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They have been away for a long time, but we are glad to announce their return to the scene accompanied with a brand new record. So we gladly sended some questions over to the Nocturnal Rites headquarters. Nils Eriksson gladly provided us with the answers!

Written by Nico


Greetings and welcome back! It's been a long time! 

Thank you! Yes, it's has indeed been a long time, actually way, way too long of you ask me. 

If I am not mistaken, it was around 2007 you guys silently went into hiatus, what happened or caused this?

We've always done albums back to back pretty much since we released our first one in 1995. You know, album, tour, album, tour - we never really stopped at any point. Fredrik and I would spend pretty much every night in the studio working on songs and ideas to make sure the ball was rolling. When we stopped touring for "The 8th Sin", I was having my second kid and Fredrik's first was on its way, so we simply said that we wouldn't make any definitive plans for when the album needed to be done. Unfortunately, with no deadlines and more responsibilities on the private end of things, things sometimes tend to take more time than expected. Also, our guitarist decided leave and we didn't have a complete line-up around that time. We found a new guitar player in Christoffer Rörland, who later went on to join Sabaton. It took some time to find a suitable replacement. Luckily, we didn't stop wiring songs and we knew all along that we'd finish the record at some point.

When did the 'holy fire' started to burn again? Or where you guys never really away, and decided to keep it at a slower pace?

We never went away, really. I think a lot of fans thought we broke up and that we'd never be back. But we kept silent as opposed to giving people false impressions of when we'd have a new album out. This way, it was so much more fun when we were finally back. It was pretty shocking to some, judging from the warm welcome. I think the missing piece of the puzzle was when Per joined the band. When he did, we had a complete line-up and after that, recording the songs that were largely written was quite quick, really.

I'm very happy you decided to kinda keep it with the heavier sound you introduced with "Afterlife", but still with that Nocturnal Rites melodic touch!

Thanks! We never really contemplated how the songs sounded or in which direction we wanted to take them, we just wrote like we always do. I don't think we could ever do anything that didn't sound like us. What we did focus on, though, was to make as a diverse album as we could. We wrote a record as opposed to writing songs. 

Did the time off gave you guys the necessary time to recharge?

I don't think we necessarily needed to recharge, we just needed to switch gears. We were all a little beat after having done nine eight albums back to back and we just needed some perspective. Sometimes, it's difficult to fully appreciate the amazing gift of being able to travel around the world and write music that reaches all corners of the globe. I'm so happy that we're back and that we get to do this journey again. It's not something we take for granted.

On "Phoenix" we welcome a new member Per Nilsson, who replaces Chris, did he have much input on the new record?

We had written most of the material when he joined. He does add a very unique flair with his lead work, though. He has a unique style and adds a completely new flavor to our sound. It fits right in and feels 100% right, and it seems like the fans are welcoming him with open arms. Per is truly a genius guitar player. 

Really love the artwork, it's something totally new and different for you guys, but it looks great and fits the title! This will make a killer shirt ;-)

Yes! I thought the exact same thing when I first saw the finished piece. I think it turned out great and fit perfectly to the mood of the album and the title. We wanted the image to convey rebirth of some sort and still have some hints of the lyrical themes on the album. The title is also a play with words. The IX at the end is obviously the roman numerals for the figure nine. Very fitting seeing as this is our ninth album. So, the title and cover really encapsulate the record in a great way. Claudio Bergamin did the art, and the whole process was pretty painless. We're pretty picky as far as details, but Claudio is an amazing artist that really took to heart what we envisioned. He sent some rough sketches that we offered our feedback on, and on top of that we had a couple of Skype calls. From idea to finished art didn't take longer than a few weeks. For the title, we wanted a more rustic and organic feel to it rather than a computer font. Fredrik drew the letters by hand. 

Your comeback is also through a new label, AFM records! Did you want to try something else?

We wanted to start from a clean slate when we had been away for close to ten years, so we went with a new record label. I honestly don't think there is a better fit for us that AFM. They have a great understanding for melodic metal and have an awesome roster of bands.

You know these days the scene changes a lot, and the absence of 10 years will also mean you'll kinda might have to reconquer your place! Or are you guys more than ready and hungry for this?

Actually, I was a little surprised by the overwhelmingly warm welcome back we got from the metal community. It was like we'd never been away. I think we're going to have a lot of fun with this album and judging from the initial reactions, the fans will be along for the ride. 

I also assume you guys are more than greedy to get back to the stages? Are the plans to come out again? Will that be for early next year or..???

Yes, of course! This is one of the main reasons why we do what we do. The ultimate reward for all the hard work you invest in writing and recording an album is going to places all over the world and seeing people sing along to the tunes. There really is no better and more fulfilling experience. We love the studio and the creative process, but there is nothing more direct than taking it to the stage. So hope to see all of you soon. Noc' em all!



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