When an Axel Rudi Pell album comes on your way, you know that it will be a fine heavy metal release, a decent guitar-driven album of melodic metal. The well-respected German guitarist is releasing his new album, the beautiful “Sign of the Times” albums, and our magazine grabbed the chance and spoke with Pell. A very interesting chat follows, as you will witness by yourselves: we covered every significant topic, in an interview about Pell, his band, his new album, his past, present and future. Proceed please!

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos


Good afternoon, Axel! How are you doing?

I am fine, thank you! How are you, Dimitris?

 

I am fine too, Axel! Where do I find you now?

I am at home of course, since no one is allowed to go out due to the coronavirus pandemic.

 

Isolated at home, like everybody, heh?

Yes, isolated with my wife at home, we are living together normally. We are allowed to get to the super market to get some stuff, but nowhere else, as almost everything is closed.

 

How do you spend your free time at home now?

Just giving plenty of phone interviews, like now, haha! I am also preparing some bits and pieces, nothing really special.

 

Axel, these days you are releasing your new album, “Sign of the Times”. Which are your feelings?

I love the new album, it is great. Unfortunately, we had to reschedule its release due to the coronavirus pandemic, it was due out on April 24 and it was finally released on May 8. Everybody is excited with the new album, especially me, the boys in the band and the record company. We will see how far it goes, but it is a really, really great album.

 

Your previous album, “Knights Call”, was a big success, both artistically and commercially. Do you think that with the new album you will have again the same feedback?

We really hope so! With the last album we reached number nine in the German top 100 album charts, which was something really cool! That album was streamed over two million and a half times over the internet. It was a big success. During the coronavirus times, it is hard to say whether this album will reach the same amount of people or not. There are still people who would like to buy the real CD or vinyl of the new album, all record stores are closed at the moment though – they will have to get it via Amazon or any online record shop. Of course, the new album can be downloaded or streamed … we have to wait and see. I hope that the new album will be successful too, because it is a good record. I believe that “Sign of the Times” is one of the best albums we have done so far!

 

When was the new album recorded and at which studio(s)?

As far as I can remember, it was recorded last year, between November and the end of December, in the Twilight Hall Studio (Grefrath, Germany), which is owned by Blind Guardian. We recorded everything there apart from the vocals – Johnny (Gioeli) recorded the vocals at his house in New York.

 

Is it true that you wrote the new album very quickly?

Yes, yes, the writing process went really fast. I sit down and prepare my demos, this time I was very fast, much faster than I thought before, haha!

 

How do you explain this?

Because the magic was right in the air! When I sat down and put together all my ideas, my guitar riffs, melody lines and stuff, in order to come up with the real songs and record them at home, I felt something special, there was something special in the air, something I can’t describe. I had so many new ideas!

 

In the “Sign of the Times” album you don’t co-operate with producer Charlie Bauerfeind, as you did in your nine previous albums. Why did this happen?

I asked Charlie again to be at the production helm for our new album. He answered me that he would like very much to work with us again, but unfortunately, he couldn’t do it, he didn’t have much time, since he was already booked for the recordings of the new Helloween album, for a five-month recording period with Helloween. He said he couldn’t do it, he was so sorry for not being able to work with us in this new album. However, he suggested that we worked with Tommy Geiger. Tommy works together with Charlie, he is his assistant, they have worked together for bands like Blind Guardian and Helloween. Tommy had also mixed our last live album, the “XXX Anniversary Live” album (2019), and of course, our 25th anniversary live album (“Magic Moments”, 2015). I knew that Tommy is a great engineer, a great mixing guy. When I spoke with him, he seemed so enthusiastic and that’s how the whole thing happened.

 

“Sign of the Times” is your 18th full-length studio album. What does inspire you to compose music and write lyrics after so many albums, after so many years?

I am always writing songs, I still feel inside me the fire and the flame burning for music. I want to go out and show to the people that I still can write songs, which are great, at least I really hope that they are great! That’s what is happening with me, I can’t stop it! I think I will write songs even at the age of 120, if I reach it!

 

I think that your new album is simplier, more song-oriented and your guitar solos aren’t too long and over the top. Do you agree with me?

Yes, absolutely. That’s definitely what I had in mind before we recorded our new album. It is very easy for me to have long songs with long guitar solos, I can stretch my songs, for example I could add five minutes to the title song of the new album, with a big guitar solo in the middle or something. That wasn’t my intention this time. I wanted to keep things straight and not to play more than I need to in every song. So, most of the new songs are compact. I don’t want to show off and prove my abilities as a guitarist. I don’t need to have another long song!

 

One of the songs that I really liked in the new album was “Living in a Dream”. This song has some reggae elements!

You know, the song was originally ready, it was done, completed. Then I said to myself, “OK, the song starts with a guitar, I have so many songs which start with a guitar! I think I’ll go for something special!”. I picked up the guitar and started playing something that seemed to me a bit … reggae! Why do I play reggae now, I wondered and I thought that it maybe was a sign from above, haha! Maybe someone wants me to play that reggae thing, haha! So I decided to write down this reggae part of the song. I called the other guys in the band and told them that there will be a reggae part in the next album, everybody was laughing and thought I was making a joke! “Ahhh, a reggae part, come on, you motherfucker!”, they were saying, haha! Bobby (Rondinelli), our drummer, came to the studio and I told him that we will rehearse a song with a reggae part … he asked me if I was crazy, he thought it was just a joke! We laughed so much, it was so much fun doing it!

 

Let’s go to the lyrics, now. The new songs are more realistic lyric wise, this time they don’t refer to kings, knights and dragons but to social and political issues.

A lot of things have happened to the world these last two years, since the release of “Knights Call”, we’ ve got religion wars, we’ ve got street fights, we’ ve got the climate change of our planet, so many different things … I thought to myself that it was time to write some more serious lyrics, so I did it. Of course, not all the songs of the album are about these things, there are a few songs about love, friendship and relationships in general.

 

In the cover of the album, we see a clock and the time is two minutes after midnight. Why is that?

Yes, it is a little too late for the world, because of all these things that are happening at the moment. Let’s see what we can do about it for the rest of the time.

 

Axel, this is your band, so I am wondering which is the contribution of the rest of the guys in the band to the songs.

Of course, they also contribute, they are playing on the album, haha! But, to be honest, they don’t have a big input, because I write everything before we enter the studio, I play all the instruments by myself and I am writing the songs at home. Of course, everybody has his own contribution, for example Bobby, who is one of the top drummers of the world. When he gets to the studio and I present him with a new song, he usually says, “Wow, I know exactly what you want me to play there!” and he starts playing the groove! Everybody has something special to give, as they are all very good musicians, you know. Even Ferdy (Doernberg), the keyboard player, when he is listening to a new song of mine, always asks me if he can change the melody at some point of the song. I think that’s very cool for our band.

 

Let’s say that you decide to play an album of yours in its entirety on a certain live show. Which album would you choose and why?

No! Definetely no! I hate the live concerts, where bands play all the songs of one of their albums, I would never do it! An album is an album, it represents a certain period of my life at a different time. Why should I repeat it now in complete? I don’t see any reason for that. When we go out on a tour, we play at least four-five tracks from our new record and then some best of songs from our past. Sometimes we select to play songs, which we don’t play usually live, like last year in our 30th anniversary tour, when we played the song “Voodoo Nights”! It comes from our “The Masquerade Ball” album (2000) and we have never played it before live. There are rimes that we want to surprise our fans by choosing some different songs that we don’t play live that often.

 

Who are your favorite guitar players of all time?

My favorite guitarsts? … Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Jimi Hendrix, … I have to think … Uli Jon Roth and Eddie Van Halen.

 

You have your birthday in June. You are turning 60 years old.

Well, the conversation is over, bye bye! Hahahaha!

 

Haha! Which would be the perfect birthday present for you?

Unfortunately, no presents at all, since we are living in the Coronavirus times and there isn’t going to be a big party, everything is closed, haha!

 

What about your upcoming tour, Axel?

We had to reschedule the first part of the tour, due to the pandemic, so it won’t be happening at all. It would start now, but it is impossible, so we schedule it for April 2021. There is the second part of the tour, which has now become the first part, and it will take place in October-November 2020. However, we don’t know if we can do it, since the German government announced that no show will be allowed until the end of August, nothing will happen at all, that’s for sure. So, I don’t have a clue … we want to get out and play again, but we will have to wait and see, I can’t tell you at the moment.

 

Your message to the Greek fans?

I really hope that we will be able to play two or three shows in Greece some time. I have been on several vacations in Greece, our bass player, Volker Krawczak, visits Greece three or four times every year, he loves to be in your country. My favorite food is the Greek cuisine, unfortunately, I can’t go to a Greek restaurant now, all are closed, because of this fucking virus, you know. Eventually, in a couple of months, a little light might appear on the sky and everything will be OK again, everything will get to normal again. Stay healthy!

