Hailing from Giessen in central Germany, thrash metal band Blizzen have just released their blistering second full length album – World In Chains (You can read our thoughts on it HERE).
We spoke to their guitarist, Andi Heindl about the band, the new record, life before lock-down and how things are for them in 2020…
Let’s get straight to it…
Hello and thank you for your time, shall we get introductions out of the way?
Hi! I am Andi and I am one of the two guitarists of Blizzen.
Excellent! Very pleased to meet you. Can you give us a quick history of the band? Who are you guys and how did you come together as Blizzen?
We formed Blizzen in early 2014 in the center of Germany as a four-pieced heavy metal band. We are still the same four persons: Marvin (guitars), Gereon (drums), Daniel (bass & vocals) and me (Andi, guitar).
Were you in bands before this one?
Yes, Daniel and I had a thrash metal band before, which we founded as teenagers. The band split up because others moved away for university or different jobs but we both wanted to continue playing heavy metal. Our friend Marvin, who also had a band before (even in pre-teenager years) was also hungry for heavy metal. We quickly found our “band-less” drummer Gereon, who also immediately agreed on Heavy Metal and joined!
You’re obviously doing something right because you’ve just released your second full length album – World In Chains. It’s been four years since your first full length (Genesis Reversed). Can you tell us about the creation of your newest release?
Sure! We already had some song ideas right after leaving the studio for recording Genesis Reversed. After playing many really great shows to support (that album), we again started intensive songwriting sessions quite early. However, some circumstances and issues really delayed the recordings and release of World in Chains, which was recorded more than a year before its final release! There are no problems with any persons or labels, it is just not so easy for a full-free-time band to get things done in the actual speed you want it!
And how do you guys write and record. Is it a quick process for you?
Writing is not as quick as one might think, at least compared to recordings. Because while being in a studio, time runs and time is cost! Haha! Okay, this time we wrote and pre-produced all songs of World In Chains on our own, so we had a clear image of what we had to record in a professional studio. That was then a very straight-forward process.
How would you describe World In Chains to someone who had no idea what to expect?
A passionate, authentic, highly energetic Heavy Metal Album!
Did you achieve everything you set out to with this record? How does it differ to your earlier efforts?
Yes, I think so. Because of the intense pre-production we did we kind of had the creative process already before the actual high-quality tracking in the studio. You can kind of compare it to a construction plan, we made it before and then just had to build it together.
Let’s talk about life now that the album has been released. I guess the elephant in the room is the CV-19 lock-down. No one saw this coming and it’s had such a large impact on musicians, performers and promoters. How has this affected the band and what are your thoughts about the live music scene and the people involved within it during the lock-down crisis?
It is a disaster. We had a lot of awesome shows booked, especially on the summer festivals here in Germany, and it all got cancelled. I think we only have one show left in fall that has not been cancelled, and hopefully it won’t follow. I just hope that all the great, especially smaller, non – or low – profit orientated venues, festivals, promoters and labels won’t die during the crisis. This would be a tragic loss for the diversity and identity of the (underground) real, true music scene, no matter of what genre.
I completely agree! It’s a tense situation for a lot of people and it’s left many of us – for better or worse – with extra time on our hands. Have you taken on any new projects, musical or otherwise? How are you spending your days?
Since we all work and do the band as a full free-time project, we are all still as busy as before, maybe not as much on weekends, where usually shows are, haha! For me personally, it is a very intense time, because I will defend my doctoral thesis in chemistry in two weeks. I got a lot to do, right now! But coming back to Blizzen, we’ve already met a few times after (they lifted) the harsh lock-down conditions to rehearse the new songs. It is really a good feeling playing again, which we didn’t do since I think march. We hope that we will return for the next shows and perform as perfectly as possible!
And on the subject of music. You are clearly influenced by the more traditional metal and thrash sounds – Tell us about your experience of that. When did you first experience the appeal of heavy music?
Me, personally, at the age of about 12 and it intensified in my teenage years. I think I started growing my hair at 15, so living with and for heavy metal already lasts longer than my life without it, haha!
What bands drew you in and what does heavy metal mean to you?
Actually, after a short period of getting into hard stuff via Slipknot, I discovered “real” heavy metal by elder brothers of friends, who showed us Iron Maiden, Priest and Metallica. At the age of 15, 16 or so I discovered Thrash Metal, especially the rough early German stuff of Sodom and Kreator, which I moshed a lot to. Then it naturally expanded into everything else, ranging from black, death and speed to traditional heavy metal.
Were you playing instruments before you discovered heavy music… or did the metal inspire you to pick up the guitar. How did you get into playing?
I started playing because of Rock’n’Roll. When I was about 14, 15 I listened a lot to punk and skateboarding-punk stuff. I thought, man that looks awesome and not too difficult. The decision was made: I need a guitar.
Germany is known for being very passionate and supportive of heavy music. Can you tell us about the music scene in your hometown? Do you have particular venues or clubs you would recommend us visiting?
Yeah, in Giessen, where we are from, there is not so much pure heavy metal. We have a very strong Punk and Crust scene and from time to time they also organize some metal concerts. But in the neighboring town, Marburg, which is just 20 km away, there is a very active heavy metal scene. They have a kind of club that organises concerts regularly in different venues in the town. For example, they already hosted Manilla Road (and us, haha!) and organised a very underground, awesome Epic Metal festival called Riddle of Steel, where Eddie Malm (Heavy Load) kind of had his general test before reforming Heavy Load! Next to that, they also organize other kind of (metal) shows, from black to grind!
That sounds great! With all that going on, what is your ambition as a band? What would you like your legacy to be?
That people say: They never do (did) any bad songs and play(ed) intense shows!
Of course! Finally, Can you recommend some albums for us to check out? What’s been on your turntable/MP3 in recent months?
The new Stallion (Germany) Record called Slaves of Time. Also, the new Ambush (Sweden) album called Infidel, and then I listened a lot to some harder stuff like Pestilence, Hellhammer/Celtic Frost, Malevolent Creation, Gruesome and Ketzer, which you are surely familiar with. Ah, if you like death metal, check out the digital EP (spotify for example) of a local band called Eraserhead (Marvin’s brother is in it) called “Hexenhammer”, which I produced. And additionally, check out Marvin’s really cool rocking side project Lynx and their very recently released song “Grey Man” on Youtube, which I also recorded, but somebody else did the mix.
Great stuff! Thanks, guys! Thanks for talking to us and best wishes for the future!