Formed in the autumn of 1999 by guitarist Gus G. and metal producer Nordstrom, Dream Evil is all about heavy metal. The band recruited famous local drummer Snowy haw and Hammerfall backing singer Isfeldt who in turn brought in his band-mate Peter Stalfors from The Jerico Brothers. The quintet entered Nordstrom's Studio Fredman to record DragonSlayer in 2001. The album was released in the spring of 2002 and the band supported it by playing festivals like Wacken and Sweden Rocks.
A support slot for Blind Guardian and two Japanese shows followed. Wasting little time, the band re-entered the studio in November of 2002 to record a second album. Evilized appeared in February, 2003. A tour with Hammerfall was next. Dream Evil released a seven-song EP in the spring of 2003 called Children Of The Night. Beside the song of the same name, the MCD will featured two live songs, two Japanese bonus songs, an acoustic song and a video for the title track. Dream Evil toured Japan - where they had also entered the charts - in June with Kamelot.
In a move reminiscent of Dismember in the early 90's, Dream Evil performed an unplugged set on the Stockholm radio station Rockklassiker 106.7 on Friday, October 31st. The band entered the studio in late December in order to record a new album for 2004.
The Book Of Heavy Metal - a title already considered for the last album - was released in June, 2004.
In September, 2004 Guitarist Gus G. left Dream Evil in order to focus on Firewind. Ironically, he would tour with Arch Enemy later in the year. Vocalist Niklas Isfeldt and bassist Peter Stålfors also left the band in 2005. The band's new members were Jake E Berg and Tommy Larsson on bass. In what soon became a soap opera the band was rejoined by vocalist Niklas Isfeldt and bassist Peter Stålfors in September. They had left the band two months ago citing health (read: loss of Niklas' voice) and personal reasons. Snowy Shaw abandoned the dream in early 2006 and joined Firegod. United featuring Power and Black surfaced in late 2006. Mark Black left the band in late 2007 and was replaced by Dannee Demon (a.k.a. Daniel Varghamne). The band announced the release a CD of new and old songs backed by a live DVD in April called Gold Medal In Metal. Dream Evil signed a new worldwide deal with Century Media Records in late 2009 and announced a new album, entitled In The Night, for January 25th. The band was appearing at the Bloodstock festival in 2010 and touring with Stratovarius. Dream Evil was also booked for 2010's Sweden Rock Festival, which was to take place on June 9th to 12th in Sölvesborg. The band cancelled its appearance at ProgPower USA XII in October of 2011 as the band could not obtain a US visa.
DREAM EVIL - DRAGONSLAYER - CENTURY MEDIA
Here is another Swedish contender: Dream Evil is speed metal's meeting with traditional hard rock. Circumventing any perceived Dio influences (despite the moniker) and sporting only a marginal shade of keyboards, Dream Evil is Hammerfall crossed with Dokken and the band of famed producer Fredrik Nordstrom, Hammerfall backing singer Niklas Istfeldt, former Mercyful Fate and current Notre Dame drummer Snowy Shaw as well as bassist Ster Stalfors and Greek guitarist Gus G. Dream Evil benefits from a versatile singer who sounds anything but flat. The band also benefits from a chorus orientation and the urgent nature of the compositions which give the songs the required edge. Furthermore, being recorded at Nordstrom's Studio Fredman, the sound is top-notch (surprised?) and resonating. The solos are a sore point, being short and never being given the length of time needed to properly shine through. A pity, otherwise songs like Kingdom Of The Damned would have been even livelier. As far as individual songs are concerned, opener Chasing The Dragon is an upbeat and hammerfalling song. In Flames You Burn (hmmm, do you sense a pun?) begins slower and picks up to become a bona fide speed metal hammer - check out the impressive echoes on the vocals. Save Us is very similar to Grip Inc. musically, although the vocals are pure heavy metal. Losing You is the type of ballad where Havarti does not quite seem adequate and the discussion progresses to fondu! Hail To The King is a classic metal song and H.M.J. (Heavy Metal Jesus) is a hard rock tune seemingly out of the traditional scene. The songs are about fighting, battles and death and, in short, Dream Evil will appeal to traditionalists who appreciate their metal molten.
DREAM EVIL - EVILIZED - CENTURY MEDIA
A mere nine months after the release of the debut Dream Evil album, the Swedish quintet is back with a newer album entitled Evilized. They should have waited.
The band probably intended to maintain the momentum gained by the debut, and to capitalize on the favourable reception accorded last year's debut. Lest this sounds dreadful let it be known that Evilized is indeed a good album. The magical vocals of Niklas Isfeldt, the soaring guitars and crystal-clear production are intact. The band has its collective heart in the right place, but the short lead-time has meant that the Swedes (and Gus!) have played it too safely and released twelve songs too comparable to each other and those of last year's Dragonslayer. As mentioned, the album is a good one. Then again: weak songs like Fear The Night and Made Of Metal are just there. Even the over-reaching vocals of Isfeldt can not save the weaker songs from the doldrums. These tracks seem more like skeletons of songs. Bad Dreams is enhanced by some effects. Break The Chains is catchy. The End is a ballad at the close of the album and features another great vocal performance. It is, ironically, one of the more meaningful songs here. Live A Lie is another powerful song. Again, Evilized is a good album with many very good parts, but nowhere near as good as Dragonslayer. Then again, nobody expected the band to match its debut release! - Ali "The Metallian"
DREAM EVIL - THE BOOK OF HEAVY METAL - CENTURY MEDIA
One would be hard-pressed to find a reason to dislike the third album of Swedish heavy metal band Dream Evil. The Book Of Heavy Metal - a title already considered a year ago for the band's Evilized album - is a diverse, yet comprehensive, heavy metal album that, although less heavy than the band's previous works, confirms Dream Evil's place at the top of the heavy metal hierarchy.
