Black & Damned – Rising from the Stillness of the World

In the spring of 2020, Michael Vetter (guitars & bass, Ex-PUMP) and Roland “Bobbes” Seidel (vocals, Ihresgleichen), decided to be active together. They wrote 12 epic/power metal songs within a very short time, which appears like a “symbiosis of the energy of Iron Maiden, the gloom of Black Sabbath and the playfulness of Helloween“.

Drummer Axel Winkler (Ihresgleichen), Axel Mackenrott (Masterplan) at the keyboards, and Tommy Laasch (backingvocals) were hired for the studio work. The CD was mixed and mastered by Achim Köhler (i.a. Primal Fear, Sodom, Brainstorm) at Indiscreet Audio (Germany). The collaboration resulted in fresh, melodically strong riffs and vocal lines, which reminds of Bruce Dickinson or Ronnie Atkins.

Soon, they join forces with Ali Gözübüyük (bass, Bionic Angel) and Aki Reißmann (guitar, Ex-PUMP) to get the songs live into the world, as quickly as possible, according to the band members.

…And then, the power metal band BLACK & DAMNED came to the music scene…

Their first album, Heavenly Creatures, will be out on January 29, 2021, via ROAR – Rock of Angels Records. On the 3rd of December, 2020, Black & Damned released their first video/single „Salvation“.

It seems that “Salvation“ came up at the right moment. The world stands still, but the art is wide awake. Do you think that the artists are the true heroes, rising out from the darkness and fights against the lethargy that surrounds humanity?

This is not an easy question, yes, at the moment the world is really at a standstill, nobody knows how it will go on. Many people are going crazy, some are proponents, others are opponents of all the measures. Are the artists the heroes? A good question, you would like to ask, but here in Germany, due to this circumstances, nobody can practice his art, no concerts, no events and it’s hard to stand up against it, but the fight is going on and it has to become much stronger, so that the art, which means freedom for everyone who practices it, can prevail. That is why everyone hopes for salvation, said Aki Reißmann, one of the guitarists of the band.

There are good reviews of the song, saying that it is passionate and full of energy. What can you say about the rest of the songs from the upcoming album? What kind of vibe are you offering to the listeners with the new album?

The album is a good mixture of power-metal and metal, groovy riffs refrains to sing along, an album that will grab every listener. The album was written at the beginning of the corona pandemic and was finished in only a few weeks concerning the songwriting. Bobbes ( Roland ) and Micha did a really awesome job, and yes, the album was definitely done with a lot of passion and energy.

Can you introduce to us your mates and musicians from Black and Damned? How would you describe each of them?

Ha ha ha …not an easy task, because the band hasn’t really existed for very long, and we only had a handful of meetings for the video shootings. But I will try it, said Aki.

Roland – the singer also called Bobbes, one of the motivators and the business head of the band. He always manages to get the people going and motivate them, and with his own voice he gives the songs the charisma they need.

Micha – the guitarist and founder of the band. He is a multi-talented guy, he is the one who created the musical parts of the songs, he took the photos, he is responsible for the videos, just amazing what he is doing and my best buddy with whom I played Pump and Miracle Master and also Fireleaf.

I first met Ali the bass player through Black and Damned, but I immediately took him to my heart. A totally crazy but kindhearted person. Ali is immediately involved in everything, full of enthusiasm. And he looks totally cool, too…

Axel – the drummer, rather the calm pole in the band, but still,always at the start and a master on his instrument. Always well-considered in his statements, but still a musician full of passion.

What is the most important thing when it comes to the successful existence of the band?

In any case, it is important that the energy is right, this is actually the basis for the functioning of a band. If one, or more members do not pull along, the structure of a band will quickly come apart. It’s like on a class trip, if not all members join in, it’s no fun, and in the end no good music comes out. It’s also important to stay on the ground no matter how successful you are, so that you keep a clear head and keep writing good songs.

And what is the most important thing when it comes to recording a good sound and the song?

I can only speak for myself now, when I write a song the most important thing is the basic riff around which the rest is built. Often you can finish a song in an hour, sometimes it takes days to finish the song. Then you send it to the singer and he will work on it, and he will give you feedback if something should be changed to get him in the right mood to sing. It is very important that the chemistry between the members is right. As far as the sound at the end is concerned, this is also a matter of taste, some like it really big, others are more into the indie sound. But in the end the most important thing is the song itself, if it’s not good, even the best sound won’t help you.

How do you take art  – as the way of being true to yourself? What about the Passion in the creative process?

Passion is one of the most important things. If you do something, if you don’t bring passion into it, it is only half-hearted. Art is always a kind of selfrealization, because what you do comes from within yourself, it comes from your head, goes through your heart and into your hands, which execute the idea. And I can do what I want, and how I want it, if it is good then others decide who listen to my art.

From your perspective, as an artist, do you sometimes need to make some compromises, or do you believe that you have to fight for your artistic freedom?

Life consists of compromises, otherwise it would not function. And it’s the same in music, in certain areas you have to make compromises, because music is also a business, and not everything always works the way you want it to, which is unfortunately the case in business life. But in songwriting you try as far as possible to get your ideas accepted as a band without someone else talking you into it.

What music do you like the most, and, is there any new band you appreciate? How do you feel about music scene nowadays?

I listen to a lot of different music, I’m a child of the eighties and grew up musically with the whole LA style. my fave band belong Skid Row, Iron Maiden, Winger, Van Halen, etc etc. What is so new for me is the band Five Finger Death Punch, I love them, a lot of power, hard riffs, and then again full of melodic chorus … that’s how it has to be. The music scene…. meanwhile overcrowded with bands, there is just too much, and often a lot of bad stuff that floods the market, don’t get me wrong, I respect everyone who manages to write a song that is what he felt and wanted to do in that moment, but not everyone can do it, you understand. The scene has become extremely fast moving, bands come and go, the industry doesn’t really build bands anymore. In the past, real money was invested in bands and they kept up, nowadays there is very little support. Also the clubs pay less and less, the work of a musician is not as honored as it used to be and that’s a pity.

What inspires you the most, besides music?

Normally, I get inspiration and recreation on vacation with my lovely wife, I love the sea and islands…. where I can recharge my batteries. Otherwise you just have to go through life with open eyes, there are so many occasions that inspire you every day. The human being is an inspiration, said Aki Reißmann.        

Black & Damned:

Roland “Bobbes” Seidel – vocals & growlings; Michael Vetter – guitar; Aki Reissmann – guitar; Ali Gözübüyük – bass; Axel Winkler – drums

Guest Musicians: Tommy Laasch – backing vocals (ex-Chinchilla); Axel Mackenrott – keys & samples (Masterplan)

Album artwork, band photography and video clips direction by Michael Vetter (Menschbilder)

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