BW & BK Usa - 61 2001
INTENSITIES IN TENSE CITIES
Interview taken by Martin Popof
"Sight, sound, and sweat. Manowar are everywhere in the year of our Lord 2002, cranking a new studio album called "Warriors of the World", a bunch of live dvds (moreon that later) and most importantly, hitting North American soil runnin' for what has been a pretty estensive string of tornado-like touchdowns."
It is that one of these waste-layer (Scottsdale, Arizona) that we captured the always jovial and gracious Eric Adams for a peer to peer into the new studio album (for more, see ww.manowar.com), one which ha tongues wagging at the diversity and audacity of what the band has attempted, most notable point of discussion being an opera track! Do tell, William Tell…
"Well, you know, we started that as a tribute to our Italian fans first, when we played the Gods of Metal festival in '99 in Milan," begins the Viking vocalist "It was a kind of surprise for them. I sang in German for our German fans, I sang in French for our French fans, so when I asked to do 'Nessun Dorma', I talked to Joey and we decided it was a great idea, and it went over so well... you know, grown men crying, OK? Grown men in tears, with cell phones out, calling their families. It was really a touching night. Anyway, Joey came into the dressing room and said, 'Did you see the fans?!' And I said 'Yeah, I did' And he said, 'Well we've got to do this on the next studio album, you know, let the rest of the world hear it.' It really did come out good and I'm pretty proud of it."
Another leap of faith for the obsessively faithful fan battalion is 'An American Trilogy'. I had a hard time picking out the "three-ness" of it, so I had Eric explain.
"The three sections are like this: the first section I sing about the South; it was written for the Civil War times actually. So I sing about the South at first when I say, 'I wish I was in the land of cotton'; you know that song. And then the second section is where I sing part of 'The Battle Hymn Of The Republic', and then it goes into 'AII My Trials', which is a song for all the Civil War dead, an old Negro spiritual I think. You know, this world is a really screwed up place right now and it just seems that it's one of those songs we wanted to do for a long time, because it really is a nice tribute and it's something that unifies the whole country. It was a good thing to do right now. It's just that this album took shape... it's the most versatile album we've ever done, and with all the symphony parts on this album, all the strings, it just made sense that this was the song to put it on. We certainly couldn't put it on the last studio album we did. Because the last one was balls to the wall throughout the whole thing. So it would've stuck out on that album. So we decided that this was the album to put this on, and it's a really cool tribute and a great song."
And yes, there are strings on this album, recurring strings, lending the ebb and flow of the Warriors Of The World album a sort of soundtrack quality. Of the strings, Eric explains that
"Some of them are real and some of them are sampled sounds. We used sample sounds in our own studio, at Joey's house. We call it Hell. We got a brass plate that we put on the door that says Hell, and boy, when you open up the door, you know why (laughs). But some of it was done right there, and parts that really needed some extra boost or that were a little more important where we thought it needed some human feel to it, we used the real strings, which was done over at Brussels, at the Galaxy Studios. So it was good. Whatever the song needed, is what we had to do. Most of the album was recorded right at Joey's place and then some vocals and string touch-ups were done in Belgium. I did the last two vocals on the album in Belgium."
Any changes in working methodology for this album?
"One thing that was different on this album was that Joey and Scott both engineered the entire project, which is kind of cool. I mean, I don't have the patience for something like that. And my mom was sick during this whole album and I lost her during the making of this record (ed. Eric comes from a big family: seven sisters and two brothers), so it was tough for me to be there and Joey understood all that. So he engineered it and Scott was right there by his side. It's good to have fresh ears too. This album sounds a lot more ballsy to me, thanks to the great ears of Ronald over in Galaxy Studios. I mean, he ended up mixing the album and he put his magic to it. It's a sound that we've been looking for four years. The old engineer we used to use had his own way of doing it and we were pleased with his sound but when we heard Ronald's work, we said this is the guy who is going to get the Manowar sound on CD. I think he did. He really did. I mean, when you come to a Manowar show you can feel that bass drum punching and that bass guitar punching your chest, and when you listen to this album, you can really hear that. The punch of the drums is amazing. It's very, very high fidelity and we're proud of it. In our live performance, it's all high fidelity too."
When asked how much 9/11 hovered or hovers over this album, Eric offers the following, pointing to a specific track.
"You could put any Manowar album up there and put it that way, if you think about it. As a matter of fact, when 9/11 happened, we got requests for permission to do a video with 'Courage'. It has us playing 'Courage' in the background, and then there are pictures of the firemen and policemen, the tragedy that happened. It's a moving thing. But on this album, 'The Fight For Freedom' was written for 9/11, and that's the one tribute we wrote for this tragedy. Again, this whole world is a fucked-up place right now. It happens, and this was just our way of getting through this time."
The sequencing of Warriors Of The World is quite interesting, ending with the heaviest four tracks on the album. Those who might be somewhat in shock at hearing Eric doing Pavarotti and Dixieland, not to mention strings and angelic choirs, would be well served to stick around for the double bass drum blaze-outs that close the record.
"Well we actually decided to do it much like a live performance, which we've never done before. We looked at the entire album and said, OK, just like a live performance, you start them off with a bang, boom, hit 'em again, bang! And then you start slowing the set down. And then in the middle of the set it's slow, and then it just goes faster and faster and faster towards the end of the set and then bang! Goodnight! And that's what we did, start off heavy, then bring it down a bit in the centre, and then it's just a ride to glory at the end of the album; it just kicks ass at the end, almost to the point where you say 'Holy shit, I want more of that." And that's the whole fucking idea."
A new set of live visuals will continue well into '02 and beyond.
"We've got Hell On Earth Part 2 done, and not released yet. I think that's coming out around Christmas time. Hell On Earth Part 3 is done. These are all DVDs. And when we played down in Brazil, we recorded with a 12 camera shoot, Blood In Brazil, which was from a Manowar performance from the beginning to the very end in 5.1 audio sound. It's really fucking cool. And hey, we've been approached by Philips too, to be first metal band to come out with a Superaudio CD format and we decided yeah, let's do it, this is cool. So Warriors Of The World is coming out in regular CD format and Superaudio CD."