Classic works of horror, both film and fiction, are the primary inspiration behind the new FORCE OF EVIL album "Black Empire", scheduled for release on March 29, via Escapi Music. Virtually all the songs are directly based on works of horror. "Black Empire" is FORCE OF EVIL's second album.
Denmark-based FORCE OF EVIL was formed in 2002 by guitarist Hank Shermann and guitarist Michael Denner, veterans of gothic metal pioneers MERCYFUL FATE. Shermann composed all of the music for "Black Empire". Vocalist Martin Steene wrote all of the lyrics. Rounding out the FORCE OF EVIL lineup are bass guitarist Hal Patino and drummer Bjarne Holm. Shermann and Denner have worked together for more than 20 years, most of them as members of MERCYFUL FATE, for which Holm also served. MERCYFUL FATE's influence on heavy metal was profound; METALLICA proudly cites the the band as a major influence.
"Black Empire" was mixed by Neil Kernon, who is known for his production and engineering work with the likes of JUDAS PRIEST, DOKKEN and QUEENSRŸCHE, among others.
The songs on "Black Empire" (and their horror counterpart, if applicable) include:
01. Black Empire ("The Amityville Horror")
02. Back to Hell ("Maniac Cop")
03. Cabrini Green ("Candyman")
04. Death Comes Crawling
05. The Sinister Show
06. Days of Damien ("The Omen")
07. Disciples of the King (the books and films of Stephen King)
08. Beyond The Gates
09. Hobbs End ("In the Mouth Of Madness")
10. Dead In Texas ("The Texas Chainsaw Massacre")
11. Vorhees Revenge ("Friday The 13th")
" 'Black Empire' came out of Martin's love of horror movies. He is fascinated by them and he collects them," Shermann says. "They have a mystique for him because most of the classic ones referred to on 'Black Empire' were made before he was born."
Among the non-horror-based songs, "Death Comes Crawling" examines evil itself, "The Sinister Show" chronicles the gruelling life-on-the-road experiences of bands (written during an airport layover in Vienna, Austria) and "S.O.S." stands for "sons of Satan."
FORCE OF EVIL wrote 20 songs for "Black Empire" and the 12 that made it on to the album were voted on democratically. The band's creative process is a fascinating one.
"We're really into the overall expression and mood of the music and the performance
and power of the vocals. Martin's lyrics resonate even more when they are fully integrated with the feel of the music," Shermann says.
Kernon is excited about his work in bringing "Black Empire" to life.
"These are really good songs with great guitar riffage and solos, thundering drums and bass and really strong vocal performances," says Kernon. "Quite simply, 'Black Empire' is killer metal."
Tour plans are in the works for FORCE OF EVIL, including the major European summer festivals and possible North American dates.