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Deutsche VersionInterview mit After All (19.05.2009)

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HH: What are you doing now after having done your new record Cult Of Sin?

Dries: Busy times! Spending my time doing interviews, sending out merchandise, that sort of thing. In a couple of weeks we have the official release show for the album here in Belgium, at the famous Biebob Club in Vosselaar, with speed metal legends Abattoir as special guests... Preparing and promoting that show also takes a lot of time...

HH: I'd say After All have grown as musicians and as songwriters between This Violent Decline and Cult Of Sin. The songs sound more mature and the songs have never been as strong as on this record! Do you agree?

Dries: Of course! Seriously, we put a lot of effort in the new album, and I really mean A LOT OF EFFORT. We worked more than a year on the songs. We recorded the first batch in May-June 2008. Then we took some time off to play some festivals in the summer - such as Graspop with Iron Maiden - and then we resumed recording in September. The whole thing was mixed and mastered by the end of December. So yeah, we really took our time for this one, working with a lot of attention for the details, not only in the songwriting, but also in playing and recording, the artwork, the documentary movie that is added on the cd, and so on.

HH: What is the biggest difference between This Violent Decline and Cult Of Sin in your opinion?

Dries: I guess we matured a bit. This Violent Decline was and remains a very strong record, and I'm still very happy with it. Cult Of Sin shows a more mature band I think. We really took our time to write and arrange the songs. In many cases, we re-wrote and re-arranged them several times. The challenge for this album was to take This Violent Decline even a step further. I think we succeeded in doing so. There are some really fast and aggressive songs on the new album, but there's also a lot of melody and harmony. That was really important to me: to keep the balance right. That's also why I insisted on having real acoustic guitars on the album again. We hadn't used them on an album since Dead Loss in 2000 I think.

HH: Cult Of Sin has an excellent sound and I think the mixing and mastering of Dan Swanö in the Unisound Studio has a lot do do with it. How has it been to work together with Dan?

Dries: Dan really blew our heads off. He's the master. Period. It was very exciting to hear how he completely rebuilt the stuff we had recorded. When we heard the first mixes, we were really blown away. It is exactly how we wanted it to sound: very heavy, with lots of power, but at the same time very precise, detailed and open. The result is totally awesome indeed. Dan put a lot of time and effort into mixing and mastering the album, but it has been worth all the hard work. Dan turned out to be a fan of the band by the way, so that was a pleasant surprise as well. In all honesty, I really think we will work with him again in the future.

HH: Cult Of Sin also features some guest appearences of Andy LaRocque, Joey Vera, Juan Garcia, Bernie Versailles and James Rivera if I'm right. What can you tell us about their appearences?

Dries: Well, they're all good friends of the band. It was obvious that we would invite Juan and Bernie to play on the record. I mean, we have played about 40 shows with Agent Steel over the years. These guys are like brothers to us. So, it's really cool to have them on the album as guest. Same story for James Rivera: we toured so many times with him, with Helstar, with Seven Witches, with Vicious Rumors. Awesome singer and a great guy. I've been in touch with Joey Vera for many years. We've opened for Armored Saint. We toured with Anthrax, when John Bush was in the band. That's how it's all linked together... Same with Andy LaRocque: known him for many years. He came to one of our shows when we played in Gothenburg, then we toured with King Diamond in 2006, so it was only a matter of sending him an e-mail to invite him to play on the record... I'm really proud that all these guys took the time to share their talents with us. Good people! And real metal friends.

HH: Cult Of Sin features a cover-version of the Dio song "Holy Diver". How came up with the idea to do this song as a cover? Why did you choose "Holy Diver"?

Dries: It's been a tradition for us that we play a cover song in our live set. We've played lots of stuff: Mercyful Fate, Exodus, Anthrax, Slayer, you name it. We rehearsed "Holy Diver" especially for our live set at the Graspop festival. Since we were in the studio around that same time, we decided to record the song and add it to the new album as a hidden track. Dio has always been one of my favourite artists, and it's a cool song to play. It's fun really...

HH: What about touring? Will After All play some gigs in the nearby future? What about Germany?

Dries: Well, we've been to Germany just a couple of weeks ago for a couple of shows with Testament. We've always played a lot of shows in Germany in the past, so I guess we will return to Germany pretty soon. Next up are some shows with Abattoir and Forbidden - in Belgium, Holland and the UK - which will be a lot of fun. About touring: we are looking at some possibilities right now. Nothing has been decided yet, but we hope to be on the road again in the second half of the year.

HH: What is the difference between the German audience and the audience of the rest of Europe?

Dries: Well, it depends on where in Germany you play really. The south has always been good for us: München, Nürnberg,... I think in general that German metal fans are just a little more fanatic. A little louder too, haha.

HH: In the last months and years Thrash Metal becomes stronger and stronger. More and more Thrash Bands evolve from the underground. How do you see this evolution? Is this phenomenon good or bad for After All?

Dries: It's cool to see the new interest in thrash, although I personally think that a lot of these new thrash bands aren't in fact thrash bands at all... Anyway: the trend followers will disappear quite fast again I think. It's always like that, isn't it. Look, when we first started playing - in 1989-1990 - thrash was the shit, you know: Kreator, Agent Steel, Exodus, Heathen, Testament, Nuclear Assault, all those bands... It's good to see that a lot of these bands are still around. Now is a good time for us, because there's quite a bit of interest in our type of music again.

HH: Imagine, your music is a kind of beer. What beer would it be and why?

Dries: I'd say a pretty strong one, but with a clear taste.

HH: What's up next in the After All camp?

Dries: Well, we are preparing the upcoming shows now. We'll be reviewing the offers for tours, and then we'll be on the road again I guess. In any case it's still too early to start thinking about new songs. We're still too tired from writing and recording Cult Of Sin right now.

HH: Thanks a lot for you time and good speed! Any last words?

Dries: Thanks for the support. It's really appreciated. For anyone who reads this interview and is interested in real metal music, come check us out: www.afterall.be and www.myspace.com/afterallmetal.

Lord Obirah

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