 

OK, Axel, thank you very much!

Thank you, bye bye!

We are living difficult times, as the coronavirus outbreak has forced most countries to take strict lockdown measures. During the home isolation, Firewind’s new album, “Firewind”, came as a gift from god. Guitar hero Gus G (ex-Ozzy Osbourne) and his Greek legion are punctual at their rendezvous with the heavy/power metal fans all over the world, offering us good new music. Myth of Rock met Gus G via Skype, since both the magazine’s editor and the Greek guitar master were self-quarantined at home, and a nice, interesting interview took place. We had a lot things to talk about – members out, members in, new album, old tours, new tours, power metal etc. And yes, we also referred to Ozzy Osbourne!

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos


Hello, Gus, I am Dimitirs, how are you doing?

I am fine, Dimitris, thank you. I am at home now.

 

So you are in Thessaloniki, Greece. Are you at home, because of the lockdown in Greece, due to the coronavirus pandemic?

Yes, of course.

 

How are you spending your free time at home?

Well, things are pretty good at home until now, haha! … Look, I usually stay at home, when I am not travelling for business, for example. I just sit back and relax, with my wife and my cats! We exercise a lot, we watch movies, stuff like that.

 

Do you listen to any albums, new releases or classic albums?

Hmmm, not so much … Of course, I listen to some music, especially on Spotify, but I mainly write down some music ideas, I always come up with new riffs and stuff. On the other hand, this week I had been very busy with the promotion of Firewind’s new album, and interviews, I don’t have any free time right now, this week. I have a job to do right now, haha!

 

What’s your opinion about the lockdown?

I agree with this lockdown, of course, it is something that has to be done. To be honest, I had smelled the whole thing from the beginning, when the new coronavirus hit China. I understood that all this was serious, as soon as I heard the first news from China. I was watching all the posts on Twitter, all the available videos. Besides that, I recently established a new company with guitar magnets – the factory, where these magnets are manufactured, is in China and it was locked down during March. People from the factory were telling me how serious were things there, so I was sure from the beginning that this virus may also come here in Europe and that the government may have to take this quarantine measures. I am happy that here in Greece all the strict measures were taken from the very beginning, before it was too late. We see that the virus infected cases are at a low level, if we compare the situation here with the situation in other countries. Let’s hope that the number of the cases stay low and this will end soon.

 

Yes, hopefully! Gus, Firewind recently toured with Queensryche. How was this experience for you, touring with this iconic metal band?

Yes, we toured twice with Queensryche, firstly last summer and secondly, last November, these tours went really well and all the shows were great. For me, touring with Queensryche was a dream that came true, because I grew up with Queensryche - they belong to the classic metal bands and here in Greece, it is essential to listen to Queensryche, everyone who has a “metal” education should listen to Queensryche! There is no chance that you go to a Greek rock club for a drink and you won’t listen to Queensryche at a certain point! It was a great experience to tour with Queensryche, they treated us very well, I can say that these guys are possibly the best guys we have ever toured with. They were cool with everything, there was no ego and the typical behavior that you usually come across, when one band is the headliner and the other the support act. There was a total respect, to the point that we were telling them “OK, guys, thank you, you don’t have to be so kind!”.

 

Let’s go now to Firewind’s recent line-up changes – Bob Katsionis (keyboards, guitar) and Henning Basse (vocals) aren’t anymore members of the band. What has happened?

I will  continue from where we just left the conversation, from the recent tours with Queensryche. Although the shows were great, there was tension inside the band, there were strained relationships inside the band during all this period. What is more, all the music had been composed and all the guitars and drums had been recorded in the summer (2019). All these months though, until December, no vocals were recorded and I didn’t see any desire, neither from Bob nor from Henning.

 

Really?!

Yes … On the other hand, it was obvious that Bob had a hard time with some things. So, from all these and from conversations that we all made, I was beginning to understand that the team wasn’t going anywhere, at that certain point. There were some more conversations, I made my thoughts and we agreed not to continue together. I could see that Bob wanted to focus on his music productions, on his recording studio, all the things he is doing, I could see that all these activities satisfied him more, he didn’t want to travel that much, he had enough of it all these years, I can understand him. It was the best for both sides to end it here, I didn’t want Bob to be unhappy, I didn’t want both of us to be sad, so sometimes it’s necessary that we go on separate roads.

 

And what about Henning?

The same happened with Henning. He was facing some minor health problems, which somehow distressed him a little, he didn’t know, if he would continue and for how long he would continue. Anyway, we had to make this conversation, and when we returned from our last tour, I made my decision, it was obvious that this couldn’t continue any more, it was almost impossible. Unfortunately, I was the one who should make this decision. It was a decision which was connected with a bigger decision – what should I do? Should I continue with Firewind, at any cost, making all the necessary decisions and all the line-up changes or should I end Firewind?

 

Ohh, you had even the thought of dissolving Firewind?

Yes, this thought came to me.

 

So, what kept Firewind alive?

I think that I still have things to say, things to offer with this band. And Firewind’s new album proves that. I knew that we had a really good new album on our hands – as I told you before, when I made up my mind about the line-up changes, the new album was already written and partially recorded. I knew that we could overcome these changes as a band. So, if Firewind deserves a final effort, this new album should be this effort. I believe it is a very good effort. On the other hand, this is my band! This is the band I started, when I was a boy! Others may consider their band as another job they just should do, a job they would get rid of, because they are bored. I understand that, people change. Firewind has always been a big part in my life, so … , it isn’t something that you can easily dissolve.

 

How is your relationship now with Bob and Henning?

Our relationship is very good! I was talking with the guys the day before yesterday, haha! The most difficult point has passed, the difficult point is when you have to make some important conversations. We are very good friends, especially Bob is almost a family to me! We were almost sixteen years in this group! I know Henning very well too, although he had been an external partner, a touring member. He had been in Firewind since 2007, he has sung with my solo band too, we are friends all these years. As soon the aforementioned conversations were made, as long as things got clear and everyone chose his next step, there isn’t any problem, there isn’t any reason not to have a good relationship.

 

Herbie Langhans is the new singer of Firewind. How did you come in contact with Herbie?

Firewind’s label, AFM Records, brought me in contact with Herbie. When Firewind’s last tour was finished, I spoke with the label guys, I informed them about the line-up changes, and they told me about Herbie. They sent me some links to listen to him. Although I didn’t know him as a name, when I listened to Sinbreed, I remembered him. The first time I had listened to him was in 2013, when Sinbreed was getting more popular, and I was impressed by his voice. I had even then thought that he would be perfect as Firewind’s singer.

 

How would you describe Herbie’s voice to the ones, who may haven’t heard of him before?

Well, Herbie has a special vocal tone. We have also written in our Press Release that Herbie may remind some people, who are familiar of Firewind from the very beginning of its career, of our first singer, Stephen Fredrick. Indeed, Herbie is somehow reminiscent of Stephen, they both have a raucous voice. I personally have some likes and dislikes, as far as voices in rock and metal are concerned, I like certain voices, certain voice styles. All the singers we had in Firewind had their own personal style, but all of them had some common characteristics in their voice. I think that Firewind differs from most bands of the power metal genre, most power metal bands have a common style of singers, they all sound the same, you know, haha! I believe Herbie has a special voice.

 

Is Bob going to be replaced?

No.

 

And how are the keyboard parts going to be performed on stage?

There will be pre-recorded tracks of keyboards in our live shows. I believe that things will now be somehow easier with these keyboard tracks, because there had always been a “worry” in some songs, which featured small guitar parts and small keyboards parts or didn’t feature such parts. I mean, we, Bob and me, even then, had discussed the possibility of using pre-recorded keyboard tracks on stage, so that Bob is concentrated on his rhythm guitar parts. There had been these conversations and now that Bob isn’t in the band anymore, we are ready to realize these plans, as far as the keyboard parts are concerned. I think that I can reset our songs on stage, so that they sound the way I like.

 

Firewind has a new singer and a new album. Do you believe that a new chapter opens in Firewind’s book?

Yes, that’s what I want to believe.

 

How would you like this chapter to be/to sound?

Musical wise?

 

Yes.

Look, I am satisfied with our new album. I believe that the “Firewind” album represents where Firewind is right now, musically speaking. The chemistry between the way I compose, the sound of my guitar riffs and Herbie’s voice, is undeniably strong, I believe that we are at the point where we should be. I am absolutely satisfied, I believe that the new album has a great variety, it contains elements from our past albums, without copying certain songs, you know. In the new album you will find classic heavy metal elements, power metal elements, some speed metal parts, some hard rock parts, the big ballads, the production also sounds more modern than before. This new album combines all the essential elements! I would like to continue that way, but I don’t know what kind of songs will I come up with in two, three years from now, I don’t know which project will I have then on my mind. Time will tell. I believe that now we are at a very good point right now.

