1. Can you update us with what is going on with the band these days?
Well, right now Iâ??m trying to find some time to do some interviews. As you can imagine we all have our regular jobs. And sometimes it is really hard to combine both, band and job, especially when we have a new record out and we have to do all this promo-stuff. But it is also every time a good feeling to know that the album is finally out and the people are interested in that album. Especially since the new album comes with a 8-track bonus-CD we had a lot to do in the studio. We started the drum-recordings in September 2009 and finished the mix in March 2010. And after all these months of hard work we couldnâ??t expect to release â??Follow The Flamesâ??.
2. What is the meaning behind the band's name?
There isnâ??t any special meaning behind our band name. Even as we started the band 16 years ago it was hard enough finding a name, that was unique and sounded memorable. I think nowadays it is even harder to find a unique band name. I discovered this phrase while listening to an old My Dying Bride song, and we all liked it immediatley. But to be honest, nowadays I sometimes think that BURDEN OF GRIEF might sound a little bit too gloomy for our music. Of course our music is still fast and heavy and also aggressive, but in a more positive way. But who cares. It is our name and we wouldnâ??t change it at all.
3. How would you describe the musical sound and lyrical content of the new album?
Although many people might put our music in this Melodic Death Metal â??drawerâ?? we have a different view to it. Of course we have a shitload of melodies on that album, but it has in my opinion much more Thrash Metal instead of Death Metal elements. And we have tried to put many more influences into the new songs which range from 70s and 80s hardrock even to modern, groove-oriented metal. I think if you take a look to the different bands that we have covered on our bonus-CD youâ??ll have a pretty good impact of the music that has an influence on our songwriting. Iron Maiden, Metallica, Whitesnake, Pantera... you can find elements of all these bands also in our music. But the vocals of Mike are quite different. So he always leads us to that typical BURDEN OF GRIEF sound.
The lyrical content is also very varying. Mike tries to treat many different aspects of human abysses. But while his lyrics were pretty fictional during our early years, they become more and more realistic due to many experiences which everybody makes in his life when he gets older.
4. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
Well, we often played the best shows when we didnâ??t expect too much. One of them was the German famous Summer Breeze Open Air some years ago, where we played as one of the first bands on the first day. We thought that it might be too early for most of the fans, but it turned out to be our biggest show ever. We had thousands of people in front of the stage and the show was a blast. The other most memorable show was a club-show in Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia. We though it would be a regular club-show and most of the people havenâ??t ever heard about us. But this shows was a killer. Everybody in the audience went fucking nuts. Definitely a show we wonâ??t ever forget.
5. Do you have any plans on touring the U.S?
Oh, Iâ??ve been in the US several times and travelled a lot, even from coast to coast. And I would love to play a tour over there. With our new album we will finally try to realize this dream. But it is very hard, and I canâ??t promise too much. But we are definitely working on such a tour.
6. How has the new album been recieved so far by melodic death metal fans worldwide?
Oh, since the album has been released just a few days ago weâ??re just getting the first reactions from outside Germany. The record label still concentrates mainly on the European and especially the German market. But up to now we are very satisfied with the reviews and the reactions to â??Follow The Flamesâ??. Even Germanyâ??s biggest metal-magazine Rock Hard picked this album as one of the best 10 albums of this month. But you can be sure, that we are much more looking forward to the reactions of the real metal-fans. Thanks to MySpace and Facebook it has never been that easy to communicate with fans from all over the world. That is one of best aspects of the internet.
7. The new album comes with a second c.d that is all covers, what made you decide to cover the songs, that you covered?
We had the idea that everybody in the band should get the opportunity to choose one song that he wants to play, no matter if the other guys like it or not. Since we are five individuals with five very different tastes of music it became always harder to find a compromise. The other 3 songs, which are Iron Maiden, Metallica and Pantera, were this kind of compromise-songs. We had these songs in our live-program during the last years anyway. So we just added them to this coveralbum-session. But the other 5 songs were pretty much very individually chosen songs. Actually I came up with the idea to take a Whitesnake song. I have never heard before of any other Thrash or Death Metal band that have played such a song. And I also very liked the choice of our singer Mike to play â??Break On Throughâ?? by The Doors. These particular 2 songs were the hardest challenge for us for sure. But I am very proud of the result and I am very happy about all these songs. Of course I know that many people donâ??t like coversongs at all, but this bonus-CD should be a free gift for all our fans. Nobody is forced to like them, haha...
8. Out off all the albums that the band has recorded which one are you the most satisfied with?
The most important driving force to continue with BURDEN OF GRIEF after all these years is to get better with every album. It is my aim to beat every previous album in all respects. We want to improve our music and we want to improve the production. And if I look back to all our records I think that we have definitely reached it. It might be my own personal opinion, and I know that some fans might prefer one of the older records. But I am convinced that â??Follow The Flamesâ?? is the strongest record that we have ever made. Never before we had such an amount of really strong songs and never before we had such a good production. But I know that we have to get even better with the next record, haha
9. How would you describe your musical progress over the years and what direction do you see the music heading into on future releases?
The musical development of BURDEN OF GRIEF depended to a certain extend of the several line-ups over the years. Although I am the main-composer of most of the BURDEN OF GRIEF songs there have always been different influences of the different band-members. And every album is some kind of a reaction to the previous albums. If you have just released a new record you are obviously very happy with. But after a while you begin to think about the songs with a more objective view. And then you try to focus onyour strengths and to reduce your debilities. Many of our old songs were much faster than the new material, but they were lacking of real heaviness and structures. Nowadays we have a more classic heavy metal kind of view of the songwriting, which means that we are now focussing on real consise riffs and melodies and more â??classicalâ?? song-structures. So you can really set one song apart from the other song.
10. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced the music and what are you listening to nowadays?
As I mentioned before you can get a good impact of the bands we are mainly influenced by if you take a look to our bonus-CD. But I also said that we are five very individual music-lovers with very different record-collections. I really love the architects of heavy metal, Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, while our bassist Florian is much more into Black and Death Metal. The young dudes in the band, Joe and Robb, are much more into modern metal. But all this can only offer a rough impact of the music we are influenced. Iâ??ve got a collection with almost 1000 records, and every kind of music can be an influence, whether consciously or unconsciously.
11. What are some of your interests outside of music?
I really like to travel as much as possible. And since travelling became more and more important for me I started my own travel-agency some years ago. Together with a partner we are selling worldwide motorcycles tours, especially tours in the United States. And through my own trips through the United States I became a huge fan of your country.
12. Any final words or thoughts?
I thank you for this interview and I hope that we will get the opportunity to tour the United States some time... Hope to see you there.