Bandleader/song writer/guitarist Christian Münzner – Eternity’s End
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Timo Hoffmann at Raw It Down Records for setting up the interview.
Thanks to Raw It Down Records for the promo pictures of the band.
Here comes an interview with bandleader/song writer/guitarist Christian Münzner from the German band Eternity’s End. It’s time to take a closer look at the bands’ second album UNYIELFING that came out at the end of March 2019. We talked about the new members in the band in singer Iuri Sanson from Brazil, guitarist Phil Tougas from Canada and legendary bass player Mike LePond from USA. So today the band is not a solid German act. Besides that, we also talked about the new album and the work on that and I added some questions about their new record-label and what is going to happen next for the band. We also had a chat about the pledgemusic campaign and the issues with that since this album partially was financed by a pledge music campaign. If you are into fast power metal with some Dragonforce similarities you have to check out Eternity’s End right now. Read on to hear what Christian had to share with us….
Hi Christian, thanks for taking the time making the interview today, are you ready to talk about the new album, the band and a little more?
Yes, thank you very much for this opportunity.
Lets take it back when it all began back in 2014, how come you chose to form Eternity’s End?
After I left Obscura in 2014 I decided it’s time for me to form my own band, playing technical, neoclassical power metal with a powerful classic metal vocalist. It has been a dream of mine for almost 20 years to have my own band in that style.
Was it easy to find members for the band?
One would think so because the line up on the debut album was basically the same line up that recorded my 2nd solo album Beyond The Wall Of Sleep 2 years earlier, except for Ian Parry. However, originally it would have been a completely different line up, but things did not work out due to various reasons, so I decided to ask my friends with whom I recorded before and knew recording would be easy. Finding the right singer for the band was what took the longest.
What did fans and media think of the debut album THE FIRE WITHIN which came in 2016?
For the most part the album was very well received by fans and press alike, especially considering it was a very different style from what I played in previous bands. Especially the people with a love for neoclassical power metal really praised the album. Some die hard death metal fanatics were not so happy with the direction we took with this band, but that was also to be expected.
Ian Parry sings on the album, how was it to work with him and how did he end up singing with you?
Ian was recommended to me by my friend Mike Abdow who plays guitar for Fates Warning now. They had toured with an Italian band for which Ian had done vocals on that tour and Mike and Ian became friends. When Mike heard that I was looking for a vocalist for my band he mentioned Ian and gave me his contact. I had a few Elegy albums on which Ian had sung and really liked his voice and style so I contacted him. Working with him was super relaxed and easy. I wrote the lyrics and vocal melodies and sent guide melodies played on the guitar, and then he sent me demos of him singing the lines and we coordinated things from there. Ian is very experienced and has been on the scene for a long time, and he is a super nice guy and very easy to work with.
You have been involved in many bands as well being live session member, did you fans long to see what you were up in Eternity’s End do you think?
Yes I think so. I remember that even back in the Myspace days, around 2006, some people told me that would love to hear what I could do in a neoclassical power metal band, and people have been telling me they would like to hear a band that completely revolves around my own vision and ideas.
I had my 2 instrumental solo records already so people already knew a little bit what to expect in terms of the riffing and guitar work. I sometimes wish I had done my own thing a lot earlier instead of investing myself into someone else’s dream, but on the other hand I think now I can do it a lot better due to my longer experience than I could have done it 10 years ago.
Did the band do any live touring on THE FIRE WITHIN?
Unfortunately not. I would have loved to, but there was no opportunity that would have made sense financially and logistically.
I read that the band didn’t get the support it needed due to the former record label vanishing, what happened?
Yes that was very unfortunate indeed. 2 or 3 months after the release of The Fire Within the label owner got burn out syndrome and completely disappeared. He did not react to whatsapp, phone calls, e-mails or Facebook messages. After 5 months he sent an e-mail that the company would close down and that a colleague of his would take care of the process and pay all the bands the money that was still open, but that never happened and that guy also did no longer react to any contact attempts. There was no promotion at all for the album except for a couple of Facebook and Youtube posts, there were no reviews or interviews in any print media etc. Since they broke the contract the rights to the album went back to us.
