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Interview with SOLITARY SABRED

by Vpower


The Band: Solitary Sabred

Country: Cyprus




«By Fire & Brimstone» continues the legacy of the previous highly acclaimed album «Redemption Through Force». Crashing and powerful, «By Fire & Brimstone» contains 9 ultra-metal tracks of barbaric nature. A sound that lovers of US metal legends like Helstar, Omen, Jag Panzer, Manilla Road, etc will for sure enjoy as if tomorrow never comes. Truly, Metal is in need of bands like SOLITARY SABRED.

Hello guys, surely Solitary Sabred is a well known band for those who love underground heavy metal, how important is that for you?

Greetings for Cyprus! It is always nice to be appreciated, particularly in our type of music which you wouldn’t exactly call popular. What really blew my mind is the following we have gained in Spain, we are graterful and definetely plan on coming over to play for our friends there. Muchos gracias hermanos!

Awesome, Spanish fans will love it. In fact, you have appeared in many of the most relevant under fests at least in Europe. And for example you are participating in next Up the Hammer in Athens alongside so great bands as Slough Feg, Fifth Angel, Agent Steel…

One of the greatest rewards for us is being able to share the stage with some of the bands that inspired us. We are fans of this music first and foremost and the fact that over time we became good friends with some of our idols such as Sean Peck from Cage, is a great reward in itself.

Heavy Metal is an attitude for you or if you could choose you would prefer selling millions of copies?

Heavy metal is a way of life. I don’t necessarily mean walking around in chains and leather all the time, but rather the attitude of never giving up and fighting for your dreams. No surrender, no retreat! Now in terms of sales, no one would say no to a few extra millions, but I don’t think we’d be happy playing music for a living, just because we’d have to go through the process of “Will people like what we’re playing or should we change it?”. I think that would be a death sentence for Sabred, since the whole point is playing music that we ourselves enjoy. The fact that a lot of people seem to enjoy it as well, is a huge bonus and we are grateful for it, but it was never the sole purpose.

No surprise then. You started your project in 2000 and «By Fire & Brimstone» is your third album. We could say that you value quality over quantity or you don’t have time to produce more?

A bit of both! The band went through a huge hiatus, as the founder, Jimmy Demetriou was studying abroad and essentially the whole thing came back together in 2007 when Petros Leptos joined the band and we all relocated back to Cyprus. There have been various member changes over the years, and we all have families and very demanding jobs, so these things factored in as well. Good news is that the lineup is finally rock solid, everyone is fully dedicated to unleashing the deadliest epic metal possible, so I hope that you’ll be hearing a lot more frequently from us in the future!

When did you start composing the new songs and how was the process?

We always start with an idea. It might be a riff, a vocal line, a bass line etc. Then we all start jamming and building on it until we look at each other and say “That’s it”! The band has great composing chemistry and I believe it’s evident on the new album.

Your best album ever?

Hard pick! I know the obvious choice would be between “By fire and brimstone” and “Redemption through Force”, but the first album, although very “garage” in terms of recording, has some killer songs on it as well! So we love all of them equally, we wouldn’t release them if we didn’t!

Let’s the fan decide then. Of course there have been and there are more bands from Cyprus but quite probably you are the most popular one in the international arena, how do you feel about it?

There’s other Cypriot bands that have an international footing, such as Arrayan Path, Mirror, Vomitile etc, so I’d say we are part of a wave that’s bringing the local scene to the forefront. There’s good music being played here, and we are proud to let the rest of the world know!

Jimmy is the guy that has been in the band since the very beginning, what has been the evolution of the band and what can you tell us about the current line up?

