Interview: Maik Weichert of Heaven Shall Burn

Heaven Shall Burn released the superb Wanderer a couple of weeks ago – we thoroughly enjoyed it and had the chance to throw some questions about it to guitarist Maik Weichert…

Where did you get the idea for the concept of the album?

The concept for the album came to me when I was in Iceland. Just seeing the nature and feeling the inspiration that came down on me… It was clear pretty soon that the concept of the album would have something to do with that. It was during new year, last year.

heaven-shall-burn-wandererWhere were the photos taken for the album artwork?

Iceland, obviously now that you know where the idea came from! Also a German island north of Germany called Rügen. A very beautiful island, very different from Iceland.

As with the previous albums, you recorded everything but drums in Dietz’s studio. Is there any reason why you do this?

We like to record our work in an environment we are used to. We aren’t the kind of band who wants to be isolated from everything for two or three months. I think it’s quite cool being able to go home after a hard day – or night – at the studio! Just go home, turn on the TV, go through mail… or meet up with people who have nothing to do with the record. You can set your mind to zero and go strong the next day.

The bonus cover CD and main album both feature some guest musicians. Are there any of these tracks or appearances that stand out for you?

One song I am very proud is by a German punk band called Dritte Wahl. Our friend Mille from Kreator does guest vocals on that one. I talked a lot to him and we have the same passion for raw punk music. Doing this together was something we talked about for ages. Musicians talk about projects and they never happen, but we’re very proud of this cover.

Another outstanding track is “Valhalla” by Blind Guardian which was a dream come true for our singer who is a huge Blind Guardian fan, especially of the singer Hansi. Doing this was unreal for us. For ten or twelve years in my parents’ house I had this Blind Guardian poster on the wall, and working together with them was really, really nice.

Something for me was having Frank Blackfire do a guitar solo on the record. He’s one of my all-time favourite guitarists. He was part of some of my favourite records, like Kreator’s Coma of Souls and Sodom’s Agent Orange and Persecution Mania.

Another interesting song on the record is My Dying Bride’s “The Cry of Mankind”. A dear friend supports us there – Adi [Aðalbjörn – Mosh] from Sólstafir. He really put the icing on the cake with his vocals.

The song “Prey To God” which is a Heaven Shall Burn track has Corpsegrinder Fisher doing vocals with Marcus. When you hear the riffing in the song, Marcus was reminded of Cannibal Corpse, and Fisher is his favourite death metal singer – we’re all huge fans of the band. This one was special as it wasn’t sending files back and forth. We actually met him backstage at a Cannibal Corpse show and he recorded his vocals there with is, face to face! Working with him was amazing. There are no effects on his vocals or anything at all. He’s just brutal, brutal, brutal as fuck!

Our old friend Nick Hipa is on our track “Save Me” doing a very special guitar solo. We tried to have a really cool Slayer-ish guitar solo on that song, but nobody could do it as well as Nick! One of our first big tours was with As I Lay Dying. Ever since, Nick has been a great friend.

Are there any plans for a UK tour in the near future?

There are always plans! It’s not always easy for a German band to tour the UK but it has got better. Of course we want to play over there and build on the success we had in the past.

Wanderer is available to order through Amazon on the following formats:

Heaven Shall Burn: official | facebook | twitter | instagram | youtube | spotify

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