Genre: Epic heavy/power metal
1. First of all I’d like to know in which part of the process we find you… I mean this two track promo is out in order to give us a taste of your upcoming album, “Redemption through Force”.
Petros: Hello Christine! We put together the two songs on “Prelude to Redemption” as a sort of “blueprint” for the rest of the album, trying out a number of things in terms of sound, production, recording techniques, etc. with our producer Paris Lambrou. When it started sounding really good, we decided not to let another year slide without a release, and we figured that a two track promo would be a good idea to showcase where the band is today and warm people up for “Redemption through Force”. Right now we’re concluding the drum recordings, and we’ll be hitting the studio hard in October aiming to have all of the instruments and voices down by December.
2. Can you please tell us a few things about the two songs on your promo release “Prelude to Redemption”?
Petros: Sure! First of all let me say that the album is a concept record and these two songs represent two different points in the story. “Burn Magic, Black Magic” was one of the first songs we composed for “Redemption…” and the first one we recorded. It captures the more “eerie” side of SOLITART SABRED and it’s definitely a fan favorite at concerts, we’re even filming a video for it to co-incite with the release of the album. “Redeemer” is a different kind of beast; it’s a more aggressive, in-your-face U.S. power anthem with grittier high pitched vocals that represents a different aspect of SABRED’s sound. Overall I’d say that they balance each other well in the context of a promo, and give the listener a good idea of the wide range of styles we like to encompass in our songs!
Jimmys: Lyrics wise, “Redeemer” deals with the transformation of the main character, Jacob Kramer, from crusader to exorcist, whereas “Burn…” marks the birth of his nemesis, the re-incarnated witch Sarah Lancaster!
3. If you had to write a review for “Redemption through Force”, how would you present it? By the way, when will the album be out?
Petros: A dark epic saga 900 years in the making now comes to light, given flesh by our own brand of U.S. style epic power metal and fueled by bloodlust, power and a grudge-fueled desire to unleash HELL! We’re aiming to free the beast in February/March 2013!
4. In which ways does “Redemption through Force” differ from your 2009 debut, “The Hero The Monster The Myth”? How and in which ways has the band’s sound evolved and progressed all these years?
Petros : First of all let me say that we’re very proud of our debut, and feel honored that people still talk about it and ask for songs like “Slayer’s Oath” or “Solitary Sabred” at our gigs. It gave us the motivation we needed to work very, very hard both as a band and on an individual level to hone our chops, which I think is evident in the new recordings, as well as our live performances. Thanks to the awesome new lineup we sound tighter than ever, and the goal is to keep making bigger and badder EPIC heavy metal! Production wise… well just wait for the end result! I think Paris is doing a killer job for us so far!
Jimmys : The debut was the beginning, our foundation and mission statement, on which we built to reach “Redemption through Force”.
5. What are you looking for in nowadays releases? Based on that what do you think your music can offer to other metal heads?
Petros : Personally as a listener, I like modern bands that have the “old school” vibe, but put their own personality in to it and push our favorite music forward into the new decade without sacrificing its character. I’m talking about bands like Cage, Grand Magus, Huntress etcetc to name but a few. I think that’s sort of what we’re doing with Sabred, wear our U.S. epic/power influences on our sleeve, put our own twist into them and bring them to a new decade where younger fans maybe never even heard of this stuff! Which is probably how music worked all along right?
Jimmys : Free mind, free spirit, metal music from our hearts guided by ancient mystic forces!
6. What kind of procedure do you follow when you compose songs? How easy is it to recreate the feeling and sound of the 80s with a fresh sound and through you own perspective?
Petros : It’s actually pretty easy because it’s what comes natural! The “old school” vibe is not something we’re artificially trying to create, it’s literally pouring out of us because we’re genuinely old school listeners! The way this album was composed was that Jimmys and I had put together the bulk of the material before Antreas and George joined the band, but we re-worked the whole thing together, and I must say the chemistry was phenomenal! Some of the songs like “Realm of Darkness” or “Revelation” completely transformed into something way bigger than we had originally imagined! There’s no doubt that this is the definitive Sabred lineup, and I am dead excited in the prospect of what all four of us will conjure up in the future!
Jimmys : There’s no specific pattern of composing, we just freely express ourselves and the resulting chemistry leads to the songs, which we then fine-tune till they sound just right!
