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heRck (Arkenstone)

Interview with heRck from Arkenstone
by George at 01 February 2009, 6:40 PM

The Greek Metal scene uploaded their gunnery with a new lethal weapon, its name ARKENSTONE, ready to melt your filthy brains! Seriously guys, if you want Metal with some serious balls then ARKENSTONE is your choice! Being still under the influence of their debut work Dead Human Resource, we found some time to share a couple of words with the leaders of the Cretan Metal scene.
Let's see what heRck (Guitars, Vocals), had to testify…

Interview with: heRck from ARKENSTONE.

Hello from! For a start, can you give us a brief ARKENSTONE bio?

Hi there! This is heRck from ARKENSTONE. The band exists from early 1997. A long time had passed until the band's line up came into our current formation. We have played in several live shows, sharing the same stage with bands like JAG PANZER, BROCAS HELM, ROTTING CHRIST, SEPTIC FLESH, KINETIC and many more. Through the years the band developed from a Power Metal outfit to a more modern Thrash metal sound, retaining much of our classic influences.

Our goal was to come out with a strong debut album, that's why it took us so many years and a big financial commitment. As you know, we flew to Germany to work with Dimitris Liapakis in order to get some guidance and a strong sound for the album. After careful consideration, we found Casket, which is a UK-based label, to release it and we are very happy to see it on the shelves of many record stores…finally!

We've read that you started out as a Heavy/Power Metal band. What was the reason for ARKENSTONE to evolve into a more brutal style?

For a long time I was in the mood for something harder but back then the rest of the band had a different opinion about the band's music style. We've tried to come to an agreement sharing at the same time pure Power Metal with Thrash parts and that was on our second demo. The harder edge came rapidly after Beast joined the band in 2004 as a full time member. So then my desire became true. Saying this, as you know from listening to the album, we have kept our more traditional Metal roots, although I feel that we are modernizing our sound day by day. Actually the newer songs are even heavier!

What do you think of Power Metal nowadays, by the way?

I believe that Power Metal had lost its previous glory, the way it was back in the 㥘s or 㥢s. In these days if you want to play Power Metal and be good you have to deal with bands like KAMELOT or NIGHTWISH which they have discovered the secret recipe. You know…classic music with the best of the best voices and a couple of female vocals, very good solos and an epic atmosphere! We still follow the genre, but not as much as in the past.

How difficult was it to survive/operate as a band in a Greek island (Crete)? I suppose it was, since all of the action seems to take place in the capital, Athens.

Things are hard when you live outside Athens but when you believe in something and you try very hard for it year after year, finally your goals will be achieved.  I thing we've proven that! It is much more difficult for a promoter to be interested in ARKENSTONE, although we are eager to play live in Athens or any other part of Greece. To anyone reading this, I would like to say that we are open to play anywhere, with the right circumstances. We want to go out and spread our music.

The last years we've noticed a big Metal movement down there. Even PARADISE LOST visited the island for a successful gig. Can you give us some hints of the Metal scene in Crete?

Except us there is one more band named SOUNDGEIST that had signed up with MP Records (Italy). As far as I know, WINTER CRESCENT is in the studio for their debut album, too! Although there are many Metal fans on the island, they are split between Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion mainly. Actually this is a great opportunity to thank all our local friends because it has been the Cretans who have mainly supported ARKENSTONE up to now. It is the same people who attend all the Metal events that happen on the island.

On to the new album: why - first of all - you think a metalhead should buy Dead Human Resource?

I believe that D.H.R. is an album made for all metalheads 'cause it's mixed up with different kinds of Metal! It's an album that will never let you get bored! It has the right dose of Thrash and classic Metal, with a great sound. So go on guys! Buy our album, haha!!!

In my opinion, Dead Human Resource is one of the most promising releases of the Greek Metal scene for the future. I was really surprised by the professional artwork and production, too. Talk to us a bit about all these sectors.

