I N T E R V I E W S
"Heaviness and Melody"
Interview with guitarist/vocalist Metti Zimmer
By: Eric Compton | Published: Monday, January 20, 2003
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We really appreciate the opportunity you have given us to get a little insight on the band. Perzonal War seems to be leading the way for a New Wave Of German Thrash metal. What is the thrash scene like in Germany these days? How would you describe this New Wave? |
I think the first thing people think of when they speak about the "German thrash metal scene" are bands like Sodom, Kreator or Destruction. This "teutonic" Thrash Metal which has its roots in the early 80ies. In fact this kind of metal boomed again in the last two years here in Germany, but in my eyes itīs very different to the kind of music we play. Itīs very hard for new, young bands to establish; especially if you play "old fashioned" Metal like Perzonal War do. The main difference between the typical German Thrash Bands is, that they also sound German. Most people compare the music of Perzonal War to American Metal and especially to the 80ies Bay Area style. For me itīs a very big compliment, because I donīt like the German thrash Metal bands so much. American stuff has always been a much more bigger influence for me. I wouldnīt talk of a "wave of new Thrash Metal" in Germany. In fact there are just a few bands who play this kind of music any more; itīs more Black and Death Metal.
What other new bands would you consider the New Wave Of German Thrash? I've gotten a chance to listen to bands like Delirious and Pitt and really enjoy this fresh, new take on Bay Area Thrash from the 80s.
Yeah, Delirious are very good friends of us. We produced their current album in our studio and also play a lot of gigs with them. Itīs a very cool band and we support each other, where we can. But there are not much more bands than these you already know. Another very talented band from Bavaria is Red To Grey, which can be compared to early Exodus/Forbidden stuff. But unfortunately Thrash bands are really few.
Obviously there is a huge amount of influence from Metallica in your sound. What other influences have the band drawn from?
One of my biggest influences are definetely Lefay; former known as Morgana Lefay. Itīs my favourite band, and if more people knew them they would perhaps compare us more to Lefay than to Metallica. We all like the 80ies Thrash Metal Bands like Overkill, Testament, Slayer or Forbidden. Also stuff like Saxon, Kiss, Judas Priest or AC/CD. I also think that modern Metal influences the music of Perzonal War: Fear Factory, Pantera, Machine Head etc. We donīt try to copy an 80ies style with our music. We just play the music, we like most and thatīs a mixture from different kinds and styles. I would describe our music in the following way: Itīs basically Thrash Metal but with melodic vocals and enough modern elements not to be totally oldschool.
Its amazing that the lineup has stayed intact for 3 albums now. Does the band get along well with each other and do you see the lineup staying consistent? How did the band meet?
|"I thought nobody would be interested in this kind of music" |
You ask this question at the right point. Just a few days ago our bass player Frank had to leave the band. When we met Personal War was not planned as a band; it was more a project of Martin (the drummer) and me. We recorded together a demo tape and didnīt plan to play live. Then some people came to us and said we should complete the line-up and let Personal War grow into a band. So Sascha and Frank joined the band too and we got complete.
Personal War were born and some months later we already went together into the studio and made our second demo. Martin and me have always been friends and this has gotten stronger since we play together in a band; we really do lots of things together besides the music. Sascha is also a very nice guy and we really enjoy staying together and playing in the same band. Unfortunately Frank never seemed to like working very hard for the band and for his abilities of playing the bass. So we talked for a longer time about this topic but his engagement didnīt change. So we had to go different ways. Now we are looking for a new, talented bassplayer with an ass full of bees.
How well was Perzonal War treated by Gernhart-Records? Was there a huge response to "The Inside"?
Gernhart Records was a small label. The owner is our friend Kai Kneutgen who also produced our albums. You can see "The Inside" as our first semi-professional production. Some friends tried to sell their records. We worked hard for "The Inside" sent it around the world in hope to be noticed. We sold about 1500 copies and we really enjoyed ripping our asses to let everyone know, who we are. Of course it was very expensive for us, because we sent copies of the album to nearly all magazines we found; we really had to pay a lot of portage. Gernhart records was the first try and we have to thank Kai a lot. He really supported us in many ways, thanx a lot man!!!