Do you now how many copies the debut sold in?
No, it is impossible to find out since I have no contact at all to anyone who was involved in the business. I know that they pressed 2000 CD’s for the European market, Japan works separately through Avalon/Marquee.
Where does the band name come from and does the name have any special meaning to you?
The band name comes from the opening track of Joey Tafolla’s debut album Out Of The Sun from 1987. It is one of my favorite albums of all time. It is not only my ultimate guitar bible, but also has a very special fantasy/science fiction/80’s flair that we also want to embody in our music.
Both Parry as well as bass player Linus Klausenitzer left the band last year, how was that and why did the leave?
For Ian the band had more of a project character and he would not have been available for live shows or touring as we intend with the band, and the new songs developed in a different direction which asked for a different vocal style and approach. Ian has a very hard rock/AOR background and his vocal style is in the tradition of singer like David Coverdale or Ronnie James Dio, which worked great for the style we played on The Fire Within, but the new material has much stronger German Speed Metal and US Power/Thrash Metal influences and asked for a more high pitched and soaring vocal style.
Linus is very active in Obscura and they are a very demanding band and to the outside every member markets it as their main thing and everything else has only session character. Linus told me that he would not be able to tour with us due to Obscura’s touring schedule and that to the outside he mainly wants to be known as the Obscura bassist. I wanted to get out of that Obscura side project stigma, also due to my own history with the band, so I decided to give the band a different face. I’m still great friends with both Linus and Ian, they are super great guys and phenomenal musicians. I still play with Linus in Alkaloid, and I hope to also collaborate with Ian again in the future.
In 2017 guitarist Phil Tougas joined forces with the band, why did you take in another guitar player?
The songs in Eternity’s End were written for a 2 guitarist situation from the start. The latest in a live situation we would have needed a 2nd guitarist. I have many friends who are great guitarists and could theoretically play our material, but I also wanted someone who really shares my vision and influences and has a very remarkable style that fits well with the band, and who could also contribute to the writing. Phil is not only an amazing guitarist, but a great songwriter and composer too and really left his mark on the new album. When I finished the first demos for the new album I noticed there was a strong emphasis on the dual lead guitar thing that bands like Racer X or Cacophony did, so I decided to have 2 guitar players already on the album this time.
Was it hard to find new members?
It was not so hard. Social media makes it very convenient nowadays, almost everyone is very approachable, and when you have been active on the scene for 15 years like me and people know your name people are more likely to listen and show interest than if I was a complete newcomer.
Last year new bass player Mike Lepond and singer Iuri Sanson was recruited, how did they end up in the band?
We are obviously all big Symphony X fans in the band. Our keyboard player Jimmy Pitts already plays with Mike in another band and had his contact, so Mike was our first idea when it came to bass players. Iuri was always my favorite contemporary power metal vocalist since I first heard the Hibria debut album Defying The Rules in 2004, I always wanted to work with him but never approached him while he was still active with Hibria. One day Phil told me that he had just read that every member except for the guitarist had quit Hibria, and it was right when we were looking for a new vocalist. Phil then contacted Iuri through Instagram. After Iuri heard the first demos of the new songs he was instantly hooked.
Are they solid members or session members?
They are solid members who completely share our enthusiasm for the music.
Do you see any problems in the fact the members live in separate parts of the world like in USA, Germany and Brazil?
It certainly makes things a little bit more difficult financially and logistically, we can not just fly everyone in for a weekend show for example, things like that would certainly be easier if we were all from the same town or at least from the same country. However, if we play in Japan or did something like Prog Power festival or something of that kind it does not really make a difference where everyone comes from. For longer tours we can easily get together wherever the tour takes place, I have seen many other bands with international members do it.
Would you call Eternity’s End a super group?
I would in the sense that all the members I play with are among my favorite musicians ever for their particular instrument. However, often with super groups I think of project characters where famous musicians get together mostly relying on their name to advertise it and often fail to create something that has the same depth or substance as their main bands, and I certainly do not think that this is the case for us. But as arrogant as it sounds, I simply would not have been able to find the musicians for my vision in my home town, I needed high skilled world class musicians who also bring a certain amount of experience to the table.
