Nostalgia: “A wistful desire to return in thought or in fact to a former time in one’s life; a sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time.”
If you go by the textbook definition above, The Night Flight Orchestra can be considered a nostalgia-based band. The term has been used quite often over the course of their eight year career to describe the now seven-piece group, but this shouldn’t be seen as derogatory. On the contrary, it should be seen as a positive that a present day rock band is able to fire up their time machine to deliver shadows and flavours of the past with all original material. Aeromantic is The Night Flight Orchestra’s fifth album, and it pays homage to acts from the ’70s and ’80s – Journey, ABBA, Toto, KISS, Christopher Cross, Asia…. it’s a seemingly never-ending list – while deftly avoiding the retro trend that made bands like Greta Van Fleet the talk of the town for 10 seconds. Not an easy task, but then it’s not like The NFO were trying to do anything more than create more solid material they can be proud of. If people choose to join their particular conga line, so much the better, especially because it gives the metalheads on board a chance to learn about where Soilwork frontman Björn “Speed” Strid, Arch Enemy bassist Sharlee D’Angelo, and Soilwork guitarist Dave Andersson come from musically.
“It’s going to be hard to top the previous two albums in terms of reviews,” Strid says of Aeromantic. “Last time out it was really amazing and it’s the same thing this time around, if not better. People are blown away by the new album, and I’d say that most of the press we’re doing is with metal magazines. It’s really remarkable how open-minded people are in the scene. I’ve heard people say this is a guilty pleasure, but what is there to feel guilty about? People are raving about it. Somehow it works and we have a personable sound in the end. It’s not just a nostalgia act; we’re filling a void in the music scene. The other day somebody asked me if I could name another new band out there that is doing the same sort of thing as The Night Flight Orchestra, and I couldn’t come up with anything. We’re moving this forward with this combination of sound and imagery; it’s very nostalgic in a sense but also very refreshing. I think we’re providing something that’s missing out there.”
If you’re a Soilwork fan the last place you’d expect to find a ’70s classic rock vibe is on one of their albums. Of course, if you’re a fan you’re also aware of frontman Björn “Speed” Strid and guitarist David Andersson pulling double duty in The Night Flight Orchestra, their classic rock-infused nostalgia trip. Thus, it may be disconcerting to hear that Soilwork’s new album, The Ride Majestic, does in fact flirt with the ’70s. Nothing to lose your cookies or your minds over, though, as we’re talking about guitar and keyboard splinters and shards that pop up when you least expect them, adding another dimension to a sound that is instantly recognizable as Sweden’s first sons of melodic death metal. It makes sense this new dynamic would bleed into The Ride Majestic, however, as Strid and Andersson went into writing for it immediately after working on The Night Flight Orchestra’s second album, Skyline Whispers.
“It’s funny you bring that up because last summer I was still working on Night Flight stuff and I had to stop myself,” Strid reveals. “I had to tell myself it was time to switch over to Soilwork (laughs). It was a major transition from one day to the next because they’re two very different forms of expression.”
Folks have their favourite Soilwork moments and The Ride Majestic is bound to conjure up some new ones – the Strapping Young Lad tweaked breakdowns of “Alight In The Aftermath”, for example – but it’s fair to say the band can do little wrong in the eyes of the diehards at this point. Their previous two albums, The Panic Broadcast and The Living Infinite, have kept Soilwork surging upward, but for a lot of people the love affair really began in 2002 with the now classic Natural Born Chaos album.
“There’s something about that album,” agrees Strid, “but it definitely took some time for me to notice that. I guess it started when we did our first North American tour, when we put Natural Born Chaos out. People were telling us that the album was so unique and so awesome, but it wasn’t until a couple years later that we realized we had an impact and had affected the metal scene somehow in so many ways.” Continue reading BraveWords Interview: SOILWORK – Strapping In For This Flight Tonight
Out promoting Soilwork’s new album The Living Infinite, frontman Björn “Speed” Strid will tell you that as far as he’s concerned the band’s previous effort from 2010, The Panic Broadcast, didn’t get the attention it deserved. It was a record that washed away the bland taste of Sworn To A Great Divide (2007) with waves of thrash, colour and dynamics that really did deserve more than just the initial buzz out of the gate, but Strid doesn’t blame their record label for a lack of support or the fans for lack of taste. He chalks it up instead to a glaring lack of touring on the band’s part, who logged far fewer miles than in past years thanks in large part to the will-he-or-won’t-he status of founding guitarist Peter Wichers.
Having left the band in 2005 only to return in 2008 – and thus give Soilwork a much needed kick in the ass – Wichers found himself torn between commitments to the band and his personal life. Things eventually came to a head in June 2012 and he announced his (final?) departure, leaving Soilwork with a clear conscience and a clean slate. What better way to get back in the game doing double the work and churning out 20 songs for an official release?
