Lankester Merrin – Riding the StormSaturday, 20th May 2023
Together now for four years, German quintet Lankester Merrin (based on a fictional character from the 1971 novel The Exorcist) produce a killer blend of melodic heavy metal that contains numerous influences across the 80’s/90’s power, speed, and traditional landscapes. They’ve released two albums to date – their latest Dark Mother Rises hitting hard in a Teutonic meets North American way, where elements of Blind Guardian, Powerwolf, Orden Ogan, Running Wild to W.A.S.P., 80’s Sunset Strip bands, and Iron Maiden can weave in and out of their songwriting and performances.
We reached out to vocalist Cat Rodgers and guitarist Flo Schultz in this shorter interview to discover more about the early times of the band, signing with MDD Records, the literature/horror-oriented influences for the lyrical topics, future plans, plus what’s in the pipeline as work behind the third full-length takes place.
Dead Rhetoric: Can you tell us the origins of Lankester Merrin back in 2019? Did you all have seasoning/experience in other acts prior to coming together for this group – and did you know straight away the style of metal you wanted to develop or was it a feeling out of process to arrive at your sound?
Flo Schulz: Hey there, at first thank you so much for having us. We are very honored by your invitation. Ok, let´s start talking about the background of the band Lankester Merrin. Cat and I started the band in the end of 2019, in February 2020 the band was completed with five members. Unfortunately, it wasn´t the best start ever because straight after founding, Covid-19 entered the world, and we couldn’t do what we love to do…performing live on stage! But instead of whining, we concentrated on our rehearsals, recorded our first album Upon the Forgotten and shot our first video to the song “Dying” …so we were busy busy busy.
I started in 1996 as a bass player and changed to guitar playing actively in 2014. After several bands and projects (i.e., Cruzador, Ferroconcrete, Rapid Stride and many more) I finally focused on my own songs and started writing them.
Cat Rogers: I started singing very young but never entered a band, I mainly joined musicals- and solo projects. The rest of the band members are playing on their own or cover bands on top of being part of Lankester Merrin.
Flo: The style of melodic and powerful metal has always been there, we combine different styles of metal and rock which were influenced by old and new metal bands like Running Wild, Iron Maiden, Halloween, Iced Earth and many more.
Dead Rhetoric: Dark Mother Rises is the follow-up effort. How did you gain the interest of Black Sunset / MDD Records to sign with them, and where do you see the major differences between this set of material and your debut?
Cat: We did it old school…we looked up the internet for labels and found a list from A-Z. Luckily, we only had to apply to the letter B, 😉 …We got a few offers from label partners who liked our music, but we decided to go for Black Sunset. They made a good offer for us and have already done a great job in promoting Lankester Merrin!
Flo: For the new album we went to a well-known studio in Germany, which gave the album a far better sound, we progressed in technical instrumental know-how and put more effort in vocals, i.e., background arrangements.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you like to come across lyrically for the group? Are you inspired from historical events of the past, books, movies – or also take from current and personal events to draw from when it comes to the content?
Flo: All of the mentioned themes inspired us. I am a great history and movie fan, influenced by H.P. Lovecraft or Stephen King, also science fiction and horror movies from the past.
Cat: If you take “Evil Lives Here” for example, it was inspired by the US series of the same name and has current events as its content.
Dead Rhetoric: What do you consider of the biggest challenges in establishing Lankester Merrin not just within your scene in Germany, but beyond the borders to build the interest and following of the band on a global scale?
Cat: The biggest challenge is to find good promoters overseas and bookers for events. But because of people like you, we can be grateful that our music is played in countries all over the world and gets spread to a whole bunch of people.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe the band when playing live versus what people hear on record?
Cat: We have a very powerful live performance, where we let the energy flow and entertain the fans as much as we can.
Flo: On top of that we have a smashing live sound, thundering drums, pumping bass lines and screaming lead guitars, especially on bigger stages and open-air festivals.
Dead Rhetoric: What sorts of hobbies, interests, or passions do the members of Lankester Merrin like to engage in beyond music when you have the free time and energy to do so? Are you hopeful to make this a full-time career, or have you accepted the fact that you also need to balance out your musical endeavors with a regular job to pay the bills?
Cat: I guess we ALL like to go on concerts in our free time! 😉 Apart from that we enjoy family life with our children, some of us do sports (you can see that Flo is the main sportsman among us, 😉), travel or relax at home.
Flo: Unfortunately, we accepted the fact that we have to pay our bills with our main jobs (the 80’s is gone)! 😉 but dreams never die, so maybe it´ll come true and we can pay the big bills with music some time.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you see the next twelve months or so looking for gigs, tours, festival appearances, or other activities related to Lankester Merrin? Has work begun on the follow-up material – if so, can we expect any changes style-wise or just natural progression from the earlier works?
Flo: Well, there have been already several shows confirmed in Germany, mainly in our region, but also beyond the borders of Lower Saxony. We hope for more to come. Tour support? We are still waiting to get booked in the US…😉
We´ve already started working on album number three, you can be sure that we stick to our style and the songs will be even more catchy and technical.
Cat: Can we add some last words? We would like to thank all the fans and friends from Germany and all over world for your heavy support! It means so much to us and motivates us to record the third album very soon. Lankester Merrin would love to travel across the big pond to rock the stages in the US. You can find and contact us via Bandcamp, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube! The songs/albums you can purchase via MDD Records Shop, all music platforms like Spotify, I-Tunes, Deezer Music etc. Stay tuned and rock on!!!