Thursday, December 24, 2009

interview: utopia in the metal realm of Infinity Overture (Denmark)

Interview: Infinity Overture (Denmark)

zine contact:
Metal Bulletin
P.O. Box 571794
Houston TX 77257-1794 usa

Infinity Overture (Denmark)
Power/heavy/symphonic metallers Infinity Overture’s “Kingdom of Utopia” impresses with traditional metal singing, upbeat, rocking songs and an elegant sound quality, and highlights very talented guitar work.
The skilled musicianship and the lush production gives this a fantasy regal metal feel. The singing, the guitar riffs and solos, and the songs are probably the most outstanding things about this album; of course, listeners will find other great things they like about it.
Explore to find skilled, talented musicians succeed at the chosen art. In short, for those into talented guitarists, singers and songs. Niels, the guitar wizard, answered these questions.

“Kingdom of Utopia” is high quality music! Have you been able to promote it in Denmark and how have people responded?
Hi Mauricio, thanks a lot for the kind words. Yes, we are based in Denmark, and we have been promoting the album a little bit live in Denmark until now, but we will play more shows in 2010, and we have a festival in Belgium also. And well, this music is not popular in Denmark unfortunately

Did Niels write all the music for the song “Wonderland”?
Yes, I (Niels Vejlyt) wrote all the songs, and when I did the album, I just had musicians play the parts, but thankfully we are now a complete band. Miro (a producer) did some of the film score style parts

Were the solos written before or in the studio for the song “Kingdom of Utopia”? Is the background sound keyboards, synth?
The guitar solos we written in the studio, which was a friend who owned, so I did not pay studio time when I recorded the guitars. The drums was another story, Me and Mads Wolf did those in a pro studio, but Mads was just a session player, Jakob Vand is now the Infinity Overture drummer. Miro is playing the keyboards, and the orchestrations I did is a programmed sequencer

Were the lyrics for “Oceans of Time” ready before the music?! How much sings here Ian Parry and Lene Peterssen?
Oceans of Time is a funny story, since I wrote all the songs and lyrics for the music, I also came up with the titles of the songs, but then Ian redid the lyrics, and we kept the Oceans of Time title, and he came up with a story for that title. It is actually a friend of mine called Anne Karine who did the female vocals on Oceans of Time, because at that time in the process, I had not met Lene.

How do you play those wonderful solos?! Your fingers should fall off! When did you start playing? You have instructional dvds?
Ha Ha, thanks, I have been playing guitar for about 20 years, I did some instructional releases for Chops from Hell and one for Shred Academy, and they are among other available from my own website, the website just had a new design and lots of great new features. I’m doing a new instructional dvd called “Advanced Arpeggios,” its very high quality, as opposed to the video quality in the old ones I did. Yes you can learn to shred from them if you have the discipline not to give up.

There’s a serious disease afflicting many youth: instead of learning to play their instruments and writing intelligent lyrics, they prefer “chug-chug-chug” guitar and lyrics about “sex with zombies,” etc. Can you help to cure this disease?
Ha Ha, no, actually I myself like a lot of different styles of music and metal of course, for me its important to find the qualities in all music.

Your idea of “utopia” of course concerns peace. Do you think that patriotism—the patriotism of an imperialist power like the U.S.—(“the United States is the greatest country”; and other such arrogance) has the purpose of supporting the government’s wars/occupations/invasions all over the world?
Actually Ian came up with the lyrics for Kingdom of Utopia, and he is much more politically involved than I am. And basically I don’t think its a good idea to think less of other cultures, every nation and human being has great qualities I think

Currently, there are hundreds of Danish troops in Afghanistan!! Are you prepared to support the Danish government’s participation in these wars in the Middle East for 10, 20 years?!
Well, as I said, I’m not that involved in politics, so its a bit tough for me to answer, but I think a lot of things can go wrong if people or soldiers enter a country, and they don’t respect the people in the country, on the other hand, maybe some of them are doing good, and helping people, I really don’t know.

Does Mads Damgaard play a six-string bass? Does it open up a whole series of other musical possibilities?
Mads Damgaards bass lines did not end up on the album, Olaf Reitmeier did some of the lines, and Kyle Honea did some, they are very different in style, but I completely adore their work on the album.

Finally, have you noticed that Infinity Overture’s singing often has a similar grit as Biff from Saxon?!!!!
I personally don’t have much experience with Saxon, but I remember someone else saying that. THE END.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Askans Arvet (Germany)
Two observations about Askans Arvet:
1. It is true that their sound is undoubtedly raw black metal, and as interesting as that is, it is in their imaginative framework of black metal plus hooks, folk/prog shades where the treasure lies.
2. They have a willingness to change the different sides separately, as in “Welke Blumen” (“Withered Flowers”) by itself and also together, within the context of a single song, as in the title track of their recording “Das Vermächtnis der Asche” (8:36) (“Legacy of the Ashes”) which goes back and forth between tremolo grim raw shrieked blasting black metal and mellow/proggy moments. Good!