Is the band a project or a solid band?
It is definitely a band. Once we play live people will see.
New album UNYIELDING
When did you start writing material to the new album?
The first song I wrote for the album was Blood Brothers (The Oath), which I already wrote in July 2015, before the first album was even released and before we had the new line up. Then I wrote 2 and a half songs more in summer 2016, then there was a longer break due to personal reasons and the situation with the label. Then Phil joined in April 2017 and started sending me his first ideas. We then intensely worked out and finalized the song writing between October 2017 and March 2018.
Its you and Tougas that’s written the majority of the material, do you guys sit down and write together or do you come up with ideas that you show to the other one?
When Phil first joined he sent me files which we call riff banks, which are just collages and collections of riff ideas. I had already completed 3 songs before Phil joined. Then I was working on a song where I had parts I was really happy with but could not find the necessary sections to complete the song, and some of the ideas in Phil’s first riff bank were exactly the missing link in the track I was working on, that was the case in Under Crimson Moonlight. Other times Phil would write a song but would be missing a middle or solo section, and I would complete it, like Triumphant Ascent or Into Timeless Realms, or vice versa, as in Cyclopean Force, where I had the song but was missing a solo/middle section, and the middle section of that tune was another part of one of Phil’s riff banks. We then usually try different keys and tempos to see what works best for which song. The song Horizonless was completely written by Phil alone.
Where do you find inspiration to write music and lyrics?
The inspiration for the music usually comes through the bands and artists we listen to, both Phil and me share an almost infinite amount of influences, but sometimes the inspiration for a specific part could also come from a soundtrack for a show like Power Rangers, or a video game soundtrack, or a classical composition. The lyrics were initially inspired by several sci fi video games (Phil is the expert on that matter), but also books like Dan Simmons’ Hyperion series, and the entire Sword&Sorcery aesthetics and the science fiction style of the 80’s, it could be anything from Conan to Masters of the universe to Star Trek Next Generation, even though we have our own individual story line with its own characters and history.
Has the rest of the band a saying when it comes to the material and what songs that’s going to land on the album?
Each member puts their own individual stamp on the music, Hannes adds his own fills and drum arrangements to the songs, Mike does his own bass lines and licks, Jimmy does his own leads, Iuri adds his own vocal melodies, unless a specific drum/bass/keyboard/vocal part is very iconic and necessary for the composition and pre composed, but we have a generally very dynamic approach, unlike a band like for example Necrophagist, were every note on the bass and every cymbal hit was 100% composed. And if one of the members would completely hate or reject a song we would certainly take that into consideration as well, but that has not happened so far.
Many singers often writes their own lyrics, what does Sanson think of singing your words?
Iuri actually contributed lyrics in Blood Brothers (The Oath) and Horizonless, and many of the vocal melodies and ideas are his own. He is very easy going though, and since Phil had that huge album concept in mind Iuri had no problem sticking to the lyrics.
Do you think the band have developed musicwise if you compare UNYIELDING with the former album? If so in what way?
Yes we have certainly developed and changed. First of all in the general approach, where the first album was completely written by me alone with all lyrics and vocal melodies, we had more of a dynamic band approach and shared enthusiasm. Also stylistically it is a little bit different. The first album was very much in the 80’s Yngwie Malmsteen/90’s Symphony X tradition of neoclassical power metal direction with occasional dips to progressive metal, aor/hard rock influences and some thrashier bits here and there. The new album still has the neoclassical touch, but there is a stronger emphasis on the German Speed Metal element, and the US Power and Thrash Metal influences are stronger. We still have the epic keyboard arrangements and choirs that keep the European flair in the music. Especially the choirs and vocal melodies and choruses are much bigger and more epic than on the debut, the songs are more aggressive and straight forward but less proggy than on the first album.
How come you named the album UNYIELDING and who came up with the title?
