Interview by Robert Cavuoto
The titans of German metal, Iron Savior, are back with their 9th CD, Titancraft, due out on May 20th. It’s the follow-up to their biggest charting CD, Rise Of The Hero from 2014.
Mastermind Piet Sielck and his band mates have come up with a brand new collection of well-crafted metal tunes that don’t fall short in comparison to the band’s already impressive catalogue. As expected, you’ll find all of their typical trademarks, in a well-balanced mixture of fast-paced and stomping tracks.
I caught up with guitarist/vocalist Piet Sielck to discuss creating their latest masterpiece and what it would take to get the band in front of their US fans.
Robert Cavuoto: Congrats on the new CD. Is Titancraft an evolution of Iron Savior from your two previous CDs; Rise of the Hero [ROTH] or The Landing?
Piet Sielck: Yes and no, the fans and media are excepting Iron Savior to deliver a certain style and I think we do with Titancraft. I try to avoid repeating myself and/or recycling material used on The Landing and ROTH. I think Titancraft has little more progressive elements which makes it distinguishable from the previous ones.
Robert: I’ve always loved the artwork used on your CD covers, can you tell me a little about how it ties into the title track?
Piet Sielck: Titancraft is the biggest spaceship ever built by humankind to defend themselves against evil invading the galaxy. Having this thought in my mind I told the artist to develop something from it.
Robert: When we last spoke in 2014 you said ROTH was your favorite CD, how does this CD rank for you?
Piet Sielck: Actually I like it better than ROTH! I think in totality, this CD is stronger than ROTH. ROTH has a lot of great moments but if you look at it as a unit, this one surpasses it.
Robert: I agree with you, I think the songs have stronger melodies with more memorable hooks and riff.
Piet Sielck: I don’t think there are any boring or lame songs on Titancraft! No hit on ROTH but songs like the cover tune and some other material is “discussable” [laughing]. I really love this CD from the top to the end.
Robert: You have some crushing guitar tones, what gear did you use to track the CD?
Piet Sielck: I used my BC Rich which I’ve used for many years now. I have to admit I was using complete amp emulation system though my computer with ProTools. A while back I invested in some new system components with a manufacturer called Universal Audio. They offer digital gear for a fraction of what the hardware would cost. I must admit it works awesome not only at guitar amp sounds but they have reverb, compression units and tape emulation. Since using that gear the production sound has improved dramatically. I think Titancraft has the best production and is our best sounding CD to date. I use a Tube Screamer emulation and Engle amp emulation. I really have to admit that I can’t hear any difference from original hardware.
Robert: All of your songs are like mini movies, have you ever had difficulty finishing a story within the context of the song?
Piet Sielck: Yes, writing lyrics is really hard for me. Sometimes it can be harder than writing the music! When I sing the songs, I visualize pictures and emotions to go along with and if the lyrics are lame than I can’t sing it. Therefore I’m really picky with my lyrics. It might not appeal to everyone but its hard work to come up with them.
Robert: Your songs are quite complex musically, do you find it a challenge to sing and play guitar live to some of them?
Piet Sielck: It is, in the early years I didn’t care too much about it but looking back that was a mistake. [laughing] There are definitely songs that I can’t sing and play guitar to from The Landing and Megatropolis. It’s too hard. If it must be in the live repertoire, I straighten things out with the guitar work and focus on the singing. The singing in the end is more important than playing exactly what’s on the CD guitar-wise.
Robert: Are there any songs from the new CD that you look forward to playing live?
Piet Sielck: It’s always difficult picking the set list. From every CD there are two or three songs that we need to play live as we know the fans expect to hear them. We try to add songs from the new CD because we want to promote it and they will mostly be, “Way of the Blade,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Beyond the Horizon.” In the end, we develop a set list that will make everybody happy [laughing].
Robert: My favorite song on the CD is “The Sun Won’t Rise in Hell” what can you tell me about it?
Piet Sielck: It was actually the first song that I wrote for the CD and it’s a very old tune I had which recently popped into my mind. I had this intro riff and started playing around with it but had in the back of my mind the song had to be around this dark creature.
Robert: What would you prefer to be remembered for; being a great guitarist or songwriter?
Piet Sielck: To be honest I never looked at myself as a great guitarist. I’m a pretty good rhythm guitarist but as far as my soloing abilities I think there are better people. I’m not the type of guy who picks up the guitar and improvises like crazy and sounds awesome. I really have to work out my solos and I think they are quite effective. I feel comfortable now. I think in the end, being a good songwriter is more important than being a guitar hero.
Robert: Are you content with the public’s perception of Iron Savior’s place within metal history?
Piet Sielck: Absolutely yes, the only mistake I did was that I started 10 years too late with Iron Savior [laughing]. I’m really happy with what we have achieved and it definitely sits perfectly together with my life situation. If Iron Savior would have become really big, I probably would have led a different live. I wouldn’t have my family because I would have been on the road all the time. So looking at my life in general, I’m pretty happy with the way it worked out.
Robert: Is the band looking to tour the US in support of the CD?
Piet Sielck: I think it should be possible to bring a band like Iron Savior over to the US and I would love to do it, but it’s always about the money thing. We could play a couple of select shows for the fans and just need to have our transportation and hotels paid for. So far we haven’t found a promoter who would be daring enough to take that risk. It can work but it also might not work. The last time we were in the US was a long time ago, 2008 for the ProgPower Festival and an upfront show in New York City. The States are on our list and we would love to return any time.