June 6, 2023
Well, first of all a lot of thanks for giving me the opportunity to talk with you. Personally, I'm more than well, since only in the last two weeks I could visit concerts of Heathen, Overkill, W.A.S.P. and the legendary Keep It True Festival with Halloween, Leatherwolf, Fifth Angel, Vicious Rumors, just to name some few. Man, how I missed that during the "pandemic" years! And for WARDESS, things are going very well, too. We've seen fantastic reactions on our new CD "Metal 'Til The End" in the web fanzines with an average rating of more than 8 out of 10 points. By far the most of the reviews and nearly all of the fans' comments I can only describe as "enthusiastic".
End of 2019 we started our „Eternal War Tour", but in this case "eternity" reached out only onto February 2020, when the upcoming "pandemic measures" knocked us out. So yes, we lost 2 years like many others, too. But our guitarist Gor soon came up with new ideas and riffs, and I myself even took inspirations from that sad period for new and slightly darker than usual lyrics. So, we decided to use the concert-free time to write and record new songs for a second album. I think the result proves us right...
Please, just imagine this: For the first time after about 40 years, I could listen again to our old songs, which Gor had recovered on a demo cassette, surviving the time in a box in his cellar. Just as Gor himself, I've been totally overwhelmed, not only by the songs, which of course we immediately loved again, but also by the feeling of meeting our younger selves again. It was really like a travel back in time, with all the memories coming up, of our youth in the 1980's, of our energy and light-heartedness, of us becoming part of that new musical movement called Heavy Metal, of all the fun and partying with our friends, even of my first, fucked-up car, which brought us to our rehearsal room (and sometimes not)… However, back in the present, our first idea was, to record this, as we felt, great material now finally in a studio, just for ourselves. In the further course, with things going very well with the other, new band members, during rehearsals and in the studio, that private studio project soon became a real band again: the new WARDRESS.
We don't have a problem with that. We actually use the abilities of studio technique mainly only to achieve the most powerful sound possible. This is what Metal bands did at any time. In our songs, however, the structures, the riffs and the melodies for voice and solo guitars always remain kind of old school style. I guess, we couldn't do anything else, even if we wanted to. Also, each single tone on all of our recordings is generated by the musicians and their instruments, not a computer or whatever. We truly believe, there are still a lot of maniacs who are into such handmade Metal music. Anyhow, at least we ourselves love it.
Fastball did a very good job, no doubt. Having been new on the market, we were really astonished, how good our debut CD "Dress For War" has been selling. Since the contract dealt solemnly with that debut CD, we took the chance to look around and finally ended up with MDD / Black Sunset, with whom our guitarist Kimon's other band STAGEWAR (excellent Thrashers, by the way…) already had a contract. Also, I personally know MDD's CEO Markus and his staff from their merch stands on several festivals, already for years. Markus is an early Metal fan, just as I am, he founded MDD at the age of 17! Thus, regarding music, we talk the same language and accordingly the co-operation is very trustful. We are indeed happy with our decision to go forward with these guys.
There are already quite a lot of religions, so I really don't think we need one more… Seriously, "Metal 'til the End" has two very personal aspects: This song is dedicated to those of our friends, who unfortunately already deceased, and who literally loved Metal 'til the end. One of my best friends, nick-named Gähle, is one of them, he died in 2021. Above that, I wanted to express my own, very strong and life-long affinity to that kind of music. Since all WARDRESS members feel similarly, and as it is a nice slogan, we decided to use that song title also as the album's title. That's all, so you see: there's no religion behind "Metal 'til the End", and we just hope that it meets with the feelings of some other Metal fans.
That's right, with WARDRESS the Metal thing will be always in the room… On our debut, with most songs being written in the beginning 1980s, the main themes besides Metal and the urge of partying, have been warriors and tyrants, just the full range of that medieval stuff being usual at that time. On the second album, we widened the range by a theme I'd entitle "Freedom, its loss and its protection" …damn, sounds like a doctorate, but just listen to songs like "Berserk" or "Serves You Right", and you'll know what I mean… and not to forget "MotorLust", finally a song from us for all the friends of individual, motorized movement, which, by the way, is the first WARDRESS song featuring guitarist Kimon and drummer Andy as co-composers.
The story behind it is just as simple as the artwork itself: After we decided to entitle the album "Metal 'Til The End", guitarist Gor had the idea, that, just as his guitar stands for "Metal", a gravestone would stand for "the End". He added: "Don't worry about the cover, guys, I'll go out with my Flying V and search me a nice grave." …said and done. Then, Walter Moreth, who is a buddy of Gor, professionally overworked the resulting photo and added Logo and Title. All other artwork such as inner sleeve or booklet was created by our bassist Mirco, with the necessary input by the rest of the band.
