Domain - Axel about the new album and animal protection?
Loads of people in the world of heavy metal will certainly remember the glorious era of the 80's. It was a time when hardrock ruled the world and where hairbands popped up from the ground like fresh mushrooms.
Today, most of these bands don't exist anymore. There are a few exceptions, however, and Domain is one of them. In their early years they started out as Kingdom, but soon changed their name to Domain. After a long period of silence, the energetic Germans decided to make a come-back with "One Million Lightyears From Home". It was a smashing return. Metalrage contacted guitarist Axel "Ironfinger" Ritt for an interview. He told us about the new album, the darkest part in his musical career and... animal protection?
Well, I can imagine that this has been quite the start for 2005; the launch
of 'Last Days Of Utopia' and all the work that was done to make this album reality... The creation of an album like this must've been a major job!
"Oh yes, it was! It was the first time in my life that I was confronted with the challenge of composing the score for a complete story. First of all, I knew that for such a concept, you have to take care of both sides of the story. Firstly, the composer has to be able to reach new musical horizons, while combining the single chapters by working with new arrangements and new harmonic constructions within the song-structures, on the other hand, I wanted to have songs, where every song has to stand and "work" on its own and not only together with the other chapters of the story.
Secondly, I had the chance of making a long time secret wish come true. For many years, I wanted to raise the harmonic possibilities of a classical five piece metal band to a new level. When our singer Carsten
came up with the concept of "Last Days Of Utopia"
, I saw the chance of optimising this intention by arranging symphonic elements added to typical Domain
What are the reactions on 'Last Days Of Utopia' so far?
"I can't explain; I didn't think that both fans and critics would give so much positive feedback on our album. It's a dream come true."
This is the fourth album after the re-union. Do fans from the old days still recognize and follow Domain?
"I thought some of them might have some problems with the new style of Domain, but unexpectedly it didn't turn out to be that way. Most of them follow our new path, which made me very proud."
Domain has become more 'metal' through the years. Is there any particular reason or was it just the road the band gradually started following?
"Yes, It was the natural way the band had to walk. Our drummer Stefan
for example has a typical metal background, our singer Carsten
used to be a metal fan for years and my preferences became harder the older I got. I wouldn't have expected it, but to be honest, I like it a lot."
The concept story of 'Last Days...' is quite detailed. Where did you get the inspiration / ideas to be able to write it?
"Our singer Carsten came up with the idea of a concept album 2 years ago. At first, I wasn't a big fan of the idea of a concept album, because in my opinion most of the concept albums I've heard always got songs within the albums that are really boring, because they only make sense within the story, but not as an individual song. But we managed to have a look at the songs in their individual state, so the idea was born."
How long did it take to write the entire story / all lyrics alltogether?
"Carsten told me that it took 2 years to write the story!"
What influenced Domain musically and lyrically in the eighties? And at present?
"Well, we got the 'Mark I' line-up in the eighties with the typical hardrock style, so we got typical songwriting, typical outfit and a typical image. Today we're 'Mark II'; we're Metal now, you can call it Symphonic-Epic-Metal, maybe Melodic Metal, so the style and sound became harder, much harder, but still melodic and still provided with the typical Domain sound trademarks."
So... because this is the time of commerce, how is the video for the single faring?
", our video-choice, symbolizes the best of all Domain
- trademarks. No Domain
-record without a 12/8-triplet rhythm. This pattern has a natural flow and can be interpreted perfectly by every string and percussion instrument. So I decided to let the string ensembles play the main short accentuated figuresm, while woodwinds and brass sounds are playing long and extended notes. The choir arrangements in the chorus part turned out to be very hard work. Because of the key-chance within the chorus, the second, third and fourth harmony vocals were very difficult to perform."
Are upcoming Domain albums going to be heavier than the previous ones? Saxon seems to have succes doing so and seeing you've already made that first little step after the re-union...
"Yes indeed, it looks like that we're going through that development as well. More punch, more heaviness and more strength."
If there was one band / artist you'd get to ask to go on tour with you, which one would that be and why?
"To be honest, the only aim I got is to realize well visited Domain
-headliner-tours. To get the support-slot is pretty good to let people know that you exist, but it's a job that has to be done; not that kind of satisfaction I'm looking for."
Are there still things you 'simply must accomplish' before you can consider your career in music 'complete'?
"Well, I'm still looking for that 'very big hit', but to get that, I'd have to change my style of music and I need the ability to turn back time for about 30 years ;-) Regarding the rest, I'm fine" ;-)
I know old bandmembers are giving you a hard time running things with Domain... Any luck in trying to get the older records re-recorded? A lot of new fans are eagerly awaiting those records!
"The darkest part in my musical career. Former colleagues - maybe friends as well - poured anger, envy, disfavor and broken egos on me. I'll do my very best to give the fans what they want to have, so maybe there will be a re-recording of the old songs."
What do you think of this 'new wave of American heavy metal' that is invading the shores of Europe right now? With that, I mean bands like Chimaira, Shadows Fall, God Forbid and that kind of stuff...
"I'm very sorry, but I don't even know one of these bands. Regarding those questions, you'd have to ask our singer Carsten
, he knows everything of every band in the world ;-) I'm much too much into Domain
to listen to other bands, so he's my contact to the real world" ;-)
Last, but not least; is there anything you simply must share with our readers (a bit of wisdom, nonsense or the occasional 'yes, bollocks!')? ;-)
"I'd like to thank all animal protection organizations like P.E.T.A. a.s.o. who fight for the rights and treatment of all creatures. Stop killing animals and slay the butchers!"