The album begins with the song The Book Of Heavy Metal (March Of The Metallians) which is an obvious eulogy to us at Metallian Towers. The song is vintage metal with vocals akin to Ralf Scheepers of Primal Fear. The song has a lot in common thematically with Halford's Resurrection. Semi-facetious lyrics also make an appearance.
Into The Moonlight is sharp and features breathtaking vocals by Niklas Isfeldt. This man's larynx is unreal. He can simultaneously sound forceful and sensual. The song benefits from convincing backing vocals and an emotional guitar solo. Watch the guitars go on this song.
The Sledge is next and is the band's attempt at an arena rock song. The song clearly is more commercial in intent. The tune's crunchy approach is too basic.
No Way is next and there is 'no way' the band wrote and recorded this as anything other than an Ozzy Osbourne clone song. The vocals mimic Ozzy mercilessly and the guitar rages and swaggers in true Zakk Wylde fashion. This has to be tongue-in-cheek, but is nevertheless the best song Ozzy never wrote.
Crusader's Anthem is a bit too close thematically to Hammerfall for comfort, yet is good enough to stand on its own. The backing tracks and the organ lend a commercial feel to the song. This one is designed for the live stage. Sing-along fans can look forward to this tune.
Let's Make Rock (ha?) steals from Pretty Maids' Red, Hot And Heavy. Sure, the riff is potent and hard, but it was done just fine twenty years ago by the Danish masters.
The album's coup de grace is called Tired and is up next. The song features everything one expects from Dream Evil. The singing is pure feeling, the lyrics resonate and hit below the belt, the guitars are precise, meaningful and masterful and the roller coaster structure of the track is sheer magic. This one could have been on the band's debut DragonSlayer. Excellent. The song is great, but it's yearning for a wife seems to contradict the lyrics of the album's opener which spurns an "ugly wife."
Chosen Twice is softer and even reminiscent of Europe. The lyrics though steal several lines from Neil Young! Even a mention of "the king" later in the song is also something that has been used by the Canadian singer. The song's mid-section has an epic air to it.
The title of the next song is so cheesy that even Dream Evil could not bring itself to spell it out. The song is called M.O.M. and addresses the existential question that has dogged mankind throughout the ages, namely 'are you a man or a mouse?'
The Mirror begins like a Scorpions song, yet quickly veers into a powerful and chunky riff monster. There is a dark undertone to the track. The dexterity of Isfeldt is again a cause for marvel.
Only For The Night is heavy at first, softer later and a classic Dream Evil song. The twin guitars soar and so does the mood. This band knows how to write beautiful metal songs that toys with the listener. This track is a text book example of how a band can change the mood of a song correctly at the drop of a hat.
The album's twelfth and final song begins like a cross between an old Scorpions song and Stairway To Heaven. This is a ballad which takes one back to the days of yore when metal bands knew how to write a slow song. Kudos to Dream Evil for maintaining a dying art form.
The Book Of Heavy Metal is everything a heavy metal listener would want. Anyone who considers himself a fan of Hammerfall, Primal Fear, Symphorce, Metalium, Scorpions or any other good hard rock/heavy metal/power metal band owes it to himself to buy a Dream Evil album. The CD even includes a video. The commonplace drumming and uninspired cover artwork certainly detract from the overall album's nigh on perfect proposition, yet and having said that Dream Evil's third and newest album is a sure bet. - Ali "The Metallian"
DREAM EVIL - UNITED - CENTURY MEDIA
How the new Dream Evil album would fare and whether the band would pick a new direction or stick with its pure metal attitude were legitimate questions following the complete upheaval in the band’s ranks in the last two years. The changes did not end up being that great following the return of two original members to the fold and so it is not completely surprising that United stay the course and is true to its predecessors’ ideals. Nonetheless, perhaps the band should have named the album 'Re-united' instead of 'United.'
So, what does the return of two members and the introduction of guitarist Markus Black and drummer Patrik Power mean? While the guitar tone and distinct style of former guitarist Gus G. is missed and Power is more intent on keeping the beat than innovating like Snowy Shaw did, not much else has changed. The vocals dominate the mix pretty much, but the album has a great opener with the oddly entitled Fire! Battle! In Metal! The song’s name might resemble a comic book caption, but the fire is still in the belly of the beast as the Swedes deliver a raging heavy metal song. The title track is unabashedly commercial, while Blind Evil has a distinct Europe feel to it. The vocals are some of the band and album’s best though here. The dual guitars are also real stormers. Evilution is a turn-off based on just the tile, but is followed by Let Me Out, which is the beneficiary of a great sound, loud chants and blazing power metal soloing. Higher On Fire is the weakest link and is riddled with a repetitive riff. Kingdom At War is a hymn with more mentions of the word 'united' than the title track! Love Is Blind is a slow song with an extended lead part. Falling is hardly special, but Back From The Dead has the album’s most aggressive vocals and screams and has singer Niklas mimic Halford on the high parts. Doomlord is an odd one given its samples of birds chirping and crazed Swedish (one supposes) rapping. Who knows?? The album ends with a lame cover version of a Greek pop singer, except the song features the talents of the aforementioned former members. No word on whether the song is an old recording or a newer offering though. Either way, it all sounds like Abba with guitars and can easily be dismissed as silly and ersatz. Never mind; overall Dream Evil has delivered the goods once again.
