Maximum Metal Interview with Kuba Olejnik, guitarist of Hellfire by EC 3/30/2005

Kuba, congratulations on the new record "Requiem For My Bride", now out through Sonic Age Records. This is the band's debut album for Greece's Sonic Age. Obviously you are in good company with bands like Valkija, Overlorde, and Made Of Iron making up the roster. Tell me, how did you get involved with Sonic Age?

KO - Hello and thanks! Bart Gabriel from DragoNight Agency sent our promo single “Where Is The Answer” to Sonic Age Records. They took interest in us and we reached an agreement and signed a contract.

This is the band's second record, the follow-up to the 2002 release "Recoffination". How has the band matured in these three years? How different is "Requiem" when compared to the first record?

KO - During these two years we gained a lot of experience in both concert and skill. The line-up has changed, and this has only reinforced our strength as a band. Now the music of Hellfire is much more coherent and developed, and the production of the last recording is way better. Also now we look differently at music, and this has surely influenced “Requeim…” and will influence our future works.

To me Hellfire sort of combines power metal and thrash into what is slowly becoming "modern" power metal, something that bands like Nevermore, Brainstorm, and Iced Earth are known for. In your opinion what specific genre would Hellfire fall into?

"There are Polish bands playing almost every kind of metal and they commonly play on a high level, but there is no label interest in them."
KO - You see this is always a problem because the listener is the one that defines in what genre you should put a band. Fast guitar riffs that resemble thrash and mixed with melodic vocals give….power thrash? I really don’t know, it is very hard to tell.

With this release the band really go into storytelling mode, focusing on a horror concept that is probably inspired by artists like King Diamond. What exactly is the concept story behind this record and what led to the idea?

KO - We’ve been thinking about a concept album for a long time. “Recoffination” was supposed, in it’s first form, to be a concept album but it didn’t work out, so we decided to do it on the next album. And as I’m a big King Diamond fan I opted for the story to be in the horror genre. We worked on the whole idea with Tomek/vocals, but he has written all the lyrics. The story is the tale of a young girl who, overwhelmed with problems, commits suicide. She jumps from the edge of a gap, but she manages to survive. Being in total shock and bruised she wanders about the forest during the night. She finds her way to a house, inside which she is enslaved by a psychopath – and he has some plans towards her….and here the story starts.

What influences come into play with Hellfire? Are you a fan of early power metal and thrash or do you find yourself more influenced by the present day bands?

KO - Maybe you will be surprised, but I have passed the stage when I listened to metal maniacally. Sometime ago I was totally absorbed by albums like “Walls Of Jericho” by Helloween or “Them” by King Diamond and the whole thrash’n’heavy scene of the 80s. Now I listen only to a few albums for example Testament's “The Gathering”, Nevermore's “Enemies Of Reality”, Emperor's “IX Equilibrium” and sometimes I go back to some old albums. I drifted heavily into the realms of delicate trance, like for example ATB because I am greatly relaxed when listening to such music. That type of music inspired me when creating the material for “Requiem…”

As I mentioned in my review of the album, it is very unique to find a power metal band in Poland, where death and black metal seems to be more popular. Kuba, what is the scene like in Poland and how difficult is it to play and listen to heavy metal "behind the Iron Curtain"? What are the religion restrictions on this type of music?

KO - The Polish music scene is not any different from the music scenes in other countries. We have a very large underground scene, but it is unknown outside of Poland, because our labels stick to promoting black-death metal. There are Polish bands playing almost every kind of metal and they commonly play on a high level, but there is no label interest in them.

Will the band be playing any shows to support this release?

KO - Of course we are playing shows in Poland all the time and these shows promote the new album. It is not a regular tour, but try to use every occasion to play a gig.

Is the first album still available and what label is it on?

KO - “Recoffination” is still available and was released by ourselves. You can buy it on our website – www.hellfireband.com.

If we were in the early 80s right now, who would Hellfire be on tour with if you had your choice?

KO - Oh, the first that come to mind are Megadeth, King Diamond, there were a lot of good bands back then. Now it would be a amazing experience to play before Nevermore or Testament – they really rule!

What are some of your favorite "newer" bands and do you have any that you would recommend to fans of Hellfire?

KO - When it comes to Poland it is surely Horrorscope, Gutter Sirens….in any case the half of the polish underground scene.

Who do you think will get the largest crowds this summer? Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Donny Osmond, Scorpions, or Motley Crue?

KO - With no doubt Donny Osmond, followed by Motley Crue!

What is your five favorite Polish beers?

KO - To tell you sincerely beer is not my favourite, I like vodka much more. But if I have to mention something I will divide it into Vodka: Bols, Finlandia, Robertówka. Beer: Lech, Tyskie

Well Kuba, best of luck with this new album and thanks for the opportunity to speak with you!

KO - It was nice talking to you, thanks for the interview, best wishes to the readers of Maximum Metal! I hope we can speak again, maybe with the next album released?

Kuba OlejnikEric Compton5/16/2005

Requiem For My Bride
Eric Compton4/1/2005

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