Originally it was a random working title to one of Phil’s songs. I thought it would fit well with the band’s philosophy of not giving in to circumstance after the label situation and to keep going, also since I figured it’s a really strong word that connects with our themes of self empowerment and strength.
Who did the cover art work of the album this time and what do you think of it?
The artwork was done by Adam Burke, who previously worked for bands like Vektor or Pagan Altar, among others. It is completely hand painted, the idea for the motive came from Phil who described the scenery to Adam in great detail. I think Phil was inspired by the cover to the Ashbury album Endless Skies in terms of the perspectives. The artwork is completely hand painted which is rare, especially in power metal you often have a lot of generic computer generated artwork, we wanted to get away from that on purpose. I really love the artwork, it has this old school kind of appearance and has those Sword and sorcery and 80’s sci fi aesthetics and I think it fits the music like a glove.
I read a description of your music as being progressive metal/speed metal, how would you like to describe what kind of music Eternity’s End plays?
I often read that too. I would not really consider our music progressive metal. People often give it that stamp because we use keyboards and play virtuosic solos, but what people often mean when they use the word progressive metal is those Dream Theater Images and words era worship bands, and I do not see any connection between them and us. When I think of progressive metal I think of bands like Watchtower or early Fates Warning whom I both adore but who are very different from what we do, our music is very straight forward and mainly in 4/4. I think we play technical power metal with neoclassical elements. To the term speed metal I can relate more with our music, since we are certainly influenced by bands like early Helloween (Walls Of Jericho era and self titled EP) and early Blind Guardian (“Speed Guardian”), as well as American speed metal bands like Riot or Savage Grace. Most of our songs are uptempo, so it’s certainly a term that I can live with.
Is UNYIELDING a theme album? What is it about?
It is a sci fi/fantasy story that plays in an alternate time line in which in the 11th century a space ship from a highly developed alien race, the Pryarus, crashes on earth. The Pryarus have a collective hive mind (similar to the Borg in Star Trek TNG). On earth people of that time period are still very barbaric and ruled by the law of the sword. They find the technology in the alien vessel and develop an extremely high technological standard within a very short time, that enables them to inner galactic travel. They start to worship the Pryarus as their gods and as their religion, but they create a lot of unrest in the galaxy. Meanwhile, the Pryarus are alarmed by a signal in the crashed vessel and the hive mind and set course to earth to re-establish the cosmic balance, resulting in a conflict spanning a time frame of 900 years.
The album clocks in on about 50 minutes and includes 10 tracks, was it your intention to create a long album?
No not really, it was not really intentional, we just set out to write 10 songs. 50 minutes is a normal album length nowadays, in the 80’s and 90’s the standard was between 40-50 minutes. However, some of our songs span from 5-6 minutes, others are shorter, like 4 minutes, it just summed up to that length.
Amongst the 10 tracks there are a strictly instrumental piece in “Dreaming Of Cimmerian Shadows” what’s the thought behind the song?
I always enjoyed writing neoclassical instrumental tunes, I do that a lot in my solo project. That song is not too different from what I did on my 2nd solo album. Bands like Racer X, Cacophony or Apocrypha also used to always have 1 instrumental track on their albums, and we see ourselves a little bit in that tradition with the twin guitar approach, and I wanted to have an instrumental tune that specifically showcases that and is written for 2 lead guitarists. It is an instrumental song, but it has a lyrical theme, it’s a prequel to Necromantic Worship. They have a similar vibe, that dark neoclassical Castlevania sounding color.
The longest songs are “Beyond The Gates Of Salvation” and “Under Crimson Moonlight”, what are they about?
The song order on the album is not the chronological order of the story line. Those 2 songs are the songs which begin and end the story. Under Crimson Moonlight is the beginning, in which a prophet describes the events that will take place in the future, the ultimate battle which will lead to the fall of time and the end of all life in the universe, for which he is ultimatel being ney of the main hero of the story, Armon’Sul, before his disappearance after driving the Pryarus back to their home. It is the story of a relentless hero, metaphoric for following your own path, never letting anyone stand in your way, a metaphor for self empowerment and self glorification.