7. Which song or songs do you think are the most ideal to represent “Redemption through Force”?
Each and every song represents a different aspect of Sabred and the concept story, but they are all 100% representative of the band’s sound. That being said, I have four words for you : “Desciples of the Sword”!!!
8. Which are your sources of inspiration when it comes to the lyrics? Which are the main topics you deal with?
The album is a concept story, chronicling the tale of Jacob Kramer, a crusader turned exorcist, and his clash with a young girl possessed by the spirit of a witch. It’s essentially fantasy based on historic fiction, heavily influenced by the witch burnings and the Malleus Maleficarum (though it chronologically precedes them), as well as dark fantasy literature of which I’m a huge fan. I’d say the main protagonist –Jacob Kramer (aka “The Redeemer”)- is a cross between Howard’s Solomon Kane, and Mathias Thulmann, I was reading a lot of those books at the time! Basically we wanted to tell an entertaining story, but like most of our favorite authors we tried to raise some “deeper” issues as well, regarding morality, religion, faith and so forth.
9. Why did you name the album “Redemption through Force”? What do you mean? Do you think there can really be true redemption through force?
Petros : Actually I think the only path to Redemption lies through Force. Not necessarily physical, but force of will, mind, resolve, whatever takes you through purgatory to absolution. The title comes from the lyrics of “Redeemer” (“…redemption through force is the path that I choose”), and it sums up the story of the album pretty well, but it’s also a reference to what the band has been through in the past few years. Member changes, and a lot of trying personal times, but we fought through it all and returned stronger than ever, our personal “Redemption through Force”!
Jimmys : It’s also a message about day to day life, the struggle to come back stronger when life gets you down. Another way I like to see it is that each and every rehearsal we do with Sabred is a small scale “Redemption through Force”, because we literally bleed there for hours until we’ve proven to ourselves that we can nail the songs!
10. Who created the cover artwork? It’s very beautiful! How is it connected to the album title and lyrics? Will this be the same artwork for the album as well?
Petros : The cover is a very small centerpiece part of the painting that our good friend and extremely talented artist Adonis Pelendritis made for the cover! It depicts the clash between the two main characters, ready to engage final embrace by plunging their blades into each other’s chest. It’s funny because Adonis got the inspiration for the painting while we were still composing for the album, started making it and the image in turn was so amazing, it charged us with inspiration that went straight back into the music! It’s the greatest feeling when your own art comes back to you in a form you’ve never imagined and we’d like to thank Adonis for his outstanding work!
11. Have you got any plans for live shows? How easy is it for you to play your songs live? Is there a chance we might see you in Greece and more particularly in Thessaloniki?
Petros : We just played a gig supporting Dark Quarterer, Praying Mantis and Cloven Hoof at Power of the Night Festival, opened for Slaugh Feg in Limassol and now we’re playing Larnaca on the 7th of September with Armageddon, and with Whitesnake in October!!! As for Thesaloniki give us a time and a place and we’re there to unleash the Bloodlust! We are firm believers that metal is a live music, and if you like our studio work, I can assure you we deliver it with extra energy, passion and aggression at our shows!
12. Have you made any video clips? With YouTube I think videos have started becoming a necessity for bands again. How helpful is the Internet?
Petros : We’ve filmed half of the “Burn Magic, Black Magic” video, the rest is parts we’ll be filming with actors. It’s sort of a mini movie based on the lyrics of the song, complete with exorcism and possession scenes for good measure! We’re all fans of classic horror movies, as well as cult metal video clips, so when our friend and official Sabred cameraman ™ Pampos “Axehammer” Charalambous had the idea to put the two together, we jumped right on it!
13. What kind of feedback have you received thus far? I guess you released this two track promo to see the reactions of the press and fans. Right? So do they meet your expectations?
Petros : They far exceeded our expectations and I can’t even begin to express how honored we feel, and how much motivation it gives us to make the best album possible. Just the other day I mailed copies to Greece, U.S.A., Brazil, Portugal etcetc, and the comments and reviews we’ve received so far have been very enthusiastic, so a million thanks to everyone for the support!
