BW&BK Interview With WOLF Online…

wolf-2I recently spoke with Johannes “Axeman” Losbäck from WOLF about the band’s new album, Ravenous. An excerpt appears below, with Losbäck discussing the seemingly perpetual comparisons to Iron Maiden…

“The coat fits now and people know that’s going to come out in our sound. At the beginning people would say ‘I like them because they sound like Iron Maiden.’ Nowadays it’s ‘I like them. Period.’ But where would we be without that comparison? We get a lot of Mercyful Fate comparisons these days, which is great. All I can say to that is thank you goddamn very much (laughs). We could do a lot worse. If people want to compare my riffs to Dave Murray or Hank Shermann… please continue (laughs). So, those comparisons come with respect nowadays.

“The Iron Maiden comparison was justified and it still is, and for us it’s a compliment. We love hearing that. Bruce Dickinson plays our stuff on his BBC rock show on Friday nights, and that doesn’t suck. He even played our version of ‘Deja-Vu’ and liked it. If he would think Wolf is a rip-off band somehow I don’t think he’d be doing that.”

Go to this location for the complete interview.

MIDNATTSOL – Out Of The Dark

carmen2By Carl Begai

Carmen Elise Espenaes used to be known as the younger sister of Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine first and the singer of Midnattsol second. That started to change at the beginning of 2008 with the release of Midnattsol’s second album, Nordlys, an unexpectedly ballsy outing leaps and bounds ahead of their 2005 debut in every way. Affectionately referred to by some as having an Amorphis-meets-Iron Maiden sound, Nordlys took the folk metal direction established on Midnattsol’s first record, Where Twilight Dwells, and turned it on its ear. The band was bent on making an impact. More progressive and traditional metal elements, most certainly heavier, better produced, the album showcased a band interested anything but settling for comfortable half-measures. Capping it off was Espenaes’ multi-facetted vocal performance, so strong that one had to wonder where Midnattsol had found their new singer and why she was using the old one’s name. Once perceived as delicate and waif-like, perhaps even insecure in her role fronting a metal band, Espenaes blew the doors off on Nordlys like a seasoned professional. A development that could be seen as well as heard over the course of the select number of shows Midnallsol was able to put in over the past year.
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WARRANT – Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1989)

warrantdirtyDanko Jones once told me that the best way to pick a single for radio is to get a bunch of girls to do it. Sound thinking, and with that in mind it’s very clear that estrogen was on tap the day Sony braintrust decided they would release both suck-ass ballads from Warrant’s debut, Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich. People blame the rise of grunge for shoving metal to the back of the bus for most of the ’90s, but it was in fact Warrant and their keepers that did the deed. Continue reading WARRANT – Dirty Rotten Filthy Stinking Rich (1989)

Carl Begai interviewed by journalist / author Neil Daniels

UK-based journalist / author Neil Daniels recently caught up with me to discuss my new book, Fire And Fame, and my career with BW&BK. An excerpt is available below. Enjoy…

carlhellguitarQ: Tell me about your book Fire And Fame. How did you hook up with Joerg Deisinger?

Carl: I met Joerg in ’98 in Nuremberg, Germany, where I’m currently living. He lived around the corner from me at the time and worked at USG Records, so we ran into each other on a regular basis. I was never a huge Bonfire fan, but we had a common interest in rock, metal and movies, so there was never a lack of things to talk about. He moved to Thailand in 2004 and narrowly escaped being killed by the tsunami that hit on 26th December. By rights he should have been killed; only dumb luck saved him. When he first approached me about the idea of writing his memoirs I didn’t really see the sense of it – I had no idea just how popular Bonfire had been in Europe in the early days – but I understood his reasons. His first hand experience with the tsunami and the aftermath, I think that was kind of like a mirror being held up in his face, saying “look at your life and don’t fucking take it for granted.” He asked me to work with him on the book because of my experience as a journalist, and I agreed based on our friendship. What sold me on the project was the fact that I had an active role in shaping the book rather than being a mere translator. Anybody with the skills could have translated his story, but I was able to use my voice to tell it. Fire And Fame was a 50-50 split with regards to creative control, so while it is indeed Joerg’s story I was able to put something of myself into it as well.
Continue reading Carl Begai interviewed by journalist / author Neil Daniels

CANDLEMASS – Doomed If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

candlemasspentagram1By Carl Begai

So, what’s it like having Ronnie James Dio fronting Candlemass?