“We always try to have the element of surprise in there whenever we go in to make a new album,” Strid says when Soilwork’s collective sanity sanity is called into question. Most bands have a hard enough time coughing up 10 songs with substance. “The real reason behind it… with all the chaos around Peter, I think we needed to turn things around and do something unique, something that stands out and turn it into something positive. We also wanted to show or prove to ourselves and the fans that there are other amazing songwriters in the band.”
Having different songwriters involved rather than just the Strid/Wichers seems to have had positive effect on the music as well, as The Living Infinite is definitely in the same park as The Panic Brodcast.
“For sure, and I think that was good for me. I definitely needed that because when Peter was a part of the band we knew each other so well musically, and in a situation like that sometimes you become too predictable. The fact that Peter was losing interest as well would have affected my work as well.” Continue reading BW&BK Interview: SOILWORK – Make It A Double…
During a recent interview with vocalist Björn “Speed” Strid about his new retro-rock band Night Flight Orchestra for BW&BK (coming soon), we discussed the forthcoming Soilwork record The Living Infinite, which is currently be recorded in Sweden. Of particular interest for most fans is how the band is coping with the absence of guitarist Peter Wichers, who left the band (for the second time) this past June. Wichers originally left Soilwork in 2005 to spend more time with his family and broaden his career as a producer, only to return four years later.
“First of all, we were mentally prepared for the possibility that this might happen,” Strid reveals. “Peter was really back and forth with what he wanted to do, and while all this was going on we were writing songs. We had a mindset for the new album despite Peter not knowing what he wanted to do. In the end we got pretty sick of it because if you come back to the band and then you want to leave again, it’s not fair to the rest of us. He knew that, and in the end he made up his mind. We weren’t shocked that he left, so it was a little easier this time around.” Continue reading SOILWORK – Getting Dirty With Doctor Dave
Back in May singer Sarah Jezebel Deva – best known as Cradle Of Filth’s backing vocalist – released a three song EP entitled Malediction. A noteworthy move not only because it came out barely a year after her second full length album, The Corruption Of Mercy, but because of the guest artists she and guitarist / producer Dan Abela welcomed on board for the production. Sarah’s former Cradle Of Filth bandmate Martin Powell (keyboards) was reportedly lured in with the promise of a Mars bar and some soap, while Soilwork frontman Björn “Speed” Strid agreed quite unexpectedly to sing on the duet ‘Lies Define Us’ without ever having met anyone involved. The biggest shock, however, was Cradle Of Filth frontman Dani Filth willingly lending his talents to the last song, ‘This Is My Curse’. A “shock” not only because the short-but-deadly singer is basically playing second string to part of his former support staff, but because Sarah had said numerous times in interviews that she would “never” work with Cradle Of Filth in any capacity ever again.
Lo and behold, she appears on the Cradle’s new orchestral album Midnight In The Labyrinth and Dani can be heard shrieking up a storm in Sarah’s house.
“I won’t make it a secret that me and Dani didn’t speak for three years, until he contacted me in January of this year asking me to do Midnight In The Labyrinth,” Sarah reveals. “I left Cradle because it was the right time. Me and Dani were having all kinds of altercations, and I’ve always viewed Dani as my brother, so it was hard. I love him but I hate him (laughs). We’re very much on the same page in some aspects, but it was time to go. I always thought that Dani and I would never communicate again, and I was quite happy with that even though there was a sense of missing him. I’d also met someone, and I wanted to do my own thing, so I left the band and went to Australia in November 2008. I never got a ‘Thank you for all that you’ve done for this band…’ or anything. I was in contact with Dave (Pybus/bass) but that was the only real contact I had to that part of my life. So, getting that call from Dani, I was really chuffed. I was skeptical at first, but I thought to myself, ‘You know, now it’s time to grow up.’” Continue reading SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA – Curse And Cradle (Living Filthy)
During a recent interview with Shadowside vocalist Dani Nolden for BW&BK (found here), it came to light that the band’s new album Inner Monster Out features a decent amount of Swedish input behind the music. Not what you’d expect from a band with Brazilian roots, but Nolden will tell you that the new music is better for it.
Inner Monster Out is most certainly a step up from Shadowside’s previous record, Dare To Dream, largely due to the band being able to deliver the songs on their terms. They chose to hire Gothenburg-based Fredrik Nordström to oversee the production, which proved to be a far better experience to being holed up in the studio with System Of A Down / Audioslave producer Dave Schiffman last time out.
