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15/06/2010 – Interview with BLACK MAJESTY

Three years after "Tomorrowland", the Australian Power Metal band BLACK MAJESTY (official website) returns with a new and solid album, "In Your Honour", the title of which is to be a thank you from the band to its fans. You can check out the review of this new release at this location. Last year the band played some gigs in Europe and whether related or not, they also let their newest output be produced and mixed by MASTERPLAN guitarist Roland Grapow in his studio in Slovakia. The mastering was done by REBELLION guitarist Uwe Lulis, who has produced several other LMP releases. Endel Rivers handled it all on the previous albums.

An interview had to be done, like last time and again guitarist Stevie Janevksi took the time to add answers to the questions. Well, he didn't really take the time, as I got back the answers less than 24 hours later. I hope he didn't lose sleep over it. ;-)

Black Majesty logo

"In Your Honour" is your fourth album and although each album has its strong and less strong points, I have the impression BLACK MAJESTY gets better with each new release. What's the secret?

We took a bit more time to write this new cd, therefore we were able to refine the songs a bit more than we've ever done before. We've always tried to stay true to our style! We prefer to better ourselves as songwriters instead of changing styles or jumping onto bandwagons.

How satisfied are you of the final result? And were do you position this album among the previous three?

We are as happy as you can be considering the amount of time and budget we had. I think it's our strongest release to date because it has the best balance of songs we've ever recorded. There's some fast tunes such as "Far Beyond", "Further Than Insane" and "Witching Hour", some mid tempo old school type of songs like "God Of War", "Wish You Well" and "End Of Time" and slow heavy stuff such as "Break These Chains". Each album has its place. "Sands Of Time" was a bit more progressive, "Silent Company" is more Power Metal, "Tomorrowland" is one of our fastest, speedy albums and "In Your Honour" is a great mixture of all of the previous three.

Black Majesty bandWhen did you start writing the new songs? And was there a sort of tension to do better than before?

We pretty much began writing straight after we finished "Tomorrowland" back in 2007. There's always a pressure to outdo yourself with every album. It's a good thing to try and compete with whatever expectations you have for yourself. There was no tension! We like to think of it as more of a challenge to write a great follow up album!

If so (tension), was this part of the reason to work with Roland Grapow (MASTERPLAN)? And did breaking through in Europe had an influence as well in this situation?

We grew up with HELLOWEEN and have been big fans of MASTERPLAN since they released their debut album. We also loved how Masterplan 2 (note by Tim: "MK II") cd sounded so we were very happy when we heard Roland accepted the producer role. Roland was very easy to work with and he did a great job!

This time no sign of Endel Rivers. Or at least, his input was reduced compared to the previous albums. Weren't you satisfied anymore of his work? ;-) ;-)

We are still very good friends with Endel and we actually did work with him a little on the cd. We added our vocals and guitars with Endel.

What was it like, working with Roland? And how would you compare him with Endel?

It's hard to compare the two because they are both great producers. You might say Roland has more of that "Metal" feeling when producing as he has been a metal guitarist/producer for many years. Endel delves into lots of styles but is great all the same.

The mastering was done by REBELLION guitarist Uwe Lulis. Did you have a say in this or was this entirely LMP's decision?

Limb was the person who came up with the idea for Uwe to produce the cd. He too did a great job!

The press text said that (in a way) "In Your Honour" refers to the - and I quote - "numerous fans who have stuck by them during their career". Is this true or does the title stand for something else, but at this point in your career can also be linked to the fans?

Ofcourse! We've always appreciated the people who have supported us so yes we did name the album "In Your Honour" as a thank you to the fans.

Are all songs on this new album brand new or did you use left-overs (whole songs, drafts, ...) from previous writing/recording sessions?

All of the songs were new and written right after we released "Tomorrowland". That's why I believe the cd flows so well. However, we did leave a few demos off this album for more "quality" there's a few spare tracks that we may turn up on something sometime in the future?

