Interview with Burden Of Life about the new album The Makeshift Conqueror
Kumi666: You entirely proved such a talented melody-maker you are with “The Makeshift Conqueror”. I’m still a huge fan of death metal but honestly admit to my love for your beautiful new album full of stunning melodies with a wide part of great clean vocals. Anyway, it took a long time to unveil the new album since you released the previous one “In Cycles” but I’m happy all of you guys are back! How have you guys been doing since then?
Kötti: Well, first of all thanks a lot for your kind words! We have been good, thanks for asking! Of course, four years are a long time, but we are all at least 30 years old by now and there are lots of other things in our lives we have to take care of apart from the band. Still, we felt that we still had something to say musically, so in 2019 we decided to record a fourth full-length album after all, and we are very happy we did it!
Kumi666: I feel like “The Makeshift Conqueror” is a concept album cos some songs are obviously connected each other but I’m not sure cos “Anthem Of The Unbeloved” for example sounds irrelevant with any other songs in the album, and it’s different from the movie-like clear-cut concept album “The Vanity Syndrome”. It’s not a concept album, is it?
Kötti: It is not a concept album in the sense that “The Vanity Syndrome” was one. But it’s also not as loose and unconnected as “In Cycles” was. There is no story and no real guiding thread but some of the songs are connected with one another. “The Makeshift Conqueror Pt.I” and “Pt.II” are obviously a pair and the same goes for “Goddess Of The River” and “Regression (Goddess’ Return)”. But this time the connections are more on a thematical and lyrical level, not so much on a musical level. Still, I think that the album as a whole is more self-contained than “In Cycles” was.
Kumi666: The second reason I thought it could be a concept album was the philosophical album arts. Those fabulous drawings – weathered machine (the silhouette itself looks like a man somehow) and cogs, contrastive images (like everything has two sides) within geometric graphics symbolically depict some words from the lyrics, right? Could you tell us about the arts and the talented artist?
Kötti: The very talented artist who created the artwork for the album is Ann-Kathrin Müller (www.ann-kathrin-mueller.de). She already did all the background artwork on In Cycles; in fact, she did everything apart from the front cover. So, it was a logical conclusion to ask her to do the whole thing this time. When she asked us what we had in mind we just gave her the music and lyrics and told her to figure it out herself. She was actually quite thankful because the more artistic freedom she is given the happier she is to work on it. Knowing that, we just trusted here and what can I say? I think the whole artwork is amazing and we are very happy with it. Of course, she told us what her thought process was behind each piece and why she chose to do what she did. But I think it is more exciting if people make up their own minds about that.
Kumi666: Back in 2013, in my second interview with you, you told me you don’t care too much about your music genre and described your own music as “Heavy Metal music spiced up with everything we think could fit our songs.”. I think The Makeshift Conqueror is just the ultimate album so far for what you said about your music style. You combined many music styles as one in the album and your abundant musical knowledges keep updating Burden Of Life as an attractive band. And, it seems you find amusement in containing kinda stereotype-breaking surprises in your albums. For example, the first track of “In Cycles” was a total ballad. This time, you set a couple of fun traps in “The Makeshift Conqueror” as well. So, let’s go on with track-by-track details.
The Makeshift Conqueror Pt. I
Kumi666: You set the first surprise on the first track of the album. It’s almost an acoustic tune and you managed it with clean vocals entirely and you are too good for clean singing as well. How did you decide to put your great clean vocals widely on the album?
Kötti: Well, thank you! This song was at one point actually a part of a draft of “The Makeshift Conqueror Pt.II” but at some point the other guys said that it is just too much for one song and I had to agree. Karl, our bass player, then suggested to make a separate song out of that. So, I extracted that part, fleshed it out a little bit more, added the guitar solo section and the lyrics and then there was a nice little 2:30-min song for which we had no use at first. But when Pt.II was finally finished, we decided to make this Part I and start the album off with it to get the two songs to work as bookends. Finally, we twitched the song’s ending to lead into “Geistesblitz” and there you go!
Using more clean vocals was an absolute natural progression. If you look at our discography, you will see that the clean vocals are getting more and more from album to album. I just feel much more comfortable as a singer nowadays. If I had liked my voice that much in 2008, we would have always had more clean vocals. But apart from my abilities, our tastes have also broadened. Sure, there are still bands with harsh vocals we love, but if a band does nothing else vocal-wise we now mostly feel it is a bit one-dimensional and bland. Of course, there are still bands that work just perfectly this way. We just felt we needed this bit of evolution in our own music.