 

I always believed that Firewind where are the cross point of classic hard rock, traditional heavy metal and power metal. I assume that you agree with me!

Yes, I agree! Songs like “All my Life”, “Space Cowboy” have hard rock elements, the song “Rising Fire” is a hard rock song, but at the same time, we are much heavier than a hard rock band. Well, we are a metal band. But we sound too much hard rock to be power metallers, haha!

 

Why did you decide to name the new album simply “Firewind”?

I think that after all the things that happened, it was logical to do so. Our philosophy was to make a restart, a makeover. It was like saying, “… I started this band at my twenties, if I restarted this band at my forties, how would I like this band to sound now?!”. I thought about everything, I put all the clues on the table, and I chose our new album to be our eponymous one. I took into account that we are a quartet again, that we have such a voice again. This was our approach, we made a reboot and this was the right album to be our eponymous one. We did that on our ninth album, since we hadn’t named our debut “Firewind”, haha!

 

How do you see now the previous Firewind album, “Immortals”?

I still like it very much, I believe it is one of our strongest albums. It didn’t have the commercial elements, the hit songs that our older albums had, for example “The Prominition”, however, the “Ode to Leonidas” song is a classic Firewind track, an important moment on our setlist. “Immortals” was a strong release, from its first to the last note.

 

Did you compose all the tracks of the new album?

 Yes, except one song, “Orbitual Sunrise”, which is co-written by me and Bob Katsionis. That song came from one of the music ideas that Bob had sent to me. All the other songs are composed by me.

 

What about the lyrics of the new album?

 This time I also wrote some lyrics, I had many years to write lyrics. Three new songs have my lyrics, “Rising Fire”, “Break Away” and “Perfect Stranger”.

 

I know that three of the new songs are lyrically connected. Can you give us some details?

Yes, there is a sci-fi concept story in three of the songs, in “Orbitual Sunrise”, “Longing to Know You” and “Space Cowboy”. The idea came to me, when I was discussing with Herbie about the new songs and the subjects of their lyrics. I told him about the story I had on my mind, and he started writing about this space cowboy, this astronaut in every song! So, I asked him for more details, and he answered me that he had come up with a bigger story, a concept – how was this astronaut watching Earth, nature, humanity and our emotions from his spaceship, through his eyes while alone in space. What I like most in this sci-fi trilogy is that the lyrics are again sociopolitical, they refer to human emotions and not to a space trip of the astronaut, to his space odyssey perhaps, haha! It is very interesting to see which are the feelings of a person who is up there.   

 

Very interesting! The new album production is yours, Gus?

Yes, I produced the album.

 

To what things did you pay attention, during the production process?

First of all, I would like to note that I had a partner in the album’s production - Dennis Ward was the co-producer again. I wanted to pay attention to the drums sound, I liked very much Dennis Ward’s drums productions, so we went to a German studio (Hofa Studio), where Dennis usually works, we recorded the drums there. In general, I didn’t want the songs to be loaded with several tracks, I wanted them rawer, but at the same time not totally naked. There are various tone colors like in the previous albums, there are many layers in the vocals and the guitars. The final mix was very important, it was done by Tobias Lindell, who gave us a very powerful, punchy and big sound. I also like Tobias’ work, because the sound isn’t plastic, like in many new metal releases. The mastering was done in Sweden.

 

You have a scheduled North American tour with Symphony X and Primal Fear for May and June. How are you feeling about it? (editor’s note: when the interview took place, we had no news about the Symphony X tour with Firewind and Primal Fear, which was finally  postponed, due to the coronavirus pandemic).

Let’s see what is going to happen, I don’t know. Currently, we can’t even get our visas, because the American Consulates are closed. I wonder why there is no announcement yet about this upcoming tour. I am eager to see which will be the final announcement of Symphony X, since they are the headliners.

 

Apart from what will finally happen, are you happy that Firewind will tour with Symphony X, this classic prog/power band?

Yes, of course, I always wanted Firewind to tour with Symphony X, of course we aren’t a prog metal band, but I always admired them. I believe we would be a perfect touring pack! It would another great tour for us! Let’s see what will finally happen. Hopefully, if the tour is cancelled, it will take place some time later.

 

Yes! May I ask you two Ozzy Osbourne questions, Gus?

Yes, of course!

 

Have you listened to the new Ozzy album, “Ordinary Man”? Do you like it?

Yes, I listened to it and I like it. I think it has many good moments, what I like the most is that the album is very emotional. Ozzy expressed his emotions through the lyrics and his performances. Of course, two or three songs of the new album are excellent.

 

A hypothetical question. What would you do, if Ozzy asked you to rejoin his band?

I would surely accept his invitation! I would like to play again with Ozzy! I miss all the times with him, the tours we made, everything! All these moments were happy, but, you know, all this thing was more of a Zakk Wylde thing, he has been twenty years with Ozzy. I am not here to take anyone’s place, it is Ozzy’s decision what will he do and who will be his guitarist. To be honest, I believe that my time with Ozzy has finished, what was going to happen has already be done, it isn’t possible that something like that may happen again. Besides that, I think that I have already gained everything I had to gain from all this thing. Ozzy has already given me everything he had to offer me, and he gave me so many things! I thank him so much.

 

Finally, Gus, I would like you to send a message to all the fans, who stay at home during these hard times!

Please, stay at home, until all the cases, all the victims fall down to zero, until we get rid of this virus. It is difficult for everybody, but we have to do this. We are living in hard times, we have to be positive. We have at least music to keep us good company!

 

Thank you very much for your time and answers, Gus!

Thank you!

 

Jim Mutilator (ex - Rotting Christ, ex - Varathron)is back to action after many years with his new band, Yoth Iria. However, we are talking about the great return of the unholy ancient gods, since vocals in Yoth Iria come from Morbid (aka Magus Wampyr Daoloth, Necromantia, Thou Art Lord, ex - Rotting Christ). Myth of Rock was thrilled with Mutilator's new venture and came in contact with him. Our conversation covered a lot of subjects - we talked about the past, the present, the future. Yoth Iria's "Under His Sway" will be out soon, behold the art of darkness - Metal. Magic. Freedom.

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos

We are in 2019, and after many years, you are active again in the music business. Which are your feelings?

I am feeling good, since it is something that I have missed so much. I was working my new songs for many years, I had a lot of ideas and many of these ideas became songs - I have songs that would fill two separate albums. I believe that I also have a right in music and it was at least necessary for me to release these new songs and let people listen to them. Of course, I have never stopped being in the music field all these years – I was working in the Metal Era record shop,  and above all, I have always been a fan of heavy metal music, since my first childhood memories. Music has always been there for me, I was and still am listening to music albums most of the day, heavy metal albums – I was born a heavy metal fan, I will die as a metal fan! At the same time, especially the years when I was living outside Athens, due to family coincidences, and I had isolated myself in a village at Grevena, I spent many hours composing music. I had always a lot of influences as a music composer and a lyrics writer, even from the first days with Rotting Christ – I love writing music and lyrics.

 

How would you define the new songs you have composed the last years. Is it black metal, is it extreme metal, in general?

Well, I am not the one who shall answer this question. I believe that my music has never been only extreme, only black metal, on the contrary, it always had elements from all the different genres of metal. That was also the case with Rotting Christ, too. I don’t think that Rotting Christ, in “Non Serviam” and “Thy Mighty Contract”, when I was in the band, had the extreme, black metal sound that the bands from other countries had. We were playing a mix of heavy metal and black metal. I still don’t have a certain prejudice, when I am writing new songs, I think that they belong in that heavy/black metal style. Of course, there are some more modern elements, I think though that my songs remind mostly this period of Rotting Christ.

 

These new songs will be released under the moniker of Yoth Iria?

Yes.

 

In Yoth Iria you play the bass.

Yes, I play the bass and I write the music and the lyrics.

 

Let’s talk about the lyrics. Where do your lyrics refer to?

Most of my lyrics relate with the occult, with nature and with some personal experiences. Of course, some lyrics will be written by George Zacharopoulos (aka Magus Wampyr Daoloth), whose lyrics are darker.

 

What does inspire you to write music and lyrics?

 My inspiration comes from anything, I think. From our childhood, from what we experienced when we were younger, from what happens around us now, from what we listened to in the past and what we are listening at the present time, really everything, I think that everything may affect you. Many times ideas come to my mind, I just grab my bass or my guitar and start writing.

 

The first release of Yoth Iria will be …

… an EP, with two new songs, and a cover of “Visions of the Dead Lovers” (Rotting Christ), well, not exactly a cover, more like a re-recording of the song. It is a song that I like very much, it is underrated, not to many people know it, and I think that there should be a re-recording with a modern production.