Have you recorded any bonus tracks for the Asian versions of the album?
Yes, by request of the label we wrote a completely new studio track called The Arsenal. Originally we thought to do a cover song or a re-recording of one of my instrumental tunes, but Avalon/Marquee requested a brand new track. I’m actually really glad they did because otherwise we would not have written The Arsenal and I think it turned out really great.
Piet Sielck from Iron Savior sings lead vocals on the Japanese bonus track “The Arsenal” and he also sings back up vocals, hos did he end up on the album, are you guys old friends?
He did choirs on the entire album and did the mix and master of the album and also co produced it with us, so he had a really big role on the entire album, it definitely has his unique touch with the huge choirs and the beefy guitar sound. I know Piet because we met in England at the Bloodstock festival in 2006 when he played there with Savage Circus and I played with Majesty. Also the keyboard player on my first solo album, Daniel, did some keyboard arrangements for Iron Savior and even wrote a song on Titancraft. Phil and me are huge Iron Savior fans and wanted Piet’s touch on the album, and it was Phil’s idea to have Piet do the lead vocals on the bonus track, this is a great feature for us as fans.
And what about Yentz Leonheart from Stormwarrior and Renato Osorio from Magician makes guest appearances, are you old friends with those guys as well?
I know Yenz because I played guitar for Stormwarrior for a couple of live shows when their guitar player was not available and they are good friends of mine. Piet and me were thinking who could do the choirs with him and I remembered Yenz is a great singer and he worked with Piet before in both Savage Circus and Iron Savior. Renato is Iuri’s friend and engineered Iuri’s vocal tracks, he was also the guitarist for Hibria in their last line up. He assisted Iuri with some of the gang shouts in Into Timeless Realms, Cyclopean Force and Necromantic Worship.
Which now active band/s do you think have the most in common musicwise with Eternity’s End?
That is an interesting question that I also wonder about, specifically when people say we sound generic and not unique. Then I try to think which bands sound exactly like us and I can find none. Certainly, all the elements that build the cornerstones of our sound are also being used by other bands to some degree, but not really in that combination. We are for example strongly influenced by 80’s US power metal, but we do not sound like all those new wave of traditional heavy metal bands who on purpose only go for aesthetics that would 100% correlate with that style and are almost tribute bands, because we still have the big choirs and the keyboards and neoclassical elements. But when I think of other bands who use Euro choirs and neoclassical keyboards they are usually less heavy and gritty than we are and not as riff centered. We have a big German metal influence too, but other German Speed/Power Metal bands don’t have neoclassical solos and keyboards usually. So I honestly think we do not sound like any other band I know.
I sometimes read that people say we sound like Dragonforce and I think we do not sound like them at all. It’s just because we have fast songs and lots of solos and harmonies and clean high pitched vocals that people who do not know that style very well make that connection. Other times I read we sound like Stratovarius, and even though I am a fan of their mid/late 90’s era I think we are much more technical and riff focused and I don’t think they’d ever do a song like Necromantic Worship for example, and they do not have the entire twin guitar focus that we have. The Fire Within album was often compared to Symphony X,
I can see that connection on the first album, even though Symphony X themselves moved away from the neoclassical sound a bit. On the new album we still have neoclassical elements that might be reminiscent of that band, but our songs are usually much faster and more straight forward, because we also have that entire Running Wild/Savage Grace/Forbidden influence going on along with the Yngwie/Shrapnel/Symphony X stuff. So I really don’t know. Galneryus from Japan or Angra from Brazil seem to be also focusing a lot on fast songs and virtuosic neoclassical guitar work, but they are more proggy than we are and less thrashy, and we don’t do ballads or piano stuff and have a stronger Heavy Metal and 80’s US metal influence. I do think that in our own niche we are quite unique. I think it is quite frustrating to journalists sometimes that there is no sub sub niche that fits us 100%.
