Underground Metal Blog since 2013

2021. november 10., szerda

Charly Steinhauer (Paradox)

 Interview with Charly Steinhauer (Paradox) 

Hello Charly I’m so honoured to talk to you on my small blog. First of all let me to congratulate you for fantastic album “Heresy II: End of a Legend”. Would you be so kind to enlighten the readers about songwriting, recording process and lyrics of your new LP? 

- Hi and thanks for the compliment on the new album. I appreciate it!

It is the most versatile and greatest that I have composed so far. My personal masterpiece, but I also know that many wished for a pure old school album, but then I would have had to copy myself. I have managed the balancing act between old and new school well I think. There are countless riffs and harmonies on this album and something for everyone, but not an album for one run. This is a long journey You have to listen very often to it, to enjoy the whole atmosphere, because there is always something new to discover in the background.

I composed one song after the other until I had worked through all the titles that the text writer Peter Vogt had given me for the concept. About the story.. In contrast to Heresy I, which is based on a true story, Heresy II is a fictional story. In 1244 at the siege of Montsegur, two groups of Knights were tasked with removing the ‘Cathar Treasure. The story tells of the dangerous journey these two groups endured, and through visions they are getting told of the myth of Jesus Christ, that the real messiah was in fact John the Baptist …a disciple of Jesus. In fact our modern Pope wears the ring of John, the Fisher of men.

As I’m an old supporter of Paradox (since in the end of 80s) for me it just awesome feeling that your old friend, drummer Axel Blaha joined Paradox again. How did happen his comeback? I saw other changes in Paradox as well: Tell us more about your current line-up please.

Then I first would like to thank you for your support over the years!

Axel has always been my best friend in private life. He was indirectly involved in many PARADOX productions because he visited me regularly and I asked him for his opinion on the new songs. He often gave tips. When he stopped playing the drums in 1991 nobody would have thought that he would come back again, but already during the PANGEA sessions he rekindled a passion that made him try again. He bought a drum kit and practiced like an obsession. Today he plays better than ever. When the position on drums for the new album was vacant, he decided to return to PARADOX. I founded the band with him and we want to end it together at some point. I was also in regular contact with Christian Münzner and Olly Keller because we are friends and both were also ready to return. I'm happy to have a great and consistent band line-up again and we have a very good atmosphere within the band.

Brilliant artwork of “Heresy II: End of a Legend” created for you American illustrator Travis Smith. I’ve written in my Hungarian review that in my opinion his awesome work is totally fitting to your music. How did you meet him? Do you have any plans to co-work with him later then for Paradox? 

I came into contact with him through his manager. Travis showed interest in working together with PARADOX. Then everything went very quickly and easily.

Since I'm also a big OPETH fan and Travis Smith did their album covers, it was clear that I wanted to hire him for PARADOX as well. I like his mystical style. What he has drawn at NEVERMORE and many others is also awesome. He is an absolute professional and he communicates regularly during production. He has a lot of ideas that he brings with him and he listens to the music for which he develops the appropriate cover art. He perfectly visualizes the partly gloomy and melancholy mood of the new PARADOX album. Yes, we would love to work with him again.

I’ve got your message as Paradox completed the saga with Heresy II where the lyrics were written by Peter Vogt (who wrote his lyrics for Paradox on “Heresy”). Maybe you will continue to cooperate with him on new Paradox album(s) in the future? 

I assume that Peter Vogt will also write the lyrics for the next PARADOX album. It is very pleasant to work with him and we understand each other blindly. Reason enough to do it again. He also signaled to me that he would like to write texts for us again. So why not. Never change a winning team.

Which guitar players and singers influenced you back in the day and do you have some favourite ones in our days? 

- Of course, I was most influenced by James Hetfield, whom I got to know personally in 1984. I even have Cliff Burton's autograph. There are singers like Erik AK from FLOTSAM & JETSAM, Joey Belladonna (ANTHRAX) or Dave Meniketti (Y&T) who have also influenced me. I also love John  Arch (FATES WARNING) and who I absolutely have to mention is the sadly missed Warrel Dane (NEVERMORE, SANCTUARY). He really inspired me. LEPROUS is a band that has nothing to do with Thrash metal but whose dark melody lines also inspired me on the new album. 
My favorite guitarists are Jeff Loomis, Jeff Waters, Gary Holt, my band mate Christian Münzner, but also people like Steve Vai or Eddie Van Halen.

As I’ve mentioned I’m an old fan of Paradox and when I’ve studied in Budapest in 1990/1991 I was so happy after the buying “Heresy” cassette and could not waited to return to college and put to tape deck to listen to that amazing album. How do you remember those old glorious days of Paradox? 

It would go beyond the scope to talk about all the events here. I could write a book about it and maybe one day I will too. When I say everything was better in the past it sounds like a cliche, but actually everything was better in the 80s. The heavy metal community was a family and there was a solid bond among the fans. I miss that today when I read through all these hateful comments on the internet. I can only shake my head. It has become superficial and fast-living. In the past one good album after the other was published and nowadays a lot and bands don't spend so much time on one album because they have to go on tour in order to be able to make a living from the music.
As far as PARADOX is concerned, we were really lucky to be in the right place at the right time. We were part of the bands that brought American Thrash metal to Europe. But also independent Thrash bands like KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, SODOM were there from the beginning. BTW, we played our first tour with TANKARD. The highlights were, of course, the first record deal, album of the month, demo of the year, the Dynamo Open Air with over 20,000 viewers and being Germany`s Newcomer # 1.

According to Encyclopaedea Metallum you are involved in bands as Exorchrist and Brutal Godz. What is the current situation with these ones? 

