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Interviews   

Pop Evil: towards the light


Pop Evil 2015

It is a fact of life that finally meeting success when you’ve spent years slaving away and trying to succeed by yourself is going to change your perspectives. You’ll see life in a new, brighter light. You stop pining and make the most of all the good things that are now available to you to keep the momentum going, because you know where you’re coming from. That’s exactly what Pop Evil are doing now. The band is back with Up, a new, much more positive and optimistic album. When they landed in Seattle to create their fifth record, alongside producer Adam Kasper (known for his work with big names of rock like Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, the Foo Fighters, or Queens Of The Stone Age), they were moved by a simple desire to have fun, collaborate, and refine their identity.

Pop Evil don’t take anything for granted, and know that they’re only at the beginning of the journey and need to keep going. That, in substance, is what singer Leigh Kakaty told us in the following interview, which mostly covers the genesis of Up. There’s no doubt this record will keep Pop Evil on American wavebands for a long time, and the delighted frontman sees that as proof of a job well done.

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Interviews   

Brian “Head” Welch (Korn): God and Metal


Brian "Head" Welch - KornThe Hellfest storm has abated, the wind has died down and the sand has settled. Calmly. Peacefully. Head, Korn’s co-founder and guitarist, who left the team in 2005 only to come back in 2013, has met God and His son. He has spent time away from the rock business to write and publish his first autobiographical book, the aptly named “Save Me From Myself”. Since then, long before he was even back in Korn, he’s been spreading the good word and sowing his Christian ideals in the metal world. At the end of the month, French-speaking people will be able to read his second book, “Stronger: Forty Days of Metal and Spirituality”, a collection of his favorite verses and the personal thoughts that go with them.

In the leather-smelling Gibson bus, Head is waiting to answer questions regarding his faith, his beliefs and his dogma. What are his thoughts on extreme metal bands? What is his position nowadays in the rock business? What do some of his tattoos mean? As you’ll see for yourself, the man doesn’t so much turn the other cheek as offer to hug the entire world.

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Interviews   

Oomph!: music for your body and soul


Dero - Oomph!You’d think that after twenty-five years, an artist’s creativity and sincerity would be a bit worn out by success and routine. We talked to singer Dero on the occasion of the release of Oomph!’s new album, the aptly-named XXV. To him, the band is all about permanent sincerity and soul-searching – more so than ever on this album, which seems to have been an outlet for Dero and made the band question their music, especially after the unidentified musical object that was Des Wahnsinns Fette Beute. Whether he’s expressing his emotions or just looking at the world, Dero strives to be as precise and subtle as possible, avoiding clear-cut opinions and Manichean analyses. When he talks about his life, he doesn’t leave anything out.

Oomph! have been around for twenty-five years now. During this time, the band built a rich and deeply varied discography, full of surprises and reinventions. And yet it was an offspring of theirs, Rammstein, that eventually appealed to a larger audience. As Rammstein’s historic influence, the comparison between the two projects was inevitable. And yet Dero describes two different approaches and states of mind, and his praise has a hint of sarcasm is it…

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Interviews   

Max Cavalera, archangel of metal


Soulfly 2015A little Soufly here, some Killer Be Killed there, a bit of Cavalera Conspiracy, and back to Soulfly – you just can’t stop Max Cavalera. Apparently, the man and his buddies are already planning a second Killer Be Killed record next year, and even some new Cavalera Conspiracy material. Cavalera is insatiable, but that doesn’t mean Archangel, Soulfly’s tenth album, shouldn’t be taken seriously. After all, it was Soulfly that helped him get back to his feet in 1998, after his painful departure from Sepultura.

As he explains in the following interview, he had a hard time and put a lot of pressure on himself. This new album had to be memorable, so naturally he picked the main themes from the Bible, added a certain celebration of metal to the whole thing, and engaged the services of producer Matt Hyde, who tackled the project most effectively.

Max Cavalera tells us all about Archangel, its conception, its themes, and its state of mind, as well as the importance of Soulfly in his life, since the band allows him all the freedom in the world and, according to him, “pushes back the limits of metal”.

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Interviews   

Soilwork: bound for life


Björn "Speed" Strid - SoilworkOnly a few weeks after we last talked to him, alongside guitarist David Andersson, we’re back on the phone with Bjorn “Speed” Strid – which makes sense when you realize the man has released two exceptionally good albums in quick succession, with The Night Flight Orchestra and Soilwork. Since we already questioned him about the former, this time we talked about the latter and The Ride Majestic, the new album. Released after the mastodon that was The Living Infinite, their double record from 2013, The Ride Majestic has benefitted from its predecessor from a creative point of view, and in the way the band redefined itself during the experience. But it is also a special album in its own way: not only is it the first without the band’s original bass player, Ola Flink, it was also created in rather tragic circumstances, as the musicians went through the death of several loved ones. Speed tells us how these events have left a mark on the music and the themes of the album, and even mentions his own vision of death.

A few days before this interview was originally posted, Speed made available an interesting two-part documentary on the conception of the album and the origins of the band. This gold mine for the fans, which sometimes delves into intimate details, has inspired a few of our questions, mainly regarding Speed’s ska/reggae past, or the fact that he liked to take naps listening to black metal when he came back from school in his younger years.

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Interviews   

The Dead Daisies: Spotlight on John Corabi


John CorabiConnoisseurs will be happy to see vocalist John Corabi once again fronting a band on par with his talent. Many of us discovered his warm, powerful, slightly rasping voice on Mötley Crüe’s excellent self-titled album, released in 1994. Some of us followed him with his band Union, featuring former Kiss member Bruce Kulick. But it was clearly when he replaced Jon Stevens this year in The Dead Daisies (a supergroup that features such musicians as mercenary bassist Marco Mendoza or current Guns N’ Roses members Richard Fortus and Dizzy Reed) that he was truly back in the spotlight.