 

When did you start the recordings of this EP?

Recordings began this winter, at the Pentagram Studio with George Emmanuel as the producer, George Emmanuel is now in Lucifer’s Child, he had been also a guitarist of Rotting Christ. We are almost done, what’s left are George Zacharopoulos’ vocals and the mastering. We have already recorded 8-9 songs, and soon our first release will be ready.

 

Who will be responsible for the mixing and mastering of this first release?

George Emmanuel will be responsible for both the mixing and the mastering.

 

Who did the cover of the EP?

 The cover artwork is done by an artist from India! His name is Harshanand Singh, it’s a rather difficult name to remember, haha!

 

In Yoth Iria you are working together again with George Zacharopoulos. How did you decide to team up with him again?

 Well … I was in search of a singer for this new band. We have worked again together in the past, we are close friends for many many years, since we were kids. In the beginning I hadn’t thought of George Zacharopoulos, because he is too busy, but to be frank with you, many people, also friends from foreign countries, told me to ask George. Finally, although I knew George is too busy, I asked him to join the band. Firstly, he was a bit hesitant, but when he listened to the tracks, he liked them and told me: “I dig the songs, let’s go!”.

 

Is George Zacharopoulos going to be a permanent member of Yoth Iria?

Yes, yes, I hope he will be a permanent member, yes.

 

You didn’t tell me the rest members of the band, apart from you and George Zacharopoulos.

When the EP will be ready, I will then look for some other musicians in order to fill the line-up of Yoth Iria. As for now, I have spoken with some guitarists, some other musicians, but nothing is final yet. When the EP will have been released, we will soon then announce the other members of the band.

 

Are you going to tour as Yoth Iria?

We will see, we will see, it is too early now to say something about a tour. We must firstly release the EP, we must find a record company and then, if there is an interest for us, we will tour.

 

You have announced that Repulsive Echo Records will release the EP. You have agreed only for this release or are you going to cooperate also for other future releases?

Well, the guys from Repulsive Echo are very supportive, they try to help us as much as they can, from every aspect. It is rather early to say something about what will happen in the future, we will firstly release the EP and then we will see what happens next. We will always be friends with the guys from Repulsive Echo, we will always have them by our side.

 

Apart from Yoth Iria, you are also a member of Medieval Demon. Are you a permanent member of the band, or is it an one-album cooperation?

That is up to the guys from Medieval Demon. We are friends, I know them since 1993, when they visited me and Sakis Tolis at Storm Studio, at Exarcheia (Athens, Greece). They recorded their demo there, plus some other stuff. Many years later they came again to me and asked me if I wanted to participate in their album – I have already recorded my parts for this album. We will see how this cooperation will progress in the future, Medieval Demon don’t tour, they don’t have many obligations as a band. If they want me again for another album, I am available for them for another album. That’s what we have agreed, but we will see what the future brings.

 

Let’ s sum up; new album with Yoth Iria, new album with Medieval Demon, you also played a session live with Kawir at the Darkness Guides Us Festival in late November – do you feel you are making a strong come back?

It is difficult to say … we are in 2019 and people have listened to almost everything, there are so many bands and so many skilled musicians, I don’t think I came here again to invent something new! I am basically doing whatever I really like, that is very important for me. I hope that the Yoth Iria EP will be fine and that most of the people will like it. After that, let’s see what happens!

 

You are widely known as one of the founding members of Rotting Christ, their first bass player, but here in Athens, Greece you are also known as the owner of the Metal Era record shop.

Yes, I had this record shop from 1994 until 2009.

 

So, you were selling records and was constantly in contact with the Greek metal fan/listener. Can you tell us please, which are the characteristics of the Greek metalhead as a record buyer and listener?

I will be frank, the times when I owned Metal Era record shop were nice for everybody here in Greece, in social and financial terms. People were purchasing very, very much, many metalheads were buying ten CDs or vinyl records per week, they were buying T-Shirts, etc. I am very happy, as I learnt a lot of good people as Metal Era owner, I made so many good friends there, not only from Greece, but also from all over the world – many people from abroad were visiting the store, don’t forget that the first years also Sakis Tolis had been working there too. I can say with certainty that Greek metalheads are the best guys … ehhh, not everybody was perfect, but generally none of us is perfect. I had experienced so many good things in Metal Era, we were chatting, we were drinking beers together, we were having a great time … I learnt so many people there, people, who loved music, for whom music isn’t just a hobby, but a way of life, people like me! Despite the arguments and the differences among the metalheads, there is a solidarity among the metal fans. I also believe that most of the metal listeners are special people, with their own characteristics, their own way of thinking and expressing themselves. That’s why most of us like this special kind of music.

 

Jim, you were also an editor in the Heavy Metal Cosmos web magazine.

Yes! Unfortunately, this webzine isn’t online now, I was writing there and I have reviewed a lot of records, I have written various articles and stuff. Heavy Metal Cosmos doesn’t exist anymore and I don’t even have archives of what I had written.

 

How did you feel, to be a musician and a record reviewer at the same time?

I really liked to make reviews, honestly! When I listen to a new record, I always want to make my mind, to have my own opinion. On the other hand, some people were telling me that I was too lenient and I made always good reviews! In general, I believe that in metal music, there may be some records that don’t fit everybody’s taste, but there is always a high quality. Heavy metal music has progressed so much, there are fantastic musicians, who are much better than me, technically speaking, musicians who study very much … So, when I listen to a CD, I always and immediately make my mind, if I like it or not and why, etc., even if I don’t write any words on a paper. When I had the opportunity to write a review, I did it with pleasure. Believe me, I had written a lot of reviews!

 

As we said before, you were a founding member of Rotting Christ. What do you remember from the early days of Rotting Christ?

Back then in the mid 80s I had formed with Sakis Tolis a band, called Black Church, we were so young then, and we played heavy metal, influenced by the big heavy metal bands of the 80s and the bands of New Wave of British Heavy Metal. We made covers of Rainbow, U.F.O. etc. and composed some tracks, nothing special, in the typical heavy metal style with some extra elements from Venom and Celtic Frost. We then listened to Carcass, Napalm Death, we moved to the extreme metal sound and changed our name to Rotting Christ. That happened in 1987 – 1988 … what else can I say about the beginning of Rotting Christ, huh, we were teenagers then, at the age of sixteen – seventeen, Sakis was younger than me, Themis Tolis was even younger … it was a nice time back then, although we didn’t have the equipment that others in other countries had, for example in Norway, where most of the people had a high standard of living, a music education in school, they could afford buying new music instruments and technical equipment. Things were too difficult for us then, we were three kids from the poor neighborhoods of Nea Ionia, Athens. We had to work in the construction to be able to buy an instrument, Sakis was forced to steal money from his mother to buy a guitar, Themis’ drum kit was of poor quality, just enough for a decent rehearsal. We had so much passion and love for what we were doing though … Although I left Rotting Christ in 1996 and I offered significantly to the “A Dead Poem” album, I feel I have never left from the band, I feel Rotting Christ is a great part of myself, I feel I am a member of Rotting Christ, even if I am not actually playing with them! I always stand by the guys!

 

Why did you leave Rotting Christ?

Well, it was a tough time back then, I could not live by the band, and good or bad, I had two children in the age of 21 years old. As you can understand, I was too stressed to be able to raise these two children. Sakis was aware of this and showed understanding. Just think that at the period of “Triarchy of the Lost Lovers”, we had to be on the road across Europe for one month, we then travelled to Mexico, where we stayed for fifteen days, after that we were playing in festivals. It was too difficult for me to leave my day job and not to have money for my children. There was a great pressure on me.

 

You told me that you feel you never left from Rotting Christ. Did you ever think to get back to the band as a full member?

We can’t make now this conversation, what I thought or what I didn’t think has no meaning, no significance. Rotting Christ have got their own way, they have progressed so much, they have changed level, you see?

 

You had been also a member of Varathron, another great band of the Hellenic black metal scene.

Yes, Varathron have also released some significant albums, they were formed by me, Spiros Papanastassatos and Stefan, the voice and soul of Varathron, since then, because all three of us wanted to play something more in a doom/black metal style, we wanted to express some other feelings that we had. Especially Spiros, the drummer of Sound Pollution, and generally a musician of the Greek hardcore/punk scene, felt he had the need to play something darker, something in a black metal style. So, some day he asked me if I wanted to make with him a black metal project, he had some black metal ideas and feelings he wanted to express. We sat together with Stefan, who was in the same state of mind, and Varathron were formed in 1988 – 1989.

 

I would like you to compare the early days of Hellenic black metal in the mid-90s and the contemporary Hellenic black metal in 2019, amidst the financial and social crisis in Greece. When was it more difficult?