The album cover looks like it could have belonged to Accept’s Balls To The Walls in case one is searching at the record store. - Ali “The Metallian”
'Heroes Of The Day, Legends Forever...We are the chosen ones.' This is pure heavy metal with a sound tapestry whose massive power will be the envy of many bands. Seemingly out of nowhere and on a dark day in May, Dream Evil's debut album Dragonslayer was delivered to the Metallian Towers by one of the royal couriers. Upon closer inspection the pieces of the puzzle began to come together. Dream Evil is the band of guitarists Gus G. Karamitroudis (the 'G' is a nickname given to him while living in the USA a few years ago), famed metal producer Fredrik Nordstrom, bassist Peter Stalfors, Notre Dame drummer Snowy Shaw and soaring singer Niklas Isfeldt whose previous credit includes backing vocals for Hammerfall. Formed in 1999 and releasing two industry-only demos in January of 2000 and April of 2000 with help from The Crown's bassist Magnus Olsfelt and In Flames' drummer Daniel Svensson, the band received interest from the MNW, Noise and Music For Nations labels before signing with Century Media Records. Being intrigued and interested in investigating further, Ali "The Metallian" accepts Century Media Records' invitation to speak with approachable lead guitarist Gus G. in order to learn more - 31.05.2002
Gus, thank you for calling the Metallian Towers. Dream Evil is a young band with a debut album named Dragonslayer. The appropriate thing to do is introduce the band to the readers and take things from there. Who is Dream Evil and is the moniker inspired by Dio's 1987 album of the same name?
It all started when Fredrik was vacationing in Greece in the summer of 1999. I am Greek and that's where we met. He was visiting several friends of mine from the band Exhumation, who wanted to later record at Studio Fredman, in the studio during his vacation and we had a brief discussion about a band and music. Exhumation have now broken up but I have a death metal band with the guitarist called Night Rage. It seemed that Freddy had been trying to put a band together for several years but couldn't because of a lack of time. So I started taking a few trips to Sweden and we started writing a few songs to see how it goes and it turned out well. We had a chemistry and after four or five songs a demo came together. Fredrik contacted a few people around the Gothenburg area to help us. He called Niklas Isfeldt who is the guy responsible for backing vocals on the first two Hammerfall albums. Niklas came down and sang on our demo which sounded really, really great. We right away knew that he will be our singer. Niklas, in turn, brought in bassist Peter Stalfors who is also a very good song writer. He and Niklas had been playing together in a cover band for a couple of years. All of a sudden we were a team of four. We were hanging out, having fun and writing music. We knew, though, that we needed a very good drummer. Fredrik called Snowy Shaw formerly of Mercyful Fate and King Diamond and currently of Notre Dame. As soon as Snowy heard the material, he was into it and came down right away to play the drums.
As regards the name, in the beginning we were called Dragonheart. But we noticed that there seems to be two million bands with that name. One day we were in the studio listening to a Dio compilation album and Freddy is saying 'yeah, yeah, dream evil, dream evil... oh what a cool band name!' and that's how it came about. So, yes you are right that there is a Dio inspiration, but it's not that we are a Dio tribute band.
you mentioned Niklas Isfeldt and Peter Stalfors' other band. What can you tell us about them?
It's a cover band which mostly gigs around the Gothenburg area and the rest of Sweden. It's called The Jericho Brothers (laughs heartily). It's comprised of five guys who wear wigs, like Afros, put on tight jeans and shirts like the seventies and look pretty ridiculous. They are good players through. They play seventies hard rock from Uriah Heep, Deep Purple and the like. Those two are so funny.
Given Fredrik Nordstrom's heavy schedule producing bands like Arch Enemy, Hammerfall, and others. One question that is bound to come up is whether Dream Evil is a part-time project or a full-time band.
I will answer very very honestly. This is a really really real band. I have moved to Sweden for the band. We have spent the last couple of years on this band. Playing in a band like this has been Fredrik's dream for many years. Being occupied with production work, he hadn't played in a band for several years. Now he is really ready. I am really into this band and so is everyone else. We are going to do a couple of summer festivals and then a tour. We are also signed to Century Media for four albums.
How is Fredrik going to juggle his studio time at his Studio Fredman with the band?
I believe if you want to you can find time for anything. I mean he is a very busy guy at the studio. He is also a family man who is currently expecting a fourth baby. He is also in Dream Evil. But it's all a matter of making good schedules.
Seeing that Fredrik and you are Dream Evil's guitarists one has to wonder why the solos are so short. It is odd seeing how good what short solos one hears on the album are. An example is the lead solo on Kingdom Of The Damned which could have been much longer.
I am twenty-one and have been playing guitar since the age of ten. That is half my life now. This music called for short solos. I didn't think that I need to go and have two-minute solos and show off. I like the arrangements we have in our music. We have an intro, a verse, a chorus, a bridge and a little solo section. This is how we write and I am really happy with it. I also have my own 'guitar hero' type of band which is called Firewind where I work with David Chastain. Our album is coming out this summer (on David Chastain's) Leviathan Records. That is a more guitar-oriented album. The album is called Between Heaven And Hell. That's an opinion to consider for the future. Perhaps we should have longer solos, who knows.
You are also in the band Mystic Prophecy. Tell us about that band.
It's four of us and we have already released one album last year. It is called Vengeance and was licensed to Crash Music, formerly Pavement, for the USA. That guy is a total fucking idiot and a rip off. He released the album without paying the license advance. If I ever meet that guy I will kick his ass. I hate that guy. Why does he do that? Something really bad should happen to him and he should stop all this. The guys from Leviathan and Diehard Records have problems with him as well. He should get arrested and go to jail. I have heard that agents are after him, but no one has ever found him. I am so sad about that. I haven't even seen the American version. They haven't arranged any interviews for us or anything. It is a very good album. When labels do that stuff they can only destroy the scene and totally fuck up the band.
Moving from the guitars to the vocals, one notes a versatile singer. What can you tell the readers about the vocals?
I think Niklas has something special in his voice that sets him apart from the other singers in this genre. I think he is very melodic and has something very good which has high quality.
Is the band's line-up stable?
Yes. It will be the five of us on the next album.
