Rock Impressions

by Massimo Salari

In your new album it seems to me that you have increased the guitar parts, does this was because of Marcus Jidell?
No, we´ve had this tendency for the last 3-4 years. It seems to fit the nature of my new songs better - toughening them up a little.

In my opinion you became more mature and the album is written better than you did in the past. Which were the experiences that lead this improvement in your style?
It´s hard for me to tell... Every album is quite different. I´d say that writing/recording ”Paper Blood” was a pure joy – for a year I could concentrate on those songs without worrying about any kind of deadline... a bit unusual situation for me. Enthusiasm of the band was inspiring as well, stimulating me to try harder. We succeeded to capture the very essence of that Royal Hunt concept – aggressive yet melodic, symphonic but in your face, accessible songs filled with elaborate musical details. Everybody shines on this record – drums are beyond belief, keyboards/guitars shredding all over the place, vocals are emotional, production is crystal clear... And the most important thing – the band is SO tight! And not on the musical level only – personal relations are great as well and you can hear it on the album clearly, becouse this band has never sounded so energetic before!

Would you like to explain the cover art, please?
Paper Blood = money. We´re talking about commercializing of our lives on this song, and later on we realized that the title sounded strong enough for the album (and the song itself contained enough of those characteristical elements of this release to become a title track). Cover just underlines the idea: machine´s making money out of human (or another way around)

I’ve liked a lot “Seven Days”, sometimes it reminds to me the Queensryche from “Rage For Order”, but it has a proper feeling, can you tell me more about?
Seven Days is a sarcastic look/comment on religion and the exploration of it. God creates The World in seven days, promises those seven signs before he´ll take it away again etc... And than where´s a TV preacher giving you Paradise for a buck, another “Men of Some-Other G-D” gives you the same for blowing somebody up, and yet another one will give you Paradise in heaven for living in Hell on earth... C´mon, it´s getting comical! The song goes from up-close and relaxed to the full tilt and everything in between. Marcus is geat on this one, very articulated.

“Kiss Of Fate” reminds to me the Guns ‘n’ Roses’ sound, do you like also this kind of hard rock?
Kiss Of Faith – unfortunate kid, growing up in a disfunctional family, wrong side of town, no means, no future – but hopes. Some of those kids can get lucky and break away from it to a better life, but they need a lot of will, a lot of faith. I gave this one a bit of the “country colour” to make it more storyteller-like. And no, I´m not a G´n´R kind of guy.

In your opinon which is the highest musical moment of Paper Blood?
In general - the level of energy on this album. It really shines! Song wise - I´d say, for me personally 7 DAYS and NOT MY KIND are the highlights.

Can you tell me more about the lyrics of the songs, please?
Break Your Chains is about freedom of choice – to live your life or pretend you´re living it, to dare to actually do things instead of dreaming of them, to take that first step which may change your life and leave all your fears behind. Orchestral intro runs into a W-kick ride... quite an energetic opener.
Not My Kind is dedicated to a person I can´t stand. We all know that kind – pretending to be your friend, hanging around you all the time and winning your trust until that one day – and you´re finding youself stabbed in the back in cold blood. I should know, I´m in the music business ?
Dark, heavy riffing with some huge harmonies on top.
Never Give Up was the first one I wrote for this album. It´s about that rather uncertain situation John and I was in at the time – half of the band was gone, the tour ´s got cancelled and we weren´t sure if we could pull it off again. But than that “second breath” kicked in – we became like: “Screw it, this is not putting us down!”. And here we are, a year later. This is a typical RH song – uptempo, a lot of mood swings. John´s amazing here – the highs, the lows... it´s all there.
Paper Blood is about what´s our life becomes – greed´s running the show, it´s in our veins. All and everybody´s measured in “gold”... and we´re getting more and more used to it. People´re killing people to sell their hearts or lungs – I mean, how more creepy can it get? Musically more on the “traditional metal” side, but with a twist.
Season´s Change – “aftershocks” after a relationship´s gone, over. You walk around, trying to figure out what went wrong but it just did – and where´s no way to undo it. John sounds unreal on this ballad.
Seven Days & Kiss of Faith we discussed already.

If you have to choose one song from every album you did, which one and why?
Age Gone Wild - for the mood, Epilogue - all time favourite, 1348 - very organic build up, Message To G-D - great lyrics, Lies - pleasure to play live, Days Of No Trust - love to hear John´s singing on this one, Can´t Let Go - for its attitude, Not My Kind - a new favourite.

Which is the bestseller album of your discography?
It´s a tie between FEAR and EYEWITNESS

In my opinion you have got a modern sound with a lot of seventies vibes, what is that characterize the sound of the new millenium in your opinion?
Anything goes these days... But I´m glad we´ve established our own sound signature, which is pretty recognizable.

Heavy Metal music was never well promoted by mass media, what’s your opinion about?
And still that music form exists - since the early 70´s. It´s not a mainstream - never was and never will be - but the scene is evolving... and it´s a healthy sign.

Have you ever thinked to do an album with a real orchestra?
Sure, sometime in the future. Right now (and for the last 8-10 years :-) I´ve been pretty busy.

If you have to choose a kind of movie to realize a soundtrack, which one do you prefer, action, epic, si-fi, thriller or horror?
I love these twisted movies like MOMENTO, PULP FICTION... Something like that will be great.

Do you like to speak about politics? What’s wrong in these days in your opinion?
It´s too large of a issue to pick up for an interview :-) I could probably write a HUGE article about it, but you can check some of the lyrics on my records - I do put my views there quite often, you know.

With Paradox you have faced some religious themes, what’s your opinion about religions, do you believe in something?
I´m only interested in religion from a historical point of view - it´s rather interesting.

About gear, what do you prefer in studio and on the stage?
My main axes are Korg N5 ex, Hammond XK 2 and a bunch of Emu modules. I have approx 20 keyboards/modules in the studio, and I pick the ones - for the live situation - depending on the concert set.

After doing promotion for the new album, which are your next programs?
A concert tour - we´re starting in the middle of September and will be going to many countries around the world. The itinerary will be posted soon on and many other places.

To end this interview, what would you like to say to invite the audience to buy “Paper Blood”?
It´s quality music - regardless of the sound/style etc. There are great songs and lavish instrumentals for both a regular listener and a professional musician. Well composed and well performed – you all won´t be disappointed.


Reviews (only in italian): Paper Blood; 2006 Live

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