Ghost Cult caught up earlier in the year Alex and Nishod of the up and coming genre smashers The Offering. Unabashedly blending every major style of heavy music, Death Metal, Thrash, Progressive, Hardcore and even Nu Metal, and doing it well, the band displays all their many talents on their debut album Home (Century Media). We chatted about how the band formed, the making of their album, working with producer Fredrik Nordström (Opeth, Arch Enemy, Bring Me The Horizon, Architects), how they write music, the groups take on arranging music, performing at Wacken Open Air, and much more. This definitely a young band worth checking out! Check out the podcast and purchase and stream the album here. Continue reading
Reinventing its own sound especially after shuffling members can stifle a band. But for veteran Swedish metallers Soilwork, they have embraced this challenge head on and have created some of their best works working around the members on each release.
They recently completed their latest North American tour supporting Soulfly, and in support of The Ride Majestic, their tenth and latest album, and while frontman Bjorn “Speed” Strid talked about working with the incoming members on recent records, he also talked about whether the ideas and concepts of each release comes together quickly.
“I don’t think we discuss it that much. I think basically what happened is that we definitely found something new with The Living Infinite. We rediscovered ourselves as songwriters through the album. I’m happy about the Panic Broadcast as well, but I think we found something new with The Living Infinite and with David [Andersson] entering the band as well and playing together with Sylvain [Coudret]. I think it brought something interesting to the table. I think it really inspired us to write the new record because it was quite a project. It was almost like an experiment as well because we recorded 26 songs total. 20 ended up on the album. I think that was a great way for us to find ourselves again after everything happening with Peter [Wichers] quitting the band and then coming back again and then quitting again. I think it was a necessary thing to do in the end.”
“With this new album [The Ride Majestic], it was pretty easy. We just booked the studio and we felt very inspired. We could have toured twice as much as we did for The Living Infinite, but we ran into some troubles with our management at the time. So that killed it a little bit. It happens and there’s quite a number of bands that could relate to it.”
“Basically we said let’s focus on making a new album instead, and channel all of our emotions through that album instead. That’s what we did and I think we have this mutual vision that we thought it would be somewhat darker. I guess the keyboards led in the darkness. That’s exactly what we did and going through everything, with personal tragedies with family members passing away during the actual recording, it actually made it pretty rough. I think the music became a big comfort and it happened so close to us. It was the close encounter with death and dealing with an album where a lot of lyrical content is dealing with a lot of expediential questions about life and death and those things. It definitely affected the approach to the recording and also a little bit, the songwriting as well.”
The Ride Majestic was produced by the band with David Castillo and Jens Bogren mixing the album. After working with a few different producers over the band’s history and even self producing a few along the way, Strid said having both options when working on records has helped them learn how to approach each release differently.
“I don’t even think about it. It just kind of happened that we started producing it ourselves. We never really decided ‘OK we are producing this record and that’s it.’ It just happened that way.”
“We tried out doing producer teams before with Devin Townsend and Fredrik [Nordstrom], which was a pretty interesting and chaotic project as well. It turned out really good.”
“I don’t mind having people having opinions. We’ve been working with really cool people for sure. David Castillo has worked with Fredrik Nordstrom and Daniel Bergstrand.”
The death theme became a common topic during the recording of The Ride Majestic. While much of the material was already written, personal tragedies began to affect each member of the band during the making of the album, which altered the dynamics of the album.
“Most of the songs were done already. It would have still turned out to be a pretty dark album. The songs became a more real soundtrack to what was really happening at the time. I think it affected us as to how we approached the actual recording.”
“For example, when I recorded the vocals, it was a pretty tough time. It felt very real and I could really relate to the melancholic sounds that run through the album, especially with the melodies. They are very Scandinavian and melancholic.”
Since the recording of 2013’s The Living Infinite, Strid lost his longtime writing partner and guitarist Peter Wichers for the second time from the band, and was getting used to writing with two new guitar players who had just joined the band then on a full-time basis. Getting acclimated to new chemistry became a challenge, and also helped Soilwork move forward as a band at the same time.
“I worked with Peter [Wichers] for such a long time. We started the band and I was so used to working with him and when David and Sylvain came in and they started throwing me some stuff…like whoa…what is this? So I really had to step outside of my comfort zone. That really made me develop as a singer as well, and also inspired me to pick up the guitar again. I used to write a lot of stuff. I wrote eight songs for The Living Infinite and on the new album I wrote four. It’s been very inspiring for me.”
“The songwriting has been looking pretty much the same. We write separately and sometimes meet up whenever me and Dave are sitting down and are going through some song ideas that we had. For the most part, we sit separately and put the songs together and bounce files back and forth. We’re used to that.”
