Guitarist Marios Iliopoulos of the Swedish melodic death metal outfit Nightrage recently sat down to answer a few questions about the band’s newest release, Insidious. Not only is this disc angrier and heavier than previous ones, but it also features guest appearances from all of the original members of the band; something that has not happened since the 2003 release, Sweet Vengeance. Here’s what Iliopoulos had to say about the band and their new release Insidious.
Now that new CD, Insidious, is complete how you do feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Marios: We feel very happy with the outcome and the songs that we have made. We think this album contains all the right elements that a Nightrage record always has; ethereal melodies and aggressive riffs, combined with some new stuff like clean vocals and string arrangements. I think it contains musical pieces from all the 4 albums that we have done in the past, this time the sound is warmer and has a nice smooth feel. The overall sound is clearer and the production is really well done. I have worked a lot on the production of the album along with Terry Nikas and we are all happy with the result. The riffs are more compact and the way we record them really helps the songs to breathe more and you can hear all the brutality without losing the focus of the song and the melodies are done with such precision that they sound better than ever before.
What was the writing process like for this CD? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Marios: We have been writing this album for the last 2 years and the songs came out without any force, we were really inspired this time and wanted to write the best songs, without losing our identity. I have written some songs along with Olof and some on my own and we wrote all the lyrics along with Antony.
You have many guest appearances on this disc including past members of the band. What was it like to having the original lineup together for the first time since 2003?
Marios: It was awesome we love Gus G and Tomas Lindberg and it felt really nice to have our friends back on the new album, Insidious. They are always willing to help and add their own kind of magic on the songs. We also have Tom from Evergrey and Apollo from Firewind doing some amazing clean vocals. Also John K. from Biomechanical and George Baharidis from Breaking Silence did some cool orchestral arrangements and added a nice and different tone on the album.
Can you talk about some of the subjects you tackle on this record?
Marios: On Insidious’ lyrics we are speaking about the darker side of human beings and how this behavior can affect and change people’s lives. We are exploring inner thoughts on how people treat each other. It’s really interesting and amazing to see what people do to one another every day. We are still trying to understand why such behavior exists and we try to give some of our real life stories in these lyrics. Of course, we continue this in a poetic style so as to not be so obvious. These types of human actions can really damage a person’s soul. Are we only capable of doing such things? Or can we become better? Of course, there is the hope that people can change!
Sometimes we are given examples of real life, and this is what we are dealing with in the lyrics of this album. We are trying to show how we have felt in certain times, when bad vibes were against us. We would like to deal with this lyrically and also personally. Sometimes you trust people and they let you down. This can be the worst feeling of all. Life goes on and you have to approach everything bad that’s happened head on and with a light heart. Don’t let the hate turn your soul black. Don’t let insidious acts damage your inner self. It’s the delirium of the fallen hearts that go down, and then find the strength to get up again. They always find the light at the end of the tunnel.
When you are on the road for a while I am sure you see and experience many different things you might not even have known existed. Are there any stories that stand out in your mind as being exceptionally strange or odd?
Marios: Many strange things can happen on a tour, sometimes people freak out and behave very weird, or some other people think that a tour is an endless party and make a lot trouble for the other people. You know touring, it’s not the best life you can actually experience and you need to be very tough as a person and be prepared for a lot. A very funny thing that stays in my mind until now when we were playing a show in Greece and some of the guys in the band thought that the people that were the organizers of the show, wanted to kill us and they were afraid for their lives, we were sitting there and laughing our asses of watching them getting scared without a reason.
Check out the song “Wearing A Martyr’s Crown”
When you are out on the road anything can happen and often does. Can you think of any disastrous events that happened while out on tour? How did you solve the problem?
Marios: One incident that happened was when we were ready to record a live DVD in Poland, some years ago, and the singer we had at the time, not Antony of course, he got arrested by the police because he beat up a guy in the hotel the day before the actual shoot, and left him unconscious in the hospital. The singer never came to the shows, because he stayed in jail for one week, so we had to cancel it because of his paranoid behavior.
Do you have any special rules or rituals that you follow while you’re out on the road?
Marios: We are trying to eat healthy, be well prepared for every show, not get into trouble and protect our things and our band mates, those are the most important.
What kind of touring plans do you have in support of the record?
Marios: We have confirmed the North America trek with Firewind and Arsis, we are starting at 9th of October for 18 dates, it will be awesome for sure. And our new booker Wietze from Armada Agency is working on our first headline European tour for February 2012, along with some other very cool bands.
What’s next for Nightrage?
Marios: More shows, doing a video from the new album and support it all the way. Also making more and better albums and having fun and enjoying what we are doing.