In the first of three features on their new album, guitarist Christian Bröhenhorst and bassist Gerrit Mohrmann talked to Ghost Cult about their band Cripper and the release of their fourth album Hyëna (Metal Blade – our review here)
You’ve just released your new album, Hyëna. How does it compare to your previous records?
Christian: I think it’s quite normal that the sound of a band evolves over time. It’s influenced by a few things – one important point is, that we all could increase our experiences in the studio and recording situation with every release. Another important factor is time; the time you have for the recordings and for mixing and finding the sound for our album. During the songwriting process came the idea for Hyëna‘s sound. We wanted the sound of Hyëna more compact and heavy. The idea was to create a sound that is solid and massive in a natural way, but transparent at the same time. We planned a recording session in the Kohlekeller Studios already in Nov. 2013. We decided to record four tracks as a sound demo, so to speak. The whole band was there so we had the chance to find the sound that we like and had in our minds for the whole album.
What’s the meaning behind the title of the album?
Gerrit: The title idea is not entirely new, Cripper came up with it even before they released Antagonist. Hyenas are somehow the thrash metallers among the predators. Mangy, imposing and stark, but not as elegant and sublime as lions and co. As a motto for a metal album, an aggressive hyena with very impressive teeth just fits very well. The album as a whole is very heavy and there are many serious, punchy riffs. This was decisive for the gloomy atmosphere in the whole artwork.
Are you happy with how the fans & critics have responded to the new album?
Christian: Most journalists give really positive reaction on the new output. Some of them are totally impressed which makes us feel proud because the working process was a long way to go for us. So many fans give us overwhelming feedback, sending out emails and postings they are so happy with the new songs. This is what makes us feel even better than havin’ a magazine’s positive review in hands.
Thanks to all the people givin’ us their support. You fuckin’ rule!
What’s Cripper’s songwriting process like?
Gerrit: Hm, first of all I think Cripper is a quite normal metal band when it comes to the writing process. Most of our songs start with riff ideas from Christian and Jonathan (Stenger – guitars). The first step is to play these ideas all together in our rehearsal room. Over time there comes a vision of a song and an attitude of the song. Then it starts from the beginning. Sometimes there are lengthy discussions about the riffs and the song structures. That is quite common for Cripper. A Cripper song is completed when all of us have a good feeling with the material.
For Hyëna in some cases we changed the way of getting started with new songs. We often tried to create an atmosphere and a flow of the new song first, before we went on with riffs. This way of writing songs was new for Cripper. It was an exciting experience for us and not always easy.