Δευτέρα 23 Μαρτίου 2015


1.Hello and how are you? How are things at the STORMHUNTER camp at the moment?

Hello Nick. I'm fine, thank you. Hope all is well for you too. At the moment, we’re trying to promote the new album and to find some distribution partners. We also have a new live set with a few songs of the new album that we rehearse.

2.First of all I would like to know, which the reasons that lead you to the decision to produce and release your new album on your own were?

We decided to release the album on our own because of financial reasons. With a small underground label, even if you have a fair deal (and the deal with EmanesMETAL was definitively fair), the band pays the whole album production including artwork. The label pays the CDs and maybe LPs and the band gets a certain amount of CDs and LPs to sell themselves. This amount of CDs is not enough to get back at least half of the money spent by the band. Of course, if the album sells very well and is repressed, then this might work. But we have to be realistic. There are so many good bands and people don't buy many CDs anymore...
To be clear: we're not making music to become rich, in fact, we actually lose money with every new album, so this is an attempt to reduce the losses. Of course, there are some drawbacks... most of the time, bigger magazines ignore bands without a label and without distribution when it comes to reviews, or it takes ages to get a review in the demo section.

3.Which are the differences according to your experience between doing all the things on your own and cooperating with a label? Do you plan to continue in the same way in the future?

When doing all on your own, you have more control on what's happening, but it's a lot of work. As we all have regular jobs, it's impossible for us to spend as much time in promotion as a label could. Labels generally have more contacts and can reach more people than a band. We don't have any concrete plans for the future regarding labels and distribution. We're open to propositions even for the current album, for an LP release as an example.

4.There is a gap of 3 years between you sophomore album and your new one. How much of this time was spent in the composing and production of the new album? How has this time gap worked in general for the band (I mean in terms of creativity)?

As you may know, Frank (vocals) and Andreas (drums) have a thrash metal band named BITTERNESS, Fritz has his thrash metal band NUCLEAR WARFARE and Burkhard is a member of the death metal band BOWTOME. They all were busy recording albums with these bands. As STORMHUNTER is a hobby and not a job, this was not a problem. It's not possible to say how much of the past three years was spent in composing the new songs. I worked on new ideas every now and then and jammed with Burkhard during rehearsals. I had the demos ready sometime during 2013 and I began to rehearse the songs with Andreas. After that, we started some sort of pre-production, I worked on the lyrics with Frank and at the beginning of 2014, we entered the Iguana Studios to record the album.

5.In your previous album we could find a strong RUNNING WILD influence in your sound. This time, although the RUNNING WILD influences are here, I have to say that the band has achieved a more personal sound. How do you feel about it? Which are the new elements that you have introduced in the sound of STORMHUNTER with your new album?

We are very satisfied with the new album. I think our thrash and speed metal influences are more present on “An Eye For An I”. It seemed natural to have a bit more aggressive vocals. But for those who know STORMHUNTER from the start, this is not very new. The demo “First Battle” had aggressive vocals too and some thrash metal influences. I used some ideas in the new songs that I probably would have used with my former thrash-death band DARK ASSAULT. Since we stopped DARK ASSAULT, all my ideas now are used for STORMHUNTER. We also worked more on the choruses this time. We always had some “choirs” on our albums, but this time, we took more time to try out different things. People outside the band might notice more changes as we do in the band.

6.I like the title “An Eye For An I”. Which is its meaning? Does it have to do with the greed and individualism that dominates modern western societies?

This interpretation is new to me, but very interesting – and it also fits the lyrics. But I think that this is a general, worldwide problem and not just one of western societies. The aim of this play on words is to draw the attention to the omnipresent surveillance through governments, companies or private persons. No matter what you do or where you go, you are most likely filmed at a moment or another. Communication is intercepted, you are committed to give certain information to authorities without apparent reasons and so on. Private people take pictures and post them on social networks without bothering if all the persons on the picture approve of the publication. Looking at the original meaning of “An Eye For An Eye”, it wants to show the disparity of means in the context of surveillance. The erosion of privacy is justified with the so called war on terror. And nowadays, all sorts of things are labeled “terrorism” and then it seems dispensable to respect human rights. Surveillance does rather make people anxious than giving them a feeling of security.
7.The lyrics once again are not the typical ones, since you prove to be musicians that draw inspiration from the social and political issues of the modern societies. So, in a few words which is the lyrical story of each song that you have included in your new album?

