Udo Dirkschneider! No words, no comments, no introductions can describe this legend of German heavy metal, one of the most prominent personalities of classic heavy metal! You can imagine my surprise and great joy, when an interview with Mr. Dirkschneider was scheduled. The German singer has just released his new, cover album, “My Way”, and was so kind to answer some of the questions that filled my mind for days and nights! Although there were some technical problems, we had a not so long, but very interesting chat. Thank you, Mr. Dirkschneider!

by Dimitris Zacharopoulos


Why did you decide to release “My Way”, an album only with covers, at this point?

Let’s say that it wasn’t really planned in the beginning, it has just happened while we were working in the studio, during the pandemic, you know, we had a lot of time due to the coronavirus. So, in the beginning it was just for fun, but then we understood that the whole thing sounded really great and sooner or later, we started talking about doing more of that stuff. Yes, then I made my own list with all my favorite songs that were written in the end of the sixties, the seventies and the eighties. Well, yes, we started working on some songs, then we talked with the record company about putting out maybe a cover album and they were positive. Here we go now, we have a whole album with cover songs and I am really happy in the end, that I did it. It seems that everybody likes it, yes!

 

With which criteria did you select the songs that you covered and finally are in this new album?

These are some of my favorite songs. Whenever I listened to music, these were my favorites. They weren’t the songs that inspired me to make music, they were just my favorites back then, and of course, now they are on my new album.

 

Which was your attitude towards these classic songs? Did you try to stay loyal to the original recordings or to give your own style to these songs?

Definitely I tried to give my own touch to these songs, vocal wise. For me it was very important to put my own character, my own stamp, on these classic songs, you know. Oc course, we made some changes in the arrangements of some songs, some songs sound a little bit different, a little bit harder sometimes, a little bit faster … I think it was very important not to be stuck in the original version.

 

I liked very much your version of the Queen classic “We Will Rock You”.

Yes, I always liked better the longer version of “We Will Rock You”, which opens up the “Live Killers” live album of Queen (1979). When I was thinking about covering Queen, I wanted to pick a fast song, so I immediately chose this fast version of “We Will Rock You”. I believe it came out very, very good.

 

Were there any songs from the ones you chose to cover, which were difficult for you to perform?

Yes, of course, that was the German song I chose, “Kein Zurück” by Wolfsheim. It was the first time I was singing in German, and I admit it really was a bit different from singing in English, haha! The German language is a difficult language, when you sing in German, the words come out much harder compared to when you sing in English. I admit it was very interesting for me to sing in my own mother language!

 

How does it feel entering the German album charts with “”My Way” and reaching number four? We are talking about a great success!

Indeed, it is a good feeling, of course, haha, but I didn’t expect it, you know! Well, I mean, it is a cover album, we said, “OK, we will see how it goes”, and yes, it got the fourth position in the German album charts, also in the Swedish album charts, now. I don’t know, it’s really a big surprise and I really appreciate it!

 

How do you see now your latest album as U.D.O., “Game Over”?

Yes, I like this album very much and many songs from it will be on our live set now that we finally can go on tour again! Now we also want to present the “Game Over” album to the fans. It is the most important thing for us now that we will finally be on tour again.

 

You are in a new label now, Mr. Dirkschneider, since you moved from AFM Records to Atomic Fire Records.

That’s right. I don’t feel anything bad against AFM Records, I was there for sixteen years! But, you know, Atomic Fire Records came up and offered a new contract. I know all the Atomic Fire guys, they were in Nuclear Blast. I thought it was good to make the right move at the right moment, to get some fresh blood and judging by what they have done with the cover album, yes, that was a right move at the right time.

 

Let’s go now to the past, if you don’t mind. First of all, how did it come and you become a singer?

Ohhh, it was not really planned, it just happened, if you know what I mean! It was long, long ago, back in the end of the sixties, when a lot of people wanted to sing with a really unique voice and to be different form the other singers. I didn’t decide to become a professional musician in the end, but it just happened. Now I am doing these for over forty years …

 

When you started your singing career, who were your vocal heroes?

