is quite representative for Elis.

FRANS & KEES: Any plans of coming back with a headliner tour so we can enjoy a full set of Elis songs?
PETE: I wish that would be true but for the moment I think that we are not big enough to do our own tour so probably it will be as support. We will see, maybe some festivals would be cool either. Playing the MFVF for example would be great. They have been very nice to us and their "in memoriam" of Sabine was something we won't forget.

FRANS & KEES: Well Pete, we want to thank you for this fine interview and you have shown yourself more than capable of doing this stuff on your own! Any last words for our readers?
PETE: Thanks a lot and I certainly hope to see you on this tour or the next. Cheers!


FAITH FACTOR - Norman "Ski" Kiersznowski (Singer) (13 May 2009)
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren, Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)



MARIO: Hi Ski, how are you doing lately?
SKI: I am blessed brother and very busy praise god.

MARIO: How did you get your nickname "Ski"?
SKI: I didn't think Norman was a cool name for a lead singer, so my last name is Kiersznowski, hence the name Ski.

MARIO: What happened with you after your departure from the legendary Deadly Blessing? You told me that you didn't departure on free will? They kind of kicked you out of the band? For what reason?
SKI: Back in the 80's you had to have long hair to be a singer of a heavy metal band, I shaved my head and was pushed out of the band. Years later I found out the truth, Tony Kerr aka Tony Sgro said I was acting like a rock star, and he wasn't getting any attenion, so I had to go, really never knew I was a rock star, but I will say this I do want to be a godstar that's the only kind of star I wanna be.

MARIO: Are you still willing to rejoin Deadly Blessing if they would ask you (or beg you)? You recorded some incredible stuff with Deadly Blessing in the past and I know that a lot of old fans wants you back in the band.
SKI: If they asked me back to do a DB reunion and an show, yes I would do it, but as far as writing new songs, we tried that already, it didn't work, the songs were not in the same vein as "Ascend from the Cauldron" and I will not sing any type of new metal crap!!! I am an old metal head, I don't change with times, that's just not me, and what fans I do still have, wouldn't like it either.

MARIO: You formed a new band, FAITH FACTOR, can you tell us a bit more about the band? Who are the bandmembers and do they all have played in other bands in the past?
SKI: Faith Factor formed in 2006, signed with MetalicArchangel Records in 2007, on 7/7/07 released its first EP.
In 2008 signed with Retro Active Records and released our first full length cd "Against a Darkened Sky" released on november 11th 2008.
NORM "Ski" KIERSZNOWSKI-VOCALS *
BLAINE "PRIEST" BOOTH-LEAD WEAPON *
CHRIS "Moe" MATUSIESKI-LEAD WEAPON AND KEYBOARDS *
JOE "Slayer of Darkness" MANGHAN-BASS *
DAN "Karaoke Kid" JEFFERSON-DRUMS*
And Faith Factor is currently writing the next cd titled "THE WRATH THAT IS TO COME".

MARIO: I know you are a very religious person; how did this develop? Have you always been into religion or did you, just like a lot of other people, discover christianity lately?
SKI: I am not a religious person, I am a spritual one, its not about relgion its about relationship with the one who created you. But I became saved in april of 2000. I was born an baptized roman catholic, but didn't pactice it. I gave my life to god then.

MARIO: What's your opinion about people, just like myself, that don't believe in anything at all? Does it bother you? And whats your idea about satanistic people in common?
SKI: We all have a faith factor, what do you believe in, and at what level in that belief are you, its all about faith, you either have it, or you don't. It doesn't bother me, cause in the end, we have some one to answer to for it, I do feel sorry for all who don't believe, and will just pray that one day the unsaved will see the light cause the wrath that is to come will be.

MARIO: Are the other Faith Factor members also as religious as you are and are they selected about that before they joined Faith Factor?
SKI: Spiritual yes, religious no, we are all saved but one, and that one person is well on his way, and we know it will happen in gods time, not ours. Religion devides gods people, just look at all the holy wars throught the history of life, and look at the world today.

MARIO: I really loved your "7/7/7" MCD a few years ago but I was a bit disappointed about the follow up full length album "Against a Darkened Sky". How are the reactions to the album so far? And why has the album such a weak production; is there a special reason for?
SKI: Hey txs for the kind words about the ep, about the full length, we had to pay for all the recordings, we didn't have much money, the record company mastered it, we mixed and recorded it, we just ran out of money. Hopefully they will get behind us for the next one, we just cant afford an over the top production at this time, we did the best we could, and we hear that a lot, but most of the reviews have been good, im sorry you dint like the songs, will try harder on the next one.

MARIO: How did you get in contact with RetroActive Records? Had it to do also with the religious background of that label?
SKI: We shopped the ep around all lables, but no one offered the kind of deal we got from them, it was a double blessing that it was a christian lable for us, we all felt the lord had brought this lable to us.

MARIO: Is there any chance to see Faith Factor back in Europe in the near future? And if so; what can we expect? I saw you guys last year at the Keep it True festival in Germany and live Faith Factor is awesome!!
SKI: Wow txs a lot, we try, right now were coming back to Czech republic with Saxon, Anthrax and Kryeson on Saturday June 27th at the Night of Stars festival. We love KIT, but they wont have us back for awhile, I have been talking with Headbangers Open Air for next year so will see, it all comes down to money and if we can afford to fly out, no one wants to pay your airfare. And we don't have a booking agent or manager, we do it all our selves.

MARIO: Any last news to the MMM readers so far?
SKI: Just know that we will take our time with the next one " THE WRATH THAT IS TO COME". Plan to write for a year starting January 2009, start recording in 2010 or sooner, still play festivals while all this going on, and hopefully Mario's Metal Meeting one day.
In metal for christ
Ski
Thanks for time & friendship; its much appreciated!
Txs for your support an interest metal forever untill he brings me home!!!!!!!!


FISCHEL'S BEAST / SENTINEL BEAST - Barry Fischel (Guitar) & Mike Spencer (Bass) (7 June 2009)
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren, Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)



MARIO: Hi Barry, how are you doing lately?
BARRY: I'm doing really well, thanks. The band's new CD has been getting a lot of postive feedback and we're working on new material.

MARIO: A few months ago I reviewed your mini album "COMMENCEMENT". Did you like my review and did you get more positive reviews of the album?
BARRY: YES - I liked it very much! In your review you mentioned that you hoped we would get a record deal. Well, we did just sign a distribution deal with Stormspell Records (more on that later) so perhaps you brought us some luck!
The CD had been getting other positive reviews as well, and if you don't mind us plugging some other Metal publications, we'll mention a few of the ones that stand out... Metal Temple E-zine, Sea Of Tranquility, Holger Andrae of PowerMetal.de and we also got an out 8 out of 10 review at Pavillion 666 which we thinks means they liked it, but the review is in French so we can't read it! If any of your readers would like to translate it for us, we'd be grateful... heck, I'd probably even send them a FREE CD!

MARIO: Can you tell the MMM readers a bit more about your musical career? When did it all start for you and did you play in more "well known underground" bands before or after SENTINEL BEAST?
BARRY: I got my first guitar when I was 11 years old - it was a nylon string guitar. My grandmother had bought it for my sister but she had no interest in it. I started taking lessons on that and knew I loved it, so I convinced my parents to buy me a steel string guitar (still an acoustic at that point). I started playing the 'popular songs of the day' (Cat Stevens, The Eagles, and even John Denver!). I didn't get my first electric guitar until I was 14 years old. It was a banana colored Fender Telecaster copy. With that in hand I started playing the 'popular rock songs of the day' (Led Zeppelin, Boston, Foghat and Pat Travers).
Soon after that, when I was a sophmore in high school I hooked up with Scott Awes (the drummer of Sentinel Beast). While we did put several bands together (mostly cover bands) none of them are really worth mentioning.
AFTER Sentinel Beast I basically took a 'break' from the music scene for a while. I sold all my METAL gear - and bought a Guild acoustic guitar which I still have, to return to my 'roots'.
Around 2000, I decided it was time for me to get back into the music scene and I decided I would put a blues band together. I started out shedding on my own learning the licks of Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter and Stevie Ray Vaughn note for note.
The bass player in that band was Eric Mauriello, and truth be told... he may be the one that is responsible for my returning to Metal. He came over for a rehearsal one day and I was playing some of my old Sentinel Beast riffs. He said 'man, if you can play like that, why are we playing the blues?' That was enough of a push for me, and I returned to Metal, the music that I always loved. It wasn't easy to get my chops back to where they were. It required a lot of hard work and determination. Anyone that thinks Metal music is 'just three chords' is wrong!

MARIO: Sentinel Beast played the 'Keep It True' festival in 2008 but with a nearly complete new line up; I heard that Debbie Gunn was the only original member?? Why did she not ask some, or all, of the original members? Did Sentinel Beast not disband as friends?
BARRY: Yes, Debbie was the ONLY original member that was part of the Sentinel Beast that performed at the 'Keep It True' festival.
She actually did ask Scott Awes, Michael Spencer and Greg Williams (who all live is Sacramento) to take part. Michael and Greg both thought about it but in the end they declined. Scott Awes agreed to do it. He ended up cancelling or not showing up to some of the early rehearsals, and when he DID show up it was clear that his playing level was not what it was back in the heyday of Sentinel Beast. So, at that point Debbie replaced him.
Debbie didn't contact me because I was living on the East Coast. What she didn't know was that around that same time I was putting MY project 'Fischel's Beast' together.
When the band broke up there was some 'bad feelings' about what was going down, but we did remain friends, and over the years - especially with the internet, most of us have been in contact with each other.

MARIO: How long had you been in Sentinel Beast and are you willing to join the band if they would ask you again for some reunion shows?
BARRY: The timeline may be a little different depending on who you talk to, but I was a founding and original member of Sentinel Beast and I was with them thru the release of their first and ONLY record; 'The Depths of Death' on Metal Blade Records which came out in 1986. I stayed with them until about 1989, when I left the band. They stayed together for about another year before finally disbanding.
I wouldn't necesarily want to be part of Debbie's new line up, but I would definitely be willing to do some shows, recording or even touring with Debbie. We've even spoken about the possibility of doing 'something' together.
I can say with almost certainty that there would never be a FULL Sentinel Beast reunion. Scott as we mentioned, just doesn't have the playing chops anymore, Greg Williams still does play, but is no longer playing metal music and Michael Spencer has found God and and now plays bass for the Lord and would not want to return to metal.

MARIO: Why did you call your new band Fischel's Beast? Is there a special reason for this (revenge)?
BARRY: We were looking for names anywhere and everywhere (as all band do!) and it was actually Michael Spencer that suggested the name Fischel's Beast. He pointed out that there were the same number of letters in Sentinel and Fischel's. Since the first goal of Fischel's Beast was to record the songs that would have been the second Sentinel Beast record, he thought using that name might spark recognition for those that may have been fans of the original Sentinel Beast. He even suggest we used the logo.
Now that we've done that, we will continue to use the name, but any future art work, etc., will be our own.

MARIO: You lived for a while in my homeland, The Netherlands; why?? Did you play in bands over here also or was there another reason you immigrated?
BARRY: I wasn't playing music during my time there, I was persuing another passion; a passion that is very easy to follow there (if you know what I'm saying!)
One of the things I liked the most there was the liberal society. People are free to be who they are even if their lifestyles are 'different'. I wish we had more of that tolerance and acceptance here in the U.S.

MARIO: What happened with original bass player Mike Spencer after he left Sentinel Beast to join Flotsam & Jetsam (Mike Spencer filled the open spot of Jason Newsted who joined Metallica after the death of Cliff Burton)? Was he replaced and what is Mike doing these days? Are you still in contact with some of the other band members?
BARRY: Michael Spencer toured the U.S and Europe with Flotsam & Jetsam but never recorded an album with them. He does have good memories and speaks fondly of his time with them. After he left F&J - he became a fan of 'country line-dancing' (I'm not kidding!). He did that for a couple of years, then found Jesus and a couple of years later started playing bass again, playing in his church ensemble. I also heard that he had a funk band together and that he even wrote and sold a commercial for Smirnoff Ice. Yes, we've all stayed in touch over the years. Michael, Debbie and myself had been in contact quite a bit as I was putting my new project together and, we're also in touch because Stormspell Records is interested in trying to release some of Sentinel Beasts early demos (from before the 'Depths Of Death' album).


AT THIS PART OF THE INTERVIEW BARRY CONTACTED MIKE SPENCER TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS PERSONALLY:
BARRY: Can I mention you sold a song to an add, and how much money you made from the add. Who was the add for, and tell me something about it so I can share that.
MICHAEL: Sure, here's what my answer would be: An advertisement agency for Smirnoff Ice picked up a song (Doing The Next) written by Michael Spencer, for thier don't drink and drive campaign. The commercial ran in the USA, South America, Bermuda and Mauritius. The royalites and contract rights to the song, earned a little over $200k for Michael and the co-writer of the song.
BARRY: You did how many tours in Flotsum, US and European?
MICHAEL: Three tours in 1987. A 15 city tour of the East Coast of the USA opening for Megadeth, a 13 city tour, sharing a tourbus with and opening for Megadeth on their first European tour, and a 25 city headlining tour of the USA in the fall of 1987, before 'No Place For Disgrace' was recorded.
BARRY: Can I mention you found your souls calling?
MICHAEL: Sure: I became a Christian in 1997, plays bass on the worship team at his church, playing stuff like Earth, Wind and Fire, Stevie Wonder, etc. sounding black gospel music, and still does occasional studio work and gigs.
BARRY: And what kind of business do you own and run? Industrial machine sales?
MICHAEL: I've owned a mechcanical contracting company since 2004 that specializes in building automation systems, for A/C, heating, lighting, power manager control of commercial sites.


MARIO: What made you decide to record some of the original songs that were written for the second Sentinel Beast album (which was never released till now)?
BARRY: I think the main reason was that I thought the songs were FRICKIN' AWESOME!! Seriously, the songs stayed with me for TWENTY years. When I got back in to Metal, I started working on those songs. I felt bad that those songs never saw the light of day, and I figured with my new group, we could FINALLY get those songe recorded and it would be a good spring board to get the new group on to the Metal scene.

MARIO: Who are the mebers of the new band these days and what are their musical backgrounds? Is there a chance you wll be playing Europe someday?
BARRY: The Fischel's Beast line-up (other than myself) is:
Eric Mauriello - bass
Ed Klinger - drums
Anthony Cross - vocals

The musical backgrounds and experience these guys have is quite diverse and extensive; much too extensive to get into here. They've done lots of high profile projects and are definitely seasoned pros. The important thing is that when we come together as Fischel's Beast, we all compliment each other and create something I think is really special.
If the opportunity to play Europe were to arise - we would absolutely welcome it... in fact we are looking into some possiblities of some local and international touring. I'm sure we'll be playing shows in your neck of the woods, so we expect to see you there! Feel free to call your local radio stations and ask them to play our tunes - and if you know some of the festival promoters... tell them where to find us!

MARIO: I heard you signed with Stormspell Records lately? Very good label!! Are they re-releasing the "Commencement" MCD or are you gonna release a full length album?
BARRY: We are VERY pleased with the deal we signed with Stormspell. Iordan is a great guy to work with, he is very professional, detail oriented and it's easy to see that he really loves Metal music.
Stormspell will be repackaging the 'Commencement' CD with all new art work and doing distribution of it. We are in the process of writing NEW material for a full length album, but talking about a deal for that would be a bit premature.

MARIO: Any other things you want to share with the MMM readers?
BARRY: Just that we're working on new material and hope to be recording at least some 'real, rough demos', soon so people can hear the new material. We're really liking it and we think that that the fans will too.

MARIO: Thanks a lot for giving me the opportunity to interview you my friend! And ofcourse also lots of thanks to Mike Spencer for taking the time to reply Barry's answers!!! Its much appreciated!!
BARRY: No, thank you for giving us the opprtunity to BE interviewed. We'll look forward to talking with you again when the FULL LENGTH album is in the works.

FORCE OF EVIL / MERCYFUL FATE - Hank Sherman (guitar) ( 8 May 2005 )
(Interviewer: Warlock a.k.a. Peter de Kok (www.coven.infinitequest.net/), Tilburg, The Netherlands)

On Sunday, April 10th 2005 I went to Landgraaf to do an interview with Hank Shermann of Mercyful Fate. I have been a big fan of the band, ever since the beginning and still follow whatever Hank or King do in their career, so when Mario asked me I didn't have second thoughts. The interview actually should have lasted for a bit more than half an hour, but took nearly a full one. I never met Hank before and I must say it was more like a chat between two friends than an interview in my opinion. He was very open and honest about most things I asked him. I just want to thank him for being such a nice guy and making me feel at ease, because this was my first interview ever. I'd also like to thank Mario and Theo for giving me the opportunity.

WARLOCK: I'm a fan since about '83/'84. How did Mercyful Fate's career start back then?
HANK: We started our career in about '81. The first gig we had outside Denmark was at the Dynamo club in Eindhoven in 1982. We played there many times….We never played in Germany in that time. They were kind of reserved towards us, like with King's performance and so on. So we went straight to Holland after playing some gigs in Denmark. Holland has always been good to us, so if we'll go on tour with Force of Evil we will certainly try to play there.

WARLOCK: Of course it's inevitable to talk about MF. But in 1985 you split. What was the real reason?
HANK: It was more a decision that King took. He wanted to do the concepts and that kind of stuff and he felt I was going in a different direction so…. You know… There was no drama. So after a show in Copenhagen, he just called me and said "I'm quitting the band"……So I said……euh yeah…Okee………..Within a week I formed another band, called Fate….Maybe it was needed that we did what we did back then. I didn't feel sad or anything it just felt right at that time. And there was a new stream of music coming up back then like Europe and Bon Jovi and Fate kind of followed in that direction.

WARLOCK: You had more projects after that like Virus 7, Gutrix and Zoser Mez. How did that develop?
HANK: Yeah…With Fate I left the band in the middle of a recording. It was kind of sad for the other guys, but I was in a fight with the producer and decided to leave everything. So I contacted Micheal Denner and he was in another band at that time. I formed my own project but I didn't have my mind quite to it. And when Micheal left that other band we got back together again and formed Zoser Mez (1991) which kind of lead to the reunion of Mercyful Fate. For me it was an effort to get back into the heavy music again after Fate. That's when things got a little serious again. We made a demo of which one of the song eventually came on the new Mercyful Fate album. We did a demo and King heard it and he took it home with him to Dallas, where he was living at that time (he actually still is). And after a few days he called me and said: "Wow….That sound like Mercyful fate all over again…..What about a reunion?" I was in for it because Zoser Mez was going to waste at that moment. The singer of the band won some kind of singing contest in Denmark and he got booked for all kind of things and he didn't have the time anymore to play with us. So it was a perfect timing and I said to King: "OK we're in for it." And we were all like kids again: like going on tour and all. It felt all like in the old days. We were being a family again you know and we had so much fun going on tour and doing recordings. Yeah…it was good. And then there were some periods in between: when King went on tour again with his own band . That was when bands like Gutrix and Virus 7 emerged, when me, as a musician had too much time on my hands and I needed to write songs and stuff. For Mercyful Fate it wasn't obviously a good thing. It's best for a band to stay together and play as a team, recording and touring, but it was hard to get our schedules together so in the end it took a little of the 'magic' off. With King on the other side of the world and us back here (in Denmark) it was kind of difficult to get our act together.

WARLOCK: With the new technology it's not that difficult anymore to play together. What about the use of that in recordings?
HANK: Ah…yeah. That's great nowadays. For the Force of Evil album (The Dark Empire) I had some guitar tracks I wanted to add and the other recordings were already in Chicago (where Neil Kernon was doing the mix). So I recorded those tracks at home and uploaded them to my server, where Neil took them off (after giving him my passwords of course) and he added them in the studio on the other end of the planet. That's great. In the old days you had to book a studio and record the tracks, send them over with a courier (like Fed-Ex or UPS) and it took a few days before you could mix it over the other tracks in the process. Now you can get a cup of coffee in between the upload and within a few minutes they can be added in the mix of the recordings. It's faster and a lot cheaper that way. You can now even play in real time with a guy in, let's say Los Angeles and you can jam together (like a video conference thing). That's amazing.

WARLOCK: Talking about modern and the music business: You are in the metal scene for over twenty years now. In those days, metal was kind of 'underground' (no airplay, and certainly not popular like nowadays). The major labels are now also interested in metal as such. What do you think about the NU-metal, with bands like Marilyn Manson and Slipknot?
HANK: (laughs) Well,….you know….being a heavy metal freak from the eighties, From a musicians point of view I can understand where that's coming from. Like a few years back I heard Pantera and I was like: "Wow…..okee!" It was really powerful and aggressive. I can understand it from a musicians view where that came from. And then there was Death metal and it goes on and on. What impresses me is that bands like that (Pantera and Slipknot) go platinum and sell millions of records, and that's great of course.
(WARLOCK: states: Just what I meant by this question. I believe it has nothing to do with musicianship and everything with commerce. It's more about image, than music)
HANK: Yeah. I think there are major record companies who invest millions of dollars in bands like Marilyn Manson and Slipknot, making professional videos and things like that. Those record companies get rewarded for their investment of course and it pays off. It's just that they were released at the right time and then with the 'shock effect' and the theatrics, people picked it up and those bands became huge. But they were all pre-produced by clever business men and marketers. With Force of Evil we go for honest musicianship. We don't go for any image. We just try to write good songs and entertain people who like good music. That's what we stand for. We are really comfortable with this record and also proud of it. We always try to do our best.

WARLOCK: Yes. I agree. You can hear it if you listen to the record. It's got a certain drive and energy which is lacked nowadays by many bands.
HANK: Thanks, but as you know we are in the business for over twenty years now. And I hope we know when something's good or not. Like me and Michael have known each other even a lot longer and we have played in several bands together.

WARLOCK: I must add that hearing you two play together always gives a certain magic and energy which I particularly like very much.
HANK: Yeah. Like I said before we have played together for a long time and Michael is a very skilled and talented guitar player. He always plays the parts that are too difficult for me and vice versa. Yeah…..I think we really compliment each other. Maybe that's the magic you're talking about. And of course we've always been the best of friend for all these years, so yeah…I think it comes natural for us.

WARLOCK: Speaking of band members. How did Bjarne and Hal get involved? I read the part about how Martin Steen got involved on your website: http://www.forceofevil.net, so that's clear to me. You tend to play with the same musicians in nearly every project. Can you explain?
HANK: Well. Bjarne has been a part of Mercyful Fate for since about the last ten years and he's a good friend of mine, so it was obvious I called him to be in Force of Evil, and Hal: I also know him for nearly twenty years now. We meet in the clubs and go party or to gigs from time to time (just like with the other guys of course) and we meet up. We always talked about working together, but somehow it never came to that, until Force of Evil emerged. It was an obvious choice. Why I play with those guys isn't that difficult. First of all it feels very good to play with them. It feels kinda like an old jacket. You know? It feels comfortable. And then there's the fact that they're all very skilled musicians and we're all good friends, so why not?

WARLOCK: Yes. I can imagine. So, how are the sales on Force of Evil? Are they going alright?
HANK: The album was released only a few weeks ago, so I don't have the figures yet. And then we are on a new and small record label which has made the mistakes which anybody makes when they're new to the business: Taking the wrong distributors and so on and that has hurt the sales from the first album, but they have learned about their mistakes and we feel they will go a long way from here. They look at things differently than we were used from other record companies. They have some fresh and new ideas and they have a good distributing channel over in the U.S. of A. so…you know time will tell. I have faith in them. We had to learn the hard way, but they are willing to try different things, like advertising in different magazines and not only in the most important ones. Eventually we maybe need a record label like Nuclear Blast. We feel we have the potential to sell a lot of records with Force of Evil. You can't get around it; you have to look at it as a business nowadays. Well making music is our business and if this record label can help us sell many records…then yeah.. It's a team effort so both from us as a band as the record label it needs some input. In the old days it was like: "Yeah….cool…we've got a record contract……" and we were happy, until you discover that you also have to pay for the sleeves, and the prints and the artwork and even the distribution and in the end you have put in all the work and you were screwed and left with nothing (well, hardly). We have learned over the years and we luckily have more experience now (laughs). Musicians tend to block the business side of things, but if you really want to make it serious you also have to know about the business side things.

WARLOCK: So in the old days you needed a manager, and nowadays a lawyer?
HANK: Yeah, exactly. In the United States we have a lawyer for Mercyful fate to handle the contracts and whatever. In America they only accept a contract from a lawyer, so he also handles our legal things for Force of Evil. We hope we can make a breakthrough in the United States and we think we might have more chance with Force of Evil than with Mercyful Fate over there. Musically the songs are more open and the vocals are less distinct than with Mercyful Fate, so I think we have a bit more potential over there.

WARLOCK: There are some songs on the album which are very potent for that market in my opinion. Like "Back to Hell" for instance. A great song with a lot of airplay potential.
HANK: Well, kinda funny you mention that song. We just released a video for it, which will hopefully get played by MTV and we just released that song as a single over there, so let's hope for the best.

WARLOCK: Talking about songs and things, Listening to your album, there's less drama in the songs. I mean less tempo changes and different melodies, stuff like that. I believe it's more basic, old skool Heavy Metal, a bit more simple song structures in comparison to Mercyful Fate. One of my favourite (newer = from after the first split) Mercyful Fate song is 'Dead Again'. There are no songs like that on the FOE album. Are you planning to write songs like that for FOE or you keep them just for Mercyful Fate?
HANK: Funny that you mention that song: Dead Again. There's a silly story about it (laughs). So like in 1983, while writing 'Satan's Fall', and it was never intended for being this long, I was sitting there in my living room and composing riff after riff and added them together and it ended up as what you know as being 'Satan's Fall', with all the melodies and things going on in there. With 'Dead Again' I had a totally different approach. When I was writing that particular song, I just thought to myself: "Wow, can I write a song longer than Satan's Fall?" (which was our longest song at that point) and it became that song. It was a silly approach, but it was also a challenge. There were different elements, like from Priest (Judas Priest), and Sabbath (Black Sabbath) and different influences I kind of merged in that song. As you can hear on the "Nine" album, there aren't that many long songs on it. I think the longest is about four and a half minute (or something like that). And the reason for this was mainly because I got tired of composing those long songs. I remember after the "Dead Again" album, we were touring the United States and we decided to play 'Dead Again' live on the stage. And there's a classical piece in the middle (WARLOCK: the Orchestra part?), Yeah! And we were performing it live (and there's a big difference between performing live or doing a piece like that in the studio). And I remember we had been drinking a little (Bacardi and Cola) just before we went on, not too much you know, just a little to get in the mood so we weren't drunk or anything, and we were there on stage, when that part came in the song I was playing the guitar parts and I totally fumbled. So I thought "Oh my god!" and I had to start all over. That wouldn't have been so bad, but as you know, King is doing his part over the guitar part, singing, and it went….well totally wrong actually. It wouldn't be that bad if only the guitar fucked up, but King went with me. And Mike Wead was standing there on the other side of the stage and he just looked at me, like: "Hey!! I have no part in this." Well since then, I was really focused when that part came in the song, and that's pretty tense. I mean, I can compose a piece like that and play it in the studio, but live it's a whole different ballgame. You have to be really focused to do it. And then I kind of abandoned writing those long and complicated songs.

WARLOCK: On the new Force of Evil album, there are mainly songs inspired by classic horror movies, like Friday the thirteenth, The omen and so on. Is that another passion for you?
HANK: Well, not for me. It's more Martin's thing. He wrote the lyrics and I'm not into writing lyrics, so…. It's more a lyrical concept that goes well with the music. It's one of his passions and it ended up like this. I mean, it's been done before, it's nothing new. And the record company liked the concept, so that's why most songs are inspired by those movies. Maybe in the future I will try to write some lyrics or at least give it some attention, because there are so many people into the meaning of the lyrics and things like that. I mean, I don't even know what Rob Halford from Judas Priest was singing about in the late seventies, but I liked the music. But like you there are a lot of people into lyrics, so who knows? Maybe I have something to say to the world in future? (laughs).

WARLOCK: So with Mercyful Fate in the early days; the satanic lyrics and concepts were all King's Idea?
HANK: Yeah. Actually it was. Like I told before, I'm not into writing lyrics, so I have no part in it. And we were all so into the music back then, so I didn't even care what the lyrics were about. On the other hand, in the early eighties it was kind of new to write stuff about those things as Satanism and it gave us (although sometimes negatively) all kinds of attention by the media and church groups, which actually wasn't a bad thing I must add (laughs). It helped us to sell more records and to get known to the world.

WARLOCK: You also have another passion. I have seen your website: http://www.hankshermann.com and I see all kinds of photo's of glamorous woman, very artful I must add. Is that just a hobby or another source to pay the bills?
HANK: Oh. Yeah…definitely a passion. I have always loved to make pictures, you know. Making a good picture is also like composing. You try to get the setting right and with the light and the model you try to make a good effort. I have always had an eye for detail. It all happened kind of coincidental. I had made some photo's of my ex-girlfriend and made a portfolio of it. And one day there was a journalist of a Danish men's magazine visiting me and saw that portfolio lying around on the coffee table and he asked me who that photographer was, and I said "Euhm…that's me?" And then he asked me if I'd be interested to do some more with that and it kind of developed from there. It was a great learning process for me and I'm glad I got the opportunity do develop myself in that area. I got more and better offers to make all sorts of shoots and travelled the world with these beautiful models and…well…you know…I had a blast. And it also helped me to pay the bills. That was really nice. I had three cover shoots and some centerfolds…..So yeah…I did ok. I will do more of them in the future.

WARLOCK: Force of Evil already has a live DVD out. How did that happen? I mean Mercyful Fate hasn't come around to make one in all those years. Is it going to happen? And how much are you involved in the project?
HANK: The FOE DVD was just an opportunity we had when we played our first gig. The record company (Escapi Music) were shooting the shows of Candlemass and Trouble, who were playing there also, and we just got the opportunity to shoot our DVD for not too much costs, because the equipment was already there. So that's why we have our video out so soon. If you look close, you can see the audience is kind of anticipating and rather quiet, because they didn't know most of the songs mainly because it was our second gig and the album wasn't out that yet officially. Only with the old MF songs like 'Evil' and 'Curse of the Pharaohs' they came loose and of course there's always the fanatic metal heads (smiles) who go out of their skull, regardless who's playing on stage.
As for the Mercyful Fate DVD, we have taped about 30 to 40 live shows during the years and backstage. From everywhere: The United States, Italy, Holland, France, everywhere we played over the years. King has got them now at home and he's going through all of them. And I will do some art directing and I have some photo's and things like that, that will be on there. So we're pretty busy with it and hopefully we can release it by the end of this year. I think it's going to be mainly about the early days or the whole era including the nineties. That hasn't been decided yet. And the record company Massacre is also involved and they watch this project very closely. Like Mind you, only when it's done, not before. We're not trying to make a big buck here. So no after parties taped in Amsterdam or wherever. We would never do that to our fans. So if it's going to be out later, the only reason will be that we don't think it will be good enough for our fans. We're not trying to cheat anybody with it. Quality over quantity. So no official bootleg.

WARLOCK: I wouldn't expect anything less from you guys. I know there's a lot of demand for it, following the forums on the internet and so, points this out. And then there's the fact that Mercyful Fate has been quite an influence on later bands.
HANK: Yeah, exactly. Of course there will be some funny parts on that DVD like our first gig ever in Kopenhagen (which was a 8mm version actually), so there's going to be some very rare stuff on it.

WARLOCK: Is there going to be a tour to support the Black Empire album?
HANK: As far as things are now, we're just playing on the Sweden Rock Festival in June. And for the rest we have to wait and see. There are no gigs planned at the moment (this interview was taken April 10th 2005), but the management is working on it, so… Maybe?

WARLOCK: Your guest appearance on: "The wait of the Pyramids" from Witchery. Was it a one time effort or are you going to appear on their new album as well? I know their in the studio right now, so can you tell me more?
HANK: Jens called me and asked me to be the guest musician again for their new album, and I flew over to Sweden and did a solo part on their forthcoming album. So yeah…I'm kind of like their permanent guest musician (laughs). And it's already recorded. Is their new album out already?

WARLOCK: I honestly don't know. Might be by now.
HANK: Oh…Ok.. Better call Jens then to see if it already came out.

WARLOCK: Can we expect some new Mercyful Fate material, since I know you have a record contract with Massacre for at least one more MF album?
HANK: Ahhh.. I was already awaiting that question, and there it is (smiles). You must know that having a contract and really putting out an album are two different things. On the other hand, Mercyful Fate has actually never split as a band, so we still exist. It's just hard, with all the things going on, like King with his band, and the rest of us with our own project, to get our agendas straight. King is touring with his band in the States for the coming months and then there's going to be a new King Diamond record, so maybe after that we will get together and start working on new Mercy material, Yeah. If we feel good about it and it doesn't interfere with Force of Evil or the King Diamond band, it will certainly happen. You know, it's been about five years since the nine album so it's about time. Certainly on demand of the fans, it is. So I hope maybe late next year. I have to phone King later today, so I will certainly mention it. It's been a big part of our lives, and King really has developed so much over the last years. I heard his last album and his voice has grown so much. Yeah it would be cool to do another Mercyful Fate album. But nothing has been planned, and it will surface naturally like it did over the years. We all have good contact with each other and see each other from time to time and we talk about it when we meet. We still have the energy and drive to do another Mercyful Fate album, so maybe after the next King Diamond album? We'll see. I think it would be really interesting, looking at the experiences we have over the years and with the musical development and maturity I think it would become something great. Yeah…I'm actually looking very forward to it.

WARLOCK: I for one will be really looking forward to it. Now to conclude, one of the best concerts I ever saw, was the double bill with Mercyful Fate and King Diamond (band). It is still very vivid in my mind. I mean, being a fan of both bands and seeing them perform live on one and the same bill. What are the odds? How did that come to happen? (While stating this question, Hank really gets excited. It was a great experience for him too I guess).
HANK: Oh. Yes …I remember….in 1997 that was a real great tour, but especially for King it was hell. It actually was King's Idea. We played only for 1 ½ hour and then King went back to the dressing room and changed his makeup and put on his other costume. Most of those dressing rooms were all cold and damp and he sat there doing his makeup with a scarf or a towel around his neck to keep warm and to protect his voice.
HANK: Where did you see it?
WARLOCK: Well that was in Noorderligt in Tilburg, The Netherlands. It's actually my hometown, so you were playing in my backyard so to speak. I really enjoyed that concert.
HANK: I can imagine. It actually was one of the best tours we did back then. I still have the posters and things like that at home. We always like to play over in Holland. They've always been very good for us in Holland. Maybe we can pull a stunt like that again? That would be real fun.

Then the organiser entered the room for the second time and tapped his watch to indicate we had to wrap things up. I look at my watch and realise it's been nearly an hour since we started the interview. How time flies when you're having a good time.

WARLOCK: Well Hank, thank you very much for the interview and good luck with the new Force of Evil/Black empire album. I will keep following you and hope to see you play live with FOE or MF very soon.
HANK: Well, thank you very much. It's been fun. See you around.

Links:
http://www.forceofevil.net
http://www.hankshermann.com
http://www.escapimusic.com
http://www.covenworldwide.org
http://kdmf.dragon-nights.com/phpBB2/index.php

GAMMA RAY - Daniel Zimmermann (Drums) ( 1 October 2005 )
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov & Jeff Pouring , New York, USA)

STAN & JEFF: Hi Dan, what is going on with Gamma Ray at the moment?
DANIEL: Well, at the moment we are rehearsing like hell for the up coming "Majestic" World Tour starting at September 26th at Plzen / CzechRepublic.

STAN & JEFF: What made you want to start playing drums?
DANIEL: It was an older cousin of mine. When I first watched him playing at the age of 10 a desire grew within me to also buy a drumkit one day!

STAN & JEFF: Who are some of your influences?
DANIEL: Clive Burr, Tommy Aldridge, Simon Phillips and Ingo Schwichtenberg

STAN & JEFF: How do you compare your drumming technique from Gamma Ray to your other band Freedom Call?
DANIEL: It depends a lot on the different styles of the two bands. Gamma Ray has way more progressiv arrangements than Freedom Call. I have more freedom in what I'm doing in Gamma Ray. FC's arrangements are more simple and straight.

STAN & JEFF: Can you tell us a little about the recording process of ''Majestic''?
DANIEL: Yeah, well, all in all it took us one year to record this album, from the first day of song writing on. We rehearsed a lot, as much as never before during summer 2004 and pressed the recording button in October 2004. We have 10 Songs on the album. Song writers are Kai, Henjo and me.

STAN & JEFF: Is there a concept involved in ''Majestic''?
DANIEL: Well it is no real or planed concept. When we had the lyrics together, we figured, that there is kind of a red line regarding the topics of the lyrics. They are very dark this time and they are basically about the presence of all evil in this world, which you can find everywhere on this planet nowadays.

STAN & JEFF: What is your favorite track of ''Majestic'' and why?
DANIEL: My favorite track is 'Carry On', a high energy speed track with great melody lines. It forces me up to my limit everytime.

STAN & JEFF: Any hopes for a U.S. tour?
DANIEL: I heard rumors that we are supposed to do some US shows in February 2006.

STAN & JEFF: Any European dates you have confirmed so far?
DANIEL: Well, they are too many to mention here. If anybody wants to get informed please check out the Gamma Ray homepage (see LINKS)

STAN & JEFF: What are your favorite Gamma Ray songs to play live?
DANIEL: There are many songs like Armageddon, Heart of the Unicorn, Rebellion in Dreamland, One with the world.....

STAN & JEFF: Are their any bands you'd like to tour with?
DANIEL: Judas Priest, I think that both bands would fit together very well. a powerful package!!!

STAN & JEFF: Do you have any plans in store after touring?
DANIEL: Writing new songs and making a new album. The fans should not wait another 4 years until a new G-Ray album.

STAN & JEFF: Do you have any advice on up and coming metal bands who are struggling to make it?
DANIEL: Patience, patience and again patience. You have to believe in yourself and you have to have an aim and a strong will to reach this aim.

STAN & JEFF: What are your thoughts on the new metal bands, mainly from America?
DANIEL: Shame on me. I don't know many new American Metal bands because I don't follow the scene in the states too much. But I will do in the future!

STAN & JEFF: Anything final to say to the fans?
DANIEL: Yeah, I hope you all like our new album Majestic and I hope we can present the new material to you as soon as possible! CU on tour!
Cheerz Daniel


GIRLSCHOOL - Jackie Chambers (Lead Guitar) & Denise Dufort (Drums) ( 1 August 2005 )
(Interviewer: Ruud Fleskens, The Netherlands)

RUUD: Hi Jackie & Denise! How are you ladies doing?
JACKIE: We're all doing great thanks!

RUUD: How was the gig at the Motorhead's 30th Anniversary show?
JACKIE: It was all over far too quickly which was a shame but we had a fun day hanging out together before and after. The atmosphere there was amazing and the crowd were really enthusiastic. I think everyone who went enjoyed the whole evening, three bands from the NWOBHM all on the same stage for one night, it doesn't happen often enough.

RUUD: How were the responses at the live gigs you did in europe last year?
JACKIE: Europe is the place for us, we love the enthusiasm and always have a great time. It was fun to try out a few new songs too, which went down really well.
DENISE: Can't wait to get back there. I enjoyed all the European dates.

RUUD: I liked your recent album "Believe"! what do you think of the album?
JACKIE: We're all very pleased with it, we loved the production that Tim Hammil did, he produced the 'Not that Innocent' album before Believe and we knew that he'd the man for the job, he did us proud. I think we have a much more modern sound this time but have still captured the Girlschool sound.
DENISE: I love this album and it seems to be getting great reviews everywhere.

RUUD: Do you have any plans for a new album yet, or maybe a Live DVD?
JACKIE: At the moment we're sorting out a new distribution deal and are planning to do a Live DVD and follow that up with a new album possibly next year.
DENISE: Hope so.

RUUD: Are there plans for live gigs outside of the UK?
JACKIE: Always, we have a couple of gigs this month with Alice Cooper in Spain which I'm really looking forward to, in August we're playing a Harley festival in France and we hope to be confirming a few more shows soon which we'll announce on the website.

RUUD: Who are in the band these days? Where are they from and do any of them play in other bands too?
JACKIE: Well this line up has been together now since 2000,
Kim McAuliffe ,rhythm guitar and vocals from London
Denise Dufort on drums from London
Enid Williams on bass and lead vocals from London
Jackie Chambers on lead guitar and backing vocals from Yorkshire
At the moment none of us have time to be playing in other bands.

RUUD: Is there any special band you would love to tour with?
JACKIE: I have always wanted to tour with Alice Cooper so I'm just about to get my wish this month.
DENISE: We've played with almost everyone over the years, maybe playing with Rammstein would be fun, they're a great live band.

RUUD: What is your opinion of the NWOBHM/heavy metal scene these days?
JACKIE: I think the whole Rock scene is a healthy one, lot's of new upcoming bands. I'm not sure which bands would be included in that category these days. I guess the New Wave of British Heavy Metal these days would be bands like The Darkness who are kind of old school anyway.

RUUD: Any other things we can expect from girlschool in te future?
JACKIE: Well we have no intentions of going away so there'll be a lot more gigs this year and next year hopefully promoting a live DVD and a new album.

RUUD:Thanks for the interview & hope to see you girls playing in holland again soon! Cheers!
JACKIE: Hope so too
Cheers
Jackie & Denise
picture by Henk de Tank
GUN BARREL - Rolf Tanzius (Guitarist) (18 January 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hey Gun Barrel ! First of all congratulations with your new album "Bombard Your Soul". It sounds really great and tight!
ROLF: That`s music in my ears. Here is Rolf, the GUN BARREL guitar player.

MARCO: Are you all satisfied with the record and what are the reactions to it so far?
ROLF: We are very satisfied with our new release and we got the best reviews in all rock magazines and webzines.We are very proud of it.

MARCO: How did your fans react to the new record ?
ROLF: We got a lot of fan mails worldwide. All reacts were very ,very good and show us that we are on the right way with our music. Also our new singer got a lot of compliments. GUN BARREL shot straighter than ever. All fans wrote that we are without compromise, great headbanger music, great lyris and that they want to see us live as soon as possible.

MARCO: 12 songs on this record, who is your songwriter in the band and where did he gets his inspiration from ?
ROLF: Well, I bring the ideas, the riffs, some titles and than all in the band put their ideas to the song and so we have later a complete GUN BARREL killer.

MARCO: You guys started in 2000 and made 5 records, is that right?
ROLF: In the end of 1999 we started with a demo "Bomb Attack", after this we produce a mini album called "Back to Suicide", than we got the deal with LMP and we released our first full lenth CD "Power-Dive" in 2001, followed with "Battle-Tested" in 2003 and now "Bombard your soul" in the end of 2005.

MARCO: How can you describe your style of hardrock, mostly I call it hardrock 'n roll is that okay?
ROLF: Oh yes,I think so. Hardrock 'n roll with some drops of metal and some jokes of rock 'n roll and some tears from the blues.

MARCO: I heard many influences from a dutch band called Vengeance from my hometown Tilburg, do you know that band and do you like them?
ROLF: Toss-up??? HeHe....great... we had played with VENGEANCE at the Metalforeverfestival at the 30.12.06 in Böblingen. A great band. Also straight rockers like we are. Very great guys. We had told with the guitar player at the other morning in our hotel. We hope to play more gigs with VENGEANCE.

MARCO: In Germany your popularity is growing very fast, you even played a very big metal festival like Wacken. Did you enjoy playing such a big festival ?
ROLF: OH YES!!! The band like to play in a great big audience and festival are always a big adventure. You can rage at the stage caus it`s big enough for your energy, you see a lot of hands in the air, you hear that they like your music (or not,hehe...) and you have more girls like in a small location,hehe.....

MARCO: Did you allready played with some big bands and how was it like?
ROLF: Oh yes, we had played with MOLLY HATCHET, ROSE TATTOO, UDO, SKEW SISKIN, ZELTINGER BAND and some more and in the end of march we play with JON OLIVAS PAIN. All of the band were great guys and we had a lot of fun.

MARCO: Did anyone of you ever played in another band before Gun Barrel?
ROLF: Yes, all of us had played in other bands. I had played with THUNDERSTRUCK, SPECIAL GUESTS, Toni (the drummer) with DREAMHUNTER and WICKED, Tomcat (bassplayer) with UNDERDOG and Xaver (singer) with STS8 MISSION and PUMP.

MARCO: You are coming from Köln in Germany, do you have a big scene overthere ? I saw Def Leppard there some years ago at the Palladium, but it seemed a city like Bochum is much more rock 'n roll, am I right ?
ROLF: That`s right. Here in Cologne you can see some big rock bands at the Live Music Hall, E-werk, Palladium, Underground and Prime Club. You can see a lot of bands here in our town, but the own scene must look, where they can play. It`s not easy to present our music here.

MARCO: 29 September 2007 you will play at our own Tilburg Headbangers Fest (organised by Marco & Mario), are you looking forward to it and what can we expect ?
ROLF: Yes,we are very intent for the gig and you can expect a heavy GUN BARREL party and we try that all the metalheads like us and our music.

MARCO: In Holland we don't have such a big hardrock scene like Germany, hopefully you will bring some great hardrockin' fans with you ?
ROLF: We will make promo for your festival here in Germany on our website and also by mail and so on and we hope that a german tide comes to the show.

MARCO: Are you visiting many gigs by your self and what are your favorite bands and influences?
ROLF: For myself I visit a lot of shows and I take a look what is new, what is great, is the band so great like the newspaper are writing. I like IN FLAMES, CHROME DIVISION, TURBONEGRO, MOTORHEAD at the moment and also your great bands GOLDEN EARRING and VENGENACE - great hard rock bands.

MARCO: Are there any plans for the future and what do you want to achieve with Gun Barrel?
ROLF: We are working for a new CD, we got the first gig orders, also festivals and we live like ever - writing songs, playing loud, paying debts, making gigs, visiting studios, find new friends and make our GUN BARREL party. That`s rock n roll.

MARCO: Thank you very much for your time! Do you have any last words for the readers and fans?
ROLF: HI MetalMania readers, come to the Tilburg show at the 29.september 07 and watch us and the other bands and let`s make a big party together. Salute - GUN BARREL

MARCO: We wish you all the best and hope to see you 29 september at our festival in Tilburg The Netherlands! Rock 'n' Roll!
Marco van Empel
ROLF: Thanks a lot and thanks for the interview - see you, rock you
Rolf-GUN BARREL


HAMMERFALL - Magnus Rosen (bassguitar) ( 8 May 2005 )
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov, New York, USA)

STAN: Hi Magnus, tell us what's going on with HammerFall at the moment?
MAGNUS: We are ready to start the big show's in Prattein (Schweiz) in a few days (April 19). We will arrive there the day before and do the show with all the lights and pyro for the empty hall. So we'll make sure it will be good when the public will come the next 2 days. Then it's many km [?] we have to travel on this world tour!

STAN: How was the response to your new album, "Chapter V"? Are you satisfied with the results?
MAGNUS: So far the response has been very good, I think! We almost sold gold in Sweden in a few weeks! That's very good. I think it's always fun when it's a new album, so right now I think it's the best album! Ask me in a few months when I got just to it. :)

STAN: Who's idea was it to have Cronos from Venom appear on "Knights of the 21st Century"?
MAGNUS: It was Joacim and Oscar's idea. Stefan agreed about that too! Me and Anders didn't know about that, so it was a surprise for us!

STAN: Charlie Bauernfeind also produced your previous record, "Crimson Thunder." How was it like working with him on this new one?
MAGNUS: He is a good man and producer! If he works with something, I'm sure it always would sound good.

STAN: Alot of people think most HammerFall songs all sound the same. Would you agree with this?
MAGNUS: Yes, it's very similar! It can be like that when only 2 people write all the songs!

STAN: Do all HammerFall members work together when writing songs?
MAGNUS: No!!!!!!

STAN: As a bassist, who are some of your influences?
MAGNUS: My influences is musician how play with the heart and passion! It gives me inspiration! In HammerFall it's Oscar who decides the bass line, not me!!! It's no bassline in HammerFall, it's more bass groove.

STAN: How did HammerFall get in contact with you after their previous bassist Fredrik Larsson left the group?
MAGNUS: HammerFall was a project with people who liked heavy metal! When Oscar and Joacim called me, HammerFall was a band who maybe did 2 or 3 small gigs before me, that's it!!! Joacim was in the band 6-8 months before me and Stefan and the old drummer Patric! We were in the band a few months before the first CD ''Glory to the Brave'' was released! So HammerFall have never ever toured with Fredrik! So sometimes it sounds funny to say that he is the original bass player with only a few gigs in his pocket! He is a nice guy and I like him, so no hard feelings! :)

STAN: What are your favorite HammerFall tracks? Especially from the new album.
MAGNUS: 'Legacy of Kings' I think, I also like the songs from 'Glory To The Brave' very much!

STAN: What has been your favorite tour so far and which country you enjoy visiting the most?
MAGNUS: It's hard to say. The places, countries, and the people are all good! I like the public HammerFall have! That I can say! :)

STAN: How about your thoughts on illegal music downloading?
MAGNUS: If you are poor or if you go to school and have no money, I think it's okay. BUT if every one downloads the music, no band can make records and make big tours! Then it will be only the band who is rich who can do the CD's, promotions and the touring! So I'm very happy that our fans buy our HammerFall CD's! Thank you, people!!!!

