Latest updates:

We hope you enjoy your visit here. Please join or login if you have joined before.

MT @ Facebook

Not logged in

Users online

62 guests

Welcome to our newest member, willtravers

Unchained Horizon's Andreas Bauer: "…From that moment on I knew that I was “born to lose but will live to win”, as Lemmy said once"

Interview with Sascha Heese & Andreas Bauer from Unchained Horizon
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 06 November 2022, 9:34 PM

Taking a walk on the wild side, and it can be done without somebody asking, it is just a flow, a process, being done with patience and a lot of passion. When comes to the German Unchained Horizon, it was once when they implemented modernity to their favour, making a fusion with their old tastes into a new form. Nonetheless, their new album, "Fallen Kingdom", shows that there is no place like home, the origins, and tradition, and there you have a full blown Heavy Metal albums. Steinmetal had a chance to talk with founder Sascha Heese, and the new guy, Andreas Bauer, about the album, the experience and more…

Hello Sascha and Andreas, it is good to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing?

Andi: Hi Lior, thanks a lot for having us for this interview.

Sascha: Hey Lior, cool to meet you. We’re doing fine. All of us are healthy and of course we’re really happy to have this interview with you.

With everything that has been happening worldwide in the past two plus years, life as we know it has changed into various models, even the music business, with live streams and such. Unchained Horizon was one of the many bands that took stages and suddenly it came to an abrupt halt. How were you able to keep the band going throughout the pandemic?

Andi: Yes, indeed, these are really strange times. When Covid19 started to fuck up our lives, it hit us hard. I mean everyone was affected and had to restructure nearly everything. Due to legal restrictions we were not allowed to meet us as a band for five or six months. But we never gave up hope that this will change someday. Hope dies last.

Sascha: Yes, right. And I think one secret to success is our friendship. We are not just an ordinary band but also really good friends. And we love what we do, so, as Andi said, we never lost faith and hope.

Let’s talk about changes, as these slowly unfold, such exist also within the Unchained Horizon camp, and from what it appears, these actually opened up a new portal, a new horizon. First, after being unsigned for quite some time, you made a decision to sign with a label, and no less, with the home for Heavy Metal of the underground, Pure Steel Records. How did you know exactly that it was the right time to sign with a label? What drew you to Pure Steel Records?

Andi: You know, the band started in 2009, when Sascha, Chris and André founded UNCHAINED HORIZON. And all those years we did the same: Writing songs, playing live, writing songs playing live and so on. After the corona broke we were full of energy and creativity and started writing the songs for our new album. And after a while we came to the conclusion that we love those songs so much that we… well..

Sascha:… yes, we wanted the songs to be heard by a wider range of Metalheads. And we wanted to take the next steps. We’ve been playing nearly every stage in the Northwestern part of Germany. So why not explore new cities and new stages.

Andi: Exactly. Let’s see how far we can go and let’s think big. So we decided to search for a cool record label. I’ve been listening to PURE STEEL RECORDS bands for years and I think our old school metal fits perfectly to the PSR roster. So we sent our application to those fine guys and obviously it worked well, haha.

Under the clout of Pure Steel Records, you recently released your sophomore album, “Fallen Kingdom”, your token of Heavy Metal to all the heeds its calling. In your perspective, what do you think that this title stands for? How does it do justice for the band and its image?

Andi: The title is part of the concept story that is told in the songs. I think Sascha will tell you more about this as he is the master of lyrics, haha. But sure, the title and also the cover artwork stands for “Heavy Metal”. Of course we have always been a heavy metal band but… you know, I think with “FALLEN KINGDOM” we show this identity for the first time. All those years before we never said “Hey, we are a heavy metal band”. Even though we have never been something else.

Sascha: That's right, we are still a heavy metal band and now with a little bit more theatrical epicenes. Indeed, it is in some kind a concept album or story. But this was not planned.

As part of the changes within the band’s perception of music, there is also the lyrical end, and it would seem that striving to become epic is imminent, and quite taking over. That is a good thing. How do you find the themes that are being treated within the lines of “Fallen Kingdom”?

Sascha: It’s often things that occupy me, also it could be movies or books that inspire me to write something. I like to tell stories in songs, that was and is actually already on the previous album and also on the EPs as well.

Sinking deep within the themes, would you say that there is a connection with our very own reality or is it your input in order to escape the harsh environment, to ignore what is going on around you in order to find that safer place to express yourselves?

Sascha: Both. I'm often a bit shocked how close the lyrics are related to reality from time to time. When I write the lyrics, I am concerned with things that are currently happening in the world. The title track, for example, reminds a little of what is happening in Ukraine at the moment, a David against Goliath if you put it that way. But I always find it exciting what the listener connects with the songs or the lyrics and finds his own incentive to have his own thoughts and feelings.

