Ad Infinitum / Niklas Müller talks about revisiting the impressive Chapter I

With the release of their debut album ‘Chapter I’ earlier in the year, Ad Infinitum forced their way into the global consciousness of Power and Symphonic Metal fans worldwide. This fantastic album has now been revisited and re-imagined into an acoustic piece of pure gold.

Ad Infinitum – Chapter I Revisited (Napalm Records)

Release Date – 4 December 2020

Words: Steve Ritchie

The full electric album is a fascinating mix of ten wonderful tracks, showcasing one of the best releases in Power and Symphonic Metal of 2020.

With infectious melodies from Melissa Bonny and backed by the totally solid trio of Adrian Theßenvitz (guitars), Jonas Asplind (bass) and Niklas Müller (drums), tracks such as ‘See You In Hell’, ‘Fire And Ice’ and ‘Marching On Versailles’ have seen the bands reputation grow immeasurably, with the latter of these tracks gathering over 1.3 million views on YouTube alone.

The band have revisited the entire album and have just released an acoustic version titled ‘Chapter I Revisited’.

Resisting the temptation to just “un-plug the cables” they have revised the songs and we now have a fascinatingly unique and beautiful listen.

With Spanish flamenco and oriental influences often appearing, tracks such as ‘Infected Monarchy’, ‘I Am The Storm’ and ‘Live Before You Die’ take on a new life and the album makes for an engaging and engrossing listen.

MetalTalk spoke with drummer Niklas Müller to find out more about Ad Infinitum and history behind the two versions of ‘Chapter I’.

From the opening of Infected Monarchy on “Chapter I: Monarchy” (the original version), with its spine tingling strings, all the way through to the closing bars of ’Tell Me Why’, the album is a great journey of listening with emotion. You must be over the moon how the album turned out?

“We are pretty happy with the result, though it was quite some work and a long journey starting from the first ideas to finally holding the record in our hands. But every part of the process of making the album was an amazing experience and we are really looking forward for the next one.”

The original concept was to make an EP which sounded “100% Melissa Bonny”. Can you talk about when she first had this idea?

“Melissa first wanted to make an unambitious release with songs she created from A to Z. After spending a lot of time and energy and loving these songs more and more, she realized she really wanted to play them songs live on stage and turn this project into a real band.”

All the ideas for songs on the album were Melissa’s?

“Not all of them, we all took part in the writing process and also brought in own song ideas, in my case it was ‘Marching on Versailles’ and ‘Demons’.”

Photo of Niklas Müller, from Ad Infinitum
Niklas Müller, Ad Infinitum. Photo: Claudia Chiodi

As the project progressed, I believe it grew more and more, until it became a band and a full album? Can you talk about the collaborations to make the finished album?

“Well after Adrian, Jonas and I joined the band, we had our first meeting at our album promo photoshoot in Madrid. After that, the songwriting continued and we worked together with producer Oliver Philipps, who did an amazing job with Chapter I.

“After finishing the writing process, Adrian and Jonas recorded Guitars and Bass in their Homestudio, Melissa recorded her Vocals at Olivers Studio and I recorded Drums at LFM Productions in Germany.

“That might be an uncommon way, but for us it worked. Then we went for Jacob Hansen for mixing and mastering, who did an incredible job as well.”

Can you talk about why you decided to go the crowdfunding route?

“When we decided to go for a more ambitious release than originally planned, the success of the crowdfunding was crucial in order to continue the production. We simply would not have had the budget for this album without the people who believe in us.”

I participated in the WeMakeIt crowdfunding for the album. The Treasure of the Huntsman level, with the great wooden box (which my wife took!) I saw that 69 of those were taken. In total 142% of your total was reached. How pleased were you with the response of people backing your project?

“It was absolutely amazing to see how many people want this project to be realised and how many people have your back to make something happen you believe in.

“I am happy you have the box, i hope you like it. It was quite some work 😉”

I think that the album has been very well received by the public. Its Heavy, with some great Power and Symphonic moments, but most of all the wonderful melodic vocals, melodies and harmonies weave this fantastic layer over the top. That must be very fulfilling and rewarding for all the efforts everyone has put into the project…..

“Thank you! Yes it is.. Normally you get this feeling of acceptance live when you see people reacting to your music. Well, not for us this time, so we have to stick to reading comments and reviews to see what people think about our music.

“But we are very happy that many people like the first album and it is fulfilling, you are right 😉”

Melissa Bonney, Ad Infinitum. Photo: Claudia Chiodi
Melissa Bonney, Ad Infinitum. Photo: Claudia Chiodi

But on the other hand it puts quite some pressure on you asking “can you deliver on the standard you set right now with Chapter I?”

“I think we can! 😊”

Who had the idea for the acoustic version of the album?

“Adrian already thought of acoustic versions of one or two songs for the deluxe verion of Chapter I, we recorded ‘Tell Me Why’ and ‘See You In Hell’ acoustic and released them on the deluxe verion of the record.

“Since we already liked these versions with just Adrians acoustic guitar and Melissas Voice a lot, the decision to make an acoustic full length album was very easy to make.”

I’ve love the acoustic opening to ‘Infected Monarchy’. It, once again, set the scene well. How much did you get involved with the new arrangements?

“Adrian started to rearrange the guitars and this was actually the central point. It is not like we just wanted to “un-plug” the cable and play nearly the exact same things in an acoustic version, we wanted to make a complete new version of the songs.

“This led to a mixture of vibes of Spanish flamenco and oriental influences.

“So, based on Adrians new guitar arrangement I arranged, chose and recorded the percussion instruments. For me it was also pretty clear that it can not be “just the cajon” and that’s it.”

I guess that the fact your tours were COVID-19 cancelled, led to the idea for the acoustic album?

“Not in the first place, this led to the release of the recorded show. But in the end i guess without the COVID-19 Pandemic, the acoustic album would not have been released this fast!”

Niklas Müller, Ad Infinitum. Photo: Claudia Chiodi
Niklas Müller, Ad Infinitum. Photo: Claudia Chiodi

We think the songs work really well with the new acoustic arrangements. With touring dead for some time to come, do you think a acoustic live stream might be an option? Would you be in a position to do that?

“I am happy you like the acoustic songs 😊 maybe this will happen, we have not scheduled it yet. Though i like the idea. Right now in the first place we are focussing on writing Chapter II.”

How is everyone in the team coping with the limited opportunities, due to COVID-19? How much of Chapter II written already?

“We hope that this pandemic might end soon, but for sure it is hard for a band with the members living in three different countries. When it comes to songwriting we send our ideas to each other and in this way working on it “together”. I guess this is the best way to do it in our situation.”

Good luck with this project. We send our best wishes and we can not wait to see you all out on tour supporting this wonderful album, hopefully in 2021!

“Thank you, lots! We can not wait to finally go out on tour and play these songs live for you guys. Stay healthy!”

Sleeve Notes

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