Let me start by saying welcome back to the metal front. 2017 is special year for Infernäl Mäjesty, as it embarks the 30th anniversary of your legendary debut album, 'None Shall Defy', a new full-length album after thirteen years, and of course the new masterpiece itself, 'No God'. How do you look back on your iconic debut album and to more than three decades of Infernäl Mäjesty?
It’s great to be back. 2017 is an important year in the Infernal saga. We are stoked about the new release out now and a huge sigh of relief with the magnitude of the great reviews it is receiving from all over the spectrum. When we think back about ‘None Shall Defy’ we are proud of it. It keeps us on our toes. I personally feel ‘No God’ is our best works since ‘None Shall Defy’. That being said there are many that would disagree and say ‘Unholier Than Thou’ is our best works so in that scenario I would say ‘No God’ is our best works since ‘Unholier’.
Let's cut right to the new album, 'No God'. The album appears thirteen years after its predecessor, 'One Who Points to Death'. What were the main reasons that it took you guys such a long period to deliver a new record? What happened after the last album?
After the release of ‘One Who Points To Death’ and a successful Canadian tour we thought we were gaining traction again. We had committed to an American tour with Satyricon but unfortunately that fell through and was cancelled. We watched as time began to eat away and nothing new was coming into the fold. When a band sits idle it lets outside forces creep in that can corrupt staying focused. We all have to keep a roof over our head and finances were slim like usual. Eventually this lead to losing our drummer which really set us back. For us drummers have been extremely difficult to replace. Five drummers later we finally got our bearings straight again. New to the Infernal camp is our great friend from many years Kiel Wilson on drums and from the iconic band Kick Axe we have welcomed with open arms Daniel Nargang on bass guitar.
Well, the important thing is that 'No God' is finally a fact, and it was definitely worth the wait. 'No God' is without doubt one of the best albums in its kind that I've heard in a long time, and I also agree with your statement that it is the band's most strong effort since 'None Shall Defy'. The feedback from the press has also been very positive so far. Are you still satisfied with the result and the feedback?
We really are. We aren't celebrating we have to much work still to do but we are in a good position now and the future is all we are looking towards. We aren't looking back. We feel we have learned a lot through years of hard ship, the wisdom we gained now our guide.
Although the sound has developed a bit on each album, Infernäl Mäjesty has always kept true to its sound and style, and always remained recognizable. But 'No God' – in my opinion – has taken an even more old-fashioned approach and is even more back to the roots. Did you have a certain direction in mind when working on the material – or a blueprint, if you will – and in how far do you feel you have achieved that?
We did. It was important to bring in elements to the music from our roots that weren't as obvious on the last two albums. We are also very in tune with the music scene as we live and breathe metal so we didn't want to sound dated either. We had no intentions of rewriting metal but just to create an intense, dark album that reflects us and the state of the human condition set to music with real song structure and not just parts joined together.
This album has also turned out darker and more aggressive than your previous works. Is there a particular explanation for this darkness and aggression?
The explanation is life. The state of humanity. Right wing religious extremism and political corruption running rampant. There is no future for humankind until all religion is abolished or reduced to small pockets of insignificance. If you aren't waking up angry as we enter the sixth mass extinction level event then you are not paying attention. As I have grown older I have become more cynical about everything going on around us. We have built up a lot inside and that is reflected in the music. We have become darker with age as reality becomes more clear. Unlike ‘None Shall Defy’, ‘No God’ is more a reflection of us then Satan.
And what about the album title? If I'm not mistaking, wasn't the album initially supposed to be called 'Death Angel' or 'Fallen Angels'?
Actually ‘Death Angel’ or ‘Fallen Angel’ is the name given to the outstanding artwork for the album cover created by the sister duo Safir & Rifas from Romania. Their art is breath taking. We were captivated by this painting . Oil on canvas. It was the perfect match for the title No God. To me it captures the moment when religion died. No God is the under lying anti-religious thread that runs through the album. Past, present and future we illuminate that which is obviously godless.