Kumi666: As I mentioned above, the art of the back of the digipack must be a weathered machine but looks like a man, the roots of those plants look like a brain and veins of a man as well. It seems the art is an abstract image of the man who was a makeshift conqueror, isn’t it?
Kötti: I do not want to speak for our artist but I think, and that is just my interpretation, that the whole figure on the front cover is meant to be a person that is pieced together from different parts of machinery and fauna, a makeshift person so to say. Parts are misused for a non-fitting purpose and stuff like that but somehow it still seems to work, just like makeshift ideas do from time to time.
Kumi666: First, I had to figure out the word “geistesblitz” means “brainstorm”. Why did you name the title of the song in your language?
Kötti: Yeah, there is no real cool English translation for this expression. This is why we just decided to use the term from our native language. It just sounded so much catchier and cooler. Do you know that situation in a cartoon when they suddenly have an idea and there is a glowing light bulb above their head? THAT is a Geistesblitz. At first, this was just the working title, because the music for the song was exactly that: it came all of a sudden and I had it written down in a mere 7 or 8 hours, which is really fast for such a long and complex song. After that, I just decided to write the lyrics around that working title because I really wanted to keep it and I also felt that the music could really fit this lyrical idea.
Kumi666: This song is available as the first music video much before the album release day.
I fell in love with it instantly because the story in the video greatly expresses about the lyrical world of the song. All the artists from various genres appearing in the video were struggling for what they were doing. All of them were writhing in agony for creating their new arts and once collapsed in despair. And then, they got brainstorms and all struggles turned out satisfactions. I saw “No pain, no gain.” touch in the story but as you guys identify yourself “burden of life”, the end of the chorus line sounds hard. Did you reflect yourself as an artist in the song anyway?
Kötti: Great interpretation, you totally got it! Yes, this song is indeed very autobiographical. It recounts the struggles of an artist who feel that he cannot compete with his past creations and that he has nothing left to say. Then, there are, of course, ups and downs in this process of creation and I felt that the song’s shifting sections could transport this mood brilliantly. And yeah, you could call this whole process one of my life’s burdens which I get to experience with each new creative endeavor over and over again.
Goddess Of The River
Kumi666: What a relief! Growls are back. And one of the impressive points through the album is the choir adding some depth to the album. They sound like a Latin gospel choir. Could you tell us about them?
Kötti: I thought you’d like that! We’ve been using real choirs since “The Vanity Syndrome”. MIDI and Synths are nice and we still use them as well, in fact more heavily than ever before on this album. However, there are some parts where you want the choir to sing some actual lyrics and although there are engines which can kind of reproduce that, nothing beats a few real good singers. So nowadays, we just ask eight to ten of our friends, of whom we know that they can sing, to come in and do these choirs. We then layer their voices five, ten or fifteen times and there you go, you have an awesome and massive-sounding choir. In exchange they get pizza and endless gratitude!
Anthem Of The Unbeloved
Kumi666: It’s totally away from a death metal tune but honestly one of my favorite tracks in the album with fantastic melodies. This twinkling song shows the width of your musical range. It’s a great combination between Metal / Rock and Latin Jazz / Fusion / Bossa Nova (sorry for my musical ignorance), and you invited a guest musician for the flute part, right?
Kötti: “Anthem Of The Unbeloved” was the odd-man-out from the beginning. It was just so weird, somewhat happy and just came out of left field, that we really were not sure if we could put it on the album. But when it was fully recorded, vocals, choirs and all, we just went for it because we all really, really liked it. I am sure it is a bit controversial, but a good song is a good song, so who cares, right? The flute was played by Anna Guggenberger, a fellow music student of mine. It was here first time in a recording studio and she did a great job! It is one of the album’s highlights for sure!
Sealing Our Fate
Kumi666: This track is another favorite for me. The apocalyptic lyrics sound just death metal. It’s relevant for the cover art too?
Kötti: You would have to ask Annka, our artist, if the artwork relates to the song in any way. I do not see any obvious connections, but I cannot say for sure. And yes, this is the most classically metal-sounding track on here for sure. We love all these weird and new elements, but we do still love metal music as well. So, of course, there will still be heavy songs with blastbeats, black metal riffing and extreme vocals. I do not think that this will ever change.
Kumi666: Pisces makes me feel kinda nostalgic. Holistically, I feel like you got a lot of influences from kinda 80’s metal as well, didn’t you?
Kötti: I do love classic Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica and lots of other 80s stuff. I also love a lot of rock and pop music from the 80s. There is just a certain devotion to melodies and hooks that I very often do miss in more modern music. But, of course, I am only looking at this through rose-colored time-travel glasses, so what do I know? However, I am sure this music has an influence on my songwriting because I love it wholeheartedly. The melodies in “Pisces”, be it the guitar licks or the vocal lines, are for sure proof of that.
