After furious and unbelievable output With Vilest Worms to Dwell Austrian epic metal band Hollenthon has finally back to the scene. After several years of total silence and pause between albums around 7 years Martin Schirenc with his fellows has again strike with their 3rd album Opus Magnum. Music of Hollenthon is indeed unique so there were lots of topics to discuse about.
There was a long period, seven years, since you haven’t released any record, and if I’m not wrong, three years has passed since you haven’t played. Why there was such long period of silence?
I was very busy with Pungent Stench, and we had a lot of live shows, and Mayo, who played in Pungent Stench and also in Hollenthon, have left both bands. I then haven’t line up for the live shows, for the bands…and so, time has flied, I’m here…and so…
When we speak about Hollenthon’s music, your music is really interesting, because you have so much originality within your music, and as you have used classical samples in your music how did you get this idea to use classical sounds?
At the very beginnings, when I started to doing this, it was like 1994-1995, when I wasn’t thinking about releasing anything or to go on tour or something, so I just started to experiment with metal music, mixing it with classical music, and epic music as well. And then it was 1999 or 1998, when I get serious to do the album on this project. So, it just started as like I was sitting around at my home, and goofing with music I had.
Do you have any keyboard lines recorded for album, or did you use only samples?
There are nowhere samples on the new album, there are all keyboards.
And what about two previous records?
There was mix. There were samples, from other albums, that I’ve cut up to pieces, re-organized them, pitched up and down, and mixed them with keyboards as well.
Do you think that out there is some other band that uses these classical elements as you do?
I don’t’ know. I don’t pay much attention on anybody else doing this type of stuff. I do understand that lot of the bands have been doing mix of classical with metal music, but I haven’t listened to this type of bands, so I’m not sure how many of them work intense on that they are doing. I really can’t say.
What would you like to tell us about your new album, entitled “Opus Magnum”? How would you describe it, and do you have favorite tracks from the album?
I think it’s basically still kind of a recognizable Hollenthon album, but I think it’s a little harder, heavier, and more aggressive than his precursors. It’s kind of a mix of first two albums. You have classical, symphonic influences, but also some epical stuff. Our style has grown, it’s hard to describe, I think it’s more organic.
You have recorded your first clip in career, for song “Son of Perdition”. Why did you chosen this song, and whose idea was to include those ballerinas in the clip? It looks so strange, but original as well…
Hmm…idea…I wanted to do a clip for the song from the upcoming album, and of course we haven’t a big budget to do what we wanted to do, so we needed something that’s original, not something typical for the bands scenario, for the five minutes, where band acting like they are playing or something…And as I was always a big fan of good choreography and dancing and moving in it, I though it would be cool do something like that. I really don’t know any metal video with similar project. Sometimes you see some Gothic strippers dancing, but that’s not real dancing, it just sexing the video up. I didn’t wanted to that way, so I asked my guitar player’s wife, as she was dancer at the state opera, would she do it something like that. She also asked about that her two colleagues, and also retired dancers, who couldn’t dance because of the injury he had, but he did the whole choreography for the song. And that’s how the whole idea came together. And we then pick the song, a song that you can actually dance to it. So there was the song with epical approach, and that track was one of the shorter ones. At the end, I’m pretty happy how all of it turned out.
About lyrics now, what are the sources of your inspiration?
It happened that I never had written any of the lyrics for Hollenthon, as it was all of the Elena’s work. And yeah, she have very good way to write lyrics. Also, a lot of her topics aren’t much far from reality, but they do sound a little bit medieval, because of the terms of language that she uses. She really doing the great job with this, and all of these three albums had a lyrical concept, as first was about death, second was about war of a fictional country, based on Spanish civil war, and new one have a pretty social critic approach, and it’s describing where our society heading now, and when we gonna reach the point of the major changes, and there she uses many symbolism from the bible to describe that, with metaphors in the language. Beside that its concept based, but she making it very poetic.
Ralph Manfreda has done art-work for the new album. How you came up with this artist, and what you think about his other works, as I saw them, and they look very morbid I would say, somehow…?
I know Ralph for a long time now, as he did covers and posters for Pungent Stench, when he was still doing with air-brush, not computer. As far, for the Hollenthon albums I did covers by myself, but this time I want it do different way. So I talked to Ralph will he be interested to do something like that, because I simply enjoyed his work, and as he had the similar stands on esthetics as I do, and as all of his works are fits into the music of Hollenthon and atmosphere, pretty well. So, he was pretty excited to work on it as I also. And I think that result came up really good. I really like the way he did this and how he realized that idea that we had.
You have plans now for the shows, you’ll attend on big festivals, but do you have any plans for the single concerts, tours…?
Well, yes. We have a couple of festival shows coming up, but we did played few shows with the new line up. One was at the Anaheim metal meeting last year, and two smaller club shows. Then, we have club shows coming up, and big festivals. We’ll be at “Graspop”, “Metal Meeting” in Belgium, “Summer breeze” in Germany, Dynamo…etc. Currently we are negotiating, but it’s nothing really confirmed yet, to do a tour, in autumn. But it depends on other bands that we want to go with, will they come up with the new albums.
“Opus Magnum” is released as regular and special limited digipack edition with video clip on it. So, will there be some bonus tracks also, on this limited edition?
Yes! There will be bonus track as well, because the video clip is already available over the internet, it was on couple of magazine compilations or something. There will be bonus, but it’s not real bonus, as there will be cover version of The Tea Party, and it’s a track called “The Bazaar”.
Do you remember those early days when you started Hollenthon, back in 1994/95. when Austrian black metal syndicate existed in those days, it was called “Moonheim” or something like that…?
Yeah…the first, when I give a name to this project, I’ve runned the small record label. I’ve released a couple of compilations of Austria’s black metal bands, but I also to include something main on it. So, I came up with the first name…it was the name of some Vienna’s clothing store, whatever. To me have sounding a little bit black metalish, but when I had my first full-length album coming out, I’ve decided to change it, because it was joking type of thing.
Ok, you also play in Pungent Stench and military project Kreuzweg Ost with Michael Gregor from Summoning, can you tell us what’s going on with them?
Pungent Stench was my start at the scene, and my first band. We released albums, and then broke up in the mid nineties, and had a break for a five years. Then we re-formed and had couple of albums, and then we broke up last year again, and it’s obviously that it’s meant to be that way. And Michael and I recorded that together, but that’s not something like music album. There is music, but there is so much talking on it, like you listening to audio book, or something like that. I was on that project only for the first album, and then I quit, because I had so much other stuff to do, and I couldn’t find a time for it anymore, so Michael get together with other two people and released another one on “Coldspring productions”. And as I say, I have nothing with this project anymore.
At the end, do you have any message for metal fans, and fans of Hollenthon music?
Well…I want to thank to everybody who’ve been patient enough to wait for the new album. It was seven years, and a lot of a people probably didn’t believe in it, anymore, as I was sure I’ll release another album, but I wasn’t aware that will take that long actually, but it ain’t gonna take that long for the next one, it’s a promise. And I hope to see people at the shows and wherever we play. And thank you for the interview and your support.
- Interview by Marko Miranovic
- Martin Schirenc answered the questions