Moritz: Hello there! First of all, congratulations for the new album "Those Once Loyal"! The Album sounds like Bolt Thrower every time, but do you see any differences regarding your older releases?
Karl: On each of our progressive releases we try to add a little something else into the essential mix of sound that is BoltThrower. There will always be that wall of guitars churning bass and pounding drums, overlaid by an aggressive vocal delivery, On the new album there are again no significant changes but slight alterations and variants on a the theme.
Moritz: What have been the reasons for the 4-year long period since "Honour-Valour-Pride" up to now?
Karl: well the band toured in promotion of HVP and then as the new album was coming together in 2003 Dave quit the band. The rest of the band carried on formulating the song structures that now appear on the new album, Baz spent a long time working out the song structures. I rejoined the band in November 2004, and we spend time demo-ing my vocals on HVP, to see if my voice still worked, we started recording Those Once loyal this summer. So the time has mainly been taken up with song writing, getting our website up and running at long last (www.boltthrower.com), organising the release of the album and promotional tours in 2006.
Moritz: You are now back at the vocals. How do you feel about your return?
Karl: Well from my opinion it is great to be back with BoltThrower! It feels like I have just been away from the band on holiday for a few years, now I have returned with fresh enthusiasm. I think that this has helped us focus on what we want to achieve with BoltThrower and propelled the band forward together with more vigour! The chemistry between us all is there just like in the past, recording and touring together is a pleasure because we get on as colleagues/friends, almost like family (after you have been through so many things together!)
Moritz: When did you start the song writing for the new record, and what is the way you're composing your songs?
Karl: Baz started getting the riffs together for the new album back in 2003. He spent a long time arranging and rearranging them on his studio at home, during this time Jo was organising stuff for BT and getting ideas together for the cover and Gav kept himself occupied helping Baz structure the songs and working on lyrical themes and topics, writing ideas and words in notepads. So the music side always comes first in the BT process, Baz writes the riffs together we see how they work and rearrange them till they all fit together and flow properly, once this is completed the songs are recorded as demos (we have about 4 hard drives full of these!!) I then work out the rough timings and structures go through them with Gav, we bounce ideas off each other, which helps, and the notes he took over the years where useful! After about 10 edits the vocals are usually ready to record, on this album this was a few weeks beforehand, which is a first.
Moritz: Just give a little biography of Bolt Thrower. When did you found the band and how did Bolt Thrower become that Death Metal legend as it is today?
Karl: 2006 will be the 20th year of the existence of BoltThrower, thats one hell of a biography, for the full description I suggest you check out our website. But Briefly The band has had 8 albums out and maintained a fairly steady line up apart from vocalists and drummers (its a pressure job!) and toured extensively throughout Europe developing a loyal band of supporters along the way. Some call us the War machine. Thats nice.
Moritz: And so you may describe the meaning of Bolt Thrower itself?
Karl: A BoltThrower is an ancient weapon of war, pretty much like a huge crossbow, which was fairly devastating when used against troops in open battle in close formation. Quite demoralising to see up to 10 men taken out with one large sharp piece of flying metal.
Moritz: Back to the new album. It seems that the songs are faster again. Was that planed?
Karl: Yes, We felt that the last album lacked variation a little so it was important not to lose the fast bits which are essential to the BoltThrower sound, these faster parts seem to accentuate the slower/mid tempo stuff better.
Moritz: The brilliant cover artwork has a special history I read. So may you describe it?
Karl: I am well chuffed with the new album cover, it has got to be up there along with For victory as my favourite cover, to date. The image is taken from a memorial at Horse Guards Parade in London, just around the corner from the Cenotaph. The full image in the centrespread of the CD booklet. It is a huge bronze plaque made from melted down French cannons. Nice.
Moritz: In fact, Bolt Thrower always seems to have a clear lyrical background dealing with war. What are the other topics you're telling about in the songs?
Karl: Its really about how you interpret the concept of War, so may see the everyday struggle of life as a form of warfare. The lyrics are always about the reality of war from the personal human perspective. I like to try to evoke imagery that fits the music. The attempt to make you feel the mud and the smell of the cordite. The songs on the new album where written taken from experience of visting places with specific military interest.
Moritz: Bolt Thrower is one of the leading Death Metal acts. So you could say, you have reached your destination, but are there any reasons to go on and on? Or would you say, that you don't care about things like that, because you just want to go on playing music?
Karl: We are getting close but we have still got to release the 100% perfect BoltThrower album, I reckon its in there, maybe even the next one who knows? That itself is reason enough to continue with BoltThrower. Gav Baz and Jo have done it for nearly 20 years, I have for 10 years and the 10 years I wasnt doing BoltThrower can be counted as probably the most miserable phase of my life! I cant imagine us doing anything else other than BoltThrower to be honest; Ive tried it and was rubbish at it, failed miserably. So as long as we retain our most loyal supporters thats all that matters. We will keep playing our Music until we want to.
Moritz: When I was listening to "Anti Tank (Lead Armour)" I had to think about Amon Amarth due to the guitar-melodies. I think I may be the first one to compare Amon Amarth as the Swedish Bolt Thrower?
Karl: Ha, thats cool they have some nice sounding guitar parts! I think Bazs style has definitely developed on this new album, the riffs are killer and his leads are sweet.
Moritz: What are the future plans now for the next time? There will be a tour?
Karl: Well the new album is released now, so we are doing a lot of interviews and promotion for the album at the moment, we go into the studio to start rehearsing the set list for the tour in a week or so. I am looking forward to this. In January we are doing an extensive tour of Europe and we have more gigs being booked now for later in the year.
Moritz: Perhaps there are even some festival gigs next summer?
Karl: We are confirmed to play at the Rock Hard Festival. This will be the only Festival date that BoltThrower will do in Germany. It will be a killer show. Cant wait for this one itll be a big one!
Moritz: Thank you very much!
Karl: Nice 1 Moritz....hope this is enough information.
Sorry for the delay! Karl.