Regression (Goddess’ Return)
Kumi666: This track must be a pair with Goddess Of The River. Well, you often use rhymes in the lyrics of your songs, don’t you?
Kötti: Yes, it is a continuation of “Goddess Of The River”. That song is about a person that cost me a lot of nerves and with whom I had actually broken off all contact. But at some point, during the songwriting process for “The Makeshift Conqueror”, this person came back into my life and brought back a lot of bad memories and unfinished business. So, I just felt I needed to continue this story in the album’s lyrics as well.
When I am writing lyrics, I like to use different sorts of rhyming schemes. I think lyrics just flow better that way. But there are also moments where it is not necessary, and I just like to figure out what the song needs and then try to write the lyrics accordingly.
Trust My Own Heart
Kumi666: This ballad is available too as the second music video from The Makeshift Conqueror. You had a great guest musician for this song. Could you tell us about her?
Kötti: Our guest singer/pianist is the wonderful Luisa Funkenstein. She is a dear friend of ours and we actually only wanted her to play the piano on “Trust My Own Heart”. But when I was writing the lyrics, I felt there was an opportunity to turn this song into a duet and it was just too good to miss it. So, when she was in the studio it was a rather spontaneous proposal, but she accepted and, the total professional she is, she just went into the booth and nailed it within a few takes. The music she makes is very different from ours, but I do like it a lot and also help out at here live shows from time to time. It’s worth checking out for sure!
Kumi666: The location in the video is impressive. Did you film it in a real barn of a farm?
Kötti: Yes it is! This barn was actually already an idea for the “Geistesblitz” video but we ultimately decided against it. But when it was time to do a second video, we remembered that plan and it was just perfect for this intimate ballad and we love how it turned out!
The Makeshift Conqueror PT. II
Kumi666: It’s obvious this final track is a counterpart with the PT.I. Musically and lyrically, it’s appropriate as the final track of the album. Great song! There is some marching drum session in the intro. Could you tell about the guest drummers?
Kötti: I guess being a progressive band means that you always need a longtrack at the end of the album, right? At least that is what we have been doing for the last few records. When we decided to do the marching drum parts, we knew that we had to at least double that on the record. And to make that sound even more natural and organic, we thought that it would be a cool idea to ask some drummers we are friends with to do that for us. So, Michael “Air” Hofmann, who is our co-producer Hubi’s brother, and Moriz Damjantschitsch, also a dear friend, were obvious choices, as they are very talented drummers and were happy to lend us their talents. Thank you again guys!
Kumi666: What does makeshift conqueror mean for you?
Kötti: Conquering issues in a makeshift way is what I have been doing most of my life. I rarely make elaborate plans; I adjust them as life is happening around me. This, of course, tends to have its advantages and disadvantages. I am rarely stressed out by anything and always believe that things will sort themselves out. But sometimes they just don’t and then I am mostly at my wit’s end. So, in some painful scenarios I had to endure a lot of backlash, resistance and arguments, but also a lot of inner conflicts to finally succeed. Still, I feel that I would not want it any other way. Of course, there is always a chance for a certain amount of growth and as I get older, I tend to embrace that more and more. But in some ways, I am who I am, and I will always be. And that’s ok with me.
Kumi666: By the way, there should have been Metal Up Your Life some days ago, right?
Kötti: You may have heard of the cancellation due to the pandemic. We were really excited to be playing and we were disappointed that we could not. But we understand why it could not happen and are looking forward to future shows with our friends.
Kumi666: You would have played some acoustic set as well, then?
Kötti: We were planning to, yes. Some of the new songs really lend themselves to these more intimate acoustic settings and some of the old ones do as well. We will catch up on that at some other point, I am sure.
Kumi666: Your new album will be available in Japan as well, woohoo. Can we expect that Burden Of Life will be much more active than these past years?
Kötti: As you know, right now, our hands are tied due to the pandemic. These are unprecedented times and life will not be the same after all this is over. We hope that it will change some things for the better. After all, it is about time. However, we hope that mankind will be able to contain this virus and that there will be clubs and stages left to play and that there will be a demand for live music. No one knows how this all turns out but if there is a possibility to do some shows this fall, we would sure love to try. We will see what happens, health comes first, of course!
Kumi666: Thank you so much for your time for this interview and thank you so much for your brilliant music!
Kötti: Thank you, you rock! Be safe! We STILL hope to play Japan someday!
