LEVIATHAN interview about The Aeons Torn
“Actually the whole material of "The Aeons Torn" was written as one song. We wrote all the music in one line and also recorded the songs as one.”
As far as I know, the new masterpiece “The Aeons Torn ~ Beyond The Gates Of Imagination pt.2” is held high in the media’s estimation so far. So, congratulations! Did you get a lot of positive feedbacks about the album from your fans as well?
Tobi: Well the media's reviews were luckily overall very good, even though we also got a few rather bad reviews. But that was something that we expected from the very beginning when we started to record the new album. It's probably also just natural with all the influences that we have used on this record that some might be unusual to people, but we wanted to take this risk in order to full-fill the musical vision that we had for the album.
As far as the fans the reactions have been very good so far. We have never had such an amount of preorders even long before the record was actually released.
From the aspects of both lyrical side and musical side, I feel “The Aeons Torn” is more focused to inner adventures than the previous “part I” for its image. I mean the lyrical side in “part I” was a kind of metaphor of some negative sides of the real world, right? Can you explain the global concept of “The Aeons Torn” and each of the songs?
Tobi: That is absolutely right. "Part 1" was a lot more about our current problems in the world, "Part 2" now actually takes a look to where our decisions are actually based. And that clearly are our emotions, they are what drives us and what makes us take the road that we are on.
And therefore we took a set of 19 emotions or rather human motives that make up the whole themes of the songs. The lyrics are even little riddles describing the emotion that is currently reflected in the music. As far as the single songs, we just split up the emotions and put together what we thought would fit together.
The Crescent Moon: This song actually deals with uprising human motives like "Hope" and "Courage".
The Rising Darkness: As the title hints we have gathered all the emotions in this part that lead towards a dark path. Like "Hate" or "Loneliness". That is also very much reflected in the dark und rough music of this song.
The Sacred Fire: For this song we took all the emotions that drive us or to make the connection to the metaphor in the title that keep our inner fire burning. These for us where motives like "Love", "Pain" and "Reason".
The Restless Wind: In this song we deal with some motives that endanger the connection to other humans. For example "Discover" or "Diremption". We are today discovering new dimensions especially in case of technology, but this also bears a lot of danger to distract us from what actually means being human. So rather have contact to other humans instead of spending your time in front of a computer.
Elysium: As the title suggest, this song describes the final goal that probably everybody of us has. A state of "Freedom", "Peace" and "Harmony". That is also something we tried to reflect in the very gentle music of this song.
It was a nice surprise to hear some major-code tunes in the album –“The Sacred Fire” and “The Restless Wind” in a row. It sounds like one song as a large-scale of work. Why did you divide them in two?
Tobi: Actually the whole material of "The Aeons Torn" was written as one song. We wrote all the music in one line and also recorded the songs as one. In the end we decided that we wanted to give the people the chance to skip to a certain passage of the song, instead of having to listen to 20 minutes until you reach the part you were looking for. That's the main reason why we divided the album into five songs. But it was very important to us that you have this connection between all the songs when you listen to the album start to finish, rather than feeling like you're listening to 5 different songs.
I feel you expanded a folkish / acoustic elements plus clean vocals on the album. Was it a natural evolution for the band?
Tobi: It's mainly not the natural development of the band and I would also not say that it's the direction that the next album will go for. It just came along with the conceptual approach of the album. If you're trying to create the fitting musical feeling or atmosphere for an motive like "Peace" or "Freedom" you just can't accomplish that with Death Metal, so it just felt natural to go into the direction that the concept took us. As far as the next record, we are currently working on the basic ideas for the concept and as it looks right now the next album will be a lot darker and heavier again.
There’s no doubt that every Leviathan fan feel happy to find all songs from the past fabulous EP “From The Desolate Inside” in the new album as re-mastered versions! How did you get the idea to put those songs in the album?
