Darkness Ablaze have a new album out, Shadowreign. Their last album couldn't convince me, but with Shadowreign they delivered an album I didn't expect. Time to learn a bit more about Darkness Ablaze. Many thanks to Alexander 'Ali' Huber for taking time to answer my questions!
First of all congratulations, the new album Shadowreign is a huge step forward. The album is out for awhile now, are you satisfied with the reactions?
Overall, we are satisfied. We got good reviews from all important magazines. Due to our style of music, which we think you can't consume as easy as other popular Metal music, there are always some extremely 'positive' and extremely 'negative' opinions on our album. We aren't as affected by negative responses as we used to be.
Everyone who is concerned about the music did get the point and stated that it is an excellent album.
The new album has a larger variety, shows different faces of Darkness Ablaze... What's the difference between the debut and Shadowreign for you?
We think the main difference is that we reduced certain parts, to be precise those with the Folk Metal influences. We were more concerned about in which direction the songs move music-wise, instead of just starting with a song and then see in which direction it will move. The whole album sounds more sophisticated, we developed a felling which part will fit better into a certain song.
How much did the way you wrote songs / recorded them changed since the debut?
Not remarkably. The majority of the songs is written by Jens, our keyboarder. We just don't add any songparts which come in our minds, we discuss way more about the songs.
What about the lyrics? Please tell us about your inspiration! Are you still into fantasy novels and RPG, etc.?
My inspiration comes from all kinds of stuff: movies, novels, video games, but most of all our experiences we make throughout our lives. Most of the lyrics deal with negative aspects of society like war or religious extremism. Here come the stories from the books or video games into the picture: We use them as containers for our messages.
As it concerns our music, we aren't into this conglomerate of pagan / fantasy stuff anymore, and therefore we don't use it in our lyrics. But we are still fans of fantasy books and games. A few guys from the band did RPGs and other fantasy-games on a regular basis, and we still read lots of fantasy novels.
Would you like to do a concept album? Or do a soundtrack?
We are asked this question every time we make an album ;)
Everybody of us is a great fan of at least one concept album, and we love the idea. But we didn't do any serious thinking about it. At least, we all had to agree to a certain subject, and this happens very rarely, ha ha. We will talk about this when we hit the next songwriting phase and we will see what happens.
I'm not sure about the opinion of my band mates about soundtracks, but who can say no to an epic instrumental? I think that's the only soundtrack-like thing we will ever do.
Why the title Shadowreign? And how does the cover artwork ties in?
I came up with the title Shadowreign, and after long and pointless brainstorming-sessions we all agreed to it. :)
Since we changed our band name to 'Darkness Ablaze' which is some kind of paradox, I like to play with symbols like 'light / shadow' etc. So this title came into my mind. Additionally, all the lyrics are kind of 'negative' so the title had to be negative, too. We think the artwork is a perfect match, although it was created after we found the title. (Because of a stupid coincidence we weren't able to use the cover artwork we made in the first place). You can look at the artwork and see many things in it, but with the title it makes way more sense. And this dead guys, they are popes, by the way.
You always played some shows / festivals, but earlier this year you have been on tour for the first time. How was it to be on tour? Any stories to tell from The Dark Alliance tour?
All the things we saw and did on tour were just marvelous. Since then, we just saw all those sick stories of really big bands being on a really big bus on music DVDs or read about it in magazines, and we didn't quite know how it will work out for us. Fortunately, we had two really nice bands with us on the tour: Wolfchant and Thundra. We had a really good time with them, it was so much fun! A few days after the tour everybody was like: "Hey, I want back on that bus and see those guys again!"
Of course there are many funny stories. But most of them are, just say, 'R-rated'. What gies on the road, stays on the road...
Late April you had a record release show in your home town... How was it to play your new songs live?
The release show was just one week after the tour, so we did not have time to rehearse all the new songs. But we spend some time to invite all guest singers who appeared on the album and two more guest musicians on clean guitars and violin to our rehearsal room. Just a few days before the show we played the songs the first time with them and everything was just perfect. We didn't play many new songs on that show, because it is our home town and there are lots of guys who are with us since the first record. They wanted to see the old stuff, too. And we were playing most of the new songs for quite some time anyway.
What about festivals? Anything in the making?
This summer we appear the Boarstream Open Air in Buchenbach, Southern Germany. All other agreements we have, aren't definitive yet.
What's next on your schedule?
Like every year, we have the 'silly season' coming up. We hope that we will get more gigs in the autumn / winter. We are eager to promote the new album and kick ass on stage.
Hopefully Darkness Ablaze get the chance for another tour later this year - and a few more festival gigs - to promote Shadowreign. And soon more metal heads will be into Darkness Ablaze!