Burden Of Life are:
Christian Kötterl - Vocals, Guitars
Michael Schafberger - Guitars
Karl-Arnold Bodarwé - Bass
Matthias Babl - Drums
BURDEN OF LIFE at OUT & LOUD 2014
Many guys from NWOGM told me Kötti from BURDEN OF LIFE was totally drunk all the time at OUT & LOUD, so I didn't expect he could manage such a brilliant review about the fest with the heavy volume! Just check this out.
Kötti: It's already been a little more than a month since we, Burden Of Life, played at Out&Loud Festival in Geiselwind, Germany. Believe me, however, that the memories we made on these three days – some crystal clear, some booze-fueled and hazy – will stay with us for a much longer time.
Before we got the offer to play at said festival we had not played too many shows of that size and so we were more than excited to get yet another chance to prove ourselves in front of the audience which would (hopefully) be a little bigger than what we were normally used to. But first things first: most of us arrived almost exactly 48 hours before stage-time so there was still some time to kill, some music to absorb and some beers to consume. Sleep was a little scarce but hey, it's a festival ain't it?
So with our tents set up in between the camps of our friends in Soulbound, The Last Hangmen, Parasite Inc., Mnyded and many others we made our way to the stage area at around three p.m. on Thursday for the first time. The first band we watched was Sólstafir which is one of my current favorites so I was really psyched and the guys did not disappoint! The slight showers of rain even amplified the atmosphere of their epic compositions. Right after that we went to the Newcomer Stage and witnessed the extremely professional and sympathetic show by our friends in Soulbound. And to be honest; before we arrived at the site I was a little worried the people wouldn't really pay attention to a stage full of relatively unknown bands. Oh boy was I wrong and this show was the first proof. The people, including us of course, went crazy and they were right in doing so. Johnny even started the show off in his leather jacket as a favor to me. I do not exactly remember why I asked him to do it but the fact that he did do it made me smile and once again proved that these guys are not only good musicians but also incredibly nice and fun-loving people.
The rest of the day was spent with more music, booze and joking around and we had a really good time with all the guys from the other bands. Johnny took it a little too far I guess threw and his voice out completely over the next 24 hours. Good thing their show was already over! :D
Friday fortunately greeted us with the weather situation a little improved over the relatively shitty Thursday. The first band I watched on the second day of the festival were the guys in Parasite Inc. All of you Kumi friends and supporters who are reading this surely know that their debut effort “Time Tears Down” made massive waves in the German underground scene and it did so with good reason. So I expected a lot of people in front of the stage. And indeed, the hall was packed. Packed enough even, to make Kai speechless in between songs. The band is a well-oiled machine and they presented their songs as professional as ever. Their new guitar player also fit in seamlessly. Way to go guys!
The Last Hangmen were the next band on my schedule. These guys have become really good friends of ours over the last three years and playing shows with them is always a highlight. Driven by their Blast-beat-O-Meter Ronny they shredded their way through 40 minutes of their signature Melodic Extreme Metal.
Unfortunately shortly after their show – which was no later than eight p.m. I think – it was already time for me to hit the hay. For one thing I've had a little too much to drink and for another I needed to get as much sleep as possible for it was show-time for us on Saturday. But I was told that the others had a fun time drinking and talking late into the night and in the process make Johnny eventually lose his voice entirely.
The time in between getting up and playing the show was mostly used to welcome the rest of our band at the camping site and getting ready for the show. Of course, shortly before hitting the stage we all got a little nervous and the obligatory “What if we're the exception to the rule an nobody shows up?!”-question entered our minds. But as soon as we hit the stage people started cheering and shouting and from the first note onward they were head-banging and partying along to our music. It was without a doubt one of the most awesome shows we ever played and we had an absolute blast. The 40 minutes rushed past us and as the last notes of “Breathing The Soil” faded away we enjoyed the applause for a little bit and then started packing up our things.
The last few hours we had left we spent at the New Wave Of German Metal booth, hanging out with our friends, and watching some more bands like our friends in Mynded (awesome Thrash Metal, check them out) and the mighty Blind Guardian. Shortly after the headliners ended their set we said goodbye to all the other bands and made our way home through the night.
Overall it was an absolutely amazing experience and we hope that there will be more opportunities like this in the future. There are a few people I would like to mention here, for they particularly helped to make it a wonderful weekend: First of all our thanks go to Flori who spearheaded the New Wave Of German Metal through this experience and made it possible for all eleven NWOGM Bands to play at the festival. We also would like to thank the people organizing the O&L Festival for believing in the idea of a stage full of newcomers, this is not a common thing and we know and appreciate that. Furthermore we would like to thank Bettina of Dark & Sweet Things and Natts of Shoother for their incredible endurance and passion taking really awesome pictures which make us once again look way more cool than in real life. We also say thanks to our friend Bergi who was not only our Merch Guy/Roadie but also a valid force of entertainment on the campground for everyone present. Oh and of course thanks as always to Kumi for her support and interest, you rule!