“To be honest, working with Dave taught us a lot about following our instincts,” says Nolden. “Dave is great but he’s certainly not metal; his idea of metal is different than ours. The two words we heard the most during the production of Dare To Dream was ‘too much’ (laughs). Of course, sometimes musicians have to be ‘contained’ a little bit, as we get excited and want to use all our abilities and ideas at once and often need someone to filter that for us. I feel Dave filtered a bit too much, especially when it came to the drums. When you hear Fabio playing on Dare To Dream you might think he’s an average drummer because he did pretty much the basics, but then you hear Inner Monster Out and you’ll understand what Fabio’s identity as a drummer really is. He’s aggressive, extremely energetic, and when you compare both albums you’ll think he improved a lot, but no… he was always like that. He was restricted because Dave felt drums should be kept simple. Maybe it works great for a band like Audioslave, which is supposed to be more commercial, but we felt we could have done more as a metal band. So this time we decided to work with a producer who had a background more similar to what we like and listen to, and that man was Fredrik Nordström. We didn’t have to tell him what we wanted; it was an immediate match.” Continue reading SHADOWSIDE – In The Studio With The Swede Musketeers
Not quite a year has passed since the release of her second official solo album, The Corruption Of Mercy, yet former Cradle Of Filth backing vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva is back with new music. Short but not exactly sweet, the three-song Malediction EP will be embraced by the diehard fans as a rousing stand-alone success. It’s also guaranteed to attract the attention of folks that normally wouldn’t have given Sarah and her bandmates the time of day, perhaps convincing them to stick around future escapades
Sarah makes it clear up front that Malediction isn’t the result of too many leftovers from the Corruption Of Mercy sessions. Nor is it a shot at trying to obliterate said album from memory as she did to her 2010 solo debut A Sign Of Sublime – which she considers a disappointment – with her previous outing.
“We didn’t have these songs lying about or anything like that,” she begins. “We never planned on doing this EP up until four or five months ago, and it was actually three things that led to making Malediction. We had a UK tour coming up, and the UK doesn’t give a shit about us. I suppose if I was a size 0 and had fake boobs to sell magazines they’d give a shit about me, but because we had the tour coming up we needed something to promote it so that people know we exist. The other part of it was loyalty to the record company (Listenable Records). We’ve suffered a lot because of illegal downloading and our physical sales are minimal, but the label has been so supportive since signing Angtoria (in 2006) that I felt I owed them something. And we did this for the fans. It’s a cheap buy so it’s not going to break the bank, and we’re not expecting to make any money off it. We want our fans to know we give a shit and they’ll be able to spread the word about the band. We absolutely love it and we hope that everyone sees what we see in it.”
“The internet is such a powerful tool, and we want or fans to be able to see us. We get so many requests from all over the world, and the chances of us playing the US or Canada or South America are really low without people knowing who we are.”
Sarah is adamant about pushing the new EP as a band effort rather than a solo project, stepping up the claim of working in a unit that was established with The Corruption Of Mercy. She and guitarist/producer Dan Abela are the creative heart of the band, and their collective brainstorm of ideas for Malediction resulted in a few outstanding surprises for fans and naysayers alike.
“Me and Dan do everything together – and to elaborate on that, we don’t sleep together and we don’t use the same toothbrush – which means that whatever I do for this band I clear with him, and vice versa. It’s not because we’re the bosses, it’s because we do most of the songwriting. We believe, and from my past experience, if you don’t communicate in a band it goes tits up very quickly. We have this understanding that we tell each other everything so that nobody can be accused of anything and there won’t be any problems.” Continue reading BW&BK Interview: SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA – Band For Life
I was recently given an advance listen to vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva’s new three-track Malediction EP, due to be released via Listenable Records on May 28th. Following is a rundown of what the digital-only shot in the head has to offer…
Back when vinyl was king, it was common for bands to release 12” EPs featuring exclusive material to tide fans over while waiting for the artist’s next full length album. More often than not this material was top notch stuff rather than the uninspired cut / paste filler “bonus tracks” that often get tacked onto the end of present day releases. That said, it’s something of a pity that vocalist Sarah Jezebel Deva’s new Malediction EP is a digital-only affair, because the three songs featured reflect that era; quality music created in the interest of giving the fans something special.
Malediction is short, sweet, and to the bloody point, boasting material as good as if not better than that featured on Sarah’s previous solo outing, The Corruption Of Mercy. Lead track ‘Lies Define Us’ is a gorgeous and memorable hook-laden piece standing head and shoulders above typical goth metal fluff, featuring Soilwork frontman Björn “Speed” Strid singing clean harmonies against Sarah’s leads and clocking in under four minutes for maximum impact. In contrast, ‘When “It” Catches Up With You’ is about the Sarah Jezebel Deva band as a whole rather than being a vocal showcase, officially smacking Angtoria off its pedestal as being the strongest band-oriented work Ms. Deva has ever done thanks to riff-heavy guitars, monster drums, with everyone involved getting a chance to shine.
The icing on the cake, however – or the thorn in the eye as he’d probably dub it himself – is Cradle Of Filth frontman Dani trading lead vocals with his former backing singer on ‘This Is My Curse’. And it’s a performance guaranteed to please any fan of the Nyphetamine and Thornography albums. Continue reading SARAH JEZEBEL DEVA – Malediction