We first met the Shredmaster JB aka Jens Basten in front of the world famous Whisky on the Sunset Strip – his previous band Deadsoil was on tour with The Warriors and Reflux – and his other project was the internationally acclaimed melodic thrash collective known as Night In Gales. With both entities currently on a hiatus of sorts, Shredmaster JB now spends his time with the mighty heavy metal warriors known as Gloryful. Last year, the band unleashed The Warrior’s Code on Massacre Records, and they are now about to launch a brand new effort on the same label entitled Ocean Blade. Prolific to be sure, Gloryful presents heavy metal at in it’s most true and triumphant form. Here is a recent interview we conducted with Shreadmaster JB to find out more about the epic adventures of Gloryful. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Gloryful , and how long the band has been together.
Hi Ken, my name is Jens, I play guitar in Gloryful. The band was formed summer 2010 by Johnny la Bomba (vocals). I heard him singing on the Wii Rockband console game, we first thought of doing a melody hc-2 piece band in the 90´s Bad Religion/NOFX style with me playing my e-drum set and Johnny on guitar/vocals. But 5 minutes later he told me he was going alone to Manowar Shows and stuff, haha. And as I never knew to skate and was over 33 back then already, we skipped that Cali-punk rock plan but choose true metal instead!
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
We are from the black coal-mining and steel-producing! industrial area called Nordrhein Westfalen, you may have heard of the cities Essen, Gelsenkirchen, Dortmund, Duisburg, or Wanne-Eickel, that´s it. Its the area where Kreator and Sodom came from and still rule. We got a large scene here since I can remember. There are nice venues / clubs to play and party, we mainly hang out in Essen´s Turock Club, just as tonight I will go there to see Vanderbuyst gig, they are on the road with Skull Fist and Enforcer. At the moment its mainly death metal and 80’s Metal stuff going good. But there are tons of bands around here of every kind, there are some real strong melo death/progressive bands like Harasai or Words of Farewell worth to check out.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title The Warrior’s Code?
There is not a real concept, it´s just the title of a very strong track on this album. You may have found out that we used some true metal – phrases in the lyrics of tracks like “Gloryful´s Tale” and “Fist Of Steel”, so we thought that “The Warrior’s Code” would fit perfect as a title for the debut album.
Select two songs from The Warrior’s Code and what inspired the lyrics.
There are the band´s two first compositions “Death Of The First Earth” and “Sedna´s Revenge”, which was originally recorded as a two piece band in 2010 for our Demo MCD “Sedna´s Revenge”. These titles are lyrically based on the Inuit-myths around Sedna, the goddess of the sea. It´s worth to Google that story! It is a real Heavy Metal – thing you will see: it´s about the conflict between father and daughter, cutting fingers off with a knife, drowning in the sea at night and being reborn as a zombie, haha.
Who did the artwork for The Warrior’s Code and how much input did you have on it?
The cover artwork was done by the Belgian artist Kris Verwimp. He´s famous for his works for early Absu and Marduk Artworks, as well as for the old sXe Goodlife Records- releases and first of all for all the Suidakra-illustrations and numerous pagan/viking comic works. We got that idea of this warrior-girl riding the domestic ice bear from that strange german Jägermeiser-like liqueor-logo. The creature they are fighting against is Sedna, the Inuit goddess of the sea. We got this themes going since our very first self released demo Mcd called “Sedna´s Revenge”, and we will continue that shit on the next album as well.
You have a new album coming out in April. What is the working title and how will it compare to The Warrior’s Code?
The album is entitled “Ocean Blade” and it is coming 25th April. We never stopped writing songs after the recording of “The Warrior´s Code”, so it was possible to put the follow up album out only 11 months after the debut´s release. The album won´t disappoint anyone who was into our first album, as we didn´t changed a lot. But “Ocean Blade” is definitely more heavy and faster, which maybe is caused by the more brilliant and clear production. And as “Ocean Blade” is a concept album, it feels more compact. I think there are only strong compositions this time and I know that all of us did a better job in the studio this time. There are some nice guest guitar solos performed by Germany´s (version of) Steve Vai, Adrian Weiss which are worth to check out as well. If you like heavy metal, you will like this album. Go order it now, thanks haha.
How does the music of Gloryful compare to Night In Gales?
