By lars

Lost Horizon; Apart from having almost the same name as one of Intromental's former acts, this band is a debuting band from Sweden. The band was signed to Music For Nations in 1999, and after several months in the studio rehearsing, writing and recording tracks the result is the album "Awakening The World", a tour de force of pounding power metal in the vein of Manowar and Judas Priest. I caught up with bassist Martin Furangen, and this is what came out of it:

Hi Martin. Congratulations with your album. It really sounds impressive.

"Thank you."

With a title as "Awakening The World", I'd expect some kind of symbolism in the title. Is there any of such - like symbolizing the return of power metal to the world scene?

"First of all, I don't believe that we play power metal, but true metal! There is the difference that we do it the whole way with image and spirit of being metal, whereas power metal is "only" a style of music. But yes, there is a certain amount of symbolism. It's not like we want to wake the whole world with our music. It's rather like a wakening for the people listening to heavy metal. These people tend to be outcasts of society - people that doesn't fit in, or people who can't identify with normality, and therefore feel a kind of brotherhood through the other people listening to this genre. We want to tell them to wake up, and make something out of their life. Try to make control your life instead of letting your life control you."

Well, that kind of explains the front cover (a lot of gagged people being marionettes in the hands of "suits" with evil animal faces. On the flip side, the band controls the suits, and the people underneath are free)?

"Well, the "businesspeople/creatures" on the cover are more like the bosses and institutions in society, and we're illustrating that people should not be slaves of such things, but free them selves, and become their own master."

On the info sheet the record company/ distribution has really done a lot to compare you to Hammerfall, even though your music is much more like Manowar, Judas Priest and Running Wild. What is this connection with Hamerfall?

"Actually, the only link is, that Joakim and Stefan from Hammerfall played together with us in the band called Highlander, and that we're from the same city. But it doesn't matter to me that we're compared to them, because it gives a rough picture of what kind of music we're playing to the people who normally don't listen too much to this style."

Speaking of other bands, what are your influences?

"There's of course all the big bands that we grew up with, such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar, Running Wild and so on, but we also listen to a lot of other kind of music, like pop music and plain rock."

What about Gamma Ray? I believe it sounds like you've incorporated some parts that could be written by Kai God Hansen?

"I believe that Daniel, our singer, listened to the first Helloween stuff, but none of us are into Gamma Ray. Of course we've heard a couple of songs, but that's all."

Who produced the album?

"We did ourselves!! The funny thing is that we actually spent like 5 months in 5 different studios. 1 for drums, 1 for bass, 1 for guitars, 1 for vocals and minor stuff and the last one for mixing the whole thing. We recorded everything but the vocals, then mixed it together, and incorporated the vocals into it afterwards, by nixing in another studio!! The reason for all this is that we knew this studio that was good for recording drums, and that studio that was good for guitars etc. So instead of compromising, we did everything as perfect as possible, and we're very satisfied with the result."

Well, you should be. You've done a hell of a job.

"Thank you very much."

What's all this with Music For Nations? It seems to me that they have been away from the business for a long time, concentrating more on the alternative kinds of metal. Is this their way of getting back into power/true metal business?

"I think it is. They have a policy of not having more than one band in each genre, and I guess we're it in this one."

Are they serious? I mean, is there a good promotional plan behind the album?

"They seem to be very eager to promote the stuff, and they're trying to get us on some festivals this summer. I'm doing interviews this whole week, and we're doing about 20 interviews a day, so it's a lot. But I like doing it, coz' this is what we want to do: play music. And you can't just take all the sweets, without working for it. This doesn't mean that I dislike doing interviews. I think it's very interesting to talk to people like you, who are into the music - hearing and discussing the different aspects of the music. I'm not sure though that I have the same opinion in the end of the week, hahaha."

So are you going on a tour?

"Nothing has been planned yet, as we're not that far into the promotional campaign, but of course if something shows up, like a support job for a bigger band, we'll definitely be ready for it. Right now, the only thing that's for sure is, that we'll do our first official live job as support act for Savatage and Rhapsody at a show in Paris on the 31st of March. This is in a big sports dome, so we're rehearsing a lot to do a good show, and with those names, a lot of people are expected to show up."

Will you do a video? I mean if Music For Nations are really promoting you, they must be interested in seeing a video being played on MTV and other musical channels?

"Well, we are planning on doing a video, but not right now as we're fully occupied with all the interviews and other promotion. I hope we can do the video as soon as possible though."

On the info sheet you guys have some alias's, like "cosmic antagonist", "transcendental protagonist", "preternatural transmogrifier" and "ethereal mangnanimus"!!!!!, and the bio is written as a story. Is this some kind of selling point from the record company? Are they trying to do like Metalium and create a whole story of you guys being out of this world or something? To me it seems a little ridiculous/childish?

"In fact it's ourselves who did that (oops, Lars). It's not a trick to be smart. It's more like a spiritual thing for us. Having an a.k.a. shows another side of us that we bring forth when doing the music, and it gives us a sense of spiritualism that we can work positively with. "

Finally, I want to know what's your favorite beer??

"Aaah, you want me to mention a Danish beerů."

No no, not at all. This is a question that rounds up all of my interviews. Say any beer you want.

"Actually I don't drink very much. But whenever it happens that I drink a beer, it will be a guiness."

Ok, that will be all. Good luck with your album. I really hope it does well, as I like it very much.

"Thank you Lars, and thanks for taking your time for this."