sexta-feira, 14 de dezembro de 2012

Iron Fire: Danish Power Metal Icons

(Leia a versão em português aqui)

The story of Iron Fire began writing in 1995, starting out with the name "Misery", soon changed to "Decade of Darkness, and  then, also motivated by the changes in their sound, which came to a side "True Metal", a term used to describe the Traditional Metal contemporary what was being done by bands like Hammerfall, including having the figure of a warrior on the cover of the first album "Thunderstorm", the band was renamed, and before decided to release a Demo CD, wich was the beggining of a new era to Iron Fire, soon called attention in Scandinavia and also reached other countries of Europe.

Many lineup changes have not prevented the growth and evolution of the band, who, with "Voyage of the Damned" arrives at the highest point in terms of songwriting and recording. We spoke with guitarist Kirk Backarach, who told us a bit more about the album,  some curious details about the band and more!

Road to Metal: Cheers, It's a pleasure to us to do this interview with the band. Well, "Voyage of the Damned", is the 7th album since the band was renamed "Iron Fire" (was formed in 1995 under the name "Misery"). What definition is possible that you can give to this album for those who already follows the band as for those that knowing you now?

Kirk Backarach: The new album "Voyage of the Damned" differs from the previous “Metalmorphosized” by its song writing, by its orchestral stuff and by its sound production. It contains only newly written material, whereas “Metalmorphosized” contained mostly old songs that we’d rearranged and released as a celebration of the band’s 10th anniversary.

This time around we’ve spend a lot of time on arranging each and every song to perfection all with drums intertwining with the riffs and the bass going straight along with the drums. On top of that solid base we’ve added some symphonic arrangements, much more that we usually do. To fit all this together we’ve teamed up with one of the foremost Danish producers Jacob Hansen. He has added some good quality bottom and tightness to the sound, practically making this the most symphonic and hard pounding metal album we have done to date. 

Road to Metal: It's remarkable evolution of the band disc after disc. The proposal to merge the band in the traditional Heavy Metal Speed Metal, Symphonic Metal, is something that the group tries to keep the main characteristic?

Kirk: Yes absolutely! With every new album, we try to bring something new to the table. It would be easy enough to release the same album over and over again, but also very boring both for us as well as the fans, so though we try new things and reflect on other things than we did in the past, we pay much attention to keeping true to the bands roots.

Road to Metal: You are part of Napalm Records cast now. How important are for the band to be in a Heavy Metal's major label?

Kirk: I think that differs from which band and which label. Napalm Records have never intervened in our song writing or our choice of promo photos and stuff like that. The only thing is the covers, which have depicted some kind of warrior every on every album we’ve done with them. On the “Metalmorphosized” album we had a little dispute with the label over the cover, which we thought looked kind of dodgy. 

We wanted something else and had a totally different kind of artwork made, but to our disappointment the label didn’t approve. In these cases the label always wins. But either way, since Iron Fire is not some kind of circus act we are used to do everything ourselves, this is the way that we are used to work.The only thing we really depend on label wise, is the business part, printing, promotion, press, etc. and this is what they are good at, so in that respect we are quite lucky to be a part of a big international label.

Road to Metal: Iron Fire is still little known here in Brazil. The truth is that although the group has good records, none comes close in terms of feeling and strength as the "Voyage of the Damned." A little early to tell, but the disc would be leading the band to another level of popularity?

Kirk: Hopefully it will. That would give us a whole lot of opportunities to do some more extensive touring and play some festivals as well. Truth is, if a band is low on popularity and doesn’t sell, nobody is interested in working with it and that makes it very difficult, almost impossible to get anywhere.

Road to Metal: A teaser of the new album is about human space travel out of the earth. Is this album's basic theme? How the band came to this concept?

