You too can be a fighter!
Straight from the picturesque, small island of Cyprus here are the warriors from Harmonize!
The Universe of their extensive novel inspired by the fantasy classics begins with their debut album ‘Warrior in the Night’, but this is really just the beginning – they plan to release it also in the text (and extended) form, and also continue on the next album, on which the work has already started.
The band experiments not only musically, combining the influences of death or thrash with traditional heavy and power, but also … in the kitchen, producing mead, worthy of a real warrior.
As they convince a warrior the main character of their story, however, can be each of us.
-You’ve started as a thrash metal band. What made you change the direction to heavy metal, besides the line-up changes?
– Our personal influences. We formed the band over a decade ago, therefore it is inevitable that certain changes would be made. We believe we are much more mature, and our sound is more evolved. We are currently exploring death metal and power metal elements as well, which are two genres that suit our fantasy fiction concept well. We are excited for our second album which explores more themes and sub-genres.
-Is every band member happy with the genre change? Is there anyone who felt better in the previous style?
– The way we shifted towards our current sound, was very organic. Each one of us brings different styles into our music and it happens to blend well together. Sozos is known as a power metal vocalist, for instance, and Harris enjoys playing extreme metal. The different personalities make Harmonize who we are, in oneness with our concept story, which is a multidimensional tale, with complex characters and intriguing plots.
-The thrash vibe is still present on your latest release, though, not only in the guitar work, but also vocals. Why you’ve decided to go back to your former years, you’ve missed these times or maybe you’ve never really changed your inspirations/influences?
– That’s understandable. Our debut album includes tracks that were roughly written years ago and were later re-written and thoroughly developed for the album’s release, therefore, certain aspects of our former selves, are still present. However, we still enjoy thrash riffs and if they suit our work, we won’t refrain from them.
-How did your collaboration with the Blynd’s vocalist and bassist, Andreas, started, you’ve known each other before? He’s present on the track „Tonight”, but I wonder if he influenced other songs in some way, too.
– Cyprus is an extremely small country, and everyone knows everyone in the metal scene. Andreas is someone who we have a lot of respect towards, as he is one of the finest brutal vocalists on the island. We collaborated with him for our song Tonight, one of two death metal songs in our album. Andreas captures with his vocals the brutality of the warrior perfectly in that song. We experiment with dark elements in our work, which is something we always aimed to do, as our concept story takes some dark turns.
-There are some obvious power metal influences like Manowar or Omen, but battle hymns suit you and the album cover! Who’s responsible for this artwork? Who’s idea was that, how does it represent the whole band?
– The idea of having the ‘Warrior’, our main character as our cover art, which reminds everyone of Manowar, was a very strategic and deliberate choice. We aimed to make people engage and ask questions. The warrior is a figure seen on many metal covers and spoken about in many metal songs. The difference is that we are giving him a story, a cause, a purpose. We want people to relate to our characters, thus we are releasing written work in the future for those who want to learn more about this epic tale, otherwise, our songs do tell the story lyrically and musically. Listening to our songs, people will start to put the puzzle pieces together and dive into this universe we are creating. We’ve been criticized for our cover art, until people listened to our album and are now staying for the long journey. Remedy Art Designs is an incredible artist who took over the task of portraying our hero so powerfully. This particular album is introductory to the story and represents one of many characters, our Warrior. Any warrior. It could be you.
-I really enjoyed „Crawling among shadows” track, what a tone, I mean especially the clean one! I always appreciate it when the bands are not afraid to write such long, complex compositions. Maybe it’s time to go more progressive, maybe you want to release a concept album in the future or maybe you already perceive „Warrior in the Night” as one?
– As we mentioned earlier, Harmonize are a conceptual band. We are definitely experimenting with our sound as the story, written by our very good friend, Nicolina Papas, has a lot to offer. Our sound is certainly more advanced now, so stay tuned for our second album which is currently in the works. What we can promise, is that there are going to be little gems for everyone to enjoy!
-„Warrior in the Night” was an independent release. How did you manage to get it all done? I mean, the promotion, recording, funding… Maybe it was easier for you, there wasn’t any label that wanted you to record certain things, so you didn’t feel the pressure?
– We chose to release our very first album on our own. We received several offers from labels, but we thought it would be a wiser choice to do it on our own, it just seemed better that way for our debut album. Like any struggling artist in the beginning, we had to invest in this project, which we believe in very strongly. We are a group of 5 different individuals with different backgrounds, education, strengths, gifts and thus sailing this ship on vexed waves wasn’t easy, but it was certainly possible, even during the really heavy covid-19 times. We are looking into labels now which is exciting and will probably sign with one sooner or later.
-„Angel” made me think of Blind Guardian songs. You’ve even taken part in their song contest, so I’m sure you’re big fans of their music. What do you like about them the most?
– Firstly, thanks, it is very flattering that Angel reminds you of a band that, we ourselves are huge fans of. We did indeed take part in their contest and did very well. They are a huge inspiration to us, a younger generation of metalheads. They have a long music career, and we love their sound, their themes, and their work, which continues to impress.
-I loved the acoustic version of „Angel” you’ve recorded a year ago. Do you plan to record other songs in acoustic versions, too? Maybe make an album of these?
