NECRONOMICON is a secure value when it comes to Thrash Metal, a long career and legion of fans growing year after year. So, it’s always nice to have Freedy back with a new chapter. Now “The Final Chapter”, NECRONOMICON’s new album. Is their tenth full-length and the first time that the band features an international line-up with Canadian drummer Rik Charron (ex-Exciter) and American solo-guitarist Glen Shannon, who played with members of Fates Warning, Pentagram and others. Apart of that in this interview Freddy shares with us some sad and tragic news in the middle of the pandemonium we are living with the damned Covid. From here we send Freddy our most sincere affection and support.
Hi Freddy, Necronomicon is back with a new album, then tenth already. It means something special for you?
I am quite sentimental about it, of course, and proud of it , too. Although this is probably my best album (songwriting), and yes, I think everyone says that when they release a new album, the signature is unmistakable. And I want it to stay that way. I just hope that I hit a point with the fans in my way of music-& songwriting, which simply pleases. That’s why you make music with passion and dedication and of course your own conviction, without wanting to sound arrogant. The music industry is already brutal and merciless. So it’s even nicer to get something back if people like it and it’s also honored. And that’s what I hope to have achieved with the new album.
The title The Final Chapter has something to do with the last album of the band, I hope not…?
I had the most horrible year of my life. Within 2 days I lost my parents to Corona and I had to struggle with that too. That paralyzes you for the time being; also concerning the planned recordings of the new album. We had fortunately recorded the drums in December 2019 and so we could then, after I had digested the shock to some extent (although that will probably never really go) in August then finally continue. Originally we wanted to have the album ready in April 2020; to the European tour start. But there it went to us like all the others. Nothing went more. I don’t think we’ve had a crisis like this in the world since the Spanish flu. Especially the music & event industry are totally down. We are fighting for survival. We’ll see what the new album brings. I hope there also very strongly, on the support of the label. The canceled European tour will be made up as soon as the situation out there improves, and then we’ll see. I can’t stop completely anyway, I’m too much of a musician and I love this kind of music too much. We will see what comes in 2021. That’s why our lyrics on the new album are darker than usual. Since I often use metaphors in the lyrics or work with metaphors, I have this time the theme of “death” very strongly focused. This is certainly also a certain processing of the events of last year.
We feel very sorry about the bad news you give us, such a huge loss as that, all our support from here Freddy, it’s terrible all this situation we are living, as you said. For this new album you have recruited American solo-guitarist Glen Shannon, how was it?
When you’ve been making music for 35 years, you always have to deal with change. I met Rik in 2017 on our European tour. He supported us with his band ” Dark Ministry ” and somehow the spark between him and me jumped right away. After Chris had to confess to us on the last tour that he just can’t do it anymore (health problems) I asked Rik without further ado, who immediately agreed and also got Glen on board. Rik knows Glen from previous projects and was full of praise of him. So I asked Glen if he would like to join Necronomicon Rik and Glen joining us is a win-win situation. They really wanted to make music again and we (me) are completely fascinated from Rik`s drumming style and I was naturally curious how Glen would interpret the music as lead guitarist. They are really sympathetic and honest person, who fits especially humanly to us.
I like the work of Glen in the album and I think he emphasizes the melodic side of the band
The songwriting is 100% up to me. I create the framework of the individual songs, so to speak, so that everyone gets enough freedom within this construct, his ideas for his instrument can flow. That worked out very well this time; and yes, because of the two guys we sound also more powerful. And of course this is also due to Glen. He has his own personal style, which fits perfectly to Necronomicon. And he is a meticulous worker. He is not satisfied until everything is 100%. I like that a lot, of course and he is a really good guy.
As you said, we also find Canadian drummer Rik Charron. This way the line-up became something like more international?
Yes, absolutely. Through the two guys we sound “more international” and also more powerful. Rik has a very individual drumming and we never had that with Necronomicon. And Glen has also contributed to this with his somewhat “snotty” way of playing the solos. In addition, Achim Köhler, who made the mix and mastering once again had a lot of time for the production , because of the Corona crises, and you can hear that incredibly. The sound is much powerful and bombastic
You have a solid fan base, no doubt, but I think in the last years you have come to be more popular than ever and a little less underground, do you feel the same?
Yes, that is absolutely right. Since “Construction of evil” it goes more and more forward; but for me, the underground is very popular. And I’d rather be underground than one of millions in the commercial scene. But we haven’t been an underground band in years. And at the latest since “Invictus ” we have gained incredible popularity and we don’t have to hide from anyone in the Thrash Metal scene, especially in Germany.
How long have you worked in the composition of The Final Chapter and how was the recording process?
We had to be a little creative there. The rhythm guitars and the bass we recorded at Marco, my bass player at home. Luckily he has a small home studio and it wasn’t a problem, because we recorded the last records the same way, regarding guitar and bass. For the vocals we did an experiment: I have a pretty big closet, a wall cabinet, and that’s where we produced the vocals. Achim gave me the tip and it worked gigantically well :-)) Glenn also recorded the solo guitar at home. Achim then got all the files in September and then went to mix and master. The drums we had fortunately already recorded in the fall of 2019. Rik flew to germany especially for the recordings and so the most important part of the rhythm work was already done.