A question posed by yours truly to bassist/founder Leif Edling on the heels of hearing Candlemass’ new album, Death Magic Doom, for the first time. All in good fun, and meant as a compliment to “new” frontman Robert Lowe and the material he’s given voice to on his second record with the band. Lowe’s voice and Dio’s are indeed similar, making the comparisons to Black Sabbath that have been following Candlemass around seemingly since their inception that much more fitting. Nobody is complaining, however, especially not Edling

“It’s fantastic,” he laughs. “Have you heard his version of ‘Man On The Silver Mountain’? I was gobsmacked when I heard it. He sounds amazing. Dio is Rob’s favourite singer, so now we’re talking about doing ‘Kill The King’…”
Continue reading CANDLEMASS – Doomed If You Do, Damned If You Don’t

WINGER – II: In The Heart Of The Young (1990)

wingerThere are albums in every metalhead’s collection where you just kinda shake your head and wonder how much you’d had to drink prior to hitting the Midnight Madness sale at the local record store. Then there are those albums that you swear no amount of alcohol, drugs and offers of drunken monkey sex combined could ever convince you to listen to let alone spend money on. And yet, there it sits, filed away neatly amongst the pure fucking metal you claim to live your life by, a festering musical zit recalling the glaring lack of taste symptomatic of youth.
Continue reading WINGER – II: In The Heart Of The Young (1990)

JON OLIVA’S PAIN Drummer CHRIS KINDER Enters The House Of Insanity

In a recent interviewkinder2 with BW&BK, Savatage / Trans-Siberian Orchestra guitarist Chris Caffery revealed that when it came time to work on a new solo album he committed himself to doing it on his own. As in locking himself away from the world in the name of his music for months at a time, surfacing occasionally for a dose of sunlight and to conscript a select few musician friends to fill in the blanks as needed. Once the material for the aptly named House Of Insanity had been hammered into a shape he was happy with, Caffery was left with the problem of mastering the record; a potentially monstrous task in its own right. Rather than take it on alone as well he turned to a member of his extended Savatage family, Jon Oliva’s Pain drummer Chris Kinder, both to preserve his sanity and to ensure a quality album. Caffery has gone on record as saying Kinder brought the songs on House Of Insanity together, citing the drummer’s production work with JOP as more than enough proof he was the right man for the job. Kinder is likewise pleased with the end result and considers the album yet another important step in his development as a producer and, ultimately, a musician.
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BW&BK Interview With DANKO JONES Online

I recently spoke with Toronto’s own Danko Jones for his new B-Sides compilation album, a discussion which quite naturally involved talk about girls and touring with MOTÖRHEAD. An excerpt is available below.

danko2Danko: “I recently bumped into an old high school buddy of mine that I haven’t seen since then, and he was out with a date. We started talking about old times, and then I looked at his date and she seemed familiar, so I asked if we knew each other. She said we knew each other from the early days, and then asked me what I was up to and if the band was still around. That’s when it hit me; it’s been so long that you’d think we wouldn’t be around anymore. I kinda got my back up, told her ‘Yeah, uh, we just got off tour with Motorhead.’ She did one of those ‘Ohmygawd, rilly?’ routines (laughs). It was pretty cool, especially since I did it in front of an old high school buddy. It’s true, though. Bands aren’t supposed to be around for 13 years or even ten years. I really do look back and go, ‘Fuck, this is wild.’”

Go to this location for the complete interview.