Thank you! Werner Gunter is the creator of the cover and some additional paintings as the CD label. Werner has worked with bands like MANOWAR, IN FLAMES and HELLOWEEN. I worked on the booklet and some details, as I have studied graphic design. As for the production, as said above it was handled by R.D. Liapakis (MYSTIC PROPHECY) with some recording being done locally. Then we traveled to Germany at Lia's studio and finished the recordings there. Lia and Christian Schmidt also mastered the album.    

How did you come up with the idea of producing an album in Germany? How was the situation there? At that period of time I think you did not have the support of a record company, right? How difficult was it to roll over on your own?

We wanted to release the album in the most professional way possible and this was the biggest reason back then that made us decide to go to Germany. There's no regrets about this decision cause we had the best time ever there, and the result sounds great! The only problem was that we were on our own as you said and paid for everything! When we started to realize how big the budget we needed for this was we almost aborted this idea but after all we've made it! It was difficult but worth it in many ways.

Are you now satisfied with your deal with Casket Music? What feedback has the album received so far?

Yes, we are satisfied with our label! Our album is everywhere and we gained a lot of feedback around the world. Even from Bruce Dickinson's BBC Radio Show twice! Most of people liked our album but we are not perfect! After all nobody's perfect, haha!

I suppose you must feel really flattered as Bruce Dickinson played twice songs from your new album on his BBC Radio Show. Was it kind of a shock?

Yes, you can say that! When I was listening to this it was the same time that I was holding my CD in my hands for the very first time. You can imagine that this was a double pleasure for us!

Do you accept the fact that many would/could use the term Death Metal on tracks like the same-titled one?

Yes, I accept it and I like it! After all it has that feeling I think! Modern Death and Thrash Metal are closer than ever. There are melodies on the album that bring IRON MAIDEN in mind. It is the variety that makes Dead Human Resource easy to listen to repeatedly.

Can you give us a brief picture on the lyrics themes of ARKENSTONE? Is there a certain message you'd like to pass on to the listeners?

Every song in D.H.R. is individual but all together have the same subject. They are talking about how some people can manipulate and take advantage of other people by force just because they have the power to do it. This was the reason we've decided to name the album after the self-titled song Dead Human Resource because they try to take advantage of us even when we die!

In our review for Dead Human Resource we have written that you are a cocktail of ANNIHILATOR, NEVERMORE, PANTERA and SEPULTURA with - of course - your personal touch. Do you agree? What are your big influences, by the way?

Sure! These bands have all influenced us. Just put some IN FLAMES and MACHINE HEAD's magic powder, mix that with all your favourite classic metal and you're done!

Now, listening again to the new album, is there anything you'd like to have changed? Are you satisfied with your performance?

I'm pretty satisfied with the result, bearing in mind what circumstances this album was recorded under. The more you live with the songs the more you change them. This album is a good mean to release these specific songs and with our second one, you will see our progress. I believe this is how it works with everyone.

A band grows stronger and gets bigger with live gigs, too. Are there any touring plans?

At the time we are in touch with some people about arranging some live shows in Greece and Europe. Hopefully soon we will announce some live dates!

Which is the band(s) you'd mostly love to share the stage with?

For me the best sharing ever will be with IN FLAMES!

What's your opinion considering the Greek Metal scene nowadays? A little quiet lately, don't you think? What does the Greek scene need to grow up bigger again?

Not so quite…maybe a bit! I listened to great debut albums from DESCENDING and MENCEA. Also SEPTIC FLESH returned with a very strong release. And there's more to come…I have a good feeling about AGNOSIA's debut album that will be released in 2009.

As regards latest Metal releases in general, can you give us a personal/band Top 5 for 2008?

Hmm…difficult decision, I think! Let's see…The top-5 for 2008 is: - IN FLAMES - A Sense Of Purpose- GOJIRA - The Way Of All Flesh- TESTAMENT - The Formation Of Damnation- SLIPKNOT - All hope is gone- OPETH - Watershed

Thanks a lot for this interview. Every Templar wishes all the best for ARKENSTONE! Last words are for you…

Thank you too George for your time! I just want to close this interview saying that Greece has a great spirit in this side of music! ARKENSTONE have a good album out and are looking forward to meeting everyone at our gigs.


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