For this album you have taken the production into your own hands, and I must say that you have given the album the exact sound it needs. Was there a particular reason to produce the album by yourself? I mean, apart from the amount of work required, I can imagine it to be difficult taking distance from the material and know when to stop...
It was a big conversation in the beginning when Steve, Kenny and I were talking about reuniting. We mutually agreed we would attempt to record, mix and produce the album our self. It was a big learning curve with a lot of sleepless nights, reading and experimenting, including the occasional phone call to some great friends for advice. We fell short with our attempt at mixing which by any normal standards would have been great but we wanted better than great. We called in the Calvary by way of Chris ''Hollywood'' Holmes to pick up where we left off and bring the mix to completion. This was in hind sight a great way to start our 30 year anniversary, although it set us back a lot, almost a year from when we thought the album would be ready. The knowledge we gained however was priceless.
Infernäl Mäjesty of course has a cult status and especially 'None Shall Defy' is considered one of the most essential releases in this genre and your status is today still legendary. Still – and this may sound as a strange question – had been more active during the years? I mean, the competition definitely didn't stop and the scene has introduced a lot of great new bands in the meantime, so one must keep up in order to stay in the picture. Your opinion please...
I totally agree. I'm competitive by nature. I knew we had to really step up our act with this one. I always have my ear to the ground and never stop listening to music so I am very aware of the great number of outstanding bands coming onto the scene every day. It truly warms my heart as more and more great musicians are finding metal as their music of choice. Young and old.
Of course the scene has changed a lot in the past thirty years. Where do you see the band in the scene today, and in what way does Infernäl Mäjesty distinguish itself from both old thrash/thrash bands and the new generation in your opinion?
It’s hard for me to be on the inside looking out on this so I'm not sure yet were we stand now in the grand scheme of things until the album has had time to soak in. I like to think we have inspired some to follow their dreams, stay focused if you truly believe in your heart this is your creative outlet. If I were to quickly analyze the situation I would say Infernäl Mäjesty fits into a niche left open by Slayer. Back when we began writing ‘One Who Points To Death’ in 2002 one of the things I was most concerned about was making sure we started adding blast beats into our music. I felt that when used properly they are a vital element in our style moving forward as times change.
As far as I could see at the moment there aren't any gigs planned. Can we expect to see the band on stage anytime soon, and hopefully on European soil this year?
I wish I could say with confidence we will be in Europe this year but I'm not there yet. It’s one of our highest priorities. Everyday something new is happening right now and I anticipate making some announcements soon regarding when and where we can be seen in the flesh.
Speaking of gigs, nowadays it is not that easy to get a decent gig, let alone planning a decent tour in general. How is the situation regarding shows for a veteran band and one with a cult status like Infernäl Mäjesty? Both nationally and internationally.
We receive request to play cities all over the world but trying to put all this together is a logistical nightmare for us. We have for the better part of our career booked mostly our own shows, not by choice, which on occasions has turned into a disaster. Ideally we are trying to collaborate with a well-connected reputable booking agency to put a plan into gear that will connect all these dots.
And finally – and I do realize that the new album has just been released – what can we expect next from you guys? After all, as said earlier 2017 also embark the 30th anniversary of 'None Shall Defy'? Can we expect something special as a celebration for that as well?
We are well into composing the follow up to ‘No God’ out now on High Roller Records. We didn't waste any time and started working on it before Christmas last year. I anticipate later this
summer or into the fall the vocals will be laid down then mixed over the Christmas holidays. We also have coming soon the official ‘No God’ music video to be released next. Stay tuned. Subscribe to our YouTube Channel. It’s my second attempt at directing a music video so you've been warned. Lol! As a compliment to the original we also have the ‘One Who Points To Death’ redox composed to be released sometime after the follow up to ‘No God’ comes out. In regards to ‘None Shall Defy’ as we approach summer's end something special will be revealed. A gift to humankind from the Fallen Angel, Infernäl Mäjesty.
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...
Just to say thank you, I really enjoyed this. Best wishes too you and too our friends and fans, we look forward to seeing you soon. Take care all.