Last but not least we want to thank all the guys in the other bands we spent these three days with. YOU.ARE.AWESOME. Hope to see you all way more often in the future! Now back to songwriting for Burden Of Life – Album III!
Kötti/Burden Of Life
BURDEN OF LIFE Official Facebook
Check following awesome live photos by Bettina ( Dark and Sweet Things ) !!!
Burden Of Life interview about The Vanity Syndrome
Congratulations for your wonderful new album The Vanity Syndrome!
My very first impression about the album was it’s a really brilliant concept album. It’s just like a movie which contains full of catchy melodies beyond my expectations. I felt the album broke the wall of Melodic Death Metal genre. How would you describe the latest Burden Of Life’s music style with the new album?
Kötty: First of all: thank you very much, we appreciate it! You are totally right with both your assumptions. „The Vanity Syndrome “ is indeed a concept album which tells a complete story from start to finish. And we ourselves neither consider it a pure „Melo-Death“ release. All in all we do not care too much about genres or categorizing music. It may make it easier for some listeners to find music you like but for me as a composer and for us as a band it is nothing but limiting. There are so many different ideas and styles intertwined within the album's music, as I am not only a fan of Heavy Metal music but a music enthusiast in general. My tastes range from acoustic to electric music and there are only a few genres which I absolutely cannot stand. And as far as I know all of our band members are open to many different styles of music. So I will not invent a new fancy genre to describe our music. After all it is Heavy Metal music spiced up with everything we think could fit our songs.
As I mentioned above, everybody can easy to find out The Vanity Syndrome as a huge concept album, and I feel like it’s a kind of “Inner struggling drama” which guide to the scary ending. Can you tell me the outline of the concept?
Kötty: You are right again! Beneath the main plot, which is a nice little love story gone bad with a few fantasy elements added into the mix, lies a very personal story about a man's inner struggle with himself and also his environment. The “obvious story” concerns a man who is unhappy with his love life as he feels he is nothing but being hurt again and again. So he decides to quit loving and caring for people. He achieves this with the help of a demon and soon he is as cold inside as he wished to be. After some time however he realizes how unfulfilling this way of life is and goes insane. He then tries to become a normal person again and asks the demon for help once more. Well I do not want to give anything away, but as you already said, the ending is not really a happy one. The “story between the lines” is something I don't want to give away for it is very personal and I think it ruins the opportunity to interpret the story any way you like. Everyone should find their own solution to this puzzle.
Why did you decide to make a concept album?
Kötty: It is something I always wanted to do because I think the idea of repeating certain melodies or lyrical fragments within different songs really tightens the album's flow. I am still a defender of albums as opposed to releasing single songs or this whole download craze that's going on, where people pick their two or three favorite songs from a record and delete or do not even listen to the rest. It might also stem from my love for movie soundtracks where character themes and repeated sections are a must to establish the protagonists, feelings etc. There also was a long story I wanted to tell and instead of cramming it all into one song and butchering it, I decided to make it a whole album.
The songs in the album are absolutely sync each other via the lyrics, dramatic effects and melodic links between the songs with some same refrains in the different tracks. Well, can you explain each of the songs one by one?
Kötty: Thanks again! Sure I can, but if it's ok with you I will concentrate on the music because examining the story as well would just take a little too long.
Vanity's Overture: This little introduction sets the mood for the album which, after all, is about an unjustified conflict between two people.
Delusive Egomania: In contrast to “Veracity” on our first album we decided to kick off the album with a classical fast-paced tune in the vein of “Your Ruin, My Relief”. This mostly works well I think and we did not want to scare people away with one of the more complicated songs which are to follow, especially in the album's second half. It's a good song to get comfortable with the album's overall sound and feel. It was also the last song finished for the album.
Cardiac Catharsis: The album's running order and concept called for another rather straight-forward song in this spot so I came up with two or three riffs which weren't too complicated or anything and just had this feel somewhere between uplifting and creepy. The way the vocals are sung in the chorus are a little different than usual to suit the story and the character here and the song's ending is one of our most “doom metal” moments ever.
Praise The Loss: This one is by far the oldest song on the album. We played it live as early as summer 2011 and for a long time it was our only indicator what was to come concerning musical ideas and conceptualization. Looking back it served us pretty well as a blueprint for our future musical adventures as it is by far more progressive than anything we did up to 2010's “In The Wake Of My Demise” EP. The songs outro also marks the first appearance of the “Heartchor”, a real-life choir which we used on a few of the album's songs, something I always dreamt of doing.