It all started with a trip to Cuba for Corabi and The Dead Daisies. The band immersed themselves fully into the local culture and were deeply marked by it – so much so that they gave their new album a Spanish title, Revolución, and created a photo book and a documentary to go with it. Musically, Cuba’s influence isn’t all that noticeable (except through a few percussions), but the record is a collection of cheerful, authentic rock songs, with an undercurrent of soul music at times.

We talked to the singer about all this when the band stopped by Paris to open for Kiss. And even when he’s simply talking in that deep, slightly hoarse voice of his, you can’t help thinking that the man has one rare set of vocal cords…

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Interviews   

Symphony X: An album saved from the darkness


Michael Romeo - Symphony X“It used to be better” is something you hear with every new generation. Nobody can deny the music industry is changing; it has already changed, and some will say it hasn’t always been for the best. Faced with a trend of quick listening over which the single format reigns supreme, we can legitimately wonder what will become of the album format. Not the album as a collection of songs, mind you – the album as a carefully thought-out piece, as an indivisible whole. The kind that takes you on a small trip, or indeed a big journey you’ll remember years after, every time you listen to it. Does this type of album still have a future? Will so-called “classics” still exist in the years to come? Do they even exist nowadays?

That’s the kind of questions Symphony X tried to answer when they wrote their new album, Underworld. We in metal are lucky: our artists are still very much attached to that generous format, which allows them to develop their creativity. But what guitarist Michael Romeo really wanted was to consciously craft that format, taking inspiration in great albums that have gone down in history.

That’s in part what we talk about in the following interview, as well as the origin and the conception of this album, inspired by themes straight out of Dante’s Inferno or the myth of Orpheus, and peppered with references to the number three.

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Interviews   

Powerwolf: The crusade is escalating


Powerwolf 2015

Could Powerwolf take over heavy metal, as part of a new generation that will eventually replace the dinosaurs of the genre? If Falk Maria Schlegel and Roel Van Helden (the pack’s keyboardist and drummer, respectively) are to be believed, it could well be the case – and their ever-growing success seems to back them up. After all, Powerwolf work with all the best ingredients: a strong musical and visual identity, heaps of actual hymns, super entertaining shows, regularity, consistency in their musical offerings, etc. The band have recently released their sixth album, Blessed & Possessed, which comes after the very successful Preachers Of The Night. The fans shouldn’t be disappointed: this new album is in perfect line with the rest of their discography.

We talked about these subjects with the two musicians, and about the band’s trademarks: religious and horrific themes, their taste for cliché, their sense of entertainment, etc. This very laidback conversation also allowed us to witness how much they love to joke around and have fun. But don’t go thinking they’re a band of “jokers”: to them, music is serious business!

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Interviews   

Between The Buried And Me: Music to cancel out lethargy


Tommy Rodgers by Brandon Gable“Conventions” is not a word that belongs in the vocabulary of a band like Between The Buried And Me, who just keep breaking the codes of what is “recommended” or what you “should do” in music. In short, this is progressive music in its purest sense, music to cancel out the lethargy brought about by various kinds of formatting.

Coma Ecliptic, Between The Buried And Me’s new opus, is more than just a concept album: it’s a kind of metal opera, telling the story of a man in a coma. Vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Giles Rogers uses it to draw a parallel with the tendency people have to not enjoy life as it is given to them, as if they were in a coma (like the character) and dreaming of things that they cannot have.

Only a few months after releasing his solo record, Modern Noise, the frontman talks about his band’s seventh album, which they already consider to be a new chapter in their career – maybe even a new era.

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Interviews   

The Night Flight Orchestra: A trip through classic rock


The Night Flight Orchestra - David & BjornThe fashion in rock nowadays leans towards retro, with a superabondance of bands offering their own version of the “seventies” or “eighties” spirit – with various degrees of success. The Night Flight Orchestra and their retro sound have a certain something that clearly sets them aside from the teeming masses and will make you feel that they did not simply jump into the bandwagon. The following interview does nothing but strengthen that feeling: first of all, the musicians’ experience gives them a certain intuitive freedom in their music and allows them to explore every aspect of classic rock. And above all, The Night Flight Orchestra never lapses into 70s pastiche or 80s irony. Their music is genuine, passionate, and full of joie de vivre – all qualities that are clearly highlighted in their second record, Skyline Whispers, that we just can’t recommend enough.

We talked at length to the two men behind one of the most exciting classic rock projects of the last few years: vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid and guitarist David Andersson, both of them known for playing in Soilwork, a highly different but still extremely talented band.

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  • Saturday, 30 January 2016 à 12:03
    Brian “Head” Welch (Korn): God and Metal
    Tuesday, 5 January 2016 à 23:29
    Tobias Sammet explains the Avantasia mystery
    Tuesday, 5 January 2016 à 19:24
    The passion according to Sebastian Bach
    Thursday, 24 December 2015 à 6:00
    Johanna Sadonis makes a pact with Lucifer
    Friday, 23 October 2015 à 23:49
    California Breed on a bright, sunny highway
    Monday, 19 October 2015 à 19:06
    Pat McManus in perfect honesty
    Monday, 19 October 2015 à 14:37
    Powerwolf: The crusade is escalating
    Monday, 19 October 2015 à 0:06
    Orden Ogan: the monks are in battle order
    Sunday, 18 October 2015 à 15:53
    ACDC IN PARIS
    1/3
    base
    kprod