The Heavy Metal Crusaders of Unchained Horizon
The Heavy Metal Crusaders of Unchained Horizon
Unchained Horizon present heavy metal in the grand and glorious tradition of all things Maiden and Priest. And with the unveiling of their latest magnum opus entitled Fallen Kingdom, this German battalion is ready to make listeners all around the world bang their heads into the stratosphere. Fallen Kingdom is now available via Pure Steel Records, and it’s a thrilling adventure that genre fans will want to experience time and again! Highwire Daze recently interviewed bassist Andreas Bauer to find a whole lot more about the heavy metal crusaders of Unchained Horizon. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Unchained Horizon, and how long the band has been together.
Hi Ken. First of all, thanks a lot for having us for this interview. As far as I know, this is the first interview we do with an American zine, so we feel very honored to answer your questions.
My name is Andreas and I am the bass player of Unchained Horizon and I also do all the press and promo stuff.
Before we go on let me introduce the rest of the pack:
On lead vocals please welcome Mr. Sascha Heese. On drums… our youngstar Mr. Arne Meinerts. The left guitar is shredded by our master of Kemper amps, Mr. Christian Kriesch. And finally our king of guitar solos, Mr. André Hanzen.
I personally joined the guys two and a half years ago, shortly after our drummer Arne also replaced his predecessor.
As you can see, the Unchained Horizon ship was sailing through troubled seas some years ago soon after the 2018 album LAST MAN STANDING was released. Luckily, we are now this kind of perfect line-up. Nor just a band but even more really good friends. A real brotherhood.
The initial start of the band was back in the days in 2009 when our vocalist and part time guitarist Sascha founded the band with his guitar playing friends Christian and André, who are still on board.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We are based in Wilhelmshaven, Germany. This is a medium size coastal town at the North Sea with appr. 80.000 inhabitants. We have a big military harbor here and tons of seagulls. Some pubs and a lot of water around us.
The local musical scene…well, we have tons of top40 cover bands here, also a lot of singer-songwriters. Unfortunately, the heavy metal scene is really small and not comparable to other North German towns like Bremen, Hamburg or even our neighbor city Oldenburg. Night Demon for instance visit this place pretty often when they are on tour.
How did you wind up signing with Pure Steel Records?
This was pretty uncomplicated, haha. After we finished the recordings for our new album FALLEN KINGDOM by the end of last year, we all came to the conclusion that the new songs are just too good not to be heard by a larger number of metalheads.
Believe me, Pure Steel Records was the first record company that came to our mind. So, we sent out an application and after some time our A&R Mikk replied. That’s it. haha.
We still cannot believe that it was that easy. But obviously it was a great match because now we can talk to a magazine from Los Angeles.
Sascha and I have been in L.A. before and we love this city. When I visited California for the first time the first words that came out of my mouth were “Unbelievable! It looks like on TV”, haha.
Is there any overall story or concept behind the album title Fallen Kingdom?
Yes. Sascha is writing all the lyrics and some day he came up with the idea of a person that wakes up as a stranger in an unknown land, full of ice and snow. A fallen kingdom where oppression and violence determines the everyday life. So you have to fight to stay alive and finally this will change your character and unleash the beast within. When I think deeper about this, it reminds me of a typical Franz Kafka story. But let’s not mention this, it will ruin our reputation, haha.
Select two songs from Fallen Kingdom and what inspired the lyrics?
Let’s start with the album opener and our first single “Stranger”. This song is the introduction to the above-mentioned concept story. Stranger…Invader.. Crusader. I think this says it all. Typical metal lyrics and hell yes, we love it.
I personally also like Beneath The Ice. This is another storytelling masterpiece from Sascha. The lyrics dive deep into the story and the song consists of so many different parts and shapes. The Spanish acoustic guitar part in the middle of the song – performed by André – is so cool and I like the total silence in the audience when we play this part live.
Who did the cover art for Fallen Kingdom and how much input did you have on it?
A friend of ours introduced us to Matthias Lipinski from mygraphx.de. Matthias does a lot of awesome artwork and we dropped a line to him. We just had the rough idea of a “warrior” in a “fallen kingdom”. So, the cooperation started and Matthias did a great job. We worked together very closely and, in the end, the complete artwork was approved by the label.
What could one expect from a live Unchained Horizon show?
A lot, haha. You know, there is a thing we don’t understand at all. So many bands just stand still on stage. Also, in the metal scene and also when the bands are young. I mean, there are 20 years old kids, hardly moving and totally concentrated on the instruments. Sure, most bands master their guitars and drums better than we do, haha, but that’s ok for us.
We love the stage action of all the 80s hard’n heavy heroes. Just look at young Metallica, Maiden, Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Guns’n Roses, Anthrax and so on. Those guys run and jump and sweat as hell. And that’s what we do, nevertheless most of us are in their mid 40s. But the crowd spends the hard-earned money on tickets to come to our shows and so they deserve a real old school rock’n roll show and the best entertainment we can offer.
If Unchained Horizon could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
This took less than 0.5 seconds for Sascha, Chris and me to answer. IRON MAIDEN! I think it’s very obvious that Maiden has the biggest influence on our songwriting and Maiden means everything to those three of us. The best and biggest metal band in the world. Period, haha.
Our guitar player André mentions Blue Öyster Cult. After having heard Don’t Fear The Reaper, he started playing guitar when he was a kid.
Are you involved with any other bands or projects outside of Unchained Horizon?
No, we all concentrate on Unchained Horizon.
Germany is very famous for their BEER!!! What is your favorite beer of choice and why?
Jever (our best known local beer here in the north western part of Germany), Guinness (ok, maybe not that typical German beer, haha), Augustiner (brewed in Bavaria and really tasty. Like most Bavarian beers it’s spicy and has a less bitter taste) and Krombacher 0,0 (some of us don’t drink alcoholic beverages).
What do you hope the rest of 2022 and the New Year brings for you and Unchained Horizon?
We all know the killjoys of our time. Corona, the war in Ukraine and all the other bullshit that is happening every day.
I don’t know what the next months and 2023 will bring, but of course we hope for live gigs, live gigs and also live gigs. So many tours and festivals are currently being canceled and so many people just don’t have enough money to buy concert tickets when they have to pay expensive bills. So even though there are some dark clouds on the horizon, we will never lose hope.
Any final words of wisdom?
Since we are neither fucking politicians nor priests, let’s keep it simple and true: Respect each other and banish hate and prejudices. Support metal and don’t forget the underground scene. The underground keeps the spirit alive.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thank you too, Ken, for giving us the opportunity to spread some words in the US. Stay healthy and cheers to you and all the readers of your magazine. Maybe we’ll meet some day.
-Andi, Unchained Horizon
Sascha Heese – vocals, guitars
Andreas Bauer – bass, backing vocals
André Hanzen – guitars
Christian Kriesch – guitars
Arne Meinerts – drums
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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