Iron Angel is one of the true cult legends of the German Speed Metal genre. Now the time has finally come for the long awaited come-back album from Iron Angel - the first studio album in over 30 years! "Hellbound" will be released as a big priority on the 4th of May 2018 worldwide through the danish metal-rock label Mighty Music. We had a talk with the drummer Mäx Behr about the new album.
Hallo. First of I would like to congratulate you on your new album. Why did you choose this title for the record?
Max: The album was originally supposed to be called "Phoenix from the ashes", but after finishing the recording process, someone from outside the band suggested we should make "Hellbound" the title track and therefore rename the album to Hellbound, which is what happened.
When did you start working on this album, how long did the process take from the first step to the final product? Was it hard to write new material for this record or did it come naturally for you?
Max: The whole creative process came together pretty naturally, still it actually took quiet some time to turn the ideas into real songs. It all started already back in Spring of 2015, when Mitsch wrote the first two songs musically ("Writing´s on the wall" and "Ministry of metal") for a potential new album. At that point most members of the band were not yet focusing on creating new songs for the band. Eventually Dirk joined him and helped with the arragements for some of the other songs. When I joined the band in Spring of 2017, seven songs were written musically and about a week later we all sat down and went over the arragements, I started writing the lyrics and we reworked an old demo, which turned out to be "The unnamed one". The remaining three songs were finished in the studio.
Where did you record the album, and who produced it? How did the cooperation go between the band and the producer?
Max: We recorded the album at the Rosenquarz Studios in Lübeck, Germany. Mitsch had already recorded one album there with his former band and suggested the studio to us. Michael Hahn produced, mixed and mastered the album, while we did the tracking and engineering with Andreas Georg Libera. The recording itself went pretty smoothly, considering that for some of us it was kind of a rush, however the mixing phase turned out to be more difficult, yet we managed to come up with a great result in the end and that´s all that matters. We were always in contact with one another and constantly exchanging ideas on how we think the album should sound, so it was a very vivid atmosphere.
Are you trying to express something through your music?
Max: What certain types of music can make you feel may vary from person to person, but as long as you can get a hold onto it emotionally in one way or the other, it is done in the right manner. The message that each song has can very much be experienced individually. Apart from that the lyrics should most likely form a unit with the song, so that may give the listeners more insight to a song´s character as well.
Since we are closing in on the release date of the album, how has the response from the press been?
Max: The responses ranged from very good to OK. No one stated anything dramatically bad about it. We feel though, that some reviewers totally missed the point with their critique. I mean, listening to "Hellbound" and complaining about it being an oldschool Speed-Metal record is really redundant, like what did they expect? We´re still Iron Angel after all. The most important thing is, that we are happy with it and that our fans will be happy with it and we are 100% sure, that this will be exactly the case.
You've already released the first songs online for your fans to hear, how has the new material been received from the fans so far?
Max: Late last year we released a lyric video for "The unnamed one" (which will be featured as a bonus track on some editions) and despite that song being somewhat different from what people were expecting, the reactions were really positive. The first real single was "Ministry of metal" and that was exactly what people wanted to hear from us. The song itself seemed to be universally praised, however the video for it received rather mixed reactions. In a couple of days from now, we will release another new song entitled "Blood and leather". This song is very special to us, because it seems to unify all the different aspects of the album within itself and it has some of Dirk´s best vocal lines on it in my opinion, plus I really like the lyrics I did for it.
Who did the artwork and what is the idea behind it?
Max: The artwork was done by a polish fan of ours by the name of Leszek Wojnicz Sianozecki, who contacted us via Facebook. As I stated earlier, the album was supposed to be called "Phoenix from the ashes" and Leszek drew us two covers and each depicts a scene of rising. The one we used for the album cover has two demons slaying an angel and thus, hungry for revenge, the spirit of the angel emerges from it´s dead body and is ready to infringe vengeance upon it´s punishers. The other cover, which we used for the "Ministry of metal" Single, depicts an actual phoenix rising from the inside of a volcano. Sadly, after changing the album´s title, there´s no real relation between the cover and the title anymore, other than the "Hell"-aspect. That´s the story behind all that.
How would you compare the material on this release to your previous material?
Max: It really ties in with our legacy, yet, as the first two Iron Angel albums, it has it´s own distinctive character and that is really important. We didn´t want to copy ourselves and we didn´t, still we managed to create and album, that truly captures the essence of what Iron Angel is about.
What kind of stuff did you grow up listening to, and what kind new music do you listen to these days?
Max: Personally I happend to grow up with a lot of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal at a very young age. Most of the guys in the band came in touch with that sort of music while they were in their teens. We all still pretty much listen mostly to the old stuff, since it was more genuine and better for that matter. There are a only few bands that I like, that have a more modern touch to them, like Trivium for instance.
Have any of these bands been source of inspiration for the album?
Max: We didn´t rely on outside inspiration when we craft our own music. Of course, the things that you like to hear will always somehow find their way into your system, but we were not looking for ideas or anything in different places.
In your time as musicians, what is your biggest musical achievement so far and what has been your biggest experience through the years?
Max: Three of us were part of the line-up, that toured south america in 2015 and all of them state, that this was the biggest thing they´ve ever done.
Could we expect any European tour and maybe see the band in action here in Denmark any time soon?
Max: You will definitely see us in denmark, because we already have two shows for denmark confirmed. The first one will be at the Nordic Noise Festival in Copenhagen on the 11th of May and just a week later we are going to headline the Heavy Agger Festival on the 19th of May. More dates will hopefully follow soon
What would be the ultimate tour, festival or show for you to play at?
Max: Hmmm, difficult question. I think it mostly depends on the bands you´re with and the audience and basically every show can turn into something incredible.
Do you have any breaking news with the bands?
Max: As I stated earlier, there will be a new single. On the 20th of April, Mighty Music will release our second single (accompanied with a lyric video) called "Blood and leather". Apart from that, we´re very busy rehearsing and putting together a schedule for some more shows. We also managed to start writing the first couple of new tracks for a potential successor to "Hellbound".
That's all we've get this time, do you have anything that you'd like to add or say?
Max: We hope you will enjoy our new record "Hellbound", out on 4th of May via Mighty Music, and see us at one of our shows. Thanks for reading. ;-)
We would like to say thanks a lot for your time. And we wish all you guys all the luck in the future whatever it might bring.
- Band/Kunstner: Iron Angel
- Interview med: Mäx Behr (Drums)
- Interview dato: Fredag, 20 April 2018
- Samarbejdspartner: Mighty Music