People hear the neoclassical elements and Euro metal traits, but then the speed metal and tech thrash influence in the riffing confuses them. The closest description I read in a review that I can live with is that the new album sounds as if Hibria and Symphony X were jamming songs from Iron Savior’s Condition Red album. I do not think that you need to re-invent the wheel or re-define a genre in order to create something of substance and meaning, and you do not have to be weird just to be different, and we show our influences very openly, sometimes even on purpose. But it’s that crossover that I often think goes missing, when bands who play power metal only listen to other power metal bands, or bands who play tech death only listen to tech death. Certainly the gate keeping mentalities that plague the metal scene play into that and that can lead to entire scenes becoming stagnant, anyone who studied at a jazz or classical conservatory will know of the negative effects of gate keeperism and elitism on creativity because it happens to a large degree in those circles. When you listen for example to the first 2 Mercyful Fate albums, they had a lot of grooves that they learned from the funk bands of the 70’s, among many other things they mixed in their sound. That’s why those albums still sound fresh today, 35 years later.
What did fans think of the first single “Triumphant Ascent” which was released in March on youtube?
It was the first single that our label Ram It Down released in Europe, but I think the first song that most people actually heard from Unyielding was Blood Brothers (The Oath) since the Japanese label released that single in December. People generally liked it, the speed metal focus took some people by surprise who were expecting more Symphony X worship.
Any plans on shooting videos to any of the new songs?
We would love to do a music video, but that’s currently difficult, logistically and financially.
The album was financed through an indiegogo pledge campaign, who came up with the idea to finance the album that way?
It was my idea. I worked with Indiegogo campaigns 2 times before, first for my 2nd solo album Beyond The Wall Of Sleep, and then for The Fire Within, so I thought it would be a good idea to go for it again.
From what I read you didn’t reach the goal of 10 000 EURO, was it hard to raise money that way, would you do it again?
It has changed a lot in recent years and at this point I don’t think I would do it again, for my new solo album that I am working on I am not doing it. One thing is that since a year or 2 Indiegogo does not work with Paypal anymore. You can not pay through Paypal. I think that cost us a lot of potential customers in the first place. Then Facebook and social media algorithms really suck for music promotion nowadays and it used to work a lot better in the past. Also, it creates a lot of additional work that for a while almost becomes as time consuming as a full time job. For example, the post service lost a package with 40 CD’s that we sold as different perks, we have to pay back the people. And then you have bigger bands who completely abuse the system with ridiculous claims which makes it a lot harder for smaller bands to rely on it because people do not want to use it that much anymore because it gets a bit of a sour taste.
Did the band auction out a lot in order to raise the money for the album?
Yes, we sold perks with back catalogues of our other bands and projects, we sold guest solos, I even sold a guitar, we sold digital transcriptions of both albums. All that stuff made a lot of work for months after the album was finished, was even already released.
Many bands and artists fund their albums through pledge campaigns these days, why is it so do you think?
The answer is simple, because of the decline in album sales labels can no longer pay recording advances sufficient to produce a decent album. Through crowd funding and social media you have a way to directly reach the end customer.
The Pledgemusic platform (not the indiegogo one) has been in trouble and not paid bands the money they are in title of, what’s your thoughts on that debacle?
I do not know if they went bankrupt and the money to pay the bands was simply gone or if it was a fraud on purpose, but either way, it’s a terrible thing to happen. And of course it’s the bands and musicians who are already at the bottom end of the food chain in this “business”.
What have media said and written about UNYIELDING? Have you read any reviews and do you and the band care about what critics have to say about your work?
The majority of the reviews were good to very good. I actually have only read one really negative review and that was in Rock Hard magazine Germany, but I expected that from experience. They only hype things when they have proven safe and socially accepted (very metal lol). Of course it’s a positive thing for a band to get good reviews because ultimately you want to also sell more albums and play live and reach people who would potentially like your music but may not have heard of you yet, and if someone rips you apart in a review that may cost potential fans. But I would never ever change any detail or aspect of my music just because some critics don’t like it. Even if the whole world hated it, if I was convinced of it I would still do it that way. Metal is supposed to be honest music, with heart and soul.
Triumphant Ascent (official audio)
Have fans reached out with thoughts regarding the new album, what do they think about it?