Not unexpectedly the sound you have achieved for Dragonslayer is strong. You obviously have the advantage of having a leading metal producer in the band. How was the recording process?
Thanks for your compliments firstly. We spent almost two and a half months in the studio.We were recording at Freddy's Studio Fredman from January to the middle of March. We spent a lot of time on the drums and guitars. Freddy spent a lot of time engineering and whole lot of time mixing it. It's very well-recorded. Freddy did a very good job. The mastering was done at The Mastering Room.
Let's talk about the album. Why don't you tackle the songs for us.
I don't know if you know, but Dragonslayer is a concept album. There are several characters one of whom is Heavy Metal Jesus. The story begins when the king is deadly wounded by a dragon. The king falls into an eternal sleep. His best warrior is sent to fight the dragon, rip its heart out and bring it to the king and make him well again. Every song is a story. On The Prophecy, for instance, the warrior finds a prophecy carved in stone that he is the chosen one and has to find a city buried deep beneath the sand in order to get blessed by a holy man called Heavy Metal Jesus. The Heavy Metal Jesus is going to bless the warrior with a Flying V guitar (laughs)! Losing You is a ballad where the warrior is leaving his girl and he might not come back. The bombastic and epic song is called The Chosen Ones which is where he comes returns home with the dragon's heart. This song has an orchestra and a choir.
Did you pick a name for the warrior?
No actually he doesn't have a name. We didn't go that far.
Upon listening to the song H.M.J. it becomes clear that the title is an abbreviation for Heavy Metal Jesus. Why is it shortened?
If one looks at the order of the songs, the track before H.M.J. is called Heavy Metal In The Night. Not wanting to have two songs in a row with 'Heavy Metal' in the title we shortened the second song. Two pages on the album, prior to the actual lyrics, are dedicated to the story and explaining the concept.
One song that hit a particular note is Hail To The King for its classic heavy metal vibe.
Actually Fredrik, Niklas and Peter wrote that song. It's a song of glory and happiness. It's the happy ending to the story where everyone's back home, the king is well and everybody hails the king, 'with thunder and lightning we strike.' It has a very catchy chorus. You are the first journalist to mention liking this song. We were speaking earlier with European journalists and they had other favourites from the album.
Another noteworthy song is Save Us for its main riff that sounds identical to Grip Inc's beginning riff on their track Ostracized. You probably have heard that one by now.
You are the first to mention that. We did a bunch of European interviews a couple of days earlier and no one mentioned that. I had no idea. That riff is Fredrik's and, of course I know who Grip Inc is, I am pretty sure he hasn't heard that band. You know, I guess there has been so many metal riffs and songs that it is impossible to not eventually sound like someone else. As long as we don't get sued it's not a big deal (laughs again).
The dragon is a motif within the lyrics and a word that comes up often. It is, however, pronounced 'drag-on' every time. Is there a reason for that?
It is? I didn't know. It must be bad English or something! We haven't even noticed that (laughs). Can you imagine if we had sat down and decided to say 'drag-on' every time?
Another thing one notices on the album is how the credit for the photography's been given to one Per Stalfors. Would he be related to your bassist?
Yes, he's Peter's brother. He is a professional photographer. He's done photo sessions for the likes of Nostradamus, Hammerfall and even photographed bands like Nevermore and Annihilator on tour.
Gus, why don't you take the time now to fill the gap between the album recording and the current promotional activities and tell us what is ahead for the band?
We have been lately been doing much promotion and receiving fantastic feedback from the press in Europe. We recently did the 2000 Decibel Festival here in Sweden and also had a release party which was a total success. We are playing the Sweden Rock Festival next week. This is the largest heavy metal festival in Sweden. Halford, Candlemass and Bruce Dickinson will be there. We are playing Wacken in August. Later we will open for Blind Guardian on the Swedish leg of their European tour. We are hoping for a European tour later on.
Dream Evil's debut album Dragonslayer is now available at your favourite record store.
Dream Evil, featuring singer Niklas Isfeldt, guitarists Gus G. and Fredrik Nordstrom, bassist Peter Stalfors and drummer Snowy Shaw, is the latest power metal sensation from Sweden. When we last spoke with Gus G. the guitarist extraordinaire was publicising the band's brand new debut Dragonslayer. Fast forward some five months and the vicious visionaries have the album's release behind them, performed live in its support and are almost ready to reenter Studio Fredman to record a follow-up. The approachable six-stringer calls Ali "The Metallian" at the Metallian Towers in order to up-date everyone - 16.10.2002
'Firstly we did a bunch of summer festivals with the highlights being Wacken in Germany and Sweden Rock Festival. We also did a couple of shows with Blind Guardian in Sweden. Actually we just got back from our first Japanese tour.'
It sounds like a band on a mission. While busy on the live front, the quintet are also very happy with the work their label, Century Media Records, has been doing for them. 'I still feel the same way I did before,' comments Gus on their record company. 'They have done a great job for us and they really have supported our band. Furthermore they will do it even more in the future. It's great working with Century Media Records.'
This is rare praise indeed in a world dominated by unhappy band/label relationships. What is more Gus is happy with the promotion accorded the band, while realizing its limitations.'Yes, very much so, 'he asserts. 'In Europe, especially, our publicist has done a hell of a job! We got great exposure for this album I think.
'OK, the promotion could have been much much more. Although the advertisements and interviews are still running
worldwide. It's not done the way a major label would have done it, but Century Media has its budget limitations for every band. For some bands it's better, for some it's worse. That of course limits the promotion.'
Granted, although as Gus already mentioned the band is happiest with the live performance situation. 'Japan, which we just returned from, was something unbelievable, 'expands the road warrior at the other end of the line with enthusiasm. 'The people there really love Dream Evil! We did two shows in Tokyo and Osaka and both were almost sold out. We were headliners and the opening acts were Japanese metal bands. In Osaka Blood Stain Child and in Tokyo Mastermind opened for us. I saw a little bit of each band and they both were pretty good. I think we had 350 people in Osaka and 550 in Tokyo.
