Title: Between two worlds

These are not just performance-driven perfectionists from Finland, who are acting in a surprisingly playful quartet formation.

But the extraordinary group, whose creative heart beats in Helsinki, is at the same time also one of the musically most interesting Metal representatives from whole Scandinavia. One can convince oneself of it pleasingly easily on the new and second album of the four, which got the bilingual title „Enter The Realm Of The Doppelgänger“.

Already the successful 2008 debut album „Puppetmaster Of Pandemonium“ brought a multitude of breathtakingly sophisticated refinements. However, the current release of of Chaosweaver is even more powerful in some criteria!

Tinglingly ominous, immensely varied and ingenious theatrical Industrial Symphonic Metal has become the deepest passion of the formation, which is rhythmically enormously powerful and audibly determined to new.

Together, Chaosweaver raised eleven sublime maniacal-songs.

Eleven outstanding tracks are to hear now, which were placed on this fresh, opulent-cineastically sounding note-manifest, with a partly hypnotically, emotional Black Metal tangent.

I speak with guitarist Albert and keyboarder Max.

How are you doing currently?

Albert: „We’re doing very well, thanks for asking. Just anxiously waiting for the new album to come out. It’s thrilling to see what kind of feedback it gets from the public and especially from our old fans, as the album is quite different than the debut. Different, but better!“

Please describe yourself as person, as character and as mind!

Albert: „All of us are mellow and easygoing guys, especially Jack (drums). He doesn’t stress about anything and has nerves of steel – and probably balls too, haha! He’s also more experimental than the rest of us, both musically and in life in general. He’s the kind of guy who can just disappear for a couple of days, and when he finally answers his phone, he can be somewhere in the woods camping, in another country or anywhere you can imagine. He’s also a very persistent: if he decides to do something, he will do it no matter what. That’s Jack for you. Max is really kind and warm, who never says a bad word about anyone. He’s very diplomatic and extremely easy to get a long with. I talk on the phone with him almost on a daily basis. I myself am quite passionate and stubborn, I express my emotions and tend to tell my opinion, whether it’s asked or not, haha. I get upset quite quickly, but I always calm down as quickly, too, so I’m kind of a rollercoaster of feelings, you know? But there’s one common thing about all of us, we all love movies. When we were doing the album at Studio Perkele, there was almost always some movie rolling on the background. It’s just so relaxing to sit down on the sofa, forget about everything and let the motion picture lead the way. Musically Jack is more into electronic and weird stuff, the weirder the better. For example Infected Mushroom and Blotted Science are amongst his favorites. He’s not an easy guy to impress when it comes to music, so when you're showing him new riffs, you know you’re doing great if he gets excited. I really like more straightforward and melodic stuff, such as HIM, Dissection, Swallow The Sun, Rob Zombie and of course NOFX, Bad Religion, etc. Although I don’t really listen to music these days, usually just radio at the office. Max can tell about his musical perversions himself.“

Max: „I'm into all sorts of shit from female-fronted Occult Rock to Black Metal, from traditional Doom to old school Death Metal, from Melodic Death Metal to movie soundtracks and other orchestrated stuff. Cypher Commander (vocals) is mainly into Black Metal. He takes his thing very seriously, even though he has a great sense of humor, and is an excellent imitator. He would make a great actor or a radio personality for sure.“

Which are your hobbies beside the music with the band?

Albert: „Playing in other bands, haha. I really like to ride my bicycle, but that’s, naturally, only in summertime, otherwise I don’t really have any hobbies except working.“

Max: „I like to read (mostly biographies), write, hang out with friends, watch movies, eat meat and drink beer. I spend a lot of time home – maybe I should go out more... Jack is an Xbox & PS3 slave, who rides a motorcycle. And Cypher, he's a strange character…“

I say in positive manner, the Metal of Chaosweaver sounds mainly typically Finnish! What do you say to my statement?

Max: „Well, it's kind of hard to say anything about that, being both Finnish and a member of this band. But as for my personal view, there aren't that many bands out there who play the kind of metal as we do – in Finland or elsewhere. But everyone is entitled to have his or her own opinion, so if you say our music sounds typically Finnish, I have to respect that, even though I wouldn't say that myself, hahaha…“

Which new elements or noteworthy differences to the previous album „Puppetmaster Of Pandemonium“ are waiting now for the listeners?

Albert: „To start with, better songs and sharper playing. The production is so much better in every way: it's bigger and has better orchestrations, it's tighter and has more “rational” arrangements and, as a cherry on top, lyrics that’ll blow your mind!“

Max: „To me, it is impossible to compare these albums artistically, because I honestly love every single track on both of them. Having said that, I fully agree with Albert, that this one is technically and arranging-wise far more superior and professional than “Puppetmaster Of Pandemonium”. We have improved as musicians and studio geeks. On this one, the songs are tighter entities, meaning that on “Puppetmaster” basically anything could happen inside one song. These tunes have a lot of stuff that will take the listener by surprise, but they aren't as experimental as before. Be as it may, the scale of extremity versus mellowness is much wider. All the songs are basically from different sub-categories of metal (except the first one, which is purely classical), which was a conscious decision, but the album works splendidly a whole. That's what we do: make whole albums, not collections of songs.“

Who have been the main songwriter for „Enter The Realm Of The Doppelgänger“ and which are his qualities in your opinion? 

