Hail Mighty Hammer King! I just had the privilege to listen to your new opus called ‘Poseidon Will Carry Us Home’. And what a great album it is! Could you, as this is your first interview for the Lords Of Metal, please introduce the band to our readers?
Hail Henk, this is Titan Fox of Hammer King. It is a pleasure being with you! Great to be speaking with the Netherlands! Thank you very much for your kind words, we are really proud of the album! The band was founded by thy majesty, the Hammer King, himself in 1978. The King put the band on hold right away until the time was right for a return, which took place in 2015 with our debut album ‘Kingdom Of The Hammer King’. ‘King Is Rising’ followed in 2016 and now ‘Poseidon Will Carry Us Home’ will be out in October. The kingly band is formed by K.K. Basement on bass and Dolph Aidan Macallan on drums, who is also the president and the keeper of the whiskey grail. On lead guitar we have Gino Wilde, the most timeless guitarist from Kleveland, Norway. My name is Titan Fox V, lead singer and the other lead guitarist.
I believe the album is not a complete concept album but there is an obvious red thread throughout the album and of course there is the trilogy about The King himself. Can you tell us what the lyrics are all about and who is responsible for writing music and lyrics?
As always, all music and lyrics were given by the majesty, the Hammer King. We are sent to arrange and record His songs. While on ‘King Is Rising’ we had many of the King's war stories, this time He took on His sailing and seafaring legends. The nautical trilogy consisting of ‘Poseidon Will Carry Us Home’, ‘At The Mercy Of The Waves’ and ‘We Sail Cape Horn’ are the centre pieces of the album. The song ‘Locust Plague’ is a very special song for the band. We played the Burn This Town Festival in Rome late 2016. Headlining were Sacred Steel. We spent the two days walking through the entire holy Rome, beholding the historic places, capturing the spirit of ancient Roman times. The night before the show, our record company Cruz Del Sur Music invited us to a dinner in a wonderful pizzeria where Sacred Steel and us, we really dined like the gods. So, we knew that we would have to immortalize these days in a song.
How long did it take to write and record the album? Were all the songs ready before entering the studio and what was the influence of your producer Charles Greywolf?
All songs were completely done before we hit the studio. We usually record VERY detailed demos, all the vocals, especially the choirs must be set, the guitars must be carved in stone, the drums need to be completely settled. Only the bass can change a bit during the recording. As Charles Greywolf is a bassist himself, of course this makes sense. Charles is an amazing person, a very trusted friend. I think this time we had the best working relationship so far: We discussed a lot about details, about how many harmony vocals should be on which part, how loud which vocal line should be, and so on. But basically, he always brings two or three cool twists to our albums.
This album is a crucial one since it is the third. That is always the point where a band knows if they will be successful. When would you say that you have succeeded in this?
Once the songs were done and had been recorded in the studio, we knew that we had something special. I believe that the songs are deeper and a bit more epic compared to our previous albums. I believe that we have nothing to fear with a "third album" like ‘Poseidon Will Carry Us Home’. Of course, personal tastes may vary, but such is life, and such is music. For Hammer King, this is the perfect third album, so I feel we have accomplished our mission.
What would you say is the biggest difference between the former albums and this new one and what would be the advertisement talk to sell the album to our readers?
To me, the sound of the whole production is different. The instruments are clearer and more organic, especially the drums and the guitars. Charles has certainly made his best production so far and the mastering by Tony Lindgren from Jens Bogren's Fascination Street Studio is the perfect completion. Dynamic and tasteful, not overly compressed. To promote the album, the King has decided to say: "The King has come to make a stand and show you where the Hammer hangs". And if you take a very close look at the front cover, you can find where the Hammer hangs!
Am I correct if I noticed a slight change in the vocal part? It sounds to me that the vocal parts throughout have turned out to be a bit higher.
Well, we have a greater variety of vocals on this album. There are songs with higher vocals, such as ‘The King Is A Deadly Machine’ and ‘At The Mercy Of The Waves’, but we also have low vocals on ‘7 Days And 7 Kings’, ‘Glorious Night Of Glory’ or such. There has not been a masterplan behind it, the vocals come naturally and must go with the songs. But overall, the new songs are a bit more demanding to play and sing, especially the choirs for the boys in the band. But now, after some weeks in the rehearsal room at Castle Rockfort, I can proudly say that all works out great.
Who is responsible for your album covers? Is it always the same artist?
It has always been Timo Wuerz, an amazing artist we got connected to via Cruz Del Sur Music. We love his work and so far, this cover has been the greatest work for us. So many details, it is quite epic!
This is also the third album you made for Cruz Del Sur. Do you have a contract for more albums with them?
The Hammer King, the Chancellor Of Glory and Cruz Del Sur will get together at some point to write the path into the future! Right now, all is set for ‘Poseidon Will Carry Us Home’. We are confidently looking forward to its release and we will talk about HK #4 by next year then.
I noticed that the website of Hammer King is not very up to date. Will there be a major change on it soon or can anyone interested in Hammer King better go the Facebook page?
Facebook is always the number one source nowadays, but of course our website will be revamped for the album release. All with new artwork and new concert dates!
Speaking about concert dates, I suppose a tour will follow because Kings need to conquer the world. Where can we see the Hammer King in the coming months?
We are blessed to be playing live all the time and with our new booking agency Shock City Productions from Scotland, we will play more shows than before. It has started really promising so far, we will play Belgium for the first-time supporting Demon and Blitzkrieg. We are looking forward to that. There will be club shows and festival slots right after the album's release, the more shows, the better!
Well, that wraps it up from my side. Is there anything that your Majesty would like to say or address to our readers? Feel free to speak!
Thank you very much for the great interview, Henk! I hope to see you soon. The King has spoken that He would be very pleased to see us playing the Netherlands in the future. Thank you for your support, let's stay in touch. God bless the King; may the King bless you!