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Glacier's Michael Podrybau: "I really don't know if it was the right time but I do know that the time is now, and I am very lucky to be able to do what I thought I was going to be doing when I was in the original Glacier"

Interview with Michael Podrybau from Glacier
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 10 October 2020, 9:51 PM

It was about damn time that it happened. It may as well be that hard to the core Metalheads worldwide, in particular of the older generation, have been asking themselves what has been going on with Glacier, and where is that finally made debut album. So, the band upon its new incarnation, along with the Greek old school Metal label, No Remorse Records, have an answer right there with the "The Passing Of Time". US Metal is back and in a fierce form. Steinmetal had a chance to talk with vocalist, Michael Podrybau, the last original member of the old Glacier, about the new album, getting back out there, how did it happen and more… 

Hello Michael, it is a great honor to have you, sir, for this interview, no doubt one from the fine line of heroes of the underground 80s US Metal scene, certainly awesome. How have you been sir?

I'm doing very well, thank you so much.

I can only assume that you have been rather restricted in your area in the US with the Covid-19 pandemic running around, and it has been rather hard in the US I have heard, crossing the 200,000 deceased, if I am not mistaken. How have you been holding up during this difficult time period?

I am actually doing just fine. I loathe having to wear a mask, but I understand the need and importance of it. It is extremely boring not to be able to go see live gigs or play shows and fests. Hopefully, the virus will get under control and we can all start living our lives again - sooner rather than later.

Do you feel that actions are being done in order to stop the spreading of pandemic? Has the public in the US realized that this is something real, especially with these frightening numbers of infections and loss of life?

Oh, yes, the US knows it's real and we are dealing with it the best way we can, just like everyone else.

Onwards to positivity, there is the finally released debut album of Glacier. Once a gem from the 80s that made it happen with a small EP in that mid golden decade, but then a few years later vanished. I was glad that you made it for the Keep It True bill 2017, even though as Devil In Disguise, playing Glacier songs. It was probably meant to be that Glacier, the moniker and yourself as vocalist, came back in full swing. How did you feel about coming back? Had you realized back then to what kind of Metal scene, whether locally or abroad, you stepped into?

I actually had no idea what the metal scene was like in 2016. I had been completely out of it and ended up being the event photographer for a festival in Chicago. So many people came up to me to tell me how much Glacier meant to them, and it was amazing. In the US, metal is not prevelant as it was in the 80s. But there is a huge underground movement with devoted fans. Europe and South America are both incredible. Lots of huge festivals and metal shows. It is still very much like the 80s in my opinion.

No doubt that it was bound that a full length album was only a matter of time, yet, would you say that there were any dilemmas whether to actually write new material or merely continuing to play old Glacier songs live?

We originally just did this for one festival in Chicago. Then Oliver from the Keep It True festival heard about it and got ahold of me about playing KIT. So our first show ended up being in Germany for Keep It True and then we played the fest in Chicago Legions of Metal. After those shows, it just took off from there. We ended up playing a bunch more shows, and then decided we wanted to start writing new songs.

How did it feel to come back into the studio and record fresh material? Hell, how did it feel to actually sit down and write new material after all these years?

The studio is tedious, boring, fun, excited, challenging and difficult all at once. It felt really great to be making music again and with guys who are really great friends and skilled musicians.

What was your main focus lyrically on "The Passing of Time"? What were your sources of interest that made a difference on the lyrics?

I didn't write all of the lyrics, it was definitely a team effort. Our drummer, Adam Kopecky, wrote most of them, and Marco Martell and I wrote some as well. Plus, three of the songs are from early Glacier and were never professionally recorded. Definitely a group effort on the lyrics.

"The Passing of Time" was the chosen title for your debut album, finally released via the Greek old school Metal label, No Remorse Records. Certainly a great choice of a proper home to host this album. I guess that there is a symbology of all these years that the band didn’t go all the way in order to release a full length? Actually, why didn't it happen earlier on in the band’s career? What held you up?

The title "The Passing of Time" was very fitting for the band from old to new - like passing the torch after all of these years. The symbolism of the hour glass from the 85 cover to the new artwork, it brings everything together. I don't know why it didn't happen sooner. We were all getting older, we have families now, and it's not like it was when we were in our teens. We have far more responsibilities now.

Perhaps one of the main reasons for this album, other than it was the right time with the right lineup, that you aren’t getting any younger and your mark had to be made? Any thoughts about that?

I really don't know if it was the right time but I do know that the time is now, and I am very lucky to be able to do what I thought I was going to be doing when I was in the original Glacier.  I feel blessed to have this opportunity in my life.  I have met some great friends through this journey, and I love them all.

Listening to “The Passing Of Time” was like shifting between eras of classic Metal back and forth, it was quite an experience. However, in general, the major part of the album is newer material, other than the unreleased songs that were featured. Since you have been with the band in the 80s, did you feel that this lineup made Glacier to become even more developed musically than the earlier years?

I would say yes, only because we are not 20 year olds writing songs. We are older, wiser, and more refined with age and experience. I think the songs are like a bottle of wine that has aged over time.

Taking the angle of the new lineup, what do you think was the key impact on the songwriting by the new members on “The Passing Of Time”?

Each of the guys are really talented musicians and this album would not be as great as I feel it really is without them.

With every listen, I felt as if the album was divided into two, you actually started with a melodic stream of classic Metal, more in the vain of Iron Maiden but when “Sands Of Time” kicked in, something changed right up until the end, with an aggressive kind of old school Heavy Metal, needless to say melodic, but more into the intense rhythm guitar riffs. Was it a natural stage of things or did you arrange the tracklist in order to mark an escalation?

I actually feel exactly the same way when I listen to it. We definitely thought very much about the arrangement of the songs before deciding how we wanted to organize the track list

Talking about “Sands Of Time”, I know it is an old song of yours, yet never fully released. When I listened to it for the first time, I was near tears when the rhythm guitar kicked in with that addictive main riff and the screaming guitar in the back. I said to myself: “Why aren’t they making more of those nowadays”? How do you see this track in these modern times of Metal music, where the perception of how it should be done is different?

Originally, we were going to do "Sands" only as an instrumental. We were going to use it for the middle of our live set to give my voice a break, but it also had lyrics, and I really wanted to record it with the lyrics. So I got together with a friend of mine in Oregon and recorded my vocals on our demo track. The guys liked it and so we went ahead with it.

Other than being the veteran in an ongoing, demanding Metal scene, what are the band’s challenges in the coming years, put aside Covid?

Well, we are starting to write again and we are definitely hoping that our new album does well, and we get to start playing shows again.

Will there be a sophomore album from Glacier as you see it?

We are very much looking forward to working on the next album; we already have some ideas in the works.

With a risky optimism that this pandemic will go away soon, do you have any plans for 2021 for Glacier?

This year we missed out on a South American tour that had to be canceled. We're definitely hoping to head down south again, and do a few European fests as well.

Michael, thank you so much for this interview and your precious time, “The Passing Of Time” should have been here already, but still, I thank you that you made it happen. Cheers sir!

Thank you!!!  And keep up the good work. We need people like you to bring the metal music to the fans.



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