Chapter III in the story of Messiah´s Kiss waits to be opened! - 13/02/2007

The international power metal quartet Messiah´s Kiss is back with their 3rd release ‘Dragonheart’. The title of the album represents the soul and the style for just that - straight up, uncompromising and full power for the faithful - traditional Heavy Metal of the finest quality!

‘Dragonheart’ will hit the stores in Europe on Monday, Feb 26th 2007 (except Germany Friday, 23rd 2007), the USA will follow on Tuesday, March 13th 2007


Beginning with their 2002 debut album ‘Prayer For The Dying’ and its successor from 2004 – ‘Metal’ - the songs of the current output ‘Dragonheart’ (artwork by Luis Royo) are filled with double bass rhythms typical for the genre, solid riffs and catchy hooks that will excite the nerve of the true metal fans. Produced by Herman Frank and co-produced by Georg Kraft, who were already present on the debut album for the thunderous sound, former Accept/Victory guitarist Herman Frank also appears as a guest musician on ‘Dragonheart’, performing all guitar solos.

 

"We do what we can do best: Heavy Metal in its purest form, without any other discolorations - and ignore the ´clone attempts´ like some other musical experimentalists. That is absolutely not our style! We wouldn´t want to mix whiskey with tomato juice! We remain faithful to our roots! Development: yes! Betrayel: no! We clearly have our own style, and our faithful fans appreciate this", say Georg Kraft, Eckhard Ostra, Mike Tirelli (Holy Mother, Riot) and Wayne Banks (Blaze Bailey, Sabbat) unanimously. And in such a fashion the true metal fan is proverbially steamrolled through by the new album! Dragonheart - it rocks! it burns! it thunders!

 

Recently I had the chance to ask drummer Eckhard "Eddy" Ostra some questions about Messiah´s Kiss new effort, so here we go! First of all I would like to congratulate you with your new album. So let´s talk about your new album ‘Dragonheart’ now.

 

 


How did you launch into writing the material for ‘Dragonheart’ after your previous album, did ideas come easily so that you just had to write them down or was it more of a careful composing thing?

Well, writing new songs can be easy like nothing on the one hand, but it can be pretty hard work on the other. It’s always different each and every time. Sometimes you´ve got an idea or a melody in your mind, and as soon as you try to play it, it really blows your mind right away - a great song can be born in just a couple of seconds. And sometimes you compose the hell out of you: changing arrangements, melodies, and grooves so that it takes days and weeks before a great and complete song comes out. But if you write songs like “The Ivory Gates” for example,  it’s always hard work and of course you need a lot of experience as well.

 

Did you have a certain idea of what you wanted to do on ‘Dragonheart’, any elements you definitely wanted to have on the album?

Yes! We had a certain target in sight for this production, and all elements are on this album this time! Double-bassdrum attacks, mid-tempo grooves, very melodious arrangements, and so on. We tried to combine all the traditional Heavy Metal styles on one album without an extreme cross - over or losing the track for a powerful, straight forward ass kickin’ Heavy Metal record!    

 

Was it a conscious decision to do it this way?

Yeah. We all wanted it exactly this way. It was absolutely clear and we didn’t want to make any compromises.

 

Had all the lyrics already been written before you entered the studio, or have there been a lot of changes during the recording sessions?

We usually write the lyrics when the music is basically done. We like to be well prepared as soon as we enter the studio. Not only because it saves time and money, but first and foremost because you will hear it after the session! When you know exactly what you have to play, then you surely play much more powerful. And this also applies to Mike: If he knows all the melodies and words by heart, he really can focus on power, feeling, and phrasings. Sometimes you change little things, or single words, but not whole verses. Overall it took about 4 months with little breaks to finish the recordings.

 

 

Who was responsible for writing the songs and the lyrics on the new album?

George, our guitar player writes the music first and does the arrangements. When he feels comfortable with the songs, he shows them to me and Mike and then we usually try out different things, and sometimes we make little changes here and there. It’s always great to work out little things  in a team, because we can push each other to the max - and the song will definitely benefit from that!    

 

How important are the lyrics to you, is there a special meaning behind them?

The lyrics of the songs are pretty much fantasy oriented. Sometimes we come up with things from real life. But deeper thoughts within the lyrics are not really our style. We basically want to entertain people. We don’t want  to preach or teach what people should do or not do. We don’t want to spread political views. This does not mean we don’t care about the serious things of this world. But we want to separate the entertainment and message of our music from deeper thoughts or the meaning of life of current affairs. We see ourselves as a metal band without any religious or political background.

 

What do you think are the main differences between this album and your previous album ‘Metal’?

The main differences are the production and the style of the songs. ‘Metal’ sounded a little bit too old-fashioned after all was said and done. ‘Dragonheart’ is a lot more powerful and full of energy. And in my opinion this album just sounds very live-like. You can almost hear with how much sweat and purposefulness we recorded the songs. This is the sound of Messiah’s Kiss. The average quality of the songs is higher on ‘Dragonheart’ than it was on ‘Metal’. We were all motivated like hell for the third and most important record. And this is the result: The best Messiah’s Kiss album ever. 

 

You recorded with producers Rainer Hansel and Herman Frank, how was it to collaborate with them and did their way of working differ much from how you worked on your previous albums?  

Well, these guys have lots of experience. Herman did a perfect job behind the controllers. The work was pretty much identical to the ‘Prayer For The Dying’ sessions. Of course we were more experienced as well this time. But it was kind of easy for all of us, because we have the same roots and musical comprehension. So we never had discussions about guitar or drum sounds, because we all have the same taste in this case. In technical respects they bring out the best in you;  sometimes with jokes, sometimes by provocation, but always in a fun way to keep the constructive aspects on a high level. But as a band we have been very straight-lined during the production process, because we knew exactly what our fans deserve and we wanted to make our best album ever! And so we did.

