Michael Denner is a very well-known name in the international rock/metal scene, as a former guitarist in the two most influential Danish rock/metal bands ever: Mercyful Fate and King Diamond, and is now back with a new album called “In Amber” from his new band Denner’s Inferno. Our curiosity about this new work led us to talk with Denner on a simple approach to the basics of “In Amber”. The band is formed by american vocalist Chandler Mogel (Outloud, Punky Meadows, Radio Exile), bassist Flemming Muus (Trickback, Joytown) and a drummer with a common Mercyful Fate link (played in the 90’s and also involved in the reunion recently announced), Bjarne T Holm. Now it’s time for Denner’s Inferno! – By Miguel Correia.
Hi Michael, welcome to World Of Metal, I’m pleased with this interview as a great fan of your work. So, let´s start with “In Amber”, your new album, what is the feedback so far from the audience and the press?
Well, the new album got a mixed response. This is not an album with a screaming singer wearing facepaint singing about Satan, and somehow it divides the reviews in two: in one side music listeners who can distract from my past and in the other the ones who can’t and it’s been like that with every single album I’ve done during the many years, but a lot of positive response so far on “In Amber” and this makes me proud and happy.
Yeah, I understand it, so talking about the musical direction of the album I feel on it a strong 70’s vibe. How did things go that way?
I have a big passion for 70’s heavy rock, NWOBHM and Doom bands, and I have a huge record collection with these genres, So, this time I wanted to do an album in these directions…
About the title, “In Amber”, how does the idea come about. I know that amber is a stone with a lot of mystical properties, will that has something to do with it?
The title has been in the back of my mind for some time, amber is something preserved with high value, with a bit of ancient mystique added to it, so I felt it was a great title for this album.
You have created a brand with your distinctive guitar style, with Mercyful Fate. how much does this influence your current work?
I can’t run away from what I did in a career span of 45 years… So many rock guitarists play fast, with taps and sweeps, but, somehow, it’s difficult to separate their playing, the school of Malmsteen, Satriani, Vai and Van Halen clones are enormous. There is not one single guitar circus trick on the new album, just pure lead guitar and themes the way I prefer to do it.
About Chandler Mogler, he brings a melodic side to the songs…Was he the right choice?
I prepared the vocal side and lyrics, I did not have the singer when the recorded instruments were done, and Chandler was exactly the singer I needed to finish the job, his voice is similar to my own, but a million times better performed, so I send him my versions and he nailed the songs perfectly. Maybe one day I will release a limited album with my own vocal versions of the songs.
What distinction is there between Denner’s Inferno and Denner’s Trickbag? Aside from Flemming and yourself the lineup and the name are now different.
Trickbag was a band I formed with old friends just for fun, to play some cover versions of old obscure 70’s heavy rock. To my pleasant surprise a record company offered us a record deal after a live gig we did in Copenhagen, but some members in the band lost it completely and acted like they were superstars, so it became a kindergarden, I folded the Chaos and kept Flemming who is a seasoned pro with over 300 albums as a session player under his belt and created Inferno afterward.
Why the Name Denner’s Inferno?
The moniker Denner’s Inferno was created well over 20 years ago now and kept in my drawer to good use now, it’s a wordplay over the poem Dante’s Inferno from the 14th Century. A man who has to go through hell to gain knowledge and piece of mind.
Are there any plans for a tour?
I have a new booker, and hopefully, we’ll be able to make a full Europe tour late spring 2020, important for me to promote the album and play countries I’ve never played before.
About the setlist, how many songs of “In Amber” will be on it and I must ask you, any song from the Mercyful Fate era?
I will play almost all the songs from “In Amber” and a few songs from my past with Mercyful Fate and Force of Evil era…
Do you follow today’s heavy metal scene? What is your opinion about it?
I follow the new scene closely, I run a Record shop in Copenhagen and do the biggest music trivia in Denmark as a host every month so I need to be updated, there is a lot of talent out there, at the moment I listens to doomy and progressive 70’s inspired bands from Scandinavia, bands like Sorcerer, Magic Pie, Avatarium, Dust, Circus Maximus, Lugnet and Opeth is high on my list these days
Which bands do you think will somehow continue the story of the metal scene?
I like new surprises, when the bands like Ghost, Slipknot, Volbeat, Mastodon, made their debuts with something fresh and different, I made me raise my eyebrow, some of them I quickly lost interest in afterward though, but like I said so much talent out there, let’s see what will be the next big thing.
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