We aren’t a ‚scene‘ band

Kev Bower talks about the new album!

Well, a new HELL album is coming up. The expectations are high, `cause of the bands legendary status and their great Comeback Album `Human Remains`. And of course since Andy Sneap (famous producer) is involved in the band, they got even more attention. On the last Bang Your Head Festival in germany the band played some new tracks while their set. They sounded great and we thought it`s time to find out more about the up-coming album.

We were able to talk to guitarist/Keyboard player Kev Bower about the new album, which will see the light of day on november 22.!. Here we go.

The new album is called `Curse And Chapter`. What can we expect from this album?

“‘Curse And Chapter’ really starts where ‘Human Remains’ finished. It takes all of the ideas and concepts which made the first album so successful, and elevates everything to a much higher level. The album is darker musically and lyrically than the first one, but 100% retains the HELL ‘house style’ so we believe our fans will love it. It’s very diverse, very textured and very dense – there’s a lot happening on there and it’s something we have worked very hard on. It also represents a definite progression, and although we were immensely proud of the first album, we all believe that the second one will be even better – we really believe we have something quite incredible with this record. We also have some exciting plans for the cover/packaging concept. Above all, it’s very, VERY heavy…… “

I read somewhere, the material on this album is 50% new and 50% old. Can you explain this more accurately? If this is true, why have you once again used old material?

“It’s more like 60% new – 40% old, actually. Out of 11 tracks on the album, 7 songs are brand-new and we have re-worked 4 older songs from the ‘80’s as we did on the first album. There’s also a reworking of a 5th older song which won’t make the final album cut – but it will possibly end up as an audio-only bonus track on the DVD. The reason why we have included some older material is that when the tracklist for ‘Human Remains’ was decided back in 2011, there were some older HELL songs which we couldn’t fit on there, so we decided to do them this time around instead, mainly to satisfy the fans who were disappointed that those songs didn’t make it on the first album. And of course those are great songs which deserve to be heard.”

Has the older material a different musical character if you compare these songs to the new material? If you compare new written songs with older material anyway, where are the main differences?

“To be honest, everything sits together very well. I guess the main reason is that maybe 60% of the music on ‘Human Remains’ was written by me – and 80% of ‘Curse And Chapter’ has also been written by me, so the style of the new music is very similar to the old. There are some differences of course – with the two main ones being that a) Many of the new lyrics and many of the ideas for the vocal melodies/arrangements have been written by David, our singer. This makes perfect sense because he is the guy who has to deliver these words on the album and onstage, so having words which come from his head and his heart always means that the message is more powerful and more meaningful – and b) The remaining 20% of new material has been written by Andy Sneap. He writes in a totally different style to me, he comes up with ideas which I would never even dream of, so the total result is great variety in the songs. With everything put together, the result is really killer.”

There are also plans for a Bonus-DVD. What’s on this DVD?

“The DVD consists mostly of songs recorded at our sellout headline show in Derby, UK, in February of this year. We had some technical problems with the recording which meant that some of the material was unusable, so we’ll also add some material filmed at Bloodstock Open Air. There will also possibly be an audio-only bonus song as I mentioned above.”

HELL has more or less “Cult-status” inside the scene. Is this in the end an advantage or disadvantage?

“To be honest, amongst certain small groups of people it’s a disadvantage. We are really tired of media people throwing us into the ‚NWOBHM‘ category just for their own convenience, because that isn’t what we’re about at all. I think that the albums we produce, the image and stage show we have, plus eveything else about the band is as far removed from ‚Big Hair, Bandanas and Bullet Belts‘ as it’s possible to be. If you look at the statistics, our biggest fan sector is the 20-30 age group, some of whom weren’t even born when we were doing this the first time around, and so for people to categorise us in the same group as old guys wearing cowboy hats and with big bellies hanging over their jeans is just totally, totally wrong. I also think that words like ‚cult‘ and ‚legend‘ have lost almost all of their meaning because they are so over-used. We are totally relevant in 2013, producing new material which stands up alongside anything else out there – and anyone who doubts that should maybe look at the 2013 Bloodstock Open Air audience poll which ranked us as the #1 Mainstage Performance for the UK’s biggest metal festival – ahead of bands like King Diamond, Slayer, Anthrax, Exodus, Accept, Gojira and many others. It also makes us angry when we see stupid comments from narrow-minded ‚kvlt‘ people criticising our album production because it’s crystal-clear, loud and heavy. We don’t want to sound ‚old-school‘ – and we certainly don’t want our albums to sound like they were recorded in a garage using a microphone made from potatoes……plus we aren’t a ‚scene‘ band. We don’t try to emulate or copy anyone else, nor have we ever done that. On the contrary – we try to be as different as possible to everyone else, and I think that’s the reason why we are becoming so popular – it’s fresh, different and original.”

In retrospect, which live shows were the most exciting shows in the last 12 months? Why?

“Bloodstock Open Air was special for us, because it was a rare opportunity for us to put on the full ‘Church Of Hell’ pyro show in front of 12,000 people in our home country. But every show we do is exciting for us, even the small ones where we’re maybe playing to just a few hundred people in a smaller venue. We always particularly enjoy playing in Germany though – BYH as you mentioned was a good day, we’ve also played Summerbreeze, Rock Hard, Metalfest and many German shows on the ACCEPT ‘Stalingrad’ tour in 2012. The audiences are always super, the stage crews and organisation is always excellent, and every show is just a joy to do.”

After the release of `Curse And Chapter` any plans for a tour?

“Yes – in fact the album will be released midway through an extensive European tour with AMON AMARTH and CARCASS which starts in Oberhausen on 07 November and continues all the way through to Helsinki on 09 December, taking in 26 shows across 13 countries in Europe and Scandinavia. After that, we’ll maybe start looking at our own headline club tour for early 2014, starting in the UK probably. It’s still too early to tell….. “

What would be the perfect tour package for HELL?

“That’s easy. 100 shows worldwide with KING DIAMOND, GHOST and HELL. I think that would be a fantastic occult package which would sell out everywhere it played. All we need now is for some intelligent promoter to make it happen…..”