David Iozzia of Dave's On Tour recently conducted an interview with MANOWAR frontman Eric Adams. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow:
Dave's On Tour: "Gods of War" is a concept album and its theme honors Odin, the Norse god of war. MANOWAR has always used warrior imagery to musically visit themes of the dark ages and ancient mythologies. A concept album, with its songs all intertwined, it takes a theme to a new level. Why did MANOWAR choose that path now?
Eric: Because we've never done it before. MANOWAR is always looking to do something new and exciting. We've never done a concept album and they really let the music, the narrative, and the vocals tell a story. I think it really worked out great. "Gods of War" is the type of album that needs to be listened to from the beginning to the end without any interruptions. It's like reading a novel; you can't start at chapter four. This record is over 70 minutes long, and it tells the story of Odin from the beginning until his death. It explains how he got his powers. We've all studied mythology, but as I researched Odin, there were so many things that I either forgot or never knew. We do a song called "Blood Brothers", which is about Odin's brother Loki. The set-up is really cool. When people listen, people will learn how everything fits together. At the very end, all of the fallen warriors are risen from the dead by Odin and brought into Valhalla. I can tell you this much, Dave: anybody who comes to see this show will be taken to Valhalla. We're bringing the whole audience there!
Dave's On Tour: Looking past the song titles and lyrics, MANOWAR never strays from its heavy metal style, so how does "Gods of War" take it to a new level musically?
Eric: MANOWAR are innovators. We don't copy others, and we're not afraid to try new things. We have a set of nuts, and we use them! We try it, and we play from the heart. If we fall on our face, at least we tried. This new record isn't just metal; it's the birth of a different and new metal. We take it to another place. Metal doesn't just have to be ass-kicking guitars and fast track songs. Metal is a feel that you can also get from slow songs as well as fast songs if you use the right instruments. I think we've done that by letting the instruments speak for themselves. It really works! When I'm watching a scene in a movie, without music, it doesn't have the same feel. Music, not the visual effects, gives you the feelings of sadness or triumph. MANOWAR uses that approach a lot on "Gods of War" with orchestral music, including instruments like French horns, which indicate triumph, and strings, which will put you in a different place. We want the music to put you where you have to be, and then we bring in the vocals to tell the story. The music alone takes you to a fantasy place that we've put you in. That's the exciting part about the music on this album; everybody has a different feeling about what Valhalla would be like for them. We've taken a mythological story that's been written about for thousands of years, and we've put it to metal music.
Dave's On Tour: I've asked many a musician if they had a pre-conceived musical direction or theme in mind when the band headed into the studio and most will answer take the record evolved and took shape once the band entered the studio. Does a "concept album," by definition and its nature, have its complex structure not only pre-conceived but unchangeable once the recording process starts?
Eric: It's never unchangeable, nothing's ever chiseled in stone. As far as the theme and story we hoped to tell, everything was definitely worked out and outlined before we went into the studio. Once you start writing the material, everything changes. A lot of the melody changed when I went to Belgium to lay down the final vocals, just hours before the songs were mixed. Shit happens. Sometimes you get a magical feeling in the studio where you have to change things. We were in the final stages of mixing "Hymn of the Immortal Warriors", and our drummer Scott woke up in the middle of the night knowing he had to change a bass drum part that was really bugging him. This music stays with you after we're dead and gone. Once it is laid down, that's it. So we put a lot of thought and planning into it. On one hand, it's safe to say that this album required the most planning and thought behind it. On the other hand, every album we do demands more and more thought. We're at a stage in our career where we can't fail and every album is more complex. That's music; it's the way it is. We have to grow with every record.
Dave's On Tour: MANOWAR's "Demons, Dragons and Warriors" tour to support "Gods of War" starts in late March 2007 with dates in Europe and a just-added date in Russia. Are there any plans to tour Canada or the United States in 2007?
Eric: There are always plans, but nothing is set yet. I really wish I could say we'll be playing somewhere in Canada or New York on June 15, but I can't. The plan so far is to play Europe and Russia. Because we had to cancel shows last time when Karl Logan was injured, promoters are a bit gun-shy. I guess they want to see that the record's been released and that we're out on the road before they book the band. The phone's ringing now, and we expect to be out this summer as well. Hopefully, in the fall we'll be booked all across Brazil and South America.
Dave's On Tour: Since MANOWAR's bass guitarist Joey DeMaio was already quoted that the new CD "will fry the hairs on your balls," I'll ask you what fans should expect musically and visually on the upcoming tour?
Eric: Anybody attending this tour WILL go to Valhalla. We'll not only be hitting their senses of hearing, we'll hit every sense they have. Without spoiling any other surprises, at least I can tell you that. We've been rehearsing here in upstate New York, and we'll be doing a solid week of full-production rehearsals when we get to Germany. It's that important to us.
Read the entire interview at www.davesontour.com.