I didn’t have any vocal heroes! Of course, I was listening to a lot of people, but I never tried to sing like … Ian Gillan or whatever! I always was trying to do my own thing.

 

What do you feel when you hear the name of your previous band, Accept? How do you feel, when someone is referring to Accept?

Of course, it is my history, I was the founder of Accept in 1968, there was no Wolf Hoffmann, Peter Baltes, Stefan Kaufmann back then. It is part of my history, I am having U.D.O. for a longer period than the time I had Accept. I am OK, yes.

 

Which is your relationship with Wolf Hoffmann nowadays?

I have no relationship with Wolf Hoffmann.

 

If someone, a record label for example, came to you and told you “come, make a reunion with Accept”, would you say yes?

No, definitely not. That’s my quick answer. No. Haha!

 

Why is that?

Well, there will be no reunion, I am really happy with what I am doing with U.D.O.! I have a good band around me and Accept is over, it is history for me. So, I don’t have any plans to do a reunion.

 

OK, Mr. Dirkschneider. Which album from your long career would you say it is your favorite?

They are so many, … from the Accept era I would say “Breaker” and from U.D.O. I would say the latest album, “Game Over”, it is a very interesting album for me.

 

How do you feel, when a young musician comes to you and says, “You are my first influence!”?

Yes, of course, we definitely inspired a lot of musicians with Accept, with albums like “Breaker” and “Restless and Wild”, but also with U.D.O., there are many young bands inspired by us. This fact makes you aware that you produced something good.

 

How did the COVID-9 pandemic affect you?

There was no tour, so … in two years, we did only four shows! I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to do a lot of stuff at the studio, but also stay at home, doing nothing, that was a bit boring, you know. Now that this thing is over, we will start touring again. So, here we go!

 

Mr. Dirkschneider, your message to the Greek fans!

Yes, I hope that we will do some shows in Greece, in our European tour! In the meanwhile, stay heavy, stay healthy and hopefully we will meet each other soon!   

 

 

Their debut album came as a true shock to all fans of speed/power metal. "With The Magic of Windfyre Steel" is an unbelievable new metal release, which will make every fan of melodic metal smile with joy. Glorious, victorious and triumphant, Power Paladin stands out as a newcomer band, which has things to offer. With anthemic songs, incredibly beautiful melodies and super-catchy riffs, Power Paladin take the baton from bands like Hammerfall, Edguy and Rhapsody of Fire, and fly to the power metal sky with passion and conviction! This is a hell of a ride, a venturesome journey, and it has started just now! Follow the angels and see them sit on the power metal throne! And Myth of Rock is stoked to share the chat that Dimitris Zacharopoulos had with the band. Read what follows, and you will discover that "With The Magic of Windfyre Steel" is an absolute masterpiece!


Where, when and under which circumstances was Power Paladin formed? Who were the founding members? What do you remember most from the very first days of the band? 

Krilli: We’ve all known each other for a long time prior to forming Power Paladin, and have played together in various bands in the past. Me and Kalli, our drummer, were in an earlier power metal band that disbanded back in 2017 - Atli had been writing material for a while and asked us if we wanted to form a new power metal band. Ingi, and the Bjarnis soon followed.

Ingi: Pretty much just the usual suspects when it comes to liking power metal and somewhat knowing how to play an instrument. I remember thinking “nobody likes power metal, this is sure as shit going to fail”. Then people actually showed up to the first gig, which was already more than I expected, it just kinda snowballed from there.

Can you explain us the name of the band? How and why did you choose it?

Krilli: We were initially just called Paladin. Paladins are righteous warriors who fight for good, and we felt that captured the vibe of our music pretty well. When it was time to release our album, we found that a American metal band also called Paladin had just released their first album - To prevent confusion, we knew we had to change our name. We threw some things around, but Power Paladin was eventually what we landed on.

You released your debut album, “With the Magic of Windfyre Steel”, some months ago. How do you feel about that? How do you see the album now, some months after its creation and official release? Would you change something, if you had the chance?

Krilli: Personally I’m just very satisfied. The songs are great, the album sounds amazing, and the reception has been fantastic. I don’t think I would change anything. That’s not to say that there aren’t other things I’d have liked to do, but that is what the next album is for.

