ONCE UPON A TIME
…a differint way to tell the tale of a band. Let us ask ourselves: How did it really happen? How did the band get to this prestigious stage? Where are the crucial turning points that brought the band to the momentary position? Knowing the answers to the questions isn´t the equivalent of knowing the band history: It rather means diving into the music to reach a deeper identification in the recognition of musical personalities and their development in music.
How did it happen for Crematory. How did the band develop to that what they are today – Germanys foremost later the line-up was completed: Singer Felix and bassist Marc joined the formation and a year later their first and only demo tape saw the light of day. The tape had formidable response with the press and especially the fans. Not only did the tape sell considerably well in Germany but found a huge acceptance abroad showing in worldwide sales of 1500. The first contacts to record labels were made at this time.
Several concerts in all of Germany were completed where keyboard player Katrin, only a guest musician on their legendary demo tape, was integrated more and more and finally became a fullblown member of Crematory.
November 1992 saw the contract signing with Massacre Records. The first dream of every band, the record deal, was fulfilled.
Highly motivated, Crematory started the recording of their debut album „Transmigration“ in January of 1993 with their new bassist Heinz in the Commusication Studios with the release date set for May 1993. The debut was received very well: one month after release it established itself in the readers charts of various magazines. The thriving sales and positive reactions secured them the support role on the My Dying Bride tour of November 1993. A noteworthy achievement for a newcomerband ! Before the tour in September of 1993 Heinz was replaced by an old friend, Harald, with whom they had already played together in the past.
In January 1994, Crematory started the recording sessions for their follow-up „…just dreaming“. Crematory had found their „ruche“ at this point.“…just dreaming“ was released in May 1994 and showed Crematory with their first musical highpoint.
Especially „Shadows of mine“ with its German refrain became a huge hit ! This album also established itself over a longer period in readers charts and it started to show that Crematory had a huge fanbase with an overt love affection for the band.
„Shadows of mine“ and „In my hands“ had accompanying videos in March of 1994 with rotation on both MTV and VIVA. Between April and September of 1994 Crematory played several clubgigs with support roles for nameacts like Tiamat and Atrocity highlighting this period.
The breakthrough came with the third album „Illusions“, once again recorded in Commusication Studios in June 1995 and brewing up a storm before its official release in September. Expectations were very high after the first two albums, this anticipation was exceeded by a long way: Crematory succeeded in finding a new hit with „Tears of time“. A lavish video was recorded for the song in August 1995 finding huge approval amongst TV stations. Immediately after the release of „Illusions“ diverse interviews and reviews as well as the entrance of several magazine charts revealed how great the third Crematory release was accepted, not only by the fans. Several concerts and festivals ensued.
The success story of the band to date wasn´t a reason to rest upon their laurels. December 1995 saw the return to the studio to begin recording for a new album. But this time under a different sign. The firm intention of the band to constantly change and develop itself not only culminated in the music but the lyrics as well. A new album simply titled „Crematory“ with its lyrics written and sung in German was released in May 1996. The best sales to date heaved Crematory to headlinerstatus like at the Out of the dark festivals in March 1996. The album went straight into the charts despite all the bad press it received. The contract with Massacre Records was fulfilled with the release of the album.
Live recordings were filmed at the Out of the dark festivals for release on video as was the promo video for „Ist es wahr“.
Various concerts were played on this festival tour for example in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium
At the end fo the festival, which had Moonspell and the Gathering as support, Crematory found that some of the DAT recordings they had made over several concerts were in excellent sound qualitiy. Thereupon they visited Commusication studios and mastered and cut the recordings with their producer Gerhard Magin to finalise their fist live album. Before signing with a new label, Crematory founded their own label (CRC- Crematory´ s Record Company) and released the CD in conjunction with a live video. After their contract fulfilment with Massacre Records and the set up of their own company
Crematory found a competent partner in Nuclear Blast who, with the release fo „Awake“, would bring Crematory to unknown heights.
The band delivered a brilliant piece of melodic Gothic – Metal after their legendary predecessors. „Awake“ went straight into the German album charts at N.54.
For the first time in band history they had recorded a cover version with the Sisters of Mercy´s „Temple of love“. The song established itself in the clubscene and was destined to be a hit. Crematory confirmed their status with the fans and press alike that they belonged to the leading Gothic-Metal acts around.
A headlinertour in 3 blocks through all of Europe compromising festivals and open airs followed.
On their ninth album “Believe” that was released in September 2000, Crematory built themselves a monument. The musical progress that started on ”Act 7” was clearly audible. Hardness, melody and accessibility were the elements that Crematory used in better ways than ever. This resulted in smash-hits like ”The Fallen” that ruled the dance floors.
Not only by means of his guitar, but also with his vocal talent, Matthias who took over singing the clean vocals on ”Believe” , knew extremely well how to use it. The big picture of the album was completed by the excellent production.
Accompanying the single ”The Fallen”, a very professional Video was produced; sadly it only got a very limited and short rotation on TV.
Nevertheless, the faithfulness and belief of the Crematory fans again was the force behind the album ”Believe” climbing up to Number 34 on the German album charts. This even surpassed the already great chart success of the previous album ”Act Seven”.
In February of 2001 the 10th anniversary of the band was celebrated by doing an extensive tour for ”Believe” that included all of the old hits .
The probably hardest decision for the band came at the end of the Anniversary Tour. For health, financial and personal reasons, the band decided to say goodbye to the life on the road and the stage.
As a thank you to the fans it was decided to still play 10 carefully chosen concerts throughout the summer. Of course the concert at Wacken was one