Tobi: We have been playing with the idea of remixing and re-mastering the "From The Desolate Inside" EP for a long time. Back in 2010 when we recorded it we didn't have the experience or the budget to record the EP in the way we wanted it to be. But the songs still are all very dear to us and a fixed piece of our live-setlist. Originally we had the idea to re-release the EP seperately from "The Aeons Torn", but at that point our past distributor Twilight went into insolvency and gave us a very hard time especially in a financial sense. For a long time it was even a question if we would be able to release the new album, so in the end we had to merge both releases into one in order to be able to put both releases out.
The whole album artworks are brilliant! You guys managed it entirely by yourself again, right? What does the cover art represent?
Tobi: Yes, the artwork was again done by our incredible bass-player Tom, who did all the editing and drawing for the album. As far as the cover-art we wanted it to represent the story of the lyrics. The pentagram is a symbol for the five songs that "The Aeons Torn" consists of and inside the circle around the pentagram there is a symbol for each an every of the 19 emotions or human motives that the lyrics deal with. In the end we decided to put a human figure into the center of the circle and the pentagram as a metaphor for how we are all influenced by our emotions and motives. So basically the cover-art fully represents the lyrical content of the album.
Can you explain those artworks inside the booklet as well?
Tobi: For the illustrations inside the booklet we though well we have five songs and we have five band members, so why not let every member represent one of the songs. And that is exactly what we did, for each member we tried to capture the mood and the atmosphere of the song that he represents and designed the illustration according to that. Even the symbols that you can see on the cover for each of the motives are also placed in the pictures. So actually the whole artwork is very closely connected to the conceptual background of the album.
Well, I guess it’s not so easy to keep going as a band, I mean you didn’t lose any piece of the current members since you released the first EP. What is the secret of your success as a united team?
Tobi: That is a part of our history in which we have been very very lucky. But I guess it is because alongside the band also our friendship developed a lot more with each live-show or each week we spent in the recording studio together. On the other hand I think that a main reason for the stability in our line-up is the fact that everybody is able to bring it's creativity into the band. Be it Jonas as the main songwriter or Tom as the creator of the artwork, each member can give his input into the songs and identify with the music. I think that is a really important part.
Can you tell me your upcoming plans about gigs and so on?
Tobi: Well first of all we plan on touring as much as possible with the new album. Another thing on our agenda is the release of the second single of the current album which will be out very soon. And after that our view slowly moves towards the next record. We already have collected some musical ideas and in addition we have the main points of the concept figured out, so sooner or later we will start working on the new material more intensively.
I would love you to leave some message to Japanese fans, please.
Tobi: First of all we'd like to thank each and every Japanese Fan for the support we have been receiving in the past month. We haven't had such an amount of orders from any other country. In a way Japan still is a last stand for real music-fans, who support the bands by buying their albums instead of rather downloading it. And we'd like to thank you Kumi for all your support for us in the past 4 years, you've been around for us since our very first release and that is something that we are immensely thankful for!
Check LEVIATHAN on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LeviathanMDM
Official Online Store: http://www.freewebstore.org/leviathan-official-shop/
Leviathan - The Aeons Torn - Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt. 2 - Teaser
Leviathan - When Only Despair Remains (Remixed & Remastered)
Leviathan – The Recording Diary at Big Easy Studio
Did you guys check the dramatic and philosophical fabulous progressive melodic death album - Beyond The Gates Of Imagination pt.1 already? They are just in the middle of making the new one and Tobi from the band showed us their recording process, so here we go!
Tobi: This march we returned to the Big Easy Studio to finish our work on "Beyond The Gates Of Imagination Pt.2".
Tobi: On these pictures you can see the cabinets and the amplifiers that we used for the recordings. It's very funny, in every area of modern life digital equipment is taking over, but when it comes to creating a great guitar sound the best thing still is to use a real tube amplifier. That is why Jonas and me still rely on an ENGL / Digitech Racksystem and an ENGL Powerball.
