FeaturesNightrage – Towing the Melodic Death Metal Line

Nightrage – Towing the Melodic Death Metal Line

Dead Rhetoric: Regardless of labels/member changes/etc, Nightrage has always maintained a distinct standard of melodic death metal. Is it ever tricky to walk that slope of having the music stay heavy and keep a sense of being melodic without going too “approachable?”

Iliopoulos: Thanks for saying that! I agree that we have managed to be ourselves all those years and that says a lot. It´s not that we don’t like success or getting on the next level, I would be a liar if I said something like that. Every band and every musician is longing for that, but we want to do this on our own terms, we don’t want to be sell outs, you need to be really careful and keep your quality and integrity in what you are doing. Otherwise, if you try to please others or follow trends, you can ending up hating your own music, and let down your fans. I don’t want us being a shitty pop metal band like many others today just to be able to have more success, and I really wanna be on a position that I feel proud and love the music that we are playing. That’s where I think Nightrage makes the difference if you want, we are still doing this melodic death metal amalgam, trying to keep it brutal and metal to the bone, but also trying to be interesting and musical as much as possible. And The Puritan is an example of that, you can hear that it’s still Nightrage, and we managed to bring up all the elements that always characterize our sound.

Dead Rhetoric: What’s your take on a number of larger profile melodic death bands that have moved on towards more commercially-viable routes?

Iliopoulos: Well I don’t really care to be honest with you, I´m not sitting on a chair try to be judgmental or something. Everybody is entitled to do whatever, and if they like what they are doing that’s good for them. I respect when people have the balls to change and do something else, and if they really like their new change and they stand for it, then it’s all right. But I can’t stand when bands, making plans, following trends, trying to make it, trying to be famous just for the sake of it. That’s a big low for me and also it´s a great example for me to avoid. Music is fun and should always remain that. I mean as a musician you have one thing, artistic integrity, that you want to keep it pure and untouchable and not selling your soul to the devil. You can’t forget where you are coming from, you can’t let down your roots and the reason you started to play the music. And for me this is really important, be pure and honest 100% with your music, otherwise you are fooling yourself and your fans.

Dead Rhetoric: Likewise, melodic death metal has had its fair share of detractors since many argued it hit its peak years ago. Why do you think that many metal critics tend to dump on the genre?

Iliopoulos: I don’t think that we need to judge music if it used to be famous some years before or not. I feel that there´s always room for improvement and if you have some great songs, that’s what you need. I know critics like to categorize and also remember the good old times. We used to get many harsh criticisms during those years, but in the end of the day it’s someone’s opinion and I always respect constructive criticism that can put you on the ground and make you a better band most of the time. But I don’t like when people have to dump something only for the sake of it. Maybe they have some right with some certain bands that are spitting on their fans and change to something really poppy. Melodic death metal is a great music genre and there are still great bands out there making good music, and I feel as a band that’s what we are trying to do, to be the best band we can be and write some great songs that will stand the test of time.

Dead Rhetoric: You teamed up with former bandmate Gus G once more on “When Gold Turns to Rust.” What was it like to work with him once more?

Iliopoulos: Gus G is still a great friend of mine and we started this band together back in 2000, so it was really natural to work again together since he always ends up on the Nightrage albums playing some guest leads. This time we collaborated and wrote a song together like we used to do back in the day. He had some ideas for a song that didn’t really fit Firewind, so he sent me this song idea riffs and we worked through emails back and forth and that’s how “When Gold Turns to Rust” was created. It felt cool to have to write together for Nightrage, and I think that song ended up being one of the best on the album, with some really great vocal chorus, brutal hooks from Ronnie.

Dead Rhetoric: You don’t seem to hear quite as many instrumental tracks as you used to. What do you think is the key to making an instrumental track work?

Iliopoulos: The key to have a great instrumental song is to have some great riffs and melodies first, that drive you and make you very excited. That’s how I felt on the instrumental song “Lone Lake” from the new album. I had some nice chordal acoustic piece of music that was the key factor to create this song and I wanted to keep it very simple and very clean and open. I guess a bit mellower from the usual metal mayhem that we are doing, sometimes we like to show those kind of deeper and calmer emotions that our music has to offer.

Dead Rhetoric: Your last trip stateside was the rather eclectic Frets of Fury tour with Arsis, White Wizzard, and Firewind. What are your recollections of that tour?

Iliopoulos: It was a cool touring experience for us the last time we played in the USA. We had really good fun and we played good shows and got to meet very cool people that actually waited for quite some time to see us play live. I love playing in the USA, always an amazing place to be and can’t wait to get back there with The Puritan.

Dead Rhetoric: Do you have any plans to make it back to the States in support of The Puritan?

Iliopoulos: Yeah, we are working right now to make a North/South American tour. We want to play as much as possible with the new album and get our message out there.

Dead Rhetoric: Finally, what’s next to come for Nightrage in 2015?

Iliopoulos: More shows, and tours around the world. We have released our new second single “Desperate Vows” which is out on all digital providers, Spotify, Wimp, Itunes etc. Another video and single coming out in beginning of April, and just before the worldwide release of The Puritan on April 24th, we will release a single for “The Puritan” as well. Thanks for a great interview and can’t wait to see you and all our beloved fans on our next North American tour.

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