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..: Interview April 14th, 2002 Stefan Lejon :..

The kings of metal have returned! Six years, two live albums, hundreds of gigs and some DVD's after "Louder Than Hell" they are back and ready to take the world by storm once again. The new creation, entitled "Warriors of the World", will hit the streets on May 27. Guitarist Karl Logan called me up for a brief discussion about past, current and future events in the world of Manowar.

Start off by telling us a little something about the new album and the recordings of it.
Karl: The album was recorded in our own studio. A true state of the art recording facility called HELL. It is located in Joey's house. The mixing was done at Galaxy studios in Belgium by Ronald Prent, a great engineer known for doing mixing for Rammstein for example. He fixed us up with the perfect sound. Very powerful!!! We set out to do a grand and epic album this time. "Louder Than Hell" was more of a straight forward rock album and this time the fans told us they wanted a more epic sounding release. We have pushed the boundaries of heavy metal and Manowar once again and created a great and powerful album.

Six years is a long time between two albums. I know you haven't been in active in any way - doing the live albums and DVD's etc - but still; how come it always takes such a long time to get out a new Manowar album?
Karl: Hahaha, I knew that question was coming just hearing the first word; you don't have to finish the question. You know, we could have released "Louder Than Hell" and then toured for 3 years and put up a new album right away but that is not the way Manowar works. It takes time to put together an album. Also on the tour for "Louder Than Hell", which lasted almost 4 years, we recorded every single show! Not only sound recordings but also video. We had to go through all that material ourselves and that is an enormous amount of video and sound as you can understand! We couldn't trust anyone else with the quality etcetera. About the live albums. The fans had asked us for years when we were going to put out a live album. So we put together a double cd set. Then of course many were saying; "Why didn't you include this song, or this song, or this song?". So we put together another 2 cd set. We give our fans what they want. Other than that we have finished 3 DVD's, only 1 is out right now though. And we remastered some of the early albums which was a big project as well. We had to go through all the old archives and look for photos and artciles etc; to get everything just right and make it of premium quality! Then right after the tour in December of 1999 we of course put our studio together which took a lot of time and effort. We had to investigate and find the best equipment available. That took us another extra 5 or 6 months. After we finished that we started to write and record the album in the summer of 2000. So it has taken us about 2 years to complete the record and I think that is quite normal.

Manowar has been together more than 20 years as a band now. What keeps you at the top after such a long time? You have seen many bands and trends come and go after getting their/its 15 minutes of fame.
Karl: Yeah and that 15 minutes is all they ever get. Where are they now? The bands that were so big in the eighties and who toured the world. And why? Because they weren't real or true to themselves. They put on a mask and showed off to the people and then suddenly they put on another mask. Like Metallica for example. They used to be a heavy metal band once upon a time. This is quite old news but I remember Metallica being featured on the cover of on of Germany's leading rock magazines. There was a quote from James Hetfield saying - "Don't call us a metal band anymore!". I mean that is just pathetic. That is betraying yourself and your fans. What we do is a reflection of ourselves and we do it for our fans - our metal family. We are doing what we are doing and we love it! We have been doing it for 22 years now and we will go on!

The song "An American Trilogy is quite an unusual one for Manowar. What's the story behind that one?
Karl: Well we are all huge Elvis fans and it is his 25-year anniversary, since his death that is, this year. It's something of a show-piece song you know. They are three songs from the Civil War, but they aren't meant in an American "nationalistic" way. It's more of a "nationalistic" thing for all countries if you know what I mean. Elvis, by the way, is the Godfather of Heavy Metal in our opinion! He went his own way throughout his career. He didn't care what other people said and he wore black leather on stage. He shook up the whole establishment and in the process he changed music. We have always wanted to do that song but it just hasn't worked out before. It wouldn't have fitted on the "Louder Than Hell" album - it would've strayed too much from the sound. But this time it felt perfect to finally do it.

Also you have an Italian opera cover on there - Nessun Dorma. Another odd one.
Karl: Another song that fits perfectly on this album I think. It shows the variation of the album. We are redefining heavy metal as I said before. It would be impossible for most other bands to do something like this but with Eric on vocals you can do anything. He has an amazing voice! Classical music is in many way the original heavy metal. The masters of old times like Bach etc were musical geniuses who played with passion and created monumental music.

What do you think of the metal scene nowadays? Do you follow it closely? Any bands you like?
Karl: Well no not really actually. I don't think most of the music coming out today, that is classified as metal, really are heavy metal. To create heavy metal you need good songs; good melodies and a good vocalist. That is fundamental! I hate vocalists that sound like bears coming out of their caves after winter season - ROAAAAAAAAAAR! *imitates growls/screams*. And also they have no melodies. Melodies have been replaced by percussion it seems. There are great bands out there of course, but they are few. At the end of the day what matters is great songs. A great song is one that is still in my head when I get home and get into bed. There are bands out there who are trying to sound like Manowar and I really like that. It's a tribute to us and our music you know. I am very proud of the fact that we can influence and motivate people.

I saw you guys live here in my hometown on you Monsters of the Millennium tour. That was a cool experience to see you guys here. We don't get many big acts here - ever! Have you considered anything like that for this new tour? Coming out to smaller towns and so on I mean?
Karl: We will come where ever metal fans are! I think it is extremely important to not only play the large venues but play smaller stages as well. In the towns and villages is where metal really lives. In the cities they only care for large corporations and popular music etc. It's all about money there. If there's a venue there that only takes 500 people and people want us to come - then we will go there! Coming out to smaller towns or villages also bering us closer to our fans and gives us a more personal connection to them. We are and have always been a band for the fans!

When will the tour for "Warriors Of The World" start then?
Karl: We will start the tour in the spring...NO NO NO...I mean in like september/october. We will play all of Europe and Scandinavia and so on.

We can't wait to get you here! I will try to get to one of your shows!
Karl: Do that Stefan. Hope to see you when we get to Sweden the next time! Take care and stay metal brother!

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