You recorded in your rehearsal room?! Sounds good!! Do you know sound engineering? The recording has a pretty good quality, right?
Yes, that is correct. We recorded Erleuchtung in the beginning of 2009 and the rest of our Demo in the summer. The demo was produced with help of Tom Schreyer from the second band of Thomas and Max who knows a bit about sound engineering.
Most Black Metal Bands have a sound that reminds us of a broken radio. Perhaps a lot of them think that the true Black Metal spirit only can be felt like that. For sure Black Metal has to sound different to other genres, but that does not mean that you have to lower the quality.

Drummer Valentin does drums and vocals. Is this also true live?
Yes, he also plays drums and sings live. He manages that good so far although it is difficult. Nevertheless we are looking for a separate singer for the performance.

Askans Arvet is definitely fast black metal. In addition, you have songs that are serene. Is there a “compromise” that Thomas Freytag writes serene, folky songs and Alexander Zaun writes more traditional black metal songs?
Definitely no. At the moment our most songs where composed by Alexander but everyone of us writes some songs. Thomas has also composed a few traditional black metal songs that will be played in the future. Welke Blumen actually was an exception because it was not really written for Askans Arvet. If there will be more songs like that in the future, they will be released as a solo project of Thomas.

How to get copies of your recording?
To get a Copy of our Demo you can write an E-Mail to, with your complete address and a request for “Das Vermächtnis der Asche”. We will tell you the cost and an address where to send the money or our bank connection in case you want to transfer it.

Do you promote a political message? Your lyrics seem personal, existential, of the meaningless of existence, grief, death, etc.
No, we do not promote a political message. And Thomas who has written the most lyrics definitely does not think that existence is meaningless. The lyrics deal with the decay of the good side of existence. You can find a lot of beauty in nature for example. Humanity in its present form destroys a lot of this beauty as well as in nature and in the creative side of the humankind.

You lyrics are in German. Will all your songs be in German?
We think that ones mother tongue is the best opportunity to receive the message or the image that is delivered in the lyrics without distorting it. And by the way, it is clear that we do not have time to practice a non-native language on a level that allows us to express things in the same way.

You’re based in Aachen, Germany. How’s life there for the band?
Aachen is a pretty nice city for fans of metal music because there is a huge amount of people who like it. Of course, it is not easy for a young band to get good gigs, but we played in a few very cool locations 2009 and we plan a few other concerts for the beginning of 2010.

What motivated “Durch den Spiegel” (“Through the Mirror”)?
Durch den Spiegel describes a person who lost the ability to have aesthetical experiences and wants to die because for this person the aesthetic was the only good thing in life.

What does the name Askans Arvet mean?
Askans Arvet means in German “Das Vermächtnis der Asche” and can be translated with the “legacy of the ashes”. This means to us that every end means also the beginning of something new.

Is the song “Welke Blumen” part of a poem? You use the phrases “Lieblich glitzert der Reif…” (“Lovely glitters the frost”) in quotes? Is that not your own?
All lyrics are written only by Thomas. In “Welke Blumen” the phrases “Lieblich glitzert der Reif …” are in quotes because they are sung by the “Blumen“ (flowers) who cry for the lost mother nature.

What else?!
We would like to thank everyone who is interested in our music.
Greetings from Aachen. Askans Arvet. THE END.
Hirax (U.S.)
Their new album, “El rostro de la muerte” (The Face of Death), presents a power-packed guitar sound, supported by song-centered, speedy drumming in to-the-point compositions. High-energy screamer vocalist Katon details the functioning of a working, travelling band sweating out their metal through a bunch of different countries and rolling on through your town.
Hirax is heavy metal thrash of the fast kind, and a no-nonsense approach is their trademark. They have quite a list of recorded music, going back to their role in the period of classic 80s thrash. For lots more info:


Hello, Katton and Hirax. You recently toured Texas, then Chile and Argentina. How was Texas and South America?! And Puerto Rico, too??! Hirax is very busy right now!!
KATON: Hello Mauricio - Metal Bulletin. YES, we are VERY busy, just finishing up the final stages of our 2009 tour and we have just returned home from Puerto Rico. All of the tours/concerts were very successful! We had a great time! Texas was very good and South America (Chile and Argentina) were totally crazy! Our fan base is growing bigger each time we return to the countries/territories that we have toured through before. We are quite happy.

HIRAX has lots of albums. How can people get copies? itunes? copies of the cds? What is Black Devil Records?
KATON:, iTunes, & we are distributed worldwide by Seasons of Mist, Century Media and Nuclear Blast. Black Devil Records is our own record label, run and owned by us. We still manufacture CD and Vinyl versions of all of our releases. Keep an eye out for the new album, "El Rostro de la Muerte." There are some very special surprises upcoming: a 12" picture disc and 12" LP version, both are coming soon!

