Andreas Klingen


There is a variety of versions, from a lot of people, going around in relation to the state of mankind, and what the future hold. An opinion that has been crossing between many is the way that the human race is vanquishing itself, slow and steady. Is it a matter of not really learning from mistakes or a decision to ignore the fact that people are their own tools of destruction? Signing in for their next chapter in their career, the German Melodic Death Metal Battlesword is back with "Towards The Unknown". Steinmetal reconvened with drummer Andreas Klingen about the new experience, the anniversary and more…
October 27, 2022
Battlesword's Andreas Klingen: "Battlesword is not a factory that closes down when things don't go well" interview
Hello Andreas, it is once again a pleasure to have you for a conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things going on your end kind sir?

Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you again, Lior. Things are going very well at the moment. The new beast is released and we are very happy.

Quite a rough period of time we had in the last couple of years, in particular with the pandemic in mind. In our last talk, we focused on the earlier Battlesword release of "And Death Cometh upon Us". Since it was released near the end of 2019, and then everything went to shambles at the early stages of 2020, did you have enough time to support the album?

Your suspicion is correct. And I know that we were not alone with that situation. Damned. Looking back, it's fair to say that this situation and the feelings that came with it were influential in the songwriting for "Towards The Unknown".

Talking about the last couple of years, how did you cope with the situation, the inability to perform live, the lack of proper rehearsals and I guess probable obstacles in focusing on writing the new material? How were you able to maintain the Battlesword chemistry and integrity throughout that time?

We already missed the concerts very much. We then used the time for songwriting and rehearsed from time to time. For that we always tested ourselves in advance. We also met regularly online to discuss various things. With regard to the release we could motivate ourselves again and again.

After two decades of Battlesword, and you are still going strong, not letting go. Being out there for so long, without being at the front, which is never an equal to quality, requires quite the energy and motivation. What has been keeping Battlesword around, other than spreading the word of Metal?

Battlesword was not created with the primary goal of leading the metal league. Which would be a nice side effect of course

For me personally, the band means a lot, which is partly due to the fact that I founded it together with my brother and a very good friend. Both of them are still connected to the band in some way.
To answer your question semi-concretely: Battlesword is not a factory that closes down when things don't go well. There may have been members who joined the band for other reasons. And because then maybe the metal league was not led, have left the band again.

The next chapter of Battlesword, being out there swinging at Death Metal for the past two plus decades, came knocking with "Towards The Unknown". Come to think of it, this title pretty much illustrates the period that the world is heading. After a crisis was averted, and another one ongoing (The war in the East), it is safe to say that we are in a Gray area. What is your opinion about that? How do you find the album's title?

You have recognized that correctly. The album deals with the current worldly situation. But it also deals with the own self. For example, that you don't have to accept everything and should always stand by yourself. Basically, our singer Axel also attaches great importance to the fact that the lyrics leave room for own interpretations. The title stands for these topics.

What is your take on the main theme of "Towards The Unknown"? Where does it meet you exactly? How did the latest developments influence the lyrical theme, or concept of the album?

You could say that with "Towards The Unknown" we process how shitty mankind deals with itself. And as mentioned before, the lyrics are in some way designed for that. Whereby with "The Awakening" for example the principle is opened that it is time to go a different way and to cut off with old dogmas.

Looking at the artwork, which is stellar, practically shows another version of fear, a kind of fear that is more of a concern than phobia. The ferryman takes on a soul, or rather brings it to shore to continue, or end, a journey that is uncertain, and that is why the concern part is in play. What can you tell about the vision behind this artwork? Who made it exactly?

In principle, you have already hit it with your statement. The cover should also offer room for interpretation, which you have just done in detail. The artist's name is Varises Otak and we came across him during our search for an artwork artist.

When it comes down to the moral factor of the release, where is "Towards The Unknown" in all of this? In your view, are there things that a listener can take on in order to process and learn from?

The listener should necessarily form his own opinion, respectively we would like him to deal with the lyrics as well.

Constantly delivering a reminder of what is the Swedish form of Melodic Death Metal, and how it should properly sound, "Towards The Unknown" continues Battlesword's wandering. Nonetheless, there are always twists and a few escapes in order for your style to be relevant after many years, but the core is there and kicking. So, is it safe to point out that "Towards The Unknown" isn't a regular Battlesword album or it is rather another particle of your tradition?