 

The latest album seemed to be a little more traditional heavy metal, was this a natural thing?

Yes. Well, of course we are influenced by all metal bands from the late 70’s or 80’s. Nothing unusual because we´ve been playing this kind of music since ’81, when I met George and we started our first band  “Repression”! We just play the music we love and grew up with. We are true metal musicians from the basis. I don’t care if our music is “up to date” or not in the opinion of the mass media. We just rock our hearts out! We don’t want to cheat ourselves, or the fans of this kind of music, and we are not impressed by short-lived trends. We still play this music and we are real fans of it. That’s why it sounds so honest to the early roots. We want to bring the spirit of the 80’s and 90’s back to the future.

 

Did you have a larger budget for this album than for the previous albums and did this change the way you worked?

No, the budget was the same like we had for the other two albums. But yes, we changed the way we worked because of this. We worked out the guitar-, bass- and drum sounds before we started to record. It’s much better to spend time trying stuff and adding different voices and harmonies to the song, instead of wasting time finding sounds in the studio until the budget is gone.      

 

Have you received any feedback on the new album yet and what do you personally think about this album – are you satisfied with the outcome or would you liked to have changed anything in retrospective?

The feedback is amazing right now! The reviews all over Europe are fantastic, and we are very happy and proud right now. ‘Dragonheart’ is my favorite Messiah’s Kiss album – no doubt about that! We would not change anything! Not a single riff, no chorus, no melody. We believe that ‘Dragonheart’ is the maturest accomplishment we´ve made so far. 

 

Do you have any favorites on ‘Dragonheart’, songs that you think are somehow above the others?

I really love them all. But to play the title track “Dragonheart” is always fantastic. It has exactly the right timing for a double bass-drum killer and it flows in one piece to the end. “The Ivory Gates” is one of the best arranged songs George ever wrote.

It has so many different facets and combines everything that a metal song is all about; power, energy, speed, and slower tragical parts flowing into each other!

 

 

Ok, now some questions to enable our readers to get to know you a little better:
 

How did you get involved in the music business?

Well, I just loved to play music since I was a kid. When we started to form “Repression” in 1981 we played all the clubs in Germany. In the year 2000 our former singer got problems with his vocal chords. So we decided to look for a new singer on a professional level, because we already wrote the songs for a new “Repression” album. And then I got in touch with Mike. He liked the material right away, and joined us for the recordings. When he already finished 5 songs with us, he had to visit his manager Rainer Hänsel, to show him his own new “Holy Mother” material. I asked Mike to ask for an exemption for our record during his visit. So Mike showed Rainer the 5 songs he already did with us, and a day later my telephone rang: “Rainer Hänsel here. Eddy, have to talk”! A new chapter began on a different level in the music business.

     

What songs and bands do you listen to yourself these days?

I still listen to my all time favorite bands quite a lot: Judas Priest, Whitesnake, Kiss, (early) Iron Maiden, Krokus, Vicious Rumors (with Carl Albert – RIP!), Pretty Maids.

My favorite songs are “Electric Eye”, “Hell Bent For Leather”, “Number Of The Beast”, “Run To The Hills”, “Headhunter”, “Digital Dictator”, “You Only Live Twice”, “Future World”, “Detroit Rock City”, “Shout It Out Loud”, “Still Of The Night”,.. and many more from these guys.

 

But there are new bands as well which I like: Lynam for example. These guys really kick ass on “Slave To The Machine”.


Is there anything you like to do besides your job in the band?

Well, I love to ride my motorbike and I play ice hockey if I have a little time left. I also like to travel and I hang out with friends very often to have a beer. I am a very companionable person I think.

 

How do you see the future with this band, do you think the band will still be there in about 10 years?

Well, you never know what will happen in the future. As long as we´re alive we will make music - That’s for sure. And if it’s still fun to play and if there are people out there who want to listen to us, there is no reason to quit! 

 

What is your opinion about the heavy, power metal scene these days, is there anything missing?

I really do miss the great live shows from the 80’s and early 90’s. When all the bands came on tour with fantastic stage designs. That was entertainment on a high level, and value for your money as well.   

 

Which album influenced you most and made you think : This is what I want to do!!

First of all it was ‘Destroyer’ from Kiss. That was my first favorite album besides ‘Double Live Gonzo’ from Ted Nugent.  And then ‘British Steel’ from Judas Priest, ‘The Number Of The Beast’ from Iron Maiden. These albums are still real killers and milestones.

 

If You had the choice to pick 3 bands to share the stage with, which bands would you choose?

Judas Priest, Judas Priest, and of course Judas Priest J

 

What can we expect in the near future from Messiah's Kiss?

Well, we have plans to come on tour with ‘Dragonheart’. But right now, we don’t know when we will hit the stage again. But our manager Rainer Hänsel is already working on placing us on festivals this summer. We want to play the material live on stage without failing, because we believe that most of the songs will be real live-killers for the audience.

 

Is there anything you want to tell us after these questions?

Thanks for the interview. It’s great for us to receive such a big response from the fans we have. That means that we are still on the right track. Heavy Metal is not dead yet, and this is the reason for us to go ahead, and to play fuckin’ loud and proud, because you guys really deserve it! We´ve got to stick together and celebrate what’s holy for us! Metal ‘til we die!    

 


Cheers,
Eddy  “Ed the tongue”



Current Members
Mike Tirelli – Vocals
Georg Kraft – Guitars
Wayne Banks – Bass
Eckhard Ostra – Drums

 

Albums

2002 - Prayer For The Dying
2004 - Metal

2007 - Dragonheart