How well did B.Mind records do with "New Time Chaos"? Was there positive response to that release?
Yeah, the response to the release was positive. Unfortunately we had a very bad distribution. The reason to work together with B.Mind was to have a professional distribution; especially in Germany. But it didnīt work. Again we had to pay a lot and didnīt sell enough records to earn any money back. So we asked B.Mind to let us out of the contract. They didnīt pay us any money for the CD-production of "Newtimechaos" and we couldnīt afford another production without being paid. But they didnīt want to let us go, so we decided to change our name into Perzonal War and signed the deal with AFM-records. Here we go.
Lets talk about the deal with AFM records? How did that come about and what led to the name change? The band was Personal War on the first two releases, and then Perzonal War for the debut on AFM Records.
I knew Andy of AFM-records a long time before we made Personal War. This was with my first band Crossing Skulls. He told me some years ago if we had some material, we just should let him know. So I called him, when we got in trouble with B.Mind and asked him if he was still inrerested in Personal War. Before we signed the deal with B.Mind records we also dealed with AFM, but we decided to go to B.Mind. So we talked for hours, sent him our new songs and after some months we decided to work together. Of course we hope this will last for some longer time now, but I am really optimistic. The reason to change our name was the contract with B.Mind. We decided to change the name to Perzonal War because we thought that everyone who knew us under the old name still knows who we are now.
"Different But The Same" is in my opinion the band's best album to date. How do you feel about the new album and what is "different" about this release as opposed to the previous 2?
Thanx a lot!!! I also think itīs the best album so far. We just grew together as band and learned how to write better songs. I think there is more variety on the album and the main difference to the 2 other ones is that songs are reduced to the point. They got more simple and direct and there is a good mixture of heaviness and melody. Fast songs like "Born" are faster than our old fast stuff; "Open My World" for example is the most melodic song we have ever written so far.
How did Victor Smolski of Rage get involved on the album and what part did he play?
Victor is friend of the boss from B.Mind records. One day both visited us in the studio when we just finished the recordings of the album and Victor really liked our music. So he decided to play two solos and also make the instrumental, "The Progress", which is now the introduction for the song "Open My World". He is a really cool guy and a real guitar alien; unbelievable what a man can do with just two hands. Victor, thank you very much for your support and friendship!!!
How well did touring go last summer? Is there any current touring plans?
Unfortunately we didnīt get the cance to support a bigger act. It was planned to go on tour together with Rage and Primal Fear but at the end both bands toured alone because of financial reasons. I think we played about 25 gigs here in Germany but mostly at the weekends. We made small one week tour together with our friends of Red To Grey and Couragous and also played at the Pepsi Sziget Festival in Budapest (Hungary) together with Gamma Ray, Savatage, Kreator and other nice bands.
I'm not sure if you are aware of it or not but fellow Germans Blind Guardian just came off of a very successful tour of the US, the first trip to America by that band. Primal Fear has played at one of our metal festivals, along with Edguy and most recently Gamma Ray played the Prog-Power fest in Atlanta. I also read that Sinner will be playing at the March Metal Meltdown fest in New Jersey this year. How much money is involved in trying to get a German band in the states and do you think Perzonal War will ever play on American soil?
Oh, of course we would like to go to the U.S. As I know the Blind Guardian tour was really successful. When I heard that they plan to tour in the U.S. I thought nobody would be interested in this kind of music. I am really happy that I was wrong and wish every band the best that comes to the U.S. I think there is a lot of money involved in such a tour. Of course I hope that we will go there one day but first we have to make oure name here in Europe. This is very important for us now and a tour in Europe is also expensive enough. But we are still young, perhaps we come to the U.S. in the age of 60, then we are really oldschool, he, he.
When can we expect a new album?
We will go into the studio in june and release the new album, the working title is Faces, in Autumn this year.
Thank you very much for your time and if there is anything MaximumMetal can do to support you guys just let us know.
Thank YOU very much for YOUR support. I hope my answers are not too boring and my German english is at least a bit understandable. Best wishes to you from the rest of the band. All you metalheads out there, we hope to meet you some time; meanwhile listen to our albums and bang your heads!
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