This time, for “Fallen Kingdom”, it seems that the artwork received a much deeper attention in contrast to the debut album. The warrior is standing proud within the wolves, dark and mysterious. How does this imagery express the “Fallen Kingdom” and Unchained Horizon?

Andi: Yes, you are 100% right. I think here it comes back to this identity thing. I was born 45 years ago and I started listening to hard rock and heavy metal when I was 12 or 13 years old. I still remember these moments in the late 80s when I listened to Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Motörhead, Metallica, Iron Maiden and so on for the first time. It changed everything. From that moment on I knew that I was “born to lose but will live to win”, as Lemmy said once, haha. Especially Sascha, Chris - one of our guitar players - and me are old school Metalheads and the time just felt right to be more striking. I mean, the metal press has always highlighted the Maiden, Priest and Metallica roots in our music but yes, our cover artworks have never been typical “metal”.

Sascha: I love the old cover artworks. Especially from Derrek Riggs and we were searching for something new. Usually I always do the cover design, but this time we wanted to try something different. Something more professional and more heavy metal, haha. By chance we came to the graphic designer Matthias Lipinski and he created the cover. We think his work is awesome. The image connects many of our songs, "a foreign warrior in a land where the kingdom is fallen and he is faced with the inner beast, staying at his side".

It is hard to ignore that the ancient British Metal vibe, NWOBHM, took you guys over, almost completely, on “Fallen Kingdom”. In contrast to the heavier side of the band, even towards the contemporary stream of Metal, of the past, how do you find this musical change that you have been undergoing? Would you claim it be as a sort of back to the roots or rather the other way around, freshness?

Andi: I think there has not been a super drastic musical change. The NWOBHM has always been a very big influence. For instance, our COMING HOME EP is really hard and you can feel the metal in every second. Songs like “The Escape” or the title track are pure heavy/power metal.
And also on our 2012 output SHATTERED LAND you can hear the typical NWOBHM hard rock and slight punk influence in songs like “Lose Control”. On “FALLEN KINGDOM” we have more epic and melodic parts, this is true.

Sascha: We are all pretty big fans of the NWOBHM and also fans and children of the 80s. But we didn't set out to sound like that, we just kept slipping into it. We like these epic elements very much.

Other than the quest for the proper hook, which was mainly established by these melodic lead guitar licks, which also ascertained the anthemic proportion, there is the feeling of going big in the songwriting, very similar to how Iron Maiden, whose influence is evident on the record, developed. How do you find the change in the songwriting, let’s call it strategy, on “Fallen Kingdom”? 

Sascha: It’s not a special strategy, it just came naturally. We were also looking for something that would engage the audience a little more and encourage them to sing along when we play live. In addition, catchy melodies and also some "whoohooh" parts haha. As you can hear, this worked well for this album and it is something we want to keep up in the future.

Talking about Iron Maiden, “Fallen Kingdom” shows quite the admiration for the British giant. Other than Maiden, which as mentioned took an integral part in your line of influences, what other artists joined the “party” of influential signs while you were writing the record?

Andi: Hm… When we started writing the songs, I was - and am-  mainly listening to Manowar, Atlantean Kodex, Helloween, Running Wild and late 80s Maiden. Maybe you can hear that a bit. I love those classic metal bands. As far as I remember, Chris listened a lot to those NWOTHM bands like Night Demon, Visigoth, Stallion, Enforcer and so one back in those days. You can hear that a lot, I think his way of playing the guitar is a perfect mixture of old school and new school traditional metal. I really love his style.

Sascha: At that time, I loved listening to Judas Priest's "Firepower". What a terrific album. We have a lot of influences from heavy metal, but also from rock. Big names would be DIO, Sabbath, Priest, Queen, Metallica, Queensryche, Europe, and so many other great bands. But we also like a lot of modern stuff. Hm, André is the guy with the widest range of bands he likes. This starts at Blue Oyster Cult and King’s X and ends with Nevermore with tons of bands and styles in between. His feeling for melodies is awesome. He is doing all the guitar solos on the new record and you can hear and feel the soul and warmness in every single note.

Our drummer Arne is the youngest and most modern guy in the band. He is a lot into those well, “new” metal bands. A lot of Metalcore and other hard stuff like that. But of course he will start singing loud when Bon Jovi's Living on a prayer is played in the radio, haha. And yes, this is one of the best rock songs ever written in this decade. All in all, we don't want to copy any of those bands, we just get inspired by some elements here and there and put our own Unchained Horizon stamp on it.

One of the best aspects of “Fallen Kingdom” is that it might be British Metal in nature, nonetheless, some of the songs indicate that your past wasn’t banished but rather embraced, even if in a portion. How do you find this statement?

Andi: I think UNCHAINED HORIZON has never been anything else than a heavy metal band. Of course, the songwriting in the early days was different and not so focussed on the classic metal thing. I know what you mean, I think. On our LAST MAN STANDING output we had some songs that perhaps were kind of different. There is a power ballad called “Hope” that you would not expect on a, well, “true” heavy metal album. Or just listen to “Pressure” that comes with a certain punk attitude even though no one really listens to this kind of music within the band.

