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Written by Fab   
Wednesday, 04 May 2011 17:37
2.2/5 (26 votes)

It's been a while I had not heard from french true-metal band LONEWOLF... In spite of an excellent last album to date, called "The Dark Crusade", I can't say the support from my country has been really important and it makes no justice to their talent, definitely ! I wanted to get some more news about them, the last album, the upcoming one & line-up changes... so here's an interview made with guitarist/singer Jens !

- Hello Jens ! It's been a while now that "Dark Crusade" is out... What about the responses ?
Really very good. For the first time we had, I'd say 80% good reviews. But most important is that the metalheads who already supported us before were not disapointed...and this seems the case;-)). When we release new stuff, I don't think about reviews, I think and care about true metalhead impressions. And much seems to like "The Dark Crusade", this is the best reward for me. This album also helped us to play again through europe, so it can't be that bad hahaha;-))))
- Are there some countries where it was much more welcome ?
Let's say that Poland and Greece gave a great welcome, but also Germany, which really pleased me. You know, Germany is home of Running Wild, Stormwitch, Grave Digger, most of our influences in fact, so it is hard there because we play the style of bands they are so proud of, bands who wrote metal history...The Germans know better than anyone what true metal means and are very critic (with right !!) with it. So having good response in Germany was something very special to me.
- What about the responses from France ?
Very good !! As good as for "Made In Hell", which was a great step for us in the underground. Some prefer "Made In Hell", some prefer "The Dark Crusade", what is something good in my eyes, as i really like "Made In Hell", which showed a rawer side of us, more Grave Digger/Paragon oriented, whereas "The Dark Crusade" turned out to be more melodic with more Running Wild/Iron Maiden influences. It's good that not every one prefers the same albums as they show two different sides of Lonewolf and that we anyway defend with the same pleasure both albums on stage.
- How do you explain the fact that LONEWOLF have much more fans abroad than in France ? Are we retarded when it comes to Metal ?
I don't really know. I mean, in general true heavy metal has anyway less fans here than in Germany or Greece for example. The french mainstream medias don't support true metal here like other countries do. It's not that France is too late, it's unfortunately a state of mind. That is one reason why Lonewolf, but other french true metal acts as well, get more support from foreign countries, who didn't forget the essence of metal. But there is nethertheless a true metal fan basis in the french underground, and they give us great support,and this the right time to hail all of them again and to say a big thank you to all of them again !!!. 
- Well in a way, that's not so negative, you get more opportunities to play abroad ?
Ha ha, of course this is great fun for us. We have lots of friends today out of france, and it's always great pleasure to meet them when we come to their countries. But most of all, I hope that everyone in Lonewolf knows the chance he has to play that much in foreign countries and to meet such fantastic people in Europe. I mean, I'd love to play more in France, we have good support in the underground here, but organisors don't  think the same way here ha ha. Let's see what the new album brings, concerning this;-). But I can tell you that playing foreign countries is a great honour for us.
- OK back to the band... Guitarist Damien left the band ... Can you tell us more on the reasons ?
There are few reasons for this : Dams always was a fan of bands like Metallica, Children Of Bodom, Megadeth etc...and it came a time where he wanted to put such influences in Lonewolf, which in my point of view is impossible, at least as long as i'm in the band ;-)...So of course this led to some internal problems (when I say problems,those were only on a musical level, never on a personal one.) To this you add that Dams became father and he wanted anyway to give more time to his family. You know, even an underground band like Lonewolf takes much time, and demands much sacrifices on a personal level. All this led to the unique solution, Dams had to quit, before all this could be venomous for our personal friendship. Dams remains a "wolfbrother", he begins a new, more thrashy project, and we wish him good luck and will allways support him !
- Now it is Alex that played bass that takes the axe... How did you come to this idea ? Any opportunity to find a guitarist ?
No, in fact Alex is such a great guitar player with the same influences Lonewolf always had, that it was immediatly clear that he'll play the lead guitar. For me he is anyway one of the best metal guitar players of france. He has, beside his great level, a musical vision and feeling that really impress me. So there was no hesitation ; it's a bassplayer we had to find!!
- And then... who is on the bass now ? Why this choice ?
The new wolf is Rikki Mannhard, some might know him from his ex-band Mystery Blue, and from "the metal family", well known in the underground true metal circles. Why Rikky ? Because he's one of the best friends we ever met, on festivals and gigs we played together with Mystery Blue. We always partied together, have the same musical tastes... So the first name and choice in our minds was Rikki. But he was already in Mystery Blue. Nethertheless, as we love him and his great stage presence I gave him a phonecall and asked him if he was interested to make a change of band ha haha. So it was and today we're together ;-).