Tobi: On the side of guitars, Jonas and myself we usually use our main live guitars that we use on stage also in the studio. Jonas used his Jackson RR24, that is now featured on every of our releases.
Tobi: …and I recorded all my parts with the brand new Fernades Vortex guitar that I just got right before the release of "Part 1" in September 2011.
Tobi: On this picture you see the recordings for the slide guitar solo. This was kind of an interesting experiment. On one hand it's not very common in metal and on the other hand I also had mostly played slide guitar for fun and never with the intension to record something that way. But everything worked out very well and it will give the new record another taste and a wider range of musical variability.
Tobi: Talking about the record in general, it is going to be also something surprising for all of you. It still has the typical Leviathan sound, with a lot of keyboards, guitar riffs and Jonas screams. But we tried to again expand our musical universe and this new CD will show you the most dark and heavy parts that we have ever written as well as the most melodic and catchy melodies that we ever recorded.
The latest statement from Leviathan about the recording process:
“We are done now with all instrument recordings!! We finished all acoustic guitars today and now we are having about one month off from the studio. In that time Jonas will write the vocals as well as all orchestrations and in May we will return to the Big Easy Studio to finish the new CD!!”
Check out more on LEVIATHAN Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/LeviathanMDM
The gears of the metal bands ～ Show me your stuff ! vol.2
Tobias Dahs －The guitarist from LEVIATHAN
Tobi: On this first picture you can see my ENGL-Screamer amplifier, as well as my 2x12 ENGL cabinet equipped with Celestion V30 speakers. Actually the ENGL Screamer is not the typical amp that you'll see in the area of Melodic Death Metal, simply because it doesn't offer as much gain or distortion as for example other amps of this category. But at least I came to the conclusion for myself that less distortion is a lot better, especially when you play live together with a keyboard.
The frequencies of both instruments are very similar and in order to keep the sound of the whole band clear and defined, it's good to reduce you gain output as much as possible. Another thing that I really love about the ENGL is it's very precise tone, the amp tends to separate the notes very clear, which is great if you play fast Death Metal riffs.
Tobi: Here you can see my pedal-board, or well actually what is going to be my pedal-board very soon. At the moment it still looks very empty, simply because I have just started to build it up. Up to now it only contains what I've been using live so far: My Boss tuner and my ENGL Z5 Footswitch, which allows me to control the different channels of my amp. But a few more pedals are already on the way to join this board. I just recently ordered an Rocktrone Tri-Wah Wah-Wah pedal and I'm still in search of a nice delay pedal to add to my setup.
Tobi: And right here you see my still new guitar. The Fernandes Vortex Elite 2009. Ever since I signed my first endorsement deal with Fernandes guitars in summer 2011 this has been my weapon of choice. It's the classical V-shape that you'll know from a lot of players in metal music and it comes along with an EMG 81 in bridge position and a Fernandes Sustainer on the neck. It also features a Floyd Rose Tremolo, something that I really love because it keeps your guitar in tune, no matter how crazy thing get on stage.
For strings I use Pyramid guitar strings in scale 010 to 046, which is basically one step thicker than the standard guitar strings you may know. I use this size simply because we tune our guitars down one whole step, to the famous tuning that you might know from the mighty Chuck Schuldiner and his band Death.
And last not but not least I wanted to talk a bit about why I use the V-shaped guitar, simply because a lot of people think it's a totally old-school shape that has been used way too much. But it's not just a cool looking shape, it also offers a great advantage to all the other guitar shapes. Because of the two wings at the end of the body, this guitar remains in the same position no matter if you play while standing or sitting. Your arm that rests on the body of the guitar makes it stay in that position. And this is really great because it makes it a lot easier to play also technically difficult passages while playing on stage.
TASTE OF EXTREME METAL – “Beneath A Blackened Sky” Leviathan
I proudly present the awesome song “Beneath A Blackened Sky” by Leviathan from their brand- new album ”Beyond The Gates Of Imagination pt.I” with some statements by Tobi! Here we go!
Leviathan “Beneath A Blackened Sky”
If you want to listen to the song with more greater sound condition, click the link below and play the audio file :)
Click the audio file "Beneath A Blackened Sky" by Leviathan
The reason we chose the song as a single:
Tobi: "After we had finished the music for the song, we decided very fast to choose this one as the album opener as well as the first single for the new album. It was very obvious because the song is a perfect summary for the new record, it has everything that you'll find on the album: technical guitar riffs, epic orchestra, a touch of classic melodic death metal and progressive song-structures."
About the music:
Tobi: "Well Beneath A Blackened Sky was written actually in late august and early September 2010. I had the main ideas for the first 1 minute 30 seconds of the song as well as the main idea for the chorus. Jonas then worked the orchestra out especially on the intro and after that the whole song really came together very fast. Basically in about 3 weeks we had the whole 6 minutes written."
About the title:
Tobi: "The Title was also my idea. When I listened to the first ideas I had written down it just came across my mind, this picture of dark clouds rising on the horizon. Jonas was first not too pleased with it, because he didn't have an idea for the story behind the song, but then he came up with this picture of black clouds rising above a black sea, polluted by oil."
About the lyrics:
Tobi: "Around the time we wrote the song, the media was full of reports about the oil spill in the gulf of Mexico, caused by anj explosion on the oil plant deep water horizon. Jonas then felt like he wanted to write about this topic and came up with the chorus lines and around that he build the whole story of the song. Basically the whole song is about the cruelty with which corporations run a high risk for the environment and the wildlife just to increase their profit. This is something that too many people tend to ignore until finally a catastrophe like the one in the gulf of Mexicon or Fukushima happens.
BENEATH A BLACKENED SKY
Through the wallows of poisoned water
Through the mists of ill longing I shall walk
To share my vision of demise
We leech on to the ashes with fires in our wake
Need to comfort our languorous limbs
"Black gold" as you call it is death in liquid form
Closing your eyes will not simply unmake
Claiming forces that we cannot tame
Will greed and recklessness reign
Till only ashes remain
Secured by disbelief
Above the blackened sea
See the biotope that we spoil
Between the acid and soil
Is where our fortune lies
Beneath a blackened sky
On a seaside hidden from your sight
I’ve seen their corpses washed ashore
Black clad by the earth’s pouring blood
Do you believe in afterlife
Believe there’s judgement for your failure and crime
Then let old mammon be your guide
‘Cause I don’t care what dream you live
No one will forget no one will forgive you
(Music by Jonas Reisenauer and Tobias Dahs / Lyrics: Jonas Reisenauer)
2. Beneath A Blackened Sky
3. Where Light And Death Unite
4. Reaper's Edict
5. Servants Of The Nonexistent
6. The Scourge We Wield
7. About Fangs And Feathers
8. Sway Of The Stars
As you found out after listening the song “Beneath A Blackened Sky”, they accomplished making much greater music than their past and has huge grown up!
The album is already out on September 16th!
You can download the song as free on their Myspace by the way, check it out!
Leviathan Myspace - "Beneath A Blackened Sky" free download available!
Very personal review of Leviathan’s “Beyond The Gates Of Imagination PT. I”
Finally it’s out! I was absolutely stoked when I received their CDs in my hands! You know if you were the one who only buy music via web-download, you could never experience that kinda fabulous feeling… At first, I stared into the album artwork for a while before opening the CD case, my mind had already started traveling into the Leviathan’s world… and then, I opened it and found out there’s a beautiful pictured-disc and was smiling like a little kid :D Okay, let’s put it on a tray of a stereo system *grin*, and visit to the first gate of imagination…
As you know I’m not a critic from a press, so I can’t write about the music objective with any technical terms, I’m just a tiny metalhead and eager to visit their philosophical dimension, that is all.