STAN: Any final words to all the readers?
MAGNUS: Thank you very much for giving this interview a few minutes of your time! Rock hard, Magnus Rosen!
STAN: Thanks, Magnus.


HEIDEVOLK - Rowan and Reamon (both guitar players) (28 May 2008)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen , Heesch, The Netherlands)


With "Walhalla Wacht" the dutchmen of Heidevolk have released an album that will see their star rising in de pagan/folk metal scene. After their cd presentation at the Willemeen, I had an interesting talk with the two guitar players: Sebas and Reamon about their new label Napalm records, folk metal, stambomen, Julius Sefilus and I even found out that Wodan still Rules!

DENNIS: Are guys glad with how "Walhalla Wacht" came out of the process?
ROWAN & REAMON: Yeah, as you might have heard we recorded the album twice because our recordlabel wanted it that way. They didn't think the first recordings were good enough to release. It was a lot of hard work but in the end we are very happy with it.
DENNIS: I think it sounds very professional.
ROWAN & REAMON: I am glad you heard that. We have definitely showed some progress.

DENNIS: In your own words. What are the main differences between your first album "De Strijdlust is Geboren" and "Walhalla Wacht"?
ROWAN & REAMON: Our first album was a real first album (laughs) and our second is a real second album. We surely made some progress productionwise but also as musicians we have become better. Until now almost all the reactions from press and fans are positive.

DENNIS: What people did you work with on the album? Does everybody in the band write songs, or just a few? Is Heidevolk a democratic band?
ROWAN & REAMON: Heidevolk is a democratic band. But it was often difficult to write songs with six different people. Everyone wants their parts in the songs. It is because of this that took such a long time to write album. I think everyone in the band has delivered a riff or two for the album. So it was a bandproces.

DENNIS: When did Napalm records contact you?
ROWAN & REAMON: We sent some demos to other recordlabels. But Napalm contacted us through our myspace page. We suggest every beginning band to place their songs on MySpace. Even if the songs have an awful production. This is the perfect medium to present your band. Last week we had our 100,000 visitor. About Napalm Records. They got interested after our last mini- cd (Wodan Heerst) that we released to say that Heidevolk is still alive. Also the drummer of Kampfar, also on Napalm records, talked with the people of Napalm records and told them some good things about us.

DENNIS: Have you guys already read some review about the new album?
ROWAN & REAMON: Yeah! I think we already read about one thousand reviews. Most of the reviews are positive.
DENNIS: Even Andre Verhuysen at Aardschok who normally only likes Bay area trash gave you guys 80 points.
ROWAN & REAMON: Yes, indeed. Hope he will bring back the Dynamo festival and give us a place on the bill!

DENNIS: Are there plans for a big tour in the near future?
ROWAN & REAMON: With all the hard work concerning the new cd we decided to work with a booking agency. We thought that while having a record company the hard work would be less but onto now it only gets busier. We are glad with this because it also says that were getting bigger. This summer we will play at the Summer Breeze festival and at Dokkum Open Air. Besides that there are about 12 shows booked for the near future. Most of them are in Germany. We hope to do some shows in the South of Europe. Last year we went to Italy which was a great experience.

DENNIS: Do you guys feel connected with the folk metal scene concerning bands as: Korpiklaani and Ensiferum? My meaning is that Heidevolk sounds a lot more serious than these bands.
ROWAN & REAMON: It depends on what you mean by more serious. Korpiklaani has chosen "partying" as their theme. Within this theme they are a serious band. Heidevolk really feels connected to these bands. What we don't do is trying to play folk metal by the rules. Everybody in the band likes different music. So we try to give our own approach. Everything can be included. It is important that the idea suits the music.

DENNIS: Has one of you guys ever did some research on your name. Are there maybe some connections with popular German persons?
ROWAN & REAMON: Haha. Yeah, I have done some research and came until 1300. But unfortunately no connections with German heroes from the past.
DENNIS: A friend of mine is a history teacher and he wanted to know that when you are talking about the Heidevolk which German tribes do you mean.
ROWAN & REAMON: Het Heidevolk doesn't stand for one particular tribe. We sing about the Saksen, the Bataven with Julius Sefilus their leader and the people in the north of Holland. These three tribes are the most important to us because the other one converted to Christianity. We read some reviews were people say that we endlessly sing about Gelderland that is not through as I said.

DENNIS: When you started Heidevolk what were the main goals you set?
ROWAN & REAMON: We both weren't there when Heidevolk started but I (Reamon) was also involved at the band as a gospel singer so I know some of the main goals that were set then. One of them was to get the most out of it. Not being a lazy band that writes songs every know and than. The sky is the limit!

DENNIS: I heard some of you guys are also students?
ROWAN & REAMON: That's right I am studying becoming a history teacher. Sometimes it's hard to combine both things. When we did the tour with Kampfar I had to choose between the two of them. I chose for the band and have no regrets. That tour was great! So school comes second at this time. Heidevolk uber alles!

DENNIS: How important is Skyclad, originators of mixing folk with metal?
ROWAN & REAMON: Very important they were as you said the originators of mixing folk with metal. We played some gigs with them which were very cool. We talked to them after a show and they said to us that they could make a living of it in the early nineties. Very cool and serious band.

DENNIS: Famous last words?
ROWAN & REAMON: Heidevolk will never quit!

HIRAX - Katon de Pena (Singer) ( 5 April 2006 )
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren , Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)

MARIO: Hello Katon, how are you doing lately?
KATON: Well, I've been very busy because we have just released our first ever official HIRAX "Thrash 'Til Death" DVD – LIVE IN CONCERT including the full concert from Minneapolis Mayhem Festival II May 2005 as well as footage from around the world, interview, promo clip, full discography, photo gallery, etc. I recently got married to my long time Norwegian girlfriend. So there was a slight break I took… but now I am back with VENGEANCE!

MARIO: HIRAX was formed in 1984 but disbanded in 1989. What was the reason you reunited in 1997 after such a long time out of the scene/stage? Was there a lot of request for a HIRAX reunion?
KATON: In 1997 was the beginning of the comeback because of the release of a split 7" record that we did with an underground cult band named, Spazz. The record sold over 5,000 copies…much to the surprise of everybody! That's what launched HIRAX back into the underground scene. We had received so much mail from around the world I knew that it was the right thing to do.

MARIO: You also used to play in a band called Phantasm with bassplayer Ron McGovney (ex-Metallica) and drumbeast Gene Hoglan (ex-Dark Angel, Strapping Young Lad). Where did you meet these guys and what happened with this band?? Will there ever be a reunion of Phantasm??
KATON: I have known Ron McGovney and Gene Hoglan before they were in bands. We used to go the same record stores and try to get records before everybody else did. We helped start the Los Angeles Thrash Metal Scene. We were young metalheads and we collected cassette tapes and import vinyl records. We lived for bands such as Motorhead, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Diamond Head, etc. Night and day we played those records… then we started our own bands. Unfortunately all of us are so busy now that there is no way that there will probably ever be a reunion. I think it would be great though… but I don't see it happening. Luckily, we recorded the Phantasm demo which is now featured on the Phantasm "Wreckage" CD/12" Vinyl album through BlackDevilRecords.com. I still listen to those recordings and I am very proud of it. People ask us about Phantasm all the time.

MARIO: There where a lot of line-up changes during the last years. What is the current line-up and where did you find all these guys? Are they playing in other bands also?
KATON: The line up is: Katon W. De Pena – Vocals, Glenn Rogers – lead guitars, Lance Harrison – lead guitars, Steve Harrison – bass, Fabricio Ravelli – drums.
The changes come because HIRAX constantly tours… a lot of musicians can't go on the road for long periods of time… so sometimes there are line up changes just to keep the HIRAX machine rolling! You have to be very dedicated to this kind of music to survive. This is my life and I refuse to quit. Much like Ronnie James Dio, David Coverdale (WhiteSnake), Biff Byford (Saxon), or even my friend, Chuck Billy (Testament)… WE WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES to carry on the torch of metal. I don't do it for the money… I do it for the music!!

MARIO: How is the response to your latest album "The New Age of Terror"?? How did you get in contact with Mausoleum records from Belgium? Does your own label 'Black Devil Records´ still exist and are there any other bands on this label?
KATON: "The New Age of Terror" continues to sell worldwide and is still being released in other territories such as South America, South East Asia, and the U.S. Now that it has received a proper release by Black Devil Records/Deep Six Records and distributed by Century Media Records… the success of this record continues to grow! It's been out for two years… but most people think it's a new record. Most records typically 'die' after being out a few months… not with HIRAX… "The New Age of Terror" continues to grow stronger and stronger!! The way metal should!! Black Devil Records is run by me and my wife… we like to be involved with everything. In order to be sure that our fans get 100% top quality product!! It is working out great!!

MARIO: Last year November you should all head over to Japan in November for a small tour but it got cancelled. What was the reason for this cancellation???
KATON: Unfortunately… we had to cancel the tour… due to some line up changes. But we have such respect for the fans in Japan. We will reschedule a tour in the very near future because we do not want to let them down! We were offered the tour and contacted by a professional booking agency. They were aware of our fan base in that country and offered us 7 shows back to back with no days off…playing all the major cities!! As with any tour…timing is a BIG factor, and obviously it wasn't the right time for us to go. The headbangers in Japan have supported our music from the beginning and we will NOT let them down!!

MARIO: Whats your opinion about the metalscene in Europe compared to the US scene? Is there still a market for bands like HIRAX in the US??
KATON: That's a great question. The Metal scene in the U.S.A. has gotten better in the last few years. More festivals and concerts. The turnouts are getting bigger. But we still have a way to go. In Europe… the metal scene is INCREDIBLE! Most of the festivals and concerts are professionally done and the fans are really into TRUE METAL!! Germany, Sweden, Holland, England, Czech Republic, Poland, Norway, Finland, etc. TOTALLY KICK ASS!! We sell more records in those countries than anywhere else except when it comes to South America … & Mexico. They live for metal there LOUD and PROUD!!! Denim and Leather is their religion. We love to tour Europe!

MARIO: What was to your opinion the highlight of your career? And with which band(s) would you like to tour in the future?
KATON: Every year that I continue to do metal the highlights get BIGGER!! We have had the honor of playing with such band as Judas Priest, Scorpions, Y & T, Dio, U.F.O., Twisted Sister, and many others… the list goes on and on…
The shows get bigger … and our fan base is always growing. I have had a GREAT career… and that's why I love doing what I do. And will continue until I DIE!! In the future I would like to tour with bands that play REAL METAL!! I don't listen to any of the nu metal crap!! Obviously the bands that I respect and like are: Yngwie Malmsteen, Mercyful Fate, Venom, Motorhead, stuff like that… but HIRAX will play with anybody, as long as they are HEAVY. We are just trying to spread our music to metalheads all over the world!!

MARIO: It strikes me that you are one of the first ´black´ people in the heavy metal business. Still there are just a few ´black´ people that are so fanatic in the scene as you are. Is there a reason for? Why are the mass of heavy metal audience and bands ´white´ guys? Hope you can explain that......
KATON: I think it's a cultural thing. A lot of it has to do with peer pressure. Many 'black' people think that I'm crazy for being the singer of a very HEAVY band. I grew up listening to Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix, Black Sabbath, Thin Lizzy, … to name a few… so to me it was only natural. I have never cared what people thought of me… a black man singing heavy metal. If I did… I would probably be like most people and just listen to what 'society' tells me to. I'm rebellious and I think that's a good thing!! I also do this for the people who are 'different' Whether they are black, female, Asian, Mexican, … doesn't matter… heavy metal has always been my favorite music!! I believe I have a responsibility to those in my same situation. Music matters… not the color of your skin, etc. If you could see it through my eyes… you would understand.

MARIO: Will there be a new release soon and when will you be back in Europe?
KATON: Our upcoming release: "Assassins of War" CD/vinyl will include the HEAVIEST & FASTEST MUSIC THAT WE HAVE RECORDED YET!! We have booking agents now working on the next HIRAX European tour… so we will return there soon!! Check out: www.HIRAX.org for tour updates.

MARIO: Anything that you want to tell MMM/readers that is not told above?
KATON: THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT OVER THE YEARS!! We look forward to seeing you on the road!! The 'Thrash 'Til Death" DVD is available now worldwide!
Also… the 'Bang Your Head !!! Festival" best of DVD has also just been release. It includes HIRAX. So these DVDs should hold everybody over until the new HIRAX album comes out. Then the touring will begin!
WE WILL SEE YOU ON THE ROAD!!
UP THE METAL HAMMERS!!!
FOR MORE INFORMATION (MERCHANDISE / TOUR DATES) CONTACT:
www.BlackDevilRecords.com, PO Box 1474 , Cypress, CA 90630 , USA

MARIO: Thanx for your time and the interview!
Cheers
Mario

HOLY MOSES - Sabina Classen (vocals) ( 8 May 2005 )
(Interviewer: Bidi a.k.a. Danny van Drongelen (www.bidibookings.com), Tilburg, The Netherlands)
On what a sunny and lazy Sunday afternoon I'm on my way to Landgraaf in the very deep south of Limburg to do an interview with thrashmetalqueen no.1 Sabina Classen, frontwoman of German thrash-death originators Holy Moses. When I enter a nice local traditional pub, the people from the record company gave me a warm welcome followed by a large cold beer. After just a few minutes Sabina comes up to me. With her long hairs, painted in many colours, her high iron plated leather boots and a denimjacket with a typical 80's look, she is quiet a remarkable person, tough and sexy at the same time…and even more important, very friendly! We shake hands and when I propose to do the interview in German, she laughs and with a glass of white wine in her hands we walk to a table where we could not be disturbed. After we sat down Sabina seems to be in a very good humour, but who would not be….after almost 25 years in metalbizz, just releasing the 10th full-length album and again going strong??? Time to recapitulate some things from the past, so that everyone who has never heard of Holy Moses (shame on you) gets an impression about this amazing thrashband who is go9ing to celebrate their 25th Anniversary with their 10th full length album "Strength, Power, Will, Passion" !

BIDI: Sabina, how did a young girl of 16 years old, studying at the gymnasium in Aachen, get involved in heavy metal back then?
SABINA: It was somewhere in 1979 when I started in a metal band called Disaster(named after a Dutch metalmagazine) . We were not that good but though we were very much inspired by old classic rock and early metal bands which I got to know from my uncle who played all these records for me. Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, Uriah heep and then…ofcourse Black Sabbath.
I tried to sing like Ozzy but in fact I was not capable of making good melodylines. That's when I started to growl and grunt to give expression to my feelings. Unfortunately Andy Classen (her schoolfriend and later her partner and co-writer of HM) left the band and joined the schoolband Holy Moses. After a while I joined the band as the vocalist and we were pretty much a cultband who according to some people from the metalpress were meaner and heavier than Venom!!! That was quiet an achievement ofcourse hahaaha.

BIDI: Were there any female vocalists who inspired you to sing in a heavy band, like e.g. Patti Smith or Nina Hagen?
SABINA: Well not really…although I have to say that I was (and still am) a great admirer of Nina Hagen with her vocal acrobatic and strong lyrics. I also liked Nena, but hey…she was the pretty girl with the good voice and I didn't even try to sing like that hahaha.

BIDI: Was the heavy music of Holy Moses a kind of reaction to the political situation in Germany or did you just wanna have fun with a bunch of guys.
SABINA: No, we were not that political…but since we were adolescents we really did want to change something offcourse. We tried to start our own kind of a small revolution but then always peacefull with a crate of beer in the middle hahahaha.

BIDI: Because you were living near the Belgian and Dutch border Holy Moses had pretty early a lot of experience in playing abroad. Did that help you in getting your underground cult status?.
SABINA: Somehow it didn't feel like playing in a foreign country. In our mind and that of the fans there were no borders between Germans, Dutch and Belgians. The only time you realized you were playing abroad was when you had to show your identity card on the border. But to answer your second question, I really do think it helped us to get more well known in Germany because of our "foreign" experiences which seems to be good publicity in your own country.

BIDI: Any good stories from that period when you were playing with Holy Moses in Limburg?
SABINA: We got lots of great stories. We often played in Gulpen near the church in a kind of metaldisco. The owner of the place usually came to Aachen to pick us up with his old camper. We didn't get paid in cash back then in the early 80's but he paid our band in beer….really lots of beer. Once the audience was so enthusiastic we had to play twice on the same evening. You can imagine that we were pretty drunk after a while so we shared all our beer with the visitors. What a great party that was….but ehh I cannot remember if we did a good show or not hahaha. Nevertheless we have won quiet some new fans due to the free drinking party!!

BIDI: In your early 20's you had already a very busy life. How did you manage it to sing in a band, and also doing the managment of the band, studying computertechnology at the university, and even did the presentation of the famous WDR metalprogramm MOSH together with Götz Kühnemund (nowadays chiefeditor of Rock Hard). What's the secret Sabina?
SABINA: Well, you know I just did it. With a lot of positive energy and a sense of naïve ness I just took every opportunity that crossed my way. If it felt right, then I went for it. I was never the kind of person who planned her life from A-Z, but sitting in the corner of the room and doing nothing is not my specialty.

BIDI: How was the metalscene in the early and mid eighties when you compare it with nowadays?
SABINA: Hmm, that's very difficult to say. First of all we had really lousy equipment and recordingfacilities….but probably a more important difference is that we were so naïve. We didn't know anything from the music industry and were just doing our thing with no particalur aim on our minds.

BIDI: What do you think of all these Gothmetalbands with their sexy frontwoman? Is it really a giant step in the emancipation for woman in heavy music…or?
SABINA: To be honest…I don't care too much of what all these bands are doing and I really don't want to judge these bands on any grounds. They have their Thing…I do have mine…that's it!!

BIDI: When I do read your biography on the Holy Moses website, I get the impression that you might want to write a book about Holy Moses or about the German Thrash scene in general. Can we expect something like that?
SABINA: Hmmm, sounds interesting and as you have seen on our website the work is still in progress. But to be honest, I don't want to think too much about the future. I'm living in the present and don't want to think about it. But hey…who knows??!!

BIDI: But you can imagine yourself doing something very different than grunting in a metalband, like for instance doing some crooners..which could be quiet fascinated with your low voice?
SABINA: Again, the future will tell. You know, when I start think about such things it means that I'm not for 100% committed with my profession which is singing in a metalband. It simply doesn't fit with my philosophy to think about "what's next". I was almost killed in a traffic accident and after such an experience you are just glad you're still there and can do whatever you like. So Holy Moses is my life.

BIDI: About your new album.
The title of the album, "Strength, Power, Will, Passion", is very direct and in your face so to speak. It reminds me more of the title a hardcorepunk or rock'n roll album. What is the meaning of this title for you and refers it to you or to Holy Moses?
SABINA: Yes, definitely. The title has a lot to do with my personality and ofcourse with the endurance of a band who has seen it all…..underground, a hype with majordeal in the USA, back to the underground and now again on our way to the thrashmetal mountain. We are still there, whatever people think of us.

BIDI: So that's the reason that the album is a very aggressive old school album which goes back to the early days with albums like "Finished with the Dogs"?
SABINA: Yeah for sure, that's where our spirit is at this moment! Michael Hankel, our new guitarplayer who was active in this German hardcoreband Erosion has a lot of experience in writing this kind of stuff. He produced the album together with me and we were completely focused on these songs without any help from outside. That's probably why it's so in your face!!

BIDI: Was it difficult for you to do an album without any input from Andy Classen who was with the band from the beginning?
SABINA: Michael has almost the same vibe in his song writing as Andy. They stem from the same musical background …so it was not that hard. Andy left the live band some years ago and now it was time to do a complete album without his help.

BIDI: In the linernotes you say that the pentagram on the cover is your mandala? But this mandala has a lot of references with Satanism which is not really common for a mandala? Are you just fascinated with these symbols or is there more behind that and are you really an admirer of the 'dark side'?
SABINA: The pentagram protects me from a lot of influences from outside which can be everything from annoying people who want to take advantage of you to social developments which have a bad influence on my mind. Lots of people think they understand the meaning of these so-called satanic symbols, but in fact they are much more an expression for individual deeds and thoughts. I live my life, right here and right now and don't want to be withholded from others in my goals. I keep the bad vibes out, so to speak.

BIDI: Nevertheless you might give people the impression that your lyrics are about the dark things in life like lots of death and blackmetal bands do……but when I read some lyrics from now and the past, it seems to me that Holy Moses is the kind of band with some political and socialcritical statements.
SABINA: Yes, you are right about that. But I cannot help that too many people have a kind of cliche view of these so-called satanic symbols. There is ignorance all around us!

BIDI: Then I've read on the inner sleeve explicitly that no machines or tricks were used to make your voice sound like it is? Is that a kind of statement towards the young generation who uses computers, triggers etc. to make their album heavier?
SABINA: Not specifically. I just want people to know how I really sound. I'm not fake and I might me not the most romantic female singer, what I do is real and honest. If other bands use stuff to sound heavier, deeper or whatever…that's fine with me. Again, I'm not the person to judge others and I do things my way and keep myself protected from these things who might have a negative influence on me.

BIDI: Next year Holy Moses exists 25 years. Any chance that we are going to see you in the Dutch venues? And will there be a big party?
SABINA: If we come to play in Holland depends on lots of things but the chances are big. About this party we have something in mind, but hey….first I have to promote this album and then we are going on tour for a whole month. First things first….just focus on the things you have to do right now and the rest …well we see. At the moment I'm also negotiating with Doro and Arch Enemy to set up a tour. It would be cool to go with 3 pure metal chicks on the road.

BIDI: That's for sure and hopefully we (and I mean WE) are all going to see them playing cos' this woman really kicks ass !!


HOUR OF 13 - Phil Swanson (singer/scriptures) & Chad Davis (guitar/bass/drums) (4 September 2008)
(Interviewer: Alex Avdeev , Siberia, Russia)


Hello, Phil and Chad!
This spring, Denis shipped me your CD and I am thankful for this treasure he has sold me - that's one hell of a Doom Metal record, and most importantly - it's from the current century." Bands like Hour of 13 will never let Metal relinquish its influence in the world! Phil and Chad kindly agreed to give me an interview and here it is!

ALEX: You, Phil and Chad, were working in different projects - how did you form the band and come in touch with the label?
PHIL: A close friend to both of us put us in touch when Chad was looking for someone to contribute lyrics and vocals to his unfinished project. Chad had sent me the songs he had. I put existing lyrics I had from a project I was working on in a similar fashion. I sent out a demo song attached to a mass e-mail that went to various label contacts and SKR [Shadow Kingdom Records - ed.] quickly approached us with an offer.

ALEX: Where does the name of your band come from?
CHAD: I had decided to use the name years ago for an Occult/Experimental music labeI I was doing, but then realized the power of it and dropped it until I could find something more substantial to use it for. The "Hour Of 13" is the timeframe between 12 and 1 AM of February, 2nd (Candlemass eve) and November, 1st (Samhain).

ALEX: Who are your main influences?
PHIL: My influences mainly come from the early NWOBHM scene but I also take influence from elements of death rock when it comes to my part in Hour of 13. Also some 70s influences like Alice Cooper in particular.
CHAD: Yeah, definitely NWOBHM and deathrock bands like Christain Death, Samhian, Rudimentary Peni. Mainly I let the music create itself so the actual "sound" influences are not prevalent.

ALEX: If I am not wrong, there were certain line-up changes in your band lately - Corey Leonard, who was mentioned on the record, was added to the myspace page this summer and that leads me to the thought that he is the new addition as a permanent guitarist, who will help you to concentrate more on stone-crushing riffs as well as he will help you to fill in all the solo parts. Is there another reason behind seeing his name in the line-up on your official band page? Please tell us more about him!
CHAD: Well, he has seemed to fall off the earth at the moment! Corey engineered the album and did some leads. He mentioned he wanted to be involved when it came time to unleash a live performance, but we will see. I don't know where the hell he is...

ALEX: Do you plan to release a new album?
PHIL: We are working on a couple songs for a split with lost tracks from my now defunct band Vestal Claret that was put to rest in favor of Hour of 13. But right now that's the furthest into the future I forsee at this time.
CHAD: Yeah, but I'm not going to rush it. The songs on the split Phil mentioned are riffs that did not make it onto the album, but not because they are not equal; only because they were not complete. A follow-up album will happen.

ALEX: During the recording process of the debut record you've been taking large breaks between entering the studio to record more and more portions of your album (one can hear slight changes in the production throughout the album - which is a good feature, in my opinion) and I can see you are preparing new material ("Possession" track is available online on your myspace page, http://www.myspace.com/hourof13doom ). Will the recording process resemble the aforementioned one?
PHIL: Actually my part was recorded in one weekend session. Chad, on the other hand, was working on this project for sometime.
CHAD: Yeah, it will be recorded in the same facility. I could not imagine it not being done there.

ALEX: Where did Chad learn to play so many instruments that good?
CHAD: Many, many years of studying and listening. Oh, and practice...

ALEX: Speaking of the songwriting: almost all the lyrics ("The Correlation", "Submissive To Evil", "Grim Reality") leave short visions forming in our heads due to understatements that coerce the listener to read between the lines, turn to his literary and esoteric experience, while "Missing Girl" forms a full picture - how would you explain these changes?
PHIL: Really no change of sorts, just more direct. The intent behind "Missing Girl" was to be very blatant and shocking. That is easier done in the obvious rather than the round about. "Missing Girl" was written to have much the same effect as Alice Cooper's "Dead Babies" and Mercyful Fates "Nuns Have No Fun"... total shock rock!!!

ALEX: The numbers in "The Correlation" allure us with mystery and leave us wondering whether 555 is connected to any edifice, pentagram or the duration of time, and whether 42 is the Great Number of the Curse or it's the number of guardian angels. This leads to thoughts of a coven or the passed event of 9/11. Would you leave it for the listener to interpret it or would you remove the veil of this hidden numeric knowledge?
PHIL: I wouldnt reveal too much to the numerology of "the Correlation", but in part your observations are correct in it's connections to 9/11 and the Illuminati.

ALEX: Who or what inspired you, Phil, to write the lyrics?
PHIL: It took me many years to gain confidence in my lyric writing, but due to the unusual style of my vocals and delivery it was allways difficult to find my place in music without having the ability to write my lyrics in a way I could gain a listener's attention. By voice alone very few bands were interested in me being a part of them in my early days. I try to be very honest and fearless in my writing with no worry of offense. I also try to avoid as many cliches as possible while still being very much apart of the genre. I take much of my influence from Dante and the bible as well as 70s satanic exploitation in movies and television. I also try to take into account the admiration I have always had for the lyrics of John Arch of Fates Warning and Kurt Colfelt of Holy Terror.

ALEX: During the recording process musicians have to sacrifice something in their music or lyrics: what did you have to abridge in favor of a better result?
PHIL: Just letting myself commit to the darkest thoughts of my mind, regardless of the backlash it may present. To put ideas out there that were sure to offend in the name of art. To create a charactor in first person that would define evil and ignorance and allow people the assumption that it may possible be real and as well be me.
CHAD: I did not have to sacrifice anything for the end result. The sound is the encompassed offering to our life / existence.

ALEX: Chad, what equipment do Corey and you use on the record?
CHAD: Hagstrom Swede, 2000 Gibson SG, '78 Gibson Les Paul, '70s Rickenbacher bass, Orange Graphic 100 amp for bass with Ampeg 8x10 cab, Sovtek MIG50H amp, Electric 4x12 cab, Peavey Classic 50 combo and Taye drums. Tracked on a custom built API console, mixed on SSL console (formerly owned by Weird Al) in the best studio on the East Coast, Epiphonic!

ALEX: What are your hobbies besides music?
PHIL: I have written a few screenplays and still have a few more in the works. Whether I persue them is hard to say but I still find myself inventing new stories I hope are someday told. But music these days takes up most my free time.
CHAD: None besides music. I have too many bands / projects to have much free time. Well, my wife!

ALEX: What do you think about the current spreading of Christianity in the world, especially Orthodox Christianity in Russia and Catholic Christianity in the USA? Could it be the sign or a manifestation of something to come?
PHIL: I dont think much about the politics of religion, I just use it in most part as fodder for fuel in writing for certain projects. Its great mythology, the greatest in fact. And the idea that it is still so believed is testament to that and with that allows different listeners to interpept my lyrics from different perspectives.
CHAD: The concept of the scare tactic is great. The concept of the story is sheer lunacy. I think the manifestation has already happened, due to the number of slaughters in the name of God. Rubbish.......

ALEX: Phil has mentioned "Chris T." who "made it be" in the credits. What was his contribution to the record?
PHIL: Chris is the close friend to both Chad and I that put us in touch together. He is someone I have known for many years who has always been deeply rooted and acknowleged in the underground scene and someone I have always respected for his depth and dedication to it and taught me many things about finding your way through the underground and making it a personal journey.

ALEX: Do you plan live shows (with or without session musicians)? If you do, what instrument will Chad play?
PHIL: We have toyed with the idea but nothing concrete has come just yet.
CHAD: Hmm... Hopefully guitar as I like to play the music I write and would not want to be sitting down the entire show!

ALEX: And, please, your final word to metalheads across the world who listen to true heavy metal music!
PHIL: Stay hard, stay wet, stay hungry;)
CHAD: Keep the flames of Metal Burning!

ALEX: Thank you for this interview, guys, we are anticipating the new record from you! I hope everyone who has read this interview will get Hour of 13's self-titled CD, which is available in online stores like www.sentinelsteel.com. And if you doubt if you should purchase it - don't! This true occult doom metal record is really worth more than its listed price in the stores that sell it!

HYADES - Lorenzo (Guitar) (23 May 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Welcome guys! Congratulations with your great brand new album '"And The Worst Is Yet To Come".
LORENZO: Yeah, thank you so fucking much! And thanks for the interview and your support too, of course!

MARCO: When did you guys meet each other and when did you start this band?
LORENZO: Long time has passed by and I can't remember. Alcohol erased my memory… Hahaha I'm kidding, we formed back in 1996, that is to say… uhm, eleven years ago! Fuck! I'm becoming old! We meet one each other in different ways and I'm the only one left from 1996 line-up; Marco and Mark was friends of our first bass-player, then we met Rob in a old Milan pub and start talkin' bout whiskeys, stout beers and good music… Our previous bass-player left the band a couple of weeks before, so we booked a rehearse with Rob! And then there's our drum-machine Rawdeath, who lives 600kms far from us! We were long-time friends and we played shows together with his band Subliminal Crusher, so when Mauro quit Hyades we recruited Rawdeath! Distance isn't a problem.

MARCO: Did you guys play in other bands before Hyades or still are?
LORENZO: Yes, we have other bands too. I play in a rock n' roll band called Wet Dog with Fab and Lo from thrashcore band Hatework (listen to them, they kick ass!), we play rough and old-school in the veins of The Clash, Social Distortion, Johnny Cash and '60 style. No metal at all hehehe! Rawdeath plays in 3 bands; except Hyades, he's the drummer of Subliminal Crusher and S.R.L.

MARCO: Did you have many line-up changes or is the band still original?
LORENZO: I'm the only one left from the 1996 line-up. I think it's quite normal, we started that we were 15 years old. And people change a lot in 11 years, so I kept on playing with different and more motivated musicians. Sometimes there are been hard and sad line-up changes, but I think everything happened was necessary.

MARCO: What are the main influences of the band musically and what kind of stuff do you all listen to?
LORENZO: Well, hard question, I listen to all metal stuff from 1976 to 1989, from heavy to thrash metal, NWOBHM, epic, doom and everything else. I can't say just a few names. Everything influenced us and our way to play; probably the most important influences are both Bay Area '80 sound and NYH east-cost attitude.

MARCO: What's your favourite Thrash/Speed Metal album ever made?
LORENZO: Just one? Shit I can't say just one name! I wrote you 3 albums: "Bonded by Blood" (Exodus), "By Inheritance" (Artillery) and "Speak English or Die" (S.O.D.)

MARCO: What do you think about the newschool Gothenborg Thrash Metal Scene?
LORENZO: About what? Ehehe sorry I simply don't listen to it. That's not the kind of metal music I like.

MARCO: Do you really hate Hair/Sleaze/Glam bands so much or is it just the image of the first generation Thrashers haha??
LORENZO: Well, maybe one time we really hated those bands and that kind of sissy poser music. Young guys are stupid, and we too hahah! But nowadays it's just a joke and we recommend to our young fans to never take too seriously this kind of bullshit. If you don't like a type of music, just don't listen to it. Keep your precious hate for the things in the world that really deserve it!!

MARCO: Are there many moshers, stagedivers,hellbangers and thrash metal maniacs in your area?
LORENZO: Fuck yes! In our whole country there's a good thrash metal scene, but in our area, between Milan and Varese, there's an awesome scene! A lot of good thrash bands come from here… Hatework, Vexed, Kenos, Total Death, Executioner, Longobardeath and many other more. And most important thing there's a fucking good friendship among us all.

MARCO: Last year you guys toured a lot around Europe, How did you find the time to record this album?
LORENZO: My girlfriend still hates me for those months hahaha! The record process has been fast, but the pre-production has been a fucking hell! I slept 3 or 4 hours each day max. After the usual 8 or 9 hours working, I turned back home and started writing, rehearsing, recording… trying different solutions, fills, riffs… For many things we worked as a team, as we never did before. But I wrote by myself the most part of lyrics and songs, and I can say it has been a fucking hard and tiring work! But I'm absolutely proud of it. With Mausoleum Records we had deadlines to respect, but now I absolutely wanna take a break and just play live as more as possible.

MARCO: The time between your first record "Abuse Your Illusions" and "And The Worst Is Yet To Come" took only one year?
LORENZO: Yes, as I said before we had deal deadlines with Mausoleum Records. For "Abuse Your Illusions" I wrote the songs in two or three years, 'cause we were without deal. This time I worked to all new songs in only six months and the result is a more compact and strengthful album!

MARCO: Satisfied with the new album?
LORENZO: Yeah! Obviously there are and there'll always be some fee things you would change. I don't know, maybe the snare sound isn't what I really wanted and what I like… But a musician will never be 100% satisfied, it's absolutely normal. So I say yeah, it kick ass and I'm proud of it! The goal is now to improve again and put out a better shit-kicking album!

MARCO: Are you metalheads pleased with the great artwork of "Ed Repka" ( Toxik, Evil Death, Death and Megadeth ? ) and how did you find this big guy?
LORENZO: Of course! Ed did an awesome job, we're absolutely satisfied by it and I think the kind of paint is perfect for our old-school and non-fashioned kind of music! We were talking with Alfie from Mausoleum Records about the new album, and he suggested us to contact Ed, that recently did the cover artwork for our label mates Suicide Watch. We gave him a buzz and we explained him our idea… He was excited and started immediately to work about it!

MARCO: Last week I saw, he did the artwork for new Bay Area Thrashers Merciless Death aswel, It seems like Ed Repka is totally into the new retro Thrashbands of today…..
LORENZO: I hope that! Ed Repka is more than an artist; it's an icon of the whole thrash metal history. We need people like him.

MARCO: Did you enjoy the tour with Omen?
LORENZO: Hell yeah, we had great times with those crazy motherfuckers in Omen and Phantom-X and we had blasting shows and the opportunity to play in countries where we've never been before! Kenny Powell is totally crazy, there's a fucking good friendship between us and I had the change to play "Battle Cry" on stage with him in Milan, Italy. I grew up with that song, so I was moved. The tour has been a really good experience, except for a couple of mishaps, as you remember for Biebob show hehehe! The show in Belgium, Italy and Germany has been awesome!

MARCO: Are you guys satisfied with the recordlabel?
LORENZO: Well, it's our first record deal and we are a young thrash band from Italy, so at the moment we just need a good distribution to spread our music all over the world. And Mausoleum Records does it, so I can say we're satisfied. But I don't know what will happen in the future, now it's just time to sit down and take it easy and have fun with live shows.

MARCO: Are you guys looking forward to play a show at our "Tilburg Headbangers Fest" in late September?
LORENZO: Woooooooooow I'm in hurry to play there, I'm sure it will be a kickass festival! In Belgium it has been one of the best gig in 11 years of career thanks to y'all crazy mosherheadbangers, so I'm sure we're gonna raise hell there in Tilburg!

MARCO: What will the future bring for Hyades, maybe some patches and a Worldwide tour?
LORENZO: Ehehehe the first one it's possible. For the second one we just need money hahaha!

MARCO: Maybe something I'll forgot to ask?
LORENZO: Ahaha no, I think it can be enough!

MARCO: Any last words for our readers?
LORENZO: What else… see ya in Tilburg, guys and always… THRASH NOW, WORK LATER!!


ICY STEEL - Icy Steel (10 May 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hey Icy Steel! First of all congratulations with your great debut album. It sounds really great and tight, real metal just what I like! Are you all satisfied with the record and what are the reactions to it so far?
ICY STEEL: First of all, a big greet to all Metal Fans from Icy Steel! We're very satisfied about our first debut album "Icy Steel" 'cause it's an album that is collecting a big success, also if still in Underground level, it's very valid and it fills our heart of steel with pride! It's always effect-ful for a band (above all, for a underground band like us) to see that your own work realizes to be appreciated and understood by the people after all sacrifices you did to do it. So for now the only thing that we can be for us, is to be proud!

MARCO: Did you enjoy working with Volker and his Pure Steel Records?
ICY STEEL: Beh, we're very happy to be noticed by a serious label and devoted to steel as Pure Steel Records is, so we're still liking to work with them also if we're still at the beginning. Volker is a person with a big credibility and value, and this lets us be happy!

MARCO: How did your fans react on your debut record?
ICY STEEL: Our fans 'till now (and we hope that they will be in all the next future) gave much credibility to Icy Steel! "Icy Steel" is an album that our fans liked as well, in fact we're receiving many compliments still now on our space and also face to face!

MARCO: Who is your songwriter in the band and where did he gets his inspiration from?
ICY STEEL: In ICY STEEL doesn't exist a fixed songwriter 'cause each of us gives his proposal, write or edit the lyrics of our songs! We've got a such politic in our band which also in the end of the lyrics we didn't put any name of a single author for the lyrics and the musical parts, but every time you can only read a word that leaves you to catch who in reality writes and composes in the band…that is: ICY STEEL. Because the whole band is the real authoress!

MARCO: You guys started in 2005, how many demo's did you released before?
ICY STEEL: There's only a demo on our back, and it's the 2005 Demo which have been our real debut because Pure Steel Records noticed us after that!

MARCO: How can you describe your style of heavy metal, mostly I call it true epic heavy metal, sounds that okay ?
ICY STEEL: To be sure that's the more guessed term to describe us as well! Many has labeled us as Epic-Metal but in the reality our true roots oscillate between Epic and Heavy in equal way without one of them could be bigger than the other one. Obviously for a band would be great to be labeled in the more personal way possible, in our case: Icy Steel Metal… but always staying in a respectful path like Classic Metal of the immortals '80 years. However we think that the better way to describe us is exactly Epic/Heavy Metal… yeah, it sounds great!

MARCO: I heard many influences from bands as Bathory and Manowar do you like them and do you agree?
ICY STEEL: Yes we like them as well, but however as we already told, our influenced are not taken by one or two bands but they've got a total action-ray who takes all great bands of the eighties included these two who you listed. Then we also take many inspirations from Celtic Music in first line!

MARCO: In Germany your popularity is growing very fast, you even played some underground metal festivals like Swordbrothers. Did you enjoy playing such a true metal festival?
ICY STEEL: We never got his honor but concerning the Swordbrothers…we will have it so soon because ICY STEEL will perform in Germany at the same SwordBrothers Festival on December 22th, 2007! Don't miss it!

MARCO: Did you already played with some big bands and how was it like?
ICY STEEL: Nope, our shows are still in Underground lever and in the biggest part, they're in our island. We hope in the future there will be that possibility!!!!

MARCO: Did anyone of you ever played in another band before Icy Steel?
ICY STEEL: Everyone of us has played in another band before join ICY STEEL, but nothing that worth the mercy to mention also 'cause they were band with a first-approach bands, so nothing so serious as ICY STEEL are!

MARCO: It looks like the Italian scene is more living nowerdays, am I right?
ICY STEEL: On our modest opinion the Italian Scene is starting to have something to say about something really interesting in this last period, but all is still in improvement phase… We think there's still much to work, but we're very trusted about that!

MARCO: Are you visiting many gigs by your self and what are your favorite bands and influences?
ICY STEEL: We try to be in every metal show, that our face is still present in every show possible. But unfortunately sometimes we are forced not to be there 'cause we're all students and we don't have a big budget and if there's one, we always spend it on ICY STEEL. Our reference point are our ideals, and however, as we said before, our influences go to sink their roots in all Metal panorama of the '80!!!!

MARCO: Are there any plans for the future and what do you want to achieve with Icy Steel?
ICY STEEL: Our plan for the future is that in every single little part of the word, ICY STEEL can bring their Heavy Metal. That everyone may have the possibility to know them, and to play in front of the major crowd possible and with the "masters" of the genre. But we'd like to call them Ambitions, not much as Projects or Plans. For now we follow or career with degrees, just starting with the right foot and with all the determination who always characterized us!!!

MARCO: Thank you very much for your time! Do you have any last words for the readers and fans?
ICY STEEL: What to say… The pleasure it's all our. Many thanks for this wonderful interview! We'd like to greet all who support and love our music. A big greet from ICY STEEL to all of your readers and all of our fans, and to all warriors who fight to survive in the name of Metal, 'cause If there's not a strong hand between warriors, there's not an army who is able to win! WE SEE STEEL!

MARCO: We wish you all the best for the future and I really hope I can see you live onstage very very soon.


INTENSE - All Members (30 March 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Welcome guys! I've enjoyed your gig in Tilburg with Ruffians. So I want to ask you some questions. When did you guys met each other and when did you start this band?
INTENSE: The bands been around for a little while, around 98 was the time that Nick first came into this re-incarnation of Intense and from there we added the other guys. Steve is the newest member and he's been in the band about 3 years.

MARCO: Did you guys play in other bands before Intense or still are?
INTENSE: I've only ever done Intense but Nick has played in a couple of other bands that hadn't done much, Steve has played in a number of bands in and around the London area and gave up his last band to concentrate on Intense. Dave plays occasionally in a covers band and is our 70's rock jukebox. Neil plays in a couple of bands as he wants to drum as much as he can, they're quite different to Intense though.

MARCO: Did you have many line-up changes or is the band still original?
INTENSE: In the early days we went through line up changes, we must have been through every problem in the book, girlfriend a problem, drug addiction, unprofessional attitude, musical differences etc etc things have settled down in recent times though and we all get on really well.

MARCO: What are the main influences of the band musically and what kind of stuff do you all listen to?
INTENSE: As a band we promote ourselves as being "Dark" Power metal influenced more by the American/UK side of things than the European. I listen to a lot of Iced Earth,Blind Guardian, Kamelot, Within Temptation, Epica etc etc Nick is a big Dream Theater freak, Steve listens to a lot of thrash/death metal, Dave a lot of rock as well his metal and Neil again is a bit DT fan and also likes his progressive stuff.

MARCO: The time between your first album "Dark Season" and the second "Second Sight" spans 7 years, why did it take so long to make another album?
INTENSE: After the success of "Dark Season" we planned an album and did a demo which was really heavy, that was as heavy as I wanted to go but at rehearsals the guys were playing Machine Head and other growly stuff.. I really didn't see Intense being that kind of band or me singing that kind of stuff.. I wanted Intense to be a power metal band and that would suit my vocal style. I had a meeting with the guys and explained how I felt. From there I re built the band. That obviously took a while plus I lost my mother in 2000 and it took a while for me to come to terms with that.

MARCO: Are the first 2 albums in the same musical veins as "As Our Army Grows" because here in Holland we are not familiar with those records. So maybe a re-release so that we can get them more easily?
INTENSE: I suspect Napalm will wait a few albums before considering releasing our early stuff (ha ha) but yeah, it would be nice to get our early material out to a bigger crowd. "Dark Season" was released on my own label so had very limited distro and "Second Sight" didn't fair too much better. "Dark Season" was a 6 track EP and was very in your face I think,… "Second Sight" isn't too far away from "As Our Army Grows, you'd know it was Intense.

MARCO: Are you guys satisfied with the new album and did you enjoy the tour with Ruffians?
INTENSE: We're very happy with the new album, of course you always hear things that you'd like to have changed but if you worried about that you'd never finish in the studio. I think Karl and Rich really did a great job with us. We only did a couple of shows with the Ruffians but they seemed like nice guys and we enjoyed the experience for sure.

MARCO: Are you guys satisfied with the recordlabel? I just read that you've inked a deal with Napalm Records?
INTENSE: Yeah that's right we signed to Napalm in January. So far I've been very impressed with everyone I've dealt with at the label, they're very committed to making us a success and are giving us great promotion which is exactly what we've been looking for.

MARCO: The sound at the Tilburg-gig was very poor but have you still enjoyed your stay and playing in Holland?
INTENSE: Yeah it wasn't the best but we are pleasantly surprised when we DO get a good sound so we get used to it. We were treated very well in Holland and Emillio who promoted the shows for us was a really great guy who we want to work with again… we'll definitely be coming back.

MARCO: What will the future bring for Intense?
INTENSE: I hope success but we'll die trying anyway (ha ha), after most of the promotion has been done for the album release we'll look at touring as much as we can for the rest of the year and then we need to think about the next album.

MARCO: Any last words for MMM readers?
INTENSE: Thanks for reading… check out the album I hope you like it and if we play your town come down an get down the front!!!!!!!!!

MARCO: Thanks man…. see you again!
Marco van Empel

ISKALD - Aage Krekling (vocals,drums) (2 November 2008)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen, Heesch, The Netherlands)


Last month I was pleasantly surprised by the second cd of Iskald. In the review for "Revelations of Reckoning Day" I wrote that the band has so much potential that they maybe could fill the gap that Emperor has left in 2002 when they retired from the scene. After 3 attempts to do the interview by phone I almost give up hope. Nevertheless I got my answers by mail from Aage (vocals,drums) right after the deadline for this months edition.

DENNIS: Please introduce Iskald to the readers of www.mariosmetalmania.com
AAGE: Iskald is a melodic extreme metal band from north of Norway. Currently we're situated in Bodø. Simon and me started Iskald around 4 years ago, after we both meet and wanted to play dark music. Musically we have been taking some major step during our short career, developing from a kind of traditional Norwegian black metal thing, to include more elements and ideas into our music. We have released one MCD, Northern Twilight and two full-length albums. Shades of Misery resulted in a big uplift for the band back in 2007, and with our new album, Revelations of Reckoning Day, we hope to reach even future. So far the response have been absolutely outstanding.

DENNIS: You guys went all the way to Berlin to record "Revelations Of Reckoning Day". What can you tell us about the recording process?
AAGE: The reason we went to Berlin was because the label knew two Greece producers situated there. We got in contact early in the process and planned the recording strictly. Also a pre-production was recorded before we left. The recording process went on for about three weeks. First we recorded the guitars, then the drums, the bass and a last the vocals. As we were really good prepared and focused everything worked out as it should in the end. The mixing and master was done over the next weeks in the same studio.

DENNIS: The 2008 version of Iskald consists of two members. Why have the other two members chosen to become live members only?
AAGE: We realized that Iskald work out best with Simon and me only. We tried to add some more members to the line-up, but they didn't have so much to offer. And since we both know what Iskald should be about, we just decided to use live session members instead. But they're close friends to us, and it works out perfectly at the moment.

DENNIS: At the time you were being formed (2005) what bands, writers or maybe visual artists inspired you?
AAGE: In the beginning we where really inspired by bands like Immortal I remember. We kind of wanted to sound like them and use the same corpse paint etc. But soon we realized that we had something more to offer and could do our own thing. And as I said earlier, we started adding more elements into our music, and didn't focus on being someone else. But of course we listen to a lot of different music and get inspiration from many things. That combination I believe is why we sound like we do naturally. If I should mention two bands, I'd have to say Emperor and Dissection.

DENNIS: When you write a song. Do you start with a visual concept, a riff or something else?
AAGE: It depends. Mostly Simon comes up with a riff and forms the song based on that. Then we meet in the rehearsal space and arrange the different parts or the whole song together. When we do it this way, the lyrics are normally brought into the process last. What we also have done, especially on Shades of Misery, is to write songs built on the lyrics. That way you get this special feeling based on the lyrics, which you can apply to the song.

DENNIS: The second wave of black metal gave birth to so many great bands from Norway. Many people think that the evolution of black metal has ceased after that period. What is your opinion about this and what can Iskald add to the 2008 scene?
AAGE: That's not what I feel. There are a lot of "new" great bands that has something to offer the scene. In one way or another the biggest black metal bands from Norway will stop playing some day. Then there has to be someone to take over the throne and bring the genre further. We hope to get there someday. For that you'll need to work hard, bring in some new ideas and also a bit of luck. I think Iskald stands out as a modern black metal band with many new exiting elements, as well as keeping some old school elements alive.

DENNIS: What are the goals to your art, is there a goal to art itself?
AAGE: The artwork is important to us, and is an important part of a total image. We want our art to be outstanding as well as fitting into our music and lyrics. Our designer, Robert Høyem, is doing a remarkable job for us. As well as understanding what we want, the results just keeps getting better. As for the artwork on our new album, it represents what most of the lyrics are about. The figure on the front represents Doomsday; it's the creature who is sent out to sweep the aura of death and endless suffering across the earth.

