Seven Thorns are soon ready to release their new album, Symphony Of Shadows. PowerMetal.no had a talk with the guys in the Danish/Swedish power metal band, while on tour in Europe.
It’s been four years since the last album, II (2014), and I know there was quite a lineup change after that release. What was the immediate consequences of losing three members? Did it stop you from playing shows, and what about the work towards Your third album?
Lars: It was a natural development of the band. We had just been on a European tour with Lillan Axe, and learned quite a bit from that tour. One of the things that became evident, was that some members of the band needed to improve certain skills. And we told them that, but instead they decided to leave the band – they were not fired. It was a clear understanding that, if the band was to move on, we all had to improve our weakest sides.
Nicolaj [Marker] decided to focus on his firm, so when he left, Mads [Mølbæk], who already had been a stand in several times, took his place. And later on, Nicolaj has stepped in for Mads at one occasion; when we played at Brynerock in Bryne, Norway, in 2015.
Gustav [Blide] didn’t really have his heart in the project, and he did actually never record any songs with us. In 2014 he decided to spend more time with his new girlfriend and studies, and it was around that time we learned that Zero Illusions had split up. So, we reached out to Björn [Asking] and luckily for us he said yes.
We had played with Zero Illusions in Denmark a couple of years before Björn joined Seven Thorns, so we knew each other beforehand, and we we knew what we were getting. And the fact that we knew each other made the transaction a lot easier. Also; Björn has a complete different attitude on stage, something that has made our live performance a lot better.
All these replacements made us a tighter band and the working environment improved because of the fact that we all wanted the same thing – and we all were aware of what was needed to get there.
As you mentioned, Björn and Mads became new members after the second album, keeping the wheels turning. How has the years after the second album been? What have you been uo to?
Lars: We have never stopped! A lot of concerts and festivals, and they keep getting bigger and bigger. Already a month after Björn joined, we were on the road playing live. At that time we were focusing on improve our live show, so we played almost everything that was thrown at us.
Having that approach lead us to the biggest metal festival in Sri Lanka! And three days after we returned, we flew to Stavanger to play our first ever festival show in Norway. And that was quite a contrast; having played in a tropical climate and a few days later play i Norway. And I must admit that the Norwegian temperature suits me better, haha!
Writing on our third albums was, involuntarily, put on hold. We spent a lot of time and energy getting the band properly together, so that we didn’t had to look for replacements again. And looking back, it’s clear that everybody, during that process, improved and that we now fuctional optimal!
But, at last we started writing new material, and the new record was finished in 2017. And it has taken approximately one year to get a record deal in place.
Yes, about that. You wrote on Facebook that there were some difficulties finding a label to release the album. And funny enough you eventually found the label in Denmark. The first album, Return To The Past (2010), was released on Nightmare Records, but the second one (II, 2013) was an independent release. And now you are on Mighty Music. Can you tell me a bit about the deal with Mighty Music and how it is for a band to have an album ready, but not be able to release it properly?
Lars: II was released on Sonic Revolution in Germany, by the way. After we got ripped off by Nightmare Records, we wanted a record label that worked more closely with us. After a while we could then ascertain that Sonic Revolution wasn’t the right match either, because of the fact that they didn’t do a thing for that record. So, when were finished with the recording of Symphony Of Shadows, we gave ourselves six months to find a record label that could give us a deal we were comfortable with – otherwise we would release it ourselves. We got in touch With our former promotion agent, Axel Wiesenaur at Rock’n’Growl, an handed him the task of finding us a label.
That resultet with him getting us signed at the Japanese label, Rubicon, but that deal did only include Japan. Fair enough, given the fact that the Japanese market is very interesting and for us it is a chance to get to play there.
Soon after that, we got an offer from Mighty Music/Target. Michale, the chief at Mighty Music, had heard the «Black Fortress» single, and wanted to work with us. After a lot of negotiations back and forth, we agreed to release the album together.
For the time being the deal with Mighty Music is for the Symphony Of Shadows album only, but we are already in working progress with our next album, so time will show wether or not that also will be released on Mighty Music. So far, they have done a lot more for us than our previous labels have ever done.
What can you tell me about the forthcoming album? Has the lineup change affected how the band approached the songwriting?
Gabriel: The new album sounds much different compared to our earlier work. It’s darker, heavier, and more orchestrated than anything we’ve ever done. It’s also quite diverse as there are elements from prog, trash, and symphonic metal to be heard, as well as a few growls here and there. Listeners, both longtime fans and newcomers, will be in for a few surprises!
The lineup changes has not changed the approach to the songwriting significally. However, whereas the songwriting on the first two albums were a collaboration between me and Mik [Holm, vocals], the new album is written entirely be me.
Catchy melodies are still the prime objective, but people might not recognize the Seven Thorns from Return To The Past  and II . The band has matured musically, and we’ve found our «sound» and this album is a testimony to that.
What about the lyrics; is there an overall theme on this album?
Dr. P: Just like our music, the lyrics have gotten darker with time, and with the change of lyric writer to me, who debuted as text writer on some of the songs for the last album.
There is no overall storyline that includes all of the songs on the album. Roughly you could divide the lyrics into two categories; those describing an emotional situation like break-up («Last Goodbye»), grief («Ethereal») or losing one’s direction («Cast Away»), and the ones that tell part of a story. «Evil Within» and «Symphony Of Shadows» are parts of the same story, while «Black Fortress» is a stand-alone tale. Some of the themes on this album, e.g. «Virtual Supremacy», may get a continuation on the next album…
The album is already released in Japan. Why is that?
Lars: Because Rubicon wanted to release the album immediately.
Will the album be released on vinyl?
Lars: We really want to release it on vinyl, but it’s quite expencive, and not a priority for Mighty Music at the moment. That means we have to pay for it, and right now all our money goes into the European tour. But, we really hope that we can release the album on vinyl in 2019.
How is the power metal scene in Denmark?
Lars: It’s not that big, but there are more and more melodic and symphonic metal bands breaking through at the moment. Two of those bands are Pectora and Ethereal Kingdoms, that we will play with in Denmark next year.
What are the plans after the album is released?
Lars: We are actually writing on our next, and fourth, studio album, and at the same time we are touring Europe with Blitzkrieg.
In the beginning of 2019 we will play a bunch of shows in Denmark, and we are planning on entering the studio within the year.
We are also busy with other projects. Asger [W. Nielsen, keyboard] and Gabriel are contributing on an Italien power metal project about King Arthur [read the interview with the guys behind that project here] – along with Göran Edman and Fabio Lione and others. Mads [Mølbæk, bass] and I are contributing on another metal project by the Lithuanian vocalist Vitalis Kairiukstis.
And what about the future of Seven Thorns? Do you feel that everything is set for another (at least) ten years? With a new lineup, a new record label; things are looking bright at the moment?
Lars: You are absolutely right! Up to now everything has gone the right direction; we are playing bigger festivals – with bigger bands, we are on a tour again, we have a better record deal than before, we have deals with Premium Drums, Roland Bass and Shure – something is happening and it’s really great!
And we are hoping that a lot more will happen in 2019, and that we will come to Norway and play for you again!
Metal Is Your Destiny!
Seven Thorns New album, Symphony Of Shadows, will be released worldwide December 14th.