Ingi: I’m very satisfied with it, wouldn’t change a thing - some people have complained that we didn’t have a ballad while others have celebrated that fact, some people think the album is too long, other too short and some people prefer that we play more songs in the NWOBHM style like Kraven the Hunter while other want the 7min+ songs like There can be only one or Into the forbidden forest. But the fact that nobody seems to have the same opinion on it makes me feel that it’s the best possible outcome, so yeah. I definitely wouldn’t change a thing.

Your songs are in the classic euro-power metal style. Do you agree with me? How would you describe your music to the fans?

Krilli: I’d say that’s accurate. We set out from the start to play power metal, and that is what we did. I think the music is fairly straightforward power metal, but we have a lot of influences from all over the place. Our songs are all written by either Ingi, our lead guitarist, or Atli, our singer. Ingi brings a lot of progressive and neoclassical influences, while Atli draws more inspiration from classic heavy metal and 80s glam rock.

You come from Iceland. How are things for metal in Iceland nowadays? Is there a local scene?

Krilli: Iceland has an active metal scene, but it is dominated by black metal and death metal. We are the only currently active power metal band, to my knowledge.

Ingi: It’s like Krilli said, very black/death metal dominated with a lot of the same people playing in all the bands but recently there have been some youngling newcomers (no not us, we’re all pretty old) that have been creating some really fantastic stuff. I would definitely recommend being on the lookout for some of them in the future.

Which are your main music influences? Which bands/artists had a significant impact on you?

Ingi: I think we’re all just very power metal driven - Rhapsody is one of my favorites but I think all of us are big Iron Maiden fans.

Who are the main composers in Power Paladin? How is a typical Power Paladin song composed?

Krilli: All our songs are written by Ingi or Atli. They will write a song, and send it to the rest of us. We will then provide feedback, and the song will usually change a bit when we start rehearsing it. Some of the songs then changed quite a bit in the recording process. For instance, when recording Ride the Distant Storm we weren’t really sure what to do in the solo part - Atli suggested a harpsichord solo, and Ingi hated the idea. They  had a big argument in the studio, and got quite heated. Ingi, exasperated, declared that he would write a harpsichord solo and put it in there, just to demonstrate to us that it would be horrible. It turned out amazing and we all loved it, so it stayed in!

Lyrics! Who is responsible for the song lyrics? Which are your favorite topics? Do you try to pass any messages through your lyrics?

Bjarni E.: Atli has the honor of being our lyricist and our favorite topics would definitely be fantasy oriented, which is probably the most common in the power metal genre. The message we try to pass to our audience is to crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Who is responsible for the fantastic album cover? How does the album cover reflect the music content of the album?

Krilli: The album cover is by the talented James Childs. Atli saw his artwork and commissioned him to create our album artwork. I think the art is quite reflective of our music and the wider power metal vibe - A majestic dragon in a fantastical land, with adventurers on a quest in the foreground. Very power metal!

Which are your favorite fantasy movies and books?

Krilli: I’m a big fan of Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives series. One of our songs, The Way of Kings, is a reference to that series. I read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. One of my later favorites is the Steerswoman series by Rosemary Kirstein.

Many people say that European power metal is in decline nowadays. Do you agree with that? Which do you want your role to be as a newcomer band in the contemporary power metal scene?

Krilli: That may or may not be true. There are quite a few bands that have been doing extremely well lately with variations of power metal, such as Powerwolf, Sabaton, Gloryhammer, Battle Beast and Beast in Black. But I suppose that “classic” power metal isn’t as popular as it was ten years ago. Maybe that is why people enjoy our album. As for our role, I’m not sure if we’re really trying to play any. We just want to play our music and we’re flattered that people want to listen to it.

You are in the Atomic Fire roster! How did the deal with Atomic Fire come? Are you satisfied with the label?