- Well, EXORCHRIST is a project by Daxx, the former VENDETTA singer/guitarist, to which I contributed a few solos. Nothing regular. I haven't spoken to Daxx for a long time, but if he needs me I will again make a guest contribution. He has also written lyrics for 2 PARADOX albums. There will always be a connection and friendship between us.

As for BRUTAL GODZ, the story is incomplete. The band consisted of Uwe Lulis, who now plays for ACCEPT, and the two brothers Alex and Oliver Holzwarth and me on the vocals. There is a demo with 10 unreleased songs. The style is difficult to grasp. Totally bizarre metal with Thrash and prog influences. After a dispute between Uwe and Oliver, the split came about and the project was over.

If I’m not mistaken you are from a very old and nice German city Würzburg. (Unfortunately I’ve never been in your beautiful city so far). What interesting places, museums etc are your recommendations to visit me then? 

- First the landmark of Würzburg. The "Festung (Fortress) Marienberg" is a former fortification and a former prince-bishop's castle on the Marienberg 100 meters above the "Main", a river that flows through the city 
Then we have the "Residenz Würzburg" with a large park behind the building. It is a huge baroque palace on the outskirts of the city center of Würzburg, which was built from the beginning to the middle of the 18th century. 
Then there is the "Käppele". Käppele is the popular name of the pilgrimage church "Mariä Visitation on Nikolausberg in Würzburg" . The "Alte Mainbrücke" is the oldest bridge over the "Main" river in Würzburg and a landmark of the city. The building, which began in the 15th century, was Würzburg's only river crossing until 1886 I could list many more sights for you. We have many tourists in our beautiful city. Lots of sidewalk cafes as well.

When we started our own Death metal band called Castrum in 1994, I’ve written to the track “Brand” my short lyrics about Würzburg witch trials. (I was possessed and still am) to read books about witches, witch-hunts). Maybe in your next albums you will use that interesting and very sad topic of Würzburg for new Paradox-track(s)? In my humble opinion it would be really great to listen to Paradox music with lyrics about witch trials of Würzburg. What do you think? 

- Würzburg is a Christian city with more than 60 churches. It is hard to imagine which crimes the Church did a few hundred years ago. Many witch trials took also place in Bamberg (a neighboring town) and you didn't have to do much to be convicted as a heretic. Many humans was burned at the stake for no reason. If a woman had red hair it was enough reason for her to get condemned as a witch.

Since we have already sung a lot about this topic elsewhere with the two HERESY albums, we will not take up this related story again. I can only confirm. One person`s religion is another person`s Heresy. 
Religion has always been a reason for war. Everyone has the right to believe in what makes them strong, but not dictate to others what they have to believe.

Alongside the music do you have interesting hobbies? What are your favourite books/authors and movies/actors/actresses? 

- I rarely read books, but rather read music or video game magazines. I love Playstation games. In addition to music, this is my biggest hobby and a good way to balance myself out in other worlds.
I love history and study a lot on the internet what has happened on our planet. I keep getting information about special events and like to research details about it. Sometimes for days.
I also like to go for a walk in nature to get some fresh air and to exercise, because my two big hobbies are only possible while sitting. Of course, I like to meet friends or visiting concerts. Unfortunately, that was not possible during the pandemic. In general, I am also a big fan of movies. My favorite actors are Christoph Waltz, Brad Pitt, Leonardo Di Caprio, Jack Nicholson, Liam Neeson, Al Pacino. Kevin Bacon and many more. But there are also good German actors like Moritz Bleibtreu. I like sophisticated thrillers, true-story-based films, dramas and horror movies.

Are there any interesting bands from your area what you could recommend to the readers to listen to it? 

- At the beginning of the 80s there were quite a few bands from our region in Bavaria, Germany. Our friends from VENDETTA was one of them. We spent a lot of time together and partied. It was a great time. Nowadays I am not so much concerned with the regional scene. There are a lot of bands but I can't name a specific one that knocked me off my feet. Most musicians are very good at their instrument these days, but the most important thing is the song itself. If that is not good then all the technology is useless. But it is also much more difficult for new bands to build a successful career, because everything has already existed and the music cannot be reinvented. The market is also flooded. There is more quantity than quality. It's sad but true, but the most important thing is that heavy metal survived the 90s and became immortal.

I know it is a very hard question but could you name 10 or more your favourite albums? 

- There are many bands whose albums have influenced or inspired me. I can list a few of them for you. 
01. Exodus - Boded by Blood 
02. Metallica - Right The Lightning / Master Of Puppets 
03. Forbidden - Forbidden Evil / Twisted Into Form 
04. Flotsam & Jetsam - Doomsday For The Deceiver / No Place For Disgrace 
05. Metal Church - Metal Church 
06. Slayer - Show No Mercy / Reign In Blood 
07. Opeth - Blackwater Park / Deliverance / Ghost Reveries / Watershed 
08. Anthrax - Fistful Of Metal / Spreading The Desease 
09. Motörhead - Overkill / Ace Of Spades 
10. Raven - Rock Until Your Drop / Wiped Out 
11. Mercyful Fate - Melissa / Don't Break The Oath 
12. AC / DC - Let There be Rock / Back In Black 
13. Helstar - Remnatns Of War / Nosferatu 
14. Nevermore - Dead Heart In A Dead World / The Politics Of Ecstasy 
15. Testament - The Legacy 
16. Anvil - Metal On Metal 
17. Evile - The Skull 
18. Leprous - Malina 
19. Vector - Outer Isolation 
20. The whole NWOBHM 
..... and many many more

Vielen Dank Charly, it was a pleasure to make this interview with you. Wish you all the best and I really hope to see Paradox live and meet you personally very soon. Send some thoughts in the end please. 

- I have to thank you for your support over the years and would like to say cheerz to all readers. I hope you like the new album "HERESY II - End Of A Legend". It deserves your support!

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