Colour haze are a phenomenon. For years, the Munich stoner rock band has consistently delivered works of high quality, setting new standards in this genre time and again through new facets. This is also true for the 13th studio album "We Are", on which a keyboard expands the artistic and tonal spectrum even further. Even after more than 25 years, the group still seems far from having reached the end of its possibilities.
Between preparations for the upcoming tour (twelve shows on twelve consecutive days from the end of March), dealing with the limited vinyl edition of "We Are" and all the other tasks as head of Elektrohasch Records and singer and guitarist of Colour Haze, Stefan Koglek found time to answer eclipsed questions about the new album.
eclipsed: You recorded "We Are" live in the studio. What do you expect from this approach?
On their debut album "The Dark Third" (2006), prog, post-rock, electronics, psychedelic rock and britpop fed the musical cosmos of Pure Reason Revolution. The English magazine "Q" hailed them at the time as the "missing link between Pink Floyd and the 21st century". However, with the two following albums "Amor Vincit Omnia" (2009) and "Hammer And Anvil" (2010) and a generally stronger turn towards electronic music, guitarist and singer Jon Courtney and singer and bassist Chloë Alper no longer lived up to this description. After a break of almost eight years, Pure Reason Revolution returned with an inspiring performance at last year's Midsummer Prog Festival. The new album "Eupnea" will follow this April.
The quest for individual expression runs like a red thread through Jonathan Hultén's career. With his band Tribulation he has been questioning stereotypes of the Death and Black Metal scene for years. Now he is releasing his first album as a solo artist and could hardly be further removed stylistically from his other project.
For a long time Nightwish have been the figurehead of Symphonic Metal - which is not only due to the fact that the band around Tuomas Holopainen has been existing for almost 25 years now, but also to the fact that with every album they expand, refine and push their sound. On April 10th they release their ninth studio album "Human. II: Nature", a double album with nine shorter songs and one long track. It is once again an ambitious work that will help the band to remain the reference point of this sub-genre, precisely because they have basically long since outgrown it.
"I know you will wait for me - here now, there then", Ryanne van Dorst muses in "Ode To The Future", a track from her new album "Summerland", and thus makes direct reference to the highly praised Dool debut in 2017. van Dorst emphasizes that the successor is a greatness in its own right and has nothing to do with the first album. Nevertheless it is a sequel, the next logical step. On "Here Now, There Then" the guitarist and singer dealt with the theme of time, or rather: timelessness. Now it becomes "spaceless". She completes "Ode To The Future": "I'll meet you in the summerland."
Almost half a century passed between the departure and return of the eponym until Matthews Southern Comfort released their penultimate album "Like A Radio". Now it took only two years until the successor "The New Mine" was released. During the telephone interview, mastermind Iain Matthews snorts audibly several times before giving an answer. It seems that he himself is uncomfortable about why he brought the band named after him back to life in 2017. He left the band at the end of 1970 by simply stomping off the stage during a concert. "But Matthews Southern Comfort really seems to be a constant today," laughs the 73-year-old Brit with a hoarse voice. "The four of us in the band work together intensively, almost daily. And have fun with the story!"
eclipsed: 48 years break between two albums, now only two - does this prove your new interest in the legend Matthews Southern Comfort?
"On the records of Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy, Wishbone Ash etc. the guitar parts played in two voices always sound best. So why shouldn't we use the Twin Guitars for ourselves as well," asks Kasper Eriksson, drummer of the up-and-coming Swedish group Hällas, quite rightly. Because even if the band is often accused of sounding like a copy of Uriah Heep, Nectar or Rush - the way they do it is undoubtedly good! And where, please, is it even written that forever nobody is allowed to sound like the mentioned prog rock icons at their best times?
Hällas are the way they are, and that's okay. For nine years now, the fivesome, founded by Eriksson and bass/vocalist Tommy Alexandersson and completed by Alexander Moraitis and Marcus Pettersson on guitars and keyboard Nicklas Malmqvist, has been around. By the way: Again, parallels to Heep can be discovered. They went into the studio as a quartet in 1969 and came out again as a quintet, reinforced by keyboard player Ken Hensley ...
In hard rock circles the Swiss band enjoyed a good reputation from the very beginning. It basically took on the heritage of Tea and Krokus. Their grandiose cover version of "Hush" (Joe South song in deep-purple version) was long their calling card. Leo Leoni as guitarist and singer Steve Lee were since then set as a trump card in the nineties hard rock circus. When Steve died in a motorcycle accident in the USA in 2010, the Gotthard universe was shaken violently. After a year later a replacement was found in Nic Maeder, the question arose for a moment whether the band would really manage to continue on a similar high level ... and they did. The new album is now simply and aptly titled "#13".
eclipsed: New album, new luck? The "13" - is that a lucky number for you? And what is the special thing about the new album for you?