Kirk: We have always talked a lot about doing some space stuff, but it has never been as obvious as it is on “Voyage Of The Damned”. - Actually the “Revenge” album back from ’06 was written as a space warrior concept. Every song on the album relates to a background story called “The Saga Of Caine”. This was the first album we released through Napalm Records. We gave them the story and told them what the idea of the concept was all about, but unfortunately they were not interested in using it for the release. Since we’d already recorded the album before signing with NR it was too late to change it, which is why the lyrics on that album might seem a bit strange. Anyway… This story takes place somewhere in outer space or maybe a parallel universe, but it is as much space as it is warrior.

The “Voyage Of The Damned” album in its entirety is about sci-fi and space travel as well, it has no battle sequences or warrior stuff involved in it what so ever. In short the story is perceived through an unnamed person, who is roaming reaches of outer space. Though it is not given that the events he experiences is real, of if it’s all a figment of his own imagination.

Road to metal: The band went through several lineup changes. There was a period in which only remained Martin and Kirk. As for the inert double this period, when the output of the other members?

Kirk: Yes it did, but back then we were auditioning a lot of different people and some was more or less in the band a few months and when they left, they would be replaced by someone else shortly after, but everyone we worked with in that period have their finger print on it. Times were different back then though, we had a lot more spare time on our hands, so we wrote a lot of songs, - so many that most of them doesn’t even exist in any form today. Nowadays we spend more time working on each song and its different parts, instead of having a lot that doesn’t make it in the end.

Road to Metal: There are 7 discs beyond this new release. Looking back, what is the evolution that the band is from "Thunderstorm" (2000) to "Voyage of the Damned"? For those unfamiliar with the band, how album do you recommend for "begginers"?

Kirk: Of course I would recommend “Voyage Of The Damned”, since it is the most contemporary album in the line, but should I choose one from the old stuff, I would probably recommend them to start with “To The Grave”. I think it’s the strongest album among the others in the Power Metal style we have done for many years. The other albums are very good as well, I just think this one sums up all the others by having components from all the previous albums.

Road to Metal: The band performs a style of sound that is very popular in Germany the speed metal with symphonic elements, and when we discovered that you were Danes were really surprised, as the sound of you received in your country? And how is the metal scene there across the world?

Kirk: The local fans, which are the only ones I’ve talked to, have been extremely positive about the new album. Internationally I can only refer to the reviews and they generally rate it a point or two higher than they usually do when we release an album.

Road to Metal: You have just released the video for the song "Leviathan" that belongs to the new album, as you see these disclosures through video clip? End up with a good return for the band?

Kirk: It has to, because it was a bit of a hassle doing this video. We have contacted several people about doing it for us, we have been to several different locations and we have put a lot of effort into making it look cool, so I think if it doesn’t do us any good, it would have been a waste of time. But I can only say that I’m very pleased with the final result.

Road to Metal: Still talking about the sound of the band, we find in Iron Fire's sound influences of many  medallions of Speed Metal: Grave Digger, Running Wild, Sacred Steel...Did you hear these bands? And what are the main influences of the group?

Kirk: I have always been more into certain bands than I’ve been into genres in general. I do have albums with Running Wild and Helloween but I was never really interested in German Speed Metal genre over all, - that has always been Steene’s influence on the band. Back in the day I think, there was a lot more of the German style of Metal present. At present we get our influences from more or less anywhere, though we try to keep up to contemporary standards and of course we try not to deviate to far from what the fans would expect from us.

Road to Metal: You are active in more than 10 years, through the many tours that the band has made, did you have received an invitation to come to Brazil?

Kirk: Actually we have! Unfortunately we had to decline on the offer due to economic circumstances that made it pretty risky business.  Hopefully sometime soon we will be able to come to visit Brazil and do a couple of shows and meet the fans.

Road to Metal: We would like to thank you for this great interview and let the ultimate space to you.

Kirk: Firstly I’d like to greet and thank our Brazilian fans and then I’d say; I hope they like the new album.

- Thanx a lot
Kirk Backarach

Official Web Site

Interview: Eduardo Cadore / Renato Sanson
Edition: Carlos Garcia

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