Oh wait, I sometimes listen to the Misfits, Social Distortion and Ramones, haha. But anyway, in the early UNCHAINED HORIZON times the guys tried to add some, well, let’s call it modern parts to the old school metal. Some screams here, a half time rhythm there. You can hear that on the first releases. Youthful sins, haha.

Another great element of the record, which cannot be denied, is your vocals. Once being on the rougher edge of the table, it appeared to me that you developed your voice, and pipes, into that fine Dickinsonian style, nearly operatic in nature, vocal pattern. It is quite impressive, well done on finding that path to be both a singer, and storyteller. What can you share about this development of the vocal front from your end?

Sascha: I feel a certain evolution, haha, and also can't deny orienting myself on great idols like Dickinson, Dio or Hallford. It's still a constant learning process for me and I'm also always encouraged to try things out.
I've never sung clean as much as I do on “Fallen Kingdom”. As you say, my singing was a little rougher before “Fallen Kingdom”. But I really like this development. And with the band I've been able to build a lot more confidence in my vocals over the last years. Still, I'm always uncomfortable at live gigs when I'm compared to singers like Dickinson, because in my personal opinion that's not the case at all. But I feel honoured and that boosts the self-confidence.
The bass guitar on “Fallen Kingdom” also has an important role, and it was fulfilled by the new guy in your ranks, you, Mr. Bauer. You were a member of various bands in the German Metal scene circuit, which is one hell of a circuit. How did his playing contribute to the new album, and the band’s musical perspective?

Andi: Erm.. Sascha? Help! Haha…

Sascha: Yes absolutely, Andi is not a bass player who just plays the basics. His bass playing shapes the new sound of Unchained Horizon and this opened up a whole new way for us. Andi has awakened this fire in the band and I am incredibly happy that we have found him. In addition, he is, as we say in German, a real "Rampensau" and also he is a really good friend and you can always count on him.

The sound of “Fallen Kingdom” improved greatly, in comparison to the debut album, and by quite a measure. The pattern is British no less, taking that Maidenish signature and refining it a bit to become suitable for Unchained Horizon. How do you find the band’s new sound on the record?

Sascha: In my opinion the sound is really brilliant. The final polish of the tracks was done by Rob Romagna from Audiostahl in the beautiful Tyrol. He has years of experience and had an ear for how the band should sound. It's not so easy to get three guitars plus bass into the mix and also add our wishes.  Rob did an excellent job here. He is also a super nice and relaxed guy.

Andi: Yes, absolutely. I think he indeed is the funniest, relaxed and cool sound engineer alive, haha. But we also have to mention Jörg from Soundlodge studios and Role at the Tonmeisterei in Oldenburg. Those three guys were all involved in the recording process and they all did an awesome job.

When it came down to being both epic, and larger than life, there is the song that I believe to be a crowd pleasing sweetener, "Beneath the Ice". It has that suspense of “Rime Of The Ancient Mariner”, along with the big crowd sing-along invite that is astounding, and lest we forget the gripping lead guitar lick that binds everything together. What can you tell about the creation of this track? How do you find its impact on the record?

Sascha: Phuh, that's tough when you have to compare your own songs with such great songs like "Rime of The Ancient Mariner". I think André came up with this absolutely brilliant riff on which we just built the song more and more. I had this idea with the Ice and the broken man who rediscovers his feelings. Andi came up with the idea "Hey Dude, do some Spanish guitar solo or something like this”, haha. That's how the song got bigger and bigger. I love to play this live

With the ability to tour the country, and your neighbouring nations, how does the schedule for Unchained Horizon look like for the remainder of 2022?

Andi: Due to the pandemic, touring for a smaller band is quite hard. The booking process has changed in the last years. So many festivals have been postponed to 2022 and 2023 so all bands are fighting for the few free slots. We don’t work with a booking agency at the moment but maybe this will be one of our next steps. For 2023 some gigs are booked. We are really looking forward to the BurningQ festival where we will share the stage with NIGHT DEMON. This is so cool!

Sascha: Yes, we really hope to play some cool shows in 2023. Booking was already difficult before the pandemic and right now it's even more difficult. So whoever wants to book Unchained Horizon is welcome to contact us, haha.

Sascha and Andi, it was a pleasure to have you for this talk about the band’s new album, it is a record to be proud of and I can’t wait to hear more from you fine gents. All the best

Sascha: Thank you very much for the interview. This were really interesting and profound questions. Keep up the good work, stay loyal to us and STAY METAL!

Andi: Thank you so much for this long and really intimate interview. Stay healthy and keep up your great and important work!



You do not have permission to rate

Metal Temple © 2000-2014
Yiannis Mitsakos

Designed, Implemented and Hosted by PC Green