Bjarni E.: It just kind of happened. Þorsteinn Kolbeinsson is a friend of ours, he is a concert organizer, and the organizer of the Icelandic Wacken Metal Battle and annual Icelandic Wacken group trip. We sent him the album once we finished, and he sent it to some music industry folks he knew - Including Markus Wosgien at Atomic Fire. Markus contacted us and asked if we would be interested in having a chat which ended up in us making a record deal. Yes, the collaboration between us and Atomic Fire has been working very well. Their roster is made up of very good people that are very nice to work with.

Which are your current activities? A tour maybe?

Bjarni E.: Well we are finally able to play again after the whole covid thing. We have some shows booked in Iceland this summer but we are not sure if we will be able to play abroad this year due to covid not being quite over. But the time will come, maybe not in 2022. But the time will come.

Have you started preparing your new, sophomore album? What should we expect from the new album of Power Paladin?

Krilli: We’ve written a couple of songs, but we are very much just starting out. Hopefully people will enjoy the next album, if we ever finish it, as much as the first!

Send your message to our readers!

Krilli: We are immensely flattered at the reception that our album has received. It is very strange and wonderful that people from all over the world are listening to and enjoying our music. We thank you so much!


Line-up:

Ingi Þórisson | guitars

Atli Guðlaugsson | vocals

Bjarni Egill Ögmundsson | keys

Einar Karl Júlíusson | drums

Bjarni Þór Jóhannsson | guitars

Kristleifur Þorsteinsson | bass

 

The 15th of May 2022, is going to be a historical date, since then the Breaking the Curse Festival is finally going to take place! Selefice, Piranha, Death Courier and Acid Earth will perform in Temple Athens and Myth of Rock is looking forward to this significant event. So, we talked with Piranha and John (guitars, vocals) about this upcoming festival, and other intriguing topics! Right below you can read what was exactly said!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos


How do you feel that you are going to play live in the Breaking The Curse Festival?

Hello Dimitris, we are counting down the days until the concert with great impatience because we have not done any gigs for two and a half years due to the pandemic, but also we are very happy that we will share the stage with our brothers in metal from the 90s. I believe that all the bands are looking forward to the time to go up to the Τemple stage. May 15th will be a historic night that everyone must experience!!!!!

 

How would you describe Piranha to a young listener, who doesn’t know the band and your music?

Well, we formed in 1987. We are one of the oldest metal bands in Greece and we play death/thrash metal. Our style is fast drums with heavy offensive riffs and hellish vocals and also some dark atmospheric and melodic brakes. We have released two demos and three records (LP and EP). We play together with many Greek bands such as Septic Flesh, Acid Death, Nightfall, Flames, Death Courier and also with major international names such as Destruction and Malevolent Creation.

Two years ago you released the “Arise from the Shadows” album. What do you think of that album now? Would you change something if you had the opportunity?

Our CD “Arise from the Shadows”, as we have mentioned several times, is our THANK YOU to everyone who supported us and continues to support us all these years, so we believe that it is our best release so far and we would not change anything.

Piranha was formed in 1987. What do you remember form the first days back in the late 80s/early 90s?

Having a metal band in the ‘90s was very different from today, because then there were few studios to rehearse with the band, there were also very few places and clubs to do concerts and of course, there was only one Greek record company that dealt with metal sound. Even the recordings were different then (the recordings were only analog, which you do not have the ability to copy/paste/erase that you have today in digital productions), so you spent many days in the studio. And the technology has changed, for example, in order to record guitars and bass then, you wanted heads and cabinets (amplifiers) that took up volume and space, therefore large studios, while now with amp modelers and multi effects everyone can write at home in his comfort. Also, promoting your music at that time was very difficult, because the band had to run from door to door and leave cassettes with its material, so that a radio producer or fanzine could hear it. Despite all these difficulties, we managed to release our first two albums “World’s Grave” and “Cancer” that made us well known in the Greek metal scene.

How different are things now in the Greek metal scene, compared with the early days? How much important is internet for the bands nowadays?

The Greek metal scene of the ‘90s was very limited, there were some bands that recorded records and gave concerts in small clubs to promote their music. But little by little, with the perseverance and hard work of Greek bands all these years, they managed to have a Greek metal scene today that competes on an equal footing with any other metal scene in the world. It is natural that the Greek scene with the passage of all these years has matured and has found its sound and also managed to have awesome bands in all metal styles. The internet changed everything in music and therefore changed the bands. The internet made it possible for musicians to communicate directly with the world just by pressing a few buttons on the computer/mobile phone. As a result, bands can advertise and promote their music worldwide much more easily and economically.