14. If the feedback wasn’t what you’d expect, would you decide to work more on the songs and maybe change them?
Petros : I believe that whenever you receive criticism –positive or negative- it should be filtered to get to the essence that led the person to form an opinion. If you agree you keep it, if you disagree you disregard it, but well constructed “negative” criticism, though hurtful, can sometimes lead you to the path of improvement. That being said, as egotistical as it may sound, we play music solely for ourselves! We would never change something we think sounds good just to please someone else’s taste. That’s the sure way to become a colorless, lifeless, generic band, and I learned pretty early in life that you can’t please everyone! But when it comes to Sabred I can assure you that there is no harder judge than ourselves and we are constantly striving to improve in every aspect, which is the whole point of doing something anyway : When you get complacent, you get stale and someone else outworks you! Or as Cliff Burton put it “While you’re sitting around, someone undiscovered is sitting in his basement, practicing to become better than you!”.
15. Are you in touch with a label to release your new album or will you self release it? How important do you think labels are nowadays?
Petros: Yes we are, though I can’t disclose anything yet, and we’re very happy with the promotion plans and the terms they’ve offered us, we think it will definitely push the band in the right direction. Though the Internet helps self promoting your material immensely, I think you can’t beat the push a good label can give a band, if only for the live opportunities that open up. And we might spend every free minute on SABRED, but we have very demanding day jobs as well, so unfortunately we don’t have the time to do all the promotion by ourselves, we’d rather dedicate the time actually playing than running ads on the Internet!
16. What do you want people to think when they listen to SOLITARY SABRED?
Petros: That’s up to them to decide, but I can tell you what we visualize the band as: A bloodied warrior with a sword, facing an overwhelming amount of foes, but sporting a rogue like grin on his face as he’s ready to charge, no doubt in his mind that he will maim, slaughter and overcome the odds…THAT is the spirit of SOLITARY SABRED!
Jimmys: A redemption of souls fueled by the spirits from above!
17. How are things in Cyprus music-wise? How’s the metal scene over there? How difficult is it for a band to stand out?
Petros: The scene is booming, though I think there’s more metal musicians than fans nowadays, everyone seems to have his own band, hahaa! There’s a plethora of genres and some really kick ass bands, both old and new, and I’m happy to call most of them brothers! Big bands come to play here now, ICED EARTH even shot their new live DVD in Cyprus! As for the second part of the question, if you play well you will stand out, it’s so easy to put a gig together nowadays that I don’t think the whole “they are sabotaging us” story really applies anymore, if you work hard enough, and want it bad enough, people will listen!
18. What made you form a band of your own? What was your driving force and which were your influences?
Petros: For me it was a Howie Bentley interview where he said “I formed CAULDRON BORN to release the best metal record ever for my taste”, I read that at 17 and instantly picked up a bass and started jamming! The driving force is definitely the chemistry, friendship and bond between myself and Jimmys, I can’t imagine ever playing music with anyone other than my brother in arms, and now that we have two equally dedicated members in the band, Antreas Tapa on drums, and George Stainlesz on bass, the sky is the limit! We are a metal mob aiming for destruction and we are always pushing each other beyond the limit!
Jimmys: I struggled to put SOLITARY SABRED together about a decade ago, but couldn’t find the right people to get the band going, so when I joined the army and later on left for my studies abroad I pretty much let it rest. But the desire always burned at the back of my mind and heart, so when I met Petros the whole thing ignited, we hit the floor running and haven’t looked back since! Our influences are mainly rooted in the U.S. epic/power/progressive genre, with bands such as MANILLA ROAD, TITAN FORCE, SLAUGHTER XSTROYES, WARLORD, CAULDRON BORN, etc, while my favorite guitarists include Vinnie Moore, Jason Becker, Mark Shelton, Ritchie Blackmore, David Chastain and many others. And of course my guitar teacher Aris Baritis (R.I.P.) who was an outstanding musician and human being, god bless him.
19. Thank you! Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Petros: Thank you Christine for this great interview (can’t believe it’s been 3 years since the last one, time flies!) and the continued support! Look out for “Redemption Through Force” early next year and visit our pages solitarysabred.com, facebook.com/solitary.sabred (profile), facebook.com/sabredmetal (band page) and twitter.com/solitarysabred
Jimmys: THE BLOODLUST IS SACRED, thank you Christine, all the best to you and Behind The Veil!