Albert: „There’s not one or two, but three main songwriters: Jack, Max and myself. We do all the composing more or less together. Usually someone comes up with a riff or two, someone gets an idea on top of that, some other has a good next riff fitting the mood and so it goes. Usually, when composing for Chaosweaver, it requires whole lot of beer and us, the three musketeers. Honestly, the band would not sound the same if any of us would be missing. Jack does most of the keyboards and orchestrations along with Max, who also writes all the lyrics, whereas a lot of the guitar riffs come from me. But as we all can play various instruments, from time to time the roles are switched in the studio, which is cool! For example, there are some really strange guitar riffs made by Jack in few songs, I’ve done a lot of keyboards to the last song of the album and Max have wrote the song “A Requiem For A Lost Universe” on his own, but we all have done our thing onto every song via arrangements.“

Max: „Cypher Commander is also a helluva creative guy as far as vocal arrangements are concerned. I usually write the vocal lines at the same time as I'm writing the lyrics. Sometimes Cypher doesn't even want to hear my vocal demos beforehand, as he comes up with shit that I could't ever imagined. Sometimes it works out super well, other times not as smoothly. We tend to write songs in a studio environment as Jack owns Studio Perkele, and I've got recording equipment at home too.“

The music itself makes me quite curious about the thematic content … be so kind and bring the main lyrical core of „Enter The Realm Of The Doppelgänger“ a bit closer!

Max: „Thank you! It is a concept album. The storyline continues from where the last track of “Puppetmaster”, “Son Of The Moon”, ended. In that track the main character tries to find a gateway to the land of the dead and reach eternal peace. In some of the stories of Finnish mythology, one must pass through a great whirl in the sea, a Kinahmi, in order to do so. In my head, the Kinahmi shaped up as a wormhole between two worlds. And wormholes can obviously be found in theoretical physics. So, I got super-excited about the superstring theories, especially the M-theory, and I combined them with Finnish folklore and a bit of “Twin Peaks”, and came up with the story, which goes through the whole album. An utter mind-fuck! In the story, the main character wakes up on the sea shore, not knowing where he is – or if he is. When he comes to his senses, he soon realizes that he has taken a wrong turn at some point, and is stuck between dimensions studied in the M-theory... According to the M-theory, there are 11 dimensions all together, not three. The one the main character gets spat on to, is a nightmare reflection of his previous reality, inhabited by shadow souls, doppelgängers. Everything seems familiar, but is bizarre and distorted like in a bad dream, but with no chance of waking up. I wrote some “clues” for each song to “crack the code”, so to speak, in the liner notes. I really hope people will pay attention to the lyrics, as I'm very proud of them, and they almost drove me to the verge of insanity…“

How were the work for these new album under the aspect of a pause of four years?

Max: „We started writing songs right after the release of “Puppetmaster Of Pandemonium” in 2008. The album took nearly three years to write, record, mix and master. We started negotiating with Napalm in September of 2011, and they wanted to push back the release to June 2012. So, it's great to get if finally in stores and out of our hands! Everything has been moving forward, but with a slow phase. I hope the “pause” won't be as long on the next one.“

Why do you do this at all –- better said, which is still the most inner driving force within your artistic heart to create such bombastic and extreme Metal music?

Max: „This is our calling, an absolute must. It comes from our hearts through our fingers, entwining with everything we absorb in life, as well as from places beyond this world. These songs require a lot of orchestrations – we don't write them for the sake of just sounding big. But then again, tracks like “The Great Cosmic Serpent” doesn't have that much keys on it as it doesn't need them. It sounds perfect as it is.“

What’s your personal view about the ‚dark spirit‘ of the new album?

Max: „Even though we are nice and mellow guys, our music is first and foremost evil and secondly seductively tempting. The albums definitely have a dark vibe to them, no question about it. We pour the dark sides of our own psyches onto our songs with great ferocity. That way we don't have to go out murdering people: the positive aspect of negative thinking. There is also a major philosophical side to things as you can read from the lyrics (and my explanations of them). Chaosweaver is not a Black Metal band, because our topics have absolutely nothing to do with religion or anti-religion. We do our own thing.“

Which special aspects are the most relevant for you in your music, within a Metal world, full of mediocre and monochromatic releases?

Max: „Not going from the fence is lowest for starters. You can imagine how much time it takes to pay attention to every single little detail in order to make the songs perfect – and these tuns have quite a few tracks on top of each other... One of our main goals is to challenge the listener: these songs require a lot of spins, but are at the same time addictive. And when you listen to them over and over again, you can find new details hidden in the orchestrations, bass-lines, vocals or somewhere else.“

How long was the songwriting for „Enter The Realm Of The Doppelgänger“?