'Japan is definitely the highlight of our short career so far! It was an experience of a lifetime.'
As mentioned earlier, Dream Evil was also a participant at several summer festivals in Europe. Gus remembers, 'they happened through Century Media at the time and shortly after our booking agency was a little involved too.'
As for the performances themselves and the reports of a job well done,'we sacrifice horses in the name of Satan (laughs heartily). Seriously now, we don't do anything very different from other bands. We, however, try to come as close as possible to the fans and give them a great musical experience that they will remember. We give our everything on stage!'
The live arena supports the band's album sales, as well as further promotes the band's reputation and stature. Gus believes things are going well on that front too even if he has no concrete numbers in hand. 'Well, we still don't have official sales numbers,' he acknowledges, 'but we do know that the album has sold very very well and is continuously selling - especially in Germany. I would say Japan and Europe are our main territories and in Europe it is strongest in Germany and Sweden. Everybody knows that North America is pretty much a dead-end no matter how good the promotion is. By the way, I have no idea how we are selling there.'
Judging by the favourable reception to Dragonslayer, the guitarist is hopefully in for a pleasant surprise. Yet a more fundamental question would be whether the world needs another power metal band a la Hammerfall or Dragonland? Gus is adamant. 'We just do what we do and we hope that people will appreciate it. I think that you are making a big mistake by calling Dream Evil another power metal band that sounds like Hammerfall and Dragonland. I don't think we sound like those bands at all. We are a hard rock/metal band. Time will tell if the world needs Dream Evil or not.'
This writer has to admit that he almost pulled the old bait and switch on the guitarist. No, the band is not a Hammerfall clone, but yes they have been so tagged, reviewed and labelled and the fallacy had to be pointed out. Still, and to push the matter further, what is the one thing people have not noticed about your album? Gus' answer is simple and matter-of-fact.'I think they have noticed pretty much everything and I am glad for that.'
On another front one can legitimately wonder about the band's line-up. While Gus himself is also active with Nightrage (more on them later), Firewind and Mystic Prophecy, Nordstrom maintains a successful career with his Studio Fredman, Isfeldt and Stalfors spend time in The Jerico Brothers and drummer Shaw leads Notre Dame. Gus is not worried. 'Yes, that's for sure, but it's still the five of us. As for Fredrik: so far, so good. There haven't been any family/job problems getting in the way,' he adds referring to Nordstrom's status as a busy family man. 'However, who knows what will happen if this bands takes off big time.'
With the line-up's future examined, it was time to ask the guitar player a couple of questions about Dragonslayer itself and its intended follow-up. One of the things that an interested listener notices is how Isfeldt can occasionally be heard breathing in, and often just prior to screaming. Better examples are the songs The Chosen One and Losing You. One has to wonder if this is a function of a recording technique or a deliberate style. 'Of course it is meant to be that way,' Gus clarifies. He adds,'We worked two and a half months on the recordings. It wouldn't have been possible to have such obvious "mistakes" on the album.'
As for album number two, Gus can reveal a few exclusives. 'Well, a heavy preproduction is about to start in a few days. There are about seven or eight songs finished. However, they will need more work. There are no song titles yet as we don't have so many lyrics finished - Just the music's there. I think there is going to be a song called The Book Of Heavy Metal though. We have booked Studio Fredman beginning November tenth and that's not far away.'
Furthermore it seems likely that in contrast to the debut the upcoming second effort will not maintain a storyline.'I don't think the new one will continue the debut's concept. I don't think it will be a concept at all.
'We have been discussing this and we want to have different messages on this album instead of another concept album. Maybe this whole idea (of concepts) is a bit too overdone! We will see how things develop as we start writing more lyrics.
'I don't think we will use an orchestra this time as we did on Dragonslayer, but that's not for sure either.'
As to how Dream Evil plan on avoiding the infamous sophomore jinx, Gus reassures,'Ha! We don't even know what jinx means in Dream Evil! There is no possible way this will happen (laughs).'
Now the last time we spoke the Greek guitar player had mentioned how he is a nomad of sorts. Not much has changed. Explains Gus, 'I have been living almost all of 2002 in Gothenburg, Sweden. I plan to move back to Greece for a while after the recordings of the new album to relax a bit though.'
In the meanwhile the man has found endorsements. 'Yes. I am endorsed and use Washburn guitars, Randall amps and DR strings.'
Which brings up an interesting point. While many musicians use the products they endorse only in the public's eye, privately and in the studio is a different matter. 'So far I only have had the chance to use my Washburns live,' the six-stringer mentions referring to the recent nature of the endorsement. 'Of course I will use them in the studio. They are great guitars! I will do the solos for the death metal band Nightrage with the Washburns and later on my Dream Evil parts as well.'
Ah, Nightrage. What is new on that front?' I was originally a full-time member as Marios,
the other guitarist and songwriter had started the band. However, my work with my other bands has left me no time to be full-time in Nightrage. I am currently in the studio with Nightrage. I will play on the forthcoming album, but we don't know how things will turn out in the future. The album is called Hero In A World Of Demons, but we still don't have a release date or a record deal. We will shop it to labels once it is done.
'Furthermore this past summer my other band Firewind's debut was released and is doing pretty well.'
Please visit www.dreamevil.mu for more information on Dream Evil.
