I'm happy that I had the chance to ask some question about Sinister Realm and their new album "World of evil" to Alex Kristof - singer of the band.
Markus’ Heavy Music Blog: Hej Alex, great to have the chance of asking some questions about Sinister Realm. a few days ago I haven't heard about the band even though I'm listening to metal music since 30 years. Why aren't you more well known in Europe?
Alex Kristof: We are a self promoted band for the most part. Our label does do some promotion. We do have some friends in Europe who help us, for example, Gabriel Management/ Bart Gabriel has been a great help. We do have a bit of a buzz in the underground. Most of the time when we make an announcement, they will be published on several web sides all over the world within a few hours of us making the information public. So, there are people paying attention to what we are doing.
MHMB: How did the band get started? I heard that it was John and Darin who started the band.
Alex: Yes, in 2008 the band got started as the brain child of John Gaffney and Darin ,McCloskey. Darin and John had a history in doom legend band Pale Divine. John met me on the local circuit here in the Lehigh Valley. I sang on the demo and we got picked up by Shadow Kingdom Records. John Kantner joined the ranks as our rhythm/ lead guitarist.
MHMB: I was surprised when I heard your new coming album "World of evil" the other day. It just blow me away and I immediately had to listen to your first two records. Great US metal. How would you describe the development of the band between those three records?
Alex: In the beginning it was just like it was meant to be!! I could hear my voice on Gaffney's tunes right away. It always takes some time to get to know each other. The music was all the things we as metal heads were inspired by. As we moved forward our metal brother-hood we grew closer. Darin had to step down because of a recent relocation.Shortly after Darin's departure and our first guitar player leaving to pursue other projects. I recruited two great musicians:John Risko Denim and Leather ~ featuring James Rivera and Chris Metzger former Type 14. The cemented the line up for Sinister Realm. We really became a real band at this point. So our development between the first two records was completed. We moved forward with "The Crystal Eye" working very hard developing our sound. When John Gaffney started writing new songs we all got to work. Being together and developing a great sound this made "World of Evil" a great challenge that we all took on and helped create the magic.
MHMB: Sinister Realm will release the new album "World of evil" in August. Please tell us a little bit about the new record. What can the listeners expect?
Alex: The record represents some of Gaffney's best work. We take his stories/songs and bring them to life. This record represents the progression of a great metal band and great metal composer. The listener can expect some really catchy HEAVY METAL!! This record is full of great metal music. I truly feel this is our best effort to date."World of Evil" is everything a true traditional metal head would expect. This record will really be able to make you feel the power of this music.
MHMB: When I heard "World of evil" the first time I noticed that the songs sound more straight forward and that the production is more powerful than on " The crystal eye". How did that happen?
Alex: John Gaffney does all the writing in Sinister Realm. John writes songs that are, great heavy metal. He is a great composer. John Gaffney does what feels right, and he does it well. He has progressed as a writer. We have progressed as musicians. The production is done by the amazing Brian Anthony. I really trust Brian, I feel very good about how all of our records that Brian has produced. He treats everything very carefully. John Gaffney plays a large part in the production of each album as well.
MHMB: Who is actually doing the song writing in the band? How is the process?
Alex: John Gaffney is the song writer on all the Sinister Realm's published records. John demos out the songs to us, we take the songs and learn them. John also lets us do our own interpretation of his compositions.
MHMB: The cover of the new album looks great - the reaper on a graveyard. I think it is really 'metal'. Who did this cover and has it a special meaning? Or does it just look cool? ;-)
Alex: The Artwork and design was by Augusto Peixoto for Iron Doom Design. The artwork concept was a vision John Gaffney had, in relation to the songs on "World of Evil" . He gave his idea to Augusto after John found him based on seeing some of his work. John was searching for an artist and Augusto was the one. John Gaffney had a great vision for the cover and Augusto made it real.
MHMB: Talking about US metal - I see you guys in the tradition of e.g. Metal Church and Omen. Are those bands the ones which influenced you as well or which bands influenced you guys?
Alex: I know we all we influenced by the greats, Dio, Black Sabbath, Black Sabbath w/ Dio, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Candlemass.
MHMB: Alex, you are the singer of the band. Who was influencing your singing style the most and what brought you to metal music?
Alex: My mother was one of my biggest influences. She was classically trained for 15 years. My Mom surrounded us with music. My sister Denise was always singing and playing her guitar. They had a great impact on my appreciation for music. My friends brought me to metal music and I heard heavy music at young age. Some of the first voices that made me start seriously singing were, Ronnie James Dio ~ Rainbow, Bruce Dickinson ~ Iron Maiden, Rob Halford ~ Judas Priest and Ozzy ~ Black Sabbath ~ "Master of Reality"this record specifically had a huge impact on me.
MHMB: You guys have planned to play some shows in the US during autumn. Are you also planning a bigger tour?
Alex: Yes we have shows this autumn. We are working on our schedule right now. We do have some touring plans in the works too!!
MHMB: Sinister Realm played already on the Metal Assault festival in Germany. What are your plans when it comes to playing some shows in Europe in the future?
Alex:Yes, we would come back to Europe. Playing at Metal Assault 2 in Wurzburg, Germany in 2012 was really a great experience. Europeans seem to really appreciate metal a lot. People in the USA do love metal very much too. Performing in Europe was just magical.
MHMB: Alex, thanks for spending some time with Markus' Heavy Music Blog and I hope to see you in Europe soon - esp. in Holland.
Alex: Thank you Markus!! Thank you for appreciating our music. \\M// Metal Forever!!