For their fourth studio release, Eternal, War of Ages comes out of the box swinging with an unbelievable intensity. Vocalist Leroy Hamp took some time out of the band’s busy touring schedule to speak to us about the new CD which features unbelievably heavy riffs, thunderous drums and has everything a Heavy Metal fan could want. This album is proof that these veterans of the genre can still grind out relevant molten Metal with the best of them.
Your brand new CD, Eternal was released on April 13th. Now that it is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Leroy: We are very happy with Eternal and even more stoked that it’s being received well by fans new and old. Even before the release date we all had a good feeling about this album. We put a lot into Eternal and even a few things that were unexpected. The album has been a great release for us emotionally.
What was the writing process like for this CD? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Leroy: Our guitarist Steve, and I collaborate on most of the ideas on the album alone. I then sit down with our drummer Alex to discuss rhythm, flow, and lyrical content. We wrote Eternal over the course of a year during tours and on our off time. Writing in both Europe and the US. Kind of nuts, but it was the only way to give the album the time it needed.
Give us some insight into the record, Eternal and the meaning behind its title?
Leroy: If you are an established fan and familiar with past releases you’ll notice right away that Eternal stands out both lyrically and musically. We wanted to blend the aggression in Arise and Conquer and the melodic feel of Pride of the Wicked into one epic and emotionally driven album. You’ll notice that I added singing into 4 out of the 10 songs. This wasn’t planned before entering into the studio. It was added later to fill out different melodic riffs in the songs. In doing so it added the missing element those songs so desperately needed. Lyrically I wrote about the present instead of the past. I felt the need to release feelings I’ve been dealing with recently hoping it might act as a release emotionally.
The artwork by Dave Quiggle is quite amazing. How is it tied to the albums title?
Leroy: When you look at the warrior on the front cover, aside from his intricate armor, you’ll notice a few other things. Look at his face and how it’s covered in dirt, sweat, and blood. His eyes are fatigued, blood shot, and yet he’s still standing with eyes gazed forward looking straight through you as if he’s saying “okay world what is next?” The point of Eternal on the cover art is as simple as that one question.
What kind of preparation goes into your live show?
Leroy: We practice everyday for the most part to prepare for tours. We work on the set list by rewriting songs to make them different, finding comfortable tempos, and writing intros and outros for each song. We want kids to be stoked on War of Ages and we feel taking pride in our live show is one way of showing them we care.
Along those same lines, all of that passion that you play with must be tough on you physically. How do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
Leroy: We all live healthy and active lives for the most part. We stay in shape by lifting, jogging, and eating healthy when we’re home. When it comes time to leave our bodies are strong enough to endure the beating we put them through on tour; at least for the first few weeks.
How much roadwork do you expect to be doing this 2010?
Leroy: A lot! This year is filling up fast… I’d say more so than any other album release year. We’re happy to be out and very stoked on the tour offers that are coming in. It’s nice to have almost a whole year of tour support and headliners panning out so quickly for War Of Ages.
Are you looking at any particular bands you’ll be touring with?
Leroy: We have begun to discuss ideas for an Eternal fall headliner and we are currently looking at a few bands for that. Guess you’ll see later on this year!
What is the toughest lesson you ever learned in the studio and on the stage?
Leroy: Not everyone likes our music, agrees with our mission, or understands why we do what we do. Yet night after night we play out, work hard, and write music regardless of the toll it takes on us individually. Why? Maybe to express ourselves in a manner that might shed light on who we are or perhaps there’s a talent that we want to share… Whether we’re pouring our hearts out on stages or on a record at a studio it’s important to stay true to yourself and never lose sight of who you are.
Do you feel that the current economic slump is affecting your War of Ages at all?
Leroy: At this point we haven’t felt the slump as much as others might have. Kids are still coming to shows and buying merch and we are thankful for that. Music has always played an important roll in life and I don’t see anything affecting it too much.
In a hundred years from now, what will the music history books say about War of Ages?
Leroy: I hope the history books list War of Ages as a band that stood the test of time and did it with honor and integrity.
Any closing words?
Leroy: We look forward to seeing you all this Summer! Enjoy Eternal! [ END ]