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Kenneth Henriksen - Course of Fate

Interview with Kenneth Henriksen from Course of Fate
by Santiago Puyol at 24 May 2020, 12:48 PM

COURSE OF FATE is a Norwegian Progressive Metal band often compared to such greats as QUEENSRYCHE, DREAM THEATER, EVERGREY and PINK FLOYD. With dual guitars accompanied by synthesizer Course of Fate's sound is massive, layered with harmonies and highly dynamic song structures, accented by eerie lyrics often touching on mental illness and the darker corners of the human condition. Metal Temple Editor Santiago Puyol recently had the chance to talk with guitarist/vocalist Kenneth Henriksen. Check it out here!

Hello Kenneth, thank you for taking some time for this interview for Metal Temple online magazine. What have you been up to lately?

Thank you for the attention. Very intrigued to do this interview. Like the rest of the world me and the rest of the guys have been doing a lot of social distancing. Planning to start pre-prods on our next album and working on promoting Mindweaver the best we can in these times.

You are releasing "Mindweaver" this 15th, what are your impressions on how the album turned out? Considering it is also your debut full-length, do you feel it gives a clear impression of what Course Of Fate wants to be as a band?

We are very pleased with the result. We have spent a long time working on this album and finding the sound we wanted, so finally receiving the finished product feels great.

I found the concept quite intriguing and really well executed when it came to the mix between lyrics and sound. You mention a poem by William Hughes Mearns as an inspiration. What role did that poem in particular, and poetry in general played on constructing the concept for "Mindweaver"?

The poem Antigonish (… I met a man who wasn’t there) came up when we started working on the album. There is something unnerving about the thought of seeing things that aren’t really there, but you can still see them clear as day. It was basically a way of inserting another layer into the story, concerning metal health issues.

Were there any additional inspirations behind the story, besides other rock operas or concept records? Any books, films, tv shows, etc.?

For me there was at least one film that inspired some of the lyrics especially on utopia. I saw the film The Sacrament by Eli Roth, a film loosely based on the Jonestown massacre- This horrific story about this brainwashing cult leader who in the end failed in trying to create this "utopia" really sparked my imagination. Also, Eivind read an article about a girl who was seeing man-shaped wolves in broad daylight, because of some type of schizophrenic disorder that terrified him.

Did any bands, artists or albums in particular came as inspiration when writing and recording the album?

Yes, of course. Bands like Queensrýche, Dream Theater and Fates Warning has always been a big inspiration for me and the rest of the band. And especially the concept albums like Operation: Mindcrime and Scenes from a Memory. Pink Floyd is of course also a big inspiration. I think Waters and Gilmour kind of wrote the textbook when it comes to creating a story for the listener to be drawn in to. Other bands that influence us that may not be as easy to hear are bands like Evergrey, Opeth and Pain of Salvation from Sweden. Tool I think is worth to mention and of course many of the older progressive bands like Marillion, Rush, Yes, King Crimson, Kansas… I could probably go on for days.

Rock operas are always a gambit. Was it the idea to go full rock opera with "Mindweaver" or did you have any other concept or idea for the record?

It became clear to me pretty early in the writing process that this was going to be a concept album, and the guys didn't hesitate to jump on that idea.

What would you say makes for a good rock opera? Any examples from other bands/artists you would say fit the bill?

I'm not sure I'd call Mindweaver a Rock Opera. I don't feel like we've gone full on musical like Ayreon or Avantasia, but there is an influence from bands like those as well.

"Mindweaver" certainly is an album that needs to be listened to as a whole. Do you feel streaming as a way of consuming music makes it harder for bands and artists to focus on building albums as more than a collection of songs?

The way people listen to music has truly changed. Many artists today are absolutely best off just releasing singles. But I do believe that the rock/metal/prog community is a little bit different, and we're seeing a tendency for our fans to be grown men, rather than teens or young adults, so hopefully we can continue making music the good old way.

How would you describe your songwriting process as a band? Do you go with lyrics and concept first or build upon melodies, riffs or other ideas? Is it a mix of both things?

It usually always starts with guitar riffs and melodies. But I also do have some vocal ideas when I start putting the songs together. When a demo has then been made I bring it to the rest of the band so we can make some small (or big  changes and incorporate any ideas or riffs they might have. Eivind then starts sketching the lyrics. And in the end him and I sit down and write the finished lyrics together.

For a Progressive Metal concept album, "Mindweaver" is actually modest in length. Sometimes concept records go well over an hour and it can be a little tedious to keep up. Was it a conscious choice to make it reasonable in length or did you just decided to finish the record when you feel it suited the concept better?

Well that's where the small/big changes come in.. Many of the songs were actually longer to begin with. But after the demos we decided that some of the material felt too long. When we then ended up with about a 45 min piece it was kind of perfect to fit on a vinyl LP, which was important to us.

Are there any current bands or artists from the Progressive Metal scene you look up to or simply are interested in what they are producing?

Absolutely! The list is long but I can mention a few; I really like the modern and big sound that Tesseract has going for them. A great band! The latest record from Arch/Matheos was really great. Love his voice. Although it isn't progressive metal, I do also need to mention The Night Flight Orchestra, amazingly catchy in the vein of bands like ELO and Boston. Also a lot of existing bands in Norway nowadays. Leprous and Rendezvous point are both really great and creative bands. Great musicians! Conception has just released a new album and as pioneers of Norwegian prog metal I think they are in better shape then ever!

Sadly, I cannot avoid mentioning the COVID19 pandemic as its impact on the musical landscape has been noticeable. Have you felt the pandemic has affected the band in any way? Did it change your plans for the year following the release of "Mindweaver"?

Yes it has. We had plans for a release gig/party which is now postponed. We have not been able to meet up to rehearse until just about a week ago. But things are slowly going back to normal here. But of course we will have to wait with traveling to other countries to do gigs. We just have to be patient I guess..

It surely is premature, but do you have any plans for a sequel to "Mindweaver" or is it gonna be a stand-alone concept record?

As of right now there is no plans for a sequel. I am pretty sure our next album is not going to be a concept album. But we will definitely make one in the future. I don't think it's going to be a sequel to Mindweaver, though.

Anything else you would like to tell to the Metal Temple readers?

Stay safe, wash your hands and listen to prog!



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