The epic power metal warriors of Human Fortress have returned, presenting their most gripping album to date. Raided Land is their fourth towering masterwork, now out worldwide through AFM Records! Whether its the glorious vocals, triumphant melodies, or the dynamic musicianship, Raided Land by Human Fortress present a band at the very height of their creative prowess. We recently interviewed keyboardist Dirk Liehm to find out more about their stunning new album, the past and present vocalists, German beer, and other victorious topics. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Human Fortress, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Dirk Liehm, I am 38 years, I’m playing keyboards and did the orchestration for “Raided Land“. I joined Human Fortress in 2009.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local metal scene like there?
Human Fortress is from Hanover, Germany. We have quite an active scene here, with many active bands, for example Rough Silk, where our Bass player Andre is from and of course the Scorpions, which are the biggest act from Hanover.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Raided Land?
Not a real concept, but an idea how the “red line” goes through the album, yes. Apart from that the songs stand for themselves and no story is told through the album. The songs all have their own story to tell.
Select two songs from Raided Land and what inspired the lyrics.
Well, I can only talk about the lyrics I was involved writing and these are “Dark Knight” and “Raided Land“. On “Dark Knight” I wanted a story apart of any Crusades or something like that. So I surfed to Wikipedia and began searching for the German knight order and found an interesting story about the Battle of Rudau, where Teuton Knights and Lithuanian forces battled. Actually the Teutons were about to loose as their marshall got slain, but turned the fight, because of Hans von Sagan, which held the banner high and led the knights to victory. So that’s the Dark Knight.
For the song “Raided Land” I searched and found something of the South American history, as this is not used too much in songs generally. So I found the story of Hernan Cortez and his battle versus the Aztecs, which also got chosen as title track.
How does Raided Land compare to the other Human Fortress releases?
Well, first of all we wanted to get back to that classic Human Fortress sound of the first two releases, but not copy it. It was very important to us to make something new and keep the old spirit. So here we are. We got some classic stuff, but in a modern way and I think our new vocalist Gus fits perfectly into the new sound.
Who did the artwork for Raided Land and how much input did you have on it?
Kristijan Kulis, a Croatian graphic designer, did all himself and a hell of a job. I just told him about the title song “Raided Land” and whats it all about, sent him some demo tracks so he could imagine what kind of atmosphere to create and thats it. The rest is his effort and it’s amazing work I think.
How did Gus Monsanto become involved with the band?
After the former vocalist Jioti Parcharidis quit the band due to health problems, we desperately searched for a singer, which is playing in Jiotis class. Not easy, but at least 2012 Gus heard about our needs and contacted us. After a few demos later we were sure that he will be able not only to sing the album, but to give HF a new personality by being a kick ass front man and a good buddy.
Would Human Fortress and Code Of Silence ever want to tour together? And how easy or difficult is it to have a vocalist in two active bands?
Well, I don’t know if we are gonna tour together, but Gus has many active projects and he has to, because he is the only full time musician in our band. So you have to do some stuff to make a living from it. All other guys are working in normal jobs. But I don´t know if we gonna tour together with Code of Silence, at least yet.
Do you still keep in touch with previous vocalist Jioti Parcharidis and is he involved with any other music projects?
Well, Jioti does live 15 km from my home, so yes, I see him from time to time. Actually his voice recovered a little and he is making gigs with Victory at the moment.
What could one expect from a live Human Fortress show in 2014?
A medieval trip to Battle Metal 😀 We try to get things going, but first we need to ensure a possible tour is big enough to be worth the effort, as Gus has to fly over to Germany again.
Has Human Fortress ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
No, we did not play in the States yet, but as I heard Power Metal is growing in the USA, so why not? HF already had some international gigs, so I would welcome this opportunity
Germany is famous for their beer!!! What is your personal beer of choice and why?
Hmm, this is a difficult question as we have about 1200 breweries and 5000 different sorts of beer. One of my favs is Ducksteiner, a very fine, red blonded beer.
What’s up next for Human Fortress?
Do some more promotion, check out the tour possibilities and we already started writing new songs. Busy, busy 🙂
Any final words of wisdom?
To make this album was a great pleasure and also a honor, because I’m the new band member, so I hope you guys will enjoy it as much as me and Human Fortress will have a nice comeback and produce more great metal and of course get our asses on stage! So far, we experienced a great support from over the pond, had amazing feedback from you guys and would appreciate to play in the states! I did not expect this at all! S o… much love from Germany and stay metal!
(Interview by Ken Morton)
Human Fortress is:
Gus Monsanto (vocals)
Todd Wolf (guitars)
Volker Trost (guitars)
Andre Hort (bass)
Dirk Liehm (keyboards)
Apostolos Zaios (drums)
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