Tagged: Roadrunner Records

 

Get ready everybody because the Trivium legend is about to grow even further. Not content with the world domination that has seen the band rise to the top of the heavy music world over the past few years the band have now dropped What The Dead Men Say an album that seems to have already cemented itself as one of the band’s best received albums.

“Of course with every record you want it to be the best record,” says Trivium bass guitarist Paolo Gregoletto when we chat to him about What The Dead Men Say. “We saw that the last record was a real kind of breakthrough for us where we kind of reached this new creative point in our career. I think what we wanted to do this time was follow up that record and try to top it if we could but at least build on it.”

“I think we really wanted to do some stuff with what we had done right on that record,” he says continuing. “Of course working with Josh Wilbur again was a big part of that and then just the way that we wrote the record was very similar especially with how we broke up the writing sessions and how we broke it down to a few songs each time. We just worked on the details and every time we went in there we were just focussed on each song individually. So rather than writing a tonne of stuff we would write two or three songs and then we just kept doing that until we were ready.”

Matching what they had achieved on the band’s last album – The Sin And The Sentence – was never going to be an easy feat though, especially given that this was an album that some critics called “the perfect heavy metal album.”

“We’ve definitely had some high points in our back catalogue,” agrees Gregoletto when I ask whether that kind of praise put more pressure on them when they were working on What The Dead Men Say. “We have had those albums that have really resonated with people a lot and sometimes you do an album that fans really respond to and then you get into this thing where you like ‘okay now we have to do something new’ and you try to completely reinvent the wheel.”

“I think we have done that a few times,” admits Gregoletto. “And I think sometimes it works but at other times it feels like we didn’t really hit that mark the way that we really wanted to, and I think with this record we aren’t re-inventing the wheel we are just enhancing it. I think we tweaked around the margins a little bit but didn’t make such a left turn, we didn’t want people to be like ‘woah what did I listen to on the last record?’ But here it felt like we know where we are at and we are in a good spot now but we need to not take any left turns – we know what we are doing now and we don’t need to shake it up too much.”

One of the things that does really hit you when you take a listen to What The Dead Men Say is the perfect mix that the band find with their song-writing this time around – yes there are the traditional fantasy-led tracks that the band are famous for but there is also a great mix of personal tracks as well.

“Yeah I think we did get a good mix this time,” says Gregoletto when our conversation turns to talking about what inspired the lyrics for this album. “I think we have got a lot better at finding the right balance for it now. It doesn’t feel like it is too far one way or the other now. I mean when I come in with lyrics it is always going to be about whatever I am reading at that time or perhaps whatever I am feeling at that time or sometimes it is even what I am seeing in the world at that time that is going to influence what I am writing at the time.”

“I write down a lot of notes on my iPhone,” he says continuing. “So whenever we get the music started I have these great starting points where I can be like ‘I have these great phrases or lines or scenes or titles.’ I always let that be the starting point and I like to have music that kind of inspires what it is going to be. I know some people like to have lyrics first and write to those but I find I need to know what the mood of the song is going to be before I can be like this is what the song is going to be about.”

 

What Dead Men Say is out today through Roadrunner Records.

 

 

When delving into the history of Scandinavian metal it is hard to go past the name Mercyful Fate. Led by King Diamond on vocals and the amazing Hank Shermann on guitars the band has been mixing prog metal with elements of black metal from the early 1980s. There are been some breaks in-between but the band are still going strong and are about to celebrate the re-release of some their early albums.

I was lucky enough to chat to Shermann who was in partial lockdown in Denmark at the time and we had a lengthy discussion not only about the re-releases but about the band’s history in general.

“The slogan for these are ‘back to the originals’,” says Shermann with a laugh when we begin to talk about the new re-issues that Metal Blade Records are about to bring out. “That means that these release are untouched. We were so lucky to be able to get hold of the original production that was sent to the record label back in ’82, ’83 and ’84. Those have been acquired from Warner Bros. They had them all in a vault and Metal Blade have been able to buy our back catalogue from them and these master tapes were all part of the deal.”

“So we have just decided to let them be as they were,” he explains. “That was how they were intended to be back then, so the only thing that has been done is that they have been digitised and then they are going to be released on CD and also on vinyl. All the album artwork is going to be exactly as it was back then. So I know these albums have been released before but that was more from Roadrunner who wanted to cash-in a little bit with some special digi-packing and they totally destroyed it in the mastering so it sounded awful. For that reason this time we just wanted to do it the right way – keeping it totally original.”

Shermann also admits that when they were able to sit down and listen to the original recordings it was a time to reminisce about the band’s history. “Yeah it was, it was like we were only children when we started our career,” he says honestly. “It was a good time, we were actually in our early twenties when we started our career. We did the mini-album and then Melissa and Don’t Break The Oath a year after. You know I listened to them because I have been preparing to play them live and I have been carefully listening to them so I don’t miss any note. I recently found out that I played one note slightly differently and it was on all the versions that I heard recorded so I finally corrected that little detail. But yeah you do get a kick out of listening to your own songs thirty-five years later It is all pretty cool.”

That leads me to ask that if somebody had said to the band back then that forty years later they would be still together and recording new music what would they said back. “I don’t think any band back at that time knew that a rock band could last so long,” he says after stopping to think for a moment. “So now here we are forty years later and we have The Rolling Stones still going strong. And then we you come to heavier bands you have Judas Priest and you have Black Sabbath just saying goodbye, so of course from today’s perspective we have some hope that we can continue this new beginning for at least another five years or more. But back then we were living in the right now, we were living in the present not in the past or the future, we were never thinking too far ahead, everything was in the right now. That was just the way it was then.”

As Shermann continues to look back to the past I asked him how it felt for them when they got there first recording contract. “Back then it was all about getting that contract,” he says. “That made you feel like you had made it. We made our first demo recording in April 1981, then later in that year we did three or four more demo tapes and those tapes were floating around in Holland and in San Francisco for some reason. Then eventually we got approached by a Dutch record label who offered for us to record a four song EP, we signed the contract and then we felt like ‘wow we have made it.’ That was just the way it was back then!”

 

The Mercyful Fate re-issues will be released by Metal Blade Records over the following months so please keep an eye out for them.