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Friday, March 22, 2013

From the mystical lands of Fife emerges Glory

Northern Ireland exclusive interview with the man behind Gloryhammwer

SOMETHING has been brewing in the dark forests round the mystical kingdom of Fife as a certain pirate returned from sailing the seven seas for plunder and other such amusements…

Chris Bowes, the mastermind behind those jolly pirate jesters in Alestorm, has decided that he just needed another project to keep the creative juices flowing; and for this no main brace is being spliced; the Jolly Roger is being stowed in a treasure chest buried deep beneath Cowdenbeath…

Yes Bowes is back with a tale based in the mythical kingdom of Fife, which until now didn’t perhaps know it had an entire past filled with goblins, trolls, dragons and…well with unicorns too.
Gloryhammer is the new band, and the new album is ‘Tales from the Kingdom of Fife’ [read the review here], and what promises to be the first of 21 albums from Gloryhammer…

Surely Bowes must be an inveterate workaholic.

“Hah I guess so! I seem to start a new band every week; most of them never get very far, but there was something special about Gloryhammer which made me want to take it to this level,” he told Belfastmetalheads. “It's not too hard being in two big bands at once; I've got plenty of time to bring both to full potential.”

Plenty of time or not, putting together a band as ambitious in its scope as Gloryhammer – even with the slight phnarr, phnarr of the band name – requires more than just a few good ideas. Bowes vision is one firmly rooted in that much maligned genre – fantasy power metal. It’s a genre that conjures up more than a snigger, even amongst devotees, but it speaks firmly to the interests of the keyboardist.

“I've always had an interest in fantasy power metal, so it was only a matter of time before I started a band of my own,” he said. “Most of the members are friends of mine in local bands, apart from our amazing singer Thomas who we found through his online audition to join Dragonforce; thankfully we managed to snatch him up before he joined that band!”

But as anyone with any familiarity with Bowes and his crew aboard the good ship Alestorm will know he is a man firmly committed to the concept of playing the joke with a straight face.

“A few years back I was trying to think of the most ridiculous concept for a song ever, and ‘The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee’ just came to me.

“So I came up with this ludicrous story in which the traditional fantasy memes were transplanted to a sleepy part of Eastern Scotland. So there are unicorns in Dundee, eagle-riding knights in Crail, and goblin tunnels beneath Cowdenbeath.

“All very standard stuff,” he explained. Well standard stuff if Tolkien had dropped an acid tab and chewed some mushies while strolling around Dundee.

Musical prowess is on display throughout ‘Tales from the Kingdom of Fife’ with singer Thimas Winkler being stretched throughout, not least on ‘Silent Tears of Frozen Princess’.

“Like all legendary power metal albums, our one needed a soulful piano ballad with female vocals,” said Bowes. “Most of the credit for this one must go to our drummer Ben Turk (aka Ralathor, the Mysterious Hermit of Cowdenbeath).

“He has a very keen ear for classically ‘perfect’ compositions, and I think it really hit the spot. I'm sure a lot of metal fans won't enjoy the song, but it really helps tie the album together.”
Bowes also isn’t afraid to name check the bands who he pays homage to on ‘Tales from the Kingdom of Fife’ and where he draws his inspiration for Gloryhammer.

“I've long been a fan of the "classic" symphonic power metal bands who were in their prime in the late 1990's and early 2000's; Rhapsody, Hammerfall, Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, Edguy etc,” he said “I feel a lot of these bands have lost their way in recent years with over-elaborate compositions, so we want to bring back the innocence these bands had in their early days. Short catchy singalong songs!”

Gloryhammer have proved on this d├ębut that there is an enduring legacy within power metal, and as long as it is played with a straight face, and a wink to the audience to ensure they are in on the joke, then we can all join in and pretend to wield out own broadsword, cast spells to banish evil sorcerers and generally have a great time along the way. Sure it is  

With so many so-called super groups out there committing their names to albums, and musicians guest appearing on dozens of others of albums, can we expect Gloryhammer to tour?
“Very much so! We have just signed a booking deal with the renowned ‘Dragon Productions’, who shall be doing their best to stick us on as many tours and festivals as possible. We are all very eager to bring our show to the live stage.”

But the story doesn’t end with a tour…

We are planning 3 cycles of 7 albums each, for a total of 21 albums. We will call the whole thing ‘The Septological Triumvirate’,” explained Bowes – and we’re not sure how far his tongue is in his cheek, but he went on. “This is of course, the very long term plan.

“We are already working on album number 2, which shall continue the story of Angus McFife and Zargothrax into the far future, with a tale that spans the entire galaxy! Watch this space(ship).”

So, who would have known while mystical battles were being waged around Fife and the mighty warrior McFife was preparing yet again to do battle across the span of history.

All hail Gloryhammer! Now where did we put that broadsword and who has stolen our natty new armour?

And...here is the tale of the birth of Gloryhammer...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Epic review and really looking forward to listening to the album.