Fireworks Magazine Online 61 - Interview with Human Fortress


Interview by Wolf Gant

To many Hannover based melodic rockers Human Fortress are a new name on the AFM roster, but coming from the city that famously gave us the Scorpions, and which is still a hot-bed of German rock, the band has a much deeper set of roots than some of the new breed, all in a country teeming with many forms of metal so enjoyed by Fireworks’ readers over the last ten years.

“Hannover is a very good place for Rock,” says the guitarist, currently basking in the glow of new album ‘Raided Land’, just released.
“There are huge amounts of rehearsal rooms, music shops, clubs and music schools, so we have many musicians. We were really lucky when we formed Human Fortress. There were some really talented guys around.”
“In 2000, we won a band contest here and the German magazine Rock Hard released our track (“The Dragons Lair”) on their sampler. Limb Music then offered us a record deal from that. From 2003 to 2008 we released two albums on Massacre, and at the end of 2008 reformed the band again after some major line-up changes.”

What made you believe that you could start first breaking out of Hannover to a wider audience…..?

“We knew the time was right I think, when we found our singer Jioti (Parcharidis). Human Fortress is a very melodic metal band, and, in my opinion you really need a very good singer to get a chance in the international Rock circus. You have to convince the record labels and fans with your song writing, and Jioti was key to that…..”

Your first album with Limb Music, ‘Lord Of Earth And Heaven’s Heir’ was a really strong album with signs of what was to come? Why then did you take the dramatic step of changing the band’s style so hugely in 2008 for the third album ‘Eternal Empire’? Carsten Frank was clearly very different from Jioti?

“You really have to know that Jioti was listening to much harder kinds of metal when we composed our third album to understand that. He persuaded the majority of the band to follow his vision, which was much more extreme than the previous album. Carsten also liked the modern sound of the band, but, I think it was a big mistake to change so much.”

... Yes, I think it would be safe to say that, but, isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?

Yes; the original members Laki, Volker (Trost) and I knew that it was clear we had to give the fans what they wanted, and that wasn’t really it ...”
“I think maybe Human Fortress just required a break then to find our roots once again. Looking back on what happened, and you should remember that everybody already had new bands when we had that break; Jioti was the new singer in Victory; Laki played drums in his new band and I had just formed The Trophy with Michael Bormann…. It was crazy to think we could get back together so quickly I suppose. But, we enjoyed a nice evening one day and after a couple of drinks talk got around to the reunion of Human Fortress, and it just seemed right to do it…. We asked Volker to come back on board, and the process began ....”

Sadly Jioti then had to call it a day ‘cause of illness, and you now have Gus Monsanto, who has worked previously with Timo Tolkki….. Can you describe the feeling you had hearing Gus singing for the first time?

“Andrew McNeice actually helped us to find him. When Gus sent us an email I was very excited. I listened to the mp3´s of his previous band to that, Adagio, and had a really good feeling that his voice could fit to our kind of music; but he then recorded the vocals for “Restless Souls” (a track that is now on this new album) in Rio and his work was great.”

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine for Melodic Rock Music

How, in the next few years, did your songs transform themselves into ‘Raided Land’ then? It’s a great statement of intent!

“Well, we’ve not been lazy in the past four years, you know. We spent a lot of time improving the songs, again and again. We really wanted to record something special for our fans.”

Is all the material brand new, or did you delve back into the archives, given that you were clearly re-finding your original roots?

“A bit of both… “Raided Land” for example is a song I wrote for the ‘Defenders Of The Crown’ album, our second. We didn’t finish the track because there were a couple similar, so, I saved the song. “The Chosen One” is a song I wrote for ‘Eternal Empire’ (the band’s third album), but I had a clear vision of how it should sound this time, so I kept the song for myself. All other tracks are brand new. I think with the new line-up it was quite easy to go back to our previous style. André Hort (Bass) and Dirk Liehm (Keys) are big fans of our previous work. So on ‘Raided Land’ you’ll find all our typical trademarks.”

And let’s also mention the production of Orden Ogan’s Seeb Levermann!

“Seeb did a monster job. The sound of our new album is the best sounding Human Fortress album to date. I’m so happy with the line-up and our buddy Gus. He lives in Brazil and sadly cannot be with us all the time. But, for us it’s more important to have this great new singer and be able to make records like this than distance. We have plans to play a couple of summer festivals and club gigs next year, and that’s really quite easy these days. Human Fortress are definitely back!”

Given the new AFM deal, how do you feel you’ll be able to exploit and promote the album now?

“Wolf, I am so happy with the new album. Mat Sinner recommended AFM and I believe it was a very good decision signing with them. Really looking forward to the future!”

‘Raided Land’ is out now on AFM Records.


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