Hi guys, and congratulations on the release of your second album ‘The Great Brotherwar’. How are things?
Hello Jori and to Lords of Metal and all readers of this great e-zine. Things are looking very good for us so far. We finished the recordings of our new album a couple of weeks ago and at the moment we´re waiting eagerly for its release on October 27th. After such a long time of high tension during the recordings and production-process we feel kinda relieved, knowing that our new effort is a worthy successor of its older sibling ‘Of Dragons And Elves’. Of course we hope, that people out there will feel the same way about this album. So, we are ready for all future things to come. We hope this record will give us the chance to play live more often, for we can’t wait to hit the road again and to bring ‘The Great Brotherwar’ to our fans.
Since this is your first interview with us, could you please give us a short impression of the band Evertale?
The roots of this band go back more than ten years. Matze (vocals, rhythm guitar) started it all, coming from his old band Blackened. Shortly after this start Woody (lead git.) joined the band, followed by Marco (bass) in 2008. The position on the drums has always been problematic to say the least, from when our original drummer, Hannes, left the band shortly after our line-up was complete for the first time. Since then there were quite some changes behind the drums. But now, we hope that this early struggles won’t keep us back any longer. Our dedication has always been fast and melodic power metal. And it has been always important to us, to keep our music really heavy and fast and not to drift too close to more ‘consumer convenient’ styles. The genre of power metal brought up a lot of cool bands in the past years. What we miss with many of them is heaviness and energy. So we hope, that we are not the only ones, looking for more ‘power’ in power metal :)We´ll see, if the people out there are ready to go crazy with us.
Your first album ‘Of Dragons And Elves’ quickly grew into a modest cult classic in German power metal circles. This was a concept album based on the Dragonlance universe by Margret Weis and Tracy Hickman. Why the choice for this fantasy realm over hugely popular realms like Middle-Earth and Westeros?
It was not a decision we had made before the songwriting started but it rather slowly evolved as the songs started to come together. ‘The Chronicles of the Dragonlance’ was my second-favorite fantasy-story (besides ‘Lord of the Rings’) and I had in mind to write maybe one or two songs based in this world. I had read the books again to refresh my memory for the lyrics and then I realized how great this story would be for a concept album. At that time I didn´t know about any other band having used this realm for their songs and lyrics and so I decided to give it a try and compose a full-scaled concept album the ‘The Chronicles…’. Game of Thrones was not very big at that time – it was 2006 or 2007 when I started the songwriting. The first riff for ‘Tale of the Everman’ was from 2005 for example. Wow, that seems like a life-time ago. Considering Middle-Earth – already at that time people were starting to compare us to Blind Guardian and we thought that if we take that course and choose any LotR-Theme we would never get a foothold and establish ourselves – so that was a no-go.
‘Of Dragons And Elves’ was lauded among others because of having such a high level for a debut album. Rightly so in my humble opinion. Also the sound quality was way above the level of that of many a more experienced band. How did you manage to reach such a clear production, not being that experienced yourself? Was the debut produced by the same people who did ‘The Great Brotherwar’?
The production team for ‘The Great Brotherwar’ was the same – myself and Christoph Brandes who is the owner of the Iguana Studios. He was also responsible for the mix. I think the great quality for a debut resulted from two things. On the one hand we re-recorded this album like 4-5 times. We had taken so long with all the songwriting and were going through some tough times, considering the band lineup and we thought that it made no sense to somehow release it. If we would release it, we would release it the best way possible. I think that helped a lot when we started the mix. On the other hand it is mainly Christophs credit. He is just a brilliant engineer and has made many, many sonically outstanding records...for example the legendary Necrophagist album Epitaph.
What is the story told on the fantastic ‘Tale Of The Everman’ on the debut album?
‘Tale of the Everman’ is about Berem and his sister Jasla. They were two poor children and while they were out in the wild, gathering food and hunting game, they stumbled across a forsaken Temple of the Dark Queen. There were gems and jewels in the old stone pillars, each worth a kingdom. Jasla wanted to leave this place as she felt the evil but Berem only thought about prying out one of the jewels so they would never have to suffer hunger any more. As she tried to pull him away he got angry an pushed her – she stumbled and fell, her temple cracking on a broken stone column and her blood braking the seal, that kept the Dark Queen at bay who tried to return to the world of Krynn and enslave it. Suddenly he realized that he had killed his beloved sister and tried to run but the Dark Queen, already gaining power, gave him a present. The jewel he wanted to have, a green gemstone, was driven into his chest where it could not be remove. But then Jasla appears and her ghost is able to hold the Dark Queen at bay and she tells him to run and hide. But since then he cannot die and is reborn again and again being the key the Dark Queen needs to completely break the seal. That´s why she and her armies are desperately trying to find him and bring him to the temple....man, it´s such an awesome story. Now I know again why I chose this story as our concept (laughter).
