Heaven Shall Burn are cool enough for Nietzsche

HEAVEN SHALL BURN, the German modern-metal masterminds, visited Romania for the second time with the occasion of „Rock The City” Festival, the event that also hosted their previous performance.

Maximum Rock Magazine could not miss the opportunity to speak with one of the most promising European bands and went backstage where we met Maik Weichert, lead-guitarist for the metalheads.

Friendly, open, polite and with a good sense of humor, the musician answered all our questions regarding the new record, „Veto” and some other issues like Wagner being an asshole, Nietzsche’s love of metal and existential changes.

Read the outcome below.

Special thanks to Maik for making this interview possible.


This is your second time in Romania and, since last year, you have a new album out, called „Veto”. Do you ever just sit back and analyze how things change from one year to the other, make plans and stuff?
Well, first off, we’re back here because we liked it a lot last time. We found nice people here, nice organizers, nice fans…these are the main reasons why we returned. But honestly…we never analyze stuff that much. If something is shitty, then everyone knows it and we don’t talk about it anymore. There’s no big masterplan. We’re just drifting and picking the cherries. So far, Bucharest has always been a cherry for us. Sometimes we do sit down and discuss things, but we never „review” them. We’re not control freaks. I think that takes something away from the music. It’s connected to the business aspect and we still see music as a huge hobby. All of us do other things aside from music. For insance, I’m a lawyer, which means we don’t fill our fridge with music; it’s just extra money we get and spend on silly things! We’re really easy-going, and this easy-going attitude is a good formula. It’s brought us a lot of luck. I think that when you don’t have expectations, just hopes, many things just come to you. Good fortune has always been on our side. 

Your new album, „Veto”, seems to tackle things from a different thematic direction. For instance, you seem to talk more about spiritual issues than social ones. Is that an accurate impression?
I think that there is still a strong social element in our lyrics but nowadays they are more mature because we grew up a lot. When you’re 18, you think you know how the world works. Everything is very pure. But when you reach your 30ies, you realize that you’ve made compromises, that things aren’t all that easy. Sometimes you hate yourself for your choices. You also realize that you have to integrate into society because you can’t live in a hut in the woods. Nowadays we speak more about these compromises, we analyze things more. Everything is not as straight to the point as it used to be. We acknowledge that there are more points of view and we don’t scream out our anger anymore…we discuss it. In the past, if there was a social problem, we wrote a song about that social problem. Now we write about the cause, and that’s how, sometimes, we get to spirituality, to religion.

You have a strong preference for Nietzsche. Have you ever received criticism for your use of his vision?
Truth is that there are not many people who are willing to discuss about Nietzsche because he is very complex. And there are even less people like this in metal. There are things that everyone knows about Nietzsche, like, for instance, the „God is dead” quote. That sentence is completely taken out of context and it means something very different than what the people think it does. Besides, he is my neighbor. He used to live just 500 meters away from my current lodging. He is from our area in Germany. Nietzsche is a really underrated and misunderstood philosopher and his reputation has been tarnished by the Nazis, who used him for all the wrong purposes and who basically abused and misconstrued him. 

Do you agree that his sister is mainly to be blamed for this?
A lot of the late stuff was actually never published by Nietzsche himself, but compiled and modified by her, so as to suit her purposes. You have to watch out what you read about him. He had a lot of interesting approaches that are worth discovering. 

Do you think he’d listen to Heaven Shall Burn, or to metal, if he were contemporary?
I think that we are a bit too commercial for him (laughs). Maybe he would have listened to us in the beginning. You know, he loved Wagner, who wrote some of the sickest, most wild music you could listen to back in the day. Then he eneded up hating Wagner and they became enemies. Wagner was an asshole. I hope he would indeed listen to us, but maybe he’d go for something different. I think, though, that we are cool enough for Nietzsche.

Foto: Diana Grigoriu

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