It is true that the Greek heavy/power metal scene has blossomed, during the last years. The circumstances have improved and the newcomer bands of the heavy/power genre have less obstacles to cope with. One of these new bands that have drawn our attention is Hellpass, a band from Thessaloniki, which released its captivating debut album, "Gates of War", some months ago. Myth of Rock is on a heavy/power mode and talks with Alexander, the drummer of the band. Enjoy our chat right below!
by Dimitris Zacharopoulos
When and where was Hellpass formed? Give us a short biography of the band, until now.
Hello! First of all, we would like to thank you for this interview and for the opportunity you are giving us for a wider audience to get to know us better. In June 2022, having met Aggelos (guitar) we made the decision to form Hellpass, because Aggelos and I share the same love for extreme sound and the desire to dedicate our lives to it. So, it is definitely a dream that came true and not just a jam.
This is how Hellpass came about and shortly after their establishment, Vasilis joined the band. We started as a three-piece and within a few months we had our first album called "Gates of War" and in the late summer of '22 we entered the recording studio. In the meantime, we were looking for a bass player so Vasilis could focus more on vocals. At the beginning of autumn 2022, Nikos joined the band and started learning our songs and coming to our rehearsals. Since then we have released several video clips. The latest is the self-titled track of our first record “Gates of War” which you can find on our YouTube channel (https://linktr.ee/hellpass).
We have also performed many live performances in many urban centers of the country (Thessaloniki, Athens, Volos, Larisa) and in August we will play, on the 26th of the month, at the Over The Wall Festival organized in Heraklion, Crete. Then, in November we have planned a tour with Arallu and our brothers from Athens, Among Ruins, in three countries in Eastern Europe.
Present us today’s line-up of Hellpass. Which is the relationship between the band members of Hellpass?
Hellpass are Aggelos on guitars, Nick on bass, Vasilis on vocals and me on drums. Apart from fellow musicians, we are all friends in our private lives. We do share moments outside of Hellpass also. For instance, at the moment, me and Aggelos work for the same company, so we share the same work-space every day.
You released your debut album,”Gates of War”, some months ago. Which are your feelings about it? If you had the chance, would you change something to the album now?
We feel excited! Gates of War is our first born child! I don’t think that we would change anything. The album represents who we were at the time of its’ making and changing anything would make it a “fake” release.
When and where was the debut album recorded? Who was the producer? Who did the mixing and the mastering? Describe the recording sessions, the whole album production and the mixing/mastering of “Gates of War”.
The production of the album was carried out by the amazing Ilias Palapela, whom we thank very much for the work he has put into the album. We look forward to working together again on our upcoming releases.
There’s nothing special about the recording sessions, we recorded our music just like every band does in the contemporary western world.
How would you define your music style? Do you believe that HellPass has its own musical character? Which are your main music influences?
I would describe our sound as heavy metal music with doom and thrash elements. Apart from this, we are an ever-growing band, every member carries his own influences and the final product is a blend of all the personalities that are involved in the composition process.
Yes, I believe that there’s a kind of authenticity in our compositions. I can't identify to what we owe this to, but it's there. When someone listens to one of our songs, they can recognize it as Hellpass, even if they don't remember the title of the song or the name of the band.
We love the whole spectrum of metal music. I will only mention three discs as an indication: Savatage – “The Hall of the Mountain King”, Mötley Crüe – “Dr. Feelgood” and Candlemass – “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus”.
Who is the main composer in HellPass? Who writes the lyrics? Which are your favorite lyrical themes? Is “Gates of War” a concept album?
Although all of us play our part in the musical composition, I’d say that the main composer of the band is Aggelos. The lyrics were written entirely by our singer, Vasilis. My favourite lyrical themes are war, metal and mysticism. I wouldn’t call “Gates of War” a concept album, but its’ themes revolve around the war in Ukraine and social decay.
Which would be your dream music collaboration?
I would say that there is a long list of bands that we would like to play, but one that stands out is definitely Slipknot. Αpart from their music they have a very good performance that remains unforgettable in your memory, having said this, it would be a great honor to be part of such a concert!
If you had three wishes for p
mes in mind. To perform live in Hellfest!
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect you as musicians and as persons?
Although it was a shocking experience, I , personally, had too much time to compose new music and that’s a part of the pandemic that I enjoyed. The rest of it was shit!
How are things for heavy/power metal in Greece?
The heavy metal music scene in Greece is alive and it has variety and inspiration. You should definitely check it out!
How do you see things for the worldwide heavy/power metal scene? What do you have to offer to the scene as a newcomer band?
Heavy music has grown a lot the last couple of decades and the scene still expands by the day. I’d say that the first thing Hellpass has to offer is energy!
How much important are live concerts for you? How do you sound live? Are you planning some live dates or even a tour? Other future plans?
Live performances are very important because they bring to life and give a face to a music that would otherwise be just sonic frequencies bouncing out of two speakers. Live music also includes the art of performance which is a whole school of artistic expression by itself. This gives us the opportunity to get in touch with our listeners, not only through sound, but also through direct interaction. That is why live performances are important, because they open up other fields of communication. In live performances, a band builds its relationship with its real listeners.
We have already booked a tour. We have planned 9 shows with the black metallers Arallu in Eastern Europe from November 11th to 19th and we are very excited to be doing it together with our brothers from Athens, Among Ruins. These are all the dates:
11/11/23:FarářovaSluj, MladáBoleslav, CZ
12/11/23:BossBar, Poděbrady, CZ
13/11/23:RockleKlub, ČeskéBudějovice, CZ
14/11/23: Probaterem, Szentes, HU
15/11/23:Manufactura, Timişoara, RO
16/11/23: Death Covenant Festival, Cluj Napoca, RO
17/11/23: MC Clubhouse, Lugoj RO
18/11/23: Rock ‘N’ Roll Center, Zalau, RO
19/11/23: Gekko Pub, Oradea, RO
Send your message to the fans.
It is equally important for musicians and fans to understand that bands, YouTube Channels, podcasts, radio station, venues, promoters, sound engineers, road crews etc. exist only because of, and to the degree of, the support that the fans show to the bands. So, you, metalhead, who are reading this interview I kindly suggest that you subscribe to our YouTube Channel, follow Hellpass on facebook and instagram, listen to our music on spotify, buy our music, if so desire, on bandcamp and also get your Hellshirt. By doing these simple things one day you will be able to watch us perform your favorite Hellpass song live and have a great time banging your head with us. Always remember: music is here to unite the human race and everything starts from you.