Inner Strength - 2006 - LMP
No Turning Back - 2010 - Ulterium
S= Yiannis Papanikolaou - Babis Alexandropoulos
G= KRIKOS THIMIOS - TSIGOS MANOLIS
B= MAZARAKIS ANTONIS
D= Moros Terry - X-Piral>>FRAGISKOS SAMOILIS
K= HEOGE GEORGIOU
Papanikolaou and guitarist Thimios formed Athen's Innerwish in 1995. The band recorded and released a CD called Waiting For The Dawn in 1998 through the Greek label NMC label. Eat Metal Records reissued this disc in 2006. Mylonas Panagiotis was soon drafted, however, when the band's singer decided to join a monastery. The band issued a split-album with Reflection called Realms Of The Night before signing to Germany's LMP. In the meanwhile, Babis Alexandropoulos and Terry Moros had joined the band. The band was the winner of the Eurovision Heavy Metal Contest in 2005. The band also played at the Headbangers Open Air in Germany in that year. Inner Strength was initially dubbed Final Prophecy. It appeared in June of 2006.
Greek heavy metal band Innerwish recruited George Eikosipentakis in 2013. He replaced Babis Alexandropoulos who quit the band in 2012.
INNER WISH - INNER STRENGTH - LMP
Talk to any heavy or power metal fan in the know and the conversation would probably encompass at least ten different bands. One of the names that probably would not figure in the conversation, next to Nevermore, Hammerfall or Nocturnal Rites, but should is Greek formation InnerWish. The band is simply that good. With a new album, entitled Inner Strength, just out through the LMP label Ali "The Metallian" receives a call from founding member and guitarist Thimios Krikos in order to chat about all things band-related. Rounding out the line-up is singer Alexandropoulos Babis, second guitarist Manolis Tsigos, bassist Antonis Mazarakis and drummer Terry Moros. - 27.08.2006
METALLIAN: Thimios, thank you for your call. Is it I or for some reason there are many out there who have not heard of the band, let alone heard your music? Why do you think that is?
THIMIOS: Thank you for this opportunity, Metallian. Let me tell you about the history of the band and maybe there will be answer. When we issued our first CD Waiting For The Dawn it was through a small Greek label so there were not many good opportunities to take the band out of the boundaries of Greece and to make the band more popular. Until the year 2000 we didn't have a chance - of course we were well known in Greece but outside of Greece not so much - so when we signed with LMP it was the first time for us to have the opportunity to get out of the boundaries and have more fans know us better. Our previous album Silent Faces was our first attempt at getting out and having people know our music. Now with Inner Strength we do our best, we do a little promotion and I think with this album the band has taken several steps forth. I think everything seems to work very well now. I mean there are a lot guys like you that a year back probably didn't know us, but now they know our music, they know who we are and what we stand for.
METALLIAN: What, if any, is the musical difference or approach between Inner Strength and Silent Faces?
THIMIOS: I think that the main thing, what we stand for and why we are recording music, is almost the same. On Silent Faces, and on the new album, we have melodic vocals lines and heavy riffing and everything, only now we try to make things more simple, make everything work easier, have more groovy songs, more heavy guitar riffing as I said, but on the other hand also have more catchy lines with the vocals and everything. This is what we like doing which is what we stand for.
All these years we have worked very hard and on each new album we have taken some steps forward, but the whole idea is still the same. I mean if you listen to Waiting For The Dawn or Inner Strength you can see that the band is the same only that we worked harder. Many fans seems to enjoy the albums, only that Inner Strength is what InnerWish is now. The main thing is always the same, classic melodic heavy metal.
METALLIAN: Who would you say are your influences and what are the bands you are listening to nowadays?
THIMIOS: We have all grown up with the hard rock and heavy metal of the '80s and the hard rock of the '70's because we are old enough, all of us, and probably all these things have influenced our sound and our way of song-writing but we never intend to do something like this or like that. We are not trying to be similar to anyone. We just compose our songs the way they come out of our hearts and minds and without trying to be like someone else. Of course, all these bands we were listening to, like my favourites Accept, Maiden or Warlord have influenced the sound of InnerWish, but we make it something our own. Generally, we enjoy listening to the '80s, '70s and a few of the newer metal bands.
METALLIAN: In my mind, and I think many people would agree, that when you think Greece you don't think heavy metal, but rather black metal. I heard another band from Greece last year called Casus Belli, which were another great Greek heavy metal act. Is there a fantastic Greek traditional classic heavy metal scene that everyone should discover or is it merely a couple of bands?