This new record continues the legacy of Necronomicon, a band with a solid path that never disappoints the fans
Throughout my life I have always tried to make and write the music that I myself would like to hear or play. This is now please not misunderstood or even come across arrogant… I am very very bad at copying or reproducing other songs or bands. I just can’t do it. I sometimes admire the people who can cover the solos or the rhythm 1 to 1 from this or that band. That’s why I get my ideas mainly from movies or series. Often a concise melody is enough, from which I then make a complete song. I’ve always done it that way to avoid being confronted with comparisons to other bands. But of course you can’t reinvent the wheel, and so one or the other will always find a parallel to related bands. I think our fans honor this, because I often get the statement from the writing guild, that NECRONOMCION are not only always on the bell, but can also offer rock songs or even ballads. Of course, this does not have to please everyone, but this is now my own and personal musical style.
As usual, we are going to enjoy some aggressive thrash songs but I think this new album is also kind of more diverse than Unleashed Bastards was?
The first thing you can hear immediately is that the drums no longer have the typical thrash metal rhythm. Rik asked me if he had a free hand or if he had to adapt to the predecessors. I said only: “Fire freely my good one and bang out everything what you have on it”. Also Glen should not orientate himself on Andi, who interpreted the lead guitar very melodious and almost too commercial. Glen has this “dirty” also sometimes unconventional kind, which I never heard so with NECRONOMICON. My vocals also come across quite differently, although I haven’t changed much there. And you are already right. Some melodies already sound “Maiden” like; although this was not intended at all and is. Perhaps this also comes through Marco`s bass playing much stronger to bear. And I am really proud of our rock number” The Unnaimend “
Freddy, your voice sounds so rough and aggressive as ever, do you follow any special care or it’s a natural thing of yours?
You could say that it is given by God; I have no influence on it at all, nor do I take special care of my voice. Maybe it’s the good wine or the delicious beer, which do my voice particularly well. hahahaha
Must be that then hahaha. Looking at the titles it seems the lyrics go around evil, death, etc, the usual package in Necronomicon, right?
They are more somber than usual. Since I often use metaphors in the lyrics or work with metaphors, I have this time the theme of “death” very strongly focused. This is certainly also a certain processing of the events of last year. For me, “The Final Chapter” is also a reappraisal, a kind of “healing process” of the events of the last year, which was very difficult for me.
I understand. Any favorite song in the album or anyone that will be for sure in the set list for the gigs?
Hahaha, that’s unfair my friend. Since I wrote the songs, of course I like all of them very much…:-)) but of course there is one or the other favorite. “Purgatory ” “I am the violence ” “Justice ” “Walls of Pain ” and “The Unnamed ” are some of my favorite songs. But, as you know, tastes are different and so I hope that there is something for everyone. I already said that I am very very proud of this album and I put all hopes now on the success with this production. There will also be 2 videos from this album: “Me against You ” and “Walls of Pain “; both a mix of video and lyric video. We didn’t have the opportunity to shoot a video with Rik and Glen, so we had to come up with something there as well. The result is quite good
Talking about gigs, how are you doing with this and you have any plans for the following months?
All the promoters assured our management that the concerts and the tour will take place as soon as it is possible again. On the contrary, many promoters still want to dock to the upcoming European tour. Now we are eagerly waiting for the vaccine and that this will happen quickly. And I want to tour in South-America again. Argentina, Brasil and Chile are in planning and if all things running well, we could go to Japan to promote the new album as well. It’s the same for all musicians; Covid-19 has changed everything. The music industry and especially the musicians and bands are completely down and fear for their existence. It’s the same for us. We had to cancel the European tour 3 days before it started. This was a disaster for everyone financially as well. The vaccine is the only chance to get back on our feet. If all goes well, we can possibly restart the tour in fall.
Crossing fingers. Necronomicon is getting closer and closer to their 40th anniversary, would you like to make some special event to celebrate it or it is still early to think about that?
To be honest, last year I had the thought of quitting. One more disc and then it’s over….I just couldn’t motivate myself anymore. We’ll see what the new album brings. I hope there also very strongly, on the support of the label. The canceled European tour will be made up as soon as the situation out there improves, and then we’ll see. I can’t stop completely anyway, I’m too much of a musician and I love this kind of music too much. We will see what future will bring….! And I’m also fully committed to the new album now. I am very proud of what we have produced with „ The Final Chapter „. Rik, Marco and Glen of course hope that it will continue, because especially for the two guys from North America this is a new chapter in their music career.
Freddy, tell us some moment of your long career that you will never forget.
That we picked ourselves up again after the total collapse and produced “Construction of evil”. That was also largely due to Jogi’s work, who kept pushing us to not let up. I still tell him that today when we see each other and meet each other. We were really down after the legal battle with our label and the bankruptcy of the following label. If we hadn’t picked ourselves up then, Necronomicon wouldn’t exist anymore. Even though this might be a gloomy impression, it was the most important one in my and our career. And Necronomicon still has a few chapters free in their own book…..:-))
Hopefully so. And finally, with your experience how do you see the world nowadays and what would you recommend to the young guys starting in this business?
Believe in what you are doing; and do it with all your heart. Then you will also be successful. The music industry is like a shark tank. Brutal and merciless. You always have to fight for your success. Only if you are ready to give everything, you will get something back.
Thanks a lot Freddy and take care, if you wish to add something…
I have to thank you, it was a pleasure for me. I really hope that we can come to South Europe, especially Spain and Portugal, as soon as possible. This is a wish of my heart. I would like to make it short and yet it is immensely important for me: Stay healthy out there and look after yourself! Beware the beast!