DENNIS: I understand that you guys come from Bodo located in northern area of Norway. Since it is such an important subject concerning your lyrics. What can you tell our readers about this area in Norway?
AAGE: Bodø is indeed a harsh city. From October to April the snow normally surrounds the landscape and it's freezing cold. At 4.00am it's normally pitch dark in this period too. Some could say that it's myth or joke that this have something to do with our music, but it can for sure be a depressing time where a lot of ideas a brought to life.

DENNIS: Is there any change that we will see the band on tour in the near future? Are you guys looking forward to play in particular countries?
AAGE: We have actually been confirmed for our first European tour, taking place February 2009. Check out our official website for further into, as the tour can't be announced yet. We hope to do a lot of shows next year all around Europe. Looking forward to play in Germany and of course The Netherlands.

DENNIS: Thanks for your time. Any famous last words for our readers at www.mariosmetalmania.com?

AAGE: Thanks for your time. Check out our band for cold melodic black metal from the north! Hails from Aage Krekling/Iskald

JACOB'S DREAM - John Berry (guitar) ( 8 May 2005 )
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov, New York, USA)


STAN: What is the current line-up?
JOHN: We have Jon Noble back on guitar, Gary Holtzman has returned to the drums as he played on our demo CD back in '96. As always James Evans on bass, me on guitar and guitar synth, and the new kid on the block is Chaz Bond, formerly of Biogenesis.

STAN: How is the new album coming along? Are you soon ready to finally release it?
JOHN: The CD should be in the stores by May 3rd. Best buy, Wal-mart, Media Play, pretty much everwhere.

STAN: How will it sound compared to your self-titled release and ''Theater of War''?
JOHN: I don't think it's really a departure from those CD's. More like a step further in the direction we were heading. In fact I spoke with our former lead vocalist yesterday and he said it sounded like the CD he always wanted to write.

STAN: Is the band handling production duties on the new record?
JOHN: Yes for the most part, we had some help from old friends with running the board while we were tracking drums.

STAN: There were new album titles like ''Third Way'', ''Magic Garden'', ''Rotunda Pigs'', and others, I believe. Are they still being used on the new album, or have you come up with others?
JOHN: ''Third Way'' is on the CD. The other tracks were ideas for 'Theater of War' that were never fleshed out.

STAN: After David Taylor left the band, you recruited another singer. Sadly later, he died in an accident (or that's what I heard). How did this tragedy effect the band?
JOHN: Yes, he did die in a traffic accident, actually he wasn't in the band yet but he was a great guy and we really liked him. It was very hard news for us. It really brought home the fact that life is fleeting. You never know what tomorrow will bring.

STAN: Are their any plans to re-record your old demo songs like "The Outer Realm" and "The Jewel", now that you've got Chaz Bond as your new singer?
JOHN: I don't think those songs will be retracked. They stand up still to the test of time and feel like classic J.D. to me.

STAN: Do you think the line-up you're carrying now is the best so far?
JOHN: Absolutely! We have the best live show ever and we get along great.

STAN: How much input does each member of the band have? [In song-writing]. Please explain the process on how a full Jacobs Dream song is achieved.
JOHN: One of us usually has at least a riff or a chorus and verse or something and we build on it from there. If we don't have any immediate inspiration for the part we will just record it and come back to it later. It's really a team process, though Chaz came in kinda late on this CD. We tried to let him loose as much as he wanted to.

STAN: How have your album sales been in Europe? Alot better than here in the States, I assume.
JOHN: Yes, in general the sales are better but I think it's only because we get better exposure there. I think we could do much better here in the States if the radio would play more music like us. We have never played for crowds who flat out did not like us here, people just don't hear enough melodic stuff to have a real appetite for it.

STAN: Will you be playing any shows in the U.S.? What about some European dates/festivals?
JOHN: We have a few shows booked here. Some acoustic sets too, but so far nothing for Europe.

STAN: Are their any bands that you'd like to tour with?
JOHN: Anyone. Anywhere. But really we have our heros from the old school that we would love to hook up with.

STAN: What are your feelings towards illegal music downloading?
JOHN: It's stealing money from my pocket. That's how I feel about it.

STAN: What do you think of the current metal scene here in the States?
JOHN: It's getting better, I think the latest Ozzfest line-up reflects that. On a local level even the death metal bands we see are playing old school covers like Helloween and stuff.

STAN: Thanks for doing this interview. Do you have any final words to all the readers out there?
JOHN: Thanks to you and all the headbangers out there who keep it real. God bless ya!


KAMELOT - Thomas Youngblood (Guitars) ( 10 April 2005 )
(Interviewer: Marjon Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)

MARJON: First I'd like to congratulate you with the success that "The Black Halo" already is. You must be really satisfied about it?
THOMAS: Thank you very much, we're very happy with the response on the press and the fans. Now that we're doing this tour, the album is only out for a week and a half, we can't complain to really a nice turnout to the crowd, you can see that the fans already bought the record, they know the songs. It's exciting.

MARJON: Did you expect this great response?
THOMAS: Well, you always hope for the best, with every record you try to do your best, in the studio and then the writing process, so you always really hope for the best, you must have realistic expectations, and sometimes things don't come out like you want them to, and you feel disappointed but yeah, so far the reviews have been fantastic and the sales have been great, so we definitely can't complain.

MARJON: It's the second album based on the Faust story, as many of your fans already know. Was it always the intention that there would be two parts?
THOMAS: Yeah definitely. We just weren't sure whether we wanted to do part 2 now, or wait after doing a couple of normal concept albums, but we had the story written, we wanted to put it out there and sort of have it in our past. So the idea was to do it now, not call it Epica 2 because it's a totally separate sort of entity, musically and lyrically, but much like Faust part 2. It's a little bit darker in comparison to the original Epica which was based on part 1.

MARJON: How does a song come together with you guys? First the music, then the lyrics, or vice versa?
THOMAS: Technically always the music first, and then the vocal melody we put down. That might be a humming something or so, we might have a lyric that's a part of the idea of a melody and we keep that lyric, and maybe base a song around that, but 99% we work on the music first and then the melody and then put the lyrics out last.

MARJON: Before you go on tour, how do you come up with the working setlist? Like who picks the songs, or does it change with every performance?
THOMAS: Yeah, we're always messing around with the setlist, not necessarily for the fans, but also for ourselves, sometimes we try different songs live, we haven't played the same setlist more than 2 or 3 times, since we've been on this tour that makes it fun. In the past we used to play the same setlist every night, and then when we had fans coming to different shows, they didn't really have anything new to see, now it makes it more dynamic and fun for everybody.

MARJON: I must say that I was surprised to hear Shagrath (Dimmu Borgir) appearing on "The Black Halo" but his voice interprets the Mephisto character very well. Who's idea was it to ask such a singer for the songs?
THOMAS: The idea to use a black metal vocalist came from our singer Khan, and then we started talking about who we wanted to do the part and obvious the nr. one choice was Shagrath. He is a big personality within the black metal scene, and the fact he is Norwegian too is also a benefit, because our singer is from Norway and they live literally 15 minutes apart from each other, so we approached Shagrath about doing the part. It was very easy for them to come together, and work in the studio and all.

MARJON: You apply some religious and philosophical themes in your songs. Do these apply to your own beliefs as well?
THOMAS: General yes, I mean we kinda started to use our own personal feelings about things on the album "Karma", each record got more personal, like the song Don't you cry, that's about my father, stuff like that. I think that for us to do this like all the time, you can't really avoid not putting some of your own personal feelings and thoughts about life in the lyrics.

MARJON: This question has probably been asked to you before, but are there any plans to tour in the United States in the near future?
THOMAS: We're actually talking to different management people in the US, and different artists right now, can't really mention names, but we're working on two different for the US to do a tour there. It's time for us to do that. We're selling good now in the US, the reviews for "The Black Halo" in the US have been great, the fans want to see us. It's really hard because of the size of the country, everybody that tours the US know it's pretty cool, but, if you're not playing days and have a decent amount of people doesn't make a lot of sense. Financially, playing a concert for 50 people isnt good, that's why we untill now haven't been able to do that.

MARJON: How does the future of Kamelot look like after this tour? A well deserved vacation I think. And after that you already have ideas for a new album
THOMAS: The next album will be definitely non-concept, it will be a straight album like "Karma" or the fourth "Legacy" but offcourse using something new. After this European tour we'll be home for a week, then we go to Japan for a week, then we basically take some time off to be with our families and recharge our batteries. Then we come back for Europe in September, October to do more shows in Holland, UK, Sweden, Norway, so it's gonna be a busy year.

MARJON: 'Memento Mori' is my favourite song from "The Black Halo", what is yours?
THOMAS: 'Memento Mori is my favourite song too. Unfortunately we can't do that song life on this tour because it's 9 minutes long, and we have a lot of songs we want to play, but we do a variation of this song tonight on instrumental. Yeah it's one of my favourites also, 'When the lights are Down' is one of my favourites and 'Abandoned', but if I had to pick one it would be 'Memento Mori'.

MARJON: "Epica" had great reviews and it was a great album. Was there much pressure for this album? Did you have the feeling that it should be better than the last one?
THOMAS: "The Fourth Legacy" had good reviews, "Karma" had good reviews, so every time it's a challenge, you can't do better then 10 you know, but you just have to satisfy yourself, and then hope for the best. We try not to put that pressure on ourselves, if you always try to live up to that with each record, then I think you might loose to focus on what's really important and that's writing the best album you can, and not worrying about the review. If you can do that usually it works out anyway.

MARJON: Do you have any idea how much people relate to your songs, and how much songs can mean something to them?
THOMAS: Sometimes, last night we played in Brussels, we did the song "Don't you Cry", partially in French, and after the show a girl came to me and was crying and said that the song meant so much to her because she had lost her mom. When you hear things like that, it's really cool that you did something or wrote something that meant special to someone, we hear stories from fans about certain lyrics and songs that touched their spirit, and that's special.

MARJON: Why did you decide to record 2 videos at the same time, and released them at the same time?
THOMAS: We released them on the web at the same time, but they haven't been released to the video stations at the same time, and that's just because we wanted to make a big push on the release for the first month of the album. We did two videos at the same time because we knew we were going to do two videos, but we didn't see the sense in flying to Sweden one time, spending the money for that flight, and then come back and flying again and spending the money again, so the logic behind it was to take advantage of going over there one time and do two videos. They both have extremely different looks, so it not looks like we did them at the same day and same stage for that time.

MARJON: Well you could have saved one for later...
THOMAS: It's hard to say which one people like the best, a lot of people like 'March of Mephisto' better, if we waited to release that one, they might not buy the record right away, so a lot of different psychological pros and cons to releasing the videos in either together or whenever. The most important thing in terms of a video being released, is when it's on a video station, they want one at a time. When you really grow you get the chance to have a fan website, people that go to the website now, or they know about the band , apart of doing the videos is also to grow our fanbase, and get people that haven't heard of the band or heard what we're about, to see a video at all. I like that.

MARJON: Can you name some highlights of your career?
THOMAS: Oh. Well, For sure when we played in Japan on the "Epica" tour, the first time we went to Japan, and that's always a dream of mine to tour in Japan. Of course the first time we came to Europe on tour. Actually the first show we played on tour was here in Holland with a band called Elegy that was always a highlight to me. Doing the videos, my very first videos for the first time in Sweden was a highlight for me.

MARJON: Was it fun?
THOMAS: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. We didn't have any pressure so yeah, there are always little things like that, and new goals we want to achieve and accomplish, that keeps us working harder and driving for this new adventure.

MARJON: And some non-highlights?
THOMAS: I can remember some shows back on that same tour I was talking about when we came to Holland first, where there were like 50 people, and nobody advertised the concert. And when we're playing basketball with half the people over there. But we've been fortunate, we can't really complain about our career, we've been able to grow with each album. Of course sometimes you want it to go quicker but we're really happy

MARJON: Is there a song that you wish you had written?
THOMAS: "Welcome to the jungle" I think, it has the coolest guitar riff, but that's not really our style. I don't really think about that when I hear a song, I really appreciate it when somebody else was creative and was original.

MARJON: What is your favourite Kamelot song?
THOMAS: I can't pick one, Karma, Forever I love, Memento Mori, I just can't pick one. When time goes on, your favourites get replaced by others. Each album has favourite songs.

MARJON: Is there any advice you could give to aspiring musicians out there?
THOMAS: Yeah, I would say focus on writing songs before worrying about like being technical, in the end that's what's really important, that you can write a song, you'll stay in the business longer, that'll be my advice.

MARJON: The songs from "The Black Halo", did you write them in the order they are now?
THOMAS: No, the first song we wrote was 'Nothing Ever Dies', the last song we wrote was 'The Haunting'. We wrote that in the pre-production, we didn't even know that there was gonna be a song till last a few days, those kind of things happen, little special events sort of happen that way, when you're creating a new album. 'March of Mephisto' was one of the first ones.

MARJON: Is there anything you'd like to say, to add or to ask?
THOMAS: Yeah, thank you for the interview, it's been my pleasure, thanks to all the fans for the support, in the past, present and the future, and we'll be back in the fall.


KAMPFAR - Dolk (vocals) (2 November 2008)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen, Heesch, The Netherlands)


Kampfar is a band which I have been following since the beginning. There is no other band that can mix Norwegian folklore with black metal this good. With "Heimgang" they released one of the top notch albums from 2008. It is with great pleasure that I here present you the answers Dolk gave me before there show in Roermond.

DENNIS: Could you please tell me the main differences between "Kvass" and "Heimgang"?
DOLK: Well, the first obvious thing is: "Kvass" was more a record to "sketch up to road" so to say. It was more like a highway to me. With "Heimgang" we are more on the right track. It is the first album that really putts out that we are four equal members now. Not only me and Thomas anymore. I think you can hear that it really is an album made by the whole band. Besides this "Heimgang" is also a more dynamic album. With "Kvass" we all know that "Ravenheart" was the song that really stood out. With this album that is not the case, we all have different opinions about each song. The whole album is more equal and directly.

DENNIS: Even the title of the new album which roughly translates itself to the path between our world and the underworld bears evidence of a very opionated band. Could you explain the basics of your beliefs and how they are carried into the music?
DOLK: Especially with this album. Because this album is more directly. What I mean with this is that the lyrics are more taken from my home area. These are my thoughts. "Heimgang" is not dealing with ancient stories. It is much more an album about historical events about my hometown 200 years ago and the forces of nature. The things that people saw in that nature and that really rounded their lives. That kind of superstition is totally gone now in Norway. It is a way to explain and to teach the people a little bit about what has been forgotten all these years.

DENNIS: I understand that you guys come from Fredrikstad located in the south of Norway. Since it is such an important subject concerning your lyrics. What can you tell our readers about this area in Norway?
DOLK: First of all I have lived in Fredrikstad for 32 years but I now moved to a much more smaller place called Larvik. I think that Larvik shows more of the essence of Norway. It is a really small place and personally I call it little Norway because I think it has everything Norwegian nature has to offer. Of course I have lived in Fredrikstad for 32 years and there are my roots. There is a lot of history there and that's a good thing about it. You can still hear that in the lyrics. The thing that is not as good is the nature itself. It is just a one hour drive to Sweden you know. So it is kind of flat.

DENNIS: The songs on the new album are all shorter than on "Kvass" Was there a reason for this?
DOLK: There was no obvious reason for this. It just turned out to be. But in the other way we just wanted to do a diverse album with lots of different songs. Not just tearing the parts out and make very lengthy songs.

DENNIS: At the time you were being formed (1994) what bands writers or maybe visual artists inspired you?
DOLK: That's really a hard question but I can't forget to mention Bathory. Especially in 1988 when they released "Blood Fire Death". Afterwards I can say that this album really formed me in some kind of way. If I must say something about artists inspiring me it has to be Bathory! The other thing about the black metal thing coming up in 1991/1992. That was also inspiring you know but than I was already in it. So it was nothing revolutionary for me. "Blood Fire Death" let me see in what kind of direction you could go.

DENNIS: The second wave of black metal gave birth to so many great bands from Norway. Many people think that the evolution of black metal has ceased after that period. What is your opinion about this?
DOLK: A lot of magazines ask me those questions. I always say that this is a two headed monster. In 1991/1992 things started to happen in Norway: That church burnings, murder etc. It went into this kind of media hype that you can't even imagine. When you were living in Norway that time was really crazy. The police were going through my mail each week and stuff like that. It was like total anarchy.

DENNIS: I always thought that Kampfar was not a real part of this circus.
DOLK: That's right but Norway is a small country. I think that someone had told something to the police. It was a strange time, a different time which you can't compare to the scene nowadays. In the other hand when we are talking about the early stage of the second wave of black metal things were going in very wrong direction. A lot of people in Norway turned out to be the worst/true. People said things that they didn't mean. In that way I really dislike that period because people thought it was the rule to talk bull shit. You have to say this, you have to say that to become true. You couldn't take people seriously at that time. But if we compare that time to now it is a complete different thing. I think that black metal has lost a lot of its essence but there is much more room to relate now because people are more open. People can tell what they like and what they dislike.

DENNIS: Don't you think that black metal has more options to grow. It has more sub genres than lets say death metal.
DOLK: Probably. It is quite hard for me to answer that. I don't like it to see Satyricon on MTV telling about the gossip in Hollywood. For me that is so strange because it has nothing to do with the essence.

DENNIS: Do you think that Kampfar is an underappreciated band?
DOLK: I don't know. We have always been a band that is lying in the underground and the media also says that we are a band in the shades. For me that is totally o.k. I can live with that. If I would do these thing to become rockstar I would probably search for more easy solutions. But we try to stick with what we do and in that way we are really happy because the people that come to our shows and like Kampfar are really into it. So in that way we are appreciated. We are a band that's lying in the top of the underground or the bottom of the major if you know what I mean.

DENNIS: But how important is evolution both musically and lyrically than to you?
DOLK: It is very important to me. In the media I always read that Kampfar tries to stick with what they do. But we always try to go further. If we succeed in this that is not up to me to say. What I can say is that the new album is a step in the right direction. And we still haven't made the perfect album but we're on the right track though.

DENNIS: What do you usually consume your time with when you are not writing material/lyrics for Kampfar?
DOLK: I can say that I'm a lucky guy. I have a normal job, but the thing is that I have a good relationship with my boss. He is actually a friend of mine and I can work when I want to work and I go on tour whenever I want to. So this is what I do besides Kampfar. It sometimes is difficult to explain to people but there's something going on with Kampfar every day. The last 15 years with Kampfar has been 15 years with Kampfar every day working or not. It's like 2 or 3 hours on daily basis.

DENNIS: Feel free to give our readers a piece of your mind.
DOLK: Yeah, that's a hard one! Well what's on my mind right now is that I'm here with some great friends that's why we play here today. It is because of Marcel (merchandise) who lives nearby Roermond that we are here. We are going to have a nice evening with our friends. It is the last show of the tour.

DENNIS: And next year there will be a performance at the famous Wacken festival. DOLK: Yeah, that's really something to look forward to.

KEEP OF KALESSIN - Obsidian C. (Guitarplayer) (3 June 2008)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen , Heesch, The Netherlands)


With "Kolossus" Keep of Kalessin delivered the follow up to their highly acclaimed 2006 album "Armada". Epic as a battle in one of Peter Jacksons movie the album unfolds itself as a strong contender for best record of the year. It is time to fire the questions to Obsidian C. who is obvious glad with the new record.

DENNIS: Could you tell me the main difference between "Armada" and "Kolossus"?
OBSIDIAN C.: Well I think Kolossus is the bigger more epic album and more variation in the songs. The vocals are also different; they have developed a lot since Armada. Last of all the album is more melodic. We didn't want to make a typical black metal album. The guitars are so melodic that we did not want to emphasize them under screaming vocals all the time.

DENNIS: What could you tell us about the lyrics? I didn't receive them with my promo copy.
OBSIDIAN C.: The lyrics are a continuation of "Armada". Taking the world to the next level and, going against the Gods, bring down the Gods and become a God themselves. It is mainly an epic story.

DENNIS: What can you tell me about the production?
OBSIDIAN C.: It is the same as on "Armada". We recorded it in live our own studio and went for a more organic sound. So no pasting or clipping techniques are being used.

DENNIS: With the new record Keep of Kalessin again has a new record company. You guys changed from Tabu records to Indie recordings. Why is that?
OBSIDIAN C.: We think that Indie recordings that collaborates with Nuclear Blast Records can really bring the band to the next level. Tabu records did not have the inputs Keep of Kalessin needs to grow. Besides that Espen and Eric who are running Indie recordings were also the ones who started Tabu records. So it was very natural for me to follow them to their new label.

DENNIS: Are there already plans to promote the album live?
OBSIDIAN C.: We will be doing some of the summer festivals in Norway. Besides that we will play at The Summer Breeze festival in Germany. After that we have a lot of touring coming up during the fall. Including a headlining tour in the U.K. and Scandinavia.

DENNIS: This tour also includes Holland and Belgium?
OBSIDIAN C.: Yes, we have just been confirmed for a tour with Marduk and Kataklysm which will bring us to Holland and I think Belgium too. This will really be a big tour.

DENNIS: Do you still consider Keep of Kalessin being a black metal band?
OBSIDIAN C.: Not really. We are definitely releasing black metal but it has also developed a lot. Our lyrics are. We are not so focused on being dark and evil as most of the other black metal bands. We are more focused on bringing big and powerful music to the audience. In a way I would surely say we are black metal. In another way if someone who is not familiar with metal ask me what style we play I would say we play black metal. But if someone in the black metal scene would ask me the same question I would have answered something like that we do not consider ourselves as a black metal band. I like the term "epic, extreme metal" very well.

DENNIS: What do you think when you take a look at today's black metal scene?
OBSIDIAN C.: I think there are some good bands but besides that I think the scene lacks a lot of atmosphere. The atmosphere that was there in the mid nineties. Most of the bands are only following but there are few that give the scene something new and unique. There is a lot of retro stuff going on. Bands want to sound like Venom, Hellhammer, Bathory for example. Keep of kalessin tries to bring black metal to the next level.

DENNIS: I think that with "Kolossus" you guys found your own sound. No, other band sounds like you guys. I mean there is so much going on in your music as well.
OBSIDIAN C.: I think your right. We have probably created our own style within the extreme metal.

DENNIS: At this time what bands, writers, visual artists or movies inspired you?
OBSIDIAN C.: There are lot of movies and computer games. Movies like: Chronicles of Riddick and Alexander were a big inspiration. Regarding computer games, you can see on the cover that Oblivion inspired us a lot.

DENNIS: Listening to Keep of Kalessin I sometimes see a picture of a great epic battle were much is destroyed. Some people view violence as inherently evil. What do you feel is the role of violence?
OBSIDIAN C.: I am not that much focused on being evil. I do not think I have to avoid the sun because I think I am so evil. All humans need the sun to survive. I like to spend my days in the sun. We have enough darkness here in Norway. Violence is a human thing, I guess but for most people it is an evil thing.

DENNIS: How is life in Norway at the moment? A few years ago I went on vacation to the south of Norway. It is a beautiful country.
OBSIDIAN C.: Yes, it is. I am from Trondheim which is located more in the middle of Norway. The weather is much colder here than it is in Oslo. Oslo is also becoming more Western with crimes and all that stuff. It has all the problems that the big cities have. There is not much to do in Oslo than drink and go out. It does not have the vanity of other cities.

DENNIS: I also thought Bergen (second biggest city) was more beautiful than Oslo.
OBSIDIAN C.: Yeah, you are right so is Trondheim especially during the summer months. At this time it is fucking cold and there has been a lot of snow.

DENNIS: You also know Snorre Ruchs from the band Thorns. He is located in Trondheim too if I am not wrong?
OBSIDIAN C.: Yes, I know him. I heard he is working on a new Thorns album right now. We will wait and see.

DENNIS: Do you think it is impossible for a human being to escape politics?
OBSIDIAN C.: I do not think so, because if you want to live in a society and built a house for example.

DENNIS: I am asking you this question because I have the feeling that people in Norway with all its nature could more easily escape from politics than people in a densely populated area.
OBSIDIAN C.: It is definitely easier when you live in the forest but politics are always there so we have to cope with them.

DENNIS: Alright Obsidian thanks for your time and see you guys in Amsterdam at the end of the year.
OBSIDIAN C.: We are ready to conquer!


KILLER ( 8 May 2005 )
(Interviewer: Ruud Fleskens, The Netherlands)

RUUD: Hello Killer! How are you guys doing at the moment?
KILLER: We are doing very well, just did a great gig last weekend and the new album is about to be released very soon. We are ready for the attack.

RUUD: How is the recording of the new album going?
KILLER: The new album was recorded and mixed during januari/febr in Germany at Kohlekeller studio in Darmstadt. Release date end of May.

RUUD: What kind of album is it gonna be? Something like "Broken Silence" or something different?
KILLER: The new album is quite different from previous "Broken Silence", but it still contains the typical Killer sound. Guitars are again more important this time and keyboards more functional and less present. The songs are more true metal orientated and very catchy. Also the German production is very good, The album is a real blast.

RUUD: Can you tell me something about the songs? Is it a concept album?
KILLER: It is not a concept album, probably next album will be. Most of the songlyrics are going about everyday life, if you look at tv news or read newspapers, you have inspiration enough to make a lot of songs about. A few songs are telling personal stories. There are 12 songs on the album. One of them is an instrumental guitar symphony (hello Yngwie) / 4 or 5 songs are uptempo doublebass monsters / a few melodic neo-classic metal songs / on "Broken Silence" we had an Eastern sounding song "In the land of the Pharaoh", now this time we have a very catchy folky celtic metalsong "Highland glory".
The entire album sounds very classic like Judas Priest meeting Malmsteen and Saxon. We listened a lot to the opinions of our fans and we give them what they realy want and need.
The previous album was a bit more symphonic and more complexe because for our comeback we would show everybody how good we can play. We made that album for ourselves. Anyhow Broken Silence is still a splendid album. But now we don't need to prove our technical ability anymore, we just made a simple hard hitting metal album which stands as a rock with all neccessary ingredients.

RUUD: Any idea when the new album comes out yet?
KILLER: Benelux early June / Germany and other countries September I guess
RUUD: What's the idea behind the new album-name "Immortal"?
KILLER: The title track "Immortal" goes about the fact that even when we will be physically dead, our music and heavy metal-music in general will still be alive. Even Elvis and Beethoven are still alive after all these years.
There will always be someone-somewhere and sometime who will listen to one of my songs, music never dies, so in a way we are immortal, thats what I would say with the song even if you don't like us, someone else will.

RUUD: Who are in the band these days? Where are they from and do any of them play in other bands too?
KILLER: We have still the same line-up than on "Broken Silence". We also play all 4 in our splendid rock-metal coverband "Blackjack". Blackjack sounds of course as Killer playing covers. We all live in the same neighbourhood (Heist op den Berg / Belgium) which is an advantage of course.
Line up : Bass / Spin Drums / Vanne Keys / Dave Powell Guitars / vocals Shorty

RUUD: Are there already any future gig's planned in Europe and/or the US?
KILLER: We play a release party concert at the new rock-venue "Starz" in Sint Niklaas Belgium at the 4th of June. On 11/6 we play at the international "Outlaws" biker meeting in Mechelen (Belgium) after the summer we'll probably go on tour in Germany and maybe some other countries for final details check our website, several dates will be announced when confirmed www.4-killer.com (see LINKS)

RUUD: You did many gigs after the release of "Broken Silence"? Which one did you like the most?
KILLER: I like all gigs because I like being on stage, but of course our main stage appearance at the Graspop festival was great. Also supporting Motorhead at a sold out venue in Hardenberg Nl was great!

RUUD: Any plans for a live album or maybe a DVD?
KILLER: Yes, but no details available yet, we'll record a few shows in the future and see what comes out.

RUUD: What do you think about the metal scene in Belgium these days?
KILLER: Very disappointing, as a Belgian band you must cross the borders. There are only a few clubs and organisations who keep metal alive in Belgium. So do we!

RUUD: Do you maybe know something about a possible reunion of other oldschool bands from Belgium, like Ostrogoth or Crossfire? Are you in contact with these guys?
KILLER: I don't think there are any reunion plans, but you better ask them, not me. I meet this guys only very occasional.

RUUD: Whit which band would you love to tour?
KILLER: Any band who fits with us and who will bring us to a higher level, which means sold out venues.

RUUD: What is your connection with Mausoleum records?
KILLER: Very good up so far isn't Mausoleum Killer and vice versa ? we were one of their first bands and they gave us a rebirth 2 years ago. We still believe in each other.

RUUD: Thanks, last words are for Killer!
KILLER: Be immortal and buy our new cd, you won't regret it!!


LAAZ ROCKIT - Willy Langenhuizen (bassplayer) (30 August 2008)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen & Patrick van Lieshout , Heesch, The Netherlands)


After the reunion shows in 2005 most people thought Laaz Rockit would disappear forever. In 2008 it seems they are back for good. How strange can the music industry be? Me and a well known buddy from me (Patrick) asked Willy Langenhuizen this and some other things backstage on the floor at the Loud from the South festival. Armed with a six pack of Dommelsch beer he answered the questions and came up with some very interesting stories from "back in the day".

DENNIS & PATRICK: After the reunion shows back in 2005 you guys promised that 'that would be it. Why have you changed this decision?
WILLY: When we came over we only wanted to do one reunion show. We said we are just gonna do one and that's it. Me and Chuck were talking backstage and there were like 10 youngs kids from around 20 with Laaz Rockit t- shirts who said. You must make a new record, we like old trash. So we were like: there's a need for it and that's why we did the Dublin Death Patrol thing. We wrote some songs when we were 18 but never recorded them. It kinda snowballed. Testament was always gonna do another record. And with Laaz Rockit at one point we said: why not? When we were in Japan with Machine Head Phil Demmel asked us several times why we weren't releasing a new record.

DENNIS & PATRICK: Your album was released a month ago. How has the feedback been so far?
WILLY: Really good. Surprisingly in America where Heavy metal isn't all that positive. They only play heavy metal in college radio station. It's just overhere, in South America and Japan where it is really popular.

DENNIS & PATRICK: And what about the release party?
WILLY: Really great. It was in a place called Walmor Creek which is somewhere outside San Francisco. Death Angel showed up and even Phill Demmel (Machine Head, Vio-lence) was there. I did a project called Dublin Death Patrol with Phil on guitar and Chuck Billy.

DENNIS & PATRICK: I saw you guys at the Fields of Rock show last year.
WILLY: Yeah we did the Fields of Rock show but Phil didn't play and I was glad he didn't. You remember Machine Head not playing that day?

DENNIS & PATRICK: You played on the main stage but where scheduled on a smaller stage!
WILLY: Do you know how much it cost me to pay the bus driver off to say that the bus was broken?!! Hahahahahaha Just kidding. Phil was on stage with Slipknot and fell on stage again just like he did in Italy. So that was the real reason for Machine Head not coming to the Fields of Rock festival.

DENNIS & PATRICK: What are the differences between the 2008 version of Laaz Rockit and the one 20 years ago?
WILLY: A lot less hair except for me! Older and wiser and we have got a new drummer. He is much younger, really energetic and he's imposed by Mastodon and Slipknot. I think that shows up on the record. The last 20 years we have all had our ups and downs.

DENNIS & PATRICK: Did you guys feel any tension recording the new record. Somewhere in the back of your mind you knew that 3 other bands from your area released some great records.
WILLY: Not at all. We recorded the album with Juan Orteaga who worked with Machine Head and lots of other big artists. He did the engineering and co-produced it with Scott Sergeant our ex guitar player. It was really relaxed you know. We'd go in whenever we wanted to. It only took me 5 days to do my things for the record. There's always a friendly competition going on in the Bay Area and the funny thing is that we are the oldest band around. We all practise in the same studio. Chuck (Billy, Testament) grew up together. We all really get along well.

DENNIS & PATRICK: What can you tell me about the record deal? I have read that Chuck Billy tried to convince Nuclear Blast to sign you guys.
WILLY: Yeah, that's exactly what happened. Forbidden was the last band they signed. I talked with Jaap Aap (label owner Nuclear Blast). I really thought we would go to sign Nuclear blast because with did the record ourselves. It was a done product. The label liked it but I guess somebody said there were too much bands that play the same style on the label so they put us in contact with Massacre. And we are happy with the deal. Massacre seams to really push our music.

DENNIS & PATRICK: If you had to pick one album out of your discography which is your favourite?
WILLY: Probably "Know your Enemy" and you guys: "Annihilation principle". To me those two record sound as one. That was definitely the moment when we peaked.

DENNIS & PATRICK: And which was the most successful?
WILLY: Definitely "Annihilation Principle"

DENNIS & PATRICK: Are there any points in your career which you would do different if you had the change?
WILLY: Well if you have read the unknown unofficial official biography of Metallica you know I did an audition for the bass. I was really good friends with Cliff Burton (RIP). I hanged out a lot with James (Hetfield) at the times. We all were pretty close friends. At the time of the accident we were actually in the studio recording "Know your Enemy". They called me up and asked me if I wanted to audition. At first I said no but later on I realised that I just wanted to the songs with the guys just so that I could say I did it and live and die in peace right there. So I went in and just killed the audition. After the auditions they said o.k. it is between you and Newsted (Jason) You need to learn the whole set and then come back. It was like a week they gave me. Your gonna come in at Saturday and he's gonna come in on Friday. And you know, may the best man win. And so that whole week a really practised all the songs and I know a lot of people in their camp and they already said; "dude, you have got the job" Because I was a Bay area guy. My regret is I should have taken that week and really, really learn the parts. Because I thought I was good enough. I was wrong. You can't just walk in and play like Cliff Burton. He played with his fingers and I play with a pick mostly. At the end of the day, I didn't get the job. That's no shock to you guys. So I have that regret but, I used to have literally have nightmares. At that point I said: "Fuck it" I almost made it. For years and years after that literally I quit the music and started my own business and I am very motivated and successful. But at least two or three times I would wake up in the morning and really thought I was in Metallica. And then thought: fuck it was a dream again! When they were doing to St. Anger album Lars (Ulrich) called me and Andre Verhuysen (Aardschok magazine) and asked us to hang out with them. We went to the studio and later on to the bar and when that closed we went back to the studio and really partied on. And at the end of the night –and this is before they announced their new bass player- Lars goes: You know what Willy? "We fucked up men, we should have picked you over Newsted. And you know what ever since then I do not have that nightmare being in the band.

DENNIS & PATRICK: What will the future hold? Are there any plans to re-release more older albums?
WILLY: We are really working hard on getting that done. We want to put out all of them together and make it a really fair price. Maybe we will do a bit of re-mastering, but not too much and then put it out there. Next year were gonna come back for some shows. Play the Rockhard festival in Germany and some other festivals.

DENNIS & PATRICK: When I say Eindhoven what do you say?
WILLY: P.S.V.!

LANA LANE - Lane Lane (Singer) (29 February 2008)
(Interviewer: Mr. Globetrotter, Breda, The Netherlands)

Lana Lane entered her 11th year of symphonic rock with a new album called "Red Planet Boulevard". About time for Globetrotter to catch up with the lovely Lana and ask her about that album and the collaboration with a bunch of fine musicians.

GLOBETROTTER: The Red Planet Boulevard album did come out great! How have the responses been so far around the globe?
LANA: The response had been fantastic! Many reviewers have said that they thought the album had a new, fresh sound - this makes me very happy :)

GLOBETROTTER: This time, the number of musicians was limited to 4. How did that come about?
LANA: As you know, Peer and Ernst have recorded and played live with me for serveral years now. Working with eachother for so long has made us a well oiled machine. And Erik's bass parts really worked well with the songs, so it wasn't really necessary to hire a bass player. So, it kind of turned out to be a "Led Zeppelin-esque" line up ;)

GLOBETROTTER: You used to have more people joining in, amongst who were Mark McCrite, Neil Citron, Kelly Keeling, Don Schiff...was there; no need for any other musicians for whatever reason, and when do you decide to include more musicians while recording an album?
LANA: With this album, it just felt right to keep it parred down. The songs seemed to fall together quickly without a lot of added players. So, there wasn't really a need to add more people to the mix.

GLOBETROTTER: The combination of recording in the US and in Holland seems to work out perfectly; you once recorded a nearly complete album in Holland. Do you think that might happen again someday?
LANA: It is possible. However, things have become quite expensive because of the decline of the American Dollar. So travel, lodging and paying the players has all become a lot more expensive, so I don't see it happening in the near future.

GLOBETROTTER: You toured with Lana Lane and Rocket Scientists last year. Will there be any DVD material of that tour coming our way this year?
LANA: I hope so. We certainly took a lot of video of all the shows, and I think the plan is to release a "Lady Macbeth Live" DVD. I'm not sure if it will be this year - if it is, it probably won't be until the end of the year.

GLOBETROTTER: Where Lady MacBeth was a sort of concept album, Red Planet Boulevard seems more like an album with a message. What was the origin of this concept?
LANA: Red Planet Bloulevard is the journey one takes to the Red Planet. For me, "The Red Planet" represents all things that create extreme passion (fire) in someone (love, hate, etc.). In previous albums I have touched on three of the four elements ("Earth"-Garden of the Moon, "Water-Queen of the Ocean, air-Secrets of Astrology), and now "Fire"-Red Planet Boulevard. You see...there IS a method to my madness ;)

GLOBETROTTER: You started to use special software in order to write songs with all instruments involved. Does this give you a head start while composing?
LANA: I think so. Being that I can't read music, I am somewhat limited in my writing abilities. But now that I'm using the "Garage Band" software, there are a lot more options for me to use. It's really fantastic and I love being able to manipulate the loops (cut, edit, transpose) to what I want.

GLOBETROTTER: Like in all marriages, husband and wife have differences of opinion. Do you and Erik ever quarrel over songmaterial that either of you wrote or am I being too big a romantic?
LANA: Not really. Over the years we have learned to trust and respect eachother and have found that we make a really good team. Of course we may disagree on things, but the goal is always to make a quality album, so, sometimes you have to look past your own ego and try to choose songs/material that is best for the album.

GLOBETROTTER: What are your plans for 2008? Shall we be surprised?
LANA: There are some Rocket Scientists shows planned which I will be a guest singer in (Baja Prog, Classic Rock Society), and of course Erik is busy with Asia...so it will be a VERY interesting year! :)

GLOBETROTTER: Thank you Lana for giving our readers these insights and good luck for 2008 and whatever you will release !
LANA: You're most welcome; hopefully you will all come and see us when we play with Rocket Scientists this year!

LEAVES' EYES - Liv Kristine (Vocals) (24 April 2011)
(Interviewer: Frans Neelen, Stampersgat, The Netherlands)

On a very sunny Sunday we got the chance to have a talk with the charming frontlady of Leaves' Eyes, Liv Kristine, who are promoting their new album "Meredead" , which just entered the stores two days ago, by doing a tour with Midnattsol, Serenity and Sin7SinS. Knowing that she always takes the time for her fans and interviews there was no doubt that this should turn out to be a very pleasant conversation. As she said herself at the end of the interview; "Well I have been talking for ages like I always do, but I guess I'm the only rock person in this business who likes doing interviews". So laying down in the grass before the venue, Liv opened the doors of "Meredead" and guided us through this great new album.

FRANS: First of all, Thank you Liv for the opportunity of taking this interview for Mario's Metal Mania. We want to concentrate our questions on your new album "Meredead" which has come out two days ago. Listening to it, I was a bit surprised because it has a different approach according to your latest, successful album "Njord"; less bombastic, more folky, was this the reason how it was meant to be when you started the writing process?
LIV: Ehm, well when we started writing again, we decided to let loose all thoughts of genres or what we have done in the past. Just concentrate on what we feel and what was the most natural thing to do. So Thorsten and Alexander sat down and composed three songs and then I joined in and said like; "oh, okay I think I should sing this song in Norwegian and the other one in Old English", and they said "what !". I just sat down and wrote the lyrics and digged my no nose into Old English grammar books and learned a lot of traditional music of Scandinavia, how did they sing and all of that stuff and said; well let me try. After that we recorded a couple of demos and they guys agreed and confirmed that we should add more different spices to our music, so we give it a go. So we thought about the whistles, the backpipes, the nyckelharpa and all the other stuff. We also decided to concentrate ourselves on each song of the album. So "Meredead" is not a huge concept like "Njord" or "Vinland Saga". "Meredead" is more a very diverse album when it comes to the sound. From Celtic music, from Norwegian music or Scandinavian music and also each song has it's own text, it's own history to tell. We paid attention to the individuality of each song. That was our emotional process during the recording of "Meredead". So that's how it happened.

FRANS: Well, the album certainly gives you a medieval feel like if you're in the middle of a battle in the Scottish Highlands.
LIV: Yeah, that's exactly what we wanted to bring. Every story is linked to history or mythology; you'll find trolls, froya again, Vikings, celtic mythological heroes and even vampires on the album. So more different things, different characters, which need a different feel. When you hear the backpipes your in Scotland, but when you here the nyckelharpa you find yourself back in Norway.

FRANS: What also counts is the fact that youre voice has developed itself again. The use of different languages seems to have had a very positive effect on the use of it. It's even more versatile and smoother then it was before.
LIV: That was interesting, I always paid a lot of focus on development, even if I never studied music or took singing lessons, still I feel that there is always something that I need to learn. So I had intensely had to take a look at the Norwegian folksingers and I listened a lot to Maite Itoiz of Elfenthal whose voice I love and who does much of the medieval stuff and she also play a slot of string instruments. I have my own idols to, you know. So I sent here the track "Etain" and she said "I Love it" and she recorded her voice and sent it back to me. After listening to it I went back to the studio and recorded my voice again, because after listening to her contribution I thought I can do my part much better. It was inspiring, sometimes you just need a kick in the ass to improve yourself. So development for me is the most important thing.

FRANS: How did you met?
LIV: Our roads crossed at the MFVF 2010. We exchanged music. She is the wife of John Kelly from the Kelly Family. A few days later John called me and said he loved our music and asked if we could work together. Of course I said that it would be my pleasure. So we did songs with Maite and John as well. John is joining me on "Tell-Tale Eyes" which was original a track of the "Njord" area but we couldn't make it time wise to get it on the album, so it was kind of a left over. I felt sorry for it because I love it, I wrote it , it was my song.

FRANS: Well, I must agree it has more that "Nordic" feeling over it.
LIV: It's the first song in the history of Leaves' Eyes that has a particular message . It's about what we human beings have done to nature, to peoples like the Indians , Sami, the aboriginals and the guilt that has been transferred over the generations. John is often travelling to the rain forest where he has got a lot to do with certain projects so when he heard the song he said; this song is written for me, and I said well, feel welcome to join me. So that's how our friendship started. It would be a dream for me to share the stage with both of them.

FRANS: That would be amazing with so much high class vocals on stage.
LIV: Well, I know they do special shows in Spain with Elfenthal and they are working on a new album, so who knows.

FRANS: On this tour you are finally gathered with your sister. That must give a good feeling.
LIV: Yeah, for the first time on tour together and she is also joining me on stage in two songs; "Kravesia" and "Sigrlinn" and that is magic. When we are onstage and I look in her eyes I can't imagine that we are "working" on that moment. You know; normally when you meet your sister it's family time. So it's very nice to be on tour together.

FRANS: Also in the past, while you joined Theatre of Tragedy, you were never on tour together.
LIV: My sister grew up with Theatre of Tragedy, she was fed, there was nothing else.

FRANS: Like, "this is it baby!"
LIV: Yeah, I remember my sister was 10 years old when she was in the first row of a Theatre of Tragedy concert. There were problems because she was too young , under 18, so she wasn't allowed to get in. Intervention of me telling she is my sister didn't help so we had to get her in under the guidance of my parents. So she grew up with this and I must admit I'm kind of guilty of it.

FRANS: Did your parents like the show?
LIV: Yes, my parents come to any show they can. It was actually my parents who played Black Sabbath to me. They were 18 and 19 when I was born so they were very young and those were the days of Black Sabbath and Ozzy Osbourne, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd so that's the music I grew up with.

FRANS: Back to Meredead; we know Thorsten does a lot of writing, did Alexander contributed a lot this time?
LIV: Yes he had, but most of the songs are from Thorsten.

FRANS: Did the other guys contributed?
LIV: Oh yes, my "Flying Dutchman" Sander came up with his own version of "To France". We liked it and we did a cover on "Njord" before, so we thought it was a good idea for a bonus track as an experiment to see how it would work out. Our label however decided it to be our promotional single for the video clip. So far we heard mostly good reactions to it, only twice we heard they really didn't like it.

KEES: Well, that's what I told Frans, he likes it, but to my opinion it would suite better on a Works 80 album from Atrocity.
LIV: I think it suites better with Leaves' Eyes. Mike Oldfield remembers me of myself standing before a mirror with a hairbrush in my hand imitating "To France". So covering this song is a way for me like travelling back in time.

FRANS: You hear so much different kinds of instruments on the album. Was it difficult to find the right musicians to get this on the album?
LIV: To get the people, that was difficult. Actually, most of the traditional instruments were recorded when we already started mixing the album because we couldn't find the people. Having them in the studio was the least of the problem because they are all professionals and they knew exactly what to do, but finding them was a problem. But it was exiting. Thorsten plays the mandolin like in the beginning of "To France" and the sars and any other string instrument. I wish I could play the backpipes or the whistles so I would be able to perform that on stage instead of getting them from tape. Unfortunately we don't have another choice in this case.

FRANS: Well, everything sounds great on the album. Alexander has surpassed himself again with a sublime production.
LIV: The hardest work was the mixing. That is Alexander's business. He is the kind of guy that stays up all night, I'm sleeping at night ! Sometimes I think he is not from this planet, he can take so much. He deserves most of the credits for the album. He is a perfectionist and an outstanding technician. He fixes everything . I'm glad that the album is finished so I can see my husband much more.

FRANS: Can you describe every track on the album in short?
LIV: "Sprits Masquerade" is the opener of album and it's also the opening track for our live set. I think it's a very epic piece of music filled with orchestra, lots of different instruments. I specially like the different changes in the mood. It's Thorsten's favourite song. Thematically the song is about all the lost souls coming together on the Sprits Masquerade.
"Étaín" is inspired by Celtic mythology; Étaín is a character from Irish origin. In this case she is a victim of an evil witch. She is bewitched in a constantly changing animal form, so her beloved husband cannot see her. She's sometimes a butterfly, that's why I'm singing, "fly my butterfly". It's a love story actually; thrilled and tragic. This is one of my favourites on the album and I liked singing it with Maite.
"Velvet Heart" is written by Alexander. It was one of those moments when he actually didn't mix. Ha, ha. He was having a little break and he came up with a complete song. It was supposed to be the promotional track for the album but it was outnumbered by "To France".

FRANS: It was the one most in line with the former singles.
LIV: Indeed. It's also a song that belongs to many people's favourites according to the reactions we've got so far. "Krakevisa" was Anette Guldbrandsen's idea. We used to sing that in Norway. It's like a children song but the lyrics are quite brutal. It's about everything you can do to a poor crow. The crow is killed by a hunter in the forest and the lyrics are about what he is doing to the poor crow. The lyrics are brutal but in the message behind it is; don't spend the life of an animal if you don't know the value of it. I wouldn't have done this song if there wasn't a message behind it which I can keep for myself as well.
"To France" we talked about that, it was Sander's idea and it's an honour because I've been a big fan of Oldfield. I really like the sound of it and the video too. It's very romantic and very historic.
"Meredead" is the title track of the album and, well, I came up with the word myself, I googled it and I just wanted to check if it was my copyright and it actually is, I haven't found it on the internet so far, so it's my own creation. It means "killed by the sea" or "the deadly sea". If you watch the cover you'll see it. I would like to meet that girl. It's the beauty of the sea as at time it can also be very dangerous. Nature has a power which we still haven't got any impact on. So you have beauty and the beast again.
"Sigrlinn" is a poem I wrote in Norwegian dialect. This epic masterpiece is musically written by Thorsten and has a connection with "Froya's Theme" from "Njord". Froya is back in this tale about the fate of "Sigrlinn", Atle's daughter, who is left at the Norwegian coast as her husband, Sveinung, travels to sea to discover the other world of more prosperity and luxury. He wants to make daily-life better for his little family. Unfortunately, the story has no happy end. Alex had to practice quite intensively to be able to sing his parts, however, don't forget this is Norwegian dialect!
"Mine Tåror Er Ei Grimme" was a poem i wrote and it came very naturally.
"Empty Horizon" is a song that reminds of the old Theatre of Tragedy songs from the Aegis period. I like playing it live. It reminds me of my earlier times. It was the last song we wrote for the album.
"Veritas" is as we call it zwischenstuck, a piece in between, to change the emotional feeling because afterwards you have "Nystev" which is a Norwegian rocking song, I like the way it starts, it has so much energy. Unfortunately it's not in the live show. That's the only thing in the band that sometimes brings on discussions, which songs will we play and that can be tough decisions.
"Tell-Tale Eyes" is from the "Njord" area. So it was kind of left over and I felt sorry for this piece. We recorded it and I asked John to join me and I think it has turned out to a kind of magic, I really like it the way it turned out. It's different from the rest and it does very well as the final song of the album.

