Interview with vocalist Dirk Stühmer, Eternal Reign (February 23rd 2008)

In the year 2005 I was very enthusiastic about the Album "Forbidden Path" from the German band Eternal Reign. The band made a record full of first class U.S. - Metal in the style of Vicious Rumors, Metal Church and Crimson Glory.  Last week I put the cd again in my Stereo and  wondered why I didn't hear anything from them in the last 3 years. So time to hear Dirk out about what's going on.

- In 2005 you came with an excellent album, what has the band been doing over the last 3 years? 

Dirk: Unfortunately the city of Bremen cancelled our rehearsal room two times last year, which took us a lot of time to find another one and prepare it for our rehearsals. Of course all this was very expensive for our band. Last but not least our drummer André quit the band after almost ten years, because of his job. He had to go to India for a certain time and couldn't find the time for ETERNAL REIGN. Fortunately we found a new drummer after a few weeks – his name is Lennart Medebach and we already played a concert together with him. It went great! Between all these shitty situations we had the time to play a few gigs with Masterplan, Mob Rules, Victory and Gun Barrel. We also played at the Metal-Bash-Open-Air in Hamburg and at “The Rock” inCopenhagen in 2006. So we were quite busy all the time.

- What is Andre Genuit, your former drummer doing at the moment?

Dirk: He is working in the computer business and he's always very busy. He lives close to my home and we meet each other from time to time. He's still a good friend, but he's not involved in the band anymore.

- Eternal Reign came with their debut in 2002, your last record was from 2005, we are again three years later, can we expect a new album this year?

Dirk: Right now we're busy with writing new songs for our third album. We already finished the first demos and played a few new songs live. Hopefully we'll be in the studio pretty soon and release our album this year.

- Does the band still have a record deal with LIMB MUSIC?

Dirk: Yes we're still working with them.

- After three years without a new album, the band must have a lot of new songs ready, can the fans expect a style-change? Tell us more about the new songs.

Dirk:  We didn't changed our style! I can say it will sound maybe a little different from our last output, but it'll definitely sound like ETERNAL REIGN. We will have some fast songs and uptempo tracks and we will have our first ballad ever. We will also record a cover version, but I can't tell you more about that right now.

- Who writes most of the songs?

Dirk: Most of themusic is written by our guitarist Michael "Mick" Sebastian. For the new album our keyboarder Björn Meyer and the other guitarist Torsten Fünfhaus did also give their influences. I write all of the lyrics and the vocal lines. For our new album I used some very cool lyrics written by our new drummer Lennart Medebach.

- On your second album there is a song with a French name called "Les Rêves En Plastique". What does the band have with the French and what does the song mean?

Dirk: It's just a gimmick and I wrote it in French because of the rhyme. The song is about people creating a world of dreams to manipulate you. Very colourful but fragile dreams made of plastic.

- How popular is Eternal Reign in Germany?

Dirk: I think ETERNAL REIGN is not popular, but we are well known in the metal underground, because we played a lot of gigs at some cool festivals like the Keep-It-True, Headbangers-Open-Air or Metal-Bash-Festival. We always had pretty good reviews in the big print magazines and in the internet and we're working together with a professional label.

- Are there many gigs coming in 2008, perhaps at some Festivals?

Dirk:  I don't think we'll be able to play some festival gigs this year, because we already played the underground festivals through the last few years. The huge festivals like Wacken or Bang-Your-Head would be cool, of course, but it's difficult to get a spot at those events. We will play some club gigs, for example with LETHAL in July.

- I think you are one of the best U.S. - Metal bands from outside the USA. What are the band influences?

Dirk: You are right! Our main influences are bands like Vicious Rumors, Metal Church, Queensryche, Savatage or stuff like that. That's what we grew up with and that's what we still listen to. We definitely don't sound typical European.

- On your last Album you have a Breaker cover called "Ten Seconds in". But I can't find any info about the song "Set the Sails", which is I think a song from the band Secrecy isn't it?

Dirk: "Set the Sails" is written by Jörn Schlüter of SECRECY, but the song was never released . Our Guitarist Mick was an early member of Secrecy and so the idea came up to play the song live and afterwards we decided to put it on our album. This year Secrecy will appear at the Bang-Your- Head in Balingen to play a reunion gig. Of Course, we'll be there to bang with our friends from Bremen!

- I think you are a very good singer, where did you learn that, did you take lessons and who are Influences?

Dirk: Thanks a lot! I never took any lessons, it has to be talent, though some vocal lessons might help me improve my singing. My main influence is Bruce Dickinson, because I always adored his voice. I also like Geoff Tate, of course Russel Allen, Dio and Carl Albert!

- Do you have any idea why the band hasn't got more success, in my opinion your music is as good as Vicious Rumors, Crimson Glory or Brainstorm.

Dirk: I think you have to ask the metal fans out there. These days the big labels like Nuclear Blast are not interested in underground bands like ETERNAL REIGN. They try to sign the big names who sell a lot of albums. With LMP we are signed by a well known worldwide working label, but it's still an independent label. I think Nuclear Blast, SPV, Sanctuary or BMG do have more money to promote their acts. But I think people who are interested in underground metal know the name ETERNAL REIGN and I also think gives us the chance to spread our name throughout the world.

- I give you two or three  names or words and you must pick one and say why you picked it.                      

- Bruce Dickenson / R.J. Dio / Carl Albert.

  Dirk: Bruce Dickenson - he's my personal hero.

 - Gamma Ray / Helloween

 Dirk: Gamma Ray - these guys are more down to earth and more Rock'n Roll.

 - Breaker/Secrecy 

  Dirk: OOps...that's difficult, I think Secrecy has written the more exciting stuff.

 - Crimson Glory/Vicious Rumors

 Dirk: AARGHH - mmhh Vicious Rumors is more intense

 - HSV/Werder Bremen 

  Dirk: No question - WERDER BREMEN.

 - Wacken/Rock Hard Festival

 Dirk: I've never been to one of them...I'm a Bang your Head fan!! But I would prefer the Rockhard Festival.

 - I leave the last words to you Dirk...

  Dirk: Thanks for the interview and "Hallo" to all the Metalheads in Denmark. Watch out for the new Eternal Reign album this year... we're gonna kick your ass!!

See ya!!  

Interviewed by Reinier de Vries

Eternal Reign - Forbidden Path

Label: LIMB Music