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Het is niet eenvoudig om echt op te vallen als power metal band. Het aantal groepen in dit genre is legio en veel luisteraars zijn echte nostalgisten die het liefst lekker bij hun oude helden blijven hangen. Toch komt er wel eens zo’n band die weet door te breken naar een internationaal publiek, en Eagleheart is zo’n band. Met het uitstekende derde album ‘Reverse’ laten de Tsjechen horen niet onder te doen voor de bands van weleer. Omdat ik wel eens wat meer wilde weten over deze band, klom ik in de pen en liet ik oprichter en gitarist Mike uitgebreid zijn verhaal doen over “zijn” Eagleheart en hun laatste creatie.

Door: Jori | Archiveer onder heavy / power metal

Hello guys, and congratulations on the release of your third album. Since Eagleheart is not yet that well known in our area, could you give us a brief lesson in Eagleheart history?
Hello Jori, this is Mike here, guitars and vocals. Thank you very much and of course! So, Eagleheart is a power metal band from Brno, Czech Republic and was founded by me and my friends in 2003. Since then we have changed the line-up several times and established ourselves mainly on the Czech metal scene. During the years we have appeared as a support band for bigger acts like Blind Guardian or Dragonforce that we joined on a part of their European tour. We have released EP ‘Black Sun’ and three long-playing albums, ‘Moment Of Life’, ‘Dream Therapy’ and our newest record ‘Reverse’. The last two mentioned album have been released by Italian label Scarlet Records.

Except for the occasional live performance, things have been very quiet the past years on the Eagleheart front. What were the reasons for this?
I understand that from the outside it may have seemed we were a bit quiet but it was actually quite the opposite. We have 20-30 shows each year which is not a huge number but it has always been like this with us. Considering the fact that all of us have fulltime jobs and some have families I think it’s not bad at all, to be honest. But since we are more busy and we really wanted to push the new album to a higher level without compromises, the songwriting process took more time than we expected. Besides that we also had a couple of line-up changes delaying the whole process.

Sounds reasonable indeed. So, your new album ‘Reverse’ is different to predecessor ‘Dream Therapy’ in terms of atmosphere I think. ‘Reverse’ sounds very direct in comparison to the, obviously, more dreamy ‘Dream Therapy’. Does this change of mood represent the state of the band in some way, or was it just the direction the songs evolved in?
I am glad that you’re saying it’s more direct because so far I am hearing rather opposite reactions claiming Reverse is a bit more complicated compared to our previous records. It’s hard to say as everyone has a bit different taste. Personally I think the songs are more dynamic and interesting, we did not want the listeners to get bored at all. And this is also related to the fact that we have three lead singers on the album, all of us focusing on what we do best. Roman is great in those high pitched melodic and aggressive parts, Vojta is still there with his harsh vocals and I sing lots of the melodic and both softer and sometimes heavier parts as well. One thing we failed regarding this is that people are sometimes getting confused about who is singing which part, so maybe we will add some explanations to lyrics on our website haha. But basically, I think we expanded all the elements of our previous albums and also included some new elements like growls, more progressive and modern parts. The album is also more emotional so all these aspects altogether helped us to deliver are our best album so far, in my opinion.

Next to a very high shrieking note near the end, ‘Painting the Shadows By Light’ also has some interesting lyrics, it seems that there is some underlying meaning to this one. Please tell a bit more about this one and the topic it deals with.
All the songs are actually glued together by one topic describing inner feelings of a man walking a path leading from the darkest states of our mind when we are ruled by our demons, fears and depression, into finding the sense of life again and motivation to go on. Or it could be the other way round, the whole story can be reversed as the title says, so it's up to everyone's interpretation. ‘Painting The Shadows’ is about the feeling when all the pieces of the life puzzle is finally put together and we find something or someone to live for. In the second layer it is actually a kind of a love song that I wrote for my wife. But I hope everyone can identify with it and find his or her own story in it. As well as in other songs.