Notice: I wrote a comment for the songs where Frank commented his lyrics.
“A Thousandth Part”: (Comment from Frank, our singer): Mankind is just a blink, /a thousandth part/ away from its own extinction.
“Among The Blind”: There are a few leaders in the world that shape the world according to their wishes and needs, regardless of human rights or existing laws. This all happens overtly, but yet the majority doesn't seem to notice it. Just take TTIP, the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership... it is obvious that this is not made to increase, for example, social standards for the people. Although such a contract would have a huge impact on the lives of all persons in the EU, the negotiations are secret. However, the “partners” call it democracy...
“Cathodic Messiah”: In Germany, we have all sorts of “reality shows” and broadcasts with “scripted reality”. You can see a lot of propaganda there. For example, unemployed people are mostly depicted as lazy, stupid and messy individuals claiming that they don't want to work and prefer to live at the expense of society. Of course, such individuals surely exist, but the media represent these individuals as “the normal case”.
“Victimized”: (Comment from Frank, our singer) We all get oppressed and /victimized/ every day by so many people and institutions, sometimes without even noticing. We are like slaves to the system.
“Tortured Mind”: Our society stands at the precipice. The hassle against minorities (for example in Europe), are strongly reminiscent of the events in the years preceding the emergence of the Third Reich.
“Hell – Is What You Make Of It”: A cynic view on what's happening in Germany and Europe especially. The “Elite” does not care.
“Of Knights and Men”: Well, we're all fans of Monty Python... and we always had one song featuring some Knights on our albums ;-)
“An Eye For An I”: Surveillance
“Parasite”: I'm sure everybody knows selfish people...
“Running Down”: (Comment from Frank, our singer) Stupid and ignorant people are /running down/ our world without considering the consequences.
“Spring Is In The Air”: This song is about the austerity politics in Europe and the tensions arising from it.

8.I am from Greece and I want to stand especially on the song entitled “Spring is in the Air” in which amongst others you talk about austerity and how democracy does not function well in Europe. Well, let me tell you that in Greece we are in this austerity politics for 5 years and the only change we see is that the poor get poorer and the rich richer. Which are your thoughts about it? Do you believe that there will be a solution to that problem or Europe once again will go to destruction?

I don't know where this will lead. Austerity is not a new thing, it's something that has been practiced all around the world for a long time. The responsible persons don't have the intention to improve the situation of the poor, the goal is to make rich people even richer than they already are. For those people, the problem is not poverty, but how they can keep the poor in the bridle. Naomi Klein wrote an interesting book called “The Shock Doctrine”. If you look at history, war was also always a way to earn money, so the prospects for a solution seem rather bad...

9.The cover artwork is great. Who is the artist and how is the cover connected to the album? Do you agree that this cover somehow reminds us of Thundercats?

The cover artwork was made by Péter Sallai. The front cover is not directly connected to the album, but you'll find plenty of hints that one would associate with conspiracy and such things. The back cover has a more direct connection to surveillance and oppression.
I don't know Thundercats... so I cannot answer this part of your question.

10. What kind of reactions have you received so far from the press and fans for your new album? Which is the best comment that you have received so far? Also is there a weird or a funny one that you want to share with us?

As you probably found out, there are not many reactions from the press so far. The reactions of the fans are great. There were no “special” comments or something I could call “the best comment”. The “essence” of the comments is that the album has a lot of energy and power.

11. In my research for the band I stumbled upon the name SUBSPHERE. So can you tell us a few things about it?

When I left STORMHUNTER in 2002, there were no more founding members in the band. Since the other members wanted to make more progressive music, they decided to change their name into SUBSPHERE. That's all I can say about it since I was not involved in SUBSPHERE.

12. Will you do any live shows in order to promote the new album and when should we expect you for a live here in Greece?

We will play at the Metalheadz Open Air in Germany (in May) and we are confirmed for the Rising Fest in Dijon / France in September. Apart of that, we wait for a concert to be confirmed in Ulm / Germany for December. It's difficult to get gigs these days... so if someone wants to book us, don't hesitate to contact us via Facebook or by email. We would love to play in Greece, but we don't have any contacts to promoters or organizers there. Again, if someone wants to let us play in Greece, don't hesitate to contact us :-)

13. Thanks for your time answering my questions! I wish you the best of luck and my congratulations on the great album that you have released. The last lines of this interview belong to you…

Thank you for this very interesting interview and for your support. Your questions show that you took a closer look to our album. To all the Metalheads out there: you can listen to our songs on https://www.facebook.com/stormhuntermetal/app_6452028673 in the band profile. If you like what you hear, don't hesitate to spread the disease :-)
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis


1.Hello Roberto. How are you?

R: Fine Nick thanks a lot…a good moment of my life in music.

2.Recently you have released your solo album entitled “Sapere Aspettare”. How do you feel about it? Which are your expectations?

R: basically that’s a new beginning of Roberto as solo artist, I don’t expect fame and success just the start of something mine

3.How long did it take you to compose and produce the album? Were all the songs included here written in the same period or in different moments of your career?

R: 2 songs ,Sinceramente and Percorso Obbligato are coming from 2004 the other songs were composed in these last 3 years. The production and recording of this album did not took a long time, I did most of the recordings at home, I played all the acoustic guitars, some electric guitars, ukulele, bass guitar and of course all the vocals.

4.It is obvious that your solo album moves on a different musical path from what you have got us used with LABYRINTH. How would you describe your sound and how and why did you decide to move on a different musical style?

R: I didn’t decide to move on a different style ‘cause this is definitely my stile, this is just my way to see the music, I can say that this “Sapere Aspettare” contains all my musical experience of these last 26 years of music.

