Sweden's, maybe, best Heavy/Power Metal band today, Nocturnal Rites, from the very north of Sweden has released six albums in their career, and the very first was released for exactly 10 years ago.
To celebrate that, Nocturnal Rites has re-mastered the first two albums and recorded two new versions and added two demo versions and put everything on a double-disc that's going to be released this month (February 2005).
So when I got the chance to choose a member in the band to answer some of my questions, I easily picked the guitarist, founder and only original member of the band, Fredrik Mannberg. And I asked him pretty much everything about the new "Anniversary" album and their latest full-length "New World Messiah". What I asked and what he answered can you read here below, enjoy!
- You are quite famous all around the world today, but that doesn't matter, you still have to introduce yourself and your band too us.
My name is Fredrik Mannberg and I play guitar in the swedish Power/heavy metal band NOCTURNAL RITES.
- You're about to release your first two albums, re-mastered, on a double-disc with some bonus tracks, but why? Except that you'll get those two albums out with much better sound, but are there any another reasons too?
We are celebrating our 10th year as artists. So we decided to do someting for our fans. Alot of people have had big problems finding our debut cd "In a Time of Blood and Fire". I have to admit that I don´t even have my own copy from the original release. It have been out of print for a long long time and we felt that it was time to let the world hear it, the way it was recorded once way back in time. We also decided to throw in our sec. cd "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" together with some bonus material. All this for the price of a normal cd.
- And when you releasing old material, why didn't you try to re-master and include the old demo "The Obscure" too? I know, since I'm an inveterate fan of Nocturnal Rites, that I would like to hear that demo.
No. That idea didn't even cross our minds. It's so much different compared to our debut. I'm sure the fans that really want to listen to it will find it on the net somewhere. But I'm sure it will never be released the way it is on a cd. The idea was to let the fans get a hold on our debut without any problem, and now they can.
- You're now the only member that's have been with the band since the start in 1990, how do you experience Nocturnal Rites evolution? I mean, you started as a Death Metal band and ended up as a Power/Heavy Metal band.
I still listen to alot of death/thrash/black stuff. The latest Behemoth is fantastic for ex. Our change of style came naturally since we all grew up with Dio, WASP. Maiden... so I don´t think it´s such a big deal. We had great fun in the old days and we even had more fun when we discovered that our music turned more into power/heavy metal. 15 years is a long time and the evolution for me is a huge thing. Starting in a small dirty rehearsal room and ending up releasing albums and touring all over the planet.
Fredrik Mannberg on his beloved car, a Volvo 244
- When you parted ways with singer Anders Zackrisson after the album "The Sacred Talisman", that had to be your biggest released then, were you never afraid that a change of singer would ruin all that you built up over the years?
Yes...it was the biggest release we had done at that time. This might sound selfish but we did'nt think about what other people would say. We have always gone our own way and done our thing from our hearts. I think that´s one reason we still play together as a band. You have to have fun doing it otherwise it won´t work.
- And were you never afraid that you wouldn't find a singer that was good enough to replace Anders? Or did you already have your eyes on Jonny (That I think is a better singer, more suitable for you)?
Owe and Jonny used to play together way back in time. It was Owe who came up with the idea to ask him to join us. We all knew about his gift. We knew how good he was so we never really thought twice on that. And I guess we also knew the magic we could create together with him. Everything feels perfect with this line-up. Never had any problems and everyone really likes to go on stage and deliver metal, no matter where or when!
Cover Artwork of last years "New World Messiah"
- It's soon one year ago your latest release "New World Messiah" saw the light of day, and you got overwhelming positive criticism from the press, but how do you recall the feedback from fans and music lovers in general?
You hear positive things like: "This band has their own style and they don´t follow the rest" or "The singer is amazing!" that makes me very happy of course. I do think we are a great band. If you don´t believe in what you do then you maybe shouldn't do it. In the end it will show from songwriting or something else, if you are enjoying yourself or not.
- I guess 2004 was a both hectic and wonderful year for Nocturnal Rites, you album got good comment and you went on a large tour with Edguy, how would you sum 2004?
I would say it was a good year for us. The tour was a great thing for the band. We have played infront of thousands of new faces and I really hope some of them got our songs stuck in their heads. Six weeks is a long time, and to tell you the truth... I think I would have done six more if we had the chance to. We also played alot of festivals. Swedish ones, but it was a great experiance again and good promotion for us. And for our cd... I´m very pleased with the really nice reviews we got. We are just happy to share our music with other people.
- How does the future look like for Nocturnal Rites? Are there a new album in the making, and will it come out this year, or will the two "2004 versions" from "Lost in Time" be the only "new" songs from Nocturnal Rites this year?
We are writing new stuff as you read this. Our plan is to enter the studio around may/june, so if that happens then we will have our next studio album out later this year. I hope people will enjoy the "Lost in Time" release until then.
The Nocturnal Guys
- I saw you guys live last year, on the tour with Edguy, and I was thinking that you now got 6 full-length albums, so isn't it time for a Live album & a DVD soon? Have you ever consider that, or never ever thought about it?
Of course it would be fun doing a DVD or something else. We have been talking about it. But we haven't had a headline tour that would fit in doing such things yet. I´m sure the future will bring more for the fans.
- You've now released six full-length albums and that means a lot of songs, but what songs are you holding as you favourites? You can choose one or more.
Six albums means ALOT of somgs. At this point i really can´t choose from the songs. It depends on my mood and stuff. Ask me when I'm angry or happy... right now I'm just neutral.
- What musicians/bands have inspired you to create music?
Kreator have for me been a big insperation source. It´s my all time favourite Thrash band. All the old bands like WASP, Twisted Sister.... have been there in my heart from when I was a small kid until now.
- Now when we're reaching the end of my questions, I would like to handle over the word to you. To give you a chance to take up something you think I have forgotten to ask or just deliver an greeting to our Readers, it's up to you!
Keep your eyes open for the "Lost in Time" release and our next studio album. Come and see us live where ever we are...
- Then I thank you very much for taking some of you precious time to answer my questions, thanks! And I wish you the best of luck in the future, I hoping for much greatness from Nocturnal Rites!