It has been several years since the last time Greek heavy/power metal band Crimson Fire released new material, but they’re returning with their strongest effort yet. ‘Fireborn’, due out on June 3rd from Pitch Black Records, is the group’s second full length in their ten year plus career, and it’s filled with high flying riffs, soaring vocals, and some slower ballads. Today we’re excited to premiere Right off the Bat, which is the third song on the album, alongside a new interview where the band talks about what they’ve been up to in the past four years.
There’s a lot of heavy/power metal vying for your attention these days, and if you browse through the catalogs of quite a few European labels you’ll likely find that the Greek scene is just as crowded. But Crimson Fire has what it takes to break through the noise, and I think this song is a great example. It’s one of the slower pieces on the album, beginning with an acoustic guitar intro before kicking up into a mid-tempo riff that ups the energy level significantly. There’s quite a bit of emphasis on soaring, squealing guitar solos, even with the slower pace, but the band makes it work perfectly. It’s also worth mentioning lead singer Johnny B., as he’s one of the main factors that put the group above their peers. His voice has this commanding presence, and is able to reach those soaring higher ranges without sounding like he’s straining. It’s a great example of heavy metal done right, and we hope you enjoy it.
Transcending Obscurity (Chris Dahlberg): Thanks for answering these questions. It has been a while since we last heard from Crimson Fire, as the ‘Fire in the Sky’ EP came out back in 2012. What has the band been up to in the time between that EP and ‘Fireborn’?
Crimson Fire: No problem guys, thank you for this interview! Yes indeed, it has been a while, but as they say, no rest for the wicked! Between that time we did a lot of shows all over Greece (one of them supporting Uli Jon Roth!) and Cyprus (Power of the Night Festival) and we concentrated on composing songs, recording, mixing and producing ‘Fireborn’ our new album, which is coming out on June 3rd through Pitch Black Records. We also shot the video clips for Let There Be War and Metal is Back. Add that to the search for a record label and you get the picture. Sounds like quite a lot actually!
TO: Tell us more about the writing process for ‘Fireborn’. When did you start writing these songs, and how did they come together into their finished tracks? Were there any ideas you had left over from these sessions that might resurface further down the road?
Crimson Fire: We started writing songs for ‘Fireborn’ in 2011. Two of these tracks are also included in the 2012 EP but there is a different character and colour to them now. Composing is an initial stage for us. For example, most of the tracks in ‘Fireborn’ were originally conceived by Stelios and John, but we tend to work with ideas in the studio in order to come up with the final song form included in our albums. In this respect, composition is a group effort that combines the input of each band member. We certainly have lots of bits and pieces of ideas that will provide the raw material for a future third album. After we finish promoting ‘Fireborn’ live we will once again start to compose new songs.
TO: Where did you record ‘Fireborn’ and what was that experience like compared to your previous recording sessions?
Crimson Fire: We recorded ‘Fireborn’ at the Music Room Studio in Athens, Greece and it was produced, recorded, mixed and mastered by Marios Laz Ioannidis. Recording ‘Fireborn’ was a somewhat different experience because we knew what we were looking for and we didn’t waste much time trying out different parts during recordings. Sessions were exciting as the sound was there from the very beginning! We also had the chance to work with Mario, whose help, expertise and guidance was crucial as we felt that the album would have sonic coherence and girth. We think the final product will be something we can be really proud of. We bet you’ll love it!
TO: I think the entire album has great moments from beginning to end, but there are any particular songs that stand out to you as favorites?
Crimson Fire: Since we hand-picked the songs for the album it’s kinda hard to say! If we had to choose though, we would probably say Hunter, Take to The Skies, Only the Brave and Bad Girl.
TO: There are so many different elements to your material, from slower ballads to high flying guitar solos. How do you balance these high intensity moments with softer ones when putting an album together? Are there any particular elements you think a song needs for it to be worthy of being released under the Crimson Fire name?
Crimson Fire: We think an album should have ups and downs, slower and faster moments, for it to be able to capture the ears of the listener. In any case rhythm and melody is at the core of every song of ours. Speed is also something we like, take songs like Knightrider or Take to the Skies for example. This is probably our fastest album yet and we love it.