Yes. That’s the cool thing about social media, you can be directly in touch with people who like your music and I think that’s a very good and positive thing. I write in a group called US Power Metal connection and I respect people’s opinions and tastes in there and many really hyped our album, also some other people on Facebook whose knowledge and tastes I appreciate, and that makes it really worth it, when the people who understand where you are coming from with your music get it.
Studio and production
The album was recorded in various studios in Germany, Canada, USA and Brazil, how was it to use many different studios?
It went really smooth because everyone are professionals and very experienced and know the work flow 100%, so there are no bad surprises or unexpected problems.
How does it work when everyone records their parts in their each country? Do you send them demos to listen to and rehearse?
When we write the songs we have midi versions of it. When Phil and I decided that a song was finished, I would make an instrumental demo of it, with programmed drums and bass etc. To give everyone an impression of the song and then record their parts to. And of course we write scores of each song.
Is it you and Togues that produced the album? How was it to produce your own work?
Yes it was Phil, me and Piet. I wouldn’t want to hand the production 100% to an outside person, I want to keep creative control. But it’s also good to have someone like Piet involved, sometimes you can get lost in your own music and fail to see the forest because of all the trees and your ears get tired and you can not decide anymore what’s good or bad and lack objective distance. So I would not go the Yngwie route, we saw it did not work so well for him on his last few albums.
Piet Sielck did the mix/mastering/engineering, how was it to work with him? Was any of the band members part of that process?
Piet works very fast and has a lot of experience, he can instantly get inside your compositions and know what’s best for them. He sent different versions of the mixes, then Phil and me listened and discussed what changes need to be made, what compromises had to be made etc. We were in agreement with Piet for the most part, sometimes he suggested changes which worked for the better, there were like 1 or 2 little situations when we did not agree and he would have done it differently but he respected our intention and vision.
Is it correct the album was recorded in between March and October 2018?
We started in March, I think the last stuff we recorded happened in September.
Label and management
At the end of last year the album was released in Japan by Avalon, what does the Asian fans think of UNYIELDING?
Japan is by far the best market for us. That can have various reasons. Before the end of the Power Prog label our album was licensed to Avalon for Japan and they did a great job of promoting the album there. When we decided to make a 2nd album we had a deal with them overnight, and there were even other Japanese companies interested in us. So we are doing quite well in Japan.
Was it easy to find a new record label in Europe?
It was harder than I had anticipated. Labels in Europe often play it very safe and you have to fit a certain niche, and preferably one that has proven to be accepted. So for the general euro power fan we may not be “nice” and polished and poppy enough and too over the top and raw, for the new wave of true heavy metal fans we do not look and sound old school enough because we do not sound exactly like we are from 1987, we take that influence and make something new with it and are more shreddy and technical. Metal has become a genre with tons of sub niches for which all the parameters to fit in are very conservative and narrow. Mix things up only slightly and it becomes much harder to sell and promote your product.
Have you signed a deal with Ram It Down Records or are they only releasing the album on license?
They exclusively licensed the album world wide with the exception of Japan and South Korea.
Are you happy with the work the label have put into the band and the album so far and what’s the biggest differences with working with them compared to your old label?
We are very happy and could not have made a better choice. We are getting tons of reviews and interviews, also in the bigger print media, there is good advertising, good distribution, good communication between the label and the band. And this sums up the differences between the new and the old label very well, because with the old label there was nothing of that kind.
The label released the album as download and for streaming, is that only available in Europe or also for the rest of the world?
It is available world wide.
Are there any plans on releasing the album on vinyl as well?
We would love to, but it’s costly to press vinyl. We are looking into options to do so, but I can not guarantee anything.
Are you a fan of the vinyl format?
Yes I am. I just recently been to a friend who collects vinyl, and the entire listening experience is so much different from consuming music digitally, you have the big full art work, you take the time to put on the album, you celebrate and appreciate the music much more, and it’s an escape from the digital world for a while, it has this comforting nostalgia that I personally like very much.
Is it possible to purchase the debut album today?