Dream Evil guitarist Gus G. is a driven man. Speaking with him on the
occasion of the release of Dream Evil's sophomore album entitled
Ali "The Metallian" discovered a man who sometimes speaks as fast as he
plays a riff, sometimes answers questions as swiftly as he soars into a
and always manages to exude full and utter confidence in his band's
Read on for the results of the conversation. - 02.03.2003
METALLIAN: Gus, thank you for your time and making yourself available
chat. Seeing that Evilized follows its predecessor DragonSlayer by a
nine months, why don't you begin this interview by explaining the
GUS G.: The truth is that we want to get rid of our contract (with
Media Records). No, just kidding (laughs). The truth is that, and
don't know this, we actually recorded our last album two years ago. We
then negotiating with labels for eight months and the album
took many months to come out. In other words, we hadn't been in the
since January 2001. People think we are in the studio every six months,
for us it's been two years.
METALLIAN: Given the two-year gap between composing for DragonSlayer
composing for Evilized, how do you characterize the differences between
GUS G.: Two things have changed. First, we don't have lyrics about
and swords this time. The lyrics are more realistic this time. The
thing is that our drummer Snowy Shaw got involved in the songwriting.
didn't do that with the first album because by the time he joined the
everything was done - he just played the drums. The extra songwriter
new dimension to the band's sound.
METALLIAN: What is that dimension?
GUS G.: Snowy is a very talented person. He can play the drums, he is
good with artwork and he can do photography as well. He is a good
and a good lyricist as well. He gives the band a heavier direction, a
atmospheric sound and is very creative.
METALLIAN: How do songs like Fight You 'Till The End or Made Of Metal
into the more realistic lyricism?
GUS G.: Made Of Metal is a tribute to heavy metal fans and that is
realistic. Of course, we have a small dose of humour in there. 'I am so
fucking metal and so is my wife' and then a girl's voice comes up
am his wife' and then you hear Snowy saying ' shut up'... that's your
typical Dream Evil humour, I guess. It shows that we are not totally
serious about everything. Fight You 'Till The End, and I didn't write
lyrics to that one, but that song and By My Side are the only ones that
about fights and battles. When I say this album is more realistic, I
songs like The End or Live A Lie which we did not do on the first
Plus, we have this general concept we were fooling around with which is
about evil dreams and being trapped inside a nightmare. The songs are
Evilized, Fear The Night and Bad Dreams. There is more than that going
and it's a general story and not a concept like on DragonSlayer. The
concept is pretty realistic.
METALLIAN: Have you become averse to the the fantasy theme?
GUS G.: No, no, not at all. I am explaining the album to you. It's not
we are saying we will not do it anymore or that we don't want to do it
anymore. The next album might be called The Return Of The Dragon
On this album every song has a different theme and a different
METALLIAN: When we spoke last autumn you had mentioned the title The
GUS G.: That was a general concept we were fooling around with. It is
to do that because if you do an album titled The Book Of Heavy Metal
better be the best fucking album out there. It's not that we feel we
have a strong album, but the whole concept and lyrics brought in had
to do with 'The Book Of Heavy Metal,' so we said maybe we will keep
title for the next album. We might even keep it for the future, after
releasing five or six albums. Then we can have a Dream Evil compilation
called The Book Of Heavy Metal.
METALLIAN: Another thing we had discussed previously was your objection
Dream Evil being compared with Hammerfall. You just came off a tour
that band. Isn't that counterproductive?
GUS G.: First of all, the way you put it is too general. It's nothing
that. You asked me, 'whether the world needs another power metal band
Hammerfall?' and I told you that we are not like Hammerfall in that
agree that we belong in the same genre of music. In that sense we are
similar, but the way they go about it is totally different from how we
it. That is what I meant. Of course, we would never say no to a tour
Hammerfall. It's good business for us. We get exposed to quite a few
and get our music known out there. We got in front of many people just
being on tour with Hammerfall. They are very successful here in Europe.
Plus, a couple of my band mates are friends with those guys. We know
other. So for them, as well, it was a good choice.
METALLIAN: What plans do you have for the further promotion of
GUS G.: I will be in Japan in three weeks to promote the album. We
tour Japan as openers for Kamelot in June. That will about it as far as
touring for Evilized, I suppose. We are thinking of concentrating on
third album and making a real killer album instead of touring a lot and
being stressed and doing a third album right away after being on the
We want to focus on the songs and the concept and so on. We feel that
do a really great third album we can tour worldwide.
We were only on the second leg of the Hammerfall tour which meant dates
Germany and Scandinavia. That is we toured four countries.
METALLIAN: Is a tour of four European countries and several dates in
adequate to promote Evilized?
GUS G.: Well, even Hammerfall hasn't been able to tour America
don't see how it makes sense for us to tour in North America. It will
disaster for us (financially) were we to do it right now. We are not
enough there. Hopefully with our next album we will be given the chance
get to North America. We get quite a few letters from there, but we
even thinking of another European tour. We want to concentrate on the
album. It's true that touring helps the band. We averaged 1,000 hits
week on our web site before touring. After the tour, two or three weeks
later, we averaged 1,000 hits per day. You can see how much exposure
fans that is. We sold a lot of merchandise. That means that people came
the shows, they saw us, they liked it so much that they bought the
or the album. Then again, we don't have any other offers to tour right
Furthermore, the tour with Hammerfall was big for us. Touring Europe
will only mean less number of people than saw us when touring with
Hammerfall. So unless we get an offer like touring with Scorpions or
doesn't make sense for us.
We are also planning an EP and a video for this spring. It will be for
song Children Of The Night. Our EP will come out in April and feature
video as well. It will have the title track, two live songs, an
version of Evilized and a couple of Japanese bonus tracks and so on.
video is already shot. We filmed it in Gothenburg when we opened for
Hammerfall. Hammerfall had a video crew there and we used it as well.
filmed our show and edited it later on. It will be very cool. The EP
have seven songs, including the video, and will be sold for the price
METALLIAN: Speaking of the songs on Evilized, Break The Chains is one
more hook-laden ones.
