The Maddening of Awesome
Danish symphonic black metal band, Illnath, is no stranger to the music scene. Their riveting line-up has changed over the years with only one original remaining member yet their sound remains as impeccable as ever!
Recently, Illnath have signed to Pitch Black Records which has allowed the band to bite back into the Metal scene with their latest offering Third Act in the Theatre of Madness. With the addition of a female lead vocalist, Illnath have become a sensuously powerful band as well as a band exuding great potential.
Air Guitar has been fortunate to converse with Illnath as the band tells us about their evolution, Angela Gossow and the Danish Metal scene.
Illnath has been a very busy and progressive band since the humble beginnings in 1999. Several Band members have changed with only Pete being the original remaining member – this question is for Pete: How have you evolved since then in terms of character and musician?
Pete: Well, It has been a long time finding the right members. As a person you will evolve all the time during your life. I think I have become more calm and realistic. It’s easier for me to accept small issues and I see possibilities instead of troubles in almost every decision I take. Back in 1999 I was young and a very busy/fighting musician. I would not let anybody stand in the way and my word was law.
Today I concentrate more about enjoying being in a band and more about the music.
During all the years I have been inspired of many different styles of metal. Sometimes I write a power-metal song, sometimes a black-metal riff, and sometimes some completely different stuff. For me the style of Illnath evolves as who is playing in the band. I always try to give the other members room and space to add their own personality in the music, and the most inspiring for me is the other members. The line-up we have now is for me the most harmonic ever.
Congratulations to Illnath for signing with Pitch Black Records. How did the band get signed to Pitch Black records and how has it been working with them?
Thank you very much. We sent them some tracks from the new album, and they replied quite fast. The terms of the contract was the best one we were offered and we haven’t regretted it once since we signed. It has been fantastic to work with Pitch Black Records, they are very professional and we are very happy with our cooperation.
The addition of Mona as the vocalist has been quite extra-ordinaire. How does Mona feel about being placed in the same league as the likes of Angela Gossow?
Mona: I am very fond of Arch Enemy and I think Angela Gossow does a very good job; I have listened to them for years and seen them live a couple times. To be compared to someone with that kind of format feels amazing. I am honoured to be placed in that league, truly.
The line-up for Illnath seems to be stable at the moment; are all the band members happy to be in this position?
Kenneth: Yes. The chemistry in the band is amazing right now. We are working on new songs at the moment and we are all on the same creative wavelength which makes this the most powerful constellation of Illnath.
Let’s talk about the release of Third Act in the Theatre of Madness, is the band satisfied with the album? How did the concept come about?
Mona: I am very happy with it considering how limited my timeframe was. From the day they told me I was in the band until I started recording I think I had like 10-14 days to write the entire album. I have always admired lyrics that tell a story or have a message in it, so that comes natural to me and that’s what happened. I found the cover art through a friend and soon everything fell into place. I sort of had the concept before the cover art was found but that picture is just perfect… very few changes were made in order to match the album. The title reflects some of the turbulence involved in the whole process regarding earlier recordings, line-up changes and so on.
How would the band describe Illnath’s latest album to an audience that might have never heard Illnath before?
Kenneth: Melodic, atmospheric and very thorough… everyone plays well on the album. It’s an album you can listen to many times…
Mona: I listened to it so incredibly much during writing, recording and afterwards that I totally lost my view on it. It’s melodic, a bit symphonic, very varied… I scream a lot…
How important are the lyrics for Illnath? Who writes them and what kind of themes inspire the lyrics?
Mona: I write them. To me they are very important. For some of the other guys they are less important. I know that the lyrics to Third Act means a lot to Pete, I wrote it for him. When I write it is always personal, there is always an emotion behind it. So there is a theme in every song that reflects something I have gone through, something I admire, hate or feel.
Kenneth: I always enjoy reading the lyrics for a song, especially if there is a meaning in it. Normally I just read them but with Mona’s lyrics we spent a lot of time talking about them, so they have also become quite personal to me since I know what she thought while writing them. They didn’t mean so much earlier.
What does Illnath think of the Danish Metal scene and how does this affect the band?
There are some very talented bands on the scene here, but mostly we get our inspiration from bands outside of Denmark.
Will there be any tours/shows/gigs planned for Third Act in the Theatre of Madness?
We can’t reveal too much since we haven’t announced any future plans yet, but we are working on some different possibilities, so stay tuned on our Facebook page for news!
Any last words from Illnath?
We would like to thank all our fans out there. Thank you for listening to our new album and showing your support, we really appreciate it very much! We also want to thank everyone that took their time to write a review on the album. Last but not least we also want to thank Pitch Black Records for doing an amazing job!
Awesome thank you to Pete Falk, Mona Beck, Kenneth Frandesen and Pitch Black Records for organizing and contributing to the interview!