It started with tick-down sounds by the way. I turned the first page of the booklet and listened carefully to the instruments tune “Prologue”, was feeling a bit weird…I mean I started kinda loosing a balance in my body… can’t describe it well but honestly felt so. Slowly came down when the tune faded away, and then, sounds of waves reached my ears… Hell yeah! I already know this song very well and love it so much… “Beneath A Blackened Sky”. Phew, such a progressive and dramatic tune with the darkened lyrics!I became more fan of the song coz I finally listened it without any compressions, yay!
Anyway, we all human beings have been betrayed our Mother Nature over and over again for a long time, and now I’m standing in the polluted blackened oily water and listening to the last scream of Jonas “No one will forget, no one will forgive you…”. In the end of the song, I closed my eyes with silence except the sound of God-box. Oh, by the way, Tom in the first page of the booklet looks like the Rodin’s sculpture :D Yeah, Leviathan has their own philosophical sense in the lyrics as you know, and the artworks in the album as well!
Well, it exploded suddenly with totally overwhelming instruments and vocals!!! Actually “Where Light And Death Unite” is my latest favoriteAnyway, I remembered one of my favorite quotes "There never was a good war or a bad peace." by Benjamin Franklin with the lyrics.
The next one called “Reaper’s Edict”, Tobi told me the song is one of their oldest writings before… turned over the booklet, you can see the lyrics and the photo of Tobi, one of his hands is getting vanished in smoke… the photo and the lyrics scared me anyway. Only the guitars sounds more emotional than others.
“Servants Of The Nonexistent” has started with a song of bards ( Is this correct???), now I’m traveling to some ancient world. This is the most exotic tune in the album. Impressive! :D Fabian’s clean vox are totally new to my ears by the way, and the photo of Tobias(P) is trying to catch something…. You know, if you really want to listen to the album, you need to concentrate it and need to allow your imagination to run wild for sure! Actually, the first time I listened through it I felt it’s totally complex! :D Yeah I like progressive metal of course but I can’t say am a big fan of Opeth, haha. Anyway, I love Leviathan’s philosophical world so much!
Okay, let’s move to the next one - “The Scourge We Wield”. I’m still somewhere in an ancient world… You can hear some female’s vocals in this song. Tell the truth, usually I don’t like a partly-female-vox in Death Metal coz I feel it takes the edge off the power of metal but her vox are totally matching to their world honestly I love the lyrics by the way, it reminds me “Visions” by Stratovarius somehow, the human race has to pay the price to planet earth because of those selfish behaviors…
Oh, in this album, you can hear a lot of folkloric-atmospherical-sounds :D I mentioned Opeth above and also can talk about Eluveitie, haha :D In the booklet, Fabian who looks like an ancient prophet (or just a pilgrim? xD) is pointing something. Oh, the intro of “About Fangs And Feathers” is totally flaming… and I love it! With Jonas’s overwhelming screams, the song sounds more intense, and I also love the lyrics, it reminds me Aesop’s Fables :D Sorry guys but this is my journey and there’s no one could blame me, right? haha ;D
By the way, I have to describe something about their dimension again… All songs in the album have obviously strong trait of contrast between calmness and intensity, it makes their tunes more extreme.
Okay, finally I reached to the last song “Sway Of The Stars”. Ugh, the lyrics annoys me completely xD I mean they made it! *epic win* :D It means I’m totally into their dimension and struggling with my journey… If you are curious about what’s happening there, there’s no way to find it out without an experience by yourself, and everybody who try it get their own story there. I only can tell you that your journey will be so intense, also it will be darkened and much scary, but it’s totally worth trying for sure! Thou shall not fear… :D Jonas in the cover of the album is waiting for you for leading you to the first gate of imagination, so why don’t you try it? ;D I already became a frequenter of their dimension (junkie!!!), and always get a new experience there, as I told you it’s not so easy album, it’s totally complex, so you never get bored with it I bet ;D
I want to say “Congrats!” to all Leviathan guys, they’ve done such an awesome job, seriously!
Sept. 2011 - Kumi666