GUS G.: I can tell you a thing or two about it. It's the only song on
album that I completely wrote by myself. I wrote the music, lyrics,
arranging everything...Actually, I think it could have been better
We only had half an hour left in the studio and Niklas (Isfeldt) was
of time. Not that Niklas didn't do a good job, but we could have been
creative if we were in the studio longer. Still, everybody seems to
that song. You know, in Dream Evil I write with the band. We all write
songs. I write on my own with my other band Firewind. That's why Break
Chains is more like a Firewind song!
METALLIAN: The End features tremendous vocals.
GUS G.: Niklas did a great job there too. That's a song that Snowy
and it's a perfect way to finish the record. It's not a ballad exactly
Forevermore. It's more of a... power ballad. It's a song of courage and
great message to end the album with. It has nice lyrics and, I think,
METALLIAN: Would you say that the most formidable song on Evilized is
GUS G.: I think it's a very good song. I don't know if it's the best
but it is one of my favourites. I don't think it is one of the heavier
though. I think it sounds heavy because we down-tuned the guitars to a
dropped the tuning to a C, otherwise the tune itself is pretty poppy.
normally tune to a D, which is one stop lower than the norm which is E.
Live A Lie we tune two steps lower than normal so it's in the same tune
In Flames or Arch Enemy. It sounds pretty heavy for a pop song
It's a melodic song, like an AOR song.
METALLIAN: Aside from the individual songs, an obvious point of
Dream Evil is the vocals. Niklas Isfeldt's voice is unmistakable and
the band apart. Do you believe the band to be that much ahead of
competition because of your vocalist?
GUS G.: It's a tremendously big bonus for us. I will agree with you. as
as you hear a note of his, you will know it's Dream Evil. You know, on
last few shows we did with Hammerfall Niklas got sick and almost lost
voice. He was taking a lot of medicine to recover and was feeling quite
badly. Niklas felt bad because the other singers would sound so great
scream like hell and Niklas was feeling not worthy. We were telling him
course you are! You are just not seeing your qualities because you are
now.' He has a very strong and very crystal clear voice. I think he is
for the ears. He doesn't have a harsh or a very raw voice. He has a
METALLIAN: How is your relationship with Century Media nowadays? When I
asked you the same question you went out of your way to praise the
GUS G.: As I told you before, they don't go all the way with any of
bands. They have many bands and the way they work is to build the band
by album or year by year. So we didn't expect them to go all the way
this album or any album. They take a step every time. They still do a
for us. To be honest, being with another label isn't going to be much
better. Everybody knows that it is the same shit everywhere. It is how
is. We should be pretty happy that we have a deal like this and can
with Hammerfall, release an EP and a video, et cetra. When I think of
stuff, then I know we are doing well. Then again, as I told you last
it could be much better. I am not one hundred-percent satisfied. We do
have a good relationship with our A&R and we can always talk things
Communication is very important.
METALLIAN: Where do we go from here?
GUS G.: Who knows! We might have a new world war. That might be the
heavy metal, but we won't feel so good listening to it. I will say this
message: no war for oil. You can write that in capital letters. No war
oil and no war for their benefits because that's what it's all about.
has all these nuclear weapons, but whatever, everybody has nuclear
these days so...I guess what America wants is the oil there.
METALLIAN: It is interesting how everyone seems to know this, but the
just does not listen.
GUS G.: To be honest, I think, it looks to me that this George Bush guy
pretty scary guy. He's like a war head. He is always aiming for
Dream Evil is comprised of singer Niklas Isfeldt, guitarists Gus G. and Fredrik Nordstrom, bassist Peter Stålfors and drummer Snowy Shaw. Their new album Evilized is now available at most record stores or directly from Century Media Records. Watch for the upcoming EP and video and visit the band's official site at www.dreamevil.mu.
Dream Evil's third album is probably the most commercial album to win
title of Album Of The Month at Metallian yet. The Book Of Heavy Metal
going to be the Swedish-based band's breakthrough album and, having
supported the band since its debut, a comprehensive interview with
wonder Gus G. was certainly in order. Gus might have been 45 minutes
when he called ("sorry, a friend was here and I totally forgot") and be
the verge of international stardom, but the chat went well and Ali "The
Metallian" was able to speak in-depth with the man regarding the new
and the band's red-hot status. - 15.06.2004
METALLIAN: Gus, it is good to chat again. How did The Book Of Heavy
take shape and what was the band after? Can you put it all in
GUS: Thanks for your support, man. Dream Evil has five individual
songwriters so it is never a problem coming up with material. It is
material and the best songs end up on the album. We keep the quality
The debut album DragonSlayer was actually recorded in 2001 and only
released one year later. So really between that album and the recording
of Evilized was a one and a half-year space. That's why Evilized looked
it was released too soon - within nine months - and with The Book Of
Metal I thought it is too fast too, but everyone was ready. We got
in Sweden for pre-production and I noticed that we have 25 or 30 songs.
we were ready to do it.
METALLIAN: Who has written the majority of the songs this time
GUS: Snowy wrote the majority of the songs. Everybody came in with five
six songs, but he had 25 songs! He is a total workaholic. He was
music until he would drop down on the floor. I wrote No Way - the Ozzy
song - and the ballad Unbreakable Chain. I wrote the music and Snowy
wrote the lyrics to that one.
METALLIAN: When we chatted a year ago you mentioned that the title The
Heavy Metal was already considered for the Evilized album. Why was the
GUS: We felt that this album features the best material we have written
far and really got into the concept. The songs we had on Evilized
fit the title. They were darker songs. We kept it in mind. We thought
that if there ever were a Dream Evil compilation we would use that
title, but then we felt (and so did the label) that this album is worth
Also if you listen to the album we have very heavy influences from
like Accept, Saxon, Europe and Scorpions. This is our tribute to our
favourite heavy metal bands.