THIMIOS: What you say about black metal is true. They were the first bands that managed to get out of the boundaries of Greece. These were groups like Rotting Christ, Nightfall or Septic Flesh, which were very good in their way of song-writing, and very popular, but of course there is a classic metal scene here in Greece and progressive metal scene too. Aside from Casus Belli and us there are many other bands like Bloodstained or Fragile Vastness. There is a very strong local scene here with very very good bands that are just waiting for a good opportunity to show who they are.
I thank you for your good words, but the final word has to remain with the audience and the fans. Of course, things are not working very well in Greece as far as the studios and how professional things are, but on the other hand there are many bands that do have metal in their souls and play this stuff very well so I think in the near future many more bands from Greece will get out because we and some other guys that get out of Greece prove that there is metal in Greece. The only thing is that Greece is a very small .
METALLIAN: How did the label LMP find you or how did you reach the label and get signed to them? Did you send a demo and they sent you a contract, or was there another story behind it?
THIMIOS: When we finished our first album we knew that if we had to make a difference we had to work very hard so it took us about three years to work the songs and practice and be better. We decided to finish the Silent Faces album on our own. I mean we entered the studio and finished everything, the booklet, the music, the mix and the mastering and when we had a final CD ready we sent it to many labels all over the world to demonstrate who we are and find out whether they were interested in signing us. Several companies soon had interest in us, but LMP was the most interested of all of them. They showed us that they were interested and wanted to work together for our mutual benefit, which is why we signed with LMP. It was very difficult to finish the CD and make everything ready, but following that signing to LMP everything became easier.
I know that there will probably many many things that we should do in the future to make the band well-known, but I have to be honest it was very difficult to get out of Greece. There is no label here that is professional so LMP allowed us to be a little bit well known all over the world. We have to do more in the future for both of us as a band and for them as a label, but for the Inner Strength album they have done their best. I don't know how things worked in Canada and the USA though. I know that they are co-operating with another label there, which releases the album.
METALLIAN: For how many albums have you signed to LMP?
THIMIOS: We have to do two more albums, but that is optional on both sides. I mean, if we believe that things are not working we will take separate ways. Until now sales seem very good and they have done good promotion in Europe and Japan though. I don't know about US or Canada.
METALLIAN: It's the old story. It is a big market that is also difficult to reach.
THIMIOS: Yes, there are so many bands in a big market. I don't know what is happening in Canada, do people still like to listen to classic metal?
METALLIAN: Probably a lot more than five or ten years ago.
THIMIOS: Things in the metal scene seem to work better in the last few years. There was a drop in the early '90s, which continued to about '97 and '98, but the last few years have seen rock music going up again and getting more fans.
METALLIAN: That's a good sign for good music, I hope. Your site says something about your winning the Eurovision heavy metal contest. What exactly is that?
THIMIOS: Believe me, I don't know! We won and it was something like a contest on a website and there were similar bands all over the world participating. We were just informed that we won it! Many people seem to enjoy this kind of competition, but if you ask me about getting into a heavy metal competition it was nothing that I was dreaming of. It is not about winning over the other bands from Sweden or Italy. We are all metal bands and are doing it all for our souls, but it was something at least.
METALLIAN: The album was initially named Final Prophecy before you changed your mind. What happened?
THIMIOS: When we finished the recording, during the mastering and mixing we had several titles for the album. Two or three songs had the necessary lines and everything to be the title track. Final Prophecy was our first option, but there also was Travellers In Time. The reason that we finally went with Inner Strength was that it had something to do with our own story. About a year before we went to record the album our bass player Antonis was in an accident. He broke his leg very badly and we had to wait for him for one year until he was recovered. When Antonis became well our vocalist Babis also had a car accident. The Inner Strength's lyrics are saying that there is always something inside us, our 'inner strength' that gives us the necessary strength to carry on amidst all the difficulties that we find in our lives. This song has to do with our own story as a band and as guys.
METALLIAN: Is everyone fully healed?
THIMIOS: Yes, thank you. You see, things like that happen and show you that life is too short. Everyone in the world has his own story and his own problems and everyone needs his own 'inner strength' in order to make things work and that's what we were trying to say with this album. It doesn't have to do with who you are and what you stand for; you have your own story and your own problems and everyone is working very hard to do the best he can for his life.
METALLIAN: Looking at your CD and listening to the song I have to ask you whether Lonely Lady is a cover version.
THIMIOS: Yes, it is a cover version from a band named Q5. It's a very classic band, one of the bands, which we enjoyed listening to all these years. So when the other guitar player Manolis got the idea to cover this song we all agreed at once.
METALLIAN: It explains why it says "Published by Floyd Rose" at the bottom.