FRANS: Well, Liv, thank you very much for telling us all about the new album and have much fun on stage !

LILLIAN AXE - Steve Blaze (Guitarist) (31 August 2007 )
(Interviewer: Wim van Grunsven, Veghel, The Netherlands)

WIM: Congratulations on your new album.
STEVE: Thank you!

WIM: You have a new album, called "Waters Rising". How special is the title and what does it mean for you?
STEVE: The title represents the inner turmoil we undergo as we grow up and go through life. We must get a hold of these obstacles and defeat them or they will get the best of us. It's very special in that it represents my state of mind now.

  WIM: Did those influences affect the way that the songs have been written?
STEVE: Not really. The songs form and basically write themselves. Ideas float around in my head and manifest themselves in different ways. Then I sit back and listen to them objectively as to which ones work for the record.

  WIM: This is the first album that has pure power written over it from start to finish. On all the other albums there always was a song that just couldn't keep up with the rest of the album. This time it all is very, very good. My compliments. Does it make a difference that there is so much new blood in the band? Did they re-invigorate your taste for writing good music?
STEVE: The band is very hungry and eager. The new blood has given us fire. It definitely has made me more excited about touring and getting this album to the world. These guys are keeping me on my toes.

  WIM: Lillian Axe has always been a band with a very definitive sound. How have you been able to keep that going, even after all those years?
STEVE: It's a part of my soul and spirit in every song. I stay true to my heart and that's what has given us a unique stamp on our music. I feel like I am just getting started.

  WIM: What always amazed me about Lillian Axe that is that the music is very melodic, but at the same time has the power you wouldn't expect with a melodic band. More with a thrash or power/speed metal band. Especially the guitar sounds. Has that always been intentional?
STEVE: Power is not about speed or volume or screaming. It's about intensity of melody and word. It's about colouring and richness. Our guitar sounds are like crying wolves, they sing in intense tones to draw emotion from the listener.

  WIM: After a couple of very good albums you just quit in 1995. I know that you now say you never split up, but did you ever doubt the fact whether you would ever again play as Lillian Axe?
STEVE: I never doubted it. I wish we hadn't waited so long because I missed it, but all things happen for a reason.

  WIM: When did you decide that Lillian Axe was the right way ahead? How long was the time for contemplating the fact whether you really wanted to do this again?
STEVE: I always wanted to do this. I think when we put out the live album in 2002, I realized it was time to start recording the album.

  WIM: Why did you guys need a break? Weren't you doing really good with and by the fans? They seemed to worship you in those days.
STEVE: We were burnt out with bad record company moves and decisions. We were also tired of the rat race. I guess we were tired of each other in a small way. We needed a change musically from each other. I think some guys thought they could do it all on their own as well.

  WIM: I must say that when "Live 2002" was released it took me very much by surprise. I hadn't thought ever to hear from you again. Was this a planned release or a 'spur of the moment' decision?
STEVE: I always hated live albums so I wasn't too thrilled at first but after it was done I was very excited because it was done right. It sounds very live and full with lots of crowd participation. We planned it when a label came to us.

  WIM: I still am trying to get to grips how a band like Lillian Axe can go away for so long and come back way stronger than they ever have been. How have you managed that?
STEVE: By the grace of God. I don't compromise and I follow my heart.

  WIM: You are the only original band member left. The rest has been replaced over the years. Of course there are circumstances that justify those decisions. Could you please tell why they left?
STEVE: Everyone who left did so on good terms. Over years, relationships change. It happens in all bands, businesses and families. They left because they wanted to pursue other things in their lives or just didn't want to get back in the rat race.

  WIM: In the past you haven't been too lucky with your choice of record companies. How important was it to pick the right one this time? And how difficult?
STEVE: It's always important but you never know what will happen until you try. I feel great about our new label so far. They approached us through our publicist Chip Ruggieri.

  WIM: Do you have the feeling that you gave made the right choice with Locomotive Records? And why do you feel this way?
STEVE: I feel we made a good choice because they love the band and are dedicated long term.

  WIM: And what next? What are the plans? How does Europe, and especially The Netherlands, fit into them?
STEVE: We start the tour on Sept 4th for 6 weeks from coast to coast in the U.S. We are putting together a European run in Feb- March. Definitely hitting the Netherlands!!!!

  WIM: Thanks for your time and for all the musical pleasure you have given us. Hope to see you soon!
STEVE: Thanks so much!  See you on tour.....s.b.

LONG DISTANCE CALLING - David Jordan (Guitar) (25 May 2009)
(Interviewer: Ad van Osch, Tilburg, The Netherlands)



AD: First of all, when was LONG DISTANCE CALLING formed and by who?
DAVID: The first jam sessions began in the middle of 2005 I think. Florian, Jan and Janosch met a few times to check some guitarists but it didn't fit. They asked me, too this time but I was to busy at that moment. October 2005 I joined the first session and it felt that right that I joined the band that day. After that we met regular and snippets began to rise to songs. "Fire In The Mountain" was written at that time. In this period we also searched for a vocalist but we didn't find one because it didn't fit. We knew Reimut from our circle of friends and we knew he was into that electric-music-thing so we asked him if he would like to do some sample stuff for us and he said: "Yeah!". After that Long Distance Calling were born.

AD: In 2007 the band released their debut album "Satellite Bay", which I personally don't know yet. How were the critics about your debut album?
DAVID: The critics about "Satellite Bay" were very surprising for us because most of them were very positive. Before releasing "Satellite Bay" we didn't imagine that the feedback could be that great. But that created a problem at least for us: The second album should be better than the first one! That putted a lot of pressure at ourselves.

AD: The band recently released their second album "Avoid The Light", which is in my opinion a brilliant album. My compliments for that album, which has lots of atmosphere on it. I gave it 89 out of 100. But like I said in my review, it's almost like I'm listening to a kind of soundtrack album. Could you imagine that yourself?
DAVID: First of all: Thanks a lot for your compliment! We appreciate that a lot! I think I know what you mean by the word soundtrack album. For me instrumental or instrumental dominated music is always a soundtrack to my life or current mood. It attends me every time and sets the ceiling for my thoughts. But at least I'm always my own director and can define the content. That's why I like that kind of music that much.

AD: Are you satisfied about "Avoid The Light" yourself or is there anything you would have done different now?
DAVID: Hehe… I think as an artist you're never completely satisfied with yourself. At least I can't imagine that. There always some parts you could have played better or the sound doesn't fit to what you had in mind. But that's difficult to avoid if you've got just a few days to do it. I think that's an essential part of your growing process and it keeps you focusing on what's important to you and to work for it as good as you can the next time.

AD: As well as on your debut album as on "Avoid The Light" you've used the help of a guest singer. On "Satellite Bay" it was Peter Dolving of MARY BEATS JANE, THE HAUNTED who did guest vocals and on "Avoid The Light" it's Jonas Renkse of KATATONIA who's doing guest vocals on "The Nearing Grave". How did you get these singers interested into doing guest vocals on your albums?
DAVID: Yeah! Both are very funny stories! The Peter-thing began as Jan had to drive the Haunted guys from the airport to the hotel and had our dmnstrtn (demonstration????) "by pure chance" in the cd player… Peter listened to it and just asked for the name of the band. Jan told him that it was his band and Peter said: "I want to sing to it!!!". That's the first story.
The second one is that we listened a lot to KATATONIA's "Great Cold Distance" during the writing process. One day one of us said that it would be fucking great if Jonas could do the vocals on one of our songs. But we thought that he would be to busy to do that for a small band like we are. A few weeks later Jan came up with something like: "Hey dudes! I think we've got a guest singer!" "OH! Who is it?!" "Hehe… It's Jonas from Katatonia!" We couldn't believe it the whole evening. As we asked him how he fixed that and Jan just told us: "You don't have to pay for questions! I just asked him via email!"

AD: How would you describe LONG DISTANCE CALLING's music yourself?
DAVID: I think for us it's the best way to describe it as instrumental rock with some progressive and psychedelic influences. We don't like to be categorized as post rockers because in our opinion most post rock bands lack of dynamic and dynamics are very important to us just to keep it lively.

AD: Personally I had to think of PINK FLOYD many times, while listening to "Avoid The Light". Is that recognizable to you?
DAVID: We're all great PINK FLOYD fans so it's one of the greatest compliments someone can say to us! You always can hear your influences on your music. It doesn't matter if you want it or don't want that. It's a part of you an your musical habitus.

AD: By which bands is LONG DISTANCE CALLING influenced?
DAVID: Due to that all of us have a different musical background LDC is influenced by a huge amount of bands I think. Flo for example is into a lot of metal and rock styles like PANTERA, ENTOMBED, etc… . Jan is more into the independent rock stuff like DREDG, …TRAIL OF DEAD, etc… . Janosch listens a lot of blues and southern rock music like DOWN and JOE BONAMASSA at the moment. Reimut is a huge techno and electric music fan and I'm more into that progressive rock and metal style like TOOL and PORCUPINE TREE. But at least there are a lot of overlaps but there's also a huge difference which causes sometimes very long and lively discussions…

AD: Your songs have a very long running time and they really don't bore one moment. But because it's all instrumental, how would you make a LONG DISTANCE CALLING show very interesting?
DAVID: The most important thing for us during a show is to get connected to the audience as soon as possible to get a familiar atmosphere. We have to know that they receive a part of the energy we're trying to emit. If they give something back to us it's always an intimate show for us and them.

AD: Are you playing the songs who are sung by the guest singers too live? If yes, who is singing these songs then?
DAVID: Unfortunately not and we're very unhappy with that situation. We hope to fix that as soon as possible!

AD: What kind of audience is coming to the shows of LONG DISTANCE CALLING? Metalheads, rockers, psychedelic freaks?
DAVID: Yeah, we've got a wide range of listeners. It's funny because you can find some kids, metalheads, some gothics, Rockers and those 50 year old "I've seen PINK FLOYD nine times as I was a teen" guys in our audience.

AD: Will the third album also have just one song with vocals? If yes, do you already have a guest singer in mind, who could do the guest vocals?
DAVID: We don't know yet if the next album will be an instrumental one or not but for me it's Michael Akerfeldt (Opeth) who's the number one on my personal guest list. Awesome voice, awesome dude, awesome band!

AD: Any last words to the readers of MMM?
DAVID: Yeah! Thanks a lot for your support! We appreciate that a lot and are very happy to get that kind of feedback! Maybe we meet someday on the road! Keep it real!


LORD VOLTURE - David Marcelis (Vocals) (22 April 2011)
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren, Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)


MARIO: Hi David, how are you doing these days?
DAVID: Hey Mario, I'm fine thanks.

MARIO: Can you tell me a bit more about your own? When did it all start for you and in which bands did you sing besides Conquestador & Methusalem?
DAVID: When I was about twelve years old I started to become interested in heavy metal. Before that I wasn't really into music. I soon wanted to play in a band myself and since I never learnt to play an instrument it was a logical choice for me to start singing. Together with my brother Paul (also Lord Volture, Up The Irons, Mercyful Fake) and drummer Yuma van Eekelen (Pestilence, Brutus, The New Dominion) we founded Purgatory with which I gained my first experiences in singing, song writing and live performance. I'm, by the way, still in contact with Yuma as he and his collegue Bart Hennephof (Textures) have produced our debut Beast Of Thunder and are now also producing our new album. Besides Methusalem and Conquestador I've furthermore been in a Judas Priest tribute band by the name of Judas Rising. That was a lot of fun, though after four years of delivering Priest classics we split apart in June 2009. Lord Volture is now my number one band and has my full attention.

MARIO: How is it to be in a band with your own brother? Is that special or is he just one of the boys? And who's the leader of the band? Im asking this because the official band name is "David Marcelis' Lord Volture…
DAVID: Like I said, Paul and I were already together in our first band Purgatory for about five years. We have totally different characters but somehow we have always been getting along pretty well and shared many hobbies and interests. Heavy metal being one of them. Paul has been more involved in the recordings of Beast of Thunder then the other guys, though in the current situation all band members feel like brothers. There's a very good atmosphere in the band and we respect each other a lot. However, I founded Lord Volture and it is my artistic exhaust. I'm also the one who is responsible for management, promotion, bookings, networking etcetera. From that point of view you could indeed say that I am Lord Volture's leader.

MARIO: About the latest album "Beast of Thunder"; wasn't it possible to release it on a recordlabel instead releasing it all by yourselves? And how are you promoting the album?
DAVID: The plan was from the beginning to independently record and release our debut. To promote the album we sent it to many webzines and magazines in the whole of Europe, the US, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Argentina, Israel and more. We have also promoted the album live on many occasions in The Netherlands. Several record labels have shown interest in Beast Of Thunder, such as Pure Steel Records and 7Hard from Germany, though so far no contract has been signed.

MARIO: Which singers are your main influences? And are there any particular bands that you adore? I hear a lot of Jag Panzer elements in your songs; are you aware of that?
DAVID: Haha, yeah, Jag Panzer. I like that band a lot and their singer Harry Conklin is one of my biggest influences. Though it's funny that you and various other authors draw comparison with that band. At the time I wrote the song material for Beast Of Thunder, that has already been four to five years ago, I had never heard of Jag Panzer yet. I was and still am mainly influenced by Iced Earth, Judas Priest, Halford, Cage, Manowar and Primal Fear to name some. As a result Matthew Barlow, Sean Peck, Ralf Scheepers and Eric Adams are also among the singers who influenced me most. Though no singer has shaped my voice and performance as much as Rob Halford. During my years in Judas Rising I got very familiar with his style of singing and usage of my upper registers. To me he is the greatest singer of all times and I doubt whether his peer will ever rise.

MARIO: Who is the main songwriter in Lord Volture? Or are you acting like a team?
DAVID: That is where Lord Volture is different to me from my previous bands. In the past I used to write my own lyrics and vocal melodies, though the rest of the song writing was team work. In Lord Volture I write everything. From the guitar riffs to the bass lines, from the song structure to the drum arrangements, it is all being shaped in my head. Only the guitar solos I, luckily, leave to guitarists to write. On Beast Of Thunder there is one song though, which is not merely from my hand. Retaliation was written by Paul, Yuma and me in the last days of the Purgatory years. We never played it live nor recorded it and therefore we decided to put it on Beast Of Thunder next to my other songs. On the new record there will again be a song which is mainly written by Paul.

MARIO: You told me lately that you are already busy with recording/writing new songs for the next album; when can we expect that? And will that again be a self release?
DAVID: Yes, that's very right! For five weeks now we have been in the studio full-time. Drums, bass and rhythm guitars are finished and next week I start laying down vocals. I guess we'll finish the recording and mixing early in June, though we'll probably use the summer months to prepare a proper promotion campaign and release the album in September or so. The new CD will be named "Never Cry Wolf" after its opening track. I use Never Cry Wolf to tell people not to believe everything other people tell. Nowadays there are so many power hungry politicians that use fear to get more people behind them. Everywhere you hear warnings about terrorism, economic crisis and climate change and what people should do or vote for in order to remain safe and unharmed. My message is to think and decide for yourself, to mind your own business and respect others' opinions and traditions and to not follow every idiot with a doom scenario into a crusade against mankind.

MARIO: What will be the biggest difference between the new album and his predecessor "Beast of Thunder"? And how was the response so far to the first album? Can you also name the title already of the upcoming album?
DAVID: I think the main strength of Beast Of Thunder is its uncompromising power and energy. It really reflects my feeling towards heavy metal music. It is a pounding machine that beats in every metal fan's heart. At the same time, it's strength is also it's weakness. In general authors and fans around the world have been full of enthusiasm about Beast Of Thunder and its old school energy. But there are also critics that listening to the full CD is tiresome, that there is too little variation and that I am at some moments singing too high and too loud. That is where we intent to improve on with Never Cry Wolf. It will definitely be more dynamical in tempo and style. Regarding my vocals I will also use my lower register more in order to strike back even harder in the nigh notes. We are all very enthusiastic about what's coming and can't wait to play the new material live.

MARIO: What do you think about todays oldschool metalscene in The Netherlands; or just compare it to the more fanatic German/Greek scene where power/true metal is still alive?
DAVID: There is a small group of very fanatic old school metal fans in The Netherlands, though I think it is a rather small number of people in comparison to Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Greece, Italy and some other European countries. Traditional heavy metal is an underground genre anywhere in the world, but there are fans almost everywhere. That is why we want to reach each and every one of them, wherever they live.

MARIO: Are there any tourplans yet? Or some gigs that you are looking out for? With which band would you like to tour if you get the chance?
DAVID: We are now one year since our first live performance and in that time we have done over twenty gigs in The Netherlands. Among these were memorable events such as headlining Meesterlijk Metaal and various other evenings, opening for Blaze Bayley, Conquest Of Steel and James Rivera and playing in venues such as W2 and La Vida. For the promotion of the coming album we plan to do one or several mini-tours to other European countries next to our shows in Holland and Belgium. And if we'd get the chance we would like to join bands such as Cage, Primal Fear or Wolf on a full tour through Europe. Who knows what opportunities we'll come across.

MARIO: Thanks for your time! Any last words for the MMM readers?
DAVID: No problem Mario. Thank you for your support and attention. And to the readers, get your copy of Beast Of Thunder and keep an eye on our website for the release of Never Cry Wolf, because it is going to shake the world!


MADBALL - Freddy Cricien (Singer) (29 June 2008)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen , Heesch, The Netherlands)


If I would like to interview Madball at Graspop Metal Meeting? Sure! I know the band since '94. Seen them countless times in the '90's when the hardcore punk scene was such an interesting scene. Today I still think Madball is a fantastic live band although haven't bought any of their records after "Demonstrating my style". I thought that I could do the interview early Sunday afternoon. Later on I heard that the interview wouldn't be earlier than 21:00 o'clock. So with numerous pints consumed I started to fire the questions to Freddy. Who is happened to be one of the friendliest persons in the musicbizz!

DENNIS: So you guys are back in Europe after a short period of time. In between you did a tour in the south of the U.S.A. with M.O.D. and Shai Hulud. How did that go?
FREDDY: We played in the mid west. It is not the strongest market for hardcore over there but it was a cool tour. We played cool cities and the line up was an interesting one.
DENNIS: What about Billy Milano? (M.O.D.)
FREDDY: Yeah, I know him for a long time through my brother (Roger Miret, Agnostic Front) , through the scene. He is a really funny guy.

DENNIS: How did the first show with your drummer Mackie go? And what was the reason Rigg left the band?
FREDDY: Mackie is doing great. He has a name in the scene but he is also a good friend of ours. It just made sense. When Rigg moved on Mackie was just kinda there. It felt like the right decision. The guy has got history. He played on the first Cro-Mags album and with Bad Brains, Shelter to name a few. The reason for Rigg to leave the band was personal stuff. He wanted to pursue some personal stuff so we gave him our blessing to go and kind of do that. The music lifestyle is though sometimes and not everybody can hack it. He had some stuff to do, we are still really good friends but hey, we have to move on. The ball keeps rollin'!

DENNIS: Are you guys satisfied with I Scream Records, your label in Europe?
FREDDY: Yes so far I am very satisfied. I know the label owner Laurens Kusters for a long time and we have a close relationship and that is what I like. I like to work with labels that are very hands on. And so far so good!

DENNIS: How has the general response been from both the press and the fans concerning "Infiltrate the System"?
FREDDY: It has been good. For hardcore standards and the way the industry is right now. We sold a really good amount of records. In Europe especially. I am actually happy that people are still interested in us. For us "Infiltrate" was one of our favourite records because it is showing the maturity of the band and how much we have grown. It is another page in the book of Madball. I have heard more positive thing then negative on "Infiltrate".

DENNIS: When I look at myself I always consider Madball to be one of the best live bands around. I always love to see you guys on stage although I don't buy your new albums anymore! In the nineties Madball was a big band with a big label (Roadrunner) when you look at the record sales: What has changed?
FREDDY: The record sales are not good for anybody I think. So it is just a reflection on the industry itself but to be honest with you: We never really relied on record sales. Of course I want people to buy our music but typically in our scene a lot of people share (copy) the music. It is not like in the metal world where kids want to buy the original record and every shirt. Our scene is a little bit too D.I.Y. (do it yourself) in the nineties we sold some decent amount of records for a hardcore band but still it wasn't something overly impressive.

DENNIS: When you first started Madball in '88 what were your goals? Were they different from the ones you had when you restarted in 2004?
FREDDY: In '88 we had no goals. I was a little kid. We started it as a fun project, an outlet for myself. My brother Roger and Vinnie Stigma (both Agnostic Front) wanted to form this band to let me get the demons out. And that project turned into a much more serious thing as the years went on. There was no real goal when the first "7" inch came out. In 2004 the goals were different. When we restarted we felt that Madball hadn't reached it's full potential and by the time we restarted we had time to think things through. We actually had goals now. We wanted to take Madball to its full potential.

DENNIS: What about New York hardcore in general? Closing of the famous club CBGB.
FREDDY: The New York hardcore scene is actually alive and well. We played a couple of big festivals. You have got us, Sick of it All, Agnostic Front. The old bands are still carrying the torch. New bands? There not much kind of activity right now with bands that are really making a statement but I am sure that will come in the near future. The closing of CBGB was very unfortunate. The place was a staple so it is unfortunate that it is not there anymore. It was a very good club to play. There are a lot of new clubs, it is New York city so there has to be clubs the problem is that it is hard to find a place with the right vibe and the right capacity. There are small clubs that are often too small and then there are clubs who are often to big. So it is difficult to find a happy medium like CBGB for example. So it definitely hurts the scene a little bit but it surely won't shut us down. The scene is very consistent.

DENNIS: I have read on your myspace page that Madball is nominated for the Latino awards. What can you tell me about these awards?
FREDDY: Are we Latino hahaha? Yes, indeed. I tell you a secret: (bring it on!) I think we won! No one is supposed to know that yet. It is not a Grammy but it is cool to win something. We were put in there as an independent band. A lot of people voted also through myspace and I think we won by a landslide. I appreciate everyone who has supported that. It is a cool thing.

DENNIS: You guys seem to do a lot of side projects? What can you tell me about these projects?
FREDDY: Well some side projects not a lot. Hazen Street and my hip-hop side project. I am hoping to release a record this year. I always loved hip-hop I am into it since I was a little kid. This was something that I always wanted to do and finally I got the time to do it. Hazen Street was an other very interesting project and something I loved actually because I think it was very different from anything. Musically it has its own thing and we maybe do another Hazen Street record in the future.

DENNIS: If Madball has the opportunity to release a dvd. What will it contain?
FREDDY: We are working on that. It will contain a lot of stuff.
DENNIS: I think Madball is the perfect band to give us some inside information about the history of the band and New York hardcore in general.
FREDDY: Yeah, you are, but we want to release it when the time is right. At the moment we have people working on it. It won't be the generic dvd you watch one time. We want it to be like a movie of who we are and where we come from.

DENNIS: What about your current playlist? Any surprises?
FREDDY: My whole I –pod is a surprise for the average hardcore kid I think. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. I have a diverse pallet for music and I am proud of that. It is a little bit of everything. A little bit of Latin, some rock, hip-hop and even Coldplay, I love them! (Yaaaawn) People kind of love or hate Coldplay. Guess what: I love them. This would be a surprise to some people but hey, I love music.

DENNIS: What are your interests besides music?
FREDDY: My main interest is my family. Even before the music my wife comes first. I don't have any children yet but you know. Friends and family come first. Besides that I have a management company where I am managing some bands so I keep it pretty much music related. I have much interest but it's always about friends and family.


MASTER - Paul Speckmann (Bass & Vocals) (24 January 2007 )
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren, Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)

MARIO: Hi Paul, how are you doing lately? First of all congratulations to your wedding last year; I've seen a picture of you in a stylish smoking and I have to admit; it "suits" you :).
PAUL: Everything is as well as can be expected for an underground Metal Head I suppose. I have been very busy lately. I just finished up my merchandise gig on my first Black Metal tour with Setherial. I have to say that I had a killer time with these guys. I was a bit surprised how the new generation of Metal is. No drinking till after the show. Some of the opening bands were vegetarians. It was little different for me. But overall times were good. Also I must say that all the bands were good players as well. Immediately after I returned, recording of the new Master CD called Slaves To Society began. Slaves To Society will be released on April 13th Through Twilight Vertrieb. Yes I did get married, and you are the only one that has asked about it. Everything is well at home, as I am busy on the road all the time.

MARIO: Back to the beginning: when did your metal career starts and with which band(s)?
PAUL: I began singing in a band called White Cross while I was in High School. This was a band that played only covers, such as Black Sabbath, Ted Nugent and UFO. This was my first experience with music, period. I walked the hall of the then, Forest View High School singing," All Good People," from Yes, when I was quote, unquote, discovered. After a rather shaky performance, I was excepted, and the rest is history as they say. We played some local gigs, as well as the lunchroom at school one afternoon. After the lunchroom gig, I got the buzz, and continued until where I am today, which is still struggling, but enjoying my life as well.

MARIO: Which where your main influences in the old days when you started with Master/Abomination?
PAUL: The same influences as always, Sabbath, and Motorhead, the Gods of Metal. Of course I was listening to Venom as well as old Judas Priest and Angel Witch. These are the Classic bands of history, for me at least.

MARIO: Are Master & Krabathor your main bands these days and where did you get the bandmembers from?
PAUL: Krabathor split up four years ago, and I have been only concentrating my mind on Master. I will say that Chuck, and Dennis, from Macabre, and I will probably be recording a new project called Evil Old Men in the near future in Chicago, when we can find the time to get together. I will say that I spent some really great years with Krabathor, and I was really disappointed when Christopher decided to move to the USA for good. But, he seems to enjoy the USA, and I wish Christopher the best. The drummer Skull still plays in a Thrash band called Badface here in Czech. Zdenak Pradlovsky from Slovakia has been playing drums for me for the last four years. Guitarest Alex Nejezchleba from the Czech Republic has been in the band a well for the same amount of time.

MARIO: You flee from the USA years ago; what was the main reason for that? Will you ever move back to America?
PAUL: Originally I left the USA to join Krabathor, but after spending several years, and discovering my wife, I decided to stay. It's much better looking at Bush on the outside looking in, rather than being stuck under his thumb in the USA. Four More Years of Terror was a tribute to the misguided American system. I will probably travel to America to do a tour if someone organizes it someday, but really the scene in Europe is the place to be. I just received a message on myspace from At War with a congrats to yours truly for still having success in Europe. It's always cool to hear from old friends that are struggling to survive like myself, but only the strong do survive.

MARIO: What happened to bands like Abomination, Deathstrike & Speckmann Project? Will some of them ever reunite and are you still in contact with the old band members?
PAUL: The drummer from Abomination is leading a normal family life. He owns a small Supermarket, and just had a son a few years back. Original guitarest Dean Chioles from Abomination died of ALS several years back. The Deathstrike members have given up music completely, with the exception of the guitarest Chris Mittelbrun, who plays Mick Mars in a Motley Crue cover band.
Martinelli from The Speckmann Project is still playing Metal somewhere, but we have lost touch over the years. I really don't see any reunification with any of these guys, but maybe some will show up to jam onstage at a Chicago concert like in the past.

MARIO: You lived for a while in my hometown Tilburg, The Netherlands years ago; how are your recollections to that period?
PAUL: This was a killer period in my life. I really enjoyed hanging out with my best friend Gerard Van Boxtel every day. I will say I smoked a bit too much hash and marihuana, but I really enjoyed it anyway. I had a blast fishing as well every other day. The people of Tilburg were really great to me. It's just a shame that the tour never really got off the ground. I had this silly manager Jim Daly which no one in Holland liked, handling my business affairs. He obviously made many mistakes, and at this time I believed and trusted him. Achrosticon were really great to me for sure. Serge took me into his house and we began a rigorous rehearsal schedule for the tour that would never happen. Michel, Serge and Jos, as well as Richard Shouten were a big help to me and Master. We were dealing with a silly promoter in Belgium called Michel De Cook and the minute he found out Metaleesay was interested in booking a tour, it all fell apart. And to top it off Metaleesay never completed booking either. My boss told me that the ugly cunt of a wife recently left and took all the money from Johan. Couldn't of happened to a better guy! So I was forced to return to America, after a 30,000 dollar holiday in Europe. I've since apologized to the guys, and here once again. Sorry brothers.

MARIO: How is the metalscene in the Czech Republic where you live now? Are there any bands we should look out for in the near future?
PAUL: There is a club called Klub Mir right here about 15 minutes walking form my house, that has killer shows. Pungent Stench, just played before Christmas and Naplam Death played years ago as well. Many decent shows make it to our city here in Uherske Hradiste. Yes, the Napalm Death of the Czech Republic called Disfigured Corpse are a killer band. These guys have a future if they can just get out of Czech and play a decent tour. I have to say that many festivals occur every summer in the Czech Republic, and thousands attend on any given day to show support for all styles of Metal.

MARIO: Do you keep up to date with the new generation of Deathmetal bands and if; what are your favorites these days?
PAUL: I really don't pay attention to the new generation. Most of the groups just play regurgitated material that bands like Death, Master, and Naplam Death as well as Autopsy have played in the past. Originality is a thing of the past.

MARIO: What is your opinion about the new hype in musicland "MySpace" and does it add something special to the scene?
PAUL: I suppose it helps to a point. I sold maybe ten pieces through myspace in the last year, but that's nothing write home about. But, I will say it is a good way to show people your music, and you can get some killer downloads of the old bands that are hard too find from the service. Everybody who is anybody on the scene or from the past is available on myspace, so that's cool by me.

MARIO: How are the reactions to your last album "Four More Years of Terror"?
PAUL: This is quite a funny question. The media reactions to the CD were and are still killer, but as for sales, the people would rather buy Master clones whom I don't need to mention than the real thing. People are so blind these days. It's as if they cannot hear. Four More Years of Terror is a killer old school masterpiece, and everyone who buys it agrees, but many people just don't know Master still, and only know the copycats. It's really a strange situation.

MARIO: The last few tours in Europe are all cancelled? What is the reason for these cancellations?
PAUL: Unprofessional agencies as well as the bands. I had to laugh when Go Down Believing and Joch N Roll cancelled the tour with Temple of Brutality. The joke is, that one week before the tour Dave Ellefson from Megadeth, decided he couldn't afford to pay for the flights from Florida. His manager agreed to pay for the flights before the booking began. But, it really showed me who was Megadeth, and it certainly wasn't the bassist. Go Down Believing sent me Down Believing, then Nico at Shadowsmile another agency began another campaign, and the ball was dropped again after four shows were booked. I have too say that in this day and age it's very difficult to find a decent agency to book you if your still and Underground entity.

MARIO: When can we expect Master/Krabathor back on the road; or even better; when will Abomination reunite and conquer Europe again?
PAUL: Master first of all, will tour in May of 2007. Krabathor may reunite in two years for a new CD and tour. As for Abomination, a tour must be offered for me to put the band back on the road. So anyone interested should contact me at speckmannpaul@hotmail.com
More info can be found at master-speckmetal.com


MARIO: With which bands do you like to tour in the future?
PAUL: I am not picky, I like to work. I will be supporting Metal when I go on tour as merchandiser with Vital Remains for 50 days. This is true support. The tour begins in March in Krakow Poland. I hope to see you there.

MARIO: Anything else you want to share with the MMM readers?
PAUL: Be sure and order the new CD called "Slaves To Society" at your local shops. Holland has always been a true supporter of Master and I really appreciate this. I realize for the last few years Master hasn't been available in the shops, but my label informed me that this year things will change. So I will keep my fingers crossed. Thanks for the killer interview and see you on the road. Paul Speckmann

MARIO: Paul, thanx a lot for this interview & we will meet again soon!
Stay metal forever!!
Mario van Dooren


MASTERPLAN - Jorn Lande (Vocals) ( 1 August 2005 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)

On July 3rd 2005 Masterplan is for the third time that year in The Netherlands. This time they are playing at the Bospop festival in Weert. I already saw them when they played on 2nd Easter day with Circle II Circle, Rob Rock and Pure Inc. And then this 3rd day of July on Bospop. The gave a great show with songs of the last album Aeronautics, but they also played a lot of songs of the debut record Masterplan. After the show I had a very interesting talk with singer Jorn Lande about, the tour, the latest album, plans for the future … and HIS side of the story of the second Beyond Twilight record. Check it out!

SUZANNE: Hi Jorn, thanks a lot for your time, how are you doing? Nice shirt you wearing ;-). (he is wearing a Maiden shirt)
JORN: I'm fine, thank you, we had a nice show. We only lost our luggage on the Cologne airport, so that's not good. That's why I wear this Iron Maiden shirt, I wanted to have a clean and dry shirt for after the gig, so I get this shirt.

SUZANNE: Just a couple shows and then you guys will finish this tour. What are the plans for after this tour? What is the next step? Are their already plans for a new CD?
JORN: Well, we are talking and discussing about it, I mean we have meetings with our record company and well we have talked about a new record this winter but we also talked about making a DVD. But then again, it's kind of early because we have 2 records but we can also make a follow-up for Aeronautics. We are very lucky, we are having success, I mean, we came from different bands and not many bands can get a career after their previous careers. I feel with Masterplan we' ve been very lucky with the big following of our debut and the second album. So maybe we should do now something opposite like making a DVD even after the second record, but we can also go and focus us on the next album. But we have to go and talk about it with the record company, it depends on what we want and what they want and under what terms. Personally I'm working on my new, "Jorn" solo-record. We will start working with Masterplan with new songs September or October. So I guess you can't expect a new album before March, April or May next year. That is the earliest I think.

SUZANNE: You toured with C II C, Rob Rock, Pure Inc, how was this tour? I was there and it was great.
JORN: Yeah, it was good. I mean the bands are great. There where no problems. Everybody was really nice and we had some nice discussions before and after the gigs. Yeah, I mean it was a special tour. Regardless of the size or contributing, it is a group of people which is great to work with. It was a good thing. It was kind a like a package with a couple of AFM bands. Which was great, like Masterplan, people don't expect a band headlining after the second album. We have reached that point where we are a level higher.

SUZANNE: Did you felt pressure recording the second album? Because the first one was a real success!
JORN: Well, we have got some more words and stuff. Yes it was great to be included in an agency for a while. I think it will always be a gap. I don't know, we will always be a gap. We will always stay on the independent market. And always in the battle of success it is very though to be honest in your music. I like to be honest and generous to be on my best all the time. You have to make compromises and then the personality is based on making a compromise. We all want to make success and now I'm just going to follow my own intuition. I was born to do this and I feel the power, the energy and the drama that I create with my thinking and my music. I think that is what I want to do. It must be something that is correct and something right to do. And I guess that I have this feeling from my forefathers like Ronnie James Dio, Paul Rodgers etc. That is what I am trying to do. Be honest to what I do and to the people I work with and to the fans.

SUZANNE: You played also on the Dynamo Open Air Festival this year, how did you experienced that?
JORN: Yeah … well, I remember that festival. It was a really rainy day, I mean to us it didn't make a difference but what we noticed was that the crowd was very quiet. We played great and we had a great sound I don't think that we are the problem but something else is the problem. When I was looking at all the other bands it was the same picture, the crowd was very quiet. During al the bands, well maybe during the headliner the crowd was a little more 'awake'. But it was in general a very quiet audience I don't know why, maybe because we are very melodic compared to the other bands. The other bands where more extreme and hardcore en metal thrash kind of bands. I mean, we are the total opposite of these bands. Today was great, the people were great. It is always a bit difficult when you play on the afternoon because you get the lights going on like you want it to. It was okay, I mean we played so many times, we deliver great stuff and you will be playing later and later in the shows, we have a lot of fans around the world and our records are selling good. And it just we are not 70 yet, we work hard en you have to earn it. And that is the tricky part. Today was alright, very warm on stage, a bit to warm for me. Yes … it was good, we are happy with today's show. But it is always going to be a different gig. You have good days and bad days, and I think today was a good day. On the scale from 1 to 10 I will give it a 7.

SUZANNE: What does the name Masterplan mean?
JORN: It first came from the Germans. It is a good name. Masterplan where more mechanical and more correct in their music and songs and they have a singer from Norway who has a lot of power. Then the music maybe and the combinations with the band members is special. You can but anybody who can sing very high in the band, but that doesn't fit in there. And this band is just really German. I think it is the combination of people in the band that make it so special. A German attitude with laidback vocals and a more powerful performance. It has something original you know. We are in the next level when you look at the old days, we are definitely in the next level.

SUZANNE: How long are you active in the music business?
JORN: Well, I don't know, since I was a kid, I was always busy with the music, I played in lots of bands. And when I was 9 or 10 I played in my first band, the others were 15, 16 years old and I was 9 or 10. We played old Uriah Heep, Bonnie Tyler songs.

SUZANNE: What was the best show until now with Masterplan?
JORN: Well, we did so much shows. When you look at the total so not only the shows but also to the venues, the audience etc. When that is al good then it is the kick for us.

SUZANNE: I noticed that Axel (keyboarder) was walking around the stage a lot during the songs of the first album, why is this? Are there not enough keyboard parts on the first album?
JORN: Maybe he know the songs so well that I could walk around. I don't know. I'm walking around the stage to, but when I am tired not, then I will drink and concentrate on the next song or the next part of the song. Maybe it is because we played the old songs more then the new ones, we had just one tour with the new songs. Maybe next year he will run around during the songs of the second album to because then he know the songs and the songs the new record not yet.

SUZANNE: Is there anything that you would like to say to the fans?
JORN: Well, I would like to say, always be open to all kinds of music, for the energy, feeling, the drama and the personality. You should always compare compression with your life. I life you cry, you hate, you love, you smile, you laugh. Don't categorize to much in the music industry and try to be open and strong and good because THAT is going to last forever and that is what is going to give you a feeling in your heart …


MENNEN - Joss Mennen (Vocals) & Alex Jansen (Bass) ( 2 November 2006 )
(Interviewers: Marco van Empel & Robbie Rijpert, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO & ROBBIE: Hey Joss & Alex! First of all congratulations with "Freakalive". It sounds really great and tight! Where does the idea of a live record come from? Was it an idea from Armageddon Music or from the band?
ALEX: Thanx for liking it! As you might know we went to the USA last year to record a new studio-album "Planet Black". When we were there we got the offer to do a couple of liveshows. As Erwin Musper just bought some new equipment to register liveshows he wanted to try it. He decided to record one of the shows. After a couple of months we got the mix of it and it sounded awesome. When we signed with Armageddon Music we left a copy of the album at their desk. When we were on our way back from their office we got a phonecall that they liked it so much that they wanted to release it as a teaser for the upcoming studio-album. We didn't stop them ofcourse.

MARCO & ROBBIE: Are you all satisfied with the record and what are the reactions to it so far?
ALEX: We are very satisfied with the album, the sound is great the artwork kicks major ass. The reactions we got till now are overwhelming.

MARCO & ROBBIE: The album was recorded in the USA. Why did you choose the USA? It seems the USA is the perfect country for a band like Mennen 'cause Zinatra was also very popular over there?
JOSS: No, not really. The main reason for going to the States in the first place, was that we defenitly wanted to work with Erwin Musper. These days he has his own studio in the USA, and Erwin invited us over.

MARCO & ROBBIE: The album is produced by Erwin Musper. Known for his work with bands like Scorpions and Bon Jovi. How did you came in contact with him for this record? It's a big name in rock music.
ALEX: Joss hooked up with Erwin Musper in the dungeons of Universal Music a couple of years ago when Joss and Erwin were looking for old tapes from earlier projects. As we were ready and set for the last studio-album "Freakazoid" and our planned mixer was sick, Joss asked Erwin to mix our album. Which he did and then we said in joking that we were going to record the next album with him in the USA. Of course Erwin was not a stranger for Joss as he produced the Zinatra-albums in the early days. So last year when we were sitting down and writing the new record we got a reminder from Erwin that the studio was booked for us for November. He is indeed a big name in rockmusic but always remained a warm person and as normal as a dutch guy can be.

MARCO & ROBBIE: Mennen picked up where Zinatra left off in 1994. But a little heavier and more metal. Was that the reason you left Zinatra in those days? Nothing but respect for Zinatra but for the Dutch audience it was too soft and sweet. Mennen is more metal orientated and therefore more accepted by the Dutch metal audience.
JOSS: I decided to leave Zinatra, after 5 years of touring the world. We did two albums and we were very succesfull back than, especially in Asia and South America. But finaly I found that the time was right to do something new. I was totally fed up with the pressure the record company was putting on us, who only wanted to hear new hit-songs. Mennen was no more than a bunch of friends , making music they liked in the very beginning. There were no goals set back than !

MARCO & ROBBIE: There are 11 songs on the album. 10 Mennen songs and 1 Zinatra track. Why did you choose these 11 songs? And why especially " 2 Sides Of Love"? Was that the biggest Zinatra hit in those days? The new version sounds a lot more aggressive, why did you change it?
JOSS: When we had a chance to do some gigs in the states, our main goal was to get to the live-feel of playing together as a band and capture this while working in the studio. We just finished our tour to promote the "Freakazoid" album, so choosing songs from this tour's setlist was the most logical thing to do! '2 Sides of Love' was't the biggest Zinatra hit, but anyhow my all time favourite. That it sounds more heavy than the original is mainly because of leaving all the keyboards out. We made a whole new arrangement, where the keyboardparts are done by our guitarist.

MARCO & ROBBIE: The artwork of "Freakalive" is really great. Who is responsible for this great artwork?
ALEX: Thank you again for the compliment! The artwork is created by an old time friend and responsible for some more of our artwork. It is Eric Phillipe, he did the first album and the "Freakazoid" cover. You might know him from albums of Rhapsody and TNT. He is a great friend and knows perfectly how to create the cover that fits with our music and ideas.

MARCO & ROBBIE: What do you think of the promotion that a band like Mennen is getting nowadays? You don't get the promotion a band like Slipknot is getting. Is that the reason that you are bigger in the States than over here? Although we hear the name Mennen more and more over here.
ALEX: I think we get good promotion for the budgets that we have to promote. We are not signed to a major company so we cannot expect to be on the cover of the Rolling Stone haha. In the USA or other European countries we are bigger than in Holland. Maybe the people are following more what bands are doing for a long time and in Holland it is more "hip today, gone tomorrow". We are not complaining about our status in Holland but we would like to be more known in Holland. Sander (Gommans of After Forever) told me earlier this year during a show we did together that Mennen is a cultband, from one side that is a big compliment, although we still fight to become a big act in Holland. Maybe that is why people consider us as cult, we have a steady following without being the big thing but still fighting for it.

MARCO & ROBBIE: We see you guys a lot at hardrock concerts. It seems you still are big rockfans yourselves. What are your favorite bands and influences then and now?
ALEX: For me? Papa Roach, Stonesour and my all time favourite has to be Mótley Crüe. We are big rockfans, I try to check out as much as I can do, I live for the rock n roll. I need to check out old and new bands to get new blood as you might say it. It is inspiring to check out how other bands play and write and perform their shows. You always write music from the heart (at least in Mennen) and without noticing we add the new ingredients to our music.
JOSS: I think that you can't just avoid the "new" music which is coming out. Mennen has always been a band which is moving musically. The first album sounds completely different than for instance the "Freakazoid" album.

MARCO & ROBBIE: Joss, do you still have any contact with your old bandmembers and what are they doing nowadays?
JOSS: No, I haven't. As far as I know, only Ron Lieberton (Bassplayer Zinatra) is working as a sound engineer / producer in the Telstar studio's, but in a totally different music-style far away from rock and metal. And except for Robby Valentine who released a great new album earlier this year!

MARCO & ROBBIE: You also mentioned that you maybe wanted to do a project with Robby Valentine. Is that still going to happen?
JOSS: There never have been concrete plans for this. A lot of people already asked me if there will be a Zinatra reunion in the nearby future. My answer is everytime; No, I don't think so. The only thing what might happen is that I would work together with Robby Valentine again.

MARCO & ROBBIE: How did you get in contact with our favorite band Motley Crue and what are they like in real life?
ALEX: I got involved with some members a couple of years ago when I was working for the Dynamo Open Air festival and got a meeting with Tommy Lee. Then three years ago I got in touch with Nikki Sixx and Traci Guns when they were touring with the Brides of Destruction. I hooked up with them for three days and had the time of my life, then I got to the UK to be invited to a show of Mötley Crüe and had the chance to meet the originals. They were absolutely what I expected from them, open to fans and interested in fans. Of course we all know the stories how they are in the Dirt. They are ofcourse celebs but still didn't loose any of the interest in people and music they had in their old days. They are just a little richer then back then, but remained normal people.

MARCO & ROBBIE: Are there any plans for the future and what do you want to achieve with Mennen?
ALEX: Release the new studio-album "Planet Black" and get on a tour to promote it worldwide. What we want to achieve with Mennen is to make us known for good music and decent party-like liveshows. Entertaining for people but always having in mind the human aspect.

MARCO & ROBBIE: When you guys get to tour with Motley Crue again, can we come backstage hahahaha :P ?
ALEX: You would be our first guest hehe. We won't charge you too much hehehe

MARCO & ROBBIE: Thank you very much for your time! Do you have any last words for the readers and fans?
ALEX & JOSS : Of course! We hope to see you at one of our shows and that you will enjoy it as much as we do. And thank you for all the support! cheers

MARCO & ROBBIE:We wish you all the best and hope to see you on the road soon!
Rest In Sleaze!
Marco & Robster
ALEX & JOSS :No problem, we see you on the road too and grab a beer! Deal
Marco sleaze denk!
Robster keep the bird thundering!

METAL CHURCH - Kurdt Vanderhoof (Guitar) ( 8 May 2005 )
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov, New York, USA)

STAN: Who is in the band these days and where did you get these new members from?
KURDT: Ronny Munroe on Vocals, Jay Reynolds on Guitar, Steve Unger on Bass.

STAN: What can we expect from the upcoming European tour? Anything special?
KURDT: We will be playing a lot of old MC classics as well as 2 or 3 songs from the new album.

STAN: Will there be a U.S. tour also?
KURDT: We have toured the U.S. twice already on the new album.

STAN: Are their any bands that you'd like to go on the road with?
KURDT: Oh yeah, I would love to tour with any of the bands from our era and some of the new acts like Porcupine Tree. But there is quite a few other bands that we respect greatly and would love to share a bill with.

STAN: The re-union a few years back with David Wayne turned out to be not too great. You released an album called ''Masterpeace'', but I believe there wasn't a tour to follow. What went wrong?
KURDT: Yes, we did a European tour but we stopped after that because things were just not working properly.

STAN: How come Mike Howe did not re-join the band?
KURDT: He is married with 2 kids now and he has those domestic responsibilities these days. Same with John Marshall and Duke.

STAN: Do you still keep any contact with David and Mike?
KURDT: I don't speak to David at all but Mike and I are still great friends. He jammed with us in Reno and he sang Date with Poverty with Ronny. It was a great moment for us.

STAN: You released a new album titled ''The Weight of the World''. How was the response so far? Are you all satisfied with the results?
KURDT: The response has been way more than we could have hoped for. In the sense that when you change singers 3 times that can be devastating but we are so happy with this line-up and the record that it has been well received. Of course there are people who don't like it it because it doesnt have Mike or Dave on it but, we knew that when we started. Some have said that its not heavy enough and I totally understand that. By todays standards, we are not that heavy and we did not want to try to sound modern metal and we wanted to top keep it 'Old School'' and play the style of metal that MC is known for. We did not want to try to be something that we are not.

STAN: Was there a lot of positive feedback for Ronny Monroe?
KURDT: It has been great and especially after they seen him live!

STAN: How do you find enough time to work both on your side project, Vanderhoof and Metal Church? I assume, you're juggling both bands at once.
KURDT: I'm really doing a Vanderhoof project at this time. But I do have a retro/prog album coming out in June called Presto Ballet. It sounds like old Kansas/Rush/Genesis/Deep Purple/Yes. It will be out on June 6th on Inside Out Records. Im VERY excited about that record.

STAN: On tour, do you still see familiar faces from the past in the crowd?
KURDT: On occasion but you meet so many people that its hard to remember everyone LOL.

STAN: When are you thinking of getting your next album out, and is there a title you're throwing around?
KURDT: We want to have a new album out by late Winter early Spring we hope. No titles yet.

STAN: You're on a new lablel now, SPV. How has the relantionship been so far?
KURDT: We have been with SPV for a number of years now and they have been great.

STAN: Your thoughts on illegal music downloading?
KURDT: I think that downloading is a fantastic convenience but it should not be free. People dont realize how much time and money goes into making a record and if your work is suddenly being gotten for free it will soon make it impossible for small time bands and mid-level bands to be able to afford to keep making music. The Huge acts arent nearly as affected but its really tough on us little guys who are struggling to keep in the game. I think it should be able to be downloaded but it needs to be paid for.

STAN: Do you think in some future there can be a METAL CHURCH re-union, a reunion with it's original members? David, Kirk, Craig, Duke and yourself.
KURDT: Stranger things have happened!! But this is what Metal Church is now.

STAN: What do you think of the current metal scene here in America?
KURDT: Im glad that there is a scene but Im not a fan of bands that have '"The Cookie Monster'' for a singer. And I dont care for Satanic junk at all. But there is still a lot of good new younger bands starting to emerge.

STAN: Any final words to all the readers out there?
KURDT: We are very grateful that we have fans that are still listening to us and we will keep doing this as long as you'll have us.

STAN: Thanks for the interview, Kurdt!


