Danes Compos Mentis have just unleashed their second opus, ’Gehennesis’, a fine collection of melodic death/black metal. Powermetal.dk’s Thomas shoots a few questions at vocalist Jesper Heinsvig.
Jesper, congrats on the release of ‘Gehennesis’! How has the album been received so far?
Jesper: Thanks a lot! The album has only been released in Denmark so far and will not come out worldwide until the 18th of June but Denmark has received it with open arms. The press has rewarded Gehennesis with great reviews so that is nice. Now we are just looking forward to get out there and play the new material live!
This is your second release on the second label. Does the collaboration with (Danish label) Mighty Music mark a new beginning for the band? Are the hopes high for more touring and PR?
Jesper: Yes definitely! Lost Disciple Records was a good label, but it was placed in USA so it was hard for them to help us here in Europe. It is much easier for Mighty Music to help us where we need it the most right now – here in Europe.
The last year has brought a lot of changes to Compos Mentis. We have got a new guitarist since I decided to stop playing guitar in order to be able to focus more on the vocals. And our longtime friend and bandmate Bo Damgaard stopped playing piano in Compos Mentis, so we had to find a new pianist. Suddenly Compos Mentis has two new guys in the band after having been the same five guys for the last 8-9 years and we feel that we have new energy in the band – we are seriously ready to kick some ass, ha ha!
Your lyrics are not just the usual death and blood blah blah. Tell us about the lyrical concept of ‘Gehennesis’.
Jesper: Well, as you might know Gehennesis is a concept album based on the idea of a personal Hell, that is a mental state without God (symbol of systematism and cosmos). We interpret this as a state in which you have dismissed the idea of living your life according to predetermined rules, whether they come from religion, moral, scientific theories or whatever. The title is a compound of the words “Gehenna” (Hell) and “genesis” (creation), meaning that you should strive to liberate yourself from these rules and the album cover symbolizes the rebirth, the transition into this state of mind.
Where do you find the inspiration for your music? I hear doses of Dimmu Borgir, Moonspell and, well, heavy metal in there? And I suppose your vocal style is best defined as black metal?
Jesper: We find inspiration more or less everywhere and we listen to a lot of different music within the band; from classical to pop and rock and from electronic music to the most extreme metal. But it is true that Dimmu Borgir and Moonspell are some of the big inspirations though there are some bands I believe to be even bigger inspirations, such as In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Embraced, etc.
I don’t really know if my vocal style is best defined as black metal…. Some people compare it to Dani Filth, some with Anders Fridén and some with Thomas Lindberg, so it is hard to say, but I am trying to develop so I can be more versatile.
There’s a lot going on in Danish metal at the moment. Do you feel that it is easier to attract the attention of international media just because of the fact that you’re a Danish band?
Jesper: Yes, I think it is easier now than it was four years ago when we released “Fragments of a Withered Dream” but on the other hand there are so many bands out there nowadays so there is also more competition. But in my opinion it is nonetheless obvious that the success that Hatesphere, Mnemic, Mercenary, Illdisposed, etc. have got during the last years is helping all the other Danish metal bands.
I think most of those who have listened to ‘Gehennesis’ are eager to hear the material translated into the live setting. Any touring plans?
Jesper: We don’t have any touring plans that I can reveal right now. We have been offered a couple of tours with big headliners, but they have not been the right ones for us as regards the genre, time and price. But we are working on touring both here in Denmark and in Europe.
The tour of your dreams – who’s on the bill besides yourself?
Jesper: It is no secret that all of us like Metallica – especially the old records - so of course we would like to support them. So I am hating Volbeat and Mnemic for getting the chance to support them in Aarhus in July, ha ha. Otherwise I would personally like to tour with bands such as In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, Rammstein, Dimmu Borgir and Moonspell. And I am pretty sure that our new guitarist will kick me in the balls if I don’t mention Slayer…
Which five CD’s would you rip for your Ipod if you knew that your private jet would crash on a deserted island tomorrow?
Jesper: Metallica – Master of Puppets, Metallica – Ride the Lightning, Saturnus – Martyre, In Flames – Colony, Moonspell – Irreligious.
Thanks a lot for taking the time to answer my question, Jesper! Any final rants for our readers?
Jesper: Thanks for reading trough this interview. If you don’t have Gehennesis yet, then go get your copy now – ‘cause it is an amazing record if I might say so! Also check out our e-card that can be found on our website.