Marco Wriedt - Axxis
Axxis have just released their latest masterpiece - 'Utopia'. This is their second album with new guitarist - Marco Wriedt. I have been in correspondence with Marco, ever since I wrote my Axxis review for MetalCDratings, last month.
We had initially planned to speak over the phone, but rehearsal demands, and other pressing concerns took priority, so we agreed to an E-mail interchange. Enjoy our plume of jest and inspired wit. Behold our pure & rough dialogue, from me to you to peer over.
MettleAngel: Hey Brother, I was really hoping we would get a chance to speak to one another directly. I know this is something that you were excited about, as well.
MettleAngel: I totally understand your position. I will narrow it down to fundamental questions. So let us begin. I know that this is your second album recording, for which you played with Axxis. Briefly explain to me just how did you get invited into the band? Did you have to audition? Did you, perchance, have the right connections?
MettleAngel: Wow, that is cool! I never did hear him perform with Journey.
MettleAngel: You were planning to come to the States, then?
MettleAngel: I know that Rob Schomaker played with Regicide. I have that album - 'Welcome In The Family', and I love it! It is some killer Teutonic thrash like Vendetta, Deathrow, and Petty Pew. Do me a favour, and please let him know that I am a fan of his work with Regicide. I imagine it is quite rare to find this release on CD these days.
MettleAngel: Talk about serendipity!
MettleAngel: You mean songs from albums up to - 'Paradise In Flames', as your debut recording with them was for 'Doom Of Destiny', correct?
MettleAngel: You learned all those songs in two weeks!
MettleAngel: Axxis had just released a 'Best Of' album in 2006, so I'm sure they were ready for some new, young blood, and a new vibe in the band. I realize that you are one of the youngest members of the band, does Bernhard Weiß treat every member with proper respect, as he is the only original member remaining in Axxis?
MettleAngel: Yuck, I hate sushi, each to his own! I do strongly agree with the fact that music unites, and brings us together into the true metal milieu. Bernhard Weiß does seem like quite a character, and he is even older than I. Since you are the only guitarist in Axxis, do you write all the music or just the guitar parts?
MettleAngel: I think that it is wonderful that they let you write your own solos, and experiment with the guitar, as you seem fit; while they form and create the essence of the stylized music. I guess you could say that you are the "axe", and they are the "allies". Harry Öllers plays some really techo-pop type keyboards, how does that fit in with your guitar technique?
MettleAngel: I agree, when I first purchased my Axxis cassette of - 'Kingdom Of The Night', I was really into thrash, and German Speed. This album seemed rather weak to me, and more like Bonfire. I was not too impressed, and did not return to the band until a friend of mine played for me - 'Eyes Of Darkness'.
MettleAngel: I assume you mean a more '70s based Prog Rock sound, and not so much the music categorized as such, these days?
MettleAngel: All these aspects serve as ingredients into the concoction that is Axxis! Do you ever contribute to the lyric structure, or is that Bernhard's primary job? If so, is there a real dark theme lyrically present throughout 'Utopia'? It almost seems that the title itself is a bit ironic, don't you agree?
MettleAngel: In my review, I made these very suggestive implications, without ever having read any lyrics. Bernie's vocals are so unique, that it is easy to understand what he is saying, or tyrying to convey.
MettleAngel: The review may be viewed here: www.metalcdratings.com. I commented on how the lyrics were not too uplifting, but the music was still catchy and quite engaging. Consider the chorus for a song like: "Heavy Rain". Would you agree with my opinions considering the lyrics and music?
MettleAngel: I absolutely agree with you, and life is what we make of it, as we all create our own destiny, and there are no victims or villains.
MettleAngel: Indeed it is, and sometimes it is a Molotov cocktail, or sometimes one in which, if we over imbibe, we may become too drunk with power. What are your favorite new Axxis songs from the new album? What Classic songs, that Axxis has written over the last two decades, do you prefer to play?
MettleAngel: I believe that song is from - 'Best Of Ballads & Acoustic Specials'. I sometimes get confused because there is the song - "Don't Leave Me" - From 'Paradise In Flames', and there is also the song - "Stay By Me" from the same album. I guess Bernie has a tendency to focus on common themes. On 'Doom Of Destiny' he had a song called - "Father, Father", and on Utopia, there is - "Father's Eyes". I am not a big fan of ballads, but I digress. Getting back on track, have you played in any other noteworthy bands, before joining Axxis?
MettleAngel: I am not familiar with her at all....is she some type of model or something?
MettleAngel: It sounds like you had a good time, and were able to expand your music horizons, and versatility. With Axxis, when you perform in a live setting, do you do all the guitar playing, or does the band bring along a touring guitarist?
MettleAngel: Keyboards are a mixed bag in Metal. I feel they are one of those qualities which make Axxis stand above and beyond so many Germna Power Metal outfits. I have noticed that the guitar work on "Doom Of Destiny" & "Utopia" is very intricate and technical like Firewind, Rage, or early Stratovarius. Do you consider yourselve to be a Gus G, Victor Smolski, or Timo Tolkki fan? Who are your major influences?
MettleAngel: That is so cool. I have always appreciated his work with Rage, and Mind Odyssey.
MettleAngel: Man, it is just so hard to imagine you are younger than my brother. I did not discover Stratovarius, until I was out of Grad School, in the early '90s..
MettleAngel: I just got that new Queen album with Paul Rogers - 'The Cosmos Rocks'. It took awhile, but I really like the new Dream Theater, too. Those covers they did kill!
MettleAngel: Hence the Andy Warhol reference...
MettleAngel: Indeed, thank Heavens for those, as those are the very albums which inspired Steve Harris to form Maiden, and thus Metal was born! As for me, I'm much more drawn to the '80s Genesis, and Peter Gabriel's solo work. Then again, I am not a musician. In keeping with this line of dialogue, what do you like to do when not involved with Axxis? Name a few of your favourite hobbies.
MettleAngel: My wife is the coffee connoisseur. I only use the internet when I have to, I just can not spend hours on there. Like you, I prefer to watch movies, and listen to music.
MettleAngel: I know that very real feeling you describe about music. If it were not for Metal, I would truly go insane! I never jog, hell I seldom even walk for exercise. I am so damn lazy it hurts! I mean that literally, as I don't even exercise as much as I used to.
MettleAngel: I would love to travel more, but we just enrolled our son in his first year of school, so we won't be leaving town for too much for quite some time, save necessary concerts. A least we have some killer shows lined up for this fall. Neither my wife, son, or I have ever been to Europe, so that is our future goal! I understand that you have a relative in the USA, and that you are fond of America.
MettleAngel: You almost moved here, before the golden Axxis opportunity, so is there any chance of Axxis ever coming over here to tour? We sure would love to see you.
MettleAngel: More and more Euro acts are coming and thriving when they tour the US. A year ago, we finally were able to see Helloween & Gamma Ray play in Chicago. Interestingly enough, the banner for the show had Axxis listed as the opening act, but I assume that was a European Tour flyer? Needless to say we were bummed when we discovered you were not on the tour.
MettleAngel: I actually can not tolerate Chicago, but they do have great Metal gigs perform there. As for Ohio, Cleveland is your best bet. We are going to see Doro and Destructor play there Thursday, September 10th. Then again, Stryper are actually coming to Cincinnati. The female fronted Lita Ford style act - Shadowside from Brazil - was going to come, but cancelled at the last minute. Marco, thank you for taking the time out of your busy schedule to answer these questions for me.