Metallers in Mexico hold Hirax in high regard. Are your Spanish-language song titles a tribute? Do you speak Spanish, by the way?
Yes, we have just released our new CD, our first full length in 5 years. It has being received tremendously well so far! Yes, the Spanish title it a tribute to all of our Spanish speaking fans worldwide. To be honest with you, my Spanish is not so good, but through our travels through Central and South America, Puerto Rico and Spain my español is improved each time we return. Mexico it is a very special place for us, we love it! Some of our most die hard fans are from there. Every time we play the song, "El Diablo Negro" in concert no matter where we are. We pay respect to our brothers and sisters throughout Mexico!!

What are the lyric topics for this time around? The capitalist system sure seems to produce lots of wars and a lot of poverty, and you were already talking about that in the 80s, but now it’s a huge crisis of capitalism worldwide!
The topics we cover are everything from religion, poverty, greed, mass destruction, fear tactics, world history, evolution of man, etc. As to frustration with capitalism, wars and poverty; it is a fight that I think we will all have to deal with until the day we die. As far back as you can go in civilization there has always been wars and capitalism. The rich and the poor will always have conflicts. Unfortunately, that is the sad truth. All of our albums, including "El Rostro de la Muerte" come with the lyrics sheets included so you can read and understand what HIRAX is all about and what we are committed to spreading the word of our message: peace through music.

And talk about “Bombs of Death” now in Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan!
Obviously we are a band committed to peace and humanity. All wars are bad! Plain and simple. Nothing good ever comes out of it. I think that the main problem is people understanding other traditions and not condemning other religions. I believe that everybody should be able to worship whatever god they want to. We are all created equal and we all bleed the same

Do you, Katton, have time for hobbies and family?
HIRAX consumes all of my time. The only family I have is my wife, who also helps me run the daily business of HIRAX; and she is totally into metal, so we are a great team; and HIRAX is our child. Everyday, 7 days a week, it is music. The band continually keeps us busy. But I love it, and I am happier than I ever have been, but busier than ever before!

What from “El rostro…” are you playing live currently?!
We will probably rotate songs, but the four that I can tell you right now that are part of the live set are the title track "El Rostro de la Muerte", "Eradicate Mankind", "Flesh and Blood" and the opening track from the album, "Baptized by Fire". But I can't give away all of the surprises.

Napalm Death has covered Hirax. What did you think?! There’s probably quite a few bands that have covered HIRAX! Have you met Merciless Death and others inspired by HIRAX and classic thrash?
Pretty much most of the newer thrash metal bands I have met. Merciless Death is just one of them. They are really nice guys. Most of the newer young thrash metal bands have opened up for us at one time or another. We are honored that so many bands are inspired by our music. As to Napalm Death's version of our song, "Hate, Fear and Power," I really liked the way they did it. They did it justice and they played it brutal, the way it should be.

How you ever played your classic albums “Raging Violence” and “Hate, Fear and Power” in their entirety live?!
No, and we never will. That is just not what we are about. We try to play all of the classics and some of the more unknown tracks from our entire catalog. We just believe that everybody has different favorites, so we wouldn't want to just play one full album all the way through. We like to keep it exciting and fresh. Sometimes we like to throw songs into the set that people weren't expecting. Our motto is to keep the fans guessing; it makes for a better concert.

On those two albums there are moments of blast beats. How aware of that were you all back then? You seem to not have wanted to use it a bit more? Why?
Yes, we are aware of that. It is an honor to be considered one of the forefathers of that movement. Now and again you will continue to hear us do that style of drum patterns. If you look through other albums of ours, such as "Barrage of Noise" you can hear similarities. Or especially on "The New Age of Terror" there is a song titled, "Into the Ruins" that is reminiscent of our early stuff. The main thing for HIRAX is that we don't do blast beats just for the hell of it. If it fits the song, then we will use it. We deliberately try to always make our music fit the drum beats, but don't be surprised if you hear more blast beats in the future. Even if we don't use them, I can guarantee that we will always play FAST and HEAVY because THAT IS WHAT WE DO!!

What are HIRAX’s touring commitments for 2010?
KATON: I along with Glenn Rogers - lead guitars, Lance Harrison - lead guitars, Steve Harrison - bass, Jorge Iacobellis - drums will be doing a lot in 2010. We are going to be on the road in support of the new album. We hope to be touring most of the year: Europe, Japan, South, Central and North America, etc. Stopping only to record some videos for the new album.

When are you coming back to Houston, Texas?
Summer 2010. We will carry all HIRAX titles, t-shirts, and patches on tour at our official HIRAX merchandise stand. But you can also go to our website to buy copies