I think that it was more difficult back then in the beginning, because now, even we all live in the crisis, we have the internet, the social media, it is much easier for a band to publish and promote its music, young people are people with music technology, there are many studios with great, modern equipment. Nowadays there are so many abilities and services. I believe that now things are easier than in the mid-90s. Back then we couldn’t find a proper studio to record our stuff, most of the studios couldn’t produce our sound, that’s why our early productions were more underground, we couldn’t find a sound engineer! That’s why we had then the idea to buy some equipment from Molon Lave Records, in order to establish our own studio. We thought we could contribute to the establishment of the Greek sound and the Greek scene.

 

An incident that shocked the Greek metal scene was the cancellation of the Rotting Christ live show in Patras, Greece, due to religious reasons. What do you think about the whole issue?

These things are unacceptable in the year 2019, it is irritating not to be able to express yourself the way you want. No one can force you to go and see a live show that you are not interested in or a live show that makes you upset. Everybody who doesn’t like Rotting Christ, may not attend their concert and turn his/her back to them. No one can stop the audience of Rotting Christ, all the listeners of black metal from going to the concert of their favorite band, no one can stop their artistic expression, no one can stop them from taking part in an artistic event. I don’t know how this is going to sound, but I can tell you with certainty that guys like Sakis and Themis have a better soul and much more love in their heart than many Christians! I am telling that without any anti-Christian empathy, I don’t have anything against Christianity. I know that a lot of Rotting Christ fans are Christians.

 

Which are your influences as a bass player?

 My biggest influence, already as a child, was Geezer Butler of Black Sabbath and Steve Harris of Iron Maiden. There are so many bass players that I love, for example Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, etc.), he is an awesome bass player. I am also influenced by guitar players too, good music is good music. I would like to mention that what’s important for a musician isn’t only his technique, how he plays, but also his feeling. Butler and Harris expressed so many feelings.

 

Which are the artistic aims of Yoth Iria? What do you want to contribute to the (Greek) heavy metal scene?

I don’t want to contribute something special, I don’t have a certain aim, everything has been achieved and contributed in the world. I am a composer, and I believe that there are some people who would like to listen to my new music. I don’t want to contribute something.

 

OK, Jim, thank you very much for your time and your answers! Would you like to say something to the Greek heavy metal fans?

I am very proud to be a part of the Greek metal scene. Heavy metal is magic and freedom.


YothIria.Bandcamp.com

Photo: Dayal Patterson (Cult Never Dies)

 

One of Sweden's most distinguished and skilled guitarists and song writers, Robert Pehrsson is back again in the spotlight with the "Out of the Dark" album of his solo outing Robert Pehrsson's Humbucker. Perhsson has been a member of several bands, such as Runemagick, Thunder Express, Death Breath, Dundertåget, Imperial State Electric, Slingblade and Dagger, a proof of his diversity as a musician. Even if it's just rock or death metal, Pehrsson demonstrates with delicacy and finesse all his passion for guitar driven music. Myth of Rock had the chance to speak with Pehrsson a few days ago, and you can read our discussion right below.

by Antonis Mantzavinos

Hello Robert, I hope all is well with you. The new album is absolutely great and I can’t wait to see you playing live the new and old songs of course. Tell us a few things about the writing process, your inspirations, the people who have contributed, etc.

Thank you! I went to my studio and wrote every day for about 6 weeks. I was very focused and it was a lot of fun. Joseph Tholl, Andreas Axelsson and Tobias Egge also contributed to the writing. I always like to have more people writing, it keeps things more interesting. But I wrote the major part of the material as usual. I get a lot of inspiration from life itself. Also books and movies and of course music. But mainly from just living life and everything that comes with that.

You have always been busy with different bands, projects etc. How do you manage being so active in terms of time and availability? Do you have a full or part time job?

I have worked a part time job for the last 12 years. I wish I had more time, to be honest. It's really hard to make a living only playing music so I have to work also, so that eats up a lot of time that I rather spent making more music. I basically spend all my free time on music and not much else. it's the only way to get the things done that I want to accomplish.

Tell us a few things about this awesome album cover, the story behind and how did you come up with that awesome idea.

I wanted this sort of album cover since the first album. A painting, like Rainbow Rising or Dio - Holy Diver, that sort of thing. But I could not afford to have one painted for me. But then last year when I was searching online I found this amazing painting by John Martin from 1851. It's titled "The Great Day of His Wrath" and it's basically a painting of the apocalypse. I contacted the owners of the painting and bought the rights to use it as my album cover. Since it was over a hundred years ago John Martin passed away the work is public domain, so I could use it. It's an amazing work of art and I'm thrilled about how it turned out!

I know that you have your own studio for a few years and this must be really convenient, logistics wise but only that. Please give us some info about that, how did you start it, the various other bands that come and record or rehearse there, etc.

I always wanted a studio because I was always really interested in recording, mixing and engineering. So I have put all the money that I have earned from my bands into developing my own place. At first, I mostly did my own music and close friends' music in the studio, but now I do it commercially and it's open for anyone who wants to record here or have me mix their music. At the moment I'm doing the studio full time, so it's my job and I love it. I have recorded and mixed a lot of bands since I opened the doors. Check it out if you are interested (www.studiohumbucker.se).

Let’s take a step back in time, how was the time while playing with Dundertåget/Thunder Express with Strängen, one of my all-time favorite artists who was so sadly gone?

Me and Robert goes all the way back since childhood. We grew up together and were friends long before we started to play in the same band. We moved from our small home town to the big city and started playing in bands. I was only like 19 years old. I remember all the times we had together fondly and I miss him dearly. It's a tragedy that he is no longer here with us.

Are there any plans for a new record with Death Breath? Would you like to make another death metal album with Nicke Andersson?

There is actually a new album already recorded. Me and Nicke recorded it a long time ago, we just haven't got around to finish it and have it released. But we will eventually when we have the time and it feels right!

Which artists are your biggest inspirations since you were a teenager? Which artists you grew up with and how they have affected you as a song writer?

It's the usual hard rock bands for someone of my generation. Kiss, Deep Purple, Iron Maiden, Accept, Metallica, Motörhead, Thin Lizzy and such. This was how it started and what ignited the flame to start playing the guitar myself. I have since broadened my taste in music quite a lot and have all kinds of influences from many different bands. I have never quit listening to all the bands I grew up with though, I have just largened my music library.

Which one of the two is more enjoyable for you, singing or guitar playing, and why?

Without a doubt, it's playing guitar. Singing is really hard and it doesn't come as natural for me as playing the guitar does.

How do you explain the fact that so many Swedish artists are involved in so many bands and projects at the same time?

I think it's because Sweden is a small country. You get to be friends with a lot of people and have a lot of stuff in common. So a lot of the bands are based on friends playing music together.

Do you have any plans for gigs at the moment with the Humbucker?

I have a booking agency and they are scouting to see if there is any interest in Humbucker. It's up to the promotors and the people, if there is no demand then we can't play. I, of course, hope there is because I want to get out there and play our new music!

Do you listen to any new hard rock/metal bands at the moment?

The only metal band I can think of is Mastodon. I really like them and I think they just get better for each album. My friend Andreas Axelsson sent me a couple of tracks with his new band Sweet Teeth and it blew me away so I have been listening to that a lot lately.

Would you like to play in Greece at any time in the future? Any special message to the Greek fans?

I love your country. I have never played there, but I have been there on vacation 5 times. It's my favorite place to go on vacation. The food is awesome and the people are very nice and chill! I very much would like to come and play there!

Thank you very much Robert for your time, I appreciate that. Hope to see you soon playing live with your band! Skål

 

 

In a time that you find less and less melody in music, comes Leah and her ethereal music to bring everything upside down. Leah lies there, where metal and chill out music meet. Please welcome the "metal Enya" and listen to her Celtic fantasy metal songs! Her latest album, "The Quest", is a masterpiece and Myth of Rock is here to spread the news. We spoke with her and you can read all her sayings right below. The "Leah" chapter is a very interesting, an exciting part of the book of contemporary heavy metal. Enjoy!

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos - Sylvia Crystal 

How did you decide to begin your career as a solo artist?

It's a bit of a backwards story as I didn't record my first album until after I was married and settled down with kids. Not very typical of me! I've been a songwriter since I was about 13-14 years old, though.

Your music is described as “Celtic Fantasy Metal”. Do you agree with this definition?

Yes, I think that describes it generally. Sometimes it's less metal, but even hardcore metal fans tell me they still want to listen to it when they're in more of a chill mood.

Why people should listen to your music?

If someone is looking to feel like they're in an otherworldly place, transported to another era full of magic, ethereal beings, and beautiful landscapes, I think they'll like this music.

How do you react, when people say that you are “the metal Enya” and your music is “chill out music for metalheads”?