METALIUM - Matthias Lange (Guitarist) ( 1 August 2005 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)

SUZANNE: Hi Mat, thanks a lot for you time, here is the first question:
Your latest CD, "Demons Of Insanity", was released on 25 April this year. You have received very, very positive reactions from all kind of magazines. Kerrang Spain even said that "Demons Of Insanity" is absolutely comparable with "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" from Black Sabbath and with "Powerslave" of Iron Maiden. Congratulations. You guys must be very happy and very proud!
MATTHIAS: If you hear those names, you have to be proud and happy, but they are so different, that it seems to me that we are not a copy (thank God)!

SUZANNE: If heard the new CD and it sounds really great! What can you tell me about this new CD?
MATTHIAS: First we got a lot and each one of us wrote songs, ´cause we all got a pool of at least 10 songs, so it was hard to choose. We also focused on the sound a lot. Especially you can hear this on the guitars and drums.

SUZANNE: This is the fifth full-length CD that you released and it's also named "Chapter 5". All 5 albums are based on a concept story. What can you tell the readers of this interview about this concept story, is it about the biography of the band or something else?
MATTHIAS: It is about what the human beings do with the earth: war; pollution; gene manipulation; cyber-reality... and our creatures fight against it as a metaphor. Actually that's the first time Metalium handles about real themes and not about fantasy stories.

SUZANNE: Who wrote the concept story for the CD's?
MATTHIAS: Lars did for chapter 5.

SUZANNE: Why did you guys have chosen for a concept story for all CD's until now?
MATTHIAS: We got the idea and we have fun to do that.

SUZANNE: What can you tell the readers of this interview about the history of the band and it's line-up?
MATTHIAS: Why don't you read it on our website (under "Bios")? Specially about the line up rumours, there were hundred of interviews in the past and we decided not to talk about it anymore. We have a steady line up since 3 CD's, out of 5.

SUZANNE: How did you come to play with Metalium?
MATTHIAS: Lars called me and we both sat in his office and started to write the very first songs for Metalium.

SUZANNE: When will you guys go on tour? And will you the come the Netherlands?
MATTHIAS: I don't know exactly yet, we are working on it. Maybe November/December, but I don't know where it leads to yet.

SUZANNE: What are the plans for the future for Metalium?
MATTHIAS: We love what we do, we wanna write new songs and play live a lot.

SUZANNE: What does the name Metalium mean? And how did you guys came up with it?
MATTHIAS: First Metalium CD came out at the Millennium's change and we wanted to take heavy metal to the next Millennium. So Lars and I came up with this idea. Later we got the idea to use it on chapter 1, in the lyrics for the liquid which transforms the fan into the warrior.

SUZANNE: Can you explain to me how you work when you guys write new songs? And what do you do first making the story or the music and why?
MATTHIAS: There are no rules. Sometimes comes the music first and sometimes the lyrics.

SUZANNE: What is the best moment that you guys had with Metalium until now?
MATTHIAS: The "Rock machina festival" in Spain and our first sold out show in Barcelona.

SUZANNE: With which band would you like to go on tour?
MATTHIAS: Judas Priest, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, Metallica

SUZANNE: On the website you can find by the tour dates that you guys have toured with Saxon last year. Saxon played on September 25th 2004 here in the Netherlands and I was there, Dream Evil and Saxon played there but you guys didn't. Why not?
MATTHIAS: The venue in the Netherlands got strictly curfued and there wasn't time for us to play. We had a day -off doing nothing. Shit!

SUZANNE: Is there anything that you would like to say or add before the end of this interview?
MATTHIAS: The music business is going through a difficult moment right now, specially in the heavy metal scene. So it is not our fault that we haven't been playing so much and everywhere. But if you stick with us ,we will make it through it!!
THE FORCE WILL BE WITH YOU!!
So long MATT

SUZANNE: Thanks a lot for your time, stay heavy, good luck with everything and I hope to see you soon on stage!


MICHAEL SCHENKER GROUP - Michael Schenker (guitars) (23 October 2008)
(Interviewer: Mr. Globbetrotter , Breda, The Netherlands)


The Michael Schenker Group revived this year with a few old members from the good old past (Gary Barden and ChrisGlen), and after a short tour, Michael recorded the new album "In The Midst Of Beauty" with Gary Barden on vocals and released it a few months ago. Opinions about that album varied, and the band went on tour to support that release and for the fans to celebrate the return of two bandmembers from the "golden era". Mr. Globetroter went to see them in Uden at De Nieuwe Pul on October 23rd, and spoke to Michael Schenker after the show.

GLOBETROTTER: Hi Michael, fantastic gig, and you look fitter than ever. How come??
MICHAEL: Well, I think The Universe is running the show..it is my time to be the way I am.

I feel better when people are not attacking me. GLOBETROTTER: Did playing in Scorpions and UFO influence you in writing songs for MSG?
MICHAEL: I was songwriter in Scorpions and UFO, so I just continued with MSG with what I did for UFO and Scorpions. I have never changed my songwriting ever since I started. I am who I am, what comes out is what comes out, there is really no technique for it.

GLOBETROTTER: How did you experience playing UFO songs that were not written by you when you rejoined that band years ago?
MICHAEL: I only played UFO songs that I wrote myself, except "Too Hot To Handle", but that is a hit, so..i only play songs that I was involved in. I have enough music of my own so it doesn't make sense to me to play songs that were done by other guitarists.

GLOBETROTTER: When people asked you what your favourite album is, you always mentioned "Dreams And Expressions"..
MICHAEL: I made more records since, though….my current favourite is "Endless Jams continued"
GLOBETROTTER: What is the reason for it?
MICHAEL: I like my playing on that, I didn't write the songs, it was fun to play.

GLOBETROTTER: Are you planning to do an album like "Dreams And Expressions" again, because what I heard is that people liked that concept very much?
MICHAEL: I don't know what I will be playing next because right now I'm doing the Gary (Barden) thing, and I did some Scorpions things, other things show up, so I don't have a book for the future like knowing every step untill the day I die, so I leave it open to happen for things that fit in and if they need to happen, they happen, it is not mathemagical related, I play by my ears.

GLOBETROTTER: It seems like you are one with Flying V model guitars, either Gibson or Dean. Have you ever tried other guitars, or wanted to try other guitars?
MICHAEL: I played a lot of other guitars, but the Flying V is the guitar I have played for over 30 years, so if it works, don't fix it. I grew up with it, and I am too busy to try other guitars. When you are a kid in a toy store, you are tempted, but at this point in time, when you have something that works for you, you're not going to look for anything else. I don't think I am missing something with the Flying V, so I stay with that and develop something with it.

GLOBETROTTER: You did a few releases called "Thank You", and one of them was done with an orchestra. How did that come about?
MICHAEL: I just wanted to see what that sounds like. It is actually a remix, it's different and I liked the sound although obviously it's not for people who just want to hear the guitar but it has another touch to it.

GLOBETROTTER: You used a lot of singers from your past when making the "Tales Of Rock 'n Roll" album; what struck me is that many people's favourite song, "Big Deal", was not played live….
MICHAEL: That's simple: because Kelly wasn't there. I would prefer playing that song with Kelly doing the vocals and not somebody else. It wasn't meant to be played live, it was just recorded for that celebration album.

GLOBETROTTER: Gary is now back in the band on vocals; have you heard his solo albums before he rejoined MSG?
MICHAEL: No I haven't heard them, I don't listen to music, period. I am so busy DOING music and focusing on that, I don't want to be diverted by other peoples music. I just want to focus on my creativeness and stay busy that way and when I have some spare times I like to do other things so I think it is better for consumers to judge these albums and I will do my job creating music.

GLOBETROTTER: I heard that you are going to do a project next year with your brother Rudolph…
MICHAEL: Ah yes, the Schenker Brothers….
GLOBETROTTER: I heard also Carlos Santana is joining in on that one; is it going to be a G3 type of project?
MICHAEL: Carlos is just a person who would like to do something with us. So far it is just my brother and me, and we will invite some guests, and play Scorpions and MSG songs, UFO songs etcetera.

GLOBETROTTER: Do you ever watch videos on YouTube?
MICHAEL: No, I was asked a couple of times to look into it, but as I have little spare time I like to spend my time in another way. What I have seen is that the quality is not very good and I really don't know what to do with it….
GLOBETROTTER: the reason I'm asking this is because I saw a few Japanese children, like 10 years old, who actually played MSG songs op Japanese television, and I first thought "this cannot be true, they are not playing this…
MICHAEL: I was asked to watch that one, but I don't want to. I don't know how to explain this, but it is not important to me, I stick to creating and I rarely take side steps from that. I focus on what I need to do and that is really all I do. If I would get busy on those thousands of wonderful things that are out there I wouldn't have time to create for my fans. It is good for the fans to see those kind of things but I cannot be everywhere at the same time and I cannot know everything.

GLOBETROTTER: Are there any plans to release a DVD with the current line-up recorded during this tour?
MICHAEL: Sure there are plans but I don't know when. When there are people that say they want to do it and the record company is ready to shoot film and release that stuff, it's fine by me. Whenever they knock on the door, I say OK go ahead and do it. I'm sure it's in the making somewhere…I can force it and say listen I want to make a DVD but I prefer to have people who want to do that, support it and spend money on it.

GLOBETROTTER: OK, thank you very much for answering my questions and please continue making wonderful music and doing wonderful gigs.
MICHAEL: I will, thank you.

MUNICIPAL WASTE - Ryan Waste (Guitarist) (11 February 2008)
(Interviewer: Dennis van Dommelen, , Heesch, The Netherlands)

Do we need to introduce Municipal Waste to you? The Waste is one of the biggest bands in the trash revival going on at the moment. Together with Evile and Warbringer they bring back the music and the feeling of the eighties (including that Nike high tops) After a couple of table soccer matches with colleagues from Metalfan.nl and the Slagwerkkrant Ryan Waste (guitar player) took some time to answer my questions.

DENNIS: How is the tour going thus far?
RYAN: All right! Yesterday we played at the Vera in Groningen. They have completely rebuilt that place. It was on hell of a crazy night. We couldn't get a better opener then Toxic Holocaust on this tour. The crowd is warmed up perfectly every night when we hit the stage. We have seen and met a lot of fuckin' crazy people. Holland is always a good place for us. We played our first gig here in Tilburg in the batcave and come back almost every year. So we feel more than welcome.

DENNIS: Also remember that Dynamo gig in 2005?
RYAN: Is it that long ago? That was a very special evening. What about the Dynamo festival?
DENNIS: The last time was in 2005 with Laaz Rockit and Testament. After that they couldn't find a right place for the festival anymore. I don't think it will return in the near future.

DENNIS: How has the latest album "The art of partying" been received in the media? Do you know any record sales?
RYAN: Media were almost positive everywhere. It has sold much more than we expected. Probably somewhere around 25.000 to 30.000. Still we have to tour our asses of. It is the only way to survive.

DENNIS: This time you guys didn't work with Ed Repka. (Responsible for a lot of classic trash and death metal cover painting in the eighties and early nineties and Municipal waste's second album "Hazardous mutation)"
RYAN: This time the cover was done by a Russian friend of ours called Andrei Bouzikov. I think it is our best cover so far.
DENNIS: I think the people on the cover drank so much beer that they turned into zombies like Dawn of the dead!
RYAN: They sure do know how to party!

DENNIS: Is there really something as a trash revival going on?
RYAN: It is definitely different then in the '80's. I hope it is not going to be a trend with an overkill on bands.

DENNIS: What about the sound of Municipal Waste. We have seen a lot of trash/crossover bands in the eighties that changed there sound/style after a couple of albums.
RYAN: We will always be a very fast band. Maybe we will go a little more technical in the near future. I listen to a lot of New wave of British Heavy metal stuff, so maybe we will also put a little of that elements in our sound but don't expect us to change a lot! (Thank God)

DENNIS: How is it to have Dave Witte (drummer) back in the band? Aren't you scared that he may leave again after a while?
RYAN: Dave is very easy to write with. We still don't have a manager so he's doing all the management stuff. He promised us his main focus will be Municipal Waste, so no we are not scared. On project basis he will do some things besides the band.

DENNIS: Ryan, do you still have contact with the guys from your previous band Immortal Revenger?
RYAN: Yes, I do! We formed a new band with al the former members of that band is called Mortal Avenger!
DENNIS: I read on their myspace site that the only remaining member doesn't want to do anything with the "Valor & Justice record anymore.
RYAN: That's right. That's why I sell it here at our shows, you can buy the album for 5 euro's at our merchandise stand.

DENNIS: Are you guys already working on new material. Maybe a possible DVD release?
RYAN: At this time we have 4 songs finished for a new album. They're more intense and fast as a shark!!! We would love to release a DVD but there nothing concrete about that.
DENNIS: Seen that Sodom DVD?
RYAN: Great DVD. Done the right way.

DENNIS: Are there any summer festivals in Europe confirmed at the moment?
RYAN: At the moment Hellfest and possibly the Download festival in England. We will surely be back!

DENNIS: What's your feeling towards the current metal genres? Do you keep up to date with what's going on in the scenes all over the world? Are you keen on black/death metal.
RYAN: I hate metalcore! It has too much to do with image/fashion. Metalcore were D.R.I.,The Accused, Excel. This has neither to do with core nor has it something to do with metal. This was one of the main reasons to form Municipal waste. I don't listen to black metal that much. Mainly the old stuff like Venom, Hellhammer and Bathory. I don't give a shit which band is cult and which not nowadays. Our bass player and the guy from Toxic Holocaust are more into black metal.

DENNIS: Do you have any pre-concert rituals?
RYAN: Take a shit so that I can bang my fuckin' head off (???) Crack a beer just before we go on stage. I have quit drinking before the show. Afterwards there's most of the time an afterparty with lots of beer.

DENNIS: Any bands which impressed you lately?
RYAN: I always name a young English band called Mutant. We played a few times with them. I will do as much as I can to promote them.

DENNIS: Which 5 albums would you take to a deserted island?
RYAN:
1. Judas Priest –Sad Wings Of Destiny.
2. Slayer – Show No Mercy.
3. Angelwitch – Angelwitch.
4. Holocaust – The Nightcomers.
5. Cristopher Cross – Anything
Because I will go to a deserted Island I need some Island music. Maybe Cristopher will also be there. We could sail back together then!

DENNIS: Any famous last words?
RYAN: We're happy to be back in Holland! See you on the stage!

MYTHIASIN - Rick Mythiasin (Vocals) & Dave Bellomo (Drums) ( 1 September 2005 )
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren , Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)

MARIO: Hello Rick; how are you doing lately?
RICK: Hey Mario, I'm doing fine. I'm happy to answer all your questions.
DAVE: Excellent, dealing with the phoenix summer and just adjusting to new (work) schedules, and working in our old bass player Doug, which has been awesome.

MARIO: Can you tell us something more about your new band Mythiasin? When was it formed and where did you meet the guys that are in the band now? Is it a solo project of yourself or a real band with only your last name as bandname?
RICK: "Mythiasin" came to be in 2004 when I met drummer Dave Bellamo in a cover band that never did a gig and he said we should jam with Mark and Star Coglan who happened to be huge Steel Prophet fans and metal in general who jumped at the chance to come up with something more dark and brutal with me, and I must say working with them is a dream come true.

MARIO: What are your main influences in music? By which bands or musicians are you influenced?
RICK: I'm listening to a lot black/death metal lately, it helps to quell the anger I feel day in and day out. Dimmu Borgir, Emporer, Immortal, Morbid Angel, I like some Slipknot and Disturbed too! My top fav singer's of all time are: Rob Halford, John Arch, Bruce Dickinson, Geoff Tate, Ronnie James Dio
DAVE: I love the classic Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Dio, etc. But i really enjoy new stuff like Devildriver, Killswitch and Hatebreed, and of course cool Swedish bands like In Flames and Arch Enemy. I love all those drummers, just listen to the new Devildriver stuff!!

MARIO: When did you start singing (no, not that time under the shower!! hahaha)
RICK: Singing to me has always come natural.

MARIO: You lately released an awesome demo. Can you tell me something about the history of this demo? How did you arrange it? Are you the main guy in song writing? I received a 4 song demo but i only read 3-song reviews everywhere?? Why this difference?? (Did i receive the master-demo, hahaha)
RICK: This demo was quickly put together to get some kind of buzzz out there that I was back, and in a real solid band wich carried my last name, this was not any solo ego trip! Mythiasin is a real band! I just thought that 3 songs would be enough, to get an idea of what the real production will be.
DAVE: We had a lot of old riffs and Mark (guitar) had a shitload of new stuff he arranged with his wife Star (guitar), Thank God for a drum machine! Mark sends me some rough tracks to get ideas and practrice from, and we get together when we can! With the long distance and the Coglan's new jobs we are the worlds best unrehearsed band. Doug our bassplayer lives in Tucson, which really helps , so we get together he has the material down killer!! The demo was done in my spare bedroom with a little sweat, plenty of thought and a lot of dust bunnies from my old equipt. We mixed the demo at the Coglan's house in Tucson. We can't wait to do record with some modern stuff!!

MARIO: What are the futureplans for Mythiasin? Any interested recordlabel already? Or even a small (European) tour? Did you already play many live-gigs by now? What can we expect from Mythiasin on stage? Any Steel Prophet "covers"?
RICK: Right now we are getting really tight on 10 - 15 song's we've been kicking around, we're about ready to begin tracking, but we still also have budget issues and no labels willing to give us a shot, so fuck it we'll just have to record and produce the shit ourselves. I've got some brilliant and talented player's behind me, we can't wait to play out live! On Stage you can expect a lot of high energy and in your face vocals.We will do a Steel Prophet medly, don't know wich songs yet.
DAVE: We have some cool things in the works which should enable us to get a full length Mythiasin CD out, some of the new stuff will leave you scratching your head and wanting more!! Till schedules work out we won't play out, my guess it won't be till the fall. As far as covering Steel Prophet no problem, Star Coglan is a godamn jukebox she can cover about anything, it's up to Rick if we go down Memory Lane..

MARIO: You're still singing in a few other bands like New Eden (awesome album also!!), Taraxacum, Redemption & Psychic Vampires. What is the status of these bands?? Any tourplans with these bands?
RICK: No tour plans for any of these bands to break it down for you, I was just a session singer on the Redemption CD Ray Alder asked me if I would do it and of course I did. Taraxacum never got the proper attention that it deserved for each release from MTM, no push or tour support of anykind and not to mention Eggi's commitment to Edguy. With New Eden Horacio and I will make another CD, I don't know when I can get my ass back to L.A. to record my vocals! And Psychic Vampires is my pet project I have with my good friend John Taylor, we get together and drink some beer wright some tunes and record them and drink more!

MARIO: You left Steel Prophet a few years ago. What was the main reason?? The guys in the band didnt tell nice things about you after you left the band. Whats your opinion about this all?
RICK: Steve and I had had about enough of each other's shit and it was fuckin up the music and the integrity of the band. He was too much a control freak and egomaniac, I just said fuck it and walked away! I have spoke to him and we've somewhat let things be water under the bridge, and I'm very proud of the music I created with him, he is a brilliant musical mind, it was just time to break away so I could create and work with other people, German people!! Ha,Ha

MARIO: The follow-up singer Nadir Priest is already out of Steel Prophet and is replaced by Agent Steel singer Bruce Hall. What do you think of Bruce as a singer? Are you still friends with the guys from Agent Steel? Is there a possibilty of a reunion of Steel prophet with you as vocalist?
RICK: It's great that they are working with Bruce Hall he is also a friend and has a similar style to me and fits the sound of Steel Prophet more than Nadir D' Priest who is a killer singer too in his own right. I don't see a reunion with them anytime soon, I still have lot's to do and so little time. Plus I work in a pet store in the daytime grooming dog's, so I'm very busy.

MARIO: What do you think of the metalscene in the US? Is there a market for bands like Mythiasin?
RICK: I would hope so America is so huge and you need to tour a lot but with out $$ your pretty much stuck on your own.
DAVE: There is a killer metal scene in the U.S. Phoenix. Always has killer shows, Tucson is also starting to get good shows also. The more people hear us, the market should grow and hopefully build our fan base.

MARIO: Which band would you love to play with on tour?
RICK: Dimmu Borgir.
DAVE: Arch Enemy,so i can hear Michael Ammot's leads, and check Angela every night (oops, i hope my wife doesnt read this)

MARIO: How are the reactions to the demo so far?
RICK: Positive feedback!
DAVE: So far excellent!!

MARIO: When will there be a full length album?
RICK: Most definately will be a full lenghth album with top knotch production! Check our web site www.mythiasin.com (see LINKS) for all the info!
DAVE: Hopefully by the end of fall.

MARIO: First i would like to thank you for the interview. Have you any final words left for the MMM visitors??
RICK: Stay true to what you believe and always stand defiant! Thank you for all your support and interest in Mythiasin!
DAVE: Thanks for the interest, there needs to be more people in the scene like you!!!!

MARIO: Thank you both very much for the interview & compliments!! Cheers; Mario


NASTY IDOLS - Andy (Singer) (26 March 2009)
(Interviewer: Ad van Osch, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

NASTY IDOLS is a Swedish Glam / Sleaze Rock band who are back in the ring again since they re-united in 2006. I got to review their newest album "Boys Town", and I liked it a lot, so I decided to do a interview by mail with singer Andy Pierce, who was one of the founders of NASTY IDOLS together with bass player Dick Qwarfort. So here you can read my questions I asked to Andy and what he answered to me.

AD: First of all, my compliments about the new album "Boys Town" which I gave 85 points out of 100. This is the first new studio album since the band re-united in 2006. It's a fact that every band always says that their newest album is the best. So, are you satisfied with the new album and is "Boys Town" indeed the best NASTY IDOLS album?
ANDY: Yes it actually is what we like to think. We captured a good feeling in the studio this time. We were in a good mood all the way and it paid off in the end. We are very happy with the result.

AD: What's the story behind the title "Boys Town"?
ANDY: It's our secret place were we do what we ever like. From dusk til dawn. The songs tell you all about it.

AD: I like all the songs on "Boys Town", some of my favorite tracks are "Rock Out", "Boys Town", "Method To My Madness", "Crashlanding", "7 Year Itch" and "It's Not Love". Personally I expect that "7 Year Itch" is gonna be a real NASTY IDOLS classic, because it's such a catchy song. What do you think yourself and what are your own favorite songs of the album?
ANDY: I like all of them..ha ha. But your favourites seems to be my favourites.

AD: Is "7 Year Itch" inspired by the movie "The Seven Year Itch" (1955) with Marilyn Monroe?
ANDY: No, not at all. It's about this glam/homo guy that we know. He got this hard on for all the guys playing in a band.

AD: Are you going to promote "Boys Town" by doing an European tour? If so, can we expect NASTY IDOLS in Holland too?
ANDY: Don't know at this moment. But we sure like to come to Holland.

AD: After NASTY IDOLS split-up in 1995, you started the band MACHINEGUN KELLY with whom you recorded one album "White Line Offside". In 2004 you formed the band UNITED ENEMIES with which you've recorded a 4-track EP and the album "All The Sick Things We Do" (2007). Is the band UNITED ENEMIES still active too?
ANDY: No. I put that band out of it's misery. We didn't sell any albums. Sad in a way cause there was a few good songs.

AD: You also released a solo album titled "No Place For Late Regrets" in 1998. Can you tell us more about that album?
ANDY: I did that album 10 years ago. At the time I wanted to try something new. I wanted to know if I could pull off doing a pop/rock album. But I didn't like that period in my life of that album. I felt like I was doing music that I finally disliked.

AD: Except NASTY IDOLS' debut album "Gigolos On Parole" (1989), the albums "Cruel Intention" (1991) and "Vicious" (1993) have been re-released in 2002 and in 2006. And "Heroes For Sale", which was recorded in 1995 but released in 2002, has been re-released in 2006 too. Can you explain why these albums are re-released more than once and why the first album hasn't been re-released?
ANDY: The re-releases is just about money. The more you release an album the more cash. But regarding "Gigolos" there is no money in the world that can make us re-release that piece of shit.

AD: In the past the band has had several line-up changes and finally split-up in 1995. In 2006 NASTY IDOLS re-united again in the "Vicious" era line-up, except with Stanley on drums. Can you explain why you choose for that line-up, added with UNITED ENEMIES drummer Rikki Dahl?
ANDY: I think Stanley was asked to join the band again but he didn't wanna do it so we asked Rikki Dahl. I played with him at the time by the re-union so it all came down naturally.

AD: Do you follow the present Glam/Sleaze Rock scene yourself? What are in your opinion interesting new Glam/Sleaze Rock bands?
ANDY: Sometimes I look into the scene. But it's often like...fuck they just copy everything...just like we did when we began...ha ha.

AD: What are your own favorite bands?
ANDY: ...I got a very wide range of music that I like. I like ABBA, Pistols, Oasis, Stones, Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Stone Roses...

AD: Which singers were a big inspiration to you, so that you decided to be a singer too?
ANDY: Brian Connely and Paul Stanley.

AD: What are the last few albums you have bought yourself?
ANDY: Motley Crue's new one and an ABBA box with all the re-mastered albums.

AD: What would you like to say to the readers of MMM?
ANDY: Be bad and proud!

AD: Thanks for your time Andy and doing this interview with me for MMM!
ANDY: No worries! see you!

picture by Suzanne Smaling
NON DIVINE - Ivor van Beek (Singer, Guitarist) ( 1 April 2006 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)

SUZANNE: Hey guys, how are you doing? You've won the Aardschok Metal bash Competition 2005. Congratz!! That is great and quite rightly of course! How does it feel to win such a contest?
IVOR: Hi Suzanne, we are doing great. Thanks! Yes, we won the Aardschok Metal Bash competition 2005. It feels great to be the winner of course. It was a surprise that we won. The musical level of the finalists was very high. That day we heard great music in various styles. It's an honour to win from bands with such a high level.

SUZANNE: I also understood that it had some issues before it came to that. Can you tell me more about that?
IVOR: We were very well prepared for the pre-rounds of the Metal Bash Finals in the "Goudvishal" in Arnhem. However in the first song there suddenly appeared a mallfunction in the amp of our other guitar player Martin. Various technicians helped to get things work again but the show stood still way too long. I gave my guitar effect processor to him so that he could play again. He had a sound again and we finished the gig. But the sound was horrible because none of our guitar equipment worked the way it should. That gig was our worst nightmare. Still we almost won the pre-round and Shadowlord went to the finals.
Lots of fans supported us after that to get us a wildcard to the finals by voting at us. They did a great job because it worked! The Metal Bash organisation also thought that we deserved a second chance after our bad luck in the pre-rounds so there were 2 wildcards to the finals. We are very happy with the support of our fans and the Metal Bash organisation.

SUZANNE: If I'm correct the prize was studio time. Are you going to use that to finish the upcoming album "Asylum 45"?
IVOR: No, the recordings of our debut concept album "Asylum 45" are finished. We will record new songs in the studio. At this moment I cannot tell which songs and when we will enter the studio.

SUZANNE: The upcoming album is in your planning for a pretty long time now. You guys even went to Denmark to record the album there that must have been great? In what kind of state is that album now?
IVOR: Yes our debut concept album "Asylum 45" is a long awaited album. We spent maximum time and money to make the quality of the album as high as possible. We went to the Jacob Hansen in Denmark to his studio. We had the idea of visiting his studio for a long time and we just did. Jacob Hansen is a great producer with a great attitude. The chemistry was really positive between us. Non-Divine has a well thought of sound that Jacob understands best we think. For years we were fans or his work and hoped to get the sound we dreamed of. To get all of you people curious… We think that "Asylum 45" is one of his best-produced albums ever! We are very proud!
At the moment the product "Asylum 45" is ready including the artwork. The search for a record company already started and is not completed at the moment. We are still looking for the right record company to release the album. Until that time the album stays unreleased. "Asylum 45" is a well kept secret until it's release.

SUZANNE: When do you expect to release the album?
IVOR: At the moment we really don't know. Let's hope this year. We will do our very best to get "Asylum 45" released. We know it has no fast release but we think a good release is better than a fast release.

SUZANNE: Every song on the album goes about a patient from the Psycho hospital, am I right? And on stage you guys play in clothes of the Psycho Hospital. Why? How did you guys came to the idea to make songs about this and dress like that on stage? And will a possible second album have the same subject?
IVOR: Yes you are right. Every song tells about a psychiatric patient from Asylum 45, which is the name of the psychiatric hospital. All patients are very different from each other and have lots of stories to tell about their lives in the hospital or about their lives before they came into the asylum. The lyrics together with the music will make you understand the thoughts and feelings of each patient. The lyrics are positive for patients with a psychiatric illness. Some of the patients have a temporally problem in daily life and others are just plain crazy.
On stage we wear white psychiatric clothes that fits in the lunatic asylum. At this way the audience will taste more of the atmosphere of the concept album. Besides that we think the white clothes really look good on stage. We think it's a better view with the podium lights on the clothes and it is something else than the normal black clothing.
The idea of playing live in white clothes goes back to the summer of 2000. The first show in white was on 29 March 2001 in Boerderij Zoetermeer with the Aardschok's Metal Grand Slam Tour. We continued to play in white since that first tour show. Much later a few Swedish bands like In Flames and Darkane started to play in white clothes too. I discovered that none of these bands stole the idea from each other. Peter Wildoer (drummer of Darkane) suggested that we would warn each other when one of us would have the idea of playing live in purple clothing with pink elephants. However we are not the first band dressed in white. As far as I know the Swedish band Transport League was the first band in white clothes which was on a promotional picture. I don't know if they also dressed up in white on stage.
At the moment we cannot tell the subject of the second album because we did not decide yet. It is possible that it is about a lunatic asylum again. We just don't know yet. However I do think a second album will be a concept album because we like making concept albums.

SUZANNE: Enough questions about the album for now ;-). You are going to do a gig with "After Forever" in Haarlem (the Netherlands) on 28th of April. That must be really exciting! How did this came together?
IVOR: A while ago I met an After Forever band member at my work. Frequently we had amusing conversations about music, signatures and bad coffee. I already knew After Forever as a great band and he learned more about Non-Divine which he likes a lot too. In a search for new support acts the whole band After Forever heard a song from the unreleased album "Asylum 45" and the reactions were very positive. They asked us to do a show together with them in Patronaat Haarlem and of course we said yes! We are looking forward to it a lot.

SUZANNE: Will there be more gigs together with "After Forever" in the future?
IVOR: The show in Haarlem is the only show that is planned. But we will see what the future will bring. After Forever is a great band with a great attitude and I'm sure we will have lots of fun in Haarlem.

SUZANNE: Colleagues of you (novAct) played a couple of shows with "After Forever" too. Is there a connection between them, After Forever and Non-Divine?
IVOR: No, there is no connection between Non-Divine having a show with After Forever and NovAct having shows with After Forever.

SUZANNE: You guys also played with huge bands like: Dio, Murderdolls and Anthrax. How was this?
IVOR: Fun, fun, fun! It was really awesome. We felt very comfortable playing with them. We met them all and they are all great, friendly people. They are all very different from each other and it is good to know Non-Divine fits with various styles of Rock/Metal. We had lots of positive reactions from the crowd and hope we can continue to play with artists like them in the future.

SUZANNE: With which band would you like to tour sometime?
IVOR: I really have no idea. There are too many bands to mention I think. We really like to tour and if a chance with a great band shows up we will have a good time anyway. The Metal Grand Slam was a huge tour and very nice to do. Since 2 of the 4 bands of that tour died, it would be worth mentioning that we would love to tour with the Belgium band After All again.

SUZANNE: What was for you the best Non-Divine gig and why?
IVOR: There are many gigs that were really great. As a matter of fact I think most gigs are really great because we really love to play. It's difficult to tell which one was best. The Appelpop gig was a highlight among the supports of Dio, Anthrax and Murderdolls and of course the Metal Bash Finals that we won.

SUZANNE: Can you tell something about the Non-Divine history for the people that don't know you yet?
IVOR: Non-Divine started in 1999. I (Ivor van Beek) started the band by asking my brother Martin van Beek (guitars) and Ruben Viets (drums). Ruben and I played in the band Artificial Limb at that time. Artificial Limb did not match totally with my ambition and taste in music. With the 3 of us we started Non-Divine which was the right band for us all. We searched for a bass player which we found in Alco Emaus. He stayed with us for years and we had a great time. Later he joined the band Wicked Mystic and now he is in the band Diggeth. After the departure of Alco we found a new bass player rather fast. Paul Groeneveld joined us and he really is a great guy and bass player. He fits in Non-Divine very well. This is in highlights the backside information about the formation of Non-Divine

SUZANNE: Are there band members in other bands/projects? And what can you tell me about that?
IVOR: No, all Non-Divine band members only play in Non-Divine. When Non-Divine started Ruben and I also played in Artificial Limb. That band died in April 2000. In that same week we joined guitarist Wouter Wamelink to start his new band (Morgana-X, now NovAct). In 2002 I left that band and in 2003 Ruben also left. Half of the year 2004 our guitar player Martin was the temporally bass player of the band Thronar because their bass player Bauke had to study outside the Netherlands.

SUZANNE: What are the plans for the future of Non-Divine?
IVOR: The plans are to get Non-Divine as far as possible. We hope to release the album soon so that we can climb higher than we are right now.

SUZANNE: Is there anything that you would like to add for the end of the interview?
IVOR: Yeah, first of all ... thanks a lot Suzanne for the interview. You rock! To everybody who read this interview and likes to stay tuned... you can find everything about Non-Divine at http://www.non-divine.com. You can leave your e-mail address and we will add you to our mailinglist. You can also join us at our brand new website at the MySpace network at http://www.myspace.com/groovymetalbeyondmadness

SUZANNE: Thanks a lot for your time and we hope to hear more from you soon! Good luck with new album!
Greetings,
Suzanne

NOVACT - Eddy Borremans (Vocals) ( 8 May 2005 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)

NovAct (formerly know as Morgana-X) comes from Arnhem, The Netherlands. They changed their name and released their first full-length album "Tales From The Soul" recently. And a tour with After Forever is planned. Enough good reasons to do an interview with singer Eddy Borremans. novAct is: Powerful, refreshing, intense. And they stand for: progressive rock music, combined with atypical yet atmospheric vocals

SUZANNE: You guys had great reactions and reviews for the album, congratulations! Is this what you hoped for and expected?
EDDY: Hoped … of course! Expected … difficult, in every case not in the measure in which we received it now. I can tell you that it gives us a lot of satisfaction.

SUZANNE: What can you tell me about the record sessions of the new CD "Tales From The Soul"?
EDDY: They went very well. We had a very good cooperation with the guys of Space Lab. They really delivered a great contribution to the end result. I can advice every band with ambition to drop by at Space Lab. Cool guys, very professional and a very good "value for money".

SUZANNE: How did you guys get in touch with a big label as Sensory/The Lasers Edge?
EDDY: Well ... we don't know it exactly. A friend of us is well-known in the Metal scene and he advised us to send our promo "Misunderstood" to Sensory. After that they harangue us when we played on "Headway 2003". At that moment we had the first contact and the rest of the story is known.

SUZANNE: The 4 songs that you can find on the E.P. "Misunderstood" are re-recorded for the new CD, why did you make this choice?
EDDY: We made that choice for several reasons: first of all because we noticed with the E.P. that the compositions felt in really good taste with the audience. The second reason because we thought that they could felt better in their right when we record it in a professional studio 'everything' could use for the recording. The third reason is because we thought that they belonged at that moment to the 10 best songs.

SUZANNE: On February 4th 2005 you guys had a release party for the new CD ('Tales From The Soul'). This was at Willemeen in Arnhem, your hometown. How was this?
EDDY: It really pleased us. The sphere came in very good with our Belgium friends of 7-th Circle (who unfortunality doesn't exist anymore). After their show we did a nice show for a very good filled and enthusiast house. That is a dream come true.

SUZANNE: Why did you change the name of the band?
EDDY: That was a question of Sensory they didn't forced us but they advanced us to choose a name without an 'X' on the end. This because we as a new band properly were not taken serious like the ANOTHER band in the scene with an 'X' at the end. I believe I can name at least 10 right now.

SUZANNE: What does the name novAct means?
EDDY: Something like New Act.

SUZANNE: Are their been other changes accept the bandname?
EDDY: Not really. Not since the change of name, but before that we had some cast changes. Ivor van Beek one of our guitar players left the band and his Non-Divine band mate Ruben Viets followed him not long after that. Ruben is replaced by Michiel Reessink.

SUZANNE: What can you say about the reputation in abroad?
EDDY: That is hard to say. The internet is a huge help in possibilities to get your name spread around. But that goes for every band. If you see how many times we got reviewed in Germany you'd think we would be okay. But for myself, I find it hard to visualize how fast it really goes. I have the idea though, that all the real prog fans will hear from us this year. Every self-respecting site will pick up an act with a serious release eventually. But if I would come to speak a metal head on a Saturday somewhere in Paris, and ask him/her if he/she would know novAct? I really don't know.

SUZANNE: What can we expect on stage what we didn't see/hear by Morgana-X?
EDDY: What that concern is, that change of name was really practical. Not for cooperation with a change or concept or something like that. That had to do with the American Market. What we did with Morgana-X, the sounds and the opinion, is really what we want. So this is just a continuation of what we did. It's the intention that we, with the developments at this moment, get more professional in performance and presentation. But we would have done also with the other name.

SUZANNE: Are there band members in other bands/projects? And what can you tell me about that?
EDDY: Outside novAct are we at this moment pretty calm. Martijn (drummer novAct) is doing the most. He is in some other projects (Example: Projekt Tabun) and some occasion bands. And our guitar player Jeroen is doing some musical things with Septuagint guitar player Andrew van der Schaft.

SUZANNE: What do you think about the recent progscene in the Netherlands & Belgium? 7th Circle from Belgium (friends of you) stopped recently because of this.
EDDY: Well, that is a hard question to. You noticed that this world is very small. Even on global level is that world very small. By Ken Golden you meet names from Dream Theater and Martijn had a little while ago the pleasure to be drum technician of Mike Portnoy at Headway. Then you think 'wow' who is this possible? Patrick Koopman is building a guitar for Jeroen and introduced his by Steve Vai. Then you are thinking wow, who is this possible? In the mean time you have to stay with both legs on the floor. When we play in Amsterdam in a cafe then we have to be happy if 40 come and check us out. Because of that it is very difficult to say what the developments really are.

SUZANNE: What is your status in this area?
EDDY: Like I said, it is very difficult to say. We think that we delivered a CD that can come in the sub top and it has a qualitity level, so that no one is going to say: "who are these amateurs". But we still don't have a big group of loyal fans. That's why we are so happy that we get the change to tour with After Forever. We will graph this change to give our status a boost.

SUZANNE: Who founded the band?
EDDY: Wouter Wamelink, our guitarist and composer.

SUZANNE: You changed band members a few times, which band members were there at first, and why did they leave?
EDDY: Ivor was in two bands with ambition, Non-Divine and Morgana-X. In Non-Divine Ivor was the front man in every way. Eventually he chose to give himself to the fullest to Non-Divine. Ruben hoped to divide his energy over the two bands, but eventually he had to stop with one. If you look at Ruben's history with Non-Divine and Ivor, his choice for Non-Divine was a logical one. Personally I found it very difficult to see them leave but I could understand their choice. I heard a lot of good things about their new CD and I hope they can also contribute to Arnhem being a deliverer of quality metal.

SUZANNE: You've won the "Popprijs 2002" and played on Huntenpop 2003. You also had more gigs home and abroad on festivals and halls. How was this and what was the highlight for you?
EDDY: Highlights were Headway and Progpower. Both festivals were great, because musically you show to a full advantage, because it's well organized. It's the portal to progloving Holland (and Germany) which is good for your reputation. And it's very nice to get in touch with international acts. Headway had an extra glow because we came in touch with Sensory there. Furthermore our gigs in Belgium were very good, it seems to be pretty good over there.

SUZANNE: What are the tour plans for home and abroad, or are you only touring with AF now?
EDDY: For now only with AF. That will be an important graduator to see how things develop. On basis of that we'll decide what we can do as far as touring is concerned.

SUZANNE: You are going to be the support act for After Forever, how did this cooperation complete?
EDDY: Sander called us if we were interested in being their support act. As far as that is concerned I think there's an angel on our shoulder. First Sensory through Headway and now, the CD is barely finished, and AF is contacting us. Now and then we can hardly believe that this is happening to us.

SUZANNE: Your music is different compared to After Forever, how do you think the audience will react?
EDDY: It's exciting because we don't know, but I think the audience will have a music taste that is large enough to appreciate us. On the other side AF wants to go more in our direction. They told us that they paid attention to that when they contacted us. But we are enjoying this very much and are looking forward to the 2nd half of 2005!

NYPON & BLYLOD - Nypon (Vocals & Drums) ( 10 April 2005 )
(Interviewer: Stan Efraimov, New York, USA)

STAN: When did Nypon & Blylod first form?
NYPON: I guess it was back in 1998.

STAN: After the release of your demo, did you receive any offers from labels?
NYPON: Yes, we did. From two Swedish labels. But some problems came up and I did not send the demo to any other labels after that. Maybe I'll try to get a record deal later. I'd like to put out a full album!

STAN: What kind of problems occured?
NYPON: Well, problems with money. To record a full record in a great studio would cost alot of $$$. I guess that alot of the labels have to little of money to spend on their artists.

STAN: Your style is very similar to Mercyful Fate. The same goes with your vocals, which remind me of King Diamond. You're also known to be a KD/MF tribute band. Do you play alot of their songs live or do you focus more on your originals?
NYPON: Well, when we had our live gigs, we started out to be a King Diamond cover band but after we recorded our demo, we played our own songs too. People liked them alot. We did a gig in Ghotenburg, we had Snowy Shaw (DREAM EVIL) on the drums and that was great. He played three covers with us: ''The Candle'', ''Halloween'' and ''Come To The Sabbath.'' The crowd went insane! hahaha.

STAN: As of now, do you think you're more of a tribute band or an original?
NYPON: Hmm, well Nypon & Blylod will always be a known as a King Diamond tribute band. I guess if we put out an album, we will not have Nypon & Blylod as our band name, but I'd like to write my own music...AND my vocals sound just like King's!!

STAN: What band name would you have considered to take if not Nypon & Blylod if you had to write original songs for an album?
NYPON: Hmm, maybe Sons of Satan, haha. That was a joke! I don't know, but something cool.

STAN: How did you get Andy La Rocque (King Diamond) to produce the cover for ''The Family Ghost''?
NYPON: Well, I called him on the phone and asked if we could record our cover with him. Nypon & Blylod got a deal to appear on the King Diamond tribute album, ''Church of the Devil.'' First, Andy sounded like he did not want to do it. But I played him some of our covers over the phone and he just went, ''What the fuck was that?! Play it again!" And I did, and he liked it. So we got into his studio, Los Angered recordings, and the cover turned out to be great! I loved it. It became the first track on the album.

STAN: You were offered to do a cover for the tribute album BEFORE you asked Andy to produce it?
NYPON: Yes. We got money to do that one cover. So, I guess that we got lucky to get Andy to record and produce "The Family Ghost." I played the drums and did vocals. Blylod played the bass and all the guitars. He was very nervous. I was nervous too, to stand there and sing like King. It was very cool, Andy is a great guy to work with.

STAN: Do you have any plans for the future of Nypon & Blylod?
NYPON: I don't know. Maybe, I'll make a new demo. Maybe I'll start a new band. I hope to work with music. I love to play drums and sing but it's a hard business.

STAN: Why start a new band? Would Blylod be in it?
NYPON: I don't know. He's a great guitar player. I hope he would like to play with me. At least to make a new demo. The future will tell!

STAN: Any final words to all the readers?
NYPON: Well, if you like music and like to play drums, guitar, bass or sing, do not stop doing it. Music is something that is so great to do! And it is very funny to make and create music and when other people will like it, then it was all worth the work. So do not stop playing heaving music! YEAH!! METAL!!! NYPON!!!

STAN: Haha, thanks for those inspirational words.
NYPON: Thanks to you too. Great to talk with you.


ONE BULLET LEFT - All Members ( 13 November 2006 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

Interview with the youngest thrash/death/blackmetalband from the Netherlands: One Bullet Left !!!
The Band consists of the brothers Dennis (15) and Yorick (13) Woltjers, Rik Overmars (11) and Thijs Brinkhuis (14).

MARCO: When did the band start?
ONE BULLET LEFT: We started in January 2006.

MARCO: What does your family think of the fact that you're in a real metalband ? I've heard that you're getting a lot of support from parents and friends. And that you're really popular with the younger Audience? You must have girls and friends as much as you want?
ONE BULLET LEFT: We get a lot of support from our parents. They help us out a lot with arranging gigs and stuff. The father of Dennis and Yorick is a real helping hand. There's also a lot of support coming with us to gigs and stuff. But with the girls it's not that much.

MARCO: When did you start out with metal and what are your favorite bands?
ONE BULLET LEFT: It started when we were on primary school. Our favourite bands are: Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Liar Of Golgotha, Dark Funeral, Into Internalty , God Dethroned, Monastery, Instil.

MARCO: Are your parents metalheads as well ??
ONE BULLET LEFT: Dennis and Yorick's father is, the rest of the parents listen to all kinds of music. But they all like us.

MARCO: How do you look back at the gigs throughout The Netherlands and did you have a lot of gigs outside of your area Noord-Overijssel?
ONE BULLET LEFT: Yes, we've had only great gigs. Lots of fun with other bands and we're learning a lot from it too. Yes, we have played Simplon in Groningen.

MARCO: What's a One Bullet Left live show like? And are there some old school moshpits?
ONE BULLET LEFT: It's really great! If I was in the audience I would go crazy. Sometimes there's a pit but it depends on the audience.

MARCO: And what's the deal with the Jeugdjournaal (note: Youth Journal on television)? Will it be broadcasted or not? Or did I miss that?
ONE BULLET LEFT: We don't get that either. We've heard nothing from them anymore.

MARCO: What do you want to achieve with this band?
ONE BULLET LEFT: We want to get as famous as we can be and maybe make some money with it.

MARCO: I'm really jealous of you because I never had the luck of doing what you do. What's it like to be as popular as you are at your age?
ONE BULLET LEFT: It's really cool

MARCO: You're all at elementary school, isn't it hard to combine?
ONE BULLET LEFT: No, Rik is still in primary school. Gigs are usually in the weekends and rehearsal once a week, so it's no problem.

MARCO: How about your demo?
ONE BULLET LEFT: We recorded the demo in September at Frankies Recording Kitchen. It contains 2 songs en he's free downloadable from our site. Of course we made a few copies on cd for parents and friends.

MARCO: Would you participate in a metal version of Idols?
ONE BULLET LEFT: Yes, because that's a good chance to become famous

MARCO: For closure I want to know what to expect from One Bulet Left in the future?
ONE BULLET LEFT: Play a lot of gigs in and outside Holland and some new music!

MARCO: Thanx for the interview. Any last words for the readers?
ONE BULLET LEFT: Keep Fucking Support Metal and take a look at our website: www.onebulletleft.nl


ONE MAN ARMY AND THE UNDEAD QUARTET - Johan Lindstrand (Vocals, ex- The Crown) ( 16 June 2005 )
(Interviewer: Suzanne Smaling (www.rockpics.nl), Wamel, The Netherlands)

Johan Lindstrand was once singer of "The Crown" and now formed his own band, named: "One Man Army & The Undead Quartet". They made some demo songs that you can listen at their website. And with these demo songs they worked out a big deal with the huge label Nuclear Blast! You can read everything about it in the following interview! Have fun!

SUZANNE: How did you came in contact with a huge label as Nuclear Blast?? How did you worked out a deal?
JOHAN: Well, early this year we started to spread our music by putting out our promo-demo for download on our website. The word spread fast that their was a new band around and the news also came to a lot of labels. I started to talk to Andy of Nuclear Blast and he said he had heard half a song or something from the website and he was positively surprised by the sound, but he wanted a whole cd with full versions and better sound. I sent him a copy and he was hooked immediately. We talked back and forth to make this deal as good as possible for both parts and now we`re all happy.

SUZANNE: What can you tell me about this band?
JOHAN: This is a death metal band aimed mostly on heavy riffing and mid-tempo beating. Very inspired by old school metal all genres.

SUZANNE: How wellknown is your name abroad?
JOHAN: If you mean this band, not that famous but we will be, oh yeah!! If you mean myself. I'm less famous than this band, haha.

SUZANNE: What can we expect on stage by One Man Army?
JOHAN: A lot of energy and a will to take on the world.

SUZANNE: How does the future of One Man Army look like?
JOHAN: Very promising. I mean, we have a contract with the mighty Nuclear Blast and we have a killer debut album on the way. Let's just hope for some quality touring next year.

SUZANNE: You played in another band "The Crown" and now you established "One Man Army & The Undead Quartet". Can you compare The Crown with One Man Army?
JOHAN: Well, The Crown was more addicted to speed than my new band. One Man Army is more simple, more old school and based a lot around classic riffing in mid tempo songs. I don`t think there are that much similarities other than my voice.

SUZANNE: How long are you in the music business? And for how long are you planning to stay there?
JOHAN: I've been in the scene for 15 years now and I plan to be there for the rest of my life.

