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Anubis Gate

This month the new album 'Horizons' from Danish progressive metalband Anubis Gate will see the light of day and the dark of night (depending on your listening moment). The album is a real gem, and we didn't need any further encouragement to get back to the band for an interview! Vocalist-bassist Henrik Fevre and guitarist-keyboardist Kim Olesen happily answered our questions.

By: Bart D. | Archive under prog / sympho metal

Welcome back! Are you curious about how 'Horizons' is going to be received by your fans and new listeners? Could you pre-imagine some reactions?
Henrik: Thanks. Well, since we've already revealed what the band sounds like today on yesteryears free download EP ‘Sheep’, which among two covers also showcased one of the centerpieces of ‘Horizons’, which have had a couple of great reviews, I'm not afraid. We're just eager to get it out soon. People have waited long enough by now, and we're very confident that if they liked the previous couple of albums, this should be right up their alley.

Kim: Unlike Henrik, I am actually always afraid. And also confident at the same time. Which is quite a paradox. But I always say to myself that ‘this is the album we had in us this time, and for me the most important thing is that I like it myself’. I can’t see any reasons the fans should not like it though. It sounds like a developed version of us, and each previous album has had development over the one before yet still retained our identity. I hope our fans expects this from us.

This seems like a new phase for Anubis Gate: a renewed line-up and two albums in a row proving you have found a new balance in your sound and new terrains to explore. How do you feel about where the band is now?
Henrik: I think we're pretty balanced. New people always bring new blood to the table, so it's very exciting to be part of right now. We're working to get liveshows up and running, and since some of us haven't known each other that long, who knows what will happen.

Kim: I feel really good and optimistic about the band now. But I also felt that about the old line-ups too you know. Musically we keep opening new doors while not trying to escape that we are within the framework of heavy metal. The new folks are very good and attuned to what Anubis Gate is. This was very important when we searched for new members. Michael was actually suggested to us by our first vocalist Torben Askholm. I had heard the band they were in together and have always loved their three, (unfortunately unreleased) album so the suggestion just hit home with me. Morten Gade Sørensen (our new drummer, not to be confused with our old drummer Morten Sørensen) I knew from producing Lance Kings solo album. He recorded that album so quickly i couldn’t believe it, and he made that album ‘swing’ really great. And since that album was in the same vein as Anubis Gate it was obvious that we needed him in the band. We are really lucky they both said yes to joining.

Since it is a broad term, what does 'Horizons' as album title mean to you?
Henrik: When I think of horizons I kind of imagine how different they may look worldwide. From every spot on the earth the horizon will be unique. We try to visit new landscapes/horizons in every song, and I think we got away with it on ‘Horizons’.

Kim: I have always seen music as landscapes actually, so maybe it was inevitable that we one day should do an album called that. To me personally it also symbolize the search of the ultimate Anubis Gate album which to me is like the end of the rainbow. Just beyond the horizon, just out of reach.

band imageThe artwork for the cover is quite stunning; it could look really good well-integrated unto a shirt (hint!). Is there a specific concept behind the imagery, perhaps connecting the album as a whole?
Kim: Oh you are absolutely right. And the artwork is available as a t-shirt from Merchbooth so thanks for the opportunity to plug that. The story behind the artwork is that I had (much of) a song that I called Horizon. Then when I searched for artwork I came upon the cover in the ‘unused artwork’ page of Greek artist Nikos Markongiannakis. And it was so close to the picture I had in my head when I wrote the Horizon track that it was almost like ‘too much of a coincidence’. I then suggested the cover and album title to the others and they went along with it. We then rewrote the lyrics of Horizon because by that time the album cover was influencing the song itself. Horizon became Horizons and it became the title song. Originally it was much less ‘metal’. More like a cross between something by The Cure and the Led Zeppelin classic Achilles Last Stand. And close to being dropped. Then the cover came along. We resurrected the song to see if we could make it a keeper. Henrik wrote ‘the chorus that appears only once’ and we rewrote the lyrics with inspiration from the cover.

Could you tell about for instance the intriguing 'Airways' what it is about, and what kind of image you had in your mind musically when you started working on this song?
Henrik: Lyrically it's all about how the world could be seen from an injured or maybe a disabled person's point of view. What kind of escapism would you need to get through the day and what would you do to find a meaning of you being disabled.

Kim: It was me toying with the DADGAD tuning on my acoustic guitar. And then we had the verses that were in a song that was close to being dropped. We stole them for this song. It turned out a bit Led Zeppelin-ish in the end. But LZ are great so that was cool :-) I really admire Henriks vocal melody in the verses. It makes the down beat shift midway through the verse with being really noticeable. I love subtleties like that. It also gave me the chance to sneak a bit of Depeche Mode inspiration in without anybody objecting LOL. I was in the process of buying all the LZ albums at this time so the inspiration from them is strong in places.

You have 'A Dream Within A Dream': in what ways do you imagine it plays a pivoting role for the album? And you have the beautiful closer 'Erasure'; apart from what it means by itself, is ending an album full of serious contemplation on such a title a light-hearted pun from your sides?
Henrik: No pun intended. ‘Erasure’ is just a little encore. I won't spill the beans but just leave it up to the listener to find a meaning of it being there. One thing I can say; ‘Horizons’ is no concept album, except that ‘A Dream Within A Dream’ and ‘Never Like This’ are connected. So are ‘Hear My Call’ and ‘Airways’.

Kim: ‘A Dream Within A Dream’ started life as something that was almost a little nothing song. I was going to drop it but decided to do a little more work on it. And it became the longest song we ever did. By accident really. It also features our old guitarist Jesper who wrote chunks of it and he is also playing on this song. When he left the band he donated his parts to us, which was really nice of him to do. It has Michael and Jesper playing at the same time in places, so there is a nice bridge between the old and the new there. ‘Erasure’ is a song of Henriks that has been around for a while before there was an album it would fit into. I am glad we got it used because it is such a good song. As Henrik says, it is a bit of an encore. ‘A Dream Within A Dream’ is the grand finale. Then the band leaves the stage. The singer comes on stage and starts the encore himself before the band briefly reappears. That is how I saw it in my head anyway.

Is the new line-up made-to-tour, and/or do you have more concrete plans to bring Anubis Gate back on stage?
Henrik: We'd love to play live. It's just a matter of organization, but it'll probably be one-off shows, no touring just yet. But hey, if ‘Horizons’ hits big time of course we're going. It's all down to economy really.

Thank you for answering these questions, and thank you for a beautiful album for years to come. I'll let you get back to making music now ;-). The parting words are all yours!
Henrik: As soon as ‘Horizons’ has hit the stores we're doing a fundraiser for a CD boxset of the rare four early albums plus a rarities album. So watch out and join if you should be interested in such an item. Could be quite an investment if you look at the prices these discs are selling for second hand nowadays. And for the first time your money will actually go to Anubis Gate. Thank you for your support.

Kim: I might add that the cd version of Horizons has a bonus live concert from 2005 on it as cd-rom content. It will only be available on cd. So quick, rush, spend your hard earned money and pre-order from your nearest AMAZON (which would be thanks a lot to lords of metal for featuring us again.

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