I think it's cool! I usually embrace the terms fans come up with - it gives me insight into the music I didn't objectively have.

What does inspire you to compose your songs? Which artists/bands are your “music heroes”?

Inspiration often comes from places I've been, photos, and fantasy films and TV shows. I tend to bank it all up and then it comes out one day while I'm doing something mundane like doing the dishes. I have many music heroes, spanning across different genres, from The Doors, to The Tea Party, Sarah McLauchlan, Loreena McKennitt, to Symphony X, Dream Theater, Within Temptation, and many more.

Your unique voice is so warm and ethereal but also with a rock color at the same time. What do you feel every time you sing?

Thank you. I'm usually focused on the emotion of the song and lyric. I try to stop thinking about technique when I record and let it flow.

Give us all the details about “The Quest” album: when did you compose the songs, where did you record them, who did the production, who did the mixing and the mastering?

I composed the songs over 2 years, basically writing and recording them one by one, and adding all the final vocals at the very end. I composed and did all the pre-production from my home studio, and Oliver Philipps was the producer. He also did all the orchestration and we collaborated on the arrangements. Jacob Hansen did the mixing and mastering.

You have an impressive amount of great musicians contributing in your new album – Troy Donockley, Barend Courbois, Timo Somers, Sander Zoer and Chen Balbus. How did it come and you collaborated with them?

I asked! :) Most of all these introductions came by way of mutual friends or acquaintances.

Where would you trace the differences between “The Quest” and your previous recordings?

"The Quest" became its own animal and I decided to not try and fit into any mold. That meant accepting that it may not be as heavy as my previous album and just be ok with that.  The recording process was really different in that Oliver and I worked very closely and he's much more picky than I am, which is a good thing in many ways, but it made for a much longer process.

Which is your favorite song from your new album and why?

It changes depending on my mood, but I do love "The Quest"! Also "Ghost Upon a Throne" has nostalgic ties for me.

I believe that “The Quest” is such a good album that you will surely have a big success. Do you agree with me?

I hope so! We will see.

Why are you not a touring artist? Are you planning to tour one day or do you prefer to be a studio musician?

Mainly because I have a big family and the logistics never made sense for me. For now I'm a recording artist, but definitely, have the itch to tour one day. I'm also doing things backwards in that many artists tour when they're first getting started as a way to promote and get their name out there. Instead, I'm building my following online around the world first, so there will hopefully be demand for a tour.

How are you in your personal life? Are you the romantic fairy or the badass rock woman?

I'm more like a romantic fairy badass businesswoman.

You are the composer of your songs. How do you feel when you are composing your songs and which are your feelings, when you listen to them, after the mixing/mastering is done?

It's always magical when I get mixes back - it sounds so different! Always better. Mastering takes it to a whole new level once again. It's like waxing a sports car. It's good without it, but it doesn't really shine until after the treatment. 

What about the lyrics? Do you write the words of your songs? Where do they refer to?

Yes, I write all the lyrics. Sometimes I have no idea what they are about, as some of my songs "write themselves" - so maybe they come from my subconscious. Other times, I do research in Wikipedia on a topic, like in the song Heir - I was researching Scotland's national animal in Wikipedia, which happens to be a unicorn. So that's where that song got its inspiration.

Are you a person who is always inspired or do you sometimes need a boost to get inspiration?

Inspiration is something you have to tap into. It's there but is easily ignored. I find when I am open all kinds of ideas are already there, lying dormant. So I keep my phone nearby and sing into my voice memo app as soon as something comes to me.

Which are your hobbies? I am sure that you read fantasy books and watch fantasy movies!

I don't have a lot of time for novels these days, but I do love fantasy TV series and movies like Outlander, The Hobbit, and so forth. I'm often working on my music, so I consider that my hobby, and when I have time, I do like crafty things like chainmaille and sewing.

You had collaborated with Eric Peterson in the past. Describe to us how this collaboration was. Is there any chance of collaborating with Eric in the future?

Yes, that song was quite spontaneous and we often talk of doing more. I recently sang on his new Dragonlord record, you'll find my voice on several tracks including choirs and solo parts, such as in the song "Love of The Damned".

You are in Inner Wound Records. Are you satisfied with your record label?

Yes, we've been working together for the past several years. It's a different kind of partnership than most, in that I retain my independent status, which I love. It's great to have people on your side that truly care about you in this business.

Which are your plans for the future?

Definitely more music! I'd like to do a non-metal fantasy album, and then another heavier album again. Let's see what happens!

Leah, thank you very much!

Thank you!

 

 

A historic band from France, Seyminhol is one of melodic metal's most enjoyable sensations. But the band's music isn't only melodic, since you can find several elements in its songs, for example progressive metal and symphonic music elements. Without a doubt, Seyminhol's latest album, "Ophelian Fields" (2018), was an impressive piece of art, which shows that the French guys are in perfect shape. Some months after the record release, Myth of Rock came in contact with the band and Nico (guitars,keyboards) answered our questions. Below you can read this interesting chat, but don't miss listening to Seyminhol music, in any case - they really deserve it!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos

Give us a short biography of Seyminhol.

Well, a short biography isn’t really possible because the band is very old! At the beginning, at the end of the darkened days of the eighties, Chris and Eric (our fist guitarist) decides to make a group. And, three years later, I became the new singer of the crew. During three years again we played music, band cover and we worked on our instruments. At the end of 1995, we decided to make our first MCD. It was “Thunder in the dark”. Two short albums have been created in the nineties. And our first album was born in 2002. After that, a second opus arrived and our style was a mixture of power, epic, progressive and symphonic metal. It was the time of “Viking theme”.  I think the change of atmosphere on “Ov Asylum” has been the arrival of another conception of our music. At the end of this offering – it was really a kind of musical sacrifice – we decided to stop the machine. It was important for us, for the creation, the evolution and the future of the band. Five years later, our new album “The wayward son” gave the sense of our new vision. It was a good example of traditions, bombastic inspiration and progressive views we had of the band. Now “Ophelian Fields” is a mix of all our influences. A sane and profitable reflexion about the road that we wanted to use.  And, of course, it isn’t the end of our evolution. It’s just a step, a new level in our particular career.

What does “Seyminhol” mean and why did you decide to have this band name?

It’s not a fictive name. The base of this choice was our interest for the culture, arts and traditions of the Indians. The true orthography is “SEMINOLE”, the name of tribe from Florida in the south of America. You can find the link with this name on our MCD « Indian spirit ». We will propose a special song about that in few months. It will be the roots of our band, a return to the genuine seed. We will sing in French and we’ll use traditional instruments and strange noises.

I didn’t know Seyminhol, until I listened to the song “Behind the Mask”. Do you believe that with “Ophelian Fields” and your next albums you will manage to get more known outside France?

I don’t’ know. It’s not my aim! It’s very important to have the opportunity to offer his music all around the world but we aren’t professional musicians. We work, we have family and we aren’t enough young to realize the conquest of new territories. Maybe in another life or after death when our albums will become famous!

How do you see now your latest album, “Ophelian Fields”, some months after its official release?

I’m always plenty satisfied with this album. It’s a new face of the band.  But I hope it wasn’t too complicated for the fans. We like to have a different approach of the music and sometimes this manner to proceed isn’t evident.

Although your sound is progressive and complex, I liked your songs pretty soon, after the first listen. How difficult is it for you to have a complex but catchy sound at the same time?

We don’t create the music with an established idea. We just search the emotion and a kind of color. After that, two or three listen are the norm to understand our universe. The progressive rock must be listenable if the inner sense is pure. When the creation is guided by a true meaning. It’s just a question of sensitive perception.

Can you give us the details behind the concept of “Ophelian Fields”?

"Ophelian Fields" is the rest of the “Wayward son” album. It is based on Hamlet of Shakespeare but he is more different because we speak about the character of Ophelia. It’s the lover of Hamlet, a kind of lunar figure that appears as a sensitive person. I wanted to work about it and to propose a new vision of the tragedy. I think that the music and the entire atmosphere will be perceived like an evolution. Ophelia is a Mother Nature, a sort of good sorceress, the girl of the river. She can explain the own folly of Hamlet. She is a tutelary figure, maybe the true hero of this dramatic story. This new album describes all the state of this young person: the drama that she incarnates, the tensions that she creates.

How would you describe the music style of Seyminhol?

We don’t play always the same style. Our influences are very large. It’s a specter that is defined by our own story, our personal way and choices. Of course, the base of the music is the power metal and the progressive rock but the black metal, the gothic rock, the hard rock are important too in the process of creation.  Actually, we play a strange progressive rock with a touch of anger and distress.

Who is responsible for Seyminhol music and lyrics?

The lyrics are my job ; the music, the vision of Nico. Although, we work together on the atmosphere, the upper theme of the concept and the sounds.