Jimmy was on a crusade to materialize his vision of a heavy / epic metal band, but in late 90’s Cyprus it wasn’t very easy to find the right musicians. He left for studies abroad a couple of years later, but some rehearsal demos exist from the olden days, and some ideas can be found in songs from the first album. In 2007 Petros Leptos joined the band, and the rest – as they say – is history! Petros initially handled the bass as well, but then George “Stainlesz” Papaioannou came in that role (around 2012 if I recall correctly), Nikolas Moutafis joined soon thereafter, and the mighty Fotis Mountouris was the final piece of the puzzle when he joined the band last year. We are all friends first and foremost, but we also happen to be metal maniacs on a mission to unleash deadly steel upon the world!

There are some new faces in that line up but «By Fire & Brimstone» continues to breathe the epic heavy metal that you used to deliver

Of course! That’s the type of music that’s in the veins of every single member of the band. That’s why nowadays we all write together, where as in the past it used to be Jimmy and Petros that did 90% of the composing.

I love the blend of epic sound and US power sound that your album drips, and it all comes in a very natural way. Your DNA or many hours of rehearsing?

DNA all the way! We grew up on bands like Manowar, Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, Helstar, Jag Panzer, Vicious Rumors etc, so it’s only natural that these influences are now part of our very existence. However good genes by themselves are nothing if you don’t put in the hard work, so let’s say that the DNA was forged and sharpened through countless hours of playing and many live shows!

There are two songs in the new album that you subtitle as Chronicles of the Barbarian King, they are truly connected by a primitive sound ala Omen or Cirith Ungol, capital words…

Indeed and we’re glad you noticed! It’s the story of “Phoenix on the Sword” by R.E. Howard, so pure sword & sorcery requires equally sorcerous heavy metal! It’s not that we “aim” for a song to sound a certain way, but the influences in our expression come up without us even realising. The DNA that you mentioned before! In terms of composition there’s recurring themes, riffs, and melodies throughout the two songs which make them intertwined musically as well as lyrically.

Any favorite song in the album?

Again, impossible to pick! They all have their own vibe and place in our hearts. Having said that, “Disillusions” always gives us shivers when we play it, that song has some otherwordly quality to it!

What are the lyrcis about?

Mostly sword & sorcery, from the Warhammer Chaos Warriors in “Servants of the Elder Gods”, to the Kthulhu mythos in “Psionic Transmogrification” and the Conan inspired tracks we mentioned earlier. However we always try to draw parallels between fantasy and reality, as we find that it’s a good way to comment on the human condition without the barriers of political correctness. I believe that is very evident in “Disillusions” which draws inspiration from Howard’s work to comment on real life struggles.

The cover artwork by Kostas Tsiakos is really fantastic with that plenty of details ala Iron Maiden’s Somewhere in Time where you can stay minutes looking at it and searching for connections

We’re glad you noticed the hidden references! We gave Kostas the concept and all the details you mentioned were purposefully placed there, to give the listener a chance to discover all the hidden Easter eggs! He did an outstaniding job and when a vinyl release comes out his magnificent peace of art will trully shine!

As we are kicking off the new decade this year I’m asking a recurrent question: Please, name a band or an album that have been like a milestone for you in these two decades of the new century

Hmmm, that’s a hard question! Tons of amazing albums, but we’d say Cage “Darker than Black” and “Hell Destroyer” absolutely RULED the metal world in the 00’s : mind blowing vocals, great compositions and raw POWER! For the 10’s hats off to our brothers from Sacral Rage, who resurrected the fine art of tech speed metal to the max! All their releases absolutely slay!

Great bands both, yeah. In terms of heavy metal, or metal in general, choose past or present? Maybe future?

The past is of course the roots, a magical time where a lot of incredible bands spawned left and right. We are blessed to see a lot of these bands reunite in the present. As for the future, that belongs to Solitary Sabred!

Apart of Up The Hammers mentioned before, are you planning other live appeareances this 2020?

We are playing Up the Hammers on the 13th, Swordbrothers in Germany on the 14th, and Power of the Night festival in Cyprus in April. More gigs will follow, we hope to visit more European countries before the end of the year!

Thanks for your attention and keep the flame alive! If you wish to add something…

Thank you for the support! Metal es vida, we hope to play for you soon!

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