So now let’s get to 2017 and the release of ‘The Great Brotherwar’. This time, the stories have been derived from video games, mostly Warhammer 40k. That is an interesting choice, were you not afraid to be put away as a bunch of nerds?
Well honestly I think we were marked as nerds before – I mean with a debut called ‘Of Dragons and Elves’ there´s not one fantasy cliché that we left out. Dragons, Elves, Knights and Dwarves, epic battles and ferocious love. Why not choose Warhammer 40k as an inspiration? I can´t write lyrics about pseudo-political themes or social injustice. I think people are already fed up with that stuff when they watch the news – why have these ‘real’ problems put into songs. Gaming and reading grants me a place to flee from the world and I hope that our music does the same for our fans. Leaving the world outside for a moment and dive into fantastic stories and legendary tales. That´s how I refresh my batteries. So if people want to call that nerdy, so be it (laughs) I don´t care...
One of the few dragon songs left is of course ‘And the Dragons Return’, based on the game Skyrim. I always felt that Skyrim had this strong political message of mankind still staggering over trivialities even in the face of total annihilation. Does this message echo through in the song you think?
Honestly I don´t think this song has such a deep message. I rather wanted to show the rise of the oppressed race of the Nord, who unite with the help of the Dragonborn under the banner of Ulfric Stormcloak to retake their home and retake their lives. I´d rather call it a revolutionary song.
One thing that ‘The Great Brotherwar’ proves, is that you can do way more than the dragon and fantasy things you have done on the debut album. What other sorts of topics are you excited to write songs about?
One song on ‘The Great Brotherwar’ is inspired by Bernhard Hennen´s fantasy-story ‘Die Elfen’ which is one of the best stories I have read to this day. It is highly possible, that we will make another concept-album for album Nr.3, based in that universe. Star Wars or other computergames like the old Wing Commander might also serve as a future inspiration. There´s really a lot of stories to sing about and I have honestly not yet decided what to sing about on the next record.
I remember the last live concert I saw of you in Eindhoven, that was kind of a disaster out of your hands. The sound mix was abominable and out of your 45 minutes promised play time there was barely half an hour left. Add that up to the doors opening too late for people able to get in on time to see you play. Has that sort of bad luck haunted your shows more often on tour?
Actually that really seems to haunt us – we just had a festival show where the microphone for the lead vocals seemed to be damaged. Sometimes you could hear my vocals, sometimes not...it was really unnerving to say the least. I think it is due to the fact that our technical setup for playing live is not the easiest and since we don´t have our own crew yet, there are often problems you have to deal with. But each time that somethings like this happens, you learn how to deal with stuff like that and that helps you to be better prepared for the next time.
The difference in circumstances between ‘Of Dragons And Elves’ and now ‘The Great Brotherwar’ includes the fact that back at the debut, you were still unsigned, while this album will be released through NoiseArt records. Does this enhance your possibilities of good tours to promote your albums, hopefully without the shit we talked about earlier? Anything up the sleeve on that front?
We are still heavily looking for touring opportunities for 2018. Of course the label deal with NAR and the new album brings us in a much better position, but also a big advantage is our booking deal with Rising Talent Agency. I think the stuff we talked about earlier is happening sometimes in the beginning of the touring live and every band has to face that. The more advanced sound, songwriting and stage setup are, without our own crew, a challenge sometimes. We'll try to have our own professional crew as soon as possible to give our fans the best shows possible. The biggest problem for us is a bad live-sound and that is something we need to address, as every fan should be able to experience Evertale in the best way possible.
Okay I think we can wrap it up for this interview. Anything you would like to say to the Dutch fans?
Dear Dutch fans, you are honestly great and we love playing in your beautiful country You are always motivated and go crazy which is why we love playing for you guys. I hope we can come back as soon as possible to see you all again. Aaaaaaaand, buy ‘The Great Brotherwar’!