About Me

Interview with Lords of Black

The Madrilenian Lords of Black were born in 2014 and, since then, have been gaining more and more recognition outside Spain. The band's 5th album, Alchemy of Souls Part II is the second part of a work that definitely puts them in the Olympus of European heavy metal. It is an heavy, dark, powerful record, but also melodic and progressive, sometimes reminiscent of the Master of Puppets álbum (obvious influence of the band).
The fact that their singer also belongs to Rainbow (yes, Richie Blackmore's band, ex-Deep Purple), puts Lords of Black even more in the spotlight.
Tony Hernando, founder, songwriter and guitarist, was kind enough to answer our questions.

M.I. – Hi! How are you? Thanks for answering our questions! And congrats on the new album. Rock-solid drums and bass, crushing guitars, awesome vocals… This album is preparing to become a classic!

Thank you! We're very pleased on how the album is being received, but we have always had incredible receptions to all our albums!

M.I.- A brief introduction… How did you come together and how did your interest in heavy metal appear?

Long story short would be a little kid with an unstoppable love and passion for music and the guitar in particular who started with Classical Music and later on with Rock, Fusion, etc... But I guess guitar-oriented music, especially Rock and Metal is deep in my heart.

M.I.- This work is a clear successor to the previous one, but heavier and darker. Did it have to do with the most recent events in the world, mainly the pandemic?

You bet! Obviously, the times we're living in are dramatic in terms not only of health-med issues but because of the policies of fear, control, censorship etc... Crazy times for sure, and I just tried to speak out in these lyrics about my thoughts, beliefs, questions unsolved, fears, etc...

M.I.- Despite the darker tone, you believe that there is still salvation for humanity. You really think that we will overcome all the big issues of today – intolerance, xenophobia and racism (often from the big political and social decision makers), climate change, local war conflicts (which can extend more globally), etc?

No matter how dark we can go sometimes in our music and lyrics, we always put a clear message of faith and true conviction on the light and good defeating the dark and evil. We may sound dark sometimes, but not in a depressing way that some other bands have done, I don't like that. The message has to be crystal clear on what is light and what is darkness and evil and we do choose our side into the light. I really hope the overcome will be good and freedom and justice will reign, but we have gone too far this time allowing to be ruled and cheated by so many deceivers... And most of those issues you mention are created with intention by politicians so we all can be against each other and distracted while totalitarian policies are applied. This album is kind of a wakeup call message and everything we do in our daily basis will determine the outcome.  

M.I.- Still on that note… Living in a digital world, where social networks reign, fake news, content without substance, vanity and egos proliferate, where most young people give more importance to TikTok videos and YouTube “influencers”… 
It may be up to other actors – musicians, for example – to draw attention to and raise awareness of issues that are really worth discussing…

Of course I think we the artists have a responsibility of giving not only art for entertaining purposes, but with a good value, something to give hope, to provoke thinking, enthusiasm, to celebrate humanity... Yet, is so sad to see how such a potentially great thing like internet and socials are ending up serving so nihilist and empty purposes, that, along the growing technology are definitely the road to dehumanization and who knows what's next, but looks pretty much like any of those dystopian futures...Like in the novels "1984" or "Brave New World".

M.I.- Back to Alchemy of Souls Part II (and … Part I)... Were the songs all written at the same time and thinking of a “double-album”? Parts “..I” and “…II” are not concept albums. But they have a common theme behind them. What do you want to say with these two albums?

Nope, we always start from scratch on every album. The first part discusses the duality and eternal fight between good and evil, light and darkness more in a personal way, in a more individual struggling searching for the answers in life, while this second part that topic is scaled up to a global context due to the times we're living in. Now in this album the battleground between good and evil is at global-world-civilizations scale, you know? 

M.I.- Taking something very common in the world of cinema… “The sequels are rarely as good as the first ones”. But I think this album is a step above the latter.
How did you choose the songs? Did you deliberately set aside some of them so that you could improve and release them later because you thought that “something was missing there”?