“I think Soilwork needed this kind of member change. It was only natural at the end. It brought something new and I’m so proud of where we are today with the sound that we have and we found something interesting that I didn’t know that we had. It’s like we used an old cliché. It’s a new era.”
Since the last album, the band also parted ways with longtime bassist Ola Flink and was replaced by longtime tech Markus Wibom.
“He’s an old friend of the band so it’s been a very natural transition. He’s been on tour with us before. He used to be a guitar tech on both our European tour and our North American tour in the mid 2000s. Everybody in the band knows him very well and everybody liked him. The only thing was we knew he played bass, guitar and keyboards. We just didn’t know how good he was on bass. We had to try that out. We knew his personality which was spot on perfect. He pulled it off really well. It’s been a really smooth transition.”
“I definitely miss [Ola] Flink but I also could see that he was pretty miserable at the end being on tour. He’s in a better place now. Markus [Wibom] is really excited. That’s exactly what we need.”
“There are no hard feelings. He came to the point where he was like ‘I don’t feel motivated to tour anymore and I want to have a normal life and a normal day job.’ Most of us come to that point. It’s also rough surviving financially and there’s no stability for the most part.”
Strid also talked about the band reaching its 20th anniversary as a band. While many bands are squeaking by and reaching an anniversary date, he is proud of the band’s accomplishments and where they stand as a band today.
“I’m really proud of us for still being…we’re still making sense and we’re a very energetic band. You can feel the energy running through the music and we’re not trying to recreate that album, whatever that might be – Stabbing The Drama or Natural Born Chaos. Those are like somewhat cult classics by now. It’s been very important for us to not try to recreate something and being able to develop our sound and still being able to surprise ourselves and our listeners in a very positive way. I think it’s a pretty cool thing that most fans have been able to develop with the music and the band. People know they can expect some surprises for each and every album.”
“I don’t really hear a lot of people bashing us for like ‘oh go back to Chainheart Machine or Stabbing.’ Most people are happy with where we’re at right now and they can still feel that it’s true to our roots but it’s also that we’ve evolved as well,” he said.
With Soilwork’s influence upon the hard music scene overall, younger artists have shown their appreciation in many ways and YouTube videos have popped up with many variations of covers of their songs. Strid did admit he did occasionally view some of these and enjoys what he sees from these artists.
“It’s really cool to see. It’s kind of surreal when you look at it there’s somebody sitting in their bedroom or their dorms ripping through some songs from the old days or even now.”
“It takes about two days. If you have a new song, it’s like ‘uh ok…here’s the cover.’ It’s insane how many talented kids there are out there that can look at the songs and nail it.”
Being on tour and having ten albums worth of material, including a brand new release has made things a bit challenging when selecting a set list. Strid admitted that while it can be tough, they do have options on forming a strong set of songs.
“It is very hard, especially now that we’re doing a direct support tour. We have 45 minutes and that’s it and we’re promoting a new album. I think we’re going for a pretty intense set and taking the songs that work good live, has really cool dynamics, to get everything packed in there and that represents our whole career. It’s really hard to do. We have ten albums out.”
Lastly, would Soilwork be open to doing ‘An Evening With…’ style show doing an entire album or two from beginning to end? While he had mixed feelings about it, Strid shared his thoughts on the matter.
“We have discussed it but I guess we’re stubborn like that. Whenever people are doing that, we don’t wanna do that. It’s just too predictable. I know it’s kind of silly.”
“In a way I would like to do it. Maybe do Natural Born Chaos in its entirety, but it’s a little bit of a different lineup today. I want to respect that as well and not just be too nostalgic as well. I’m sure there will be a time where we could do something like that, even if it’s one of our later albums or even the new one or The Living Infinite in its entirety. That would be cool too.”
Greek melodic metallers Jaded Star has divulged new details about their debut album Memories From The Future, out April 14th in North America and April 24th in Europe –via Sensory Records, a division of The Laser’s Edge.
Formed in 2013, Jaded Star was founded by vocalist Maxi Nil (ex-Visions of Atlantis) and drummer Raphael Saini (ex-Iced Earth), who recruited guitarist Kosta Vreto (Horizon’s End, Wardrum) and bassist Babis Nikou (Astral DNA, Opened Paradise, Dia Mageias) to complete the lineup. The quartet instantly amassed a vast array of new material and began touring across Europe.
With over forty-five minutes of Jaded Star’s energetic forward-thinking melodic heavy metal, Memories From The Future was produced by vocalist Maxi Nil (ex-Visions Of Atlantis), mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordstrom at the legendary Fredman Studios in Sweden (Arch Enemy, At the Gates, Dimmu Borgir, In Flames, Opeth, etc.), and features ten brand new epic anthems. The album showcases Maxi’s electrifying vocals and the masterful drum work Saini is known for. Guitar hero Kosta Vreto, with his unique finger strumming style, eschews the plectrum in favor of a raw, organic sound that literally comes straight through his hands. Babis Nikou on the bass brings a solid foundation and the chemistry between he and Maxi as the songwriting team provides emotion to match the power of the sound. The cover artwork for Memories From The Future was created by Lila Belivanaki.