Only digitally through our bandcamp page, all physical copies are sold out. There are plans though to re-release the album as digipack through Ram it down records.
Is the band featured on Spotify and Itunes?
I know you’re available on Bandcamp, are there many that buys your stuff there?
Yes. Bandcamp is very important to have these days, especially for bands who are still more in the underground. I think it is a great tool that helps to keep true music alive.
What other bands are Ram It Down Records working with? They are a pretty new label right?
Yes, they have just started last year. Some bands that I know of that they have are Axenstar, Torian, Dawn Of Destiny, Merging Flare etc. The majority of the roster consists of power metal bands.
Does the band currently co-operating with any management?
Yes, we are represented by CEA music.
Past present and future
How come the band doesn’t have a website?
It’s just something we did not get around to doing yet, and it wasn’t in the budget, but this will be taken care of very soon.
I know you got a facebook but is the band also active on other various social platforms?
We have an Instagram account, we will also be on the Russian VK soon.
The band got about 4000 fans on Facebook, are you happy with that or are you aiming higher?
We are certainly aiming higher. I have almost 10.000 fans on my personal official site, and I think we have the potential to reach a lot more people than that and many people who would probably like our music have not heard us yet.
It’s hard to find information about the band on the internet, why is it so?
Since the entire issue with the old label, with no promos being sent out, no interviews being done, the band not really having been active until we recorded Unyielding, it’s almost like we are just starting out now. This all will change once we are more established.
Are there any plans on heading out on tour or do same shows now that the album is out? Does the band have any festival shows booked for the summer so far?
Yes we are working on a European tour for early next year, I hope that works out. There are some other ideas and intentions to tour different other regions of the world. There are no festival shows booked for this year, but we are working on summer festival appearances for 2020.
Do you think there are going to be any problems with heading out on tour with Eternity’s End with thought of the rest of the bands you’re involved in?
It is certainly a challenge in terms of the scheduling with everyone being involved in other active bands and projects, but things like that are being planned long time in advance so that everyone can keep those dates free and block them so no other bands book something in the same time frame. It’s all a matter of timing and coordination.
Where do you find the time to do all things, besides Eternity’s End you’re live session member in Serious Black and Starchild and also got your own solo career..
My main musical activities besides Eternity’s End are Alkaloid and my solo career. Starchild and Serious Black were just session jobs at the time because they needed a guitarist for their tours.
Where do you see Eternity’s End 10 years from now?
That is hard to tell if you see how rapidly the entire scene has changed within the last 10 years. But all I know is we will keep creating music as long as we have something to say, so if in 10 years from now we are still active and writing songs and putting out albums I will be happy. We will certainly not be the next Iron Maiden or Metallica in terms of commercial success.
What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard about Eternity’s End before and could you give them three reasons why they should buy UNYIELDING?
1. It is a 100% true, honest and passionate effort where the music completely meets the intention of the creator with zero compromises to appeal to a certain target group or fit a specific niche, which should be the true spirit and intention when playing Heavy Metal.
2. It has a very specific flair that sounds like from another time, takes you into another world far from reality, full of magical wonder and myths. If you listen closely it really takes you into the story it is telling.
3. It combines all the various key elements from all branches of true power metal, from the 80’s US Heavy Metal Bands and shred guitarists to the late 90’s/early 2000’s European bands, that once made this genre so magic and special before it got watered down for mass appeal. I truly believe we managed to bring back some of that magic that has gotten lost.
Well before I leave you today, do you have any words of wisdom to share with readers and fans?
In these times where everyone is seeking attention and instant gratification do not fall in the trap where it becomes more important what anyone thinks of you than who you truly are. Stay true to yourself and to your ideals, think for yourself, follow your dreams, don’t let anyone take them away. Do not seek acceptance and gratification for what you are not. Don’t let anyone tell you what to think, what to like, what to do. Follow you own path, that is the only way that leads to happiness.
Finally once again, thank you for taking the time making the interview, I wish you and Eternity’s End all the best in the future and I really hope to see you live on a stage near me soon!
If you want more info about guitarist/bandleader Christian Muenzner
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