The operatic vocals of Dianne van Giersbergen give Xandria’s new album, Theater of Dimensions, a heavier and darker feel which focusing on themes such as personal relationships and global concerns.
NRR: The new album is heavier and has a darker vibe.
Dianne: Darker is a good expression and lyric wise, is much more serious than what we had maybe in the past years. So both musically and lyric wise it is darker yes.
NRR: For this album it seems there is a theme, a story or concept?
Dianne: We get this question often. It is not a concept album … But it is interesting people kept asking us this. Both Marco and me wrote the lyrics; you can say fifty, fifty.
We both [drew] inspiration from our private lives which is mostly on tour. We see a lot of things; we go through a lot of things; we see things happening in the world [when visiting] different cultures and … the different perspectives people have on today’s societies [and] … the personal emotions how one can react to leaving loved ones at home. For example, going through a break up while on the road and [learning your significant other] at home just left you … that what is the album is about.
NRR: Who came up of the album cover? It shows a coffin holding a body that has not deteriorated, surrounded in contrast by the bones of others.
Dianne: That artwork is done by Stefan Heilemann who also did the artwork for Sacrificium and Neverworld’s End. He is a true wizard to artists when turning ideas into [reality] … he built this entrance to the theater and me floating on this boat [floating] towards the theater. Of course, you can’t see what is behind the curtain. This is … for the listener to discover when they [listen to] the album then [and] hear the different dimensions.
NRR: The album has thirteen songs. How many tracks were written to chose from?
Dianne: I don’t know the exact number but a few had to stay behind but stay behind can also mean they can be used for them or parts of them for a next album because some of these songs could have been part of our Fire and Ashes EP but we decided to keep them and use them for this album.
NRR: Let’s talk about some of the songs on album starting with “We Are Murders (We All).”
Dianne: This lyrics for this one was written by Marco Heubaum (Guitar) I guess this is him expressing his concern about where humanity is going and in the lyric he expresses we are demolishing the world with the path we are now on and saying we are not pointing fingers saying you and you but it’s us all and we want to have a future for our children and must stop and recognize what we are doing. I guess going in a different direction sound wise and we try to draw some attention to the subject.
NRR: And the first video “Call Of Destiny” where was that filmed and how did you like wearing the armor?
Dianne: It was filmed at Berlin with AVA-Productions who also did out “Nightfall” video. I really love wearing the armor though I must say it was terribly cold, It was minus five the day filmed and we were outside most of the time and at the end of the day I couldn’t feel my hands or my feet anymore. I think the images are awesome and glad we really did it.
The lyrics are written by me and an answer by the many fans how I did it now singing in heavy metal band and train my voice the way I did. The lyrics are an open advice that if you want to get somewhere to study, to be focus and stay focus and to motivate yourself even in the toughest time. Nothing will come easy and you really have to work for it and keep believing in yourself.
NRR: That’s true. The songs “Ship Of Doom” and the “Ceilí” which has the Celtic influence arraignment?
Dianne: Yeah, yeah this a in between song we also will play live because the songs are really heavy vocally and this will give me some rest in between and catch a breath and be all happy (Laughter) for the next song again. The folk influences are part of the Xandria history was very clear to us we had to some folk influences and at the beginning of “Forsaken Love” you can really here the Celtic Instruments.
NRR: And for “Song For Sorrow and Woe” and “Death To The Holy”?
Dianne: “Song For Sorrow and Woe” lyrics are by me, is a coming together song for people and I am the other way around to come together and not shared hatred. To share love and compassion and I truly believe that. The lyrics are from Marco and I think it is about people going overboard about their beliefs and also could be and throwing it out there on veganism. That society being controlled by strong beliefs that you don’t have the strength anymore to open your own eyes and make your own opinion and somehow it is related to “We Are Murders (We All)” and you can recognize Marco’s writing style in topics like this.
NRR: So the Death and Destruction is Marco and the more happy and loving side is you.
Dianne: (Laughter) It’s not the loving side, it’s the outer world so I know everything with world perspectives or where humanity is going, that is much more Marco and I’m much more writing personal issues.
NRR: So “Queen of Hearts Reborn” were written you?
Dianne: (Laughter) Yeah, very true and of course this is about a break up in this song. I am basically saying you tried to bring me down but failed.
NRR: “Dark Night Of The Soul” written by Marco?
Dianne: No, that was written by me.
NRR: Oh a trick answer.
Dianne: (Laughter) It’s a very recognizable emotion at that moment when you feel really alone for example at evening when most of the emotions hit you and we all long back to being young again and calling our parents and of them will come to comfort you.
NRR: What are the plans for shows this year?
Dianne: We have two shows at Germany next weekend and after that we travel to Florida for the 70,000 Tons Of Metal Cruise .
NRR: And as of now that is the only U.S. show and planning for shows for the U.S. this year or next year?
Dianne: Yes, we are certainly looking to come to U. S. and were there two years ago already so defiantly were hoping for returning. We have to look into our personal schedules and combine 5 calendars and there are some band members who still have bosses they have to answer too.
NRR: Is the orchestration and the choir, were musicians brought in or done on a synthesizer?
Dianne: Both, we used a lot of live instruments on this album for example; violin, cello, a lot flutes, a lot of Celtic Instruments, Those were all real and if you look in the booklet and soon on the home page of our site you will find all the names of the musicians. Also the choir, that were based at Amsterdam that we worked with on Sacrificium. All arrangements and keyboards composed and recorded by producer and co-writer Marco Heubaum and myself.
NRR: It was great talking to you today.
Dianne: Likewise and hopefully we see each other at the U.S.