The Power Metal Forces of Steel Engraved
Steel Engraved is a melodic power metal collective from Germany ready to break out into the worldwide music scene in nothing short of an epic way. Their Self-Titled album is now available from ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records – and it’s a collection of songs metal fans will want to revisit time and again. They’ve toured with the likes of Iced Earth and have found themselves recording with big names such as Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear and Geoff Thorpe of Vicious Rumors. Highwire Daze Online recently caught up with guitarist Andy Straehler to find out a whole lot more about the power metal forces of Steel Engraved! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Steel Engraved, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Andy Straehler and I am running the band together with Marco Schober (vocals) from its beginning in 2006. I play the guitar. In 2013 we expanded the band to 6 members as we added keyboards to the line-up. We are a German melodic power metal band.
Where is Steel Engraved based out and what is your music scene like there?
The band has its origin in eastern Bavaria (GER) and we have two members from Czech republic (Tomas Kuchta (g), Jaroslav Rod (d)) after a general change in the line up. The scene is very different I think and changed the last 20 years from classic or power metal more to black, extreme and new Metal. But there are several live shows around, smaller festivals as well. Just a few km across the border to the Czech Republic the scene is completely different. There are a couple of great rock bands and city festivals as well, but because of mostly Czech lyrics in Germany totally unknown. That’s really sad. I like the Czech scene as well, not just for their creativity according to live performances. It will take a few years yet until the scenes might grow together at least in the border region. For this there are some bigger festivals which do promotion on both sides in both languages. And the beer price on Czech festivals is amazing, haha!
According to the music STEEL ENGRAVED is based on modern melodic power metal with progressive influences. Each member of the band was used to play in different cover bands in the past. For myself it was very early for sure to make my own music.
How did you wind up signing with ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records?
We knew about ROAR yet before the album production. The first contact already was set during the recordings by Mario (SERIOUS BLACK, Dreamsound Studios). Meanwhile we were in good contact to our friends from MYSTIC PROPHECY who changed to ROAR as well. All in all it was a usual application.
Select two songs from your new Self-Titled album and what inspired the lyrics.
There is Where Shadows Remain containing the ode to a silent hero who does not expect anything for his feat…no golden thrones in a world full of madness… and this phrase maybe draws the red thread through the complete album. As the same in Rebellion which contains the topic of modern slavery. People who are slaves and even don’t know about it, influenced by just a few who try to divide the world into black and white.
Who did the cover art for the Steel Engraved album and how much input did you have on it?
The cover art was created by Dusan Markovic for Dusan Markovic Arts. All in all we had pretty much input on it, most of the ideas came from the band. But Dusan made in really huge. The wolf was Dusan’s idea. Another cover idea was ready as well done by Stripe for Artwork (he designed the artwork from On High Wings We Fly). I must say I liked it as well.
What was it like working with Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear on the vocal production?
Working with Ralf was definitely one of the most exciting experiences in the producing process. He 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.
Who produced the album overall and what was it like working with them?
In contrary to the last album we didn’t have a producer. ON HIGH WINGS was produced by Geoff Thorpe (VICIOUS RUMORS), mixed and mastered in California by him and Juan Urteaga for Trident Studios. The sound – influenced by the bay area power metal style – was amazing!
On STEEL ENGRAVED we just had Ralf to produce the vocals. We had great sound engineers at the Dreamsound Studios in Munich. Mario and Jan (Dreamsound Studios Munich) 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. Daniel (Kieslinger, previous drums) who had pretty many parts written was more involved into the production process than e.g. me. All in all we had a great time at the studio! And of course, the part as a producer took Mario with Jan who had great ideas. And I must admire them for their patience! 🙂
What could one expect from a live Steel Engraved show?
We have the strongest line up ever since Jarda Rod (drums) and Daniel Steckel (bass) joined the band. You can expect the hell of a show! Really, I think it’s STEEL ENGRAVED on its best right now. In the past the band always was able to have great live reviews, no matter if it was on tour or on single shows. I can’t wait to enter the stages soon again!
If Steel Engraved could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
There are several bands I would like to open for. We were lucky to play with many, many great bands during the past and every single show was a great experience. We met a lot of great people and made many friends out there.
What was the experience like touring with Iced Earth and did you get to hang out with them at all?
Touring with Iced Earth was one of the greatest experiences in the past. That’s what we’d definitely like to do again. It was a tour family in that we never felt to be just support band. 12 days can be very short by the way.
What was the experience like playing 70000 Tons Of Metal and is there a chance of Steel Engraved doing a tour in the States in support of this new album?
We definitely would like to do! It was very funny but in the end of 2012 – just a few days before 70k – we had our very first show (supporting Iced Earth and Evergrey) in an English speaking area (London, UK). I can remember that we were very nervous until we had to recognize it should be one of the best shows on tour. A few days later we made the same experience on the ship (what we hopefully will do again). And I am very surprised that I daily get messages from people from the US – and UK – according to our new album. All in all – I really hope to make a US and UK Tour happen.
What’s up next for Steel Engraved?
We are very busy right now, preparing live performances, rehearsals, dealing with agencies after finishing the video productions… it’s very exciting right now and I like it. We are busy as well in organizing shows right now. Unfortunately it’s yet a little bit too early to step into details.. but I feel it’s going to be an exciting year. And what we are not going to do anymore is waiting 5 years to start a new album. I think we are going to start that topic as well very soon.
Any final words of wisdom?
Not of wisdom but of gratitude! We had that much support from other bands, magazines, radio stations, agencies, festival and tour bookers and especially by the fan base that seems to grow daily. I want to thank you for the great time we had and definitely will have in future!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
I want to say thank you!
Marco Schober (Vocals)
Andy Straehler (Guitar)
Tomas Kuchta (Guitar)
Daniel Steckel (Bass)
Jaroslav Rod (Drums)
Mäx Lindner (Keys )
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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