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Camden Cruz (Seven Kingdoms)

Interview with Camden Cruz from Seven Kingdoms
by Michael "MettleAngel" Francisco at 26 November 2012, 9:40 AM

Florida based female fronted Speed / Power Metal Masters - SEVEN KINGDOMS - have just released their third thundering album: “The Fire Is Mine”. This mind game of power will cast you into the throes of ecstasy, hammering Metal into your hearts. MettleAngel spoke with lead guitarist, and main stay member – Camden Cruz - all about the recording process of the new album, and production values at Morrisound Studios, the detailed writing process, and lyrical affiliations, as well as his personal affinity with lead vocalist: Sabrina Valentine. Open the gates to your hearts, and come join us on this incredible journey.

Hey Camden, I want to congratulate you on another excellent album!

Thanks Man, we really worked hard to find our sound.

Did you get a chance to read my favorable review?

Yeah, I did just check it out. Thanks for the kind words. I posted it on our page, so everyone can get a chance to read it.

So, was I correct in assuming and asserting that you and Sabrina are an ideal mettle couple?

Yes, you are correct. We have been together for about five years, now.

Did she contribute vocals for your debut album? If I recall that had a more “Beauty And The Beast” flavour to it.

Actually, no she did not sing on the first album at all. However, she did join us on tour. She really helped to balance out Bryan Edward's vocals.

When I first heard the self-titled album, I was skeptical since you switched to a female singer. However, once I heard it, I was amazed. We were in Chicago going to see Maiden, and I had the promo with me, and that was pretty much all we played, as it was so damn good. I proceeded to tell everyone about your band, after that.

It is funny because Sabrina comes from a karaoke background. She was never a professional vocalist. She has really come into her own in this band. When she first started out, she was not even into Metal. She had not even heard Metallica!

Wow! I assumed she had been singing her whole life.

Jim from Morrisound studios has really assisted her, and all of us. He is a big Power Metal fan, himself.  We have really become close friends.

You can really notice his production values on the new album. Although, I was not aware that he worked with too many other Power Metal acts, besides ICED EARTH.

He has worked recently with ARTIZAN and obviously JAG PANZER.

Yeah, but I consider those two bands to be more Traditional Metal sounding.

With this new album, we wanted to prove that we could do everything on our own. We wanted to be self-sufficient. We chose to have fun making it. I was only 18 when “Brothers Of The Night” came out. Back then, I had no idea about the business of music. I was clueless about the whole scene and what the market demanded. I just wanted to play music.

You are quite an accomplished guitarist for being so young.

I was just looking for a way to bring back the Power Metal of the early and mid-90s that I so love, but no one at the time was playing. I wish I had been alive when those bands and landmark albums first came out by HELLOWEENBLIND GUARDIAN, IRON SAVIOR, etc.

Do not forget about GAMMA RAY! How long have you been playing guitar?

Funny you should mention GAMMA RAY, as I am not as influenced by them, as the others.

That really surprises me, as some of the songs on the new album definitely remind me of “Somewhere Out In Space”!

What is really funny is that I have only been playing guitar for about seven years, and it was DRAGONFORCE and Guitar Hero that challenged me to play harder. The more difficult the level, the more I wanted to play more intricate melodies.

I am always amazed how DRAGONFORCE became so successful in America, and not  GAMMA RAY, HELLOWEEN,  BLIND GUARDIAN, HAMMERFALL, etc.

My friends and I in Florida all came from a Metalcore background. The more we played shows, the more we wanted to write songs with more melody and harmony.

This reminds me of my friends from Indiana who were in a band called ZEPHANIAH. They too had a Metalcore background, but wanted to play Power Metal. Their album is definitely worth checking out; especially, since they have now disbanded. They were always very entertaining to witness live.

I have heard of them. They played some of the “Warriors Of Metal” festivals. We are asked every year to perform for that, but we want to attach ourselves to a bigger touring bill, like we did when we played with BLIND GUARDIAN and HOLY GRAIL.

Anyone who follows the band will know that you are big supporters of the books by George R.R. Martin. You were singing about these themes, even before the success of “Game Of Thrones” on H.B.O. Matter of fact, the last track on the new album is a bit of a spoiler alert for fans who only watch the show, but do not read the books. I appreciate how you also write songs outside this context like “Flame Of Olympus”, for example. Is this song inspired by the video game “God Of War”?

Well yes, and no! We love that game, and we appreciate Greek mythology, so all that goes into the song. It is like the song “In The Twisted Twilight”, there are clearly “Skyrim” themes present there, as well. In fact, we are designing a new tour T-shirt, which will have artwork from this game, with the dragon on the cover.

I really like the cover art for “The Fire Is Mine”. The self-titled artwork was a bit simple, but if you look carefully at the cover for the new album, it almost looks like a face.

Oh really, I did not catch that. I will have to look more carefully at it. We are really happy with what our Brazilian artist has achieved. I just added a few tweaks, but it looks killer. I know the other covers are more basic, as my father owns an airbrush company, and assisted with those. I actually custom paint motorcycles as my “real job”.

What about the song “Kardia”? I heard that this was based upon a movie of which I am unfamiliar.

We kind of knew going in that this song and “Fragile Minds Collapse” were going to be the odd ones. We like to allow Keith Byrd and Sabrina a chance to stretch their legs and write some lyrics. Sabrina wrote “Kardia”. She likes to pen the words for the Power Ballads.

Her vocal performance on this song is superb. I just do not find it to be fast enough for my tastes.  I should have compared her to Andre' Matos or Kimberly Goss in my review. Actually, my favourite song is “In The Twisted Twilight”. I just recently saw the performance video you did for “After The Fall” on YouTube.

We would like to have the funds to create a really professional video. I have so many ideas for doing this.

I read in the CD booklet that many fans donated money for the recording of the new album.

We are so grateful for our fans! I will have to check with Lance of Nightmare Records, but I think we may have already sold out of the first pressing of the new album! We want to have plenty of copies for them when our fans see us live.

I would love to see you live. I wanted to go to that BLIND GUARDIAN and HOLY GRAIL show, but it was winter and December. Maybe you will get to open for some shows when DORO and SISTER SIN come to Florida early next year.

We are supposed to play a few shows here at home. Earlier you mentioned the video for “After The Fall”. Would you believe when I went to write that song, I was actually inspired by a song off the new WITHIN TEMPTATION album!  Once I had that song in my head, I added what I thought was the HAMMERFALL and ICED EARTH parts. I guess this is how I think and write.

Well obviously whatever you are doing is working!  The new album is a masterpiece!

We are already working on material for the next one. Since I am young, I want to have several albums under my belt and establish a catalogue. This is how you make your mark.

I will continue to spread the word. Keep doing what you are doing. Thank you for taking the time to indulge me.

Yeah, Michael, we truly appreciate all your support, thank you again!


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