Ever wanted to find out what inspired a particular song?
Was it based on personal experience or simply passive observation?
What happened in the recording studio or on stage to make one song sound different from the rest?
These are just some of the question bands and musicians attempt to answer in Line 'em Up - the newest page of The Power Of Metal.Dk.
This is where your favourite bands comment on their albums, track by track, because as someone once said, “Ideas are the building blocks of ideas”.
Here’s a chance for you to tell our readers about your new album “Surreal World”.
But could you please start off by introducing the readers to Zero Degree?
Zero Degree – Hey there! Zero Degree is a melodic death metal band from Nordhausen, Germany. We started the band in 2006 and released our self-produced debut album “Surreal World” in 2010. Now the record is re-released worldwide by MASSACRE RECORDS. Zero Degree is a six-piece equipped with three guitar players which forces our music in a special melodic direction.
And now onto “Surreal World”… track-by-track, what inspired you, what topics are you dealing with, what do what to express with this song etc.
01. The Door to the Unknown
Zero Degree – First track is just an instrumental intro for the album. We thought that we needed something epic for the opening of the album which displays the power of three guitars as well. One of our guitarists, Pascal, came up with the idea and we liked it immediately.
02. Tomorrow Dies Today
Zero Degree – “Tomorrow Dies Today” was the last track that was written for the album. Actually, we didn’t play this song in the practice room before, but we thought that it had a strong melodic and powerful tune which needed to be on the album. The lyrical topic is a dark vision of a dystopian future for the world and especially for humankind. It also deals with the fact that we could direct our future if we wanted to but the human being rejects this opportunity because of its self-destructive character.
03. Frozen Alive
Zero Degree – With the third track “Frozen Alive” we wanted to create a rather melancholic and dark atmosphere but with an epic chorus as the backbone of the song. The lyrics are about the feeling of someone who is disconnected from modern society and finally accepts that there is no place for his or her individual way of live. Another great thing on “Frozen alive” is the solo. We wanted to highlight it and made it an important part of the song.
04. The Storm and the Silence
Zero Degree – “The Storm and the Silence” is one of two older tracks on the album. I think it goes back to the time before the band even existed. Pascal wrote it between 2004 and 2005 but we thought it was still a great song for the album and showed our musical diversity. It is just an old-school metal song with great parts for head banging. The lyrics deal with a cinematic representation of an old mariner sailing through the seas of life. So you can see it also as a metaphor of the “Surreal World”.
05. The Grapes of Wrath
Zero Degree – The title of the fifth song “Grapes of Wrath” is inspired by the novel by John Steinbeck. The lyrical interpretation of the song is a bit tricky because our singer Thomas did not explain what he really intended with the words. The band discussed many possibilities and there were a few, so Thomas thought it would be better everyone gets his or her own idea about it. Music wise the song is one of the modern sounding tunes on the album. It starts with an electronic intro, and keyboards are integrated into the whole composition. The riffs are fast and straight but beside the heavy riffing, the lead guitars underline the still melodic direction of the song. It also has a nice solo part in the middle of the song.
06. Whispering Age
Zero Degree – “Whispering Age” is an epic and melodic song written in waltz time. It is a good mid for the whole album and it is also a great live track. The lead and solo guitars dominate the image of the song. From the lyrical view the “Whispering Age” deals with the permanent competing forces of nature. It is also a metaphor of being alive on this planet and especially in modern society.
Zero Degree – The seventh title “Virus” is the thrash metal song on “Surreal World”. It combines fast thrash metal riffing and melody into a modern mixture. It also has a nice sing along chorus which unfolds its total power at live gigs. Many people say that they like this one most which is a bit interesting to me because it is not that typical Zero Degree song. But it still is an important song for the album and lyrical concept of “Surreal World”. What exactly the “Virus” means is up to everyone’s individual interpretation.
Zero Degree – “Disease” starts off with a two-voiced guitar tapping intro which is also the backbone of the song and develops it into a great join-in part in the end. “Disease” has a difficult history. In 2007 we released the song with a different structure and tuning on our demo “The Storm and the Silence” and people were absolutely connected with that song. Later we thought that it needed a facelift and rewrote it but many of our fans disliked the song. Maybe it was a wrong decision but it felt right at that time. But it is still a nice track and we like to play “Disease” live. The lyrics should encourage the listener to challenge the prefabricated understanding of life and follow their own or a new way without being forced into social or religious constraints.
09. Surreal World
Zero Degree – The title track “Surreal World” is another modern tune with a huge main part and a great chorus. The verse is enriched with some keyboards samples which underline the technical and digital age topic of the lyrics. It is meant that people were manipulated by media subconsciously. The topic is influenced by different science fiction movies as well.
10. Where Angels Die
Zero Degree – “Where Angels Die” is another old song on the album. It was written at the same time when the idea for “The Storm and the Silence” came up. The lyrics are also inspired by science fiction movies but the listener also has to see it as a metaphor of human behaviour and self-understanding. The music is a straight metal song with some keyboards included. To complete the space setting we thought it would be great to introduce the song with a quote of the “Apollo 11 Mission”.
11. The Fog
Zero Degree – Last song on the album is “The Fog”. It is a very dark and atmospheric track. We liked the idea of closing the album with the “end of all things” topic of this song. I think especially the outro and the last vocal lines are working fine as a true end. The song is also a high rated one by our listeners and a nice live track which features Maik’s really nice melody and solo guitars.
Tell us a bit about the artwork – who made it etc. and how important do you feel it is to have a cool artwork?
Zero Degree – The artwork was done by a guy named Patrick Wittstock. He works for his own company “AZRAELDESIGN” and did great stuff for bands like “Heaven Shall Burn”, “Amon Amarth”, “The Sorrow” and many more. The artwork is very important for the whole album concept and we think that it displays the atmosphere and the topic of “Surreal World” perfectly. We are really happy with Patrick’s work.
Any last words you want to round this interview off with?
Zero Degree – First of all, thank you for the possibility to introduce our album to your readers! We really appreciate that. All metalheads out there please check us out and visit us at www.zerodegreemetal.com or at facebook. Cheers Sebastian & Zero Degree
Kenn Jensen, June 2012