Did you play live shows for the promotion of “Ophelian Fields”? What do you remember from these live shows?

Of course but I want to be honest with you. I dislike the shows. It’s a question of time, of preparation. We cannot be on the top because we make music inside a strange movement. This movement is split between our professional work and our work of musician. Often, we discover some band during these shows and often the members are very special. It’s a business attitude or maybe just the attitude of the human race.

Have you started composing for your next album? If yes, how does this material sound, until now? Do you know if this is going to be a concept album again?

Yes, we are working on the new material. It will be a concept, a very ambitious concept based on the history of the second part of the twentieth century. The point of this story takes her source during the Second World War in Germany. We will follow the step of an adopted child called Tessmann. We will lulled by the amazing adventures of this guy.

Have you decided, at which studio you will record the new album, who will be the producer and who will do the mixing and the mastering?

We work on our home studio. The production is our matter. No big name, no big project because money is the key. And, of course, we don’t have money.

Where do you get inspiration from? Which are your music influences?

The history and the literary are the two legs of our corps. And our heads can eat all the music of the world. It’s just a question of taste and of beauty. The rock music and its by-products are not the Holy Grail! We adore the movies music, the tribal music, the classical tender and the soul music.

Which is your favorite concept album of all times and why?

It’s a difficult question. As for me I think the theme of the Carmina Burana is the most sober, dark and reflective creation of the twentieth century. It’s really grand and grandiloquent. An excellent vision of the human being, of the seasons of the life, of the time that goes by and of the idea of disappearance. I like the bones because the bones are all the same: there are no kings, there are no beggars. Just a pile of skulls, of ulna and of humeruses! And if I can speak about a modern concept, without hesitation I will say “Metropolis part II”, Dream Theater or, maybe,  “666” by the Aphrodite’s Child. “The Four Horsemen” Is an incredible song.

Who is your favorite author and why?

Shakespeare, for all the ideas that I developed higher in this interview and E. Cioran for his skepticism, his capacity to speak about the ephemeral characters of the life and the poignant of the existence. It’s an amazing mind, very biting and with the hard-hitting humor.

How are things for heavy metal in France?

Nothing. An awful pile of disillusion and shit.

Seyminhol is signed to Lion Music Records. Are you satisfied with Lion Music’s work until now?

Yes, the head manager of this label is a true realistic person. The results are positive for the band and for the fans.

Send your message to our readers!

Be trusting! Listen to the good vibrations of the hope. THANX.

 

 

It is been quite a time since Virgin Steele has released a very successful full-length album, commercially speaking, but the legendary American band is always here with us, alive, releasing new music and playing live! Virgin Steele belongs to the classic metal groups and its every move is great news for all of us. David DeFeis and company are in the spotlight again, as they are re-issuing their first two studio albums, "Virgin Steele I" (1982) and "Virgin Steele 2/Guardians of the Flame" (1983), and are releasing a 35th-Anniversary box set ("Seven Devils Moonshine", which will contain three new albums!) on November 23, 2018. Myth of Rock immediately thought it was a great opportunity to speak with the band's singer and mastermind, David DeFeis, who accepted our invitation and answered all our questions - we talked about the past, the present, the future, and everything related to Virgin Steele. So, ladies and gentlemen, hats off to David DeFeis and Virgin Steele!

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos


The first two albums of Virgin Steele are being reissued by No Remorse Records. Why did you decide to re-release these albums? How did you come in contact with No Remorse Records?

In truth I actually had no intention of re-issuing those two albums at this time. It was not at all on my mind because I have been so involved and still am involved in lots of new music. I was approached by No Remorse Records who inquired if it might be possible to re-issue them…I was at first not that interested because as I stated I already had so much on my plate, but we started to speak and had several very nice conversations and fairly quickly came to an agreement and now…here we are…all is ready to go and they have done a beautiful job!

Are you the one who decided about the remixes and the bonus tracks of these two re-releases?

Yes, I handled all of that as I always do.

What do you recall from the first days of Virgin Steele?

Everything! My memory is intact. I recall how we all met, the first rehearsals, the recording sessions…the first concerts…all of it. It was quite an amazing time. We were very inspired and we exploded and we went for it and quickly became very well known in our immediate area and then in what seemed like no time at all we had serious interest from people all around the world. We pressed up the first album and I sold it from the trunk of my car and before that first pressing was sold out we had two record deals, one with Mongol Horde in the States and one in England with Music For Nations. In fact we were MFN 1 the very first release on this new label that soon acquired W.A.S.P., Mercyful Fate, Ratt, Manowar and tons of other wonderful metal bands.

Please describe us how you became the singer of Virgin Steele.

A long curly haired drummer named Joey Ayvazian, and a guitarist named Jack Starr were rehearsing together and trying to get something serious going, while at the same time I was playing in various groups with a bass player named Joe O’Reilly, when one day I saw an advertisement in a local music paper stating that some metal musicians were searching for a singer and there was some kind of tour planned. Excited and intrigued … I answered the ad … met with Joey and we arranged to meet up for a jam at a nearby rehearsal studio the next day. I arrived on time ready to rip, but there was nothing scheduled for us as Jack had forgotten to book the time. I was still very gung-ho, so I suggested that he and Jack come back to my house where I had all my gear set up, to afford them the opportunity to hear my singing and keyboard playing. I played three songs for them, “No Quarter', by Led Zeppelin, “Child In Time”, by Deep Purple and “Catch the Rainbow”, by Rainbow. They liked what they heard and asked me to join the band then and there. While I was flattered and interested, remember … I had not yet had the opportunity to hear them play. So … I suggested that we actually all jam together first to see if we could spark, and Jack did set up a jam … but when I arrived at the studio for this second attempt … Joey the drummer I had met and kind of bonded with, wasn’t on the kit! I thought … hmmm … ”strange” … Some other guy was there on drums and there was also another guitar player present who sang … We played and it was sort of nice … but I wasn’t really into the drummer or the bass player, or having another singer around, plus I wanted to hear Joey play because we had clicked and I liked him very much as a person … I said to Jack, “hey I like what you’re doing but I want to hear the drummer I met and I have a great bass player who would be perfect for this” … he said, “OK great, let’s arrange for another jam”, and finally Jack, Joey, Joe “O”, and I all did jam together a day or so later. And so the two factions finally assembled and we clicked musically right away. We rehearsed for about three weeks and entered the studio to record what became “Virgin Steele I”. The album was recorded mostly live in the studio, and the entire production cost about $ 1,000 dollars and took maybe about a week to record and mix.

How was your cooperation with guitarist Jack Starr?

Back in those days it was fine. We all got along pretty well most of the time. Now and then we had the usual occasional disagreements but nothing major.

How do you see now the first two Virgin Steele albums? Do you like them? How much have you progressed since then, as a band and as a musician?

I see them as essays in the craft before it was fully sown…wild, passionate raw performances with some very cool songs. I love them…I love all the albums for different reasons. The group has progressed enormously since those days in so many areas, and I as a musician, composer, etc. have added many more strings to my bow. Especially as a writer/composer that is where my main strengths are.

How would you define the music of “Virgin Steele I” and “Virgin Steele II”?

At the time we called it metal, power metal, crazy metal … it was also called progressive metal … some of it was bluesy metal or hard rock … some of it was on the epic side … some had early “symphonic” touches.

Which is your favorite track of “Virgin Steele I” and your favorite track of “Virgin Steele II”?

On “Virgin Steele I” I think I enjoy “Danger Zone”, “Living in Sin”, “Children of the Storm” and the song “Virgin Steele”. On “Virgin Steele II” … I enjoy “Don’t Say Goodbye”, “A Cry in the Night”, and perhaps also “Guardians of the Flame” the most. I remember listening to the playback of the final mixes in the studio and being completely amazed at the sound and the fact that we had captured this grandiose epic quality and distilled all of our various personalities into these tracks.

If you could turn back time, what would you do differently as far as these first two albums are concerned?

I might want to spend more time recording and mixing because I always want that!

How much different were things for heavy metal music back in the beginning of the 80s? Are you satisfied with the current condition of Virgin Steele?

It was a more wide-open time…the scene was actively more engaging and alive. There actually was a music business, a photography business and all the peripheral things that go along with making music, making records … etc. If you are asking me “am I satisfied with where Virgin Steele is at creatively and musically speaking”, then the answer is a most resounding “yes I am”. I think the songs have gotten stronger and stronger over the years and the core chemistry is more intuitive than ever before, and we have managed to capture more and more of the passion, the raw emotion of our lives in sound … The albums we make reflect the sound of our living world if you will…

Three years have passed since the release of your latest studio album (“Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation”). Have you written any new material? If yes, how does it sound? When should we expect your new full-length studio album?

