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With ‘The Warrior’s Code’ Germany’s Gloryful delivered a great debut last year. The untamed up-tempo old-school heavy/power metal in the tradition of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Accept with the usual lyrics was definitely impressive. Only eleven months after the release of their debut Gloryful came with the follow-up, ‘Ocean Blade’. Although the basic formula is still the same, ‘Ocean Blade’ also shows a more “serious” side of the band. Yours truly had a conversation with vocalist Johnny la Bomba and guitarist Jens “Shredmaster J.B.” Basten to look at the developments within the last year, and of course to talk about the new album. Well, it appears that the gentlemen don’t agree on my view completely, but we all agree that the band has made huge progress on ‘Ocean Blade’, and that there is a long road.

By: Nima | Archive under heavy / power metal

First of all, congratulations on your second, ‘Ocean Blade’. ‘The Warrior’s Code’ was a great debut album and was received quite well by both the fans and the press. How do you look back on that album?
Johnny: Thank you Nima, the feedback was really good and we were surprised at some points, that some reviewers understood our intentions and meanings behind the band, which are not obvious when you are not willing to dig deeper. ‘The Warrior's Code’ was just the beginning and we are hungry for more.

I must say that the new album became a fact really quickly. Not even one year after the release of your album you have managed to write, record and release a new album. Did you start working on new material right away after ‘The Warrior’s Code’ was released or were there other reasons for this high working tempo?
Johnny: Yes, we just kept writing directly after the recordings for ‘The Warrior’s Code’ without any break. There was no plan behind the quick release, but why wait when the material is already there? There was no external pressure from Massacre or anywhere else.

The striking point about the new album is the slightly change of musical course. As I mentioned in my review, I don’t like using the word “progressive”, but compared to the first album, the material on ‘Ocean Blade’ is definitely more complex. In how far can you agree? And what can you say about the musical direction you set for this album?
Johnny: I don’t feel that we’ve changed that course that much. To me it is the logical follower of ‘The Warrior's Code’. ‘Ocean Blade’ is somehow more of our own style. We wanted to keep the songs interesting not only for the fans, also for us. So we played a little bit with the song structures, but this was not planned. It was more a slightly development.

Although the pace is still quite high at some pints, there is a bigger role for melodies, catchy riffing and all in all it sounds as if you have taken a more “controlled” and “reserved” approach. Although I admit that I like the faster approach of the debut a bit better, the material on ‘Ocean Blade’ do bring out the band’s musical skills more to the front, and are also the proof that you are capable of a lot more. Your opinion please?
Jens: We didn't limited ourselves this time as much as we did on the first album, that’s true. I think it’s mainly the drums that are more power metal than before. And the biggest thing what makes the listener think we have changed a lot is the more transparent and direct production. We wanted to sound more brutal and less 80s for ‘Ocean Blade’, and Dan and Charles cared a lot to reach that aim.

The fact is of course that old-school (sounding) traditional heavy metal has been making a huge comeback in the last couple of years and more and more new bands are taking hold of the old sound and approach. So that makes me wonder whether the more progressive approach and adding new elements to the sound can also be seen as a sort of statement towards critics and the scene in general, to show that Gloryful is not “just another German heavy metal band”! Your opinion please?
Jens: I like the old-school sound and bands that are playing that sound, but we did not start the band to jump on the old-school-trend and to imitate the 80s. Sure, we are not playing anything new, but we are doing our own thing and we want Gloryful to sound more independent, so that everybody recognizes a Gloryful song. I don’t think that most of those trend bands will survive on a long view, especially when you are just a one-on-one copy without any trademarks.

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Although the new approach is definitely of a high quality and has brought the band to a higher level, the album does need more time and multiple listens in comparison with the precious records, in order to fully come into its own. Unfortunately the fact is that there is too much music being released nowadays and that many people don’t really take the time anymore to really get into an album. Does it make you concerned that for that reason some people would do the album unjust by judging it after only one or two listens?
Jens: I don’t think that we are a progressive band, with songs one has to listen to many times to get into, haha. It's all very straight and on your face heavy metal of most of the part simple structure and there are sing-along parts everywhere. I think we are rather too much "easy listening" to get famous in today’s metal-landscape where people seem tocare more for musical skills than for good hookline-loaden songwriting.

Also when it comes to the lyrical part, the lyrics on ‘Ocean Blade’ are a less cliché and shows a different, more serious side of the band and. In how are can you agree on this? Was this also an conscious decision?
Johnny: I don’t think so. There are still parts in the lyrics that fit into the cliché, but now the lyrics are more transferring the story of the concept. The story is more maritime and this limits the lyrics a bit, but I don`t feel that the lyrics in general became more or less serious like on ‘The Warriors Code’.

Jens: Just grab that booklet and read the story while listening to the songs on ‘Ocean Blade’ and you will be surprised how much cool clichés you will find. It's very entertaining stuff this time, much more content than ‘The Warrior's Code’ had to offer.

At some points I get the feeling that lyrically ‘Ocean Blade’ is a concept album, and that at least there is a red line through the album and there is a connection between the song. Can you tell us a bit about the lyrical part of the new album and your inspirations for them?
Johnny: I just realized that it is much easier for me to write lyrics when there is a story behind it, than just to think about theme song by song. The story was nothing that we thought in front of the album, it just grew during the songwriting. The songs are not arranged in a time-line. Summarized the story is about Sedna, who terrorizes the world and Capt. Carl McGuerkin hires a crew to defeat her. The story is inspired by Moby Dick and Odysseus and of course the Inuit Mythology of Sedna.

So far you have already done a couple of shows planned in Germany to support the album, including festival appearances. Are there any plans to take the glory on the road for some club shows after the festival season perhaps?
Johnny: We are still checking proposals for a tour in autumn/winter 2014 but things still need to be clarified. There are also requests for some club-shows, but nothing finalized till yet.

Speaking of gigs, nowadays it is not that easy to get a decent gig, let alone planning a decent tour for up and coming bands. How is the situation regarding shows for an up-and-coming band like Gloryful? Both nationally and internationally.
Johnny: Fortunately show requests are rolling in automatically now, but we are still taking care to get shows by ourselves. Especially to get a tour that make sense is not that easy for bands in our status and it`s sad to see that a tour with a fucking high buy- on became a standard.

What’s next on the menu for Gloryful apart from shows of course?
Johnny: We’ll continue the songwriting for the next album and we’ll defiantly have a focus on touring and to be more present in regions that we have not played before.

Alright then, I guess we can wrap it up for this time. Unless of course there is anything left that you’d like to mention.
Johnny: I’d like to thank all metal heads outside who support us. Keep the scene alive; you know who you are. And I’d like to thank you and all of Lords of Metal for the opportunity of this interview. You guys rock! Visit our website for news, videos, live dates and merchandise.

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