- And what about the new line-up on stage ? You already played live together in Germany & Greece, right ? How was it ?
Ha ha it was cool ;-)). Even, if to be honest, we searched a bit our "automatisms", etc... I mean, when Rikki joined us I told him "you have 2 months to learn ten songs for the gig in Germany/Lörrach." Greece was not planed at that time. Then I called him "ok you have one month to learn 15 songs for we play 2 gigs in Greece soon". So he really had to hurry, haha. But he made it, and even if there was stress before the gigs (First gigs for Rikki with us, but also first gigs for Alex on guitar !) all went really well, and i have to say again, the greek metalheads give us such crazy support...I'm always amazed. This made it all easier of course and made those two greek gigs one hell of a fantastic weekend !! Metal, sweat, party, brotherhood and beer... What else to ask for ???? But as I said those were the first gigs, and today there is really this "magic" operating during rehersals, and the next gigs will be even better concerning stage acting etc....
- What do you think this change can bring to the band ?
Honestly, and with all respect I have towards every old band member who has it's part of what we're today, I think today that this is the best lineup we ever had. Everyone goes in the same direction, everyone is involved as much as the others in the band...This changes should bring us a stability we never had, and much "power" in the band.
- A new album is on the way... What about the writing ? Are there already influences from the new line-up on the music ?
Of course the new line up influences a lot the new songs. For example, on "The Dark Crusade", Alex, bassplayer at that time, composed on guitar but always kept in mind Damien's style of playing riffs and solos. Today he writes "for his own" and this changes a lot. All remains basically the same true metal and nothing else, but new "forms" appear, the way to "treat" ideas also differs a bit sometimes. You know,for the first time I really feel a "new wind" in our sails. I really feel that we closed a cool chapter with "The Dark Crusade", and today we open a new one. I mean, look...if you really think about, it's nearly 75% new blood we have today : Alex plays guitar today but still played bass for "The Dark Crusade", Antoine only joined us for the middle of the pre production for "The Dark Crusade", so didn't really influence at that time either, and Rikki just joined us on bass. So it's a nearly new line up recording the new album.
- What about the content ? Can you describe it - compared to the previous albums ? Have you already chosen a title ?
Yeah, the title is chosen, but too soon to say haha. The content is 100% Lonewolf, but with ways we never explored before. We have a couple of songs with an atmosphere we'd never could have reached with former line-ups. In a whole, the album will also be less speedy than our two previous ones, "Made In Hell" and "The Dark Crusade" - which doesn't mean less powerfu. The whole atmosphere seems also darker, as far as I can tell now. There is also less Running wild influences I'd say. Of course it still is, but really coupled with more NWOBHM influences, or even bands that always influenced us but never really heard like old Savatage.
- When can we expect to see the album hitting the streets ?
First september week.
- Still on Karthago Records ? How is it working with that label ? Pleased ???
Yes, still Karthago. He's happy with our sales, we're happy with his work/distribution so there's no reason to change. I prefer to be priority on a "little" label than "nothing" on a big one. And our manager, Bart Gabriel, is used to work with Stefan from Karthago, what makes all much easier for us of course.
- Besides that new album... some other plans ?
Yeah, we go on little european tour at the end of may with the german bands Dragonsfire and IronFate. I guess it's a real good package for every true metalheads who support the underground ;-). We'll play in France, Germany, Belgium and Holland. Every info needed is easy to be found on the internet through myspaces, facebooks and websites of each band.
- I know you're a die-hard metalhead... any good bands that you recently discovered that you could recommend ?
I just discovered King Leoric and I'm a bit ashamed not knowing them before.... their last album,"Thunderforce" is from 2005, and it's absolutely fantastic !!!! I listen to it every day right now, every metalhead should try to get this masterpiece !!! I also love Stormhunter, more in a Running wild vein. We play a festival with them next week end, can't wait to see them ! Beside that, I wait for the first Elvenstorm album. They're a young french band, total Paragon/Grave Digger fans, and their first demo was really cool. Since a few weeks, my brother Felix (who recorded 3 albums with us) joined them on drums. I wait for the new  Hürlement also, and just got the second Resistance wich really deserves to be discovered. A mix of old slayer, manilla road, german thrash and heavy... hard to describe actually !!! Oh yeah, another band I love is Ironsword, i've heard they work on new things and  can't wait !! Lay an ear on Teutonic also, they unfortunately split up but their demo cd's are worth to be known.  Oh man,there are so many bands I listen to....
- Thanks for your time, last words are yours !
Thanx for the intie my bro, thanx for your support to Lonewolf. You know how i value it ;-)). Hail to all metalheads who took time to read  this intie. Hope to meet some on our tour and have a drink together !!

> www.myspace.com/metalonewolf




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