Some people told me they hear similar lead guitars here and there, a special vibe or something that´s in both bands to find. Both bands are five-piece metal bands I founded. Night In Gales returned with their latest 2011 release “Five Scars” to their roots which is classic melodic death metal (90´style). Gloryful is a classic heavy metal/power metal band and spreads a lot more positive feeling, especially on stage, haha.
Whatever happened to Deadsoil and will there be any more Deadsoil releases?
Haha, good question. Usually I answer “Ich weiss auch nich watt Deadsoil”, haha. Okay, the story in short was like this: after we released the second full-length “Sacrifice,” drummer Christian left the band and around that time we departed with Lifeforce Records. We continued with new drummer Hartmut Stoof (who btw. played as stand in drummer with Night In Gales in 2011-12) and recorded a 3rd album. During the vocal recordings, singer Fredi quit as well and a few weeks later bassist Andy followed. So we had to find a new singer to complete the album recordings, but that was not that easy in the end. We tried 2 guys but never recorded more than one track with each of them. So we got sick of that and stopped all activities. Maybe someday we will find a singer who records the still missing vocals and we will release the lost 3rd Deadsoil album. Time will come..
What was your experience like touring with Deadsoil and playing in Hollywood?
That was a special thing and my first and only US-Trip so far. It was a good chance to see a lot of the country and it´s big hardcore/metalcore scene as we did a 17 date-route incl. Sacramento, Frisco, Hollywood, Las Vegas, Chicago a.s.o. The tour package was a real killer: The Warriors, Reflux and Calico System. Besides the music it was interesting to get a look behind the surface as we had to rest at fan´s places or other private places most of the time, which means a lot of weird stuff you got to get through, haha.
What is the status of Night In Gales?
Since Björn left, we wrote some new tracks and gave them to a person who asked to join as the new singer. That’s a while ago and we still wait for the recordings. I got no bigger problem with that as there´s a lot going on with Gloryful.
Looking back on your work with Night In Gales, what do you think of it now, especially the early recordings?
If there will be a new Night In Gales album, I would love to re-record our first release “Sylphlike” as a bonus. I still like the early material, especially the 1996 – 1998 period, but I think we could do it way better nowadays. You may know we recorded the whole basic tracks of “Sylphlike” in a live session? We just added lead guitars and vocals as overdubs. “Towards The Twilight” and “Thunderbeast” was recorded on magnetic tape and not as we do it today with the stress-free sequencer-software & tools? That was hard work back then, haha.
What could one expect from a live Gloryful show in 2014?
The 2014 set will feature songs from both albums. You will get a real heavy metal show but in a different way. We are not that typical leather & chains – 5 piece that tries to become the next Manowar. I saw a lot of different people, all sorts like hcs, deathers and old school thrashers having fun at our shows, no matter if you are usually into – its easily possible to have fun at a Gloryful show.
Has Gloryful ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
We unfortunately haven’t played the states so far. Of course we wanna do it. We will do it anytime we will get the chance to do that without losing thousands of dollars. People who read this and like to help us out with serious bookers please get in touch. We will come and make party at your house! We would like to play shows in living-rooms or backyards as well.
If you could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
For me that should be Thin Lizzy 1976. I think Maiden 1983 would be cool as well. The reason is just as these periods were the bands strongest, the bands were on their creative peaks and I had never the chance to experience them at this constellation. And of course I would do pictures with Clive Burr and Phil Lynott.
Germany is famous for their beer!!! What is your personal beer of choice and why?
There are some favourites. But the most important in my life are “Diebels Alt” for that was my father´s favourite label during my childhood / youth and for that the reason the first beer I tasted! First time, first love. Next step was “Hansa-Export” and “Hansa-Pils” which was the cheapest cans around – so for the first years VERY important as a young metalhead. I remember the Hansa-tower of 24-can sets stapled higher than myself during the preparations for my 16th birthday bash. Today I rather grab a Veltins, Heineken or the Belgian stuff like Grimbergen.
What’s up next for Gloryful?
A lot. Releasing the new album “Ocean Blade” 25th April, doing a lot of interviews before that date, maybe we produce a music video as well. We get a lot of show offers now and are aleady in talks for some very interesting European tour-support slots and some festivals in Germany.
Any final words of wisdom?
Thanks a lot Ken for doing this feature for HD and the strong support in general! I hope we meet again at the crossroads in front of the Whisky.
Johnny la Bomba – Vocals
Jens “Shredmaster JB” Basten – Guitar
Vito Papotto – Guitar
Oliver Karasch – Bas
Hartmut Stoof – Drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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