DESERT NEAR THE END (for Metal Hammer Greece #381)

Metal Hammer Greece 381So here is the epilogue of the trilogy that started with your debut, can you say some things about it..

Indeed! we finally made it here, right? So our last album ended with a prophecy, here we begin with it's completion. We have the birth/return of our hero in the world that he left so many years ago. In a world that now is ravaged by war. In his journey he chooses not to lead but secretly walk beside mankind and be a fellowman. And when a new legend begins to form around his name, he walks away in order to be an inspiration and not an idol who will enslave with deeds that noone else can do. And somewhere there, at the middle of the album, and more specifically at the song "A Martyr's Birth" the narration shift from the hero to mankind and how they handle this inspiration. You could say it's a battle between a creator and his creation. At the end of course men always find their way, no matter how many pieces they leave behind, and one of these are their inspirations and idols, or that could be the plan from the start. So our story ends with the track "At the Shores " with our hero where we found him three albums ago, on seashore alone. Only then he couldn't remember anything and now he remembers everything.

How you came up with the title of the album?

The title was pre decided many years ago because the lyrics of the title song of the album were written a long time ago. Around the time when we writing our first album. So the beginning and the end of the story were known to us, the things in the middle were unclear. So we knew from the start that our third album was going to be named "Theater of War". The title of course has a second meaning outside the concept, it's about how almost every war is a theater, a stage show who hides it's real face and purpose behind slaughter and bloodshed. An expensive show which costs lives.

The story went as planned from the start? or did you drift away by making use of the privilege of the story teller to change the course of things?

That's for sure! Some things, as I said earlier, were known to us but all the rest were found on the way. Even the things that stayed the same on the surface, they may got a new meaning or symbolism through the years, because the journey, and how you get from one place to another, defines things! And to speak a litle more personal, as I am responsible for the story and there are many peronal things and thoughts of mine hidden inside the lyrics, there are things that we carry along the way with us forever, but their significance change as we change and that's the way it should be!
We must remember why we loved something at some point but why we love it still it's something that we must rediscover constantly! Even if we refer to a band, a record, an event or a person!

Do you feel that the concept album are over or we should expect something like that again in the future?DNTEMETALHAMMER1

I don't know about the future but for now propably no. Not that the songs in the next album will be all over the place lyrically. I believe that all the coherent albums are concepts in a way! But when it comes to strict storytelling, no, I don't think the next album will be a concept.

When it comes to music I believe that "Theater of War" is easily your best effort to this day. What you did you do different this time?

Thank you! That's what we think too! We are crazy happy with how the album turned out both song-wise and sound-wise. Honestly we love all our albums, they are paintings of who we were, and how we got here that we are today! But now for the first time we had the experience and the know-how to tell 100% what we wanted the way we wanted! That's why we decided to make a big step forward in our sound and to work with Tue Madsen and Antfarm studio for the mix and the mastering of the album. I love his work especially with Heaven Shall Burn and I wanted him to work on the album. And the man made the album sound exactly as we hoped!

Also, it sounds more aggressive than your previews works and at the same time it also appears to be more melodic than ever. That's a very attractive contradiction as long you are able to hold a balance...

Yes indeed, the contradiction and the combination of these two elements is crucial to metal, at least as I, with my background, perceive it. And the balance between them must exist in the decree that every song demands. And definitely was out intention this album to be more of "everything" because, apart from everything else, the story demanded it!

Thrash, Power, Doom, Eastern Folk Metal, modern Metal... a cocktail that you combine very effectively...

Thank you! That's exactly what we want. Everything that you mentioned and even more are our influences and we want them to be heard in our music. Everyone has his own start as a listener and as the years pass our influences become richer and richer but if we were sincere from the start why should we leave anything behind?

Alexandros shows big improvement in his vocals, especially in the clean/melodic parts. How did this happened? Did he make any lessons? Did he work more in the studio?

Yes he sounds even better this time! He did all the things that you mentioned but l believe that the all the shows we had the chance to give since our last album helped him also!

You still don't have a permanent member behind the drums, right? Who takes the credits for the drums on the album?

That's a difficult story and we are thankful to our friend George Tzitzifas from AmongRuins who help us in our shows! But we still hope! In the album the drums are programmed by me. We are very lucky that technology give us this ability!

I beleve that "Season of the Sun" is a song that was missing from your albums, as it features constant tempo changes and clearly shows you abilities. I think it's my favorite in the album. As also "At the Shores" which is not a typical song from you. For which song you feel especially proud?

"Season of the Sun" is a very important song for the album and for the concept in general! Actually it's one of the first songs I wrote for the concept many years ago. And along with "Road to Nowhere" from our last album and the title track from "Theater of War" form a trilogy within the albums trilogy! All three should be in "Theater of War" but "Road to Nowhere" was completed long before the other two and enthusiasm led us to put it in the last album "Hunt for the Sun". Bad call! It should be right beside the other two. "At the Shores" is out guitarist contribution in the album and is a beautiful song and exactly what we needed as an epilogue for the concept. I had the lyrics for the end of the story and I knew that they wouldn't fit in an aggressive song but I couldn't find the right music, maybe because they are my favourite lyrics and the more personal! So when Thanos came and told me that he has the music for a song, but it doesn't fit with the rest of the album, I asked to hear it, and when he played it I knew immediately that it was exactly what we needed! Very quickly I adjust my lyrics upon it and the album found it's fitting epilogue! As for which song I am more proud, that would be "Theater of War". It took me more time to complete and it summarizes all the band stands for!

As true ofspring of the 90's, what do you miss more from that era?

The truth is that I miss some things from the 90's, but to be sincere the thing that I miss more is my age back in those years! The age when you discover metal and everything sounds fresh and magical! Everyone of us has some albums that came out when we were young and we literally grew up with them and we believe that nothing like this will ever come out again! We may be right, we may be wrong, but because this will be read by younger and older people and everyone has it's own answer in this question let's not nag about it! Thankfully metal is still here with great albums coming out from everywhere and all the time! It just need a litle more effort from older listeners to find the magic again!

We are in the middle of the second decade of the new millennia. As a fan, how do you see the last 6 years?

Great! It's that simple! We have, I don't know how many, great albums from small, big, new, old or very old bands. And what is more important more and more albums break the boundaries between gengres of metal and those albums turn out to be the most interesting if I may say! Because I see that many people tend to listen to bands that play safe when it comes to boundaries and styles of metal and I consider this as not a good thing. But what can we do? It's their loss. But in general the second decade of the new millenia is super. When it comes to music of course.



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