Critical Solution is a Norwegian Thrash Metal band which formed in 2005, but it wasn't until 2010 that things began to get serious with a performance at Norway Rock Festival, and in 2011 they recorded their debut EP, “Evidence Of Things Unseen” in Andy La Rocque’s [King Diamond] Sonic Train Studios, Varberg (Sweden).
In October 2012, the band returned to the studio with King Diamond’s guitar player, Andy La Rocque, who was also in charge of the recording, producing, mixing and mastering of this debut full-length album, "Evil Never Dies"; a joint effort between Critical Solution and La Rocque and his staff.
Evil Never Dies contains 14 tracks and tells the story of Wallace Green; a man and his company sail to Sad Hill where he assassinates the king, with his own life soon to follow. After Wallace's death, he makes a deal with the Devil to live once more, becoming the 'Soulmaker' and spreading his evil agenda and reign of terror across the world...
With guest appearances from Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) and Andy La Rocque (King Diamond) this debut is given a special touch. This is Thrash Metal in all it's glory! The band has since released an EP "The Death Lament" in 2014, and their sophomore album, "Sleepwalker" in January 2015.
I had an opportunity to chat with this up and coming Thrash band, having become a fan and impressed with their previous body of work. They possess a unique sound yet retain the influences of other greats such as Metallica and Testament, which has undoubtedly had a huge impact on the direction Critical Solution have taken. It’s of great pleasure for me and Metal On Loud Magazine to have this opportunity to talk with Critical Solution and get to know these fine gentlemen a little better. So without further adieu, let the madness begin!
Hello guys I would like to start by thanking you for your interest and participation with Metal On Loud Magazine. I am looking forward to this interview with you guys and getting to know Critical Solution. Can you tell us about the band name and how it came to fruition, and can you tell us a little bit about the band and each member?
The band name came from the Guns N' Roses song "Garden Of Eden" actually. When we started out we were kind of a Guns cover band so the name kinda stuck with us.
On vocals and lead guitar we have me, Christer. I started playing guitar at age 14 and never looked back. I do most of the writing, and founded the band together with Egil, who is the drummer and main lyric/story writer. He started out as the singer, but when he found the drums he stayed put and does a damn fine job at it!
Bjørnar is the other guitarist. We switch on doing solos so you can call him a lead guitarist as well. He was there at the very start and then had a break, but is back full time now and the energy is sick!
On bass guitar we have Bjørnar's brother, who is also the youngest member. He started out playing guitar, so that makes him an awesome bassist as he is a very melodic player!
Who is predominantly responsible for the musical direction of the band, and where does the creativity stem from?
For it to sound like us, everyone has their very own touch on it of course. I do most of the music and Egil the lyrics, but in the end we all chip in with story/music ideas, and that’s why we sound like ourselves. The creativity comes from many places. I can only answer for myself, but it can be anything from a place, photo, dream or anything that suddenly brings a riff inside my head.
You guys are from Norway, best known for their Black Metal scene. How are you guys received in Your native land?
I would say we fit better outside of Norway. Thrash is not the best thing to play in Norway, and adding the horror element that we have doesn't help either. Most of the shows we have done though have been insanely rad. We toured with WASP as main support, and it kicked ass. So in the end, I feel we are received well, but it’s hard to get a gig in this country.
Metallica and Testament have been mentioned as influences on your style and sound. Who else us would fall into this category of musical influences?
We have a ton of different influences. Again, I can only answer for myself, and I love King Diamond, Testament and so on, but also bands like Arthur Brown, Thin Lizzy, Uriah Heep which have that kind of mysterious feel—I could go on and on forever. Bjørnar comes from a different place, having a love for blues music, Egil is the Iron Maiden man, and Eimund loves Punk Rock like Misfits, etc.
How would you guys best describe your sound and what you bring to the Metal scene, and how you differ from other Thrash acts?
Horror Thrash! We only do concept albums with horror storylines. 'Til now at least, we have a main character called Wallace Green who has been involved in all the albums. We are different in the sense that we play Thrash Metal and include some theatrical stuff in our live shows—I use face paint for example. We try to create an atmosphere on our albums as well as live shows. I’m not saying we are the only ones of course, but as far as "new" bands are concerned, I have not heard about others doing what we do.
When recording an album, how does the creative process start? And how does it fit or translate to your live show?
When all the music is written, we rehearse it, songs change, and then changes again. We have a story ready so we know how the music should feel here and there and so on. We enter the studio and basically record the music. Then we put the finishing touches on lyrics, and sound effects, etc and there you go..
How do you guys prepare for your live shows? Are any sort of routine rituals or superstitions involved?
We have an intro song playing before our main intro starts—Arthur Brown's "Come and Buy"—so it’s all about getting into the zone, then we all gather in a ring and say "Let's kick some ass!" and when we walk onstage we are on fire!
Can you tell us what we can expect in 2016; touring plans, new album, festivals, etc?
At this moment no shows are booked. This is mainly because we want to finish the next record, so we will probably be back in the studio in August to finish that, and if everything goes as planned it will be released this year. There is also a video being planning. As regards to touring, we hope to do some shows in Europe after the record is finished. We have had some offers, but time will tell. We hope to get on the road as soon as possible I can tell you that.
What was it like to work with such great artist as Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) and Andy La Rocque (King Diamond)? What other artist would you like to work with in the future or are currently working with?
That is the beauty of it all. Getting to work with so many heroes. Andy of course is our main cat, as we have done all recording in his Sonic Train Studios. I remember the first time I heard his guest-solo on our debut record—the feeling was awesome. Here we are playing with the best guitarist in the world! Whit Crane is such a great human being. He has one of the best voices out there, and you’ll have to look long to find a happier guy!
We also worked with the great Mika Lagren from Swedish band Grave. He did a solo on the Sleepwalker album and it’s so great I have a hard time playing it live! Also guesting on Sleepwalker's last track, "Back From The Grave", is Michael Denner and Hank Shermann from Mercyful Fate. They have this specific tone, just like Andy. Whenever they play, you instantly know who is playing. It may be because they're Danish, but they are such good people. We are the luckiest band on the planet for sure to have played with all these people who are our heroes!
As for future guests, we will have—I think—three guests on this coming record. We already had Arthur Brown in the studio last month. The man is over 70 years old but he has more energy than us combined. I won’t say much, but "The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown" continues! The other guests are yet to be confirmed so you’ll have to wait and see.
There are so many people i want to work with, I could mention King Diamond of course, Robb Flynn [Machine Head], and so on.
If you guys could choose a festival to play in or headline, which would you choose and why?
Tough one since there are very many great festivals! I'd say Sweden Rock or Donington. That’s because Donington is the classic one and it has always been a dream to play there. Sweden Rock because it’s the perfect festival. Perfect location and with the sun shining, you are in for a treat!
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions for Metal On Loud Magazine! There are a thousand more I would like to ask you. Maybe we can do a follow up for a future issue and dig deeper into what is Critical Solution. With that being said, are there any final words to our readers you would like to add?
We are the ones to say thank you! Thank you for being interested, and we will of course speak again! To your readers, thanks, and follow us on Facebook for updates on everything! Let's conquer the world together!
Once again thanks so much for taking the time to answer our questions and being very cool and taking the time to be here with us. All the best and I look forward to speaking with you again very soon. METAL ON LOUD!