In order to answer that question, I must go back a little in time. It has been on a school party, when I listened to "Long live Rock'n'Roll" from Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow for the first time in my life. Although this song of course was not yet Heavy Metal but still Hard Rock, this composition of pure energy, enthralling melodies and musical mastery immediately and totally blew my mind. I had to have that album, and all others of that band, followed by all of Judas Priest, Sabbath, Motörhead, and soon also Iron Maiden, Saxon and Angel Witch appeared. Then, I needed to visit the concerts, where I met with all the other fanatics…What I like to say is, that, when the right song once finds a suiting ear, things take their course by themselves. If you are the one with that ear, Heavy Metal will inevitably become the soundtrack of your life… and that's all the magic you asked about.
At the beginning of this interview I said, that "we couldn't do anything else, even if we wanted to". If you'd ask a predatory dinosaur: "How do you know what to do to catch your prey?", he'd probably answer: "I cannot really tell you, I'm just following my nature". Now, regarding Heavy Metal instead of prey, Gor and me are just such dinosaurs… With that Metal part of our socialization, as described in the answer to your previous question, we instinctively know, what will fit to WARDRESS' old school metal style and what won't. At least we believe so…
We just hope that our listeners can recognize and will appreciate, that our music is created by original 80s' Metalheads, who still do it with all their hearts, and not by a band who is riding a whatever wave only to their commercial advantage. However, we've always set great value on the approach that our ready songs still have a certain roughness and never appear overproduced. Thus, one trademark of WARDRESS is probably our typical mix of that rough energy with quite hymnic melodies, which indeed we have worked out on "Metal 'til The End" even more than on the debut album. Also, I heard from many people, that they were amazed at my voice, which they describe as being "coarser" or "dirtier" than others, and even somehow "unique". To me, a greater compliment couldn't be made.
We are convinced that our newly joint efforts with Rolf for the new album have led to an even superior result as before for the debut. This time, we went into the studio with a clear plan and ideas for the sound, and with Gor himself as the producer. He had worked out a pre-production basing on the inputs of all WARDRESS members, already before we entered the Empire Studios. The work with Rolf was about recording the already very good-sounding demos even better. You can hear the resulting improvement, if you compare the sound of the new album with the sound of our debut album. Besides that, we had big fun in the studio again, everything was well prepared and Rolf's professionalism made the recording very easy. Working with Rolf is always like a holiday.
The short answer is: We simply love Ozzy and especially this song. "Mr. Crowley" has been a part of our live set already for some years. We also cover Iron Maiden's "Prowler" live, sometimes. Now, for the album, "Mr. Crowley" became, as we say, somewhat "wardressed". The middle part is arranged with two-part guitars instead of keyboards, our version appears a little harder and also my voice adds more aggressivity to the song. Other than in the original song, the intro not only consists of keyboards, here played by Bernd Pfeffer, but this melody line additionally is very powerfully played by Mirco on bass. There's also a nice tribute to Ozzy in the lyrics. Of course, we didn't change Randy Rhoads' solos - that would be a crime.
When I first heard the main guitar riff for this song, boosted with that impelling drumming of Andy, I somehow had the association of a snake winding through the gras towards its prey. Myths and fears about "the serpent" have been part of human existence at any time and in any place, as proofed in ancient stories about the Leviathan, in the Bible with Eve and even in the Jungle Book. With those impressions in mind, I began writing the lyrics. In the 1980s, this surely would have resulted in a song about a snake monster or a serpent god… but now I decided to combine the strong picture of "the serpent", which stands for malpractice, hypnosis and poisoning, with quite similar human practices such as the abuse of power, deception and deprivation of liberty. You can still easily find all of these behaviours even in societies and governments that address themselves as modern, democratic and humanistic. In fact, they often speak and act in obviously cynical ways, and with such lyrics as of our songs "The Serpent's Kiss", "Serves You Right" or "Berserk", we try to comment this in an appropriate,
"Metal Melodies", as well as the song "Wardress", have been written in the first half of the 1980s. I can't really remember how our creative process took place, back then. What I can say for sure: both the songs already unite the main trademarks, which we find typical for WARDESS until the present day: Powerful and rough Metal combined with melodic, sometimes even hymnal lines for both, guitar and voice. With a slight variation of that title, you could also briefly say "Metal AND Melodies", because that's what WARDRESS' songs are all about. Thus, the impact of the song on the rest of the record should be enormous…
After all the confusion in the past "pandemic" years, we have concentrated all our activities on the release of the new album, the vinyl version is still yet to come. I must admit that, in consequence, we neglected our live activities a little bit … but know we are hungry to go out on stage again, and our first live shows in this year will take place in autumn and winter. To all who are interested: Please check our presentations and announcements on YouTube (channel: "Wardress Metal Online"), Instagram and Facebook, and as well have a look on the website of our label MDD/Black Sunset.
Prost, Lior, and keep on defending the faith…