– Thank you! Angel is a song inspired by a very poignant moment in our story, a moment that evokes many emotions and melts the ice. A moment in which the strongest of characters becomes very vulnerable. It was thus a piece we wanted to also express through an acoustic version for those who wouldn’t mind listening to it. I am afraid we are not necessarily planning to record other songs into acoustic versions, but we would not refrain from recording other ballads as we are softies at heart!
-And I loved the scenery, I mean the sea added a sentimental vibe to it. Does the nature of your beautiful country inspire you, too?
– We are lucky to have been raised in such a beautiful place with so much nature to offer. We are influenced by the memories we have, growing up here. Cyprus has an ancient history, endless beauty and so much richness that it of course influences our artistry. As a band, we bond in nature, camping on the beach or in the mountains. We find that we draw so much energy and inspiration from the serenity and vastness of our nature here.
-I really appreciate that you’ve decided to donate the income from merch to help people in Greece who were suffering from the wildfires. What made you do that, it’s the connection with this country, the love for nature, personal beliefs or something else?
– We of course wished to support our Greek brothers and sisters who were in need. It was devastating what happened in Europe with the fires. Yes, as I have already said, we have a deep appreciation for nature, as well as, for our fellow humans. Even though we play music that sometimes may have its roots in doom and misanthropy, we choose to see that as a phase that one could go through in their darkness before they discover the power of one’s actions. As artists, we have a platform and no matter how large or small it can be, we should use it responsibly and purposefully. We are neither activists nor a charity organization, we are just some dudes with guitars and a heart each and an X amount of following. Together we can make a change with the power of metal!
-What about the lyrics inspiration, does it come from the history, books, movies, music you listen to?
– Our inspiration is drawn from our concept – originating from an idea I had – which is developed by Nicolina Papas. It is an epic tale. The tale itself is an homage to other fantasy fiction books, movies, history, Greek mythology, Norse mythology, the occult, witchcraft and many more. The story itself begins to be told initially through the eyes of a warrior, but there’s a long history as he is one of many characters. Through his own personal issues, he must discover his purpose and how to balance the darkness within him. Following his journey, we will soon realize that he has a big part in fulfilling what is known as the Prophecy. Expect many more characters with equal importance as well as magic, war, dragons, witches, kingdoms, wizards, otherworldly beings and all that good stuff!
-And what about the metal scene in Cyprus? It’s a small country, so the scene probably sticks together. I also have a feeling that metal is very popular there recently.
– Indeed a very small country with quite an active metal scene, Cyprus is no stranger to the metal community. Unfortunately, 4 years ago underground metal bars started to shut down and afterward the corona virus started to make the scene go quiet. Thankfully things are getting better now, and the scene is active once more on our small island.
– What do you consider the most game-changing moment in your whole career, releasing the first album, first big live show, finding current line-up, maybe something else?
– The most game-changing moment in our whole career hasn’t happened yet! But if I’m asked to recall a very significant moment it would be completing our current lineup and of course releasing our debut album which was a thrilling experience full of unforgettable memories.
-Could you tell us more about your „warrior drink”, mead „The First”? Why did you stumble upon this idea and how was it possible to make it?
– Absolutely! ‘The First’ is an idea that started with me, George Constantinou, and our friend Giorgos Kyriakides, when we were initially experimenting in the kitchen to produce this drink. We wanted to try and make our own mead. We would share it with friends and try a few versions of it. When we were happy with the result, we took it more seriously taking all the necessary steps to start producing mead for purchase. People seem to love it! It’s a drink that I love having and could have several pints of. It’s a honey drink, hence it’s very sweet and certain people prefer it as a shot and others to mix in cocktails, some have even used it in their cooking when barbecuing steaks. We feel it represents our brand as we are inspired by Norse mythology to an extent, but mostly we enjoy drinking! It is only available in Cyprus at the moment.
-Your band members recorded a lot of videos playing their instruments to the tracks from „Warrior in the Night”. Was that a way to deal with the pandemic restrictions and lack of live shows?
– Busted! Yes, we want to play for the people. With the pandemic restrictions, this was very hard so instead of playing live we thought it would be fun to share some video content. Thankfully we are finally starting to plan live shows again.
-And what was the best live show you’ve recently played after it was possible to perform again and why?
– Alas, we have yet to perform live after lockdown, but we are finally planning gigs soon!
-It’s been over a year since you’ve released your last full-length album. I know you’ve started writing new material yet. Do you have a certain concept for the next album, stylistically, musically and when it comes to the lyrics?
– In our second album we are following the mental state of the Warrior and his journey after his fall in the first album as well as the consequences of his rise. We would describe this part of the second album as dark power metal for now. This second album however is also dedicated to the Queen Witch, and it involves events that happened right before the beginning of the Warrior’s journey. Expect much darker elements in this second album with ritualistic traits of black and death metal. She is a massively important character with a mysterious past and a tragic plot. Her presence is powerful and almost demonic and draconic.
-Thank you for the interview. Do you have any messages for Polish metalheads?
– Thank you very much! We would be thrilled to connect with more Polish metalheads and hopefully visit Poland soon! If you liked this interview, you could purchase or stream our album on all digital platforms or find a physical copy on our website www.harmonizeofficial.com and let us know what you think of our concept and our music. Stay tuned for updates on our social media.
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