You gotta love stories like this. WARDRESS formed in the early 80’s only to break up before they had a chance to really get started. Decades later guitarist Gor and vocalist Erich reformed and launched a new chapter for the band. It sounds like the script for a Hollywood movie. Not only are they on their second full-length album “Metal ’til the End”, released through Black Sunset/MDD Records, but they appear to have no plans on slowing down. Let’s check in with the boys from WARDRESS!
RYR: Hello guys, amazing work on ‘Metal ’til the End’, such a great album of Classic Metal. I would first like to back up a little bit, you guys have such an interesting history, originally formed in the 80’s but no music was officially recorded, then in 2019 you took some older material for “Dress For War”. Can you go into more detail on the band’s history and how you ended up putting this band together again decades later?
Gor: Hi Torch, thanks for giving us the chance to be on Rock You Radio! And a even bigger THANK YOU! for your great review and feedback on our new album! Originally, Wardress was founded in 1983, but split up after less than four years, back then. The “new” Wardress exist since 2018, with vocalist Erich and myself as the only “survivors” of the original line-up, and with new members Mirco on bass and Andy on drums. Guitarist Kimon completed the current line-up in 2019. In 2018 I rediscovered an old tape in my cellar, with rehearsal room recordings of some of the old WARDRESS stuff. I thought why not take the chance to re-record the songs with updated riffs and melody lines. Since Erich and I still met each other at many metal concerts throughout all the years past, I was still in contact with him, so I simply asked him to give it a try.
Erich: When Gor sent me those recordings, I was really electrified by the songs I never had heard again up to that moment since the 1980s. I immediately understood why Gor has been so enthusiastic about the idea of re-recordings. I do not only talk about the melodies, riffs and lyrics themselves, but also about the pictures and feelings in my head, that came up. It was like entering a time machine: Imaginations of our youth in the 1980’s, of our energy and lightheartedness, of us becoming part of that new musical movement called Heavy Metal, of all the fun and partying with our friends, even of my first, fuckedup car, which brought me to our rehearsal room (and sometimes not). Shortly said, I had no other choice than to agree.
RYR: So, it’s 2019 and you have a new album out, then the pandemic hits. Did you lose any momentum and it seems you spent the time working on ‘Metal ‘til the End’? Are these NEW songs or are you still going back to older material?
Erich: End of 2019 we started our „Eternal War Tour“, but in this case “eternity” reached out only onto February 2020, when the upcoming pandemic measures knocked us out. So yes, we lost 2 years like many others, too, but we never lost motivation to continue with the band. Gor already came up with new ideas and riffs, so we decided to use the concert-free time to write and record new songs for a second album. I think the result proves us right…
Gor: As there was no live activity possible, as Erich said, I started writing new songs and riffs. With regard to leftovers from the 80s I actually found another tape in my basement from 1985/86, a time when Erich had already left the band. A few riffs and ideas from it ended up in the title track. The song originally had a different title, the flow varied and it had no finished vocals yet. However, most of the tracks on “Metal `Til The End” are completely new. Spoiler: I found even 1-2 more fragments of songs which could be used on Wardress III.
RYR: There’s been a resurgence of younger bands going back to the NWOBHM sound so your sound actually has a good following again. What I said in my review however is that you guys actually were around in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Can you talk about growing up during that amazing era of Metal?
Erich: I got into music with listening to „Long Live Rock’n’Roll“ from Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow, which was played on a school party in the late 1970s. I was immediately blown away by this mix of energy, melodies and musical mastery. I had to have the album, then everything else from this band, as well as others like Judas Priest, Sabbath, Motörhead and soon Iron Maiden, and so on and on. Then I was drawn to the concerts where I got to know all the other fanatics… If this happens to you, Heavy Metal becomes the soundtrack of your life. That’s why WARDRESS don’t consciously write “old school metal”, it’s rather, with such background, that our songs are what has to come out quite naturally.
RYR: Germany’s history of Metal (in my opinion) is as strong as any country in the world, and that includes Great Britain. There were so many amazing bands that really never broke out in the states, Railway, Bullet, Sinner, Tyran’ Pace just to name a few. Can you explain why Metal became and has remained so strong in Germany?
Erich: I cannot really give an explanation for this, but I can briefly describe how things developed in Germany, from my point of view. From the very beginning in the 1980s on, here the fans have always been quite proud of being a part of the German Metal community, which helped our beloved music to survive throughout the difficult 1990s. We, the fans, were still buying the albums and visiting the concerts, for example of Saxon and Motörhead, when in many other countries Heavy Metal had been clinical dead. Anyway, Metal succeeded and today it is an international movement, just look at the big festivals with both, bands and fans, coming there from all over the world.
RYR: Tell us about the first single “Berserk”, you did a cool video for the song too, what’s the story behind this song?
Gor: The album’s opener, “Berserk”, is an excellent choice to announce the album. The song begins with a driving rhythm and a powerful guitar riff that immediately pulls you in. The lyrics are combative and rebellious, conveying the message that in a world of confusion, fear and chaos, you can only survive if you are willing to fight for you belief in. We think, the video perfectly transmits that dark view on the world but also the message to fight for your beliefs.
RYR: The production on the album is amazing, it hits you like a wrecking ball, you worked with Rolf Munkes at the Empire Studios in Bensheim, can you talk about that experience and working with Rolf?
Gor: Thank you so much. As me being the producer of the album I am really happy that you like the production and sound as much as we do! So, since we had worked out a pre-production before entering the Empire Studios, the work with Rolf was about recording the already very good-sounding demos even better. This time we went into the studio with a clear plan and ideas for the sound. You can hear the resulting improvement, if you compare the sound of the new album with the sound of our debut album. We always had fun in the studio because everything was well prepared and the recording was very easy. For us, staying with Rolf was like a holiday.
RYR: There’s a lot of turmoil in Europe right now with the Russian/Ukraine war, how has that affected the music and you guys personally? Is it hard to see this after watching the wall come down decades ago??
Erich: Since the music on our new album had been written before that war started, the songs are not influenced by that. When the wall came down, everybody dreamt about the impossibility of another war, some even talked about “the end of history”. Unfortunately, we find ourselves back in reality now. Wardress is definitely not a band with pronounced political messages, but I would like to express my personal recommendation to any person impelling this or any other war: FUCK YOURSELF!
RYR: What’s next for the band are you doing any touring and festivals this year?
Erich: Now, with the new album in our back, we are heading for live performances, again. On 1st of May, this year, we shall play in the legendary club „Nachtleben“ in Frankfurt / Main. More venues are to be announced soon, we promise!
RYR: Finally, how can people find you and is there anything else you would like to add?
Erich: Regarding news and live dates, all interested should regularly check our announcements on Facebook, Instagram, m.backstagepro.de/wardress and Youtube, as well as the website of our label MDD/Black Sunset.