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Emerald Sun

Back in 2007 I was pleasantly surprised with the debut, ‘Escape From Twilight’, from the Greek Emerald Sun. The melodic heavy/power metal the band delivered was far from original, but the band made a strong impression with good songs, and their great instrumental and vocal abilities. The successor ‘Regeneration’ (2011), continued on the same path, but also showed a sturdier side of the band, but had less impact than its predecessor and could not convince me as much. It took four long years, but the new album, ‘Metal Dome’, was finally a fact at the end of May. And with this record the gentlemen immediately blow of away every single doubt that one may have had, and have delivered their strongest effort to date. As far as I’m concerned the band has placed itself at the top of the current power metal genre, and hopefully will get the recognition it deserves. Yours truly had a conversation with vocalist Stelios “Theo” Tsakirides about the new album, and in order to offer the band another moment in the spotlight.

By: Nima | Archive under heavy / power metal

First of all, hails and congratulations on your new killer album, ‘Metal Dome’. The album has been released now for over a month (at the time the interview hits online), are you still satisfied with the result and the reactions so far?
Thank you very much! Yes we are overwhelmed with the reactions. You know, we put a lot of work, heart and soul in this album and it is amazing when the feedback like that. We did not expect it in such a degree. It feels really good. So, thank you all for your support.

Before we go more into that, the last interview we did with you guys was back in 2007! So, let’s go back in time in a little. After ‘Escape From Twilight’ you had a slight change in the line-up, among which the change of vocalists, which had an important effect on the sound. Although ‘Regeneration’ was a good album it didn’t have the magic of its predecessor for me and I had to get used to the “new” sound a little bit. How do you look back on that record?
When I joint Emerald Sun the instrumental parts of ‘Regeneration’ were mostly recorded. It was in the middle of the recordings as the band decided to went separate ways with their former singer. I heard to the songs for the first time just a few days before I hit the studio to record the vocal parts. I mean, the songs in general were written for the former singer and not for me. But I had to do my best. It was helpful indeed that the rest of the guys allowed me to change some hook lines and some lyrics so it was easier for me to fit in. When you look at the way ‘Regeneration’ was created, the result is remarkable and it is a great album with great songs.

The new album again took quite a long time in the making. During the last years the band again underwent a serious change in the line-up, and also you changed labels again. I can imagine that all of this caused a delay for ‘Metal Dome’. Your opinion please, and please explain a bit more about the long time between the records.
Yes, you are right. It took a long time indeed. Right after the release of ‘Regeneration’ Teo (guitars) decided to stop playing music in general, so he left the band. Jim (keyboards) is a well-known choirmaster and musician in Greece, so it was hard for him to synchronize the dates, so he had to call it a day as well. But he is still supporting the band and we are very close friends. And finally Billy (drums) left the band because he moved to Cyprus. So for almost four years now Emerald Sun is in the actual line-up and the spirit is better than ever. We also had a few unexpected technical problems during the recordings of ‘Metal Dome’. The album was recorded in Germany, except the choir, flute, violin and cello, which we recorded here in Greece by flying our producer over. As he went back to Germany the hard disc was broken and all the files were lost. You can imagine that for a band like Emerald Sun it was not so easy to find the money to do this whole thing anew. So we had to wait for a few months till we had the money to continue and to record those files once again. There was no way we would take a cheaper solution, because we wanted everything to be perfect for this album. And last but not least was the change of labels. Pitch Black was a great label and did everything to support the band within their possibilities and we still have contact with them. But it was our goal to go a step further with ‘Metal Dome’ and that is where we crossed our swords with Fastball Records. Time will tell, but we are very happy at the moment and the chemistry between band and label is simply fantastic.

I must say that ‘Metal Dome’ really blew me away. This is without doubt your strongest effort so far in my opinion. The songs are much catchier, more exciting and the album has a certain power and conviction that I missed a bit on ‘Regeneration’. In how far were the new members involved in the songwriting for ‘Metal Dome’?
I’m charmed, thank you. That is exactly what we wanted to do; to release our strongest album, with catchy, melodic but powerful compositions. The main songwriters are Johnnie, Serafim and myself, but everyone in the band brought his ideas and influences in. Like I said; the spirit is better than ever. What you hear ‘Metal Dome’ is the reflection of the bands vibe at this moment: over the top, my friend!

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Musically you have not deviated from your wound and style, and the influences from melodic heavy metal colleagues like Edguy, Freedom Call, Helloween, Gamma Ray, Hammmerfall etc. is still quite obvious. However, although the album is still very melodic, it’s more aggressive and to the point at the same time. What did you have in mind for ‘Metal Dome’ when you started working on it, and what did you want to do different this time?
We wanted to express all our influences of all kinds. From thrash to AOR, and we wanted it to sound like Emerald Sun! That is why we choose the title ‘Metal Dome’. Many influences are united in one Dome. And thank God, according to the reactions so far we did a good job.

On your previous records you also had several metal anthems, but in my opinion ‘Metal Dome’ is one big ode to metal for the greater deal. And at some points I think you are also paying tribute to the bands that influences you. For example the song ‘Freedom Call’ indeed reminds of the band Freedom Call, and ‘Racing With Destiny’ is – in my opinion – obviously an ode to DragonForce, etc. etc. Was did something you did deliberately?
No not at all. If you try to sound deliberately like someone else you’ll fail for sure! There was no pressure and no specific direction in the making of the songs. As I mentioned before, we just wanted to create an album with all of our influences involved, and if you do something with this intention, it is absolutely natural that you can hear parallels to the bands you named… plus a few more, haha!

One of the songs that deviates quite a lot from the rest of the album is the beautiful acoustic ‘Call Of Nature’! The striking point is that despite its folky character and additional female vocals, the song is definitely Emerald Sun. It also shows that you guys are willing to take risks and try out new things. Again, your opinion please, and please tell a bit more about this song in particular…
I don’t think that it’s a risk to do a song like ‘Call Of Nature’. Folky but also part of the big metal family and yes, we love to try out different things. Furthermore we had the honour to have Liv Kristine (Leave’s Eyes – Nima) doing the female vocal parts on this one! It was an unbelievable experience and fun to work with her, and what was really touchy for us all is that she loves this song and said that it’s like it was written for her!

Can we expect more stuff like this in the future? I hope, haha.
Yes, we can! I sounds like Obama, haha. We never stop writing new material and new ideas. The feeling is wonderful and the motivation higher than ever. I see no reason why not.

As far as I could see there are no gigs planned yet to support the album? Are there any plans to take the band on the road, and maybe across Europe?
We just played a few shows in Greece including a support for Riot V. In August we play a festival near Cologne in Germany and in November we are supporting Rage on their ‘Black In Mind’ tour with their new, mind-blowing line-up! And we are still working on more dates. We love to perform live!

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 a band like Emerald Sun? Both nationally and internationally.
It definitely is difficult for upcoming bands to plan shows or a tour but finally after all those years we got lucky with “LuckyBob” – our new management, haha – and they’re doing a fucking great job.

What’s next on the menu for you guys for the time being?
Playing live as much as possible, writing new songs and bring the positive and powerful vibe to the people. Hope to see some of you out there.

Well then, I guess we can call it a day for now. Unless of course there is something left that you’d like to mention…
Thanks to you, your readers and all the metalheads out there. Keep supporting new bands. The future of the metal scene is in your hands brothers and sisters! We’ll all meet in the Metal Dome one day crying out a Freedom Call while we are Racing with Destiny. Love and Light to all of you.

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