Powerwolf's Falk Maria Schlegel Explains New Album "Blood Of The Saints"
German wolf pack Powerwolf has returned with "Blood of the Saints" (reviewed here), another disc full of fist pumping anthems and catchy choruses.
Powerwolf organ player Falk Maria Schlegel has checked in with Metalunderground.com to explain the religious themes found in the album and discuss the recording process, which included a brand new drummer taking the reins mere days before recording started. Falk also explained the band's recent music video for "We Drink Your Blood," which was shot in a church for an authentic gothic approach to match the album's theme and atmosphere.
xFiruath: In your opinion how does "Blood of the Saints" compare to previous Powerwolf releases and what's different about it?
Falk: “Blood of the saints” is the more dynamic album. On “Bible of the Beast” we worked at lot with choir arrangements and orchestrations. It was a really intense album, but on some songs it maybe was too much or at least, it was this over-the-top concept album, which would have been boring doing it twice. So instead we found quite a good balance between classically arranged parts and straight forward metal stuff on “Blood of the Saints” as I think. Some of the songs indeed sound to me just as if we´d be standing right there playing the song having the time of our lives doing so, and these moments are what makes “Blood of the Saints” in a way the most vivid and thus exciting Powerwolf album.
xFiruath: Where did you record the album and who did you work with?
Falk: We recorded at several places. I want to mention three: it was an old chapel from the 12th century for recording the choir, an old chapel in France for the organ parts, and the Studio Fredman in Gothenburg.
xFiruath: Normally I don't care for repeating choruses in metal, as it's a genre that really shines when doing things outside the normal song structures, but I'm finding I love the anthemic sections from tracks like "All we Need is Blood," "We Drink Your Blood," and "Sanctified with Dynamite." When creating new material, how do you put together all the different elements such as guitars and vocals and decide how to arrange the lyrics with the music?
Falk: When we write a song we don´t care about anything at all. We just write whatever comes out of our strange minds, no matter if that meets any expectations or not. We DO however care a lot what our fans think about our songs, but luckily it seems we are just like our fans: metal addicts with a passion for catchy songs. A song simply needs a great title, that´s a dogma in Powerwolf. It would be pointless to write a chorus line if the song title sung in it is boring. And indeed in a lot of cases the idea for the song title or the lyrical theme is the starting point we arrange a melody around. I can hardly imagine starting to write a song with a bridge or a riffing. That would become a boring riff-after-riff thing. There are plenty of other bands who do that. No need for the wolves to bore our fans with that, haha.
xFiruath: Obviously by the song titles and art direction it seems like the lyrics are a critique of religion in general or Christianity in particular, but what specific ideas and themes is the band trying to create with the lyrics and how do you go about writing them?
Falk: We are a very spiritual band. Everybody in his own way and we are reading a lot things in the Bible. So we discovered the main theme for the album. The album title refers to a passage out of the Revelation of John: "I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." But it is important to say that we aren’t Satanists or Catholics, we are observer of the scene. And we are heavy metal addicted.
xFiruath: Tell me about the music video shoot for "We Drink Your Blood." How do you feel about the finished product and how did the shooting go?
Falk: Guess we never did a video before because our expectations were really high and we did not have the possibilities to realize that before. This time it happened that we got the chance to shoot the video in a recently sold church with all interior still inside, which was like the perfect occasion for a Powerwolf video, so it was a now-or-never thing. We had a damn great time posing in that old church with fire, fog, and heavy metal I can tell you.
xFiruath: How did you convince the church owners to let you film there as metal band?
Falk: That was quite a hard struggle. And we had to do a lot administration stuff... We had to convince a lot of owners, politcans but we managed it. You don’t need to tell allways the complete truth!
xFiruath: Where will Powerwolf be performing live in the near future to support the album?
Falk: In September 2011 we will be part of the Power of Metal tour alongside Sabaton, Grave Digger, and Skill Fist, which should become quite a great tour. We´re looking forward to these shows, as the lineup is brilliant with four bands, all delivering power metal in their very individual ways. And we‘re gonna play the summer festivals all over Europe like Masters of Rock, Metal Camp, and Summer Breeze.
xFiruath: You guys split with your drummer a few months back. What happened there and do you have a full-time replacement already lined up?
Falk: Tom is no longer part of the pack because it just didn´t work out the way we thought it would, both personally and musically. We ended up a few days before starting the recordings feeling that this would become a kind of compromise thing between us and Tom. And whatever Powerwolf did, we never ever compromised and we never will. That´s why we took the emergency brake and went separate ways. Roel van Helden came in as a studio replacement for Tom exactly three days before the recordings started. No warm up, no get to know each other, but when he hit his drums for the first time in studio we knew he was the perfect wolf for the job. So, when he was finished with his drums in studio we intended to ask him if he would play some live shows with us – but he was faster, and asked us, haha…. Well, now we have played a number of shows together, we get along great and so time will tell if he´ll become a permanent member of the pack.
xFiruath: Do you personally go to live shows often?
Falk: Yes I do. I like going on festivals and concerst. I want a band that can entertain the audience. With visual aspects, charisma etc. Yeah!
xFiruath: What albums have you been listening to lately?
Falk: The new Ghost Brigade.
xFiruath: Want to say anything else?
Falk: Metal is religion! Come to our shows, listen to the new record, and celebrate it.
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