Which would be your advice to the young bands, who have just now started their career?

Our advice for new bands who want to enter the very demanding world of music is that they have to work hard on their songs and pay a lot of attention to their sound, because the competition is very high.

Your latest album was released by 7hard Records. How did it feel, co-operating with a German record label? Are you still in 7hard Records roster?

7hard was the first record company to respond, when we sent the promo of our new material and because we knew it from our friends Acid Death (which is the first Greek band they signed with) we decided to sign a five-year contract with them. The collaboration with them is about the same as with any other European record company, direct and aimed at promoting our CD (more abroad than in Greece). So far in the first two years we are on their roster there was difficulty in promoting our release due to the pandemic, but now that things are going better we hope to be able to have a good distribution in Greece. And to answer your question we are still in 7hard Records roster.

When should we expect the new Piranha full-length album? Have you already written new songs? Which are your new album plans?

It is early to say that we are preparing songs for our next release, because we have given all our attention to the promotion of "Arise from the Shadows", but to tell you the truth I have recorded some new riffs and I put them aside, so that we can use them when the time of our new creation has come.

Which was your worst and your best moment in Piranha’s history/career?

The worst moment of my career was in 1992, when I had to stop our concert at AN club due to an injury to my hand that I had suffered at the time and I did not pay attention to it. One of the best moments of my career was the concert we did at the SEF stadium that we played in front of more than 7.000 metalheads.

Send your message to the fans!

We would like to thank you Dimitri and Myth of Rock for giving us the opportunity to talk about our upcoming live. And we would also like to tell your readers/fans to take care of themselves during these difficult times and to stay healthy, so that we can all meet on May 15 at the Temple for total metal chaos!!!!!!!!! Stay safe, stay metal.

Myth of Rock is looking forward to attending the historic Breaking The Curse Festival at Temple Athens, in the 15th of May, 2022. Four Greek bands of the extreme metal scene, Acid Death, Piranha, Death Courier and Selefice, are going to perform live on stage. On behalf of the death metallers Death Courier, Billy Soulas talked with Dimitris Zacharopoulos and their chat was more than interesting! Keep on reading and don't forget - the local scene needs our support!


How do you feel that you are going to play live in the Breaking The Curse Festival?

This is definitely a return to our past as all the bands in this festival are coming way back from the beginning of the Greek metal scene …This is a reunion of a brotherhood!!!

Which are Death Courier’s music influences? Which are your music heroes?

Our main influences back in the beginning and always are Sodom, Possessed, early Kreator and Destruction, Razor and Morbid Angel.  My heroes are Tom Angelripper, Martin Ain from Celtic Frost,   David Vincent from Morbid Angel and Jeff Becerra from the almighty Possessed!!!!

I have always wondered why you chose the band name Death Courier! How did you pick that name?

We took our name from the demo tape ‘’The Courier” of the Danish band Samhain from the year 1985,  ….” primitive death metal first thought was evil courier and finally death courier”.

Who is responsible for the songwriting in Death Courier? What does inspire you to compose music and write lyrics?

I and George are making all music for Death Courier ….   Lyrics and music are coming from our personal nightmares and our way of understanding the twisted reality we all live in ….

Can you present to our readers your current line-up and Death Courier’s discography (full-length albums) until now?

Death courier is a three-piece band: Ilias Iliopoulos on the drums, George Petousis on the guitar and Billy Soulas on the bass and vocals. Our full length releases are “Demise” (1992), “Perimortem” (2013) and “Necrotic Verses” (2020).

Death Courier is one of the first big bands of the Greek extreme metal scene. How different were things back then in the beginning? Which are your feelings now that you are still active?

It was really difficult to create a band as all the things we know today as standards did not exist …no magazines, no internet, no instruments, no rehearsing places, no musicians, no concerts, really nothing….. everything started from nothing and this live festival is a reminder than these bands are first of all friends and the pillars of the Greek metal scene. Our only aim after all these years is to be part of this metal scene and play live.

Your latest album was “Necrotic Verses”. Are you satisfied with the album now, two years after its release?

The response worldwide was very satisfying, but since everything is blocked by the pandemic, we could not support the release as we planned ….. We are still waiting things to be back to normal again….

Greek extreme metal scene is famous all over the world. Why do you think this happens?

Hard work from many talented musicians and fresh ideas to mention some reasons of the worldwide respect and success of the Greek metal bands ….

Which are your plans for the future?

Make more live concerts and release more extreme music as we are working on that every day...

Send your message to the fans!

We would like to thank Myth of Rock Greece Webzine and you Dimitri for the support and to all friends out there join the couriers, support the Greek metal bands and music and stay united and core...

 

The 15th of May 2022 and the Breaking the Curse Festival are closing near! All fans of Greek extreme metal are waiting for this live meeting at Temple Athens, where we will enjoy four historic bands of the Greek Scene: Selefice, Piranha, Death Courier and Acid Death. Myth of Rock met Savvas Betinis, the mainman and bassist/vocalist of Acid Death, and has a nice chat, about this upcoming Festival and many other things. Read what follows and prepare for the '90s guard meeting!

Dimitris Zacharopoulos


How do you feel that you are going to play live in the Breaking The Curse Festival?

Yes, it is amazing! We hit the stage two years ago for the last time due to the entire pandemic situation, things worked really bad for all the bands. Now we hope all this thing will finish in some way, so, time for action!

Acid Death is one of the most historic Greek extreme metal bands. What does make Acid Death unique? What keeps the band still going?

Of course our love to music! Creating music is a serious part of our life. Acid Death is our ship for this creation-trip. That's the way we still exist, we still make new things. Hopefully we will remain in the scene for many, many years!

Greek extreme metal is very popular worldwide. Why do you think Greek extreme metal bands are so successful?

Yes, today we can say that Greek metal bands are a part of the entire metal scene worldwide. The reason is very simple. Greek bands today are working hard, really hard for making good music, good shows etc. This is something that everyone sees. We are sure things will be even better the next years!

Acid Death began its career in the late 80s/early 90s. Was it more difficult to play heavy metal in Greece then? Why?

Yes, it was.... Heavy metal was an “unknown” thing for most of the Greek music audience.  Radio, television weren't friendly to this kind of music, the bands were of course few and things were working really hard for all cases. No live-shows, very few record labels... Fortunately, things are totally different today.

Your latest album was “Primal Energies” (2019). Are you satisfied with the way the fans received the album? How do you see this album now?

Yes, we are really satisfied, actually we believe this is the best album we have made so far. Unfortunately, the pandemic situation didn't help us to promote is on the way we would like to do, making enough shows in Greece and Europe, but hopefully we will do it next period.

How did the pandemic affect you as a personality and as a musician? Do you think we will get out from this situation better and wiser as human beings?

Everyone was affected from the entire thing... Art generally stopped, we as musicians had to be isolated... No rehearsals, no temper for creation... Things seem to be on a good way at the moment, everyone wishes the pandemic thing to stop faster than government says...  

When should we expect Acid Death’s new album? What should we expect from this new album?

There are many ideas on the table, but we have a lot of work to do. We want to make an even better album than “Primal Energies”, so we will work hard for any new material.

Acid Death music is an amalgam of thrash metal and death metal, with progressive elements. If you had the chance to describe Acid Death and its music with five adjectives, which would be these adjectives?

Yes, that's right! The music elements come from thrash, death, industrial, and even jazz or fusion. We describe the current third season that the band exists with the following words: (Still) progressive (but more) death metal!

Which do you think was the worst and which was the best moment in Acid Death’s history, until now? And why?

Of course, the worst moment was the band break in 2001... We lost so many things that follow the years after that moment... The best moment is of course today. We are here, we are strong and ready to create new things!

Send your message to the fans!

Thank you so much for this presentation! We are waiting for you all on May 15th at Temple Athens! Let's tear down that place!!!