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21/07/2009 – Interview with AKREA

AKREA (official website) is a young German Melodic Death Metal band who released its debut album, at least under that name, "Lebenslinie" on the 24th of April via Drakkar Records. Of course you could hear similarities with the Swedish masters, but the Germans showed that they can stand their ground, too. You can read my review at this location. "Lebenslinie" offered a very nice listening experience and aroused my curiosity to find out more about the band and the album. Guitarist Fabian Panzer took the time to answer. This interview is a bit overdue, but technical difficulties prevented a speedier transfer and thus processing.

Akrea logo

Before changing the name to AKREA, you were known as INNER AGGRESSION and as I was going to ask how AKREA was formed, I guess it's best to start with INNER AGGRESSION: a) What triggered you to start a band and what's the story behind the name?

We began playing together in the winter of 2004-5 when our drummer and me were jamming around. I already had some experience in playing in a band and so we decided to start INNER AGGRESSION. After Chris (bass) and Sebi (vocals) joined the band and our line up was completed, we thought about different bandnames and came to the conclusion that INNER AGGRESSION would suite quite well to our musical style (regarding the bands we listened to that time, mainly old Trash Metal acts like SODOM or DESTRUCTION).

b) What's the reason for choosing AKREA as new name? Copyright? Musical direction?

We decided to change our name into AKREA because of different reasons. First of all we changed our musical direction since the entry of Stephan (guitar) in the summer of 2006. Henceforth our music became more technical and complex and the new given opportunity to play different leads with two guitars lead to more melodic parts in our songs.

Furthermore, we recognized that German was the better language for our lyrics in comparison with English. It always has been a strage feeling to have an English bandname but singing in German. Also, our personal musical direction changed from oldschool Trash Metal towards Death Metal in general and so the sense of the name INNER AGGRESSION wasn't what we wanted to express with our music. Regarding all aspects we finally decided to change our bandname into AKREA after it became obvious that Drakkar Records would sign us.

Akrea bandAny plans to re-release or re-record (some of) the songs/releases you made as INNER AGGRESSION?

We released "Beginning Of An Inner War" in August 2007 and we already thought about re-releasing it again, but there are no concrete plans yet. At the moment we just want to promote our current album "Lebenslinie" as best as we can and we've also started the songwriting for the upcoming album. So for now we want to concentrate on our current and upcoming material. ;-)

How do you pronounce AKREA? Like in "agree" but with a k, or similar to IKEA or ...?

Hey, you are the first one asking this question! In fact we really pronounce it similar to IKEA.

Which musical influences did each of you bring to the table? Which bands do you like?

In general we all listen to melodic Death Metal. But of course everyone of us has his own favourite band and his own little differences regarding the musical direction. I am more into Black Metal than the other ones, for example, Chris also listens to New Metal and a lot of modern Metal too, and Sebi likes some older acts like BATHORY.

If I read/googled well, there have been some style changes over the years: Melodic Thrash/Black Metal, Melodic Black/Death Metal and now Melodic Death Metal. Is this a genre you're most comfortable with?

Yes, there were some style changes as I already mentioned and meanwhile, we are really most comfortable with melodic Death Metal. But we don't think about any musical directions when we are writing riffs and so we don't see us "trapped" in the melodic Death Metal genre. I think making music is a dynamic process and we merge our musical experiences and the result can vary regarding the musical direction.

"Lebenslinie" is a very solid release, like I mentioned in the review. When did you start writing it and how did you divide tasks?

We started writing for "Lebensline" with the two songs "Ein Leben Lang" and "Tribock" shortly after releasing "Beginning Of An Inner War". After that we collected ideas and riffs and the main part of the songwriting took place between August and November 2008. Melodies and stuff were written by Stephan, Chris and me. After the songs were arranged at the computer, Sebi wrote all the lyrics.

How did the recording sessions go? Did you have influence on every step of the way?

We recorded at Woodshed Studios in Landshut with V. Santura of DARK FORTRESS and we are more than happy that we decided to record "Lebenslinie" there. Santura helped us in all tasks and the atmosphere in the studio was just great. The music was already written when we came to the studio and so we were able to fully concentrate on recording our music. At the mastering process we were able to bring in our ideas and wishes and we are completely satisfied with the results!

How big was the label's influence regarding compositions, production, ...?

There was absolutely no influence on the part of the label. We had no limitations in any musical direction and they were also very satisfied with our choice of the studio and gave us full support.

Lebenslinie coverWho made the cover art? And what's the idea behind it?

The complete artwork were done by Andreas Reichl and Holger Fichtner at Webprojaggt, a small design studio in Pressath. The idea behind the artwork was just to symbolize the meaning of our album named "Lebensline" ("Lifeline"). On the cover you see a big hand (which stands for the whole life) and on its surface you have a path symbolising the lifeline. In the end you can interprete the cover in every way you want. We want to make as little mental limitations as possible (also regarding the lyrics in our songs) and want the listener to think about everything on his own and come to his own personal conclusion.

With that the lyrical aspect also comes into view. Are all songs connected or do they stand on their own? Plus, what themes did you use and where did you gather inspiration (books, tv, websites, real-life, ...)?

No, the songs are not connected to each other, they all have their own story. Sebi writes in his own antiquated and fictioned world and deals with the normal problems of life in a symbolic and metaphorical way. He gathers his inspiration from everything and everywhere, I guess, but to be honest I don't know exactly. He's a very creative person, so his influences are probably very wide-ranged.

How did the deal with Drakkar Records come to existence?

It was not that exciting. :-) We just applied for a contract and Drakkar replied merely some weeks after we had sent our promotion material.

Akrea bandWhat's the importance of being signed to a label (Drakkar or another label), in your opinion?

A label gives you the opportunity to fully concentrate on making music and present it in a professional way. This is the most important advantage for us. We no longer have to care about all the organisational things we were diverted with before. An other important advantage is the fact that we are now able to present us and our music to a much greater audience, which wouldn't be possible without a deal.

Lots of bands sing in English, yet you/AKREA and some others kept it German. Is it because it's easier or because there's already enough English-sung Metal or a combination of both?

It's just the fact that the German language in its edged and rough style suits perfect to our music, in our opinion. We wrote some songs with English lyrics a while ago, but we found that German corresponded with our music much better than English.

Concerning live performances, any plans to play abroad?

Recently we played in the Netherlands, which was a great experience for us and now we are hot to play abroad again. :-) Unfortunately there are still no conrete plans to play abroad, but I think that we will be hopefully able to tour Europe next year.

Do you still play songs from the INNER AGGRESSION period?

No, not at the moment. We still have some songs we like to play from the "Beginning Of An Inner War" album and they will return in our live set, I think, but now we fully want to support our new release "Lebenslinie".

How much time does AKREA require? And do you still have time for hobbies, friends, etc...?

It's still within the scope. We split up all upcoming tasks and so we have no problems still being able to study, having hobbies, friends, partying hard and so on. ;-)

That's it from me. Many thanks for taking the time to reply. Good luck with the gigs and songwriting process for future albums. Any last unholy words are yours to add. :-)

Thank you for the interview and the review! For anybody who wants to know more about AKREA, visit, and be sure that we will lay your hometowns in ashes when we will be playing there! So don't miss the chance to see us live!

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