Albert: „It took us almost two years. We just recorded a lot of stuff without thinking too much about the end result. At some point we had more than 70 songs respectively drafts, from which we picked the ones, which would best fit the concept of the album, and carried on working with them. Some of the keyboards and guitars done for those demos were left on the album, and we were polishing the arrangements until the last second. Also, we composed “Wings Of Chaos” after all the drums were done and we were already doing guitars. So, the album recording and composing / arranging walked hand in hand during the whole project, as it always does with this band. There’s no limit how long perfectionists can work on each song, you know. But I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, the album has been finished for over a year now, and I still wouldn’t want to change anything on it. I still get the chills when listening to it. I’ve never been this satisfied with any of the albums that I’ve previously played on, recorded or produced!“

With which expectation(s) have you begun the composing of the songs for the new Chaosweaver release?

Max: „Our goal was make this album a masterpiece, no more, no less. This also means topping the previous one and going forward. This band will never make artistically “the same album” twice, and that's also a promise for the future. We are fully aware that this album differs a lot from the debut, but we didn't worry about it one bit. Some of our old fans might not like it, but that's their problem. Our mission is to evolve and be the best we can be. And in my opinion, we outdid ourselves on this one.“

From where you`ve got the best ideas for the specific Industrial Symphonic Black Metal art of Chaosweaver?

Max: „The influences come from everything we absorb: movies, literature, myths, folklore, science and life in general. It is a brainchild of four very different individuals with with no artistic boundaries and one common goal.“

And when did the ideas came best into your mind?

Albert: „For me, the best riffs and ideas almost always strike when I’m taking a long walk in the nature, bicycling or when I (rarely) go jogging. It has happened countless times that I’m half way on my route and had to turn back home to record a riff or two and sometimes even a whole song on one sitting. And I’ve written my best pieces like that. Should start doing some more sports again, I guess, haha.“

Max: „For my part, I really can't say. Compared to the other dudes of the band, I don't have to “get in to the mood”, so to speak. For example Cypher won't do anything unless he is 100 % in the right spirit when he does his thing, and I respect that. If somebody forces him to enter the vocal booth and start singing, it never, ever works out. Not even once. But when he's feeling-driven, he nails shit with one take! An example: he listened to the track “Repulsion” just one time, took the lyric sheet, told Jack to press “record” and just fuckin' nailed it on the first take! For me it's pretty much grabbing an instrument (usually guitar, sometimes keyboard), and start working. I don't care if it's in the morning or at midnight, whether I'm home or in the studio, outside or at my grandmom's place.“

It sounds on the new album, as a real innovation in Metal would be your greatest love ever to feel. Correct?

Max: „Why go for the silver metal? This is our calling, this is what we love to do – and must do. It flows in our veins whether we want it or not.“

How did you reached the individual style of the Chaosweaver in a simple yet completed perfection?

Max: „As for the compositions and arrangements, this sort of stuff flows from us quite naturally. The lyrics were very difficult and stressful to write, as I had to dive deep in to the world of theoretic physics and create a world of my own from scratch. It was probably the hardest thing I've ever done. From a non-musical aspect, this album was also very, very difficult to make. It took far more time than we anticipated, because Jack's studio moved from one place to another during the making of this album, and he had to build a new one. Then there were a lot of personal issues with each member of this band, which caused delays and stress: broken relationships, malfunctioning studio equipment, “the sex, drugs and Rock'n'Roll syndrome”, you name it. I personally moved to another city and had a kid with my wife. The whole process was a big rollercoaster ride of emotions – and I believe it can be heard in a positive way on the record!“

What's the personal ‚secret‘ of Chaosweaver to get such an outstanding and highly atmospheric result again and again, song by song?

Max: „I think it is a combination of five things:
1) we are perfectionists and have extremely high work ethics, when it comes to making art
2) we know what we want and know how to get it
3) we challenge ourselves constantly and don't settle for compromises
4) we have a possibility to work on the songs in the studio for basically as long as we want as Jack owns Studio Perkele
5) we are a bunch of creative fuckers.“

Do you want to tell about special musical influences in your art - I guess, you guys are listening Metal and Classical sounds at the same time?

Albert: „For me, I guess my biggest influences musically are Dissection, Swallow The Sun, Rob Zombie, HIM and also Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth. I also like a lot of Pop music, such as Kent, Moby and one awesome Finnish band, called PMMP, from where I’m guessing my love for straightforwardness and sort of “easiness” in songs comes up from. Although I don’t think that you can hear those in Chaosweaver songs…“

Max: „I think I speak for everyone when I say that we honestly don't think of other songs by other bands or artists when we are composing, but we do think of different moods. For example “Wings Of Darkness” was very much inspired by the atmosphere of the movie “Pan's Labyrinth”. For me, “Twin Peaks” and it's out-of-this-world soundtrack is a huge influence in everything I do artistically. But as all the songwriters have their own thing, the mixture stirs up naturally.“

What do you think - why are so few bands able to play really unique and individual Metal with timeless class nowadays - is it a question of the broad range of inner views and feelings?

Max: „I think it's a matter of two things: lack of creativity and the fact, opinion or attitude, that „everything“ has been done before. But that's just a fraction of the truth: a lot of great and innovative albums are still being released every year. It's just the bulk stuff that turns my mojo off. If you don't have anything to say, it's better to remain quiet.“

© Markus Eck, 18.06.2012

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