Thank you! That's what I personally think, but I know there will be people that will prefer this one over the previous one and vice versa...And that's fine! the whole point for us is doing different albums and while sounding like US, offering different sides, different details and I think this part takes further what is being present in the first part and both together complement each other very well... A personal example: when I was a kid I preferred Helloween's Keeper I, while my friends preferred Part II...We never agreed, but that's all cool and natural!
Regarding how we choose the songs... Pretty much the songs become alive and you notice what feels better or right... Although we always try to put as many varied stuff as we can, so we try to cover many styles and grounds...With Lords Of Black you can find from a Thrashy tune like "No Hero Is Homeless" to a ballad with just piano and vocals, you know?

M.I.- Are there still unfinished songs? Can we expect an Alchemy of Souls Part III? A trilogy would be awesome.

Well, sorry to say there will be no third part...I felt it was just right a Saga of two albums...

M.I.- There is a clear influence from the great classic metal albums of the 80's (Metallica, Iron Maiden…). But is there any influence taken from newer bands? What are the today’s bands that you listen the most and eventually get some ideas?

I'd say that we are a modern metal band in our approach on the sound, instrumentation and production, but if you pay attention closely you'd see that our heart belongs to classic bands like Queen, Thin Lizzy, Dio...all those classic bands.. Of course Metallica...I'd say early Metallica was huge for me and Master Of Puppets is probably the ultimate metal album ever, so our influences are very wide and open and we love to somehow carry on with the flame of all those classic bands...That's also we like to add some bonus tracks covering Queen, Dio, Rainbow… Or in this occasion Uriah Heep.
Regarding new bands I don't know...I'm not really into any of them, but I love Avatar, Volbeat...

M.I- Anyone who doesn't know you will never say you are a Spanish band, such is the mastery of writing in English, the proximity to the “typical” sound of Anglo-Saxon heavy metal and the phenomenal voice of Ronnie who could very well be a 
contemporary of Bruce Dickinson, Dio, Rob Halford and many other legends. How do you achieve that?

From the get go when Ronnie and I started this band we simply knew we were going to do our best to try to get there in the international scene and letting the music do the talk, and I think we are achieving recognition and respect, since all our albums are highly considered, so we are very proud and happy for that and we'll always try to outdo ourselves, that's for sure.

M.I.- When can we expect the next album?

Well, let this one sync in a bit! Ahaha. I don't know when, but sure I do know that will be our best yet!

M.I.- Ronnie's participation in Rainbow inevitably brought more recognition to Lords Of Black. Has the pressure to do better also grow because of this?

Not really, we do what we do in the first place to please ourselves and now with our growing fan base to please them and give them our best as well. Of course, Ronnie joining Ritchie Blackmore for his latest reincarnation of Rainbow was a big thing for Ronnie and for us, but I'm happy to know that people love both things: the fact that Ronnie was fronting Rainbow and the fact that there's this new cool band named Lords Of Black, you know?

M.I.- Are the various band members involved in other projects?

Well, we all are kind of busy and active in projects here and there, but I'd say we'd like to take this further as a band, but obviously the things are quite different and difficult now for musicians, so we get involved in several things in order to be able to make a living.

M.I.- You've already opened for big names – Gotthard, Helloween, Judas Priest, Ozzy… Did you have the opportunity to hang with them? How is it to meet our idols? Any funny stories that happened with them?

Normally yes, we always have a moment to have a nice chat and share experiences or talk about anything! All those bands are great as professionals and as persons and all of them treated us incredibly well, I remember having a few deep conversations with some of them and it was very cool.

M.I.- Do you have any planned tours? Will you pass through Portugal?

Let's see how looks 2022 and we'll start preparing some show, right now the situation is not quite right yet as you can see a lot of cancelations and schedule changes and we want to do things right whenever that's realistic.

M.I. Almost finishing… Any last words for our readers?

I hope you are all safe and healthy and I hope you get to listen "Alchemy of Souls" and enjoy it!

M.I.- Thank you for answering our questions. Keep evolving your music and releasing spectacular albums like the last. I hope to see you soon on stage and in Portugal!

We'd love to play Portugal! All the best!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Ivan Santos