SUZANNE: What can you tell me about your band members, where are they from and what is your strive?
JOHAN: Mikael Lagerblad-Lead guitar. Great guy and an excellent guitarist. Also from Trollhättan. He also plays in a rockband called "Blackbush"
Valle Adzic-Bass. An old friend that helped me out with the demo and also became a member. He also plays guitar in "Impious" and as me and Mikael he is from Trollhättan.
Pekka Kiviaho-Rhythm guitar. A Gothenburg dude with the heart in the right place. Great dude. He also plays in "Fraction of chaos"
Marek Dobrowolski-Drums. This hard hitting killer machine from Gothenburg was the last one to join the band. He also plays in "Reclusion". Also a super dude that fits this band perfectly. -Hey! It seems like I have the ultimate band, hehe.
We strive for world domination.

SUZANNE: Why did 'The Crown' exactly topped? Did that really had to do with the Dutch bookings agency Loudnoise?? Or where there also other factors?
JOHAN: Of course it was not all because of bullshit companies trying to run us over all the time. But yeah, we had a rough time the last year. A lot of setbacks that finally took the energy from us. But one other reason was also because half the band wanted to do other stuff and we were not focused on getting the band in the same direction anymore. We were not united anymore.

SUZANNE: What are the other members of 'The Crown' doing now after the split-up?
JOHAN: Magnus has a punk rock band called "Stolen policecar". Marko has a one man project called "Angel Blake". Marcus has a band called "Engel". Janne has recorded drums for a Canadian band called Aven Aura as a session musician but maybe he has become a fulltime member now, I don`t know.

SUZANNE: When can we expect you debut album and what is the title of this CD? Can you tell me about the new CD?
JOHAN: The debut album will be recorded in Bohus recordings in September and will be released in early 2006. We have the title and the coverart finished already but that is top secret so far, hehe. I will let you know when the time is right. There will be 12 songs on it. All the songs from the demo ,of course re-recorded + 6 completely new ones.

SUZANNE: Will you release you demo on CD or can people only listen to it on the website? Or will you use the songs for the first album?
JOHAN: The demo has been released on Nuclear Blast now, but on this official version there is only 4 songs instead of 6 as on the original. Together with this cd you also get a shirt for a very cheap price. This is very limited so if you want it. Buy it now!

SUZANNE: You where the singer of The Crown for a while. Did you sing in other bands also? Or do you have any side-projects at the moment?
JOHAN: I have only done the vocals for The Crown except for a unique one time live appearance with Incapacity. Then I filled in for Drette who had other obligations that night.

SUZANNE: When can we expect you on the Dutch stage?
JOHAN: Soon I hope. Maybe next year when we promote the debut album. We have to wait and see what Nuclear Blast has in mind for us.

SUZANNE: Is there anything you'd like to add to the questions?
JOHAN: Nope, I think we got it all in the previous questionsJ

SUZANNE: Is there anything that you would to add for the end of the interview?
JOHAN: Well, thanks for the interview and good luck with the zine and to all the metal heads out there. I hope to see you all on the road next year. Check out our music at www.escape.to/onemanarmy if you haven't already. Cheers!!!!! / Johan


OVERLORDE - John "KONG" Bunucci (Bass) ( 10 April 2005 )
(Interviewer: Ruud Fleskens, The Netherlands)

RUUD: Hello Overlorde! How are you guys doing lately?
JOHN: We are doing great!

RUUD: Who came up with the plans about a reunion?
JOHN: Well, we found out we had an underground following and to be honest; we did not believe it but it was true!

RUUD: Who came up with this bandname?
JOHN: We kinda of all agreed, well Mark and myself man, that was a long time ago!

RUUD: How did Bobby Lucas join the band?
JOHN: We met Bobby at a Powermad show and he showed complete enthusiasm from the get go.

RUUD: How was it playing in Europe for the first time during the KIT festival at the 2nd april?
JOHN: It was an awesome experience. We had such a great time and where treated like old friends by everyone we met. And the bands we shared the stage with; just excellent. An extremely enjoyable time.

RUUD: Are there any plans for an extended european tour? Or any other festivals?
JOHN: Not as of yet but we would welcome it with open arms.

RUUD: From the band, are there any other members playing in other bands or having side-projects? I know Kong is bussy with a new project, can you tell something about it already?
JOHN: Well, we all play with other people thats just a fact of life . I don't really have any so called side projects. I do fill in for bands from time to time when i am available. But my first love is Overlorde.

RUUD: How is the band doing in your home country USA?
JOHN: We are doing okay, we have offers to play and are considering them. But nothing beats the european scene mostly the German scene.

RUUD: Is the underground scene alive in the USA?
JOHN: Yes, there are underground bands out here and i believe once you are a metalhead you are one for life, it does not matter what the media throws at you we are what we are bad ass metal lovin mother's and that is not going to change.

RUUD: What can we expect from you guys in the near future?
JOHN: We are right now still stoked about Keep it True. We would hope to return to Europe for more shows, time will tell .

RUUD: What did you think of the other bands playing at KIT? Any bands that influenced you?
JOHN: The other bands that performed at KIT where great. The guys from Torch, Deadly Blessing, Thunder Rider. All of them are a # 1 people and musicians. Many at the show influenced me to play my heart out as they did.

RUUD: Are there plans to release "Return of the Snow Giant" on vinyl?
JOHN: You would have to check with Sonic Age Records on that one.

RUUD: Will there be a re-release of your first record, the Overlorde EP?
JOHN: Once again; we talked briefly about it but nothing yet.

RUUD: Last words are for Overlorde. So if you have anything to say that should be told; just say it here;
JOHN: Let us not forget who we are, where we are, and what has brought us to here. We are all brothers and sisters in metal, do not fall prey to all the media hype stay stead fast in our course. We are the one's who have kept metal alive and well all these years. Everyone of us needs to pass it on to younger generations so they can expierience the perfered music of the god's!! Long live metal!! Peace my friends. Your brother john "kong" bunucci

RUUD: Greetings and thanx for the interview!! Ruud Fleskens for Mario's Metal Mania

PORTRAIT - David Stranderud (bass player and founder) & Christian Lindell (guitar player) (23 April 2008)
(Interviewer: Alex Avdeev , Siberia, Russia)


Two years ago, a demo CD from then unknown Swedish Heavy Metal band got into my hands, and after giving it a good ear, I realized that there is one more contemporary band playing real metal. The band has evolved throughout these years and it has just released their first full-length album!!! They rip the crowd apart when they play live, their music shifts from slow soothing pieces to the heaviest aggressive wall of metal attack that makes your ears bleed with pleasure. David, the bass player and one of the founders of the band, and Christian, who plays guitar in the band, kindly agreed to answer my questions.

ALEXANDER: Hello, David and Christian! The first question: You are getting popular across the world, do people recognize you in the streets and in various cities?
DAVID: Haha... No, I don't think so. Of course there are some people who recognize me on underground festivals, but I think it's mostly because I have been to quite a lot of festivals during the last years.

ALEXANDER: The new album track has been circulating on the internet and it shows how heavy metal can be - thunderous, intense, filled with solo parts and wide-range vocals. What's the title of the upcoming LP and how did you come up with the name?
DAVID: Well, the album is simply called "Portrait". No need for another name on it, I think.

ALEXANDER: But is there a concept behind it, something that binds the songs on the record and the title itself?
CHRISTIAN: The "concept" (darkness, death etc.) which is present in the songs on the album is the concept of the band as a whole as well, and thus "Portrait" is the only fitting title.

ALEXANDER: One can see you progressing really fast from the 2005 demo to the 2008 record and the people who own your previous records would like to know the main pecularities of the new album. Could you, please, deliberate on them?
DAVID: The thing our album has - that is lacking very much in today's music scene - is GOOD SONGS. There are many bands playing a cool style of metal but very few that seem to be able to come up with good songs.
CHRISTIAN: Do you mean in comparison to our "old" stuff? I'd say that the peculiarities on the album are the same as with the demo and 7", but in a more powerful way than before, due to better musicianship and more time to sharpen our swords, so to speak.

ALEXANDER: Name your records chronologically (with dates of release) and please tell us how you've progressed from one to another: how did you change your production, how did the line-up change and please tell us to your general approach to songwriting.
DAVID: We released the demo in September 2006 I think, it's called "Welcome To My Funeral". The single "Into The Nothingness" came out in May 2007. We have become a lot tighter since the previous recordings and the songs are even stronger than before, I think.
CHRISTIAN: It's not a really drastic change in the song writing process or anything with the songs on the album, as most of them were written during the same period as the demo and 7" songs. But as, especially the demo, was recorded in a very early stage, the material on the album had the time to grow prior to being recorded. We had played most of the songs live many times and this gave us the chance to find out the parts that could be polished or whatever.

ALEXANDER: David, why did you have to switch from guitar to bass?
DAVID: Who plays the bass in Motorhead?...haha. No, seriously - since I live pretty far from the other guys and have problems to rehearse as often as I want, we thought this was a great thing to do. And Richard (Richard Lagergren - Portrait's guitar player) is a killer guitarist!

ALEXANDER: Christian, we would like to hear about the lyrical inspiration and the conception behind the Portrait's debut album - as far as I understand you're driven by the interest to the unexplored possibilities of human mind and the utmost horror coming from beyond this world.
CHRISTIAN: Yes, you are quite right about inspirational sources. This is something I really urge to and will explore further and I am aware that I am in a pretty early "stage" of it all now; Not like the black metal kids who seem so determined about their religious convictions after reading a couple of interviews in the hottest metal fanzines.

ALEXANDER: David, How did you find all the members that are currently in your line-up? Who was the hardest-to-get member?
DAVID: Well, Christian (Christian Lindell - Portrait's guitar player) did find them. Anders (Anders Persson - Portrait's drummer) is a long time friend of him and they knew that Philip (Philip Svennefelt - Portrait's vocalist) could sing and asked him to join. And then, suddenly from nowhere. Richard popped up from hell. And here we are!

ALEXANDER: David, I know that you were prominent for your participation in Devil Lee Rot, why did you quit playing there?
DAVID: I didn't. I still do. But since Portrait is my first priority, DLR are resting in the shadows.

ALEXANDER: You, guys, seem to collaborate what bands like Iron Maiden, Running Wild, Exciter, Pagan Altar, Manilla Road, Judas Priest and Manowar have been doing, who have influented your music the most?
DAVID: I would say the love to heavy metal.
CHRISTIAN: Judas Priest

ALEXANDER: What label are you currently on and how did you come in touch with this label after quitting the last one?
DAVID: Iron Kodex (former New Iron Age). Well, this is the first one! And they contacted us after listening to our demo.

ALEXANDER: Seeing how many people tend to play mainstream-oriented music, is it easy for you to stay afloat money-wise as well as psychologically, get your band playing to shows in various cities and countries and get positive response from the audience or earn any pennies with Portrait?
DAVID: Haha..We will never earn money. I think we are paying only.....
CHRISTIAN: We'd love to make a living out of this band of course, but getting outside this hellhole of a city to play in front of fistpounding maniacs will most likely be worth all the fuzz for the coming 30 years.

ALEXANDER: Are you self-taught musicians?
DAVID: Yes, I am. And I think the rest of us are as well.
CHRISTIAN: Yes. My father played the guitar for some time and taught me some chords when I started, but other than that there has been no guru. Andrija of Mercy actually offered me guitar lessons when I was younger but it never happened then, and I'm so sad it is too late now. R.I.P

ALEXANDER: I always try to ask this question from musicians, Christian, can you name any underground bands from your local scene that you support wholly?
CHRISTIAN: I suppose I could: Indian summer, Eidomantum, Fourever

ALEXANDER: You were sharing the stage with Sacred Steel in the past, what can you say about them, Christian?
CHRISTIAN: They were cool people. I remember me and Gerrit spoke about our mutual hate for people selling "die-hard" edition vinyl on eBay, especially when the labels do so themselves and tells the regular buyers that the record is sold out. Speaking of "die-hards", when did people stop to believe that music isn't a strong force enough in itself and can not be sold or bought without the addition of patches, stickers, posters, OBI-strips, pencils, parchments etc.? And if the music is not good enough, do you really want the patch?

ALEXANDER: What is the hierarchy in your band, who writes all the material?
DAVID: The material so far is written by Christian and Richard.

ALEXANDER: What countries or cities have you played in and how different was the reception there?
DAVID: We have played in Sweden, Norway, Germany and France. I must say that the German metalheads are the best!!
CHRISTIAN: David is correct about the countries we have played in. I think the best response we have received was at the Sweden rock gig and also the gig in Wurzburg supporting Anvil.

ALEXANDER: Playing live in Sweden, were you greeted warmly at your first live show?
DAVID: Yes, It was in Kristianstad in Sweden. A small pub called Dallas. It was a blast!
CHRISTIAN: Yes, I think that gig was the darkest one so far. There was an atmosphere that I don't think has been present since. Maybe I was just drunk, or maybe I think the atmosphere were more cruel there due to the fact that I broke a guitar string in the first song, I don't know.

ALEXANDER: There was a Portrait CD's release party in Germany on the 3rd of April, how did it go? Were there any guest bands playing or it was just a friends' party where people just throw in a party and communicate?
CHRISTIAN: It was a nice evening. The volume on the stereo was a bit low though, and unfortunately Brian Ross (who was staying at the hotel in which the party was held) did not join us. The latter was maybe for the better anyway, because I would only have been a pain in his ass probably. I had some very special visions that night. No band was playing, so it was just a friends' party where people throw in a party and communicate really.

ALEXANDER: And finally, what would you advise to people who recently formed heavy metal bands and try to keep them alive and kicking?
DAVID: Drink beer and listen to Motorhead!!
CHRISTIAN: Perish in flames, assholes!!!

ALEXANDER: Thanks, David and Christian! I really hope that a lot of people who haven't heard your music will be interested in listening to your records after reading this interview, and those who have heard the band will be glad to read and know more from real metalheads like you, guys! Keep it true!

PRESIDENT EVIL - all members (16 February 2008)
(Interviewer: Kay Vloeberghs , Denderwindeke, Belgium)

KAY: Last month the new album came out, what do you expect of the reactions of the listeners?
PRESIDENT EVIL: That they will be very different, some people will like it and other people won't. It's always the same.

KAY: What are the ambitions with the new album? Do you think about moving up the ladder?
PRESIDENT EVIL: We have no plans. Just making the music we love, playing live, having fun,... It's what we do, to make a big career out of this is not our plan.

KAY: What's the difference with the first album?
PRESIDENT EVIL: We're more rock & roll, less thrash metal parts and more rock & roll stuff. Straight to the face.

KAY: Last year you guys went on a tour with Gwar, how was that?
PRESIDENT EVIL: Very very fun! Freaky guys but they were very nice and good to us. It was just a lot of fun.
KAY: I can imagine. Never thought of dressing up like Gwar as wel?
PRESIDENT EVIL: No no, not us.

KAY: Do you have any plans for the summer? Maybe some festivals?
PRESIDENT EVIL: We don't make plans. We're waiting for festivals, nothing is confirmed yet. We're waiting for shows, our manager is doing his work and we're waiting it out.

KAY: Do you ever want to go to the US to play some show or even Japan?
PRESIDENT EVIL: It depends on how many cd's you sell, touring is very expensive and if we don't sell a lot of records it's just not possible to go there. We want to go if it's possible, we would be very happy.

KAY: I got the new cd "Hell in a Box" and I really enjoyed it.
PRESIDENT EVIL: Yeah, thank you!

KAY: What further ambitions do you have with President Evil?
PRESIDENT EVIL: Ambitions, well we started out as a small project. We never wanted to make a demo or something like that. But then a time came that we decided to play more heavy rock & roll stuff. At the time we played some kind of Rage against the Machine music and it just became more melodic and more melodic but we wanted to make more heavy music. So we sat down and talked about what we wanted to play and then later we won a contest.
KAY: Oh Really?
PRESIDENT EVIL: Yeah we finally recorded 4 songs and send it to the contest and before we knew it we were selected from about 300 bands and ended up with the last 6. It was a lot of fun, we never thought we would win the contest. We played and the people there exploded. We won about 10.000 euros to record an album and that's what we did. If we didn't do it I don't think we would have had a record. So we don't make any plans actually. Now it's "Hell in a Box". It's good recording, very close to the live sound. There's no sloppy bass or something like that, we recorded it live. And that's what we want and we like it very much! And now we're on a tour with Volbeat, how great is that! You get to know a lot of people, play in a lot of nice clubs and it's great. We'll see what the future brings. Next time is next time! Who knows what's going to happen in 2 months or a year, we're just waiting for it.

KAY: You guys are from Bremen, how is it to be a metal/rock 'n roll band there?
PRESIDENT EVIL: In Bremen there aren't a lot of metal or rock & roll bands. There are a few, there's not a real scene. It's more of a punk/ska city, its very trendy there.
KAY: So was it hard to get noticed there?
PRESIDENT EVIL: I guess for a metal band yes, we always had the usual crowd to come see us. But to make new fans it was really hard. But at the cd-release party there were nearly 200 people there so that's great fun, a lot of unknown faces. So that's great for us.

KAY: Any last words?
PRESIDENT EVIL: Yeah give us a chance and listen to the cd. Come to the live shows and Rock & roll!

KAY: Thanks for the interview!
PRESIDENT EVIL: No problem, cheers!

RAVENSTHORN - Bill "Count Bloodwyn" Jannusch (Singer) ( 4 March 2006 )
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren , Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)

MARIO: Hello Bill, how are you doing lately?
BILL: I'm doing very well Mario, thank you. It's fantastic to have Ravensthorn back in action and writing and rehearsing for a new album and upcoming shows. And, I feel great about having our manager Jerry parsley back at the helm of the project. This guy is as important as any band member in the ultimate success of Ravensthorn.

MARIO: Who are the original founding members of Ravensthorn?
BILL: Ravensthorn actually started back in mid-September of 2001 and the "original" founding members of the band were Tony Barr (drums), Greg Verthein (guitar) and Jimmy H (bass). A couple of weeks later, I was asked to audition and soon joined. At that time, the band was still talking about what name to use for the band. Tony, Greg and I had lists of names (Jimmy wasn't around at the time). We were all tossing around ideas. On Tony's list was "Ravens Cry" and on Greg's list was "Thorn." Greg and I looked at each other "stoned" and he said "Why don't we call it Ravensthorn?" Tony and I thought it sounded great, so we all agreed on the name. I think we played only one gig with this lineup when Jimmy suddenly realized that the band's vocal style and theatrics wasn't what he had envisioned for the band. So, the band turned to an old friend to play bass, Mario Sanchez. Mario had played in Tony's old band Dream Seeker and he had substituted on bass in my old band WitchCross. Soon after, we began writing "House of the Damned" and started recording it in early 2002.

MARIO: Why did Jeff Taylor and Greg Verthein leave the band? Did they go voluntary or are they kicked out of the band?
BILL: Mario, I must tell you that Ravensthorn has always kept "personal matters" within the band. We do this out of respect for each other. But frankly, nobody was kicked out of the band. It basically came to a point where we simply weren't on the same page with each other and the band ultimately had to make the necessary adjustments to keep itself ALIVE. Eventually, Tony, Mario Sanchez and I sat down and talked about getting the band going once again. We then contacted our manager concerning our plans to make sure he was still with us. After confirming that he was, we were on our way back. The band sincerely wishes Greg Verthein and Jeff Taylor the "very best." Their contributions to Ravensthorn were enormous Mario…and we will always be grateful to them for that.

MARIO: Who are there substitutes and where did you get these guys from? I heard that original bassplayer Mario Sanchez is back in the line-up again? Are any of the Ravensthorn members also playing in other bands or projects?
BILL: Yes, Mario Sanchez is back and we actually consider him our "original" bass player because he performed on both Ravensthorn releases. He was a co-writer in the band as well and his input on future material is something I'm really looking forward to. We now have a "two guitar onslaught" that really fills the sound in a major way. Tomek Spirala (lead guitar) came from a band called Rosenguard (black metal) and Bill Hall (rhythm/lead guitar) has played in several Chicago area metal bands including Animosity and Gag Order 13. The material these guys are writing is extremely dark and heavy. Tomek still performs with Rosenguard but Ravensthornis is now his priority. I still jam for fun with my old band WitchCross occasionally and Mario fills in for an 80's cover band once in a while.

MARIO: I heard that guitarplayer Bill Hall also played in Gag Order 13, the band of ex-Tyrants Reign drummer Gabriel Anthony? Is the scene in Chicago just so small and can you tell something about the metal scene is Chicago this days?
BILL: Truthfully, the Chicago metal scene is very large in comparison to other states when it comes to "underground" metal bands. That is why we had so many choices in guitar players when we were auditioning for them. Of course, all the band members of Ravensthorn know the Chicago area metal scene very well and personally know many metalheads within it. And, it's not unusual here for bands to swap members in time of need. Chicago's metal scene is very much…ALIVE & WELL!

MARIO: Your old manager, Jerry Parsley, is also back again after an absence for about 6 months or so. What went wrong with him? Had it to do with the ex-members of Raventhorn? (If you dont want to answers this question, just throw it away, no problem!)
BILL: When the band split, Jerry essentially took a step back and waited to see if the band would pull itself together. There wasn't much he could do for us while we were in the midst of our separation. I knew that some form of Ravensthorn would re-emerge and I always wanted Jerry to be a part of it. It's important for me to say Mario that when times were rough, I always kept in touch with Jerry Parsley for his advice and friendship. After I reunited with Tony and Mario, we sought out his input once again and he was ready to rock n' roll.

MARIO: Who are your personal main influences in metal, especially singers?
BILL: Ozzy Osbourne is the reason I started singing and Black Sabbath is my "all time" favorite band. Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS are also favorites because of their unique vocal styles. King Diamond and Mercyful Fate, the most evil and mysterious singer of them all. I learned all my high notes from singing along with "Melissa", "Don't Break The Oath", "Fatal Portrait" and "Abigail" as a teenager. I still listen to everything he releases to this day. Rob Halford and Judas Priest is another one. I consider him as possibly the best metal singer ever! Ronnie Dio has been a huge influence on me. Rainbow, Sabbath, Dio…everything he touches is gold to me! Of course, Iron Maiden with Bruce Dickinson is another of my very favorite vocalists, a very charismatic singer with a wicked voice. I've also been "highly" influenced by bands such as Alice Cooper, Bathory, Black Label Society, Cirith Ungol, Deep Purple, Deicide, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Kreator, Mayhem, Possessed, Saint Vitus, Slayer and Venom…just to name a few.

MARIO: The first release of Raventhorn, "House of the Damned" is sold out on CD. Will it ever be re-released again?
BILL: I would love to have "House of the Damned" officially released. As you know, "House" was released on CDR format only, so it would be awesome to have it produced professionally. But with Tomek and Bill now in the band, there won't be any time to look back. So, the chances of another CD release of "House of the Damned" is highly unlikely. But the "HOTD" recordings can still be found on our double vinyl LP, "The Haunted House of the Possessed" (Hellion Records) which also includes the "Hauntings And Possessions" recordings. The LP can be purchased directly from Hellion Records (www.hellionrecords.de) or through our website (www.ravensthorn.net) as well.

MARIO: When can we expect new material from Raventhorn and will it, again, be released on Hellion Records?
BILL: We are still in the writing phase with the new material but we have already begun to rehearse some of the songs. Our goal is to get all of the material finished and recorded by the end of summer. It's hard to predict when the recordings will be released, that would be a guess. But, we are certainly hoping before the end of the year. We want to get the new material out to our fans as soon as possible so we can reaffirm their belief in Ravensthorn. I can say that it will be a very heavy and dark album, yet highly melodic! One of the songs we're working on is called, "Horrors of the Black Mass." We may even use that name as the album title. Some of the other new titles are "Mortuary Mass", "Rosemary's Baby", "The Hearse" and "Wolf Witchery." We have a plethora of new material we're working on. Tomek and Bill are coming up with monster riffs like crazy. I play guitar as well, so this really helps me with my song writing. I guarantee you that this will be our heaviest project yet. But don't worry, it will still be very much a Ravensthorn album. And, as far as Ravensthorn is concerned, Hellion Records is still our record label and we are definitely planning on releasing our next recording through our "fearless leader", Juergen Hegewald & Company! Hellion Records has always produced and released top quality products and we are very grateful for everything that Juergen has done for Ravensthorn.

MARIO: You guys sound so 80's. Is there a special reason for? I adore the 80's US-metal so i'm not complaining...
BILL: We are a product of our influences, 70's and 80's metal, fused with a modern thrash power. We all grew up listening to it. It's really all we know

MARIO: Where did you get your horror-image from? Does it have anything to do with the scarry story about "Escaping The Hammond House Of Horrors" that is on your website? Can you tell something about that?
BILL: My horror image is basically due to my love for KISS, King Diamond and Alice Cooper, as well as Black Metal. I'm a massive horror movie collector and it's my obsession. I have well over 500 titles in my collection. But my image has absolutely nothing to do with the "murder" house. I was into "the dark" and "horror" long before that unfortunate situation happened. I'm actually trying to get away from that hideous story. It was a horrible, living nightmare that really happened. The murderer, David Maust, committed suicide only a month ago while in jail. So his damnation is finally a reality! He deserves to be dead. The only reason why I wrote a song about it was that it was my only way of coping with the situation at the time. It's been a long time now though, and I want to put that whole ordeal behind me. It still haunts me sometimes. But, now that he's dead (the killer), I'm over it. But, I don't think the parents of those kids ever will be. I can't seem to get away from talking about it. People's morbid curiosity won't let me forget about the horrific reality. I'm just very fortunate that I didn't end up as one of his victims. Anyone can read more about the story by visiting our website.

MARIO: Why did the URL of the Raventhorn website change from .com into .net?
BILL: The old site went into ruin and rather than waste time trying to secure it, we immediately began a new site. I hope you like it as much as we do. It was a necessary procedure in order to continue on. We really didn't want to change the ULR but we truly had no choice. It's that simple. We certainly hope the switch hasn't caused too much confusion with our fans and we hope the word on the new site spreads quickly.

MARIO: When can we expect Ravensthorn back in Europe?
BILL: First of all, we deeply regret that the band won't be traveling to Europe this summer for one of the many festivals there. But we will however, be back as soon as we possibly can. I know Jerry is working on that now. After the band's FANTASTIC experience at last year's Headbanger's Open Air Festival and the warm hospitality provided by Thomas and his Mom (note MMM: Organiser of the HOA festival in Germany) , believe me, Ravensthorn can't wait to return. We have a lot of work ahead of us getting the new album out and doing some shows around the states with the new lineup. In the immediate future, we are opening for USURPER in Chicago on March 18th and we'll be traveling to New Jersey in April to open for ATTACKER. We are really looking forward to both of these shows. But realistically, it may not be until 2007 before Ravensthorn returns to Europe. But we know it will be worth the wait.

MARIO: Anything I forgot about to ask or any notes you want to say to MMM-readers?
BILL: Well Mario, first of all, the entire band would like to Thank You personally for all of your help and support. When the new material becomes available, you will be the first to be contacted. We love you Metal Brother. We would also like to Thank Juergen Hegewald of Hellion Records once again for the amazing things he has done for Ravensthorn. And to our fans, we love you all as well and the band Thanks You so much for listening to our music and coming to the shows. We can't wait to see you all again and thanks for sticking with us. Hold high the "Horns" and drink the blood of the vampire for eternal life…In Darkness, The Count

MARIO: Thanx for the interview!!!
Cheers;
Mario
Copyright Mario van Dooren
RAZOR - Rob Mills (Drummer) ( 3 July 2006 )
(Interviewer: Mario van Dooren, Berkel Enschot, The Netherlands)

MARIO: Hi Rob, first of all already thanx for the interview! How are you guys doing lately?
ROB: Hi Mario, thanks for the interest in interviewing the members of Razor! My name is Rob Mills and I play drums with Dave Carlo, Adam Carlo, Bob Reid and Mike Campanola in Razor!!

MARIO: How is Dave Carlo doing?? Did he recover good from his hand surgery?? What is the current status of Razor? Who are in the band nowadays and are any of them playing in other bands also??
ROB: Adam Carlo and Mike Campanola are in the best of health. It is a very cool situation; we've got two extremely talented bass players (Classic Bass Players). I can't wait to hear the kaos these guys will produce on the next recordings.
Mr. Bob Reid; well what can I say, along with his road crew, there is nothing that can stand in the way of these party perfectionist's. Live shows are like Sunday dinners with your family, allways a pleasant experience with these guys. Yes Bob Reid is the most outrageous hardcore fucking rabid dog I have ever met, nothing can kill this man!! He is doing totally awesome, if I may speak for him (and I will by the way), his secondary project Bobnoxious is having great success. This guy has the vocal chords of a jet propelled stone crusher !!! Such a ripper! He tears the fucking cartridges out of microphones all the time.
Mr. Dave Carlo, by the way, well we all know his super power, he is my most favorite guitar player and song witter and musical mentor. He is not doing to bad, we have had 6 rehearsals and two shows since the DVD has been shot (in 2004 that is), we must protect the hand now ! We are all very aware of what we should play and what we shoudnt play in the live sets, ( what I mean is the order of the songs, I have comfort songs that I can rest and save up energy for the high intensity speed passages). It's funny, we actually rehearse at a pretty slow pace! Let's say "Evil Invaders" album pace, just to warm up. We try and play slower comfortable songs early because believe me there are very few comfortable songs, all the fuckin song's hurt us to play, and if your not ready for the speed, it can wreck you. It's fast man, stamina, slow songs at the beginning of the set to get comfortable, fuck Dave strums his guitar for 5 minutes or so before we go on, and I, well I just hope my arms don't cramp and lock up before the first song is over. After the 6 th song we are warmed up, this is the time I get fucking hyper and play like a maniac!! Uncontrollable it is. I hear Dave's amp cranking and away I go, how could you not want to play to this guy !!! What ever Dave and I can pull off, we do !!! That's how our set list is written, to make us happy and to break your necks! I must say our bass players also suffer the wrath of the speed but all we get out of Adam or Mike is thumbs up, they fucking love the challenge. It's fucking so fast we are killing ourselves and our reserves every single song man, it's the combination of me and Dave Carlo that drive this music, this band. I will not rule out Adam, fuckin' guy can pound the strings, I have had to actually had to push the tendons knots out of Adam's hand so he can keep on with the set, but Dave and I set the pace. Adam talk about an intense guy; he is quiet at times, but I know what lurks in the mans mind. ( remember he was rehearsing Violent Restitution material in oct of 87, just like I was) Now Mister Campanola; he is an true metal head to the core, Dave and Mike are so on the same page musically. I've only rehearsed 3 times with Mike and played our first show. He is another one of my personal hero's!! Did you hear that picking hand in Montreal ? Beautiful Mike ! Maybe you'll see a bad bootleg of it some day! The band was so much fun on stage that night in December, we had a lot of support. God bless the wicked !!!!!!!!!!!!! New material is already arranged with ripping guitar and tasty vocals .. Bob is really excited about the direction and intensity of the new demoed material. I wish I could give you a taste of the new grooves; but let's save that talk for the interview when the new album sells more than the latest Slayer did !! HA !!,,, FUCK YA !!!
We are still considerate of Dave and the surgery he endured. We must give him time to warm up and ice down between songs. Fuck man, yeah now we've got to warm up; ( What a great idea, warm up before a show, especially one being recorded for a DVD). Man we cannot afford to lose this man Dave Carlo; he, who never picks up a guitar in his spare time, he is such a natural. The songs are always there; alot of songs are murder on Dave's hand and my drum lick's. We are fuckin' carving the 16 th's notes as heavy as any fuckin band but that's the way we do it, if we are not bustin are balls for the audience, we would rather not play. I'll tell you if you like fast extremely heavy music; like Slayer and such, the Razor music is different. There is so much blazing guitar, one guitar, I am hoping to talk Dave into recording the new album with no dubbed rhythm guitar Dave is so strong at it. I am so happy about doing the next album; no more drum machines man, your gettin' the real Dave Carlo, Rob Mills.....crazy on the edge hardcore music!

MARIO: How are ex-members Stacey McLaren, Mike Canpagnola, Adam Carlo and M-Bro doing?? Are you still in contact with them and are they still in the music busines?
ROB: Unfortunately I haven't heard anything about Stace Mclaren lately. Mike Campanola played with Dave Bob and I in Montreal in Dec of 05. What an amazing show, the people of Quebec and Canada are true supporters of the metal scene, I commend them and the freaks by the mane of Tom and Bart who came from Poland and Germany, true friends!!! They hold it so sacred! So close to the heart, like it used to be in the early days!! Even the hardcore punk community supports the movement of fast and loud!! Next time you see a punk, mow hawked, spiky jacket all around social outcast, buy him a drink, give him a smoke or just tell him; there is pure music still being created, we all love something that has thought and creativeness in it! Give them a hug or a fist to the air, to be a friend, a fellow connoisseur and a all out majority, they had strong support, especially the young lady that catered the food for the bands, thank -you, tres bein mon amie !! At the show I wore a semi large mohawk,( I do this now and then, I hope I don't confuse any body), but that's me Rob, with the crazy hair! It fuckin doesn't matter how you wear you hair; it's what inside you head !!!! We just don't get enough acts through the provinces here I am one to talk Razor isn't that active. I would like to see my favorite band more often too. Mike and Adam will share duties on the album and live; I wish in my heart that some day M-Bro and Stace will jam with Dave and Mike again, that would be a dream come for me!! I was a big Razor fan in Highschool, in the smoking area, portable boom box with rechargeable batteries. Killer Instinct, holy fuck, talk about original Canadian poetry. Have you ever heard any thing like the Dave Carlo precision, not bad for 83' eh!!!

MARIO:Will there soon be any releases form Razor?? I heard that you guys will release a 20th Anniversary DVD and a new album?? Can you tell me anything about this recordings?? When are they recorded and where?? Who did the production, etc??
ROB:Talk about a snapped fucking ligament I Can't wait till you guys see the DVD .. you can actually see where the damage was done to his thumb; fucking crazy; it was so hot in that club I am surprised I made it threw the set, I was so out of it at the end, all I wanted was to lie down. I had a fan blowing on me; the camera man decided to turn it off, just when I started to get very warm, no fuckin' backin down. I still played like a motherfucker though, I think you will like it, I don't know if you've ever watched that band; live in concert; it's a mother fucker.....try playin' drums to that agrees ion !!!!!! Dave Carlo is a drummer punisher.

MARIO: What happened to the Wacken Open Air recordings?? I thought they should be on DVD also?? What went wrong?
ROB: You asked about Wacken recording, well I wasn't aware that one was made, we walked away with a shitty board tape, that's all.

MARIO:You have a Dutch webmaster (Wim Heemskerk), how did you get in contact with him?
ROB: Our web master Wim is a good great friend of ours, we actually found the site and asked him if he wanted to make it the official Razor site, and he did. If we can we would like to take it over with his blessing of course and try and make Razor alot more accessible for all the great friends we have. A big thanks to Wim (The Fire Lord)

MARIO: Anything else you want to tell to the MMM readers?
ROB: Any others question Mario, try me again, thank you very much!
Rob Mills

REFLECTION - Stathis Pavlantis (guitar) & John Litinakis (bassguitar) (25 November 2008)
(Interviewer: Kostas Kounadinis, Athens, Greece)


KOSTAS: Hello Stathis and John! First of all I want to congratulate you on your new album and wish you the best for the years to come!
STATHIS & JOHN: Thank you very much my friend! Thanx for the support and your interest!

KOSTAS: Please introduce Reflection to those who might not know the band. Give us a summarized biography.
STATHIS & JOHN: Reflection is a Greek Epic/Doom Heavy metal Band, which was founded back in 1991. Since then, we have recorded 2 demo tapes ("Before The End" in 1992 and "When Immortals. Die!" in 1993), a 3 times sold out 7" EP single "Sire Of The Storm" (1995 Dark Side Records), a split cd by the name of "Realms Of The Night" Split CD (2001 NMC music) and four full-length albums "The Fire Still Burns" CD (1999 self financed), "The Fire Still Burns-2001 Edition" CD (2001 Secret Port records), the concept album "Odyssey" (2003 Secret Port records) and finally "When Shadows Fall" (2008 Cruz Del Sur).

KOSTAS: A short period after the release of "Odyssey", the band went through serious line-up changes. Please tell us what led to the departure of the previous members and what criteria did you use in order to recruit the new ones.
STATHIS & JOHN: The changes made, had nothing to do with personal relationships between the members. The guys are still our friends and they are supporting us. The decision to leave the band, was due to the responsibilities, they had undergone, with their families and kids.We are very-very close-we're like a family after soo many years-nothing personal happened. But I wasn't in the same "mood". I wanted to continue the band. The "new" Reflection members weren't new at all. They are friends that were always beside me/us, so it was very easy to get things going. Of course one of the basic criteria was the knowledge of the band's subject and the high level musicianship.

KOSTAS: Tell us a few things about "When Shadows Fall". Are you happy with the result? Is there something you would like to change and why did it take so long?
STATHIS & JOHN: "When Shadows Fall" is a darker and more introvert album, than the previous ones, which combines elements of Epic and Doom metal, under the prism of Reflection's sound and style. We are very satisfied about the final result and at the present time, we are not thinking of changing anything. The release took a little bit longer, due to the fact that the band had three new members, who should find their role inside it. The line up changed during 2006 and after our first live, as a support act to Solitude Aeturnus, which was a kind of a test, we started working on material for the upcoming release.

KOSTAS: How did the contract with Cruz Del Sur occur? Are you happy with the cooperation so far?
STATHIS & JOHN: The procedure we followed was as simple as you can imagine! As soon as we had some tracks recorded, Stathis made a quick rough mix on three of them and we sent them to some labels. We had some offers from them, but we finally chose to cooperate with Cruz Del Sur, as it is known as a major Heavy Metal and very professional label with a very good roster.Until know we are very satisfied. The communication with our label is great, they believe in us and they are showing it by their efforts they make in the part of promotion, which is a very important part.

KOSTAS: I noticed a turn towards doomier paths. The turn was obvious in "Odyssey" but I believe that "When Shadows Fall" could easily fall under the category of epic doom metal. Tell us about the band's sound.
STATHIS & JOHN: Well the "turn" wasn't only obvious in "Odyssey". If You recall "The Fire Still Burns" album, you will find some tracks like "The Wheel Of Fortune" and "Children Of War" which are in more doomy paths than the others. So doom element has been present through all of our years and with the add of Leo's voice, it just became more "obvious" in my opinion. Reflection are a band with a personal sound and even if some members changed, our I.D. remained the same. I don't think that we we "obliged" to make something doomier.It's just how we felt about this album.We never quit playing fast and galloping songs. Maybe the next album will have some of them but who knows??????!!!!!!

KOSTAS: The last song is an impressive orchestral adaptation of "Mistress of the Sea". Have you ever considered writing and recording an album with an orchestra?
STATHIS & JOHN: Thank you! Many times, but it's something very difficult and you have to be 100% devoted to a project like this. I think that it's mostly depends on our personal obligations which are plenty unforunatelly! But...You're not the only one that is asking so I must starting to take it seriously!!

KOSTAS: Who is responsible for the lyrics and what are the themes and stories that inspire Reflection?
STATHIS & JOHN: Lyrics are mostly written by Stathis (who also is the main composer of the songs) but in this album Iraklis helped a lot. Also Chris Kappas (our previous singer) & Stathis had some songs together and we used them (f.e. Kingdom of fire). The thematology, in this album, has a variety of topics. For example we have some epic songs like "Kingdom Of Fire" or "Ghostship" and some darker ones like "When Shadows Fall" (the story of a lunatic) and "Soul Salvation" (based on life, death and afterlife).We like this two kinds of themes. The epical and the dark esostrephic.

KOSTAS: Please update us on the reaction of fans and press towards the new album.
STATHIS & JOHN: Well even if "When Shadows Fall" is a more introvert and dark album, the feedback we are receiving is rather encouraging! Everybody tell us that it needs a few spins, for someone, to dig in it, but as soon as he does, he finds it a great album.It's not an easy listening album. It needs time. I deeply believe that every album cannot be judged from the first spin. I remember some years before that when we bought a record, we were spinning it on the player for a month!

KOSTAS: Leo Stivala is now a full member of Reflection. How do you cope with all the distance between Athens and Malta? What difficulties do you face?
STATHIS & JOHN: As far as the preparation for concerts, the band rehearses without him and as soon he comes to Greece we arrange some rehearsals with him. Leo is an experienced singer and due to his professionalism, he has the songs ready from Malta. So we just make some rehearsals to fix the small details and especially the multi-vocal arrangements.The only problem is that we must book our lives months ago so everyone can arrange his personal obligations with his job.

KOSTAS: Do you have any plans for touring Europe? How important are live shows for Reflection?
STATHIS & JOHN: Well until now we had a gig with the legends Tokyo Blade on 18th November and we will also participate in the next year's "Up The Hammers" festival. We're open to suggestions and proposals and we're working on it with our label. Live shows are the most important thing for the band especially nowadays that computer and home recordings, have replaced studio and analogue ones. The benefit of that is, bands with sort existence to be able record an album, either altogether or via mail, without any rehearsal to take place before and the result sound above average. The disadvantage is that when they try to play live, this lack of communication to be more obvious. So Reflection has nothing to do with all that. We compose, rehearse and then record. So at any time and circumstance we can perform our songs and bring the mood and their atmosphere to audience, like the old and traditional bands did, some years ago. Lives are the mirror of every band...

KOSTAS: Are there any preparations for your next album?
STATHIS & JOHN: By the time the album was released (late September), we were preparing ourselves for the concert with the legendary Tokyo Blade. At the present we have in mind the promotion of "When Shadows Fall" but as I can see from Stathis smile, he must have come with some new ideas, which, we will be, hopefully working, after Christmas.

KOSTAS: Reflection is one of the oldest surviving Greek metal bands. Looking back at your career do you have any regrets? Are there any mistakes you would like to fix if you had the chance?
STATHIS & JOHN: That's a tough one! Of course and we made mistakes! We still do! But only through your mistakes you can find the right path. If you don't do mistakes next time that something will happen, you won't have the advantage to choose between right and wrong. No-I think that I wouldn't change anything and I don't regret for anything. I'm pleased and more experienced now...

KOSTAS: Please tell us about the best and worst moments of your career.
STATHIS & JOHN: I think that our contract with Cruz Del Sur was a highlight of the band and my personal was the live with Solitude Aeturnus. Worst moments??????? After the gig with Tokyo Blade, I forgot them ALL!!!!!!!!!!!

KOSTAS: What bands and musicians are your inspirations?
STATHIS & JOHN: Candlemass, Warlord, Solitude Aeturnus and Memento Mori are our strongest influences. On the other hand we also love Bob Catley, Praying Mantis, Ten, Dare, Fair Warning and many other hard and Heavy bands. I always seek for good quality music. Don't really care for the kind.

KOSTAS: What kind of music do you listen during your spare time?
STATHIS & JOHN: Anything from Heavy metal and Hard Rock. Many times I dig in my old vinyls and I listen again something that I have completely forget! The problem is that I have over 2000 of vinyls so I spend most of my time searching!!!!

KOSTAS: What is your opinion on the Greek Heavy metal scene? What do you have to say about the quality of the bands and the fans?
STATHIS & JOHN: Very good bands and very strong devoted fans. Bands like Marauder, Dream Weaver, Inner Wish, Battleroar are the living example. Maybe the situation of our state is some times more complex than it should be (due to the fucking political system) but whoever is trying hard there's always a chance for him to go further. The Greek scene is active alive and kicking!!!!

KOSTAS: I know that you own a recording studio. Have you recorded a band that in your opinion is capable of great things in the future to come?
STATHIS & JOHN: Many times. Tears, Six String Suicide, Fall from Grace, Destiny Denied are the first that comes in my mind. I believe that they'll have a great future!

KOSTAS: Thank you for this interview! Please send a message to all the Mario's Metal Mania readers!
STATHIS & JOHN: I want to thank everybody for the great love and interest that shows in the band.Hope to see you on stage sometime! Keep the metal flame burning Brothers!

RHAPSODY OF FIRE - Alex Staropoli (Keyboards) (12 June 2007 )
(Interviewer: Wim van Grunsven, Veghel, The Netherlands)

Usually when one speaks to Rhapsody Of Fire the designated partner in crime is Luca Turilli, the guitar player and main composer. Not this time. Not this time, though. Now we got to speak to the other composer of the band, keyboardist Alex Starpoli. It turned out to a good talk, in which he gives us a few more insights into the way Rhapsody Of Fire works and of course, we talk about their first DVD "Visions From The Enchanted Lands". What does surprise is that he still refers to his band as Rhapsody, never with the addition 'Of Fire'.

WIM: How's Rhapsody Of Fire doing at the moment?
ALEX: 'We are currently working on new material and planning the next headlining tour. Actually, the release of this very first live DVD is very important for the career of the band, so this is a very exciting moment.'

WIM: You call it a live DVD, but in between every song there are comments from either the band or fans. Was that a deliberate choice?
ALEX: 'Very much so. I have to say that we like to work with Neil Johnson, we like the way he works. We decided to put as much as possible on the DVD, but it had to be as divers as possible as well. There are two ways of creating a live DVD. The first one is to show a concert without interruption or to create different moments and interrupt some parts in a way that provides extra information to the fans. Maybe we will try to do the first option next time, but this time we decided to do it the other way. We know it does make sense to show the audience a full show, and when we play as a headliner we will definitely be recording everything. This way we can bring a big show, a big production. For this DVD we recorded the shows on which we were the special guests of Manowar. It could have provided a some good concerts, bit is also means less playing time. We would rather make it a full show and make sure we can bring the people everything we have to offer on a full scale. Not only that, but we then also have the opportunity to bring some new material that we undoubtedly will be playing on the next headlining tour.'

WIM: When I spoke to Luca last time he told me the recordings from Canada were extraordinary. Well, the DVD does confirm that!
ALEX: 'It was quite a shock for us to hear all the material from Canada. The performance was outstanding and the moment was very special, so we decided to release a live album with that material. It was not planned, so it a very cool moment. It is nice, because you get inspired by the moment and are able to rise above yourself.'

WIM: You haven't tampered with the sounds on "Visions From The Enchanted Lands", because one can very clearly hear the difference between Canada and the Czech Republic.
ALEX: 'As far as live sound goes we were very lucky with Canada. That venue was fantastic and indoors. Czech Republic and Germany were open air festivals, so the sound is always different. For the Czech songs, we decided to maintain the rough sounds that were on those recordings. We don't want to clean up things, you know. We already have a big production. On our albums everything is so clean and pure. Performing on stage we like the rough approach. If nothing sounds perfect then, it doesn't bother us.'

WIM: Do you record every concert you do?
ALEX: 'Yes, and we have been doing this since we have been touring as a special guest to Manowar in 2005 until now. It was done so that we would have the possibility to use any of that material in the future. If we wouldn't have done this, the Canada concert would never have been available for release as a surprise live CD. A surprise even for us! It's always good to record everything. We will keep on doing this. Yes, also on our next headlining tour. We do hope that the USA and Canada will be included. It was really spectacular there, especially Canada. I'm sure that we are very keen to return there as headliners. For the USA, I think we could do a headlining tour of 10 to 12 days in the major cities and to enjoy.'

WIM: What would you say is the big difference between Rhapsody of 1997 and Rhapsody Of Fire in 2007?
ALEX: 'Well, the most important thing is that we are now actually taking part in the live activity. In the beginning Luca and me were very much focussed on composing material. We were into that way too much and didn't think anything of live performances in those days we were always busy without doing any touring. Now we are making sure that we invest enough time to be able to play as much as possible. That is the big difference.'

WIM: I saw you on your first tour in Tilburg's 013, as a support act to Stratovarius. You were certainly lacking live experience then. After that I saw you several more times and you progressed, but nobody has progressed more than Fabio (Leone, the singer). He is very powerful now!
ALEX: : I must agree. The big difference for Fabio is that is the beginning he sounded fresher but also more timid. Now he has a more rounded sound and definitely more powerful. He has been training and exercising such a lot to make sure that he can deliver on stage. His big advantage is that he learned how to breathe properly, so that he doesn't run out of breath halfway through a song or concert. We really appreciate that. We are glad to have a singer that is comfortable on stage and with the songs we like to play.'

WIM: So your joy of playing live has progressed. Do you still love composing as much as you used to do?
ALEX: 'Oh yes, yes, absolutely! Luca and I are very sensible people and musicians. When we started to compose for Rhapsody we just loved to play. We were very excited every time we were creating music for Rhapsody. Writing the songs for a live setting didn't even come into our minds, we just wanted them to sound as good as possible. During the years I must say we were very lucky, because we always have had the will to do our best and to try and catch the visions we have in our minds. And to bring these visions into music. Including the orchestras, the choirs and so, that was very much important for us. The way we are able to produce our latest studio albums, is finally achieving what we were hoping to do from the beginning of our career. Every time we compose a song, we are driven to do it right. As for the stories we like to tell, we are driven by the saga, you know. That story is already written for the next few albums, and gives us the directions in which to look when composing. This saga has been written by Luca and to us it is like a movie, so the music has to fit it accordingly. We love music, we love movies and we love soundtracks and everything comes together when Luca and I start composing music.'

