Steel Engraved is soon to release its third studio album. With a new lineup, a new record label and a new album, 2019 is looking bright for the German power metal machine. PowerMetal.no had a talk with guitarist Andi Straehler and vocalist Marco Schober.
The upcoming, and third, studio album by Steel Engraved is somewhat of a fresh beginning for the band, hence the album being self-titled. Can you elaborate around why you decided to self-title the new album and why this is a new era for Steel Engraved?
Andi & Marco: After the release of On High Wings We Fly in 2012 we definitely had a great time touring through Europe and playing a couple of nameful festivals. In between there a lot of things happened. There were ups and downs, mostly because of several lineup changes. But, the current lineup is the band’s strongest ever, and that is clearly audibly. We can say we had a new beginning based on a change that justifies a self-title.
Being formed in 2007, Steel Engraved has so far released two albums. With the upcoming third album, how has Steel Engraved developed itself musically during those years?
Andi & Marco: I think Steel Engraved have developed in a more modern way and with a little bit more progressive sound. But the melodic power metal character of the band – mostly because of Marco [Schober, vocals] – has been kept. On High Wings We Fly was produced by Geoff Thorpe [Vicious Rumors] and was mixed and mastered by Juan Urteaga at Trident Studios in California. The album definitely had a great touch of US power metal style, mixed with melodic songs. That was huge! Especially the doubled voices made it sound mean. The current album is definitely “Germanized” in its style with a mix of progression. And I like it as well!
The lineup has been quite stable during the years, but in 2016 the band got new members on bass and drums. In the press release it says that the new lineup “revealed a much more modern and progressive approach on the sound”. Is the new approach a natural development of the band, or did the new members influence the music and songwriting – were you surprised by the “new” sound?
Andi & Marco: I was, in a positive way. And – like on the former album – we had great sound engineers at the Dreamsound Studios in Munich. Mario and Jan [Dreamsound Studios] are running the power metal band Serious Black and have of course their imaginations of how a German power metal band should sound. And we were very proud that the natural recorded drum sound was kept. But the main influence came from the members of course. So you can say it is a natural development influenced by the band members. Tom [Tomas Kuchta, guitar] and me grew up with classic metal, influenced by NWOBHM and typical German power metal. Daniel [Kieslinger, previous drums] who had pretty much parts written is more influenced by modern and progressive sounds. It’s a great mixture.
As on the previous albums every member is involved in the songwriting process. Can you tell me how that process works?
Andi & Marco: The working process might take a little more time and can have different results. But there was no struggle or something like that, the band acts on a very professional level according to that. The sound engineers might have another opinion towards that, haha! No, the result of the whole album was not that different at all as on the last one. Single songs have a touch of a different style. But that makes the album interesting. And I’m proud of that whole band’s work.
On the upcoming album you decided to involve Ralf Scheepers (Primal Fear) on the vocals. How did that happen, and why did you decide to involve him – and how was it to work with him?
Andi & Marco: Working with Ralf was definitely one of the most exciting experiences in the producing process. He “freshed” it up and made Marco generate incredible things. It was one of the best decisions. An external producer – and maybe just for vocals – can cause another point of view to the album. And that’s sometimes very important for an album production. We really had a great time with Ralf. And a lot of fun, too.
The last album, On High Wings We Fly, was released in 2012. Why has it taken almost seven years before you released the new album?
Andi & Marco: Unfortunately, we had, as I mentioned, a few changes in the lineup. Marco and me were not sure if we have the chance to bring the band on that level again. It is sometimes not easy for an underground band to recognize what might be the right next decision. So, we concentrated to be live on the road for several years, before we started working on new materiel. But we never stopped writing songs.
How important is the live shows for the band?
Andi & Marco: Playing live is very important for the band. It’s essential. We enjoy each single show. And there is no place too far!
What are the plans after the album is released – will there be a tour?
Andi & Marco: We definitely work on it, and most likely we will. But it’s too early to step into details at this point.
How would you describe the current status of Steel Engraved; with a new lineup, a new record label and a new album – will 2019 be the year of Steel Engraved?
Andi & Marco: Yes, it will be! In a special way 2019 will mark new horizons for Steel Engraved. Let’s see where the journey will lead us to!
Steel Engraved’s Third studio album, Steel Engraved, will be released January 25th 2019 via ROAR Rock Of Angels Records.
The first single from the album is called «Where Shadows Remain»: