12 de ago. de 2012

Growing Stronger between Brutality and Melody – Interview with Leviathan (English)

By Marcos Garcia

Germany has been a great source of great Metal bands since a long time ago. And following this tradition on Heavy Metal, the Bonn’s based quintet LEVIATHAN rises to spread its music throughout the world, and is about to release their first full length, Beyond the gates of Imagination Part I, on September.
The sound is a well done mix between Traditional Death Metal with nowadays Melodic Death Metal, sounding as fresh as alive at the very same time.
Taking advantage of this, Metal Samsara was given the opportunity to talk with the band about the past, the present and future plans of LEVIATHAN.
Metal Samsara: First of all, please, talk a little about the band’s history…

Tobias: Well, Jonas our guitar-player and singer started to put the band together around 2006, but it took two more years until he finally completed the full line-up that he wanted for the band. Actually the current line-up is still the same as the one we started with, except for the fact that back in 2008 we had three guitar-players until Paul Schröder left the band in 2009. In 2009 we started to play our first live-gigs and in 2010   we finally recorded our first CD “From The Desolate Inside”. And with that CD things really started for us, we were voted “Demo of the month” in the well-known german magazine “Metal Hammer” and we also we're able to make it to the Summer Breeze Open Air as a part of their New Blood Award. One year later, in 2011, we also managed to sign our first label-contract with Bret Hard Records and we started to work on our current double-album concept “Beyond The Gates Of Imagination”.

Metal Samsara: And what were the bands that influenced your work? For what we can see, the range of influences of yours it’s very large…

Tobias: It's nearly impossible to name all our influences, there are just too much bands and composers that influenced our music. For sure you would have to name the classical Melodic Death Metal Bands like early In Flames or Children Of Bodom. But it doesn't stop there, we are also influenced by bands like Blind Guardian and Symphony X. And last but not least also classical orchestral music and soundtracks had a big influence on our style.

Metal Samsara: Beyond the Imagination Part I is about to be released very soon, beside the Metal press had auditions of the work. So, how do you compare its musical and technical aspects with your first EP, From the Desolate Inside? And you got a lot of attention of Metal press worldwide with it, for what we can see…

Tobias: For us “From The Desolate Inside” was more a Melodic Death Metal album. It had already a lot of progressive influences and the technical side of the playing was also very present, but it still felt like we hadn't found our very own style. With the new album we tried to get rid of all rules of what you can or can't do and we tried to use every influence that felt like it would support the story and lyrical-topics of the songs. That was our plan to get away a bit of the whole genre of Melodic Death Metal and to discover a style of music that is more unique and our own. But anyway this does not mean that we are unhappy with the debut-EP, we still love the songs of “From The Desolate Inside” and they also still take a very big part in our live-shows.

Metal Samsara: This CD was to be released on 2011, but there were some problems, isn’t it? Can you tell us a little about this?

Tobias: The whole situation has been kind of difficult. Actually “Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt.1” was already released in late 2011 over here in Europe, but shortly after the release the distributor of our label went into insolvency and that basically took our CD out of the stores. But together with our label we have found a new and reliable distribution partner and soon the album is going to be re-released world wide. Actually we have used the time that the release was on hold to start the production for “Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt.2” which is nearly finished. That's why we are going to release both CD's “Part 1” and “Part 2” at the same time through our new distributor later this year. But if any of the readers is interested in the album and doesn't want to wait, you can already order the current album through our online-shop.

Metal Samsara: One of the first features that call attention is the name of Waldemar Sorychta on the mastering works, so are you satisfied with his works? Is he a very hard person to work with? Or do you plan to work again with him in the future?

Tobias: Waldemar is a great person. We have been all fans of his work as an engineer and we were lucky enough that our producer and recording engineer Michael Haas had already worked with him and therefore had his contacts. So we took the chance and just asked him if he might be interested in working with us. He agreed and from there on everything worked out perfectly. We are all still very thrilled with the result and we hope that we'll get to work with him again in the future.

Metal Samsara: The sound that comes from the album is not only intense and harsh, but is as well polite, with excellent melodies and orchestrations. And your music do not sound ghastly or melancholic, but aggressive, very fresh and full of life, so, tell us how was the composition work for Beyond the Imagination Part I? It seems a very hard work…

Tobias: It actually also is. Jonas (Reisenauer) is mostly in charge of all the songwriting stuff. We all pass our ideas to him, but he is the one that has the bigger vision on how he wants the album to sound like. All in all it took countless hours to get everything just the way we wanted it to be. Especially the details require a lot of work, some things that probably most listeners won't even notice – things like drum-fills or the way you connect different pieces and parts together. But especially these details are the most important to ensure that all the songs sound flawless in the end.

Metal Samsara: Another feature that is very astonish are the keyboards’ melodies and orchestrations. Some bands use it in a very different ways of you, not have too much importance in the sound, then, do you consider it a differential between you and another bands of the style?

Tobias: I hope it is, because that was what we were aiming for. I often notice that a lot of bands tend to use the keyboards just to fill up their sound. In our music the keyboards and orchestrations do more work together with the rest of the instruments. I believe that is really something that makes us stand out from other bands of the same genre. Also it is really a waste to use keyboards only for fill-ins, because in some cases keyboards as well as orchestrations are perfect to create a deeper atmosphere that guitars cannot create on their own.

Metal Samsara: And about the lyrics? Can you tell us how they are written, as well as the message you want to tell people?

Tobias: Generally all lyrics are written by Jonas. On the side of the message, we don't want to run around and tell people what to do. But with “Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt.1” we tried to reflect on what is going on in the world today. For example “Beneath A Blackened Sky”, deals with the great oil-spill that happened in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. But we didn't want to do that in a political way. The lyrics do simply reflect the situation, but we didn't include a solution. It's actually up to the listener what he will draw out of the message of the songs.

Metal Samsara: The release of the CD is at hand, and that means shows are coming, right? So there are some concrete plans for a tour? Some dates for USA, maybe? You played on Summer Breeze Open Air Festival on 2010, so, is there some chance to play on a great European festival this year, as Wacken Open Air or Party.San?

Tobias: The whole concert situation is unfortunately a bit difficult in the last time, especially for a young band like us. A lot of promoters tend to rely more and more to established bands to get their tickets sold. But i'm pretty sure that we'll be doing a lot of shows especially in 2013. If we'll be also able to play more abroad in different countries than Germany is not sure, but we'll try our best to do so.

Metal Samsara: We thank you a lot for your kind attention and words, so, please, leave your final considerations and message to Metal Samsara’s readers…

Tobias: First of all thank you very much for the interview and all the readers for their interest in our band. And we hope that we'll get the chance to see some of you on a tour or a concert in the upcoming years!

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