WIM: Would you ever welcome the fact if someone would want to make a movie using your music?
ALEX: 'Yes, that would be fine, great. It is more dream than reality. But who knows what the future holds. We now are at a stage in our career with Rhapsody that we like to say that we enjoy playing a lot more. Our approach to our songs is that they now have to be able to be incorporated into a live setting, not just be good on a record. We are really taking care of what we compose and what we express on the stage. It doesn't make sense to compose all this stuff and then you don't enjoy playing it live, because it's either too difficult or you have to concentrate too much on playing it properly. When we play live we want to be able to give the people a good show, and that means there has to be interaction between the band and the audience. We all want to enjoy the show.'

WIM: When you are composing, how do you decide whether a song is good enough to be recorded?
ALEX: 'That is a tough question. We are very lucky because when we sit down and compose the songs it turns out that we use 99% of everything we write. We are not one of those bands who composes 40 songs and only uses ten. No, we use everything we write. We take the time and energy to compose the songs we really want. We know upfront that we are going to compose something and that we will be using what we have come up with. It doesn't matter which album of us you listen to, we have never had any songs left at the end of the sessions. I don't know why, but it probably stems from the fact that we are very sure of what we want.'

WIM: Do you always try to make the new songs better than the old songs?
ALEX: 'Yes, that is something we always try to achieve. We try to be inspired every time. It is always difficult to say which songs are best, because you have fans who prefer the older albums and you have just as many who like the later ones more. We always try to do our best. We never compare, but do everything we have in our power. That is also why people can always recognise our sound. We do always write in the same way, which makes our sound very distinguishable, but we have always succeeded in never making the same album twice. They all have their differences, but they always are 100% Rhapsody. That is something we are very proud of and that is also what will keep us going. I have used the word inspiration a lot. When that goes away, or when we think we have done everything we can in the name of Rhapsody, we will take the necessary measures. But believe me when I say that we are not even near that point, because we feel that we have a lot more to offer to the world. We are not even at our peak right now, and because we all are so dedicated and inspired to go on and improve ourselves as composers, live performers and especially Rhapsody, we will go on and enjoy making music, playing live and meeting our fans.'


ROSE TATTOO - Angry Anderson (Vocals) ( 23 November 2006 )
(Interviewer: Wim van Grunsven, Veghel, The Netherlands)

WIM: How's life been treating you?
ANGRY: Very well, actually. I have just been working for the Australian government. I talk to kids who have left and quit school recently and to people that maybe have left a couple of years ago. At least the ones that are living on benefits and can't find a job. We have a programme at home that is called "Centre Link", which is for retraining kids after school or for advanced education. This way they might be able to get a job, and the ones in shitty jobs can hopefully find something better. At least it's kind of making me a bit of money. It's interesting work and it has allowed me to move on and also start working for a company that does adverts for boots. They pay me very well, so I don't have to do so much labouring anymore. This way I can spend more time at home.

WIM: 2006 has been a special year for you. Am I right in calling it a rollercoaster ride?
ANGRY: Well, rollercoaster is a very apt word. It's been up and down. I still just can't get to terms with it. Apart from Pete (the death of Rose Tattoo co-founder and guitarist) and Ian I have also lost some other friends. One of them because of a motorcycle crash. I've had a few people close to me that have gone now. My dad had a real scare for a couple of months and when I phoned the hospital in Melbourne I would hear that he would just sit there and sleep most of the time. That is so strange for me, as he has always loved his gardening and taking long walks with my mother everyday. She is real fit. If I ever am down there I suggest a walk together and I always have to slow her down. A walk is supposed to be for enjoyment, in order to be able to have a talk while strolling along. But she's like 'No, you have to get fit and get your heart going, so keep up the pace.'

WIM: How has everything that has happened to you influenced your music writing?
ANGRY: Well, it has. I wrote a song for Pete for the new album called "Once In A Lifetime". A lot of people want me to call the album that, but as for now it is only a working title. I think I might to bear the pressure there and keep on doing that. Otherwise they might think that Rose Tattoo is all about democracy, hahahaha. It did influence me. You asking me that has just made me think about it. Dealing with Peter dying over the last couple of years and then deciding that the songs we had been writing or talking about until then, Mick and I decided that we wouldn't use them straight away. We would put them aside and finish them later, which would give us the chance to start afresh. In a sense we went back to the songs that Peter had been involved in, in past years. We wanted Pete to be involved in the album, but it just seemed too soon to put songs that he actually worked on, on the album. So we went back and looked at a couple of songs, like "Creeper", which is about us touring in Britain a couple of years ago. I went into this old bookshop and bought a book about England's most famous murders and others about serial killers, murderers, Jack the Ripper and some more. I also had a book about a case of only a few years back, the Gloucestershire man who murdered people and buried them in his own house. Anyway, this lyric that I had lying around for a couple of years came into sight again. Mick Peter and I worked on the music around it and that became "Creeper". It has made it on the album. It's obscure and you wouldn't know unless someone had told you, but for us it was a good way of having Pete involved in the whole process. If we would have used some of the other songs he had worked on by himself, we were in danger of finishing them in a clumsy way or not up to the standard or quality Pete would have had in mind for it. There's a song Peter and I were working on prior to him dying, about a year before. We were preparing songs for the album that would mark our 30th anniversary and the song was called "Salvation". It's like a real typical negro gospel song, in a 'go down to the river and wash away your sins away' kind of way. It sounded very much like the Stones and had a southern American vibe to it. Peter and I had come to a point where he said he wanted to find out where he stood with his own spirituality. What was it, and because he knew I was so fascinated it myself we went on about it for ages, we tried to find out what his own philosophy was. What he was doing was really getting in peace with himself.

WIM: Talking about spirituality, is Rose Tattoo your way of keeping both feet on the ground?
ANGRY: One of the things that RT allows you to do is live out your truths, beliefs, morality and your view of life. As indulgent as it may sound, that is what produces some of the best artwork, scripts, plays and of course music. If writers, directors and such have a vision they portray themselves in that kind of manner in characters in films or lines in a book. The same goes for rock singers and players. You get to express yourself and that is something we have always done. We have always tried to be bonecrushingly honest as far as how we view the world. It might not be perfect or politically correct, but it has always been what we have made of it. It is a male's point of view, because I have never been a woman, hahahaha. I don't even try or pretend to put myself in a position that I am. I'm not afraid to get in touch with my feminine self, but I do have a man's view of the world, so when people asked me about opinions I have I could always honestly answer that it is my male point of view, the way I see everything around me.

WIM: well, I think that is imminent when you hear the (four) songs of the new album that I have been gracefully allowed to listen to. The music drags me in, always has done, but it feels like these songs do that even more! You've downed the tempo, but upped the emotional load of the songs, as far as I'm concerned.
ANGRY: Oh Really? That is probably a sign of age hahahaha. I'm very happy that you said that, because I am driven by forces unseen and unappreciated. We don't seem to acknowledge and appreciate the great one that life actually is. We get there and get up to a certain degree, but we seem to bump into all kind of boundaries. The guy who spiritually opened me is an academic who taught esoteric philosophy. He has undergone a spiritual revelation very conscious and early in life. He is a great influence on me. Twelve to fifteen years ago I was working television and dealing with some very difficult situations, and he was the one who made sense of it all and was able to translate that to me. I saw some pretty awful stuff like child prostitution , drug addictions and homeless as young as eight years old. The only way I saw to bring these programmes on was by telling the truth. In the process I started to learn a whole lot about myself and I found out that a lot of people still judge a book by it's cover. I'm at an age, intellectually and spiritually, where I can take advantage of all my experiences and wisdom gathered over the years. I have grasped that opportunity. I have gone full circle and am at the stage that I was when we started Rose Tattoo. We didn't give a damn what anyone else was thinking and went "F**k You!" to everyone who tried to change us in any possible way. We were up against the world. Criticism used to bounce off us. Then you get the sobering experience that you have to deal with the world as it really is and you find out that it is all a lot more complicated than it seems. Now I said to the kids that I'm at the stage where I realise and accept that this is what it is, whatever anyone else thinks or says. Don't tell me that at 59 I'm too old to sing in a rock 'n' roll band, because that's for me to decide. As long as I feel that I do it with the intensity and integrity that I always have done I will be going on. I'm allowed to do that. Peter and I had discussions in the days before he died about what he expected me to do when he would be gone. He said the one thing you shouldn't do is roll over and fade away.

WIM: That wouldn't be your style, would it. But how on earth do you keep whatever you do so strong and yet so simple? Whenever you have a new album, there never is a song that resembles anything you have done before!
ANGRY: Thank you, that is a wonderful compliment. It must be because I am a simple person with a simple view of life. I was brought up by someone who looked at life as a very simplistic theme: the importance of family, the importance of good values. Accept people for what they are. Try not to be too judgemental. Really basic philosophy that still makes sense and always will do. When we play live I always to the audience. I want them to know that music is about enjoying yourselves, but there are other issues that I like. I like the people to get a lot out of our music to also think about the things that effect them, that influence their lives. I don't watch a lot of TV, but when I do I would almost get depressed when I see what the hell is going on in the world. I like to reinforce the beauty of the individual. What they do and feel does affect the world. If you forget that, we will be doomed.

WIM: The last two times I saw you, which were Graspop (Belgium) and Helmond (The Netherlands), you amazed me. The first thing was the amount of very young people singing along to every lyric. The second thing was you actually falling over at the end of the concert.
ANGRY: I think that doing a set on stage is very much like having sex. At first you start with overture or prelude, than the main course and then you know you are coming to the end. A man or a woman knows when they are about to ejaculate or come, let's say reach orgasm seconds if not minutes before it actually happens. There is this gradual build up to that pointy. Once that happens there is that moment they call the small death, because for a few seconds after you orgasm your house could catch fire and you wouldn't be able to crawl out of it. When we reach the end of a performance we know it 's coming and I reach the last peak when it actually arrives and I think: 'this is it, this is the last moment, this is the ejaculation', and all your strength flows out of me. I can't describe that feeling, that is so special. You see the lights, you hear the sounds, but it feels like your innards are exploding with happiness. Emotionally, physically and spiritually you reach a high that is unsurpassed in life.

WIM: Well, you have never disappointed before and I do hope you keep on going and reaching for my heart, because that's what Rose Tattoo does. It grabs you and never lets go.
ANGRY: Thank you very much for that, That is as kind a thing as you could say. In fact, in 1975 Peter and I made a pact to be true to the end. What I came to realise when he passed away physically that there is no end. Like he said in 1975: "Do you really want to do this and keep on going until the end?" I said "Yeah, definitely, I want to be able and set out to do what I can as long as I can". And he said: "Okay, then I'll be with you!".

WIM: Thanx for the interview!!!

SAINT - Richard Lynch (Bass) (22 January 2007 )
(Interviewer: Rick Pizzo, USA)

Longtime fans of heavy metal may be familiar with the band Saint but many may not be aware of what it was like to " play heavy metal for the Lord " at a time nobody was doing it with a true metal sound and image. One would think that because all the members are Christians then everything would be fine. Think again! Saint had struggles that are familiar to a lot of bands which eventually led to their demise in 1989 but in recent years Saint has come back fully loaded as this interview was conducted shortly after 2006's The Mark was released. As of this writing it is rumored that original guitarist John Mahan is back in the band as Saint are currently working on a new album. Founding member and bass player Richard Lynch was more than happy to endure my interrogation of all things Saint.

RICK: What were you doing before the band Saint?
RICHARD: Before Saint started I had my hands in sound engineering for a company called September Sound & Lights. I toured with that company for several years and my interest in music started to grow and I met John Mahan and Russ Cook and a bunch of other guys in a band called Powerfaith. I started managing that group and eventually started playing rhythm guitar for them which eventually became The Gentiles. Then I became one of the primary songwriters and then The Gentiles broke up.

RICK: You did cut a demo with The Gentiles. At what point did the band become Saint?
RICHARD: When John Mahan decided to go home and leave the band he wanted to take the band name The Gentiles with him. He's the one who came up with the name so I said "Fine ". So at that point it was just Gene Mc Clendon and I and we formed the band Saint. We started talking to different guitarists and Gene told me of his friend Josh Kramer. Josh got out of the airforce and flew into Salem (Oregon) and was going to be the guitarist but it didn't work out that way because he could sing really well. Then John Mahan wanted to come back. So we did our demo of Warriors of the Son and when he heard that he said "Hmmm. I think I'll come back now. "

RICK: Is it true you the band did an audition for Gospel pop artist Steve Archer?
RICHARD: Yeah. That was a fun trip. Gene, Josh and I packed up this VW bus and headed down... It was sort of like a bait switch on our part. We sent Steve the Gentiles demo. It had Max Clark singing, John Mahan playing guitar and bass and I played rhythm.
I sent this demo out to different companies because I was trying to get a record deal so we could get the money to fund the album. So he said come on down. We want to see you perform and we'll have this record deal for you. When we got down there we found out that we had to pull $7,000 out of our pocket to make the deal work. Well heck if I had $7,000 I would have put it out myself like I wound up doing. Why go through this guy when all he's basically going to do is hose you down?

RICK: Did he even know what kind of music Saint was and was this Gospel label ready to market a heavy metal band?
RICHARD: I think that he was. He heard the Gentiles demo and it was obvious that it was the makings of what heavy metal was going to become. He just wasn't ready to trust me to put out the product that I put out a year later. So he came back and we redid the whole album again with John Mahan. I originally did all the rhythm tracks on the Warriors of the Son album and he came back and re-did them or at least some of them.

RICK: I'm a little surprised when I read sometimes that people were disappointed with the album because it wasn't heavy enough or the weak production. It is raw but very heavy. If I had one complaint about the album was that some of the solos sound like they were made up on the spot. Some solos stand out and others don't. For the message and the climate of that period in time I thought it was a groundbreaking album. Who else was doing that? People were saying that Stryper was the first Christian heavy metal band but that's hard to say if you listen to a whole album of theirs. They might have had a song or two that were metal but they also had some wimpy stuff. Did you realize back then how ground breaking it was to have a Christian message to go along with heavy metal?
RICHARD: Stryper was a sissy rock / glam band. Rez band had the album Awaiting your Reply. That was really a groundbreaking album. Their next one was Colors and that was a great one. That was more in the vein of heavy metal even though they didn't claim to be a metal band. As far as the British style that we do as far as the influences of Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Accept etc... there was nobody out there doing it as far as I know. We started doing this back in 1981. When you listen to Too Late for Living, the song The Path was written in 1981.

RICK: When Warriors... came out there were a lot of Christians hungry for metal. Was it your goal to stay in the Christian market or branch out into the mainstream? I often saw that Christian bands wanted to branch out to the mainstream market but a lot of labels wouldn't touch a Christian band and most Christian labels were only able to market their bands in the Christian market.
RICHARD: Well if the door would have opened to the mainstream that would have been great. They did play some of our stuff from Time's End and Too Late for Living on Z-Rock which is that satellite heavy metal station down in Texas.

RICK: Was it frustrating back then to find musicians who were into metal that had the same beliefs? I know a lot of Christians were against Christian metal.
RICHARD: Oddly enough we didn't get attacked by the church. As a matter of fact we played a New Years Eve show at our church here in Salem, Oregon. As far as finding musicians who are likeminded? That's still a struggle. Even putting together the In the Battle album. I had a hard time finding people that were likeminded that wanted to get involved. It was a real prayer effort. When Jerry Johnson came into the scene that was like a real miracle to me. I didn't have anybody in this area that was into metal. Heavy metal isn't something anybody can just pickup and play (as simple as it is). You have to have the heart for it, live it and you have to feel it or it's not going to come across right. As far as back in the day it was a real struggle. I have worked with many Christian people and as I've said in other interviews very few are disciples.

RICK: What exactly do you mean by "very few are disciples "?
RICHARD: There are a lot of people, particularly here in America, that will take the claim to be a Christian but usually I find out a lot of people aren't as dedicated to the Lord as I'd want them to be. To me I feel that if you claim to be a Christian you should at least attend church.

RICK: It seems like you really had a good grasp on what metal should be and that was really defined better in the early 80s. There was definitely metal in the 70s but some bands put out albums that only had a few songs on it that you could truly call metal. It was certainly being formulated back then but the sound and the image and the scene definitely came together with Judas Priest right before the 80s. And it seems together with the songs you saw the importance of a good logo and the image. It is obvious that Judas Priest was your main influence.
RICHARD: Yeah I would agree with that totally. Judas Priest were setting the standard for metal even in the 70s with Stained Class and going back even further with Sad Wings of Destiny. They had a lot of help from what I call the early metallers like Alice Cooper, Kiss and Black Sabbath. Those guys were setting the stage for the look, the show and everything metal became 10 yrs later.

RICK: I always found it amusing that the drummer (Gene McClendon) on Warriors of the Son was 90% deaf. I heard he played by actually feeling the vibrations!
RICHARD: Yeah that's exactly what he did. That was a big problem with Gene when we'd play and wouldn't be looking at him and he wouldn't be getting any of the cues. He would tend to get lost. That's why we had to replace him in order to perform live shows. It was kind of sad because I didn't want to replace him but there was nothing I could do about it.

RICK: He's pictured on the original issue of that album which was on Rotten Records. This version also had a different mix. Was that mixed by you?
RICHARD: I don't think people realize that we only spent $1,000 on that album. It was done on an 8 track studio in Duane Scheets' garage. Given the production and what we had to work with, it actually turned out pretty good. The Rotten Records mix and the Morada (the label that reissued this EP) mix (unless they did something) I think are the same as far as I know. They could have had it remastered. I had it mastered by a company in Los Angeles. Morada Records at that time, all they were interested in was getting the $200,000 tax credit just for putting out the album. It was a total tax break for them. They got stuck with us because more people wanted to buy albums. All they had to do to get the tax break was make a thousand albums. Well they ended up having to make quite a few thousand albums.

RICK: You signed with Morada because you couldn't keep up with the demand yourself, right?
RICHARD: That's correct. The album was selling really well and we were pretty much a poor struggling band at the time. There was no way we could have the distribution they could have and of course there was the song and dance that they sang to us as well. And we bit. It was the same with Pure Metal Records. We got ripped off but we got national and world-wide recognition. It was a tradeoff.

RICK: I remember Morada put out 2 versions of the album. One was where the photos on the front and back covers were overexposed and the second version had the same photos at normal exposure.
RICHARD: I didn't like the Saturday Night Live overexposed look. (the original Saturday night live cast had photos shown at the beginning of each show that were deliberately overexposed) What was amazing was that Rick Long who was working for Morada ( and wound up working for Pure Metal after we got signed ) was the one who did that for us. I couldn't believe that they would actually re-do the color when they repressed it. I think they only made 1,000 of the overexposed ones. For collectors they're probably pretty valuable. I think I have one. I couldn't believe he listened to me.

RICK: For the amount of money spent on that album it was the best packaged album with the band photos and the logo. When you move on to the next 2 albums with Pure Metal, they had this in house artist ( Jeff Spencer ) who was terrible. What were your opinions on the album covers for Time's End and Too Late for Living?
RICHARD: I think you and I are thinking the same. I didn't like either one. To me the heads coming out of the sea... ( Times End cover ) if you're going to do something evil you need to do it evil. These things almost looked like something you could pet. From the description from the book of Revelation, he was right on the money but I had a different idea for the album cover and they didn't like the idea I had and did what they wanted, as is the same for Too Late for Living. A horrible album cover.

RICK: I always wondered how bands that are given artistic freedom wind up with something they hate. Didn't you submit artwork for Time's End?
RICHARD: I did. Some people out there probably had the Time's End t-shirt. That was lovingly known as manhole Mike coming out of the bottom of the New York city subway with the skyline behind him burning... I thought that depicted what we were after with the title track more than the beasts coming out of the sea. We weren't even touching on the great tribulation with the title track. Destroyers of the World perhaps but even still you're looking at an episode of buildings burning and people in panic.

RICK: Pure Metal also screwed up the Scripture reference on the back cover. They had the right Scripture but the wrong chapter and verse reference which was somehow corrected on the CD but not the vinyl.
RICHARD: Yeah I let them know. Like I said, if you buy a Saint album and there's no typos on it then it's not a Saint album.

RICK: Apparently you were still having problems with the revolving door of drummers. Mike Lowery was pictured on Warriors of the Son ( the Morada version ) but never played on it and on Time's End you hired the drummer from Quarter Flash through a musicians union?
RICHARD: When we did the recording of Time's End, the engineer from Falcon Studios David Lorre was also the engineer for Quarter Flash when they did their live shows. John Mahan fired Mike Lowery about 2 weeks before we were scheduled to go into the studio. I actually got rid of Mike but I didn't want to. John was saying " It's either him or me... " So I didn't really have a choice. It would be easier to replace the drummer than the guy who helped me write most of the songs It was to my regret because Mike Lowery ( even to this day ) is an incredible drummer.

RICK: I have a certificate from the Saint Fan Club with Dee Harrington's signature on it. That was before Time's End.
RICHARD: The wonderful confusion of the ongoing episodes of Saint and the revolving musicians John Mahan did Warriors of the Son and then he quit again. At this point in time I met Dee Harrington at Morning Star church here at Salem. He was looking for me at the same time because he heard about me and that was probably why he was going to that church because he was trying to hunt us down. Right before I got the record deal with Pure Metal he and I kind of had a falling out. So he left. Then John Mahan was like " Oh you got another record deal! A real one! " So he came up and stayed at my home for a 2 or 3 week period and we put together the rest of the tunes. That's why we pulled out some of the old songs like Destroyers of the World. That was originally supposed to be on Warriors... Space Cruiser was on the Gentiles demo. Then we played a couple of shows after that and John quit again and Dee comes back. He had done a demo with Holy Danger ( pre Tourniquet ) prior to rejoining. Then we got around to recording Too Late for Living probably 8 drummers later.

RICK: I remember in one of your fan club newsletters you said that you were working on an elaborate stage show. What was that supposed to be and did it ever come to be?
RICHARD: Well yeah we started working on it and basically what we were going to have was kind of like a gothic castle setup. Kind of like Ozzy had going on in the 80s. The big castle door would come down, Josh would come out, fog would be coming through, and we'd be rocking out to Warriors of the Son or something like that to open the show... We had some choreography going on...

RICK: Was Stonehenge supposed to come down too?
RICHARD: No we really didn't discuss Stonehenge at all.

RICK: With Pure Metal, do you remember the original terms of contract because every band I know that signed to them got ripped off? Bands like Messiah Prophet Bride etc... This was before Star Song bought the label. What was the original deal and what did it become?
RICHARD: The original contract to the best of my memory with the first project ( Time's end ), they were supposed to give us $11,000 up front but they didn't. They gave us $3,000 and some payments. That got us started. I was able to bring Mahan up and pay his way and pay for the studio stuff. I made payments at the studio as we went along with the production. Then we were supposed to get 11% of the royalties after they recouped what they spent getting the production done. They also had to get recouped for their artwork which they charged us $7,000 for that hideous album cover. Then they had to recoup any losses from promo records and cassettes, any advertisements... anything they could come up with. Time's End wound up selling ( from the last record I have of it ) 35,000 pieces. So I'm thinking that they probably did well. I think they sold them for distribution at $6.35 - 6.50 a piece.

RICK: And of course you saw all the royalties from that?
RICHARD: No I didn't. A matter of fact from Pure Metal with Time's End and Too Late for Living combined, I think they paid up ( and they didn't pay up, it was Star Song who eventually sent me royalties they made off of the albums ) ( Star Song bought out Pure Metal ) was about $500. Both albums combined sold well over a $1,000,000 in retail

RICK: Time's end was definitely an improvement in sound and you could tell that the solos were more worked out. Josh's voice had improved also.
RICHARD: I saw a review that said " Wow! Someone taught Josh how to sing! " As far as Mahan's playing, some he worked out and others are just off the cuff. Some were a lot of punch ins. I think later on you could tell the ones Dee Harrington worked out and ones that were off the cuff. On Too Late for Living, the song On the Street, that solo was totally off the cuff but it almost sounds worked out. There was a big difference in the styles of Mahan and Harrington.

RICK: With Too Late for Living did you have an idea for an album cover or were you at their mercy at this point?
RICHARD: We were at their mercy and I knew we were after the fiasco with Time's End. Even though I had an idea I didn't pursue artwork or pay somebody again to pencil out anything extensive. I had some ideas put on paper and submitted them to Gavin Morkel ( Pure Metal VP ) and told him " This is something I would like to see happen". It may have been hokey too. I think it was like a car wrecked into a tree and the guy's head hanging out. Jeff Spencer their in house artist was given freedom to do whatever he wanted and we got charged for it.

RICK: One thing about the first 3 albums is that they all had that immediacy about them in the music. Somehow the riffs were so catchy and heavy that you got into it right away.
RICHARD: I've always tried to write catchy stuff. There's nothing worse than buying an album and 2 of the songs are great and the rest of the album sucks So I've always tried to avoid that.

RICK: Too Late for Living had that immediacy to it but it is obvious that Dee Harrington made a big difference in the sound. His solos were more fluid and he was more of an accomplished player, not as raw. What kind of reaction did you get from people once they were familiar with the album?
RICHARD: People were pretty amazed at how good he actually was. When I met Dee he was really fast but he would play out of key. He did a lot of extensive study to become who he is. As far as a comparison to John Mahan? Yeah he was far more accomplished. John was a great player but Dee was really hungry and he wanted too be as good as Yngwie and any of the contemporaries of that time.

RICK: I remember getting a demo years ago from Holy Danger and I wrote a letter to Guy Ritter the singer. I asked him if Dee Harrington used to be in Saint and his reply was " Yeah and now he's free to scream fast stuff for Holy Danger. Apparently Saint did a version of a song ( The Power Song ) that Holy Danger did but was recorded under a different name ( Stand up and Fight ) and different lyrics. This can be heard on Saint's Basement Tapes.
RICHARD: I'm not sure which one that was but when Dee came back from Holy Danger he had a couple of songs he wrote with them that we visited but I don't remember what they were or if we ever recorded anything. We have stuff on The Basement Tapes that we recorded and hashed around and kicked around but we never did put on any albums.

RICK: Back then metal was so much in the mainstream. There was so much happening, bands trying to get faster like Metallica, Anthrax, slayer etc... Did you guys ever question if the band should play faster? Because a lot of bands like yours that had that classic metal sound and by the time the mid 80s came around people were like " We want something faster. " Did you ever feel pressured to go in that direction?
RICHARD: No I never did and obviously I pretty much stayed on the same track as always. I think if people like Saint, they are going to want to hear a Saint album. There not going to want to hear The Perfect Life type album which we lovingly call the perfect flop. After that album I knew that we basically needed to stick to what I knew how to do and give justice to.

RICK: I remember seeing you guys in magazines like Faces Rocks, Metal Edge, Aardschok America... It really exposed you to a lot of people who normally would not have known about Saint.
RICHARD: Yeah and we were excited. You get into magazines like that and it's a sign that people are starting to recognize your efforts and the doors are starting to open.

RICK: And it was reported in Metal Edge that Pure Metal had given you guys the okay to do a video. What ever became of that?
RICHARD: Ahhh nothing.

RICK: Was it just talk or what?
RICHARD: Well they talked about it and at that time video was up and coming and it was very expensive. Pure Metal wanted us to do it but to do a video that would have been acceptable for MTV, you're looking at a couple of hundred grand and they weren't going to spend the money on us. So it got squashed relatively fast

RICK: How much touring did Saint do back in the 80s?
RICHARD: Cornerstone and HIS Festivals were definitely the highlights. We did some shows with Stryper, we did a small tour with Bloodgood... As far as a consecutive 30 city tour? That never happened.

RICK: Too Late for Living had some more screw-ups on the packaging. On the vinyl version, the rear cover didn't have any names under the individual band member photos and John Mahan was pictured and never played on the album. On the CD version they put names under the individual band members and they put John's name under Josh's picture and vice versa.
RICHARD: Another Saint album. That's correct and John did not play on the album. In fact he wasn't even in Oregon when it was recorded. We recorded that album in late summer, early fall and it didn't come until like April. Between that time and when it was released we decided it would be good to be a 5 piece because it sounds way better. We pictured him on the album because that's who the band was going to be.

RICK: After Too Late... the rumors started coming out that the next album would be more commercial. Did you ever demo any of those songs with that band?
RICHARD: The songs Too Live Forever and the Runner were 2 of the songs that ended up on the Perfect Life. That's the direction we were going. Dee and I were mulling it over whether or not to go in that direction. The band fell to pieces at the HIS Festival on the way home. There was a big explosion of anger and things went south. I probably wasn't walking with the Lord as good as I should have been and it just blew up. It was ironic! Here we were at the highlight... the best album we ever done was getting ready to be released and before it's on the store shelves the band broke up.

RICK: And this is the concert where John and Dee played together?
RICHARD: Yep that's the only Saint show where they performed together.

RICK: Was that ever filmed?
RICHARD: I think there are people out there who have it on video. I kicked myself because I should have videotaped every show. I videotape almost everything we do anymore.

RICK: That's a shame. Back then people had a firm grasp on what metal was and wasn't and a lot of bands now who claim to be metal really aren't.
RICHARD: Well we do what I call traditional metal. A lot of people label it as 80s metal which I cringe at. Traditional metal like Sabbath, Accept, Priest... that stuff still lives on! It will go on forever.

RICK: Concerning the end of the band, you were quoted in one interview saying " Let's just put it this way, we weren't living like we were supposed to." Is there anything you would like to share about you personally that might be beneficial or would demonstrate that " I am a Christian and I have my faults and I wandered off the path ". Is there anything specific that lead to the breakup of the band that you want to share?
RICHARD: The first thing I have lived and know for a fact is as soon as you start to serve other gods... as Christians we serve a very jealous God and He's going to put you in a position where He's going to let you see that this other god you are serving is pretty cruel and isn't going to give you a very peaceful life. I found that out quick when I lost my whole band, I ended up going through a divorce. It wasn't until I turned back to the Lord that things started getting good again. If you claim to serve God and you don't you're going to go through a time of trials. Serve God and serve Him alone is my advice to people.

RICK: At the HIS Festival did you feel like you were just going through the motions because of your struggles? What was going on in your head at that time?
RICHARD: By the time of the HIS Festival I sad so many issues as far as my lifestyle, who I was, who I became. I became a person I can't believe I became when I look back. I was scamming people, I had little lawsuits and I had other little problems like drugs became part of my life as well. It was a downward spiral. I deserved everything I got.

RICK: Were drugs something new to you at that point?
RICHARD: Oh no. From the time I was 13 - 20 I was a druggie kid. When you look at the song Time's Wasting, that's basically a chronology of my life during those years. That's about actual friends of mine. You'd go to the keg party, you get stoned... I'm not tempted to do any of that anymore.

RICK: Last time I spoke to you ( around 1998 ) you told me you hadn't picked up a guitar in a long time but you had done that reissue so obviously there was a demand for the old music. What led to you reissuing the first 3 albums on CD?
RICHARD: Well actually a guy named Marc Moore called me up and said " I'd really like to reissue Warriors of the Son. Mike Delaney at Rad Rockers told me he would buy a bunch of them... " So I was noticing that people were buying Too Late for Living for up to $300 or some outrageous amount for collectors to pick up. That kind of ticked me off because I don't think that albums should cost that much. Even today, I went on Amazon.com and found one for $80. So what I wanted to do was provide the same music again because there appeared to be a demand for it and put it out at a reasonable cost. What would be easier than to put out a 2 disc set with everything on it and sell them for less than $10 a piece? So that's what I did. Mike Delaney and I cut a deal. He got the lion's share of the cash of the albums so other people were able to pick up product. I only made 1,000 of those of that original black disc.

RICK: Did you have any contractual ties to Star Song? And what about the other band members? Did you have to get permission from them or did you own the rights to the material yourself?
RICHARD: Well basically all their copyrights and the rights became mine after 5 years with the original contract with Pure Metal. Because nobody was releasing any of the products at all we were able to move on and put that out. I've got all the copyrights. It was 8 yrs since anything was even put out on the market.

RICK: And you were not playing at all at that time?
RICHARD: No I was not playing at all. I don't even think I had a guitar at that time. The reissue was the beginning of where we are at now because basically I sold those 1,000 pieces and we made enough money were we could buy product and move on.

RICK: I know Dee Harrington lives near you. Had you stayed in touch with him and was he aware of all this?
RICHARD: I stayed in touch with him and then he kind of fell off the Earth for about 3 years and then after we put out that reissue I met a friend at work that knew his ex-wife and through that avenue I was able to find him again and we started talking and made some songs. That's when we started making the Perfect Life.

RICK: What baffled me was that somebody told me that Saint put out a new album. It was with very little fanfare and was mentioned kind of in passing. I e-mailed you about it and you sent me a copy. Then I got it and it was like " What's this?! " It seemed strange because usually when a band gets back together people are excited about it and nobody was excited about it. In fact I hardly heard anything about it at all. The music wasn't the same. What was going through your head at that time? You had to know that the music was way different than anything you had ever done. Looking back, do you wish you put it out under a different name?
RICHARD: When I did that I was kind of half hearted. I let Dee kind of run the production and decide what songs were to be done. You'll note that most of the lyrics and music was written by him. I just side-stepped to see what he could do. Tim Lamberson was doing the vocals at that time. I hadn't played in years and I thought to just let him go and see what happens.

RICK: Do you regret making that album?
RICHARD: What I regret is making it a Saint album. I think if we would have formed a new band it would have been more acceptable. Because people who were used to Saint, it didn't sound anything like Saint Different vocalist, a drum machine... Two songs that Dee and I wrote together right after Too Late for Living - The Runner and Too Live Forever ( That was actually supposed to be the title of our follow-up to Too Late... ).

RICK: Do you have any demos that will resurface as bonus material?
RICHARD: If you have the Basement Tapes that's available on the website, that has a lot of stuff that was never recorded but was just basic demo scratchpad songs that we were going to have for the next album. It's horrible production done with a 4 track but it gives you a basic idea where it was going. I know we were going in a direction that was a lot more commercial than what we did.

RICK: There were 3 people who played on The Perfect Life. What happened between then and the release of In the Battle? How did Josh Kramer come back into Saint?
RICHARD: After Perfect Life was released we looked at doing some shows and had some interest but it just wasn't cohesive at the time. So the band dissolved for quite a few years around 1998. It wasn't until 2004 that we put out In the Battle but it wasn't until December 2003 that I started talking to Josh. There was another record deal in the works as well. Matt Hunt ( Retroactive Records ) wanted to redo The Perfect Life and then add some bonus tracks of new material that ended up on In the Battle. I'm thinking " If were going to redo an album why don't we just do a new album? " Josh and I had been talking and I was just going to have him fly in and do the vocal tracks for the Perfect Life/ In the Battle thing as bonus tracks but that felt apart and I decided to go ahead and move on with our own record company again. So after a lot of prayer I ended up getting Jerry Johnson. He just called me. He heard we were looking for a Band. He asked if we needed a guitarist and I said " definitely! " He came over and the guy was great. We finished up all the songs and lyrics to In the Battle and put that out in 2004.

RICK: Dee Harrington was out of the picture for that album but then he reappears for the remake of Warriors of the Son along with Jerry Johnson.
RICHARD: That's correct. What had happened was after In the Battle came out, about 3 months after it came out Dee called me. Actually I tried to contact him and couldn't get his phone number but I did have an address so I wrote him a letter and explained to him what I was doing and what direction we were going in and asked him if he wanted to participate. I got no response. So I went ahead and did it without him and about 3 or 4 months after the album came out he call and says " What are we doing? " He got my letter because I asked him and I told him what was going on. I also started building a studio at my house and I wanted to spend time getting used to it and get prepared for the next project. We thought Warriors of the Son could be a likely candidate to be redone and we could add the 2 songs that originally were supposed to be on it. So that's what the 5 of us did.

RICK: It seems like everything from In the Battle to The Mark you guys are down-tuning now more than a half step?
RICHARD: Well we are. We're tuning down to E flat actually. There's a couple of songs on The Mark we tune down to D.

RICK: It doesn't seem like Josh has a problem singing high and I know bands do that ( Judas Priest comes to mind ) when a singer gets older and can't sing consistently high anymore in standard tuning. That's the biggest change from your new material compared to the old stuff. All your old stuff was in standard tuning.
RICHARD: Well that's right and Josh has no problem singing with the standard tuning. The reason we tune down is because it's heavier sounding.

RICK: I'm a little confused on the chronological order of events before The Mark came out. The Collection was put out and then two M8 Records reissues before all that right?
RICHARD: Yeah the two M8 reissues were put out after I did the 2 disc collection in 97. I made a deal with M8 at that point in time which I highly regret and then we did the Perfect Life. Then I ran out of the 2 disc collection from 97 and I thought " You know what? We might as well make another 2 disc set and include the Perfect Life and add a lot of color shots and that was after M8.

RICK: Yeah I was wondering what your thoughts were on dealing with M8 and Brad Hamilton? I heard he was doing a lot of stuff illegally like bootlegging. Obviously he didn't do it to you because you had a deal with him but I know he released stuff without permission.
RICHARD: Brad got himself in some trouble. I think he did jail time over that. I hear that the FBI and law enforcement from his area came in and seized his property and threw him in jail and a lot of people got ripped off.

RICK: I think the coolest thing about M8's reissue of Time's End was the live bonus material recorded from the Cornerstone 86 Festival. I had heard about that material for years and even heard a video was floating around of it. What was the source of that bonus material?
RICHARD: Actually the audio was a bootleg from a VHS that was sent to me. I can't remember who sent it to me. So what I did was put the audio on CD and sent it to Brad and he's the one who put it on there.

RICK: In the Battle was a return to form and seemed to be well received. What made you want to do another studio album?
RICHARD: In the Battle was like ( people freaked when they heard it ) we went right back to our roots We sold several thousand in the first year!

RICK: What happened with Jerry Johnson? He wasn't on The Mark. Was he even on the Live 05 album?
RICHARD: Yeah he played with us at that festival which was the X Fest up in Washington State. After that he just started working and took a union job and his kids are very important to him. They both are very active in school and sports so he just didn't have the time to commit any longer so he stepped down.

RICK: I think The Mark is even better than In the Battle. The songs are consistently better. What has been the response on the latest album?
RICHARD: Most people really like it and are comparing it to Too Late... or Time's End. I never knew why people liked Time's End better than Too Late... On Too Late... the guitars are 10 times better. There's been a lot of debate over whether or not The Mark is better than the old stuff. One thing we did do right is the old stuff was very acceptable projects in their day and still to this day is very much listened too. People are still buying The Collection. It goes out my door all the time. I don't know the amount the distributors sell but I know it still sells quite well. The Mark is based on the book of Revelation. It's a concept I've always wanted to do for a long time. As you know Saint has always had touches of the Apocalypse within their albums. We wanted to get this done. If you look at the world around us now and see what's going on in Israel and Lebanon and how the border is being pushed up towards Syria... By the way the Syrian border was their original border so if they take that, you've got your Ezekiel prophecy starting to unfold in front of you.
RICK: I'm sure a lot of people just like Saint for their music and maybe think the message is cool but aren't knowledgeable about it or have other beliefs. The whole album is about the end time prophecies. Is their a reason for this? Are you trying to warn people about something? Do you think it is imminent real soon?
RICHARD: I do think that it is imminent real soon. I think as I see things unfold in the Middle East and I see a lot of the prophecies come to pass... I told Josh we need to get this album done real fast because we may not be here much longer. Because we are living in the end times and other Christians out there who pick up the album and friends who are into metal but haven't given their hearts to God, this would be a great tool for them.

RICK: If someone read the lyrics and were scared by them and wanted to escape the wrath to come that is spoken about, what would you tell them?
RICHARD: Give your heart over to God. I want them to know that you can't earn your way but that salvation is a free gift. I would want them to pray and lead them to the Lord.
RICK: Are you working on any new material?
RICHARD: Dee has. He has about 16 songs for me to go through.

RICK: In this age of the internet you would have to believe John Mahan knows you have a website and are you surprised he hasn't asked to be back in the band for at least one project?
RICHARD: I'm pretty positive that John knows that the band is busy working away. I think he lives in Oklahoma the last I heard. I haven't spoken to him since 1989 and we had a falling out. It would be cool to have him back and perform with us.

RICK: The story of Saint could fill a book. Any plans on writing a book or putting out a DVD?
RICHARD: We're looking at recording this Up From the Ashes show as a DVD. Josh is working on an autobiography of the band I'm not sure where he's at with that but I'm sure it won't be anything lengthy.

SAURON - All Members (25 March 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hey dudes, welcome to my metal church in Tilburg ! How, where and when has Sauron emerged ?
SAURON: 1996, in Tilburg by Eclipse, Sunless and Herr AIDS. Ludas came later when the first drummer quit. That was in 1997.

MARCO: Sauron consists of 4 good friends who also are/have been active in various other bands, can you tell me about that?
SAURON: Correctly. Through the years all of us have developed a broader musical knowledge and preference and gained the need to express more of our musical abilities. And of course everyone plays 1 or more instruments and each of us have a brutal voice as well. Flesh Made Sin used to be GoreForMore and they existed before Sauron. This is where Sunless plays as well. Eclipse became second guitarist for Fluisterwoud and vocalist for Dimensional Psychosis. Herr AIDS is also into doom metal and has joined the band Bunkur together with Sunless. Herr AIDS did quite from Bunkur in the meantime, but is actively working on other projects like Planet AIDS, Libris ne Sanctus and Zelfhaat. Ludas is vocalist for Abysmal Darkening, a kind of extreme doom metal. Very slow metal with extremely brutal vocals. All Sauron member have also done vocals for a yet to be released industrial project called Permafrost.

MARCO: Sauron is still active with the 4 orginal members, do you all have the same ideas about how songs and/or albums need to turn out?
SAURON: Yep, pretty much. There's never much disagreement, as everyone in the band thinks our finished songs are good. We are still growing also and have found ways to keep lifting each other to higher levels.

MARCO: Where does Sauron get their most inspiration and aggression?
SAURON: History, religion, the occult, hatred and everything that's going on in the world and the weakness of humans in general.

MARCO: What do you think of the current world problems in the Middle East and Africa?
SAURON: It is the inherent weakness of humans that causes the so called problems in all of the world. I see these problems more like a solution for the total annihilation of the human race. The 4 apocalyptic horsemen are omnipresent in the world!

MARCO: What does religion mean to you guys?
SAURON: To me (Ludas) personally it is nothing more than some help for people for everything they cannot answer themselves. I do think this differs from person to person. Just my opinion.

MARCO: What is your relation with god and/or satan?
SAURON: For me (Ludas) nothing. It's all in the head. What is good and what is bad. I believe more that we are an experiment from a superior planet, where they are much further progressed than we are. Perhaps we are just test-subjects in a petrie-dish. That is just as believable as the existence of God.

MARCO: What are your predominant influences?
SAURON: Old and new bands like; Dark Throne, Mayhem, Burzum, Zyklon-B, Craft, Deathspell Omega etc.

MARCO: Your newest album "The Channeling Void" has been released by the Swedish company Carnal Records. Why did you change from the Tilburgs "Neurotic Records"?
SAURON: Neurotic eventually moved more towards extreme death metal and we are not an extreme deathmetal band, but an extreme blackmetal band. And we never go on tour. That doesn't fit with the philosophy of Neurotic, and Carnal Records is a real blackmetal label and fits us much better.

MARCO: What I heard of the new album is that it is more traditional black metal to the likes of old Bathory and Darkthrone; is that correct?
SAURON: That was not intentional. We have purposely used more diversity in the songs, which make it sound more like oldschool blackmetal. See, someone else will probably hear other bands in it. But we do like it that you are hearing those bands in our work.

MARCO: Are you happy with the result?
SAURON: Absolutely. The only little blemish is that they made a print-error in the booklet, as they forgot to print the barcode. So the stupid little white box on the back of the cd should have been the barcode. The music and sound are very good, yes.

MARCO: What do you think of the Dutch black metal scene? I have the impression myself it is bigger here than anywhere else in the world.
SAURON: There are indeed a lot of bands. If there are more than elsewhere I don't know. There's a lot of cool bands. Bands that I know we all like very much are Fluisterwoud, Dimensional Psychosis, Funeral Winds, Infinity, Weltbrand, Saeculum, Urfaust, Domini Inferii, Nihill, and there are countless other projects that are well worth the trouble.

MARCO: If you could choose a band to do a worldtour with, who would it be?
SAURON: Bands that don't play live? Haha. But bands like Anteus, Watain, Craft, Anaal Nathrakh and Marduk we wouldn't mind sharing the stage with. But it has to be blackmetal bands or bands with the same interests.

MARCO: What can we expect from Sauron in the future?
SAURON: If things work out a vinyl version of the last cd. Some more international shows and above all more albums. Maybe a split 7" and everything else we feel like.

MARCO: Last words to the readers?
SAURON: Only dead is real!!!

Marco van Empel

SAXON - Biff Byford (Vocals) (27 November 2007)
(Interviewer: Mr. Globetrotter, Breda, The Netherlands)

After having seen the latest DVD "To Hell And Back Again", Mr. Globetrotter spoke over the phone to vocalist Biff Byford of Saxon, and talked about Saxon's history, their albums and live releases, and the future.

GLOBETROTTER: Hi Biff, I thoroughly enjoyed your new DVD!
BIFF: Thank you, we love it ourselves as well!

GLOBETROTTER: So, after some 30 years, looking back, could you possibly have imagined how succesfull Saxon would become?
BIFF: Well, when we started out we only wanted to have a lot of fun and a record deal, basically. We just wanted to enjoy ourselves and if we would be able to let others enjoy our music as well, that would be fantastic. With some hard work we indeed succeeded in doing that. Well…it's not really work but we love it..

GLOBETROTTER: "Wheels Of Steel" was the big breakthrough for the band. So, you got world famous overnight. What happened to you guys?
BIFF: The funny thing is that we could do whatever we wanted to do. I think we managed to stay very down to earth and not get arrogant, and when the record sold tremendously, we got to see the world and make a lot of people happy playing our songs for them.

GLOBETROTTER: Also in the USA? I was under the impression that things hit off there after "Power And The Glory"..?
BIFF: Well, actually both "Power And The Glory" and "Crusader" did really good in the USA. I think that after these two albums, promotion got worse, maybe even bad management and promotion, so we never got enough exposure to keep our popularity.

GLOBETROTTER: Bands like Judas Priest and the Scorpions managed to stay big in the USA; don't you think that it had something to do with the albums?
BIFF: No, I don't think so. I think they just looked better (laughs!)

GLOBETROTTER: Personally, I lost track of Saxon after "Crusader" but apparently you guys survived the next 20 years with ease. How come?
BIFF: I think we managed to make good enough albums to stay alive in this business. Somehow, the memory of the eighties keeps in peoples system. One can always remember some AC-DC songs, but also Saxon managed to write some real anthems like "Wheels Of Steel", "Princess Of The Night" and "747 Strangers In The Night". People still want to hear those songs, and the new fans love it as well. So do we.

GLOBETROTTER: So how come you released so many live material?
BIFF: We just released what we had and thought of as really good material, nice to look at and listen to. We keep looking for ways to entertain our fans and others.

GLOBETROTTER: Just recently you released the DVD "To Hell And Back Again", showing not only live material but also a "Behind the scenes" section. How did you choose the title? Did you really came back from hell?
BIFF: Noooo that's not it at all, hahahaha! We got to play this particular song again on stage because our fans asked us to, so getting this one back in the setlist was a good reason to name this DVD after it.

GLOBETROTTER: What is the secret behind you staying fit and keeping your voice in shape?
BIFF: You have to really just take very good care of yourself. Don't stay up too late and drink until you drop because you can't stay healthy that way. And if I have problems with my voice, I go to a specialist instead of a common doctor because they would just give me fucking paracetamol which doesn't help at all. Specialists really know what to do when my vocal chords are swollen, so I let no other doctor mess with my throat. Next week we are playing in Moscow, which is really cold….but that's part of being on the road everywhere, I guess…

GLOBETROTTER: When you are performing on stage, the DVD shows that you are still have a huge interaction with your audience…
BIFF: It grew to be a natural thing, actually. The audience feed me, I give them something back from me and they respond to it, it's that easy. I love it when that happens, and I will never grow tired of it.

GLOBETROTTER: Do you think your fans have changed over the years?
BIFF: Not really, we are keeping a lot of our old fans and we get new ones, too, who also love our older songs and are really into the new ones. I think we have a nicely mixed audience, especially at festivals, and we still manage to get a full venue when we perform.

GLOBETROTTER: I recently saw a video of Saxon performing the new single in a Sheffield footballstadium, setting a new Guinness Record of airguitar playing by the audience……
BIFF: Yes that was a lot of fun to do, and also a good promotion for our single as well.

GLOBETROTTER: I found that your latest album "The Inner Sanctum" sounded more metal than hardrock. Is that because of rock going more and more into the metal direction?
BIFF: I must disagree on that. I think we were both metal and hardrock even on our first albums. The point is, that I even think that this is the reason why we keep our fans with us: by writing songs in that oldfashioned way, which also makes us unique because other bands haven't done that.

GLOBETROTTER: So what's in store for Saxon in the near future? I read that you published your memoires ("Never Surrender")?
BIFF: Yes, it's for sale on amazon.co.uk and I;ve planned that for quite a while. I guess we just keep on making music and go on stage and give our fans a great show, that's what we do..

GLOBETROTTER: What are your memories on the Dutch rockscene?
BIFF: We love Holland, you know. Just like in Belgium and Germany, fans are really enthousiastic and loyal and we love to play there. I also remember the Paradiso venue in Amsterdam which is really great, and the Wisseloord studios. I don't remember knowing any Dutch rockbands, I'm afraid..