THIMIOS: Yeah, Floyd Rose is the guitar player for Q5 and was also the guy who made the pattern for Floyd Rose tremolo bar.
METALLIAN: Let's chat about a couple of the song. I enjoyed every song, but a couple are probably a little better than others. Let's start at the end with Gates Of Fire. I hear some references to Greece.
THIMIOS: It has to do with the battles that happened many many years ago here in Greece. There is a true story behind it that when 300 guys stood at a place which in English would be called 'Gates Of Fire' they fought against more than 2 million men and every one of them died. There is a monument in that place that 300 people died there standing for the good and obeying the law of Sparta where their homeland was. So the song says that when 300 men stood against 2 million men, and finally each one of them died, they did it even though they knew that their end was near. It says that everyone of us when we stand for what we believe we have to fight for it even if the cost is very big.
METALLIAN: How long ago was this battle?
THIMIOS: I think it was in 300 BC.
METALLIAN: Where is this monument?
THIMIOS: It is in a place in the middle of Greece called Thermopolis which means 'hot gates' in English.
METALLIAN: The title track reminded me a bit of Warlord.
THIMIOS: Yes, Warlord is a favourite band for all of us. They had one Greek guitar player too, Bill Chamis, Anyway, I think of course there are some melodic riffing there and on the other hand with double bass, there is a little bit of Warlord in every song probably.
METALLIAN: What about Bleeding Soul with the riff at the beginning.
THIMIOS: That song was composed by our other guitar player Manolis and is also one of my favourite songs on this album because it has this double bass fast track, but also a very strong chorus and good guitar riffing and solo. On this album we tried to do the best we can and use several styles of music in order to make different things, but always keep it under the Inner Wish banner. I mean there are fast double bass songs, mid-tempo songs, ballads and heavy power riffing too.
When we are trying to make an album we do not hurry up and we do not like to have fillers. We just want to have ten very goods. We have grown up with this kind of music and we have grown up with so many classic metal albums that you couldn't decide which song is the best one. You listened to the album and you found that the last one was the best one, I think that this is the most important thing that everyone should do if you have one or two good songs and eight fillers that's not a good album! You always have to do your best and take your time to compose the best songs that you can and if you are not ready don't push the release. Wait until you are ready. That is my opinion.
METALLIAN: One often hears that bands say that the label wants them to hurry up and make an album. You are saying you don't have that pressure.
THIMIOS: No, we do not. That's a very good thing about LMP. I mean we are always discussing about the album before we record the release and from their side they say 'OK, take your time, don't hurry up and just make the best you can.' It is not important to make two, three or four albums in five years. The main thing is to make good albums. For example, very big bands release albums every four or five years and it didn't influence their popularity and we are very happy that our label does not pressure us on that.
METALLIAN: I want to ask you about your singer. He is a good vocalist who has the feeling and the emotion to not just screaming. Having said that, he sometimes seems to stretch his voice beyond his range. He tries to hit those high notes and those are not the best parts for him. What do you think about that statement?
THIMIOS: Maybe I have not noticed what you are saying because I know that Babis is working very hard with the band and when he is singing he is always feeling what he is doing and he is putting all of his soul into it. I believe that when he has to do these high notes he is doing it very successfully most of the time. It has to do with the song-writing and which point-of-view you have. He is not the type of singer who is always singing high notes like many bands do and makes you nervous. He has his low notes and when the song needs it he gets high. Maybe you are saying that because you don't enjoy some parts. It is very difficult to do a perfect album and satisfy everyone.
METALLIAN: What is the latest news with the band then?
THIMIOS: Right now, we are working on many things like a lot of gigs that are already arranged here in Greece. We are playing with Manowar, Rhapsody, W.A.S.P. and some other bands. We are trying to undertake, but it's not official, a small US tour with something like 15 to 20 shows plus a small European tour for the beginning of next year.
METALLIAN: By the way, what is your day job?
THIMIOS: I am an accountant!
METALLIAN: Do the guys you work with know of your band and if so what do they think about it?
THIMIOS: Of course, they know because I have left work many times for gigs. They enjoy it very much. It is very important for everyone in a band to do everything necessary for the band without having problems at the day job. The other guitarist is a surgeon, which is a very good thing because you don't know what happens on tour (laughs)!
METALLIAN: He is your traveling insurance.
THIMIOS: Yeah, something like that. I get the accounting of the band and he is the doctor so it works very well.
InnerWish is a Greek heavy metal band worthy of the fans' attention. The band's website is at http://www.InnerWish.gr/home.html.
If you enjoyed this, read Casus Belli