There are very few bands that inspire the same sort of fantasy intrigue as Gloryhammer. The power metal act have grown incredibly popular over recent years and have created massive interest and intrigue around the ongoing saga between Angus McFife and the evil wizard Zargothrax. Ahead of the release of the next chapter in this ongoing tale “Legends from beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex”, Metal Wani was lucky enough to catch up with Gloryhammer vocalist Thomas Laszlo Winkler (Angus McFife) about the sound and direction of the new album; how this album advances the ongoing saga between McFife and Zargothrax; the albums writing and recording process; the possibility of teaming up with an orchestra live in the future, and much more.
Musical growth is something that all artists aspire to when releasing new material, and it is definitely something which Gloryhammer have outdone themselves on with their latest offering, even requiring Winkler to visit the hospital at one point. When asked about how happy the band is as a collective with how the new material has turned out and each individual performance, Winkler states “Everyone was finally looking forward to recording again, to finally writing new songs and when it did happen, everyone, was really pleased with the result in the end. But until then it was quite a long way to go because it was hard work, and I hope people can also hear the hard work so it pays out in the end that we actually had to go to the hospital – I had to go to the hospital”.
As one would expect, “Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex” continues off from where the band’s last album Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizard left us, following McFife’s adventures in a new dimension as he attempts to power up his now-weakened Hammer of Glory. Being a key component towards guiding the band’s sound, Winkler was asked about his thoughts on the story and how the stakes have changed for this album compared to the previous releases. “The ending of the last album was the like the whole universe is destroyed, so only the evil sorcerer managed to escape through a wormhole to another dimension and Angus McFife followed him, so that’s where the third album starts. When Angus appears in this new dimension everything is corrupted by evil already because Zargothrax is basically this emperor of this other dimension, and well Angus McFife finds out that his hammer doesn’t work anymore because it’s not charged with the right energies, so charged with the energy of the old dimension. So that will be the main task to recharge the hammer so that he has the chance to fight against Zargothrax once again!”.
Album structure is a very important thing, particularly if you are telling an epic saga like the one that Gloryhammer has been telling for three albums now. The band’s approach to date has been seemingly to adopt a ’10 song approach’ for each album — normally consisting of nine standard songs before climaxing with an epic finale. This has worked well for the band, and when asked about whether or not this would reappear on the newest album and if it was a conscious decision Winkler acknowledges that it is before revealing “Since Chris Bowes is writing the songs, well the concepts at least, I think he has this pattern in mind so the old fans will get what they like — the same pattern again with different songs and a different subject of the theme we are actually singing about”.
Gloryhammer is all about epic battles sprinkled around a quest for glory and delivered via traditional power metal stylings. It’s always rich in character and the latest release follows this trend by being self-aware and adopting and reimagining several power metal tropes and cliches. This is something that Winkler acknowledges is part of the band’s unique sound and identity, stating that the new album “is still the same (sound), but done differently”, before expanding on the bands overall sound stating “Gloryhammer is a mixture of several power metal cliches of course, and we also play with those cliches. It’s a fun thing to do!”.
Gloryhammer have always adopted a unique stance of providing a fully composed symphonic version of each album as a bonus CD in special editions and pre-orders — and has done so again on “Legends from Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex”. This is something which Winkler credits drummer Ben Turk with arranging, before indicating his preference in one day being able to perform with a backing orchestra live. “I just met the guy who is an orchestral leader where I live, and he, well knows how to actually lead an orchestra, and I discussed with him that maybe one day when we do a live DVD that he will be his orchestra and play with us along for a live show. How great would that be!”.
Already faced with a comprehensive touring schedule in support of the new album, the conversation closes out discussing what the future might hold for the band and what prospects 2020 has in store for Gloryhammer.