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AKTOR - Paranoia
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AKTOR - Paranoia (CD)

International | Heavy/Hard Rock
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SKU:  01CDhrr410628
LABEL : High Roller
YEAR : 2015
View All : AKTOR products
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Detailed Description
There is just no stopping Chris 'The Professor' Black. With High Spirits and Dawnbringer he has created some of the best and most unconventional heavy metal music around today. Chris' newest baby is called Aktor. To be precise, it is a collaboration between him and two Finish guys, Jussi Lehtisalo and Tomi Lepp?nen. The busiest man in metal explains: 'Jussi Lehtisalo and I got in contact around 2006 and found we had a mutual admiration for each other's creativity. We traded a lot of music during the next few years and the idea of doing some music together came up fairly early. We met face-to-face at Keep It True 2008, and we talked about it even more. We tried a few things earlier, but one day in 2012, Jussi sent me the instrumental tracks for what became our debut 7' single, and we were all hooked. We never discussed our musical direction so much as discovered it. Jussi Lehtisalo and Tomi Lepp?nen have made quite a lot of music with Circle, Pharaoh Overlord and a lot of other projects. It is a big honor for me to be working with them.' ?Paranoia? is the name of the band's first album. 'It's not a concept piece, but much like paranoia I feel that Aktor's music should inhabit the early stages of madness,' explains Chris Black the title of the record. It's out on High Roller Records but there was another legendary label very much interested in signing Aktor: 'That's true, we did have some preliminary interest from Metal Blade, but they were too slow to make a hard offer. We were off and running with the album sessions, and when High Roller expressed interest, it was very straightforward to complete the deal.' It is fair to say that Aktor is probably more hard rock, maybe more 70's, including keyboard sounds and hammond, than any other projects Chris Black has been involved in so far. 'Yeah definitely,' he agrees. 'I think Aktor incorporates a lot of psychedelic rock and even classic rock compared to my other releases. Jussi and Tomi have a much broader musical taste and experience than myself, so I trust them to guide the music and the types of sounds we will use. Maybe in terms of the range of sounds, Aktor is the most experimental band for me, although I did make a lot of primitive psychedelic music as a teenager. Jussi and Tomi, however, have been extremely prolific in the realm of experimental and avant-garde album-making. Compared to some of their other music, Aktor is like Top 40! Of course they've done a lot of radio-influenced stuff as well. Their dedication to music-making is very inspiring to me.' So from these words it should be clear that Aktor is not 'another Chris Black solo project'. Some of the songwriting, however, does seem to bear his mark, most of the songs are straight to the point, reduced, basic and very, very catchy... 'Catchy, yeah,' confirms Chris. 'We keep it short and a bit repetitive, I suppose. Again it's the Finns who are the main songwriters. I write my own parts, which means the lyrics, the vocal melodies, and the bass lines. So yes, the songs have my stamp as well, but they are already underway when I join the process. I think all three of us in Aktor agree that we are basically a pop band, if a very heavy one at times, and this is our main songwriting philosophy. Sometimes we will have an extended guitar solo or something like this, but for the most part everything is kept very basic as you said.' According to Chris, the actual songwriting process for ?Paranoia? went like this: 'For this album the process began with Jussi and Tomi doing a home demo of guitar and drums. From here we discussed some things about the basic song structures. Then the guys went to their cottage studio with the recording engineer and recorded the real versions of the songs. This was drums, guitar, some basic keyboard stuff, and acoustic guitars. Then I added my bass tracks and then my vocals on my own here in Chicago. I did a lot of 'doubling' and unison singing that I hadn't done before. I used many of the same techniques on the latest Dawnbringer LP as well. It gives a more atmospheric and slightly tense characteristic to the vocals. The tracks then went back to Finland for the last layer of synths and guitars, and then the recording engineer mixed everything. It was a really fun and smooth process, and I hope we get the chance to do it all again!' Some of the lyrics to songs such as 'Devil And Doctor', 'Six Silver Suns' or 'I Was The Son Of God' do seem very mysterious, pretty psychedelic even. 'Yes, there's a lot of 'mistaken identity' going on in the lyrics for this album,' says Chris. 'I guess it all goes back to when Mot?rhead said: 'One of us is crazy and the other one's insane.'' Although the material on the album is quite "progressive", the song lengths are rather concise. Could Chris imagine Aktor playing a 16-minute long epic, following in the footsteps of Rush? 'I don't think so,' is his honest answer. 'I don't really have the urge for such songs, and the other guys have done some great epics with Circle and Pharaoh Overlord. For example, have you heard the Circle song 'Suddenly'? It has the vocalist Bruce Duff from Jesters of Destiny. Really powerful track! So, I think for now with Aktor, we stay within the pop format. We've done very little discussion about our creative plans. I think we are just trusting our instincts and trusting each other to help push.' Matthias Mader

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