Dead Inside: This is the most thrashing song we did yet and also the shortest full song we ever recorded clocking in at a mere 3:12 min. Nevertheless it fits the album perfectly I think and it has some cool innovations like the first blastbeats we ever used and a cool “Slayer-Breakdown” in the middle of the song. The subtitle “The Severance Cantata Pt.I” indicates that this song and the next one belong together, because lyrics-wise they tell the same story through different eyes.
Our Union's Eulogy: Definitely one of my favorites! As you may have guessed this is a very special one as it features a guest vocalist (Jennifer Kothe, a wonderful singer from Berlin) and not one line sung by me. Musically it is a fairly simple “power ballad” type of song but features one of our best guitar solos ever (played by my Guitar bro Michael). As the Cantata's second part it features the female lead character's view as opposed to the guy's perspective in the first part. This experiment was a big success and it strengthened my will to try out new things again and again.
Dissolutio Vanitatis: This little interlude serves as an introduction to the album's second half as well as the following song. This is an a capella song which features only the “Heartchor” and lyrics in Latin which fit the baroque feel of the music perfectly I think. Again, an interesting experiment which turned out perfect.
Enslaved By Liberty: In the second half the album gets fairly more progressive and “Enslaved By Liberty” is only the first step. After the rather slow ballad and the floating interlude this swaying song gets the album back into motion again. Musically and Lyrically there are some parallels to “Praise The Loss”, as both songs deal with the protagonist's new-found coldness and how he feels about it at different stages of his life.
Beyond The Breaking Point: Without a doubt the most insane song we ever did. It may seem a little random after the first listen but I think after a few times you can really get into the song. It also contains a little jazz part in the middle with a real trumpet. We decided to do this relatively last minute during one of our last rehearsals before entering the studio. Apart from that we have some more female guest vocals, blastbeats, odd-time-meters, key changes, gunshots, marching drums and some really kickass riffs.
Rightful Salvation: Clocking in at nearly 10 minutes, this is by far the longest song we ever did. It contains many references to some of the earlier songs and, obviously, it is also the story's climax. The song also contains a little bass solo, which I thought was a nice touch as many bass players are often overlooked in modern metal bands nowadays. Furthermore “Rightful Salvation” serves as the middle-piece of the album's final suite which also includes the songs before and after this one. We liked the idea of connecting these songs to form a grand finale and thought it would really fit a concept album.
Vanity's Crown: The epic, massive closing track. I mostly like it when the last song of an album gives you something to think about and has a melancholic touch to it and I think “Vanity's Crown” does a good job at that. Not only with its lyrics but already with the music itself. The second half of the song's guitar solo is a medley composed of all the other song's main melodies while the accompanying lyrics summarize the album's events which was a nice touch to wrap up the whole story.
I hope this gives you a little insight into the song's workings. For more information you can also check the album's accompanying booklet which features more detailed liner notes to all of the songs.
I remember you told me in my previous interview that you’d keep using clean vocals in the future. So, was it natural for you that there are more clean vocals in The Vanity Syndrome than past releases?
Kötty: Yes it absolutely was! After we got a great response for the clean vocals on “Breathing The Soil” I felt reassured to keep on using them. I am more comfortable with my singing voice than I was a few years ago and I also felt that using different vocal styles adds much more depth to the music. It gives me more artistic freedom to express myself and get different emotions across to people and it would feel limiting to only growl and scream all the time. Apart from that I am a huge fan of good singing so I also wanted to take a shot at it.
Basically, I get bored for long-length songs but I really like Rightful Salvation in the album with much dramatic processions. Why did you make such an extra-long song?
Kötty: Thank you very much! Well, when we started to think about the idea of a concept album I immediately though that it should have a huge epic longtrack as the story's climax because then you can really dive into the storytelling aspect of a song, have many different sections, many different riffs; a real rollercoaster ride so to say. Still it was quite a challenge to keep this song coherent and we went through a lot of drafts before we settled on the final version. Listening back to it now I am really happy with the way it turned out. Maybe next time there'll be an even longer one? Or only 4-minute-pop-metal songs? Who knows … ;)
Who did make the awesome cover art?
Kötty: A young and very talented artist from our home country Germany called Jennifer Wüstling is responsible for this amazing and stunning piece of art. She also designed the artwork for “Executing Empires”, the latest album from our buddies “The Last Hangmen”. When they presented their album cover I showed it to the rest of the guys and said: “We found her! Let's ask this girl if she can draw us something equally amazing!” So we did exactly that and it turned out to be a really smart decision. We told her roughly what we wanted to be in the picture and she turned it into this great painting. Visit her homepage (https://www.izaskun.de/) for a lot more cool stuff! (I am a huge fan of the flying turtle picture!)