For this album you once again had technical help by Roland Grapow. He kind of makes a habit of it to also play a few notes on some albums he produces, as he did with your country-sakes Sebastien. Did he do so on ‘Reverse’ as well, or was it just the production work for him?
For sure, Roland has been our friend since the times of ‘Dream Therapy’ where he was a producer and although this time he did not produce the album, we recorded rhythm guitars and main vocals in his studio with him again. So he has helped us a lot and also contributed with two guitar solos, the intro solo in ‘Enemy Within’ and the solo in the alternate version of ‘Erased’, and a small vocal part in ‘Painting The Shadows By Light’. We like working with him, he is a cool guy and a great guitar player and producer, of course.

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It is striking that there is no video clip or lyric video of any of the album songs yet. Are there plans to release one still? And which song would be a likely candidate then?
Yeah, we got into a bit unfortunate situation regarding this. The lyric video for ‘Healing The Scars’ should have been released in July but the guy working on it had a huge delay due to some technical issues and also there was a slight communication gap between us for some time. But finally it has been finished and we are going to release it this week. As for the music video, we are shooting one at the end of September. I am sure we will promote more songs from the album in the near future.

For this album you started a crowdfunding project earlier this year. This is a growing trend in the metal scene, with many bands, most notably Wintersun, doing that very same thing. Yet many of these bands including you do have backing from a record label. What was the added value of the crowdfunding in your case?
It has been a big topic nowadays and we totally understand some people are thinking about the reasons why bands are doing this and so did we. It was not something we were 100% sure of, so for a long time we were discussing whether we should go for it or not. But the final decision was actually quite simple as if we wanted to finish the album the way we wanted, we had to do it. Bands are struggling financially nowadays and even if you have a label, that does not mean they can financially cover you since they are very often in a similar situation. We are happy with Scarlet Records since we were able to reach a mutually good contract but paying for the studio, music videos etc. is still the band's part of the job. And that costs some money as you can imagine, and since we needed some help we decided to offer our fans a chance to pre-order the new album and other perks via the crowdfunding campaign. And it went great after all to our surprise. So I would like to thank again to everyone involved, it was a huge motivation for us!

When I first heard of your band or at least the band name, I thought you were a Stratovarius cover band or at least you started out as one. While this may not be the case, you can easily guess that this band had a huge influence on your sound. Take only the opening of ‘All I Am’ for example. Do you consider Stratovarius as one of the important bands for the development of the Eagleheart sound?
I understand your initial thoughts but that was really never the case. Of course, back in the days in our teenage years Stratovarius were like gods to us and we thought it would be cool to have a name like this. At the time we did not think about it that much, we played a couple of songs by Helloween and two or three of our very first songs, not realizing that we could have any form of success and that people could always relate us to Stratovarius because of the name. Of course they had some impact on us, especially in the early years of Eagleheart, however, I think during the years we developed our own style which is a bit different and I don't feel their influence to such extent on the new record. Maybe some parts of ‘Enemy Within’ can remind them but ‘All I Am’ that you have mentioned sounds very different to me. But again it depends, everyone has different ears!

Can you make a promise that the next album will not be a six-year wait again?
Of course we would love to but unfortunately, I cannot promise anything like that. You never know what is going to happen and what the situation will be. We put a lot of energy into this album and we are really happy with the result but on the other hand I feel a bit out of energy recently since besides songwriting, guitar playing and singing I was also doing much of the producing part this time. So it's too early for me to even think about another record haha. Right now I feel like it is a relief that we have finally made it and people seem to like it, so we want to enjoy playing the new songs live for a while. But you never know, we will see.

Are there any plans for live activity or other things up the air at the moment?
As I have hinted earlier, we plan to support ‘Reverse’ live as much as possible. At the end of October we have a short tour over clubs in Italy and Czech Republic and then we will continue in a similar way in spring 2018. For summer we plan to appear at festivals as every year. Hopefully there will be more shows abroad next year, we are working on it constantly.

Well, I think we can wrap it up for this interview then. Unless, of course, if there is something you would still like to add?
I think we covered a lot of topics, so thanks for the interview, I am glad you have been interested! Saying hello to all readers of Lords Of Metal, check our new album ‘Reverse’, hope you will like it!

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