GLOBETROTTER: So how do you determine which band opens for you on tour?
BIFF: We usually invite bands to come out and play with us, based on what we hear. We receive a lot of music that is sent to us which we really appreciate. That is not possible on the bigger tours which is mostly a package, or a solo thing.

GLOBETROTTER: Biff, thank you for taking the time for this interview and good luck in the future.
BIFF: Thank YOU for your support!


SAXON - Biff Byford (Vocals) (26 November 2011)
(Interviewer: Eddie van Vugt & Wouter Jacobs, Nijmegen, The Netherlands)

Biff, seemingly relaxed yet surprisingly shrewd when necessary, sat back on an easy chair right after finishing dinner. This meal turned out "OK", although it was yet another plate of chicken on what the band already dubbed "this chicken tour". Quite a change from the curry he told us about later on. In between, we also discussed music.

EDDIE & WOUTER: Saxon have a new album out called "Call To Arms", which is your 19th studio album. How did this album and its style & sound come into being?
BIFF: We wanted to combine the style from the 1980's, based on great guitar riffs, with a good production. We played as live as possible in the studio, the drums were done live and then the bass lines. Some bands are insecure of their sound and rely on refining in the studio and on samples. Not Saxon. We believe less is more. We did not pull in an orchestra or use choir parts, we just used the contribution from Don Airey on keyboards whom I met at the US embassy and from fans on background vocals like we've done earlier on Denim and Leather. So in that regard is goes back to those days. The concept is different however: there is more passion on the tracks, more feeling and there are better performances throughout. I also co-produced this album. Our sound engineer did not double as producer on this one like he did before. After recording the album in the UK, a new team mixed it in the USA.

EDDIE & WOUTER: Where did you get the inspiration and themes for the new album from?
BIFF: We always write working class lyrics, from what we experienced. We don't do fantasy, although the song "Mists of Avalon" has a mystic theme. We tend to write underdog lyrics. We are called Saxon instead of Motley Crüe for a reason! Some other songs we write are about war, some are about music. We also have songs on this album that we wrote for a film called "The Hybrid Theory". Musically, Saxon have always mixed blues based rock & roll with heavy metal. The last few albums, including this one, are primarily pure heavy metal.

EDDIE & WOUTER: How did you choose the album title?
BIFF: We always first write songs, then throw away half of them and then pick one out of say four potential title tracks that we use the title of as the album title. It could also have been "Hammer of the Gods" for instance, but we chose this one.

EDDIE & WOUTER: Could you elaborate on a few song titles?
BIFF: The title of "Call To Arms" can be explained in two ways: summoning for participation in war and calling upon rock fans to unite and let themselves be heard. "Ballad of the Working Man" is autobiographic; if I hadn't become a musician, I probably would have still been a carpenter. I cannot know for sure, because things went differently. I have always been into music and I still would have been. I can't remember it being different. It is just that I now make money doing what I love. "Surviving Against The Odds" is about how hard it was at first to get a music career off the ground.

EDDIE & WOUTER: The bonus songs on the new album are live tracks recorded back in 1980. These were the good old days?
BIFF: Indeed and among our fans are still fans from those days as well as young people. I still remember the Saxon Militia Guard fan club and the first website built by fans being Dutch. We still have a huge fan following, just like Whitesnake and Motörhead. Motörhead keep releasing albums regularly, so do we. Our fan base is a nice cross-over of young and old fans, so the band regenerates just like music regenerates itself. The difference is that our younger fans know us from festivals mostly and not from a couple of albums we made. Older fans are more of the aged stuff, new audiences take the band for now.

EDDIE & WOUTER: On the "Call To Arms" World Tour you have done 82 concerts all over the world for far, with 16 more to go, including this one. Aren't you getting tired?
BIFF: We do count the days remaining on this tour. It is a long time away from home. This time we also visited Europe twice on our tour, which is a bit special.

EDDIE & WOUTER: What do you like about touring?
BIFF: The fans are the most interesting. The tour itself has been very smooth so far. We are a well-oiled machine. So it is not that tough for us.

EDDIE & WOUTER: What are your plans for the future?
BIFF: We do not have any concrete plans for now. We just keep playing which is what we love to do.

Afterwards, we thanked Biff for taking the time for the interview and were looking forward to the concert.

SEVENTH CALLING - Steve Handel (Vocals & Guitar) (15 August 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hey Seventh Calling, congratulations with your debut album "Monuments". It sounds really great and tight!
STEVE: "Thank you".

MARCO: Are you all satisfied with the record and what are the reactions to it so far?
STEVE: "Yes we are, for it being our debut album. The reactions have been very good so far. We are really excited to see how things will go for it!"

MARCO: You've got two lead guitar/vocalists ( Lance C Lange & Steve Handel ) in the band. Don't you think it would be a smart move to get a dedicated singer into the band?
STEVE: "No. That is one thing that Seventh Calling has decided not to do. And we have many reasons for this. (business reasons). We have dealt with just 'singers' several times before, and they have been nothing but a problem for Seventh Calling. Lance, and myself are very capable singers, and besides, Paul and Gene did it with KISS. One of the main reasons is we write different styles of metal between us and it is good,we feel, to offer different directions on our albums. But, however, one of the main reasons is that over the years we have read too many times that, bands that have only one singer have to cancel tours and such because this singer has lost his voice. Seventh Calling will not ever go through that."

MARCO: What's your opinion about your new Dutch record label, and are you all satisfied about Pim and his Melissa Records?
STEVE: "We are very happy to be a part of the roster of Melissa Records. Pim has done all that was said. So, yes we are satisfied. We do hope that things work out well for all that are involved here."

MARCO: How long did it take you to record the album?
STEVE: "About 3 months. Which is not too bad. But, it took awhile because Lance and I did not have a "band" at that point. We recorded all of the album except for the drums. Those were done by Tom Croxton of Impaler. Now we have since added James Strobach-drums and Michael Poplees-bass to our regular band line-up.

MARCO: There are 12 songs on this record, who is your main songwriter in the band and where did he get his inspiration from?
STEVE: "Lance and I both write. We draw on our inspiration from many different things. Everything from Headline news titles to Science Fiction/fantasy. The directions of the songs depends heavily on which of us writes it."

MARCO: Tell me something about the lyrics?
STEVE: "Our lyrics depend on which song it is. For example: Dark Angel is a vampire song. And then later on the album we have Fight for Your Life. This is a song that is about war and emotions during fighting. Then we go from that topic right into our Werewolf song with Mercyless. So we deal with a lot of different topics. But most do fall into the Sci-fi category for our first album. This may be different with our next album."

MARCO: Who did the artwork of Monuments? It looks really perfect to me!
STEVE: "Jan Yrlund was the one at that helm. It turned out very good. It is nice to see when someone can turn our vision into artwork."

MARCO: You guys already met in 1989, tell me something about the history of your band and did you play in other bands before seventh calling?
STEVE: "Yes, we played in many bands before Seventh Calling. We always had a vision for a true "heavy metal" band and Seventh Calling was it. We just had to get around to the time when metal was making a big move again before we put this vision into motion. When we met, it was only a couple of years before 'grunge' showed us it's ugly face. So that was not the best time for us to do the Seventh Calling project in the US anyways. As far as history, we are gonna make some!"(laughs)

MARCO: What's the best Gig and/or Festival you played in the past?
STEVE: "Actually, we are just coming off of a high note with doing shows with Symphony X and wow, the crowd was CRAZY! You know that it is going to be a good time when you are doing a sound check and the crowd is louder than your guitar amps! Now, we have some things coming up with RAVEN and CAGE. We are really looking forward to those."

MARCO: And how many gigs did you guys play outside the US?
STEVE: "The first time Seventh Calling will be outside the US will be for the HOA festival next July."

MARCO: You will play the German underground Festival "Headbangers Open Air" next summer, are you looking forward to it and would you like to play in The Netherlands too?
STEVE: "When we come there, we hope to be on a tour for some time other than just for the immediate HOA date. Time will tell. And yes, we would like to tour the Netherlands very much indeed!"

MARCO: Is there still a market in the USA for traditional Metal?
STEVE: "That is a good question. From what we have seen here as of late, the metal sales are increasing. This is a very welcome sign to bands such as us. It means there is still HOPE!!(laughs)

MARCO: And how is the American Heavy/Power Metal scene right now?
STEVE: "There is a very strong movement happening. It is very refreshing to see that there are metal bands playing that I will actually go out and see live, because they are good!"

MARCO: Are you still visiting gigs yourself and what are your favourite bands and influences? STEVE: "Oh yes! Right now, I would have to say my favorite bands are CAGE, WOLF, DREAM EVIL, FIREWIND, of course JUDAS PRIEST, just to name a few!!! Megadeth was spectacular in concert. Yes we are very hard core fans! Our influences range from Iron Maiden, Metal Church, Priest, Mercyful Fate, Megadeth, and so on."

MARCO: Are there any plans for the future and what do you want to achieve with Seventh Calling?
STEVE: "Yes, we are working on our next album right now, and we want to achieve a solid business standing with Seventh Calling. To us, there is much more than simply turning on your guitar and playing. We have learned so much about the business side of music over the past couple years. Longevity is our goal."

MARCO: Thank you very much for your time! Do you have any last words for the readers and fans?
STEVE: "It is truly our pleasure!! And yes we do, The SEVENTH CALLING is coming for you. BE PREPARED FOR BATTLE!! We will do our BEST and give you.. the fans our 100% dedication to HEAVY METAL. Keep the fires burning!! We'll see you on the road!" Thank you so much!! have a good day! Steve Handel/Seventh Calling

SILENT FORCE - DC Cooper (Singer) (8 April 2007 )
(Interviewer: Wim van Grunsven, Veghel, The Netherlands)

WIM: What are your own views on the album "Walk The Earth"?
DC COOPER: (JokinglyJ) "It's the most fantastic thing ever, hahahaha!. I like it, I think. It's doing exytremely well, it's getting good reviews. People seem to be very receptive to it. The record sales are showing good, so everything is fine so far. It was a long process. I did everything here in the United States and the rest of the guys did their thing in Germany. The coordination of it all went through the internet. It's strange to do things like that, but being an American singer in a European band, which I have been for the last fifteen years or so, that's the way it is. You have to adjust and the wonders of the internet makes it possible for me to be able to stay with my family and be with my sons. They are my world, my two sons."

WIM: It took me a while to grasp "Walk The Earth". Usually that's a good sign, because it means that it's like a diamond, growing on me. It seems a simple album at first, but then you discover more layers underneath.
DC COOPER: "That's good. You can be honest and tell me if it sucks! Hahahaha."

WIM: No, it's just that at first I thought the vocal lines were easy. After a while it hit and I think I realised why they were done like you have done them.
DC COOPER: "Tell me why you think they were done like this."?

WIM: Instead of going beside or over the top of the music, you have made that they complement the music. At least, that's what I think.
DC COOPER: "Exactly! I'm glad somebody gets it. My own band sometimes gets annoyed by it, but I am not completely "METAL"-metal anymore. I'm not the stereotype heavy metal singer anymore. That doesn't appeal to me that much nowadays. This is a very metal album, and instead of fighting the guitars, the double kick drums and trying to outgun them, I figured I would settle in with them and try to be part of the entourage. If I would have tried to go over the music, I would have been washed away by all the guitars and drums anyway, and it was not my intention to let that happen. It actually turned out way better than I anticipated. It was a very difficult task for me. There is nothing new about "Walk The Earth" and we're the first to admit it. You don't get to hear new bands that are groundbreaking anymore, at least in my opinion. It all is about the interpretation of what bands do and how they handle it that keeps on changing. At first I was in a big hole about how to write it, how to work with it. Especially because I kept getting all these songs with double kicks in them and big guitars. I just thought "not again", you know. I had to really listen to the music and even rework some of it, because needed to do just that to find out what I was going to do with it. I didn't want to do the obligatory heavy metal chant. Alex always tries to right one song that has the beer choir, a song to which the whole audience can sing to during a live performance. That's always cool, but also always standard."

WIM: Well, it's not like Silent Force is doing something new, but how do you reckon you differ from the band who are in the same bracket as you guys?
DC COOPER: "I really don't know. There's a lot of bands out there and a lot of phenomenal musicians, fantastic groups. So I think I can't really answer that question."

WIM: That is a modest answer. You mentioned having the band redo some of the music, which you reckoned was a bit over the top, whilst you and the band both being on opposite sides of the ocean. How hard is it to dedicate yourself fully to Silent Force, which is what everybody expects you to do when you're the singer of the band?
DC COOPER: "If I lived with them in Germany all the time I probably would be able to do that. But being here, overseas, it is different. I don't want people to think that I'm not dedicated, because this has been my life for quite a few years. The word dedication is tough. I'm dedicated to Silent Force, because they are my friends and comrades. Even though we are apart, we do have a very strong chemistry. That was very apparent when we played Japan last year. We got there one day before the first concert and just had a few hours to rehearse before getting on stage and ripping the place up. What that rekindled was that we all think and breathe as one, that we do rock when we are together and that we definitely are a real band. The concerts went brilliant and the tour was a huge success. Whenever it comes to dedication it is very important to be politically correct and very careful not to piss anybody off. I respect and thank God for every fan that we have, whether it be a downright die hard metalhead or someone into music in general. All of them are very much appreciated. I have said some things in the past about metal that I got a lot of flack on. I got a lot of shit from people saying that I wasn't dedicated. They also attacked me on finances, but for me this is a business. I have to treat it that way and look at what I do like a record company does. It's all about numbers and having a family I have to be able to make money. You want to write something that is going to sell, that will be financially feasible and for us to live and survive. I think there are still a lot of people out there, and I know I have said this in the press before, whose picture of a true metal rock star is living in a van down by the beach and drinking Jack Daniels for three weeks straight. To me that's not the picture, that's not me in any way. It's kind of like whatever job you go and do. Would you go out and do it for free? Or for very little money? Doing it for the love of music is a very difficult situation. I do really love the music, and I sometimes have to walk away from the business, because it is a nasty one. The love of music is not enough to keep a band alive, save them, support them. If you want to have a lifestyle and a family you do need money."

WIM: Saying that must mean that you are also writing music that is purely meant for yourself.
DC COOPER: : "I have been rewriting my second solo album again for the third time. I know everybody has been expecting it, and I recently spoke to a journalist who said my first solo album ("DC Cooper", 1999) is a classic, in his top 10 of all times. So I'm really hoping the next solo album is going to be a least as good or not better than the first one. Some of the new stuff that I recorded in my newly built studio with all the new bells and whistles has been written with a lot of fun. Now I have all those gadgets I really enjoy writing again, because I am in my own studio. I am coming up with stuff that is a little bit more towards Peter Gabriel, more of an adult kind of feel to it, not mainstream or pop. I would call it aggressive pop, if that is even a genre. It goes with my maturity. I love making metal, but I also would like to make music that is for a much wider audience. I'm a little bit scared of some of it, because although it still has the rough edge to it, it definitely is not true metal that I have been doing with Silent Force."

WIM: If I want to hear a DC Cooper album, I would like it to be completely different from what he is doing with his band, so I would not mind if it is pop. As long as the music is good and the voice brilliant, then who's complaining.
DC COOPER: "I'm glad to hear that, because you always think about how the fans are going to react. I have been involved with so many things that I need to do some different kind of music. I have two albums out right now; Silent Force and from an Italian band called Steel Seal ("By The Power Of Thunder"). By the end of the year there are a further two albums coming out, and that's going to make the total of albums I have been on during my career a total of thirty."

WIM: In that respect I must emphasise that it your solo album should be really personal. People who know DC Cooper, will go and listen to it anyway. You have always sung and your albums might not have made a difference, they have always had an impact.
DC COOPER: "I hope so. Everybody tries to become a rock star or a megastar, and make a difference. Only a few succeed in that. It is far more important to make an impact. That is something I try to do every time I record a song. My biggest thing I have tried to achieve is respect. If I die tomorrow I want people to say that I was a good friend, and good father and oh yeah, by the way; he could sing his ass off. To me that is a great sign of respect. Some people out there think that being a dick or a wild and crazy maniac drinking all the time will get you to the top. For some that has worked, but not for the majority of us. We just have to work hard and make sure that there are no monkeys on our backs. The song "Goodbye My Ghost" is about me getting rid of one of my long lasting monkeys and how it feels now I have dealt with it and gotten rid of it. The whole thing has helped me to reach new heights, a new kind of level of consciousness and being. Now I just try to do my best, help others where and when I can and be a good person. There is so much bullshit in the world right now, that people need to take care of each other a little bit more. I'm also a fire fighter paramedic, something that not everyone is aware of. I work two shifts a week for a rescue paramedic company. I did that before I got into music professionally and I recently got back into it. I just missed it. I enjoy helping people. There's a lot of nasty shit I see; suicides, heart attacks, you name it, I've seen it. The bottom line is that I like being there and helping people. It's not about getting a pat on the back at the end, it's about sitting down after you finished your shift or coming home and thinking: "Wow, I really helped somebody today." At the end of every interview I always ask the people on the other end to go out and, as a favour to me, to one thing that is unselfish. Give some clothes you have to spare to some homeless person or a charity. Buy some food and bring it to the food bank. If everyone would do that the world would become a much better place."


SILVERDOLLAR - Esa Englund (Singer) (2 March 2008)
(Interviewer: Ronny Elst, , Rijkevorsel, Belgium)

ESA: Hey there Ronny! First of all we want to thank you so much for the review!

RONNY: How did it all start for Silverdollar?
ESA: It all started in -96 back then we had 2 guitar players. And Silverdollar was just a side project playing covers for fun. As time went on we got more and more gigs and in -98 the second guitarist quit due to lack of time for his family. And we decided to go on with just one axeman.

RONNY: When did yoy guys decide to play original songs too?
ESA: There has always been a drive for own songs but this was a side project. We did a song on the Covers From Hell cd -02 but we didn't have the time then to make a whole cd so for a couple of years nothing happened. In -05 we got a little bored of doing covers so we thought to start writing own songs and record them for the 10th anniversery -06.

RONNY: Was it hard to obtain a record deal with Shark Records?
ESA: Well, first of all we had got hooked by another label and for allmost a year (06/07)we tried to get things to happened but to make a long story short we started to search for a new label in July -07. Shark records responded allmost right away and offered us a deal at the spot, in a couple of weeks time we got signed and a release was set to October -07! So everything went very smooth and fast!

RONNY: How are the first reactions for "Evil Never Sleeps"?
ESA: To be a debut and done with a small budget we have got good responce and you know we are not the first to play this style so we are very pleased with the outcome.

RONNY: Already recording songs for the next album? Which style?
ESA: Yes, actually we have been writing new stuff and start to record them next week! It's hard to say but there's a lot of mixed styles i think as it is in "Evil Never Sleeps"...but better..

RONNY: Are there only gigs planned for Sweden or also for the rest of Europe?(headliner or support band?, festivals, ...)
ESA: At this moment there are no gigs planned at all sorry to say but mostly because of recording the new songs. We're looking for a management/ booking agency so we'll see what's happening in the near future. Of course we'll looking forward to come out to europe that's our goal. But we'll continue to play the cover thing (mainly doing a Maiden tribute show) because there's more well payed gigs in it...We all are whores....

RONNY: Which are other Swedish bands that you guys like?
ESA: Well, for me to speak we got Hellfueled wich we have played once with before they released their first record. And we got Lion's Share (wich we also played with at their first gig with the new line up), Evergrey, Yngwie of course... But mostly foreign bands such as ZZ top, Masterplan, Whitesnake, Thin Lizzy; I can make the list very very long. But the interesting thing is that we all in the band like different styles so that's why it comes out so varied songs from us. Fredrik is more into Slayer, Machine Head, Deicide, Sepultura, Judas Priest. Ola likes Yngwie, Symphony X, Racer X, Zakk Wylde, John Sykes, Ozzy, Dream Theater. Mats goes for everything The main band for all of us is Iron Maiden i think.

RONNY: Other plans for the (near) future?
ESA: Finish the recordings for the second album and start to get gigs as soon as possible both nation wide and europe as well.
Best/ Esa

SILVER FIST - All Members (21 August 2007 )
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hey Silver Fist, congratulations with your new album "Tears Of Blood". It sounds really great and tight!
SILVER FIST: Thanks for that!

MARCO: I heard it's an English version of your "Lagrimas De Sangre" album of 2006, is that right?
SILVER FIST: Yes, we recorded "Lagrimas de Sangre" in the summer of 2006 as you said and we decided to record it in english because we think it's the only way to make the people listen to our music out of our country.

MARCO: Are you all satisfied with the new record and what are the reactions to it so far?
SILVER FIST: Yes, we are so satisfied, we worked a lot on it arranging the songs and searching for a great sound and we think it was succesful. The reactions here in Spain are great, most of the people like the album and I have to say that I never saw a bad review from the press, we were album of the month in several magazines and web pages specialized in rock and metal, so we think the reaction are good. Out of our country the reaction is being good at the moment, most of the reviews are very good to be a first album for most of you, I read some reviews that are not very good but not so bad indeed. We are happy with the reaction.

MARCO: How did your fans react to the new record?
SILVER FIST: As I said most of them like it more than our first record and we have a good ammount of new fans and they like how the songs sound on stage, the band have a more solid and personal sound than before and I think that we chosen the correct way to focus our music, it's harder than our first album and with more up to date sound, most of the people like that.

MARCO: 11 songs on this record, who is your songwriter in the band and where did he gets his inspiration from?
SILVER FIST: The lyrics are in charge of Silverio, our vocalist and he inspiration for the lyrics from the things that happen in the world, basing them in feelings that we all have like love, hate, friendship, of fear to something, and another subjects like the problems with religion, the absence of justice or even the environment. About the music I must say that we all work on the making of the songs. Normally the guistarrist, me or Pablo put the first idea or main riff and the all of us begin to add things, some ideas are good, some others not, so we have to agree and do it in a democratic way to be happy with the results.

MARCO: Who had the idea to put an "Accept" cover on this album?
SILVER FIST: We thought about record a cover that we all like, we like to play songs from our favourite bands. Our influences are very different, our ages are very different, I'm only 22, obviously Jose or Silverio not, so we tried to choose a song that we all like, we thought in other covers but "Accept" is a legend and "Balls to the Wall" a real metal hymn.

MARCO: When did "Silver Fist" start and please tell me something about your old band "Muro", It was a really great Spanish heavy metalband!!!
SILVER FIST: OK, I will try because I never played in MURO but I have a lot of infromation of them, it's logical. First thing I must say is that Silverio, Jose and Ivan played in MURO in different times. MURO began in the 80's and was the first metal band in Spain playing speed/thrash metal and they become a cult band here in Spain and I'm noticed that many people know them in Europe, they played with great bands in the 90's as Slayer but never played out of Spain. They suffered many changes on their line-up and finally dissapeared in 2002. Thay recorded their first album with AVISPA, our label and their album are still in the market here. Obviously that's a superficial view so I cannot tell much more apart from funny things.

MARCO: Did you already played with some big bands in the past and how was it like?
SILVER FIST: Yes, we played with Motorhead, Sepultura, Riot, recently with UDO and the next month with Stratovarius. My personal point of view have good and bad things. First of all you are playing with people that made the music you listened in your childhood so your adrenaline is very high and lot of people go to this kind of gigs so it's great for us because we can gain new fans, or new haters of the band, everything can happen. The only bad thing I felt sometimes is that some of the bands have a very bad attitude with us, it's like they forgot their beginnigs, anyway, they are on the top and we not, so I respect that at least, anyone knows how I'm going to be if someday we are on the top, Normally the balance is possitive.

MARCO: Did you enjoyed to play such a great oldschool festival like "Keep It True" last year in the promising metal country Germany?
SILVER FIST: Yes, a lot, it was our first time out of Spain, and man, they live in another world if we talk about metal, like most of Europe. You can feel that all the people love this, it's some kind of brotherhood, all the people was kind and helped us a lot. We know that if we never played at Keep It True we never played at Headbangers Open Air, Thrash 'Till Death Fest, or in the future Swordbrothers and Up The Hammers in Grecce. It was a great experience and we are very happy for that.

MARCO: How was the Headbangers Open Air 10th anniversary gig like last week?
SILVER FIST: Again, great, very good organization, very good metalheads and more fans, I cannot ask for more. We felt that more people know us and most of the like our songs and our shows, a lot of people saw us and congratulate us after the show. Apart from that we saw bands that we like a lot and drunk tons of beer. Perfect.

MARCO: Does  your band have many fans in Germany and what's your opinion about the German metal scene/fans?
SILVER FIST: I don't know how many fans we have in Germany of course, I can only say, more than before. About the scene and the fans I must say that for me are one of the best scene, growing up everyday with many international bands and with a very high level, the fans take care about the bands they like and that's the best thing that can happen to Metal, in another hand if the people don't like you they say it with no problems and I think that's good too, first they listen to the material and they can like it or not, here in Spain a lot of people like you or not reading commentaries, not listening, that's a big problem, nowadays you can listen to anything for free, I cannot understand how can someone says that don't like something if he never tasted it.

MARCO: Do you like to play in The Netherlands someday, you never played here is that right?
SILVER FIST: Yes of course, maybe next year we will play over there if our friend Martjo didn't wind me up, hehehe, do you know Martjo? Anyone knows him, Ok, I'm joking, sorry. Yes we hope to play there next year, the most probably thing is to play in festivals, it's easier, and will be great to put our feet in The Netherlands, we love your country, and then we can take back some great quality tulips for our mothers, hehehe, sorry, to hot in here, bad for the brain.

MARCO: 12th April 2008 "Up The Hammers Fest" in Athens (Greece) with: Manilla Road, Cage, and Dantesco looks great, are you looking forward...
SILVER FIST: Is the same like I said before, a new country, new people and great bands. We have good friends over there that we always met in another countries so visit their home will be a very good thing, so the fun is ensured.

MARCO: How is the Spanish heavy metal scene right now?
SILVER FIST: Not OK I think, and if you compare it with the rest of Europe is awful, the latin music covers all and we have a few radios, magazines and web pages specialized in Metal. Here the promoters never support the new bands and here in most of international festivals there is no place for spanish bands, I recognize that the level is lower than in other countries. I know a lot of international bands from Europe, can you say 3 new upcoming bands from Spain if you are not a specialist in Metal? I'm sure you cannot.

MARCO: Are you visiting many gigs by yourself and what are your favourite bands and influences?
SILVER FIST: Yes, we go to most of the gigs here in Madrid and another places in Spain, we did it before, we do it now and we wiil do it in the future, we are fans. Our influences are very different, my favourite bands are Meshuggah of Lamb of God, for Silverio are Dio or Saxon and the other guys like prefer other bands but always into hard metal, we all agree in bands like Testament, Slayer, Soilwork, In Flames, Arch Enemy, Nevermore or Opeth. We are open minded.

MARCO: Are there any plans for the future and what do you want to achieve with Silver Fist?
SILVER FIST: The plans are continue working, release a third album, and play as much as they let us, make new fans funs and grow as much as possible. Never stop working.

MARCO: Thank you very much for your time! Do you have any last words for the readers and fans?
SILVER FIST: Listen to Silver Fist and judge for yourself. Many thanks to you for your support. Hope to see you.

SPOIL ENGINE - Niek Tournois (Vocals) (7 September 2009)
(Interviewer: Ad van Osch, Tilburg, The Netherlands)


AD: First of all, Niek could you tell us more about the history of SPOIL ENGINE so far?
NIEK: Spoil Engine is a 5 piece band from Belgium, founded back in 2004 by ex members from (in)famous H8000 bands such as Deformity and Regression. We have 2 full albums released, Skinnerbox V07 (Apache Productions) and Antimatter (Roadrunner Records). We play metal.

AD: Can you explain how you, as a Dutchman, got involved with a Belgian metal band?
NIEK: I had played for a while with Sublime Hatred, an obscure oldskool hardcore band from Roeselare (the city where Spoil Engine had its head quarters), no real ambition there, it was all about having fun with friends. About the time Sublime Hatred came to an end, I heard this band Spoil Engine was looking for a singer. When I heard a couple of demos on MySpace I was getting pretty much interested to give it a try. I always dreamed of playing in a band with good musicians, and the music they made was right up my alley. So I went for it.

AD: Is SPOIL ENGINE for all of you guys the only band you play in, or are several members also playing in other bands as well? Now that SPOIL ENGINE is a well-oiled machine, doesn't it gave any problems if playing in other bands as well, because I assume SPOIL ENGINE will always be at the first place?
NIEK: I play in 2 other bands, but the other guys are truly loyal Spoilheads. I have my own musical mistresses. Spoil Engine will always be Spoil Engine, and that means, a band that demands a lot of time and hard fucking work. It's sometimes hard to combine everything, the bands, my girlfriend, a job, the studio…it needs prioritizing, but it's not impossible. The guys in my other bands (September Syn and Strych.Nine) know Spoil Engine is number 1 on my list and they accept that (do they have a choice? haha). Both bands have pretty much nothing in common with SE, except the fact I play in all 3, and that they are metal bands. September Syn is a metalband with influences from Opeth, Nevermore, Arch Enemy etc. We're starting to record a full album in September (haha yeah I know). Strych.Nine is my own baby, I started it a long time ago together with Jeroen Foré, writing songs in the studio. Now members from Cypher, Polluted Inheritance and Morda joined the party and we almost have our mini cd finished, we're just starting the mix now. We got our influences from Soilwork, Gojira, Slipknot etc. Should be fun.

AD: Your debut album "Skinnerbox v.07" was released in 2007 on Apache Records. That album got very good reviews in the press. How's that debut album been sold so far?
NIEK: It got sold out completely, to our own surprise. At shows we don't bring any merch because we have nothing left. It's crazy. Of course with the new album we'll have a brand new bag of goodies for anyone who's interested.

AD: On August 21st the second album "Antimatter" has been released on Roadrunner Records. That's a real progression I must say. SPOIL ENGINE is the first Belgian metal band in 20 years who are signed by this legendary label. So you guys must be very happy with this deal?
NIEK: Haha, happy is an understatement. From when I was 16 years old that tiny little red roadrunner label was what I wanted on the back of my CD. It was a fantasy. You could say Roadrunner is my ménage a troi, haha. But I have to say it was unreal to be signed by Roadrunner. We worked almost for a year on Antimatter, and when I first heard RR was interested, I thought, yeah right, good one buddy. Turned out that wasn't a joke and now we're signed to the label that signed Sepultura, Slipknot, Fear Factory and loads of other bands that influenced us from day one. Spank my ass and call me Charlie. Hell yeah.

AD: I assume that, with a label as Roadrunner Records, "Antimatter" will be promoted by a large club tour through Europe? If so, are you going on tour as a headliner or just as a supporting act?
NIEK: In fact, right now there aren't concrete plans for touring. We got a good deal from Roadrunner: they bring out the album in the BENELUX. If that works out good, we'll see what the possibilities are in other countries. But right now, we don't need to tour I think. We need to start this from the ground up, brick by brick. In Europe a lot of other countries have shown big interest in promoting and releasing the album, so that's a good start. We'll see what happens. We are a pretty down to earth kind of band, as I said, most of us are married, have kids, jobs… it's not easy to go touring for a month or two.

AD: What are your own favorite songs of the new album?
NIEK: I think right now my personal favourite is "Pressing On The Overload", but that depends on which mood I'm in. I don't really listen to the album now, I heard it almost constantly for a year and I've seen it grow bit by bit. Right now I just want to play that shit live and let hell break loose.

AD: "Antimatter" has been recorded in your own "Sweet & Sour Studio" and has been produced by Ace Zec. The mastering was done by Ue Nastasi in New York. Are you guys satisfied with the end results?
NIEK: Yeah we are really happy. It took a lot of hard work but I think we can be very pleased with the result. Ace did a great job in producing the album, everybody hated me during recordings so that's a good thing. And mastering in Sterling Sound, well, if it's good enough for Christina Aguilera, Devil Driver, AC/DC…, it's good enough for me.

AD: Because you have your own studio, are you recording and producing bands in your own studio as well?
NIEK: Yeah, I do all that shit for other bands too, and I like doing it. Busting musicians balls haha. "No, play tighter, you suck!" No, I'm a really calm guy in the studio, but I always try to bring out the best in a musician and in a band. I like to do other genres as well. It's always a challenge and every band or sound is different. Jazz, hiphop, rock, pop, I don't care, it's all about the music.

AD: SPOIL ENGINE has played Belgian's biggest metal festival "Graspop Metal Meeting" in 2007 and opened for bands like ARCH ENEMY, SEPULTURA, PRONG, HATESPHERE, VOLBEAT etcetera. So, the band has shared stages with many national and international bands. Do you still have some bands on your wish-list with whom you would like to play?
NIEK: Of course, the dream never ends. I started out with metal listening to Iron Maiden, and it's still a dream ever to play or even have a conversation with them. That's unprofessional right? But I don't care. Maiden rules hahaha.

AD: What are your own heroes in this metal world?
NIEK: Well, I hate the word heroes, but I take a lot of influences from every good musician I see or hear playing, in any genre. In metal I really like Corey Taylor, Devin Townsend, Andy Sneap, Jeff Loomis, Gene Hoglan, Dirk Verbeuren etc.

AD: Do you have any last words to the readers of MMM?
NIEK: Rock out with your cock out assholes, we'd love to see you banging your honeybunny heads at one of our shows, and thank you very much.


STEEL ASASSIN - Kevin Curran (Guitarist) (10 January 2008)
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel , Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hello guys, Steel Assassin started in the late 70's in Boston, Massachusetts (USA). Can you tell us something about those early days?
KEVIN: We started the band in 1980 as a cover band called Assassin. We were the first band in the Boston area to play nwobhm music. Saxon, Maiden, Priest, Tygers of Pan Tang, Raven, Accept, Krokus, to name a few.

MARCO: What was your relationship with the 'nwobhm' bands and did you put a lot of inspiration from these bands?
KEVIN: I actually met Saxon the first time they were over here in 81. Our former manager introduced us as he knew them from his visits overseas. He also introduced us to Judas Priest several times. Other than hanging out for a few beers, the relationships never went further than that.

MARCO: Have you played many gigs in those days and have you ever played outside the United States?
KEVIN: We played a fair share of gigs around Boston and the surrounding area. We first ventured out of the USA. as a band in November 2007 for the KIT festival in Germany. (Mike and I played in Dublin a couple of times with our Thin Lizzy tribute, Vagabond Kings.)

MARCO: In europe and beyond you already had airplay and a lot of fan mail. Steel Assassin was featured on the Metal Blade record "Metal Massacre 6", why did the band never released a full-length album before?
KEVIN: There were people managing and directing the band at the time, and we took their advice as gospel. We discovered too late in the game that our true metal calling was misunderstood. We were advised to pass on offers from independent labels. That was our biggest mistake.

MARCO: "War of the eight Saints" is a brilliant debut album, tell me why it took so long to record a album and how was it criticized?
KEVIN: It took so long because we had the luxury of time. We wrote and recorded as it suited all of our schedules and mainly did not want to rush one single aspect of the project. There were unexpected delays here and there, but we enjoyed the entire process from start to finish.

MARCO: Can you tell me something about the lyrics?
KEVIN: The main intention of the lyrics were to capture not only the spirit of historical characters and events that we chose, but to capture the spirit of the original Steel Assassin, when we were writing what we enjoyed, and before we were sidetracked by outside influences.

MARCO: Who is your songwriter in the band and where does he gets his inspiration from?
KEVIN: Phil writes the lion's share of the guitar riffs, with Mike following in guitar riffs. I (Kevin) write most of the lyrics and a few of the guitar parts. My inspiration mainly comes from historical and mythological sources. I stumbled upon the character Sir John Hawkwood while reading about the artist Paolo Uccello (check out his "Battle of San Romano" in the uffizzi in florence…incredible!) His life story was so amazing that it struck me immediately to write songs about him and his time.

MARCO: Are you all satisfied about Sentinel Steel records and did they have done a good job for you guys?
KEVIN: Yes, we are very much pleased with all that has transpired with Sentinel Steel. They did an excellent job with the packaging and booklet etc.

MARCO: Have you enjoyed your gigs with Metallica, Raven and Y&T in the 1980's?
KEVIN: Definitely. Those were great times. When we played with Raven we opened with "Sstarlight" by Accept, and later in the set played Breaker. They came up to us and thought that it was "bloody brilliant" to hear us playing Accept. The shows with Metallica were a blast as well.

MARCO: Are there any plans for shows in Europe?
KEVIN: Yes, we are scheduled for the Play it Loud festival in Brescia, Italy on February 23, 2008. Very excited. We hope to come back to Europe many more times.

MARCO: Are you visiting many gigs by yourself and what are your favourite bands and influences?
KEVIN: Generally speaking, most of the nwobhm bands were huge influences for us. I'm a huge German metal fan. I love Gamma Ray, Helloween, UDO., Accept.

MARCO: Is there still a great metal scene in Boston, Massachusetts and how are the american fans nowadays?
KEVIN: The scene in Boston was never supportive of power metal. There are a few shows here and there, but metal is better heard west of Boston in Worcester, or north in New Hampshire, or south in Rhode Island.

MARCO: Any last word for the readers?
KEVIN: Yes, we love Europe, and are inspired by the dedication to metal that the fans there carry. True metal hearts and souls!!! Thank you for the support and up the irons!!!!

MARCO: Thank you & heavy metal is king !

STORMWARRIOR - Yenz Leonhardt (Bassplayer) (14 March 2008)
(Interviewer: Marco van Empel, Tilburg, The Netherlands)

MARCO: Hail Stormwarrior!!! Congratulations with your new album, it really sounds kick ass, true metal to the bone!
YENZ: Thanx, Marco. It was a long haul. Good to hear that the work has paid out.

MARCO: Can you please tell me something more about the background of the band?
YENZ: Stormwarrior was founded in 1998, and took the underground route releasing two demos "Metal Victory" (1999) and "Barbaric Steel" (2000), two 7" singles "Possesed By Metal" and "Spikes And Leather" (2002), before Kai Hansen produced the debut album in 2002. The EP "Heavy Metal Fire" (2003) and the second full album "Northern Rage" (2004) followed. In 2005 Stormwarrior was invited to join Gamma Ray in Japan, the shows were documented on the live album "At Foreign Shores" (2006). Since then we've been working on the new album "Heading Northe", which just saw it's release.

MARCO: Who is the songwriter in the band and were does he get his inspirations from?
YENZ: The bulk of the material is written by Lars (Ramcke), but we all pitch in. I contributed with a couple of the lyrics on "Heading Northe", where one of the underlying themes is the confrontation between Christianity and the alleged heathens in Scandinavia around 1000 AD, so we swap books and movies on the subject. I come from Denmark myself, and I find it fascinating to dive into old Nordic lore, regaining the power of my ancestors. Lars has been studying Scandinavian History and languages, for the new album he even came up with a Swedish part for "Lion Of The North", which felt pretty weird for a Danish warrior to sing.

MARCO: Why did you use synthesizers on 'The Revenge Of The Asa Lande'?
YENZ: Well, for the overall sound on the album, we wanted to create a strong and authentic atmosphere, almost like a movie soundtrack. So there's a lot of weird sound effects in there matching the lyrical content. We emphasized a lot more on the backing vocals, and we do have the occasional gloomy church organ underlining the melody lines, like an image of the imposing threat of Christianity. Stormwarrior is still basically an ass kicking traditional metal band, but the battlefield imagery is also an important part of the mix.

MARCO: Can you tell me a little bit about your new bass player. Who is he?
YENZ: Speaking, as you've probably realized, pleased to meet you… I first met Stormwarrior 2004 at the Gates Of Metal festival in Sweden, where I played with Iron Savior and we met again the year after, at the Bloodstock festival in the UK, where I played with Savage Circus. On both occasions we shared the same flights and night liners, so we had a long time to talk about the important stuff in life. Anyway, when Stormwarrior went looking for a new bass player, they knew who to call. In Stormwarrior the bass has more of a prominent role than in most metal bands, so it's been a cool challenge for me to come up with the bass lines for "Heading Northe". Lars also asked me to work out the choir parts with him, so all in all, the guys make me feel like I've been here from day one.

MARCO: Are you pleased with Dockyard 1 label and did they do a good job recording 'Heading Northe'?
YENZ: Dockyard 1 was founded by basically the same people that ran Noise Records, which has played a big role on the German metal scene since 1984. So I know the guys pretty well through my work with Iron Savior and Savage Circus, and I'm sure that they will do a great job promoting "Heading Northe".

MARCO: Can you tell me about the concept and lyrics of the new album 'Heading Northe'?
YENZ:
"Heading Northe": The glorious feeling of returning home to the northern shores.
"Metal Legacy": A tribute to the metal community, raise your drinking horns.
"The Holy Cross": The conflict between the Christian Church and the Odin Cult.
"Iron Gods": The neverending fight to preserve the eternal flame of heavy metal.
"Ragnarök": The final battle in Norse mythology, where even gods are destined to die.
"The Revenge Of Asa Lande": Heathens striking back at foreign Christian shores.
"Remember The Oathe": About hearing the voice of your Ancestors, regaining their power.
"Lion Of The Northe": About The Swedish king Gustav II Adolf, who entered The 30 Years' War.
"Into The Battle": The last moments before entering the battle at hand.

MARCO: How do you describe your style of music and what are the main influence of the band?
YENZ: In the different Wikipedia articles on Stormwarrior, some categorize us as speed metal, others as power metal. We have viking related lyrics, which doesn't really fit into any of those categories. "Barbaric Steel" was the title of the second demo, and still says it all...

MARCO: Do you live the true metal spirit & lifestyle?
YENZ: If you call writing, recording, gigging and having an occasional beer at the Headbanger's Ballroom in Hamburg a true metal life style, sure.

MARCO: Germany's got the best metal scene in the world, do you have a strong underground metal scene in your area?
YENZ: Hamburg traditionally has a strong metal scene, with bands like Helloween and Running Wild coming out of this place. Like any other big city in the world, it's difficult for smaller clubs to survive, especially because of the incredible amount of festivals being organized. So, the underground is not that visible, but it's there...

MARCO: What's your opinion about posers and followers….
YENZ: I don't lose much time thinking about people that I don't know. We're doing what feels right to us, and otherwise it's a free world.

MARCO: What was the best gig you've ever played?
YENZ: The Stormwarrior show at Wacken Open Air last year. We kicked off with a full throttle Stormwarrior set and Kai Hansen joined us for the second half of the show, where we played "Walls Of Jericho" era material. The full Stormwarrior W.O.A. set will be released on DVD later this year...

MARCO: What is your goal with Stormwarrior
? YENZ: After this long studio phase, we're really hungry to go out and play every festival we can get. We already have quite a few events confirmed for 2008, like Up The Hammers in Greece and the Magic Circle fest with Manowar. We're on the lookout for a good longer tour to promote the album, I think the next couple of months will decide a lot.

MARCO: Best beer/ snaps and football club?
YENZ: Mead (most brands), otherwise Tuborg. FC St. Pauli & FC København.

MARCO: Your warriors song top 10:
YENZ: Changes all the time, today it's:
Judas Priest: Rapid Fire
Black Sabbath: Into The Void
Helloween: Victim Of Fate
Manowar: Shell Shock
Thin Lizzy: Warrior
Bathory: One Rode To Asa Bay
Metal Church: Metal Church
Running Wild: Under Jolly Roger
Riot: Fire Down Under
Savatage: Power Of The Night

MARCO: Any last words for the readers of Mario's Metal Mania?
YENZ: Stand up for what you believe in, it's never too late… Hope to see you on tour, CHEERS!!
MARCO: Thank You for your time – Heavy Metal Is King!

STRYCTNYNE - Samson James & Mr. Grandma Cyco. (11 June 2007 )
(Interviewer: Rick Pizzo, USA)

Stryctnyne The metal scene over the years has given the world some great talent who's legacy and influence will live on until the end of time. Bands like Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Accept, Metallica, Iron Maiden and many more than can be listed in this interview but if you study the history of said bands you will see that they all came along at a time that was ripe for something new and exciting that these bands had to offer. Bands like this were the cornerstone bands of heavy metal that many successfully followed in their path. I think back in the 80s until about 1992 many of us thought that true heavy metal would always be in favor with the masses and so did a band from Farmingdale (Long Island), NY that went by the name Stryctnyne. With a take no prisoners attitude and a sound and look to match, Stryctnyne seemed bound for glory as many believed back in the advent of the 90s. Why wouldn't they be? They had a sound and attitude that rivaled Judas Priest and Manowar, a bass player with a he-man physique and a strong following in NY and cult status in Europe that lives to this very day. Just do a Google search if you don't believe me.
My story within this story is interesting too in that I had a personal connection (remotely so) with the band when I met the guitarist at the now defunct Guitar Masters school in Long Island. It was there in the waiting room waiting for lessons that I got to know Grandma and received the first demo of the band. 3 songs of pure heavy metal dynamite that grabbed you from the first chord to the last note. I won't go into details but I lost possession of the tape, moved back to Pennsylvania and lost touch with the band never thinking I would ever hear their music again. Well in this age of the internet I put my search skills at work and came up short time and time again. To make matters worse I couldn't remember how to spell the band name so a google search was of no help.
This past January was a major breakthrough when I came across a website of a Judas Priest tribute band called Xciter. I saw on their page that they were looking for a drummer and were located on Eastern Long Island. I was sure that somebody in this band knew of Stryctnyne or had played in the band. The problem with knowing if any of these guys were ever in Stryctnyne was complicated by the fact that Stryctnye members all had aliases. So I e-mailed the band members and got a response from their bass player who said Jack Fontana their singer was Jack Hammer- Stryctnyne's drummer. He forwarded my e-mail to Jack who then forwarded my e-mail to Samson who then e-mailed me and eventually called me. From there things snowballed. I received both demos, a poster and various press releases from Samson and I knew there was a great story to tell after I found out from Samson what happened to Stryctnyne.
Looking back, this band was marketed right when the heroin fed noise of grunge spewed forth it's somber noise and I know now what I didn't realize then – there was no way this band would have ever got signed in this country during that miserable era. Established bands were getting dropped by labels one after another for this new noise. Anyhow, the call went out to the other members to do an interview and hopefully a reunion. Jack Hammer failed to return phone calls and e-mails from Grandma, Samson and I. Siren Scac apparently doesn't read his e-mails and a phone call by myself and Samson to his wife came up empty as well. So at this point hope for a reunion was tossed but Grandma and Samson agreed to meet me at Samson's house for the interview. Grandma comes off as a bit cut and dry, more to the point and a man of fewer words by far than Samson but the fact that he was there for the interview and enjoyed himself in the process spoke volumes. Samson James on the other hand is definitely the Alpha dog of the pack. He has a lot to say and is very passionate about the band and was emphatic in his speech throughout the interview. He is obviously one of those over the top types that is driven beyond the average person you'll bump into on the street. Sort of like a DeMaio type where when you meet him you know he's the leader, the type you would want to lead you into battle if need be. So on a welcome reprieve from the bitter cold of winter on this Saturday afternoon in February we went about to summon up the spirit of the past and reflect on the greatness of one of the great unknown heavy metal bands from the USA

My first question would have to be is why are you guys here and what made you want to do this interview? The band hasn't been together in a long time. (Samson gives Grandma the opportunity to start things off which he politely declines)
SAMSON JAMES: I'm Samson James and I'm the co-founder of Stryctnyne along with my partner here Mr. Grandma Cyco. Stryctnyne goes all the way back to the early 80s. We had a number of people when the band started out in the basement and graduated to the garage, We did all the local gigs, keg parties, high school gymnasiums. Stryctnyne was a Farmingdale, Long Island (New York) band name for a while and we grew at a nice pace. I found Grandma here where we used to hang out at this creek part of the neighborhood. I met him through a friend and we just started talking about music. My stepbrother gave me his old bass guitar because I was interested in playing bass guitar and I loved KISS. Old School KISS! I was just getting into Black Sabbath at the time and here I meet Grandma and I found out he plays guitar. I go to his house and I see this guy playing his guitar almost identically to what was being played on the phonograph at the time and I was in awe! I was like "Wow man!" I'm like 13, 14 years old seeing this guy picking up the guitar matching everything he plays to what's being played on the phonograph and I was blown away.
Basically I told him I just got my bass guitar and I'm a beginner and I'm willing to learn and take lessons… whatever have you and I'd like to start a band. I guess he was into it at the time and we got a couple of local kids from school. A drummer named Nick Copolus and a rhythm guitarist named Dion Lonegro and we learned a couple of songs. One of the first songs we learned and played as Stryctnyne was Back in the USSR by the Beatles and then we did the Purple Haze, Jimi Hendrix thing… Taking Care of Business, a couple of Hot Tuna songs.
GRANDMA CYCO: Yeah that's the way it was. Me and Samson always stuck together because the other guys had other plans and visions and the final version was me, Samson, Siren and Jack.
SAMSON JAMES: Yeah that was the final Stryctnyne, the Stryctnyne that was on the "Metal Warrior" demo. I'm very proud of coming from Farmingdale, NY. You get these bands that come from a local neighborhood and people are like "Oh, I've heard of that band. They're from Levittown" or "They're from Sayville" but Stryctnyne – we were on a more mass appeal. It wasn't just coming from Long Island, it was coming from California, Las Vegas, parts of