“Making a 3rd album after 2 acclaimed releases can be a little intimidating but you’re doomed once you let that get to you.”
Interview By Brady Deeprose
What has been the reaction to your new album ‘III: The Rommel Chronicles’?
Very positive, both from the fans and critics. We even entered the German charts which is amazing for an old school death metal band in 2013! Reviews are great, most people seem to appreciate the fact that we’ve gone back to basics a little as opposed to going into a more melodic, refined direction.
As you’ve used military history on past releases, is there a concept that this album is based on?
Absolutely, in fact this one is a full-blown musical biography. The first 2 albums mostly focused on particular battlefields or certain episodes, but the new album deals with the rise and fall of Erwin Rommel, one of WWII’s most famous warlords. This way we were able to stick with the concept format but with a slightly different approach.
Is the conceptual ideal something you think you’ll ever move away from or would you say it’s firmly rooted in the band’s style?
To be honest I have no idea. We had some discussions this time whether we should do another concept album but Martin really enjoys doing them so I imagine he’ll come up with another big project again once we start thinking about a follow-up. Then again we might do a 3-4 song concept and some unrelated songs, we’ll see. It’s all up to Martin really, he’s our master lyricist.
I’ve noticed a lot of festivals coming up, Eindhoven Metal Meeting, Winterfest, Brixia Death Fest etc. Do you prefer these shows or your own headline gigs?
Festivals are a great way to reach a lot of people, headline shows are more difficult in that sense because these days you never know who’s going to turn up. Headlining is nice cause you have more time to do a decent sound-check but we’re so used to doing 20 minute change-overs that it doesn’t really matter. But we do both festivals and club shows, although one thing we don’t do is touring. We all have full-time jobs so we only play on the weekend, usually flying to places like Switzerland or Romania and back home the next day.
The third album is always a tricky one, do you have anything specific you use to try and keep the music fresh? Is it something you think about at all?
Making a 3rd album after 2 acclaimed releases can be a little intimidating but you’re doomed once you let that get to you. So I tried to empty my head before I started writing for this one and really take all the time necessary to come up with good material. We wanted to take the best bits of the previous 2 albums, the full-on brutality of Of Frost And War and the epic feel of On Divine Winds, but once you start writing it goes where it goes. Some songs turned out epic, some really primitive. I think Dan’s mix really makes it stand apart from the previous albums, he’s found a way to give each instrument enough space while retaining that huge wall of concrete we love.
What are you listening to at the moment?
I listen to all kinds of stuff, as far as metal goes I’m really liking Leif Edling’s new band Avatarium and the new Carcass, but my iPod is loaded with everything from country/folk (Daniel Romano, First Aid Kit) to pop (Lana del Rey, Lady Gaga)
Who would be the perfect acts to accompany you on a line-up?
Any good old school death metal bands would do, although a nice Bolt Thrower/Entombed/Autopsy/Grave package would definitely put a smile on my face. As long as there’s no vegan hardcore acts on the bill!
What is the plan for your next release? Or is it still a bit soon to be thinking about that?
More than a bit I’d say, I doubt we’ll even start thinking about it until the festival season is over. In the old days you really had to release an album every year, tour the hell out it and get back in the studio right away but that doesn’t make much sense anymore. We’ll get to it when inspiration strikes, and that one’s always a little unpredictable…
Where can readers pick up the record?
At any decent shop or online retailer I guess. Metal Blade sells it online, so does Nuclear Blast, Amazon, etc.