Memories From The Future Track Listing:
1. The Mask
2. Wake Up
3. Keep On Fighting
5. Into The End Of Time
6. Healing The Inner Child
7. You’ll See
8. In Memory
9. Raining In Sao Paolo
JADED STAR Tour Dates:
Mar 27: Fuzz – Athens (GR) (w/ Epica)
Mar 28: Fix Factory Of Sound – Thessaloniki (GR)(w/ Epica)
After touring the world and captivating audiences along the way with their previous bands, JADED STAR was founded by Maxi Nil (ex-Visions of Atlantis) and Raphael Saini (ex-Iced Earth). Joining forces with Kosta Vreto (Horizon’s End, Wardrum) and Babis Nikou (Astral DNA, Opened Paradise, Dia Mageias), the band came into existence in 2013, instantly creating an arsenal of new tunes and beginning to tour that year.
Produced by Maxi Nil, mixed and mastered by Fredrik Nordstrom at the legendary Fredman Studios in Sweden, the album showcases Maxi’s electrifying vocals and the masterful drum work Saini is known for. Guitar hero Kosta Vreto with his unique finger strumming style eschews the plectrum in favor of a raw, organic sound that literally comes straight through his hands. Babis Nikou on the bass brings a solid foundation and the chemistry between he and Maxi as the song writing team provides emotion to match the power of the sound.
Maxi Nil – vocals
Kosta Vreto – guitars
Babis Nikou – bass/synth
Raphael Saini – drums
Forget My Silence is streaming their music video for “Supersonic”, directed by Kirill Osminin and the song was produced by Fredrik Nordstrom (Bring Me The Horizon, In Flames, Architects, Arch Enemy) here.
Stay tuned for more news and a full-length album coming soon in 2015. The band will be releasing a second track produced by Cameron Mizell (Memphis May Fire, Capture The Crown, A Skylit Drive) and will be releasing a teaser for it soon.
FORGET MY SILENCE is:
Roma Sadygov – vocals
Grigoriy Kravchenko – lead guitar/new music
Elia Solonnikov – rhythm guitar
Mikhail Bystrov – bass
Benny Nagual – drums
An undercurrent to 2014’s metal story, particularly within Power Metal circles, has been that of a rediscovery of their essence and, ultimately, redemption by the more established bands whose works had shown diminishing returns since early vaunted and lauded releases; bands that have diluted, lost their way and their spark. Bands like Sonata Arctica and EdGuy have found the old magic and produced albums that don’t just throwback to yester-Golden-year, but are resplendent in the fairy dust of Power Metal brilliance, returning to form gloriously.
Despite pretty much being the catalyst for the return of Power Metal to a post nu-metal world with their classic debut Glory To The Brave in 1997, on (r)Evolution, their ninth album (all for Nuclear Blast), HammerFall find themselves needing to follow the narrative of other successful comebacks after the disappointing, limp and creatively redundant Infected and a decade of albums that whimpered in the shadows of their glorious first two.
The first thing to note is the return to Studio Fredman, and the reappearance of Fredrik Nordström in the producers chair for the first time since Legacy Of Kings, still to this date the band’s best outing, and the vibrancy he brings to their sound. Returning to the style that conquered Europe so many years ago, (r)Evolution hurtles out the gates with the self-referential ‘Hector’s Hymn’, a joyful call-to-arms that reasserts HammerFall’s trademarks, and screams that they are back on track and back on brand, mentally, lyrically but most important musically.
All the classic HammerFall elements slot into place, with main man Oscar Dronjak revitalised and doing what he does best, pulling out Dio-esque riffs on the fists-in-the-air ‘Live Life Loud’, or twisting the Priest strangle grip on the intro to ‘Tainted Metal’, with plenty of chugging power chords and flowing leads throughout. Where Joacim Cains sounded stifled on Infected, here his distinctive tones are free, as if he is enjoying life leading a heavy metal band playing traditional heavy metal once again, effortlessly finding the right melodies to turn songs into anthems replete with collosal choruses.
Both in the title of the album, and in several of the lyrics, there is an acknowledgement of what HammerFall is, does and should do, and by implication, the limitations that were exposed when they tried modernising and changing their sound too much. But the thing is, when HammerFall do what HammerFall does best, such as on the likes of ‘Bushido’ and ‘We Won’t Back Down’, it matters not that it has been 16 years since their last great album, only that on (r)Evolution they have found themselves again, and have lived up to their own legacy, the legacy of kings of Power Metal.