Thanks a lot! "Towards The Unknown" is definitely a regular album and clearly shows our musical roots.  It is important to us that our style is recognizable, but we do not close ourselves to other possibilities that can round off the songs and make them varied.

Throughout "Towards The Unknown", in contrast to the previous material, the melodic features channel a kind of atmosphere that is haunting and less on the lead twin guitar riffing. Was it an intentional element in the album's music, a path that was yet to be taken earlier or just an evolutionary stage?

We don't determine what the result should sound like before the songwriting for a new album. We work on the songs together until we feel that they are ready.

Mentioning the songwriting process for a tad bit on the previous question, so let's take a swing at it in full. What was done differently this time around, and I mean by aspects that weren't taken into account on the previous album and came to light in the present?

We started working on the songs together very early this time. And for sure Lars and Erik also brought fresh wind for the songs, since they took over the posts on the guitar some time ago. In addition, the two already know each other for many years and complement each other musically excellent.

The decision to revamp the 2008's EP / Demo, "The 13th Black Crusade", and have it remastered, with no other than Dan Swano, appeared to be a good one, and it contributed to show how the band matured over the years. Let's talk memories first, that EP was five years after your debut, in your view, how did it impact the existence of Battlesword and your musical vision?

We are still fans of "The 13th Black Crusade" and we are happy to have them in the current live set. Moreover, these were also the first recordings with Axel (singer). So somehow also a cornerstone for everything that came after.

The song "There Will Be Blood" was actually featured on your sophomore album, "Banners of Destruction", and here we have it again. What can you tell about the difference between this version of the EP and the one eight years later, of 2016? From what it looks like, this song has quite the importance for you guys, does it?

Indeed. "There Will Be Blood" has stuck with us and the Song is very often included in our Live Set. Because it's so strong, we recorded it again for "Banners Of Destruction", so that it would find wider distribution.

The EP "The 13th Black Crusade" was only self-distributed back then and was out of print at some point. We took the opportunity with "Towards The Unknown" to make the EP available again to new and Die-Hard Fans. Coincidentally, "There Will Be Blood" is also on the EP "The 13th Black Crusade". And that in its original primal violence. My god what a fast beast it was

Back to "Towards The Unknown", after providing an entrance with "Departure", the haunting "The Awakening" looms in with a form of message that is rather doomy than enlightening. In general, this is a creepy track, delivering the band's perception of Death Metal in melody with finesse. How do you find this particular song?

The Awakening captivates me with its unstoppable energy. Both musically and lyrically. The message behind it is forceful and is meant to call for thought, or better yet, action.

"Terra Combusta" on the other hand, in comparison to the former, is what I found to be the articulate melodic feature of the record, showing various signs of the late 90s of the band's chief influence, providing a song structure that is not just hooking but also interesting. What can you tell about the process of writing this track?

Lars brought the main riff to the rehearsal and I immediately had an earworm. Simply great. Here you can also see the fresh wind that has taken hold with Lars and Erik. Both bring new influences or remind ourselves of our old strengths.

Not just atmospheric or melodic, there is also the massive banger, a Thrash driven in a way, "Backstabber". Clearly, it is no wonder why this anger fueled song wouldn't be receiving such a treatment. What can you tell about the nature of this song? What pissed you off that had you writing it in the first place?

The creation of Backstabber happened differently. The song already existed in another form. We only took the drums and the vocals from that. Lars then put new guitars on top of it. The song really got angry with the vocals. Axel had to let out some anger here

Looking at the remainder of the 2022, or perhaps even going forward to 2023, how does your live schedule look like in order to support "Towards The Unknown"?

We've already played some shows and had the opportunity to present the new songs. We are also already working on more shows for 2022 and 2023. However, there is still the risk for organizers of having to cancel a concert due to a lack of sold tickets in advance. It is our hope for the entire event industry, that the situation will eventually relax again - hopefully very soon.

Andreas, again it was good to have you for a talk, I thank you for delivering another great album and I suspect that your next one, probably for the 25's anniversary of the band, would be surprising. All the best

Thank you very much for your renewed support and for the opportunity to bring us closer to your readers. And yes, we are of course following a plan for our 25th band anniversary. Stay healthy and metal!

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