Athorn, a new band to me and quite possible to most our readers as well - could you please introduce yourself and tell a bit about your background?
Athorn - We formed the band in autumn2008 after we did some jam sessions together. Before we started ATHORN we knew each other for many years. Some of the guys already played together in different bands like CRIPPER and ZELYON or met up on concerts and festivals.
The characteristic of ATHORN is that each member has different musical influences, so we can put our own expectation of modern powerful metal into reality. Stefan likes classic rock and melodic metal. Soren, the guy behind the battery, is our progressive and alternative maniac. Carsten prefers Swedish melodic death, Tobias gets a smile when he listens to bands like DEATH or CYNIC thus death metal and Thomas' influences are bands like BLACK SABBATH with DIO, ACCEPT and heavy/doom metal.
If we have to explain the sound of ATHORN we would say: Imagine a brew of the best various styles of metal. If you are thinking now that mixing many different styles of music could be a problem in the song writing process, we want to say: "maybe, but not for us, harhar!" Of course when you combine our different musical preferences there is sometimes friction. But on the other hand, we need these situations to get the most out of it.
Every song is the result of five different musicians! That's the secret behind the sound of ATHORN.
What kind of hopes and expectations do you have for 'Phobia'?
Athorn - Well, Phobia is - after our EP "Livable Hatred" from 2009 - the first statement of the band and we are very satisfied with the result! The song writing and production definitely represents the level of ATHORN at this point of time but there is also a lot of potential for the future. Of course it would be great to reach as many people as possible, who like our music in the same way as we do, but it's very difficult to find a place between all the other bands in the metal scene, or even prevail against some of them. On the other hand the most important thing for us is simply playing the music we love to play! It would be great to do some festivals or maybe a smaller tour in Europe next year, or some cool support gigs... we'll see.
How does the final result compare to the idea you had going into the studio?
Athorn - Our lead guitarist Stefan and our singer Carsten are both sound engineers and owners of the Waveland Studio in Hanover. Before we started to record the album we already had an explicit idea of the sound and how the whole album should feel like and these two guys are the perfect ones to realise those idea.
We are very satisfied with the result. That's what we wanted to get.
The artwork - who has done it and what do you want to express with the artwork?
Athorn - Carsten and Thomas are our graphic guys. They do those things with a lot of passion. Also they have created the video for "Humanize the Demon". The cover shows different styles of phobias. The big clock describes one of the main fears of mankind. Time is the fire in which we burn day by day. Every day we ask ourself: "How much time do I have for all these things I want to do... or how much time do I have generally?" The artwork of the booklet is similar to the style of motion pictures like "Hostel" or "Saw", the right environments for phobias.
Can you give us a brief introduction on the lyrical concept behind 'Phobia'?
Athorn - Phobia is not a concept album but it definitely has a red line. Most lyrics on Phobia describe human misconduct and things we are afraid of.
Short spoken: The album and lyrics thematically deals with human fears and phobias.
Athorn - any deeper meaning behind your name?
Athorn – It's really simple. Athorn means "a thorn", we combined it to one word. Our sound will grab you like a thorn and will never release you. Okay, okay, that's our main goal. (smile)
You are releasing this album on the AFM Records label, one of the leading underground metal labels - how did you hook up with them and do you see this as an advantage?
Athorn - Last year we released our EP "Livable Hatred" to be aimed at getting attention in the metal scene. After that, we've got contact to Sandra Eichner of Rosenheim Rocks. Sandra was very impressed of our sound and she provides us her support. Sandra has many good contacts in the music business and the result was the contract with AFM. Of course it's an advantage. A label like AFM has a lot of possibilities to force the way of ATHORN. The album will be released on the basic music market worldwide. This opens many doors to play in front of larger audiences and reach a lot of metal fans.
What does the words power metal mean to you?
Athorn - Okay. That's very difficult to answer. Today Power Metal stands for "happy metal" like Hammerfall, Helloween or Gamma Ray. Please don't misunderstand us, these bands are very good and successful, but it's not powerful metal in our opinion and not the kind of music we want to play.
In the 80's, when the word Power Metal came up, this style was represented by bands like Pantera, Metal Church, Iced Earth or Sanctuary: Powerful Metal!
But, we don't think in such categories. We just want to have fun and play our own style of Metal, how we like it... yes... it is METAL and it’s not important what kind of!!!
Name five power metal albums that have made a big impact on today’s scene and you personally...
Athorn - Okay, here we go:
Sanctuary - Into the Mirror Black
Metal Church - The Dark
Pantera - Cowboys from Hell
Iced Earth - Dark Saga / Something Wicked...
Overkill - Taking Over
If you want to know which metal albums are our long-time favourites then we would say:
Black Sabbath - Mob Rules
Metallica - Ride The Lightning
Death - Human
Nevermore - Dead Heart In A Dead World
Opeth - Black Water Park
Dream Theater - Black Clouds and Silver Linings
Soilwork - Figure Number 5
Thank you very much for answering my questions. Do you have any last rants for our readers?
Athorn - You're welcome, it was a pleasure for us. Some last words?
Vi haaber at I vil elsker vores album, vores musik og "Symbionic Metal" og saa skaaler vi for vores venner, og dem, som vi kender, og dem, som vi ikke kender, dem skaaler vi for. skaaaaaaal!
Interviewed by Kenn Jensen