5.Which are the things that inspired you to write pop/rock songs? Which do you consider as your influences?

R: I was just inspired by the world around me and I also wanted to put myself in my songs, I never thought to write a certain kind of music but just music and as you can see here in this album there is room for rock, acoustic mood and all vocals moments.
Actually I’m influenced by all the good music I have around me

6.The translation of the title of your album in English (if I am not that wrong) means learn to wait. How did you come up with this title and what does it mean to you? Do you agree with the saying that patience is a virtue?

R: I totally agree with you! Nowadays everything happens at once and sometime we miss the chance to build with patience our path.

7.I am also interested in the lyrics which are mostly written in the Italian language. Can you tell us in a few words which the lyrical story behind each song is and why you also decide to write them in the Italian language?

R: I wrote in Italian ‘cause I’m Italian J I left in English “I remember” and “No how to wait” because those songs sounded better in English.

“Non è più tempo” is talking about the world nowadays and basically says that we have no more time to wait and see what happen, we need to take the reins of our life and time if we wanna really change something. “non lo so” is talking about selfish people who doesn’t know what it means “share” feelings. “conta fino a 3” tells that if you wanna breath you must get away from cities and concrete jungles. “nero cenere” was written by a friend of mine and is talking about a woman more similar to a black widow than a real woman…sometime happens no? J “crazy” just a cover I did with Irene Fornaciari. “Sinceramente” a simple love song “vado a male” an all vocal song that is talking about love but in a ironic way. “I remember” is dedicated to my grandmother and all the people I belong to. “Know how to wait” says that for me the only way to remain sane is waiting for the right moment to talk and move in this fast and careless world.

“piu di ieri” is again something about love, after a bad period I say to her that it will be better. “Percorso Obbligato” “fixed path” is the metaphor of our life and how we must take care about us and the others around us without judge and be selfish, I also give my vision of religion that is far from the “format” they gave us in this last 2000 years.

8.Can you tell us, who the other musicians that participated in the creation of this album are?

R: lot of musician and friends are on this album and I’m proud of it. Stef Burns, Irene Fornaciari, Marco Barusso , Mat Stancioiu, Marco Canepa, Aldo De Scalzi, Guido Carli and many more

9.Will you continue to work both with LABYRINTH and as a solo artist? Aren’t you afraid that you might not find the time you want to dedicate to both the band and your project?

R:Think you missed something J I left the band in 2014 after 17 years of music. Mark Boals took my place and I hope they did another great album. At the moment from Mexico asked us to play a sort of “last gig” with me and the set list must be all “return to heaven denied pt1”. It will happen in August and of course I will be there.

10.By the way will you do any live shows to promote your solo album?

R:of course! The first gig it will happens next 17th April in Genova but a real tour will start after summer. I’m also ready to work on 2 video clips “conta fino a 3” and “non è più tempo”

11.So far what kind of reviews does your album receive? Which is the best comment that you have received so far?

R:very good comments also from people who are far from this kind of music, what it convinced all was basically the quality in terms of sound and songwriting.

12.Thanks for your time answering my questions Roberto! I wish you the best of luck and please close the interview in a way you like…

R: thanks to you and to all your readers, I hope to have soon tha chance to play in your wonderful country!! Hugs, Roberto!

Nick  “Verkaim”  Parastatidis

Σάββατο 14 Μαρτίου 2015

DRAGONHAMMER – The Blood of the Dragon review

Photo of the Remarkables mountain range in Queenstown, New Zealand.

DRAGONHAMMER – The Blood of the Dragon
My Kingdom Music
This is the debut album of the Italian power metal band DRAGONHAMMER. For the first time it was released back in 2001 and over the years it has sold 6000 copies around the world. The first edition is sold out and now My Kingdom Music decided to re-release it.
THE COVER: The cover shows a dragon and a person dressed like a lizard holding a hammer against the dragon. It has a comic feeling and I think that I like it and actually it fits to the kind of music that DRAGONHAMMER play.
MUSICAL STYLE: In 2001 power metal was ruling once again the heavy metal sound and towards achieving that helped such bands like HAMMERFALL and RHAPSODY. So it is natural that DRAGONHAMMER’s sound is influenced by such bands, but they also have influences from the neoclassical and baroque music and this is obvious on their keyboards.
COMPOSITIONS: The re – release of the debut album of DRAGONHAMMER includes the 10 original songs and as bonus it has 2 live recordings of “Dragonhammer” and “Scream”. The compositions are not bad, but also can’t stand out. I think that even for the time it was first released it sounded too typical for the power metal genre. I mean that they don’t have the melodies and the choruses that will make you remember them and sing along to.
CONCLUSION: “The Blood of the Dragon” is not a bad release since I listened to it without it tiring me at any point, but also it is not a memorable one, because after I finished listening to it, I wasn’t able to remember any of the songs. Only the diehard fans of the band and the European power metal sound would find here something interesting.
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis