The Band: Critical Solution
Answers by: Christer Slettebø (vocals, guitar); Egil Mydland (drums)
Norwegian Horror Thrashers CRITICAL SOLUTION are back with a new album, “Barbara The Witch”, a concept album based on a true story from their hometown Helleland which took place in the 1600s. With this new chapter they confirm their bet as on of the most interesting horror bands of the current scene.
Hello guys and congratulations for your new album “Barbara the Witch”!
Thank you much!!
“Barbara the Witch” is your third full-length album and I think the most mature
Chris: Absolutely! We always like to evolve and try taking it a step further. From the first album til now there’s definetely progress with musicality aswell as lyrics/story, and lots of elements which are not on the first one.
In 2014 there was a change in the guitar position, with Bjoernar Grossfjell as the new axeman, how has it influenced your sound?
Chris: The biggest difference for sure is that for the first time we share lead Guitars, so I’m no longer doing all the solos myself. This of course has nothing to do with our previous guitarist, it just felt natural to do it this way. We are very different players, from two different worlds when it comes to solos and i think that is very good for the songs, where as rythm players we play identical!
How long have you dedicated to the composition and recording of the new album?
Chris: We started recording in february 2016, and finished around october/november 2016. As for the writing some songs come from early 2015, but we are constantly writing and usually when we start recording an album a new one is in the making already.
“Barbara the Witch” is a concept album, usually that means more work, more headaches and more problems to put all the pieces together. So the question is: why?
Egil: Yes it is! Well, not really. I think it it's easier to make an album as one story from start to finish. If you have a good starting point with a character, theme, a certain time in history, or what ever. It is easy to fill the gaps with interesting things. Of course you'll need to use your imagination quite a bit, but that's how i like to write and create. And the reason why we make concept albums, is because it makes it more interesting. It's not just a metal band playing metal, and singing about the stereotype-lyrics, that many metal bands seem to do. We represent something, and we create our own universe.
Cool, although I still see it as a very hard task J You have always moved inside the terror genre, this album is the natural step in your career or you have tried to give it a different approach?
Egil: This album was planned before the release of "Sleepwalker", and "Sleepwalker" was planned before "Evil Never Dies" came out, and now we have the story ready for our fourth album. So we seem to lie an album ahead every time. So that is very inspiring. Musically, it is very spontanous how it all ends up. We don’t know which track is which until we write the lyrics, and put the instrumental tracks in the right order. Cause the story comes first, then the music and then the lyrics. And it has been like that since our first album.
Awesome. It’s not only a concept album but also a real story what you tell in “Barbara the Witch” that if I’m not wrong even happened in your hometown, right?
Egil: Well, it is based on a true story. Of course, the real story doesn't include Headless Riders, a Satanic priest or Wallace Green, but the main plot is based on that. The real story is about a lady called "Barbro Jørgensdatter Bjelland". She was condemned to death by burning in 1623 for using witchcraft. She lived not far from where we come from, and some people claim they have seen her afterwards. The song "Red Hooded Devil's" is based on what she confessed to the court. So it is very cool to use that story into our concept album. Especially when it's from our hometown.
Yes, another good point. The narration has been made by Arthur Brown, a great voice for this purpose indeed
Chris: Arthur’s voice is great for everything, but as a story teller over these atmospheric songs he is pure gold. We are the luckiest band on earth to have him onboard. And the part where he sings and, kind of connects our story to his story from his debut album, its just fantastic! The man has the meanest scream i have ever witnessed!
Hahaha, aweomse once again. As I said before, this “Barbara the Witch” shows Critical Solution’s best face in terms of composition. What differences you find with your previous two albums?
Chris: Looking back at the first one, it was a thrash statement, second one more varied with elements from not only thrash, and now on Barbara like i said, we have evolved more. More atmospheric i would say and the use of “unusual” instruments like organ, waterphone etc
You get a great balance between the thrash base and the atmospheric moments and guitars you spread along the album
Chris: Agreed. I think its very important, cause if all songs where the same there would be no point in having 12 songs. Much variation, at least to us is very important .
Surely many people will say you show a King Diamond’s style, how do you feel about it?
Chris: Of course it is an honor to be compared to them, and i can hear some things here and there, but we get inspiration from so many places and i do think we sound very original.
Some songs are really long but not tiresome at all, that tells much and good about the energy you put on it
Chris: Thank you. We put everything we got into our songs, and again the variation is important.
In the package you have included a second cd with covers of big bands such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Motorhead… any especial reason for it or just too much material in the drawer?
Egil: That wasn't planned out first of all. That was something that came up when we decided to make a 2-disc package. Originally we where supposed to have only "Locked Up In the Snow" and "Gypsy" as B-sides to the album, but since we had the option to have another disc, we wanted to include previous recordings of covers. So it will be a special edition for those interested.
Crime Records is releasing your album, how do you feel about it?
Chris: We feel very good! Its good to have a great team behind us, and most of all that we work close together and that we all want the same thing. They are great people who knows how to take care of their bands.
Probably some people will compare this “Barbara the Witch” with last year Them’s great debut, both are concept albums, terror music and top quality, although your music is more extreme, what do you think?
Chris: Never heard about this band, all i can say, and this is to my knowledge so of course i may be wrong, but I’ve never heard anyone else do Horror Thrash like we do.
“Barbara the Witch” is perfect for a full performance on stage, as s whole story, it will happen? Are you preparing a especial show?
Egil: We want to include as many things as possible into our stage show. Cause our albums is like a piece of theatre, so yes, it is perfect for a full performance on stage. Who would not want to see a witch burning on a pyre onstage? On future shows/tours there will be more theatrical elements than before so if all goes according to plan, our release gig in Varberg 28.04 will have something new and special.
That sounds really, really good, something not to miss. Any tour dates confirmed?
Chris: At this time only the release gig is confirmed. We had some offers, but nothing is written in stone at this moment. However we do everything we can to get on the road this year as these new songs as well as the old ones will sound killer live!
You have been rising your composition level along time, any diziness when thinking about future expectations from fans and media?
Thanks again, and Not at all. We make the music we make, and we have found our path. We will still find other ways to do it but our base will not change to much.
Thank you very much for the interview guys, hopefully we will enjoy your live show in the near future!
Thanks again and we hope to play in your country as soon as possible!!
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