Did you sign with the record label for the album lately right? Did you feel your situation/environment change with it?
Kötty: Yes we signed with Firefield Records for this album. Up until now the album's only been out for less than 4 weeks so it is hard to say how big the effect of a label backing us really is or will be. Also we are still waiting for reviews and opinions regarding the album so we will see what comes up next. However we are very excited to finally be working with a record label. It took us a long time to get there but now never having given up pays off.
Can you tell me your upcoming activities this year? Are there a lot of concerts coming up?
Kötty: Well compared to our past years as a band there already have been a lot of shows this spring which was really awesome. We have also a few other really cool things planned but it is a little too early to spread the news so stay tuned and check our home- or facebookpage from time to time.
I can tell you there’s Burden Of Life fans in Japan as well :) So, Please give some message to them.
Kötty: Hey to all of you Burden Of Life enthusiasts way over there in Japan! Thank you very much for listening to our music, we appreciate it! If it is ever possible we would love to come to Japan and play some shows there. So let's hope for the best and keep on rocking! All the best Japan! And special thanks goes to you Kumi for your endless support and sacrifice for us and all the other bands! You ROCK!
Check the brilliant song Delusive Egomania from The Vanity Syndrome!!!
BURDEN OF LIFE – Another new song has been revealed!
Check “Praise The Loss” from their upcoming new album “The Vanity Syndrome” !
Burden Of Life released new song!
Burden Of Life has released the new song from their upcoming album -The Vanity Syndrome-! Check it out!
Burden Of Life interview about the great EP – In The Wake Of My Demise and about the band ～ PT. 2
Okay let’s get back to the interview with the brilliant melodic death metal band Burden Of Life. Here we go!
Me：Well, I'm curious about the history of the band and about current members. Could you tell me about it?
Kötti: Oh well, the unavoidable question :D The roots of Burden Of Life lie in a basement of our former guitar (later-on bass guitar) player in the summer of 2003. But the name was different, the people were different, so the history of Burden Of Life starts in December 2005 when we had already 80% of the current Line-Up and a proper place to rehearse. From then on it was just a usual underground band history. We played between 1 and 13 gigs a year, had to face small line-up changes and released a demo in 2007, our first album in 2008 and the EP in 2010. The next "real big thing" was getting our record deal with Twilight, through which we will release our second album.
Kötti: Our current members are Michael Schafberger on guitar,
Tobias Haimerl on keyboards,
Matthias Babl on drums,
Karl-Arnold Bodarwé on bass
and myself, Christian Kötterl, on guitar and vocals.
Kötti: We were all there from the beginning except for our bass player Karl who joined in fall 2008 shortly after the release of "Ashes Of Existence". So this is our most stable line-up yet.
Me: Do you have any plan for a new full-length in the near future?
Kötti: Yes we do. We are now writing and rehearsing the songs for our second full-length and all I can say is that it will be a concept album and will feature eleven songs including an intro and an interlude. It will be recorded in April and we hope to release it in late 2012. So stay tuned and check our homepage (www.burdenoflife.de) and Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/burdenoflife) from time to time!
Me: Okay, this is the last question. Could you tell me what the aspiration of Burden Of Life for 2012 will be?
Kötti: Well apart from the aforementioned album recording and release we hope to get the chance to play some smaller festivals in summer (although we would not say no to the bigger ones as well) and of course concerts in general. Yeah, all these things that small aspiring bands wish for you know? :D And of course we hope that the people will like our new record when it's out, but there is still some time until that happens.
Thank you so much!
Kötti: Thank YOU so much for your interest in underground metal and supporting Burden Of Life way over there in Japan. I am such a huge fan of the country and I hope to go there one day to bring you some awesome German Melodic Death Metal! THANKS!!!
I’m absolutely psyched that they told me they’ve already started preparing the new full-length and are trying to release it in this year, wow!
Okay, here’s the fabulous opener of their latest EP – In The Wake Of My Demise called “Your Ruin, My Relief” , so check it out!