METALLIAN: So you would agree that the album is less heavy than its
and leans towards conventional hard rock and heavy metal.
GUS: Yes, it is like that. Even on the first one we were good at
these mid-tempo songs like Children Of The Night. Those are our catchy,
and pop metal songs. So we figured writing fast power metal is not
really our thing. We didn't do it consciously. The majority of the
material we wrote came out like that. So we figured we are not a power
metal band. The heavier stuff was always written by Peter and he has a
song this time around called The Mirror which is very heavy Priest-type
I don't know about the future though. Dream Evil is an unpredictable
band. I don't know what type of songs the guys will come up with in the
future. My favourite songs are The Sledge, Crusader's Anthem and
Unbreakable Chain. The latter is my own song and gives me goose bumps.
album has to be played loudly from beginning to end otherwise you won't
METALLIAN: Do your other activities curtail your involvement in Dream
GUS: Yes, actually this will happen. Since last year I have made
priority band. I am recording a new album right now for Massacre in
Europe and Leviathan in America.
METALLIAN: Let us talk about a couple of particular songs. Firstly, is
opener The Book Of Heavy Metal (March Of The Metallians) ripped off
at Metallian Towers?
GUS: (Laughingly) yes, we did that actually! We wrote that song for
Metallian.com, you know. It is a tribute, yeah yeah! Do you like
METALLIAN: Let's say it is a natural tribute. Since we are on the topic
song titles, how do you justify a cheesy title like M.O.M (Man Or
GUS: I don't know. Snowy wrote that song. I don't know what the fuck is
with that (laughs). I liked the riff when he was writing it because it
was so 'Hitler metal.' It sounded like Accept and German metal, but
I heard the lyrics "are you a man or a mouse?" everyone was laughing.
It turned out to be a really cool song though, so why not?
Dream Evil is a band with a lot of humour obviously. On the last album
we had Made Of Metal and lyrics like "I am so fucking metal and so is
wife." Then the girl says "I am his wife" and she gets smacked in the
face with a "shut up!" We don't see ourselves very seriously. This is a
party metal band.
METALLIAN: Is the song The Sledge your attempt at party rock?
GUS: Yes, that is Snowy's work again. He is a huge Kiss fan so he had
arena rock thing in mind. It came out well. It is kinda like Heavy
In The Night.
METALLIAN: What about the song No Way? Is that an Ozzy Osbourne
GUS: Yes, it is. Actually it's my tribute to Zakk Wylde and Ozzy
Yeah, it is. I wrote the song with Ozzy's Suicide Solution in mind. I
thought it was cool. I am a big Sabbath and Ozzy fan. They have had an
impact on me.
That is not Niklas singing. The pre-chorus is a guest vocalist from
Hellfueled called Andy. He is totally like Ozzy. Fredrik said I have to
check the guy out and it totally worked out. For a while we were going
to say that Ozzy did a guest appearance with us. Then we thought we
would get sued.
METALLIAN: What is perfect this time around is the production value
of the album.
GUS: We were in the studio for over two months recording and mixing.
our best-sounding album so far. It is better than the last two. We
didn't use triggers so much. We used a natural sound and the dynamics
METALLIAN: What is imperfect about the album is the cover artwork.
name of the album, shouldn't a better cover have been used?
GUS: I didn't really spend time with the cover. Century Media did the
presented it to us and we thought it was cool and symbolic. I like it
very much. I had imagined a book though. Fredrik was asking the label
why we still have dragons on the cover? It has become our trademarks
more or less. Now it's even on our backdrop.
METALLIAN: What about the 'DE' abbreviation. Is that your new logo a la
Celtic Frost and its 'CF'?
GUS: In typical Dream Evil fashion, we never discuss these things! Next
we might have a totally different logo.
Our job is to spend time on the music, arrangements and the vocals. The
cover is secondary.
METALLIAN: What else is new with you?
GUS: I have given up my Washburn deal and I have just signed a deal
They just built me my proto-type guitar. There will be a Gus G.
signature guitar next year. It will look really really cool. I have
using the guitar for the last couple of months. They really want to
promote my name and my guitar. I will send you some photos when I get
some professional shots. I will be in Japan next month for ESP's
thirtieth anniversary party. I have also persuaded them to get me on
stage with George Lynch. I am psyched. George is a guitar God.
METALLIAN: Have you personally been approached to join other bands?
GUS: I don't know if you keep up with my career, but I have done quite
guest solos for the likes of Rob Rock, Old Man's Child and others. I
have received offers to join bigger bands too, but I like what I do. I
like to be my own boss and write my own songs. If I reach a higher
of success, then that is fine. If not, that is fine too. I can't really
name the bigger bands which have asked me to join.
I am also continuing with Mystic Prophecy, Firewind of course and
Nightrage. I actually left Nightrage for a while, but I returned after
few months because Marios, the guitarist, and I are like blood brothers
and really close friends. I couldn't leave that band behind me and we
decided to keep working together. We will enter Studio Fredman in
to record a new album.
METALLIAN: Any tours on the horizon for Dream Evil?
GUS: There is still the problem of certain territories not supporting
fully. Furthermore, Dream Evil can't be a full-time touring band
some of the guys have families and kids and so on. We can't tour for
six-months. We will do several festivals this summer, Japan for a week
in November and a European tour probably with Saxon in the autumn. That
is not confirmed yet. Right now we are in the calm before the
You never know. We might get some offers for North America too.
The band has already appeared on MTV with the video for the title track
and is on track for its biggest album yet. The Book Of Heavy Metal is
available in stores beginning July, 2004. The CD's limited edition is
packaged with a sixty-minute DVD of the band featuring tour footage
Europe and Japan and the making of The Book Of Heavy Metal.