Hi there. Congratulations to your great new album. Please describe the reactions to the CD so far.
Hello! Well thanks for the kind words first of all, and second the reaction has been exactly what I'd expected thus far. It seems that everyone agrees that this is our best record to date, and I have to agree with them! We all worked harder than we've ever worked before and it's come out exactly like I knew that it would!!!
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
I care what our supporters think, sure. But by the same token I'm not tied to that, we as a band have to make the music that we want to make; I have to write what I want to hear, so if some are turned off by faster songs, or better/different production then that can't be helped. I've always wanted The Gates of Slumber to be the kind of band that a fan would want to hear what we are going to do next, and if it was unexpected I'd like to think that they would at least digest it before throwing it out. I like to think that our supporters are a bit more thoughtful than to dismiss anything we do out of hand.
It seems to me that "Hymns Of Blood And Thunder" is a bit more accessible for the listener than "Conqueror" and hits more directly. Would you agree?
I think that it's a more easy to digest record, it's our shortest, with fewer really long songs than before and that was by design. No reason to ram ideas to death, you know. I think as things have gone on we've discovered that to write even the most epic ideas you can do it in less time than you think: Stargazer was only 7 min. long!!! And that's the most epic song ever. Over all the feeling for this record was to show our more aggressive side, to bring that aspect of our playing out.
Let's talk about "The Doom Of Aceldama". Can you tell us something about this song and it's history?
It's one of Jason's songs, words and music... basically it's about the nature of Judas Iscariot and his relation to the story of Jesus Christ, how the story could not have happened if Judas hadn't done what he did. Jason likes to deal in religious icons in his writing, and it's always a challenge for me to do this as I'm an atheist!!! So being that I'm always up for a challenge it's a great song. Musically it's pretty cool to play, as well, so that helps a lot!
And what about "The Mist In The Mourning"? Who is the female singer, how did you come up with the idea, and what is the story behind this song?
The Mist in The Mourning is a song I wrote on a drug trip in a LondonHotel after our last tour of Europe - it's semi autobiographical and also a lament for all of my dead friends. As we'd been partying I got to thinking of all the guys I've known who have died, and there are more than a few, some violently, some from drugs... I'd say in my relatively short life I've lost more than my share. I was wondering why it is I'm still here and they are gone and those words and the melody is what came out that night between 1 and 4 in the morning. I knew that I didn't want it to be a heavy metal song with the full attack of a band it was more delicate than that, I also thought that it would benefit from having a female voice to sing it with me,
and there was one choice a friend of ours for years named Jaquelyn Palmer, as you hear she has a very tender voice and it worked very well I thought. I wrote the music some time later and we put the whole thing together in one day during the sessions. Sanford played the pump organ and Jason laid down the acoustic bass line... it's one of the most spontaneously creative
moments I've ever had.
Which one is YOUR favorite song from the album and why?
It's hard for me to say that really, because each song is a brother or a cousin to the next one. Our goal was to write an entire album, not just a collection of unrelated songs... but I'd have to say the one I fought hardest for was Beneath The Eye of Mars... I think getting Bob and Jason to understand the song was one of the hardest fights we've ever had. I'd written the whole thing outside the band and brought it in, which is the first time in a long time that's happened. There were very few changes made to it. Also I think it's got a lot of faces to it, doom, straight ahead headbanging metal, a bit of 70's prog... .
Are there some more lyrics that are special to you? Tell us somethingabout them.
On this record The Mist in The Mourning is the most special to me because it was a stream coming out of me, the others were a fight to get down and get right... not that there is anything wrong with working hard on lyrics or music or anything: I just find it especially satisfying when something is born whole.
Your album covers remind me of "The Savage Sword Of Conan" comic covers. Comment, please.
That's the idea! We wanted to do covers that have the power of the old Molly Hatchet record covers by Frazetta, of course we can't afford Frazetta, but there are a lot of people who are very influenced by him. The guy who's done our last couple of covers is named Vebjorn Stromann and he does the covers for the Norwegian edition of Conan!!! So it follows that it should look like a Savage Sword cover.
Your music combines Doom stuff, Old School Epic Metal, Classic Rock like Rainbow and even Celtic Frost sounds. In which direction will your next steps lead you to?
Right now it's hard to say, we are all focused on supporting ... Blood´and Thunder so very much that I haven't been able to keep my writing up as much as I usually do. I'd say that whatever it is it will be a bit different from ... Blood and Thunder. Maybe more barbaric sounding than ever before...maybe a proto metal sounding record with very natural guitars and a very 70's sound. I don't know yet.
We are looking forward to the Hammer Of Doom festival. What do you expect from this event?
I expect to redeem our lackluster performance at KIT! Ha, that was a hard gig for us this time we are not going to fuck around. Moreover though I want to see Count Raven, Spiritus Mortis, Death Row, and even Trouble... Eric Wagner is singing for Death Row, so I'm sure he'll get up and do some songs with Trouble!
How important is it for you to play live on stage?
It's very important, it's the part I love the best, it's just a shame that we don't get to do it as much as we used to.
Please describe your audience!
Blood and guts metal fans who aren't fools, trendies, or gullible. That's our fans. People who see through all the bullshit and go for what's real. That's one thing that I will always say about The Gates of Slumber, we are real - we've never followed trends or done what's popular we go with our hearts and brains always and we keep our own council as to what's what. I think our audience sees that in us and in themselves. And that's why I respect and really love them so very much! Beers to you my friends!!!
Please set up the running order for a perfect live concert evening. Choose freely.
Lucifer's Friend, Budgie, Cream, the In Trance line up of the Scorpions, Orodruin, Black Sabbath With Ian Gillan, Deep Purple, Rainbow with an after party where Manilla Road does the Mark of the Beast album with the line up from that era and Cirith Ungol does a set with the King of the Dead era line up.
What about further live activities?
After Hammer of Doom we are going to do a short tour leading us to Damnation Fest in England after that we tour with Pentagram in the US, and there are talks of a big European tour in the Spring, also a tour with Church of Misery around Roadburn fest... so things seem to be picking up at long last!!!
Is there a question left that you would like to answer? And what is the answer?
haha, no I'm good I'd just like to take this time to send out a Hallo to some of my German friends Jochen and MOD, Andrea at Metal Supremacy, Sevan at Raven Blacknight and Herm at Ancient arts wie geht es bei dir leute? Gut ich hoffe!!! Ich hoffe ganz sehr wir sehen uns bald!!!
We are glad to have you back Germany soon. Best whishes to you all. Any´finishing words?
Danke! Deutchland ist meine zweiter heimatt, wirklich, Ich habe ganz grosse liebe fur Deutchland und ich bins immer froh wann ich da bist!!! See you soon!