TO: The music video for Bad Girl came out last week, and it looks like a ton of fun to shoot. Tell us more about the process for shooting this video and the ideas behind its creation.
Crimson Fire: It was AWESOME. Bad Girl was shot over a three day period in Athens, Greece, with members of the band and some friends. We wanted to have something of a scenario this time, a playful and humorous event turned bad, which is why we chose Bad Girl for our first video clip. The song is about a guy who is crazy about a girl that teases him and then again doesn’t want to be with him. It is like this in the video. Director Faidon Gretsikos came up with the scenario of a Bad Girl so “evil” that flirts with a confident and ‘mucho’ metalhead but ends up stealing his bike and leaving him stunned. The clip is flourished with humorous notes like Stelios playing behind the couple who is flirting, John is harassing a teller at an underground parking lot. Come on, what’s more hilarious than a Heavy Metal band playing live and headbanging inside a local grocery store? Despite the rain, late night shootings and lack of technical means, the whole thing truly was tons of fun and we really enjoyed every bit of it.
TO: Who created the album art, and how does it tie into the themes the album covers?
Crimson Fire: The person behind the album art is our very own talented bassist Nemo! The album cover had originally been assigned to an illustrator, but unfortunately something didn’t click. That’s when Nemo stepped in to save the day. He knew exactly what we were aiming for and delivered great quality and detail. ‘Fireborn’ is about re-inventing one’s self. The idea of the circular process of life is represented in the album art by the mythical creature “Phoenix” and through its prism we look at different aspects of this interminable process, be it youth, love, revenge, personal struggle, politics, new beginnings as well as endings, etc. It symbolizes man’s power to face and overcome any kind of difficulty in order to emerge even stronger.
TO: You posted back in March you were looking for a guitar player. Have you had any luck with this yet? Will you be able to play any live shows to support the new album in the meantime?
Crimson Fire: Yeah, we have been looking for a guitarist for quite some time now. We had a couple of auditions and we found a guy who we believe can blend in nicely with the rest of the band and will help give us that extra kick during gigs. For the moment we are working hard to be ready for the album’s release and we are looking forward to presenting him live and begin touring to promote our new album.
TO: This is your first release with Pitch Black Records. How did this deal come together and are there any other bands on their roster you’re fans of?
Crimson Fire: Pitch Black Records was one the few labels that was quick to respond to our e-mails, they were easy to reach and had a detailed plan laid out for their roster. It seemed like a professional and trustworthy label and so we decided to go for it. Some friends of ours have already had some albums released through PBR and they also recommended it. PBR’s roster is very interesting but there are some bands that stand out like Arryan Path, Valor, and Vomitile.
We think an album should have ups and downs, slower and faster moments, for it to be able to capture the ears of the listener.
TO: There are a lot of Greek heavy/power metal bands out there. What’s the scene like where you are? Are the shows well attended and is there a lot of passion for the music?
Crimson Fire: The underground scene in Greece is chaotically huge. The quality is there. However, it is hard for smaller bands find ways or tools to get their music out there and reach a broader audience. The passion is also there. It has never disappeared. Fans of the underground in Greece have an undying thirst for metal and they show it however they can.
TO: You’ve had the opportunity to play live with a lot of classic heavy metal bands over the years. Are there any shows in particular that stand out as some of your favorites?
Crimson Fire: We are very happy to have played with some of our childhood heroes like Deamon, Heir Apparent and others. Touring Greece with Canada’s Anvil is surely a favorite moment for us. Everyone was crazy excited and the band gave 110% on stage. The best thing was meeting Lips and hanging around with Rob and the rest of the band. We definitely feel that opening for Uli Jon Roth in Patras is a major moment for Crimson Fire as well. That being said we are grateful to the people who made those gigs happen, you rock!
TO: Is there anything else you’d like to say about ‘Fireborn’ or Crimson Fire?
Crimson Fire: Keep your eyes and ears peeled for June 3rd, ‘Fireborn’ is coming through Pitch Black Records! Thanks for the interview and metal on\m/