A few days before the release of their long-awaited second album, entitled "Blood Leads To Glory", an interview with guitarist Michael HELLSTRÖM was mandatory - discover a bit more about the band & the new album !
- Hello Michael ! How are you feeling today now you know the new album is soon out ??
I’m feeling excited about this release, there was much time since the start of the recording, so I’m really looking forward to this album to be released !
- Can you tell us more on the content of this album ?
This is a solid heavy metal album, we followed the same way we started with “Of Rage and War”, this is fast, melodic, in the pure teutonic way. We put much blood, sweat and guts in this record. The title “Blood Leads to Glory” is very representative of what the band lives after the “Of Rage and War” release.
- How would you describe it compared to "Of Rage & War" ?
This new record is more mature, darker, and there is more feelings on the songs than the previous one, but still with the same influences We are in perpetual evolution, Felix Börner took part of the songwriting and brought a fantastic song with Laura called “Black Hordes” I think we reached another step and gained experience with our first album and the concerts that followed.
- That new album is for me the BEST ever released by the band.. the songs are definitely killer and the production is just massively awesome ! Some words on the production work ? Who is responsible for that ?
We decided to work with Lars Ramcke from Stormwarrior for the mixing and arrangements. I’m a huge fan of Stormwarrior and I was really impressed to work with him, he forged this teutonic sound and really caught how we wanted to sound. He also gave us some precious advices. For the mastering, we worked with the famous Piet Sielck. This was a dream for me to work with him, because he worked on much of my favourite albums and with amazing acts such like Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, Running Wild, Paragon, Wizard, Stormwarrior …
- Also, the artwork is just impressive .. who did it ? That "Warrior-king" perfectly illustrates the spirit of the band and the music... who got the idea of such an artwork ?
The artwork was made by an Asian artist called Johnson Ting, he is a lot into Fantasy artworks. This idea came mostly from Laura that found this artist. I think this is his first artwork cover. I think it’s a great artwork that give a great view about the mood of this record.
Well, musically... still HEAVILY influenced by the old-german heavy-metal scene... Running Wild, Grave Digger, Stormwitch... so why the fuck did you choose to vocer "Into The Fire" by Savage Grace ?? haha ! Just kidding, that song is awesome, the band too.. but it is rather very surprising ...
Yes, we decided to create the surprise, as much people were thinking we would cover a German band. I really love Savage Grace and I’m a big fan of “Master of Disguise” (even if “After the Fall from Grace” is my favourite of the band). If I remember well it was Laura who came up with the idea to cover this song, I’m really satisfied with this cover as we germanized it.
Another surprise on the album is that song “Mistress From Hell” where Laura teamps up with Marta Gabriel from Crystal Viper for the vocals.. can you tell us more about this song ? How was it to work with Marta ?
It was great, she did a great job on that song, it was an honour for us to work with this amazing singer and artist This song is a kind of duet as Laura is sharing vocals with Marta To my opinion, this is the two most talented female singer in Heavy Metal nowadays reunited in a killer fast heavy metal song.
So.. your new album will be soon released on INFERNO Records on CD-Digi-CD & Cassette... what would you say to the metalheads wordwide to convince them to get it ??? "Of Rage & War"was released on CD on INFERNO Records but also on vinyl on UNDER SIEGE Records... any chance to get "Blood Leads To Glory" on vinyl as well ??
For the LP release, we will work again with UNDER SIEGE Records that did a great job on “Of Rage and War”. I think it will be out in December 2014. It’s still a great pleasure for us to work with Inferno Records, because this is a great underground label ruled with passion and really professional ! For “Blood Leads to Glory, the main words are HEAVY METAL, this is an album written and recorded with passion, honesty and guts. If you like fast speed but also melodic songs with Teutonic riffing, so this record is for you !
Ok, after ‘Of Rage & War”, you parted ways with your bass-player… and now that “Blood Leads To Glory” is almost out, it’s your bassist Will that leaves the band ? What happens there with bass-players ? Is there a curse on this instrument in your band ?? Have you found a new bassist by now ?
Yes, it seems there is a curse on the bass guitar ! Unfortunately we have to part ways with William, he has private reasons and other projects in life that make him taking this decision, but all is in a friendly way. For “Of Rage and War”, it was different, because we kicked him out for other reasons As I already told, if I could re-record the bass tracks of “Of Rage and War” with another bassist, I will do it immediately For the new bass player, I can’t say more at that time, but there will be news about it in the few weeks that will follow the release of the new album.
Well.. what are your plans once the album is out ?? Have you many gigs approaching ? September will see you playing the No Compromise Festival in Belgium together with Crystal Viper – that will be fun to find Marta again, I guess ! Any other shows or festivals planned ??
Actually, we have a killer gig planned for the September 6th in No Compromise Festival in Belgium. We can’t wait to find Marta, Bart and the Vipers there ! But this is the only gig planned actually, we hope to catch some gigs in Europe to promote our new album, let’s see what will happen !!
Ok.. thanks for your time.. last words are yours ??
I would like to thanks each people and fan that support us since the very early days of the band, thanks for your true support , can’t wait to meet you all in the road, This new album is dedicated to you ! And also would like to thank Fabien and Inferno Records for his trust , this is important to support underground labels and bands and Elvenstorm support 666% Inferno Records.