The Limited Edition contains two bonus tracks: "Two Hearts" and "Silent Company (acoustic version)". How does "Two Hearts" compare with the regular songs?

We really like "Two Hearts"! It's a catchy song that was left off the album by Limb in favour of another heavier tune. I'm glad it is on the digi as a bonus because it's a really cool song.

"Silent Company" in acoustic version: did you have to rework the song somehow or was it originally written/composed to be played in both acoustic and electric version?

Yes, we definitely rewrote the melody of "Silent Company" and changed parts to give the song a different dynamic. It's always been a fan favourite so wanted to do something special. We hope people enjoy it! The song was originally written on electric guitar.

Speaking of acoustic: any plans to one day make an entirely acoustic album? Or perhaps bonus CD?

mmm....not yet no. We're definitely an electric band. But yeah, there's an acoustic version of "Guardian", "Silent Company" and semi-acoustic numbers such as "Six Ribbons", "Darkened Room", "Lady Of the Lake", "Break These Chains" and "Soldier Of Fortune" that have appeared on different albums.

Going back to the previous albums: Any view on sales of "Tomorrowland" and previous releases?

Our label has been quite happy with the sales of all our releases, otherwise we wouldn't get to the next album....if you know what I mean : ) Playing showcases at festivals such as Wacken Open Air Germany, Masters Of Rock Czech Republic, Metal Universe Slovakia and Screamfest Australia has definitely helped spread the word!

Black_Majesty - In Your HonourArtwork then: The album cover of "In Your Honour" is as usual, with both characters. Does Dirk Iling make a new cover when you need one or did he make several in the past, ready for you to pick one as a new album is ready?

Dirk creates all of our album art on demand. He is such a great artist and allround good guy! He also did the art work for the new SCORPIONS cd "A Sting In The Tail"!

All covers so far were in colour and focused on one colour specifically: purple, blue, green. Why was black and white (or grey) the chosen option this time?

We all thought it suited best this way. We've just organised the new merch. for our upcoming tour and the new album art looks ace!

Valgorth from Hammerblaze redesigned your website and MySpace page. How did he get involved and how satisfied are you of his work?

Our web master was the person who introduced the band to Hammerblaze. We've had a bunch of positive feedback from his work, so, yes, we're extremely happy with his designs and outlay.

Last year you came over to Europe to play at some festivals. What was it like? And how would you compare the situation (incl. fans) with Australia?

It's always awesome playing at metal festivals because we also get to see some of our favourite bands. Playing festivals such as Wacken is a dream come true and we really had a ball! Australia is very different because our metal scene is a lot smaller. I guess that comes down to our geographic location and population. It would also be a lot better if Metal in Australia got more support from the media downunder.....having said that, we still have a lot of underground die hard metal heads that are great supporters of metal!

Black Majesty bandHow was the response from the crowd? Did people know who BLACK MAJESTY is?

It was great to see some of the crowd sing the words and get into the show! It was also cool to gain new fans and spread the word!

Any plans for a regular European tour in support of a big(ger) band? Yes, it's a costly undertaking, but who knows...

We will be heading to Europe in a few weeks where we will play some headline shows in Germany, Switzerland and Czech Republic. We're also part of a festival called Basinfirefest in the Czech Republic which includes heavyweights such as Venom, Testament and Dream Evil amongst others. As for a support tour, who knows?

After all the live performances, which surely have helped to make the band stronger and acquire a larger fanbase, is there a DVD in the pipeline?

We haven't discussed this yet but yes it would be awesome to make a dvd...particularly of a live show. Our recent tour of Indonesia was extremely positive so that could be something we may think about on our next tour of Asia.

I'll stop here, else the list will be too long, hahaha. :-) Thanks for taking the time to reply. All the best with this new release and upcoming gigs (which will hopefully be played in Europe as well and not just at big festivals). If there's anything you wish to add, fire away.

We hope people can make one of our upcoming live shows - check out our website for details.

Metal cheers from downunder, Australia.

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