TASTE OF EXTREME METAL - “Your Ruin, My Relief” by Burden Of Life
Your Ruin, My Relief
(Music & Lyrics by C. Kötterl)
Caging myself beyond all reason
Witnessing the madness within
I am prisoner and jail guard
I‘m virus and infected
Merging it all I am left a nervous wreck
Losing focus and losing track
Who‘s still preventing escape I cry
Finally perceiving my tears‘ reflection
Shattering the mirror
This impostor made of glass
I realize my foolishness
And how this all could ever last
Trading my love for mercy
My self-respect for surrender
Accepting my emotional suicide
Dead inside I crave for salvation
Crave for this hell to end
All that‘s left to do is to let you feel
Shattered is the mirror
This impostor made of glass
I realize my foolishness
And how this all could ever last
Turning my back on you
I return the hell you put me through
Now these days will end
The days you mauled my feeding hand
Your Ruin, My Relief!
Your Ruin, My Relief!
Release me now!
Turning my back on you
I return the hell you put me through
Now these days will end
The days you mauled my feeding hand
Burden Of Life interview about the great EP – In The Wake Of My Demise and about the band ～ PT. 1
Me: I'm a newcomer a fan of Burden Of Life coz I knew the band only some months ago, and now am totally into your music especially for the latest RP "In The Wake Of My Demise" . I mean the EP is more greater than the last album within the strong sound production and the sense of momentum. How did you dedicate your efforts for making the great stuff?
Kötti: I am not 100% sure if I got the question right but I'll try ;) First of all thank you for your kind words! We really appreciate that you like our music! I am guessing that you want to know about what we did differently in terms of recording and production compared to our last album and why it is a better release in virtually every aspect. Well, for the first time we went into a real studio with people who really knew what they were doing while we engineered our demo and our first album "Ashes Of Existence" on our own. That's the reason why they sound like shit (demo) and shit with a little whipped cream (Ashes Of Existence) in comparison to the phenomenal sound on the EP. I also think the songs had gotten a lot better by the point we went into the studio for "In The Wake Of My Demise". We are still very happy with the result, even almost one and a half year after its release.
Me: You got my point perfectly! So, I would love to know more details about the EP. Does it have any theme or concept for that?
Kötti: Well there is not a real concept behind the EP as a whole but if you like you could say our band's "concept" is that the lyrics are always revolving around rather sad and depressing themes. We called the band "Burden Of Life" and not "Sunshine Of Life" for a reason ;) I think the things I sing about are issues that almost everyone can relate to in one way or another like broken love, feeling shut out and alone, losing your loved ones and things like that. These are the things that weigh on your life like a burden but we do not say there is no hope. The songs are meant to scream out your anger and get pissed off for a bit to feel relieved afterwards and maybe find a way to carry on.
Me: Could you introduce each song in the EP?
Kötti: Sure I can!
Your Ruin, My Relief
As an opening song on a release with only four tracks you need something that is as much in your face as possible. So I think this is the most brutal and straightforward song we did up to this point. Of course it still has beautiful melodies and even an acoustic interlude because we are not Cannibal Corpse (which I love by the way) but compared to our other songs it is quite relentless.
The lyrics talk about breaking up a relationship in which you did not feel respected and more like you were exploited and now you finally have the balls to say "Fuck off you abusive vulture! This is so over!"
Breathing The Soil
This is the oldest song on the EP and we played it live as early as fall 2008. It is the "pop-song" on the EP as you can hear in the very catchy chorus. I have always liked the idea of incorporating clean vocals into our music as I am a HUGE fan of vocal giants like Bruce Dickinson (Iron Maiden) and Rob Halford (Judas Priest). We already tried it on "The Endless March" on "Ashes Of Existence" but I think it worked a LOT better here.
We will keep on using clean vocals in the future whenever they fit the song, but don't worry the screams, growls and shouts will stay :D Lyrically this song is about a nomad-type of guy who loves exploring the world and seeing everything with his own eyes and whenever he happens to come back home his yearning for freedom and adventure takes him back out on the road again.
Behold A Burning Soul
This songs seems to have struck a nerve with many people as it is quite popular on YouTube and was already covered by two people, which is a huge honor for us. I think it's the most "doom metal" we will ever get :D It's a slow and brooding song about being afraid to tell someone how you feel about them out of fear of rejection.
The string section at the end of the song are real instruments and not synthesized and we would love to do more of that in the future. We will see if this happens.
In The Wake Of My Demise
The title track and the last one we finished before we went into the studio. It is a song in the same vein as "Of Father And Son" on our first album. A straightforward Melodic Death Metal Double-bass tune.
The cover artwork was inspired by the song's lyrics which talk about a man who feels unwanted by his environment and thinks about leaving. "In The Wake Of My Demise" means quite literally "after I am dead" and because he feels laughed at und not being loved he decides to wander off. I think most people have in felt like this at some point in their lives.
The interview PT.II will be out next week. I asked them about the band, about their next album, and some teaser from their EP will be appears on it. So, stay tuned! The EP - In The Wake Of My Demise is a real blast one!