Always … I continually have numerous albums in the works and in various stages of completion. I am always writing and we are always recording. We will be releasing a box set in November that in addition to containing the last two re-issues, will feature three discs of new material in various styles from aggressive barbaric-romantic metal to epic gothic bluesy metal to stripped down orchestral type recordings … all sorts of stuff, because it is a box set and for such an item I think one should go deep and occasionally provide some left hand path type material. Our last album contained twenty nine songs, and every re-issue we have unleashed has contained new music, therefore we weren’t in too great a rush to release something immediately following that last album. We wanted people to get to know the material we had already put out first, before releasing more new material.

Give us the details about the two videos you recently released for the songs “When Dusk Fell” and “Black Light On Black”.

What do you wish to know? They are both from the re-mixed version of our “Visions of Eden” album and they were both filmed on Long Island where we live. A lot of footage was done in the cold, cold winter and some of it was filmed in a nearby cemetery. We tried to infuse the clips with the emotions of the songs and show something of our beliefs, our personalities, and what our life is like here.

If you had to choose between being a romantic and being a barbarian, what would you prefer to be, and why?

Some days some nights … some moments I feel more barbaric than romantic and at other times quite the opposite … it all depends on how I am motivated by the stimuli around me. In my day-to-day life in dealing with people, places and things that I would prefer to not have to deal with, I tend to push the barbaric side of my nature to the fore … but among friends and people I care about deeply I try to more … “romantic”…

If you could travel in time, which period of history would you choose?

I do have a special affinity for 1692 Salem, Massachusetts, but I don’t think I would want to remain there too long as I would probably be condemned as a witch … Perhaps the earliest recorded days of the human race would be interesting … Ancient Babylon … Sumeria … or certainly Ancient Greece … when the Gods & Goddesses were all quite young or not yet born … when the Titans still reigned …

What do you think of modern metal? Do you like any modern metal bands?

There are some wonderful musicians out there doing metal these days, but to be honest I don’t really follow too much of it. Occasionally certain bands get brought to my attention and I always listen and I usually enjoy it … there is always so much to discover or re-discover as the case may be.

If Jack Starr asked you to come back to the band, which would be your reaction?

I have a very strong special chemistry with Edward Pursino that is still inspiring and we barely have enough time to do all the things we want to do together. That’s not to say that I have any issues with Jack. I wish him well in all that he is doing and who knows, as far as maybe a track or something like that happening down the road I suppose that is always possible, but nothing like that is on my mind at this time. We are already working on the next two new “concept type” albums and have been tracking guitars for days now … and there is still much to do in order to complete them for release sometime next year.

Which are your plans for the future? What about a tour?

The immediate future will bring forth the five disc box set in November and then work on these two new full-length “concept” type albums that we have already begun and of which I started speaking about above, and yes … live shows.

A message to your Greek fans!

Certainly!!! CHEERS FRIENDS!!! BY THE GODS & GODDESSES to you ALL!!! We have missed you! We do hope to visit the Home Of The Gods & Goddesses once again very soon. You will always hold a hugely special place in our Hearts…ETHARISTO POLI to YOU ALL!

Thank you very much, Mr. DeFeis.

Hail and all the very best to you and to your readers always.


 

 

As a result of the financial crisis in Greece, many young people are seeking something better in foreign lands. This may also happen in the world of music - there are Greek bands which are moving abroad, in order to have a better luck and more chances in their career. One of these bands is 7he 7ouch, who moved to London, England, to pursue their dreams. I incidentally came across the band's music video for the song "Solution" and I was really blown away! So, it was a matter of time to conduct an interview with 7he 7ouch, who announced these days the official release of their debut EP, "SEVENTYSEVEN". The band answered gladly all Myth of Rock's questions and I am sure you will find the following chat very interesting. Let's go!

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos 


   

When and how were 7he 7ouch formed?

Everything first started back in 2012 when two different childhood friendships; [Constantine (vocals), Stelios (guitar) and John (guitar), Toni (bass), Apostolis (drums)]  got together for a jam in the studio as John and Constantine were working on some new ideas and needed to jam on then in the studio. We really enjoyed ourselves being together and this is how 7he 7ouch were formed. It was the need to escape from our daily routines and the lust to create new music/sounds. Later the same year and due to the financial crisis in our country, Apostolis decided to take another direction in his life and moved to Canada in 2013. After several years of seeking for the right fit to fill for Apostolis shoes, we met Dave and we officially reformed 7he 7ouch.

Why did you decide to move to London?

It was back in the fall of 2014. Greece wasn’t at the best place back in the day and music in Greece as well. We decided that we wanted to take a leap and start a career in London and then we did it.

How much difficult was it for you to leave Greece and settle down in England?

Every new beginning has its difficulties and obstacles to overcome. The first days were tough but we learned from it. The most important thing was that we had each other.

How are things for rock bands in England nowadays? Which are the differences between the situation in England and the situation in Greece?

Rock is the SOUND in England. Let’s not forget that UK is the mainland of rock music, see The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Motörhead and you know the list goes on and on. There is a lot of activity here, everybody is a music enthusiast and rock music is a big part of the English culture. The competition (always talking about a friendly competition) is very high and this can only make you be better every day. We think Greece has some great bands and musicians, even though the music industry is focused on different genres there are some great bands starting coming to prominence and tour globally. It is very much harder for a band based in Greece to succeed and have an international career in comparison to many English based bands, as the industry here is very much developed and focuses and invests on the artists.

If a young Greek musician asked you if he/she should leave Greece and move to England in order to become a professional musician, what would you suggest to him?

We would suggest them to follow their heart and do what they love. Focus on your goals and never let it slide away.

Which are your releases until now? Give us all the details about your upcoming EP release.

We have just announced the release of our debut EP for October 29th. It will be called “SEVENTYSEVEN”. “Solution” is the first single we released on the 9th of July. All we can say is that we are very proud of it. It sounds BIG, it is melodic and heavy at the same time. We can’t wait to share it with you.

How would you describe your music? Can we define it as alternative hard rock?

We are not big fans of putting titles to our music. It can be alternative and it can be hard-hitting rock ‘n roll at times but 7he 7ouch is something more than this. You can definitely say that we are a rock band but at the same time, there are a lot more elements that can be put into the mix. We all have different influences and this sometimes can work great and bring something refreshing to the sound.

You have played a lot of live shows until now. How much and in which way have these live gigs helped the band?

You can only improve and get better by playing live. We‘ve had a lot of shows over the years and this made each of us better at their instrument and of course, it made the band sound tighter. The more a band can play live the better. At the end of the day, this is what it is all about. Playing live music.

Who are the main composers in 7he 7ouch? Which are your music influences?

Mainly most of our ideas are usually coming from Constantine and John and then we are all gathering and working on the development of them. Regarding our influences, we all differ in taste and preferences but we definitely complete each other. Everyone in the band is, of course, listening any piece of music and artist that is sounding right but we all have our favorite eras like most of the people. John and Toni are more excited about the beginning of rock n’ roll and how the sound of it gradually became harder and harder. John is a 60's and 70's rock, blues and heavy metal admirer. Toni is absolutely an 80's freak. Constantine and Stelios are definitely kids of the 90's and 2000's with many nu-metal influences and still exploring the newest genres for new sounds. Dave is the only one that actually studied music so he has a greater opinion of the music genre spectrum and also loves hip-hop and rap music.

Which elements are the most significant for you: melody, energy, passion, feeling?

It all comes together. You can’t have a melody without the energy to deliver it. You can’t have energy if you are not feeling passionate about something. And to be able to do all the above that requires from your inner self be able to have feelings.

Who is the lyrics writer? Where do the lyrics refer to?

Constantine and John are the main lyricists and the theme can vary. We are considering ourselves as very concerned and sensitive humans about the world and the people surrounding us. It can be political, it can be love, it can be everything. Everything that we see and go through our everyday life it all reflects to us.

Do you prefer to produce your own songs or to cooperate with a person outside the band?

We love working with other people outside the band. You get to learn things from them and always helps having a second opinion from someone you know that truly cares for you and is outside the band.

Do you have a record deal with a record label yet? If not, are you in negotiations with any record labels?

At the moment we are moving on independently.

Why did you decide to name the band “7he 7ouch”?

It just happened when we were trying to figure out a name for our band and then Toni came up with “Touch” we thought it sounded cool and added the “the“ to it. We realized that there’s another band with the same name in America, so we came up with the idea of adding the 7’s instead of T’s.

Which are your dreams/ambitions for 7he 7ouch?

We would like to be seen as the type of artists that want to contribute to the shaping of  rock music in the future, while respecting and acknowledging all the phases rock n' roll went through in the past and in that way our desire is to be at the front line of the new era of rock n' roll.

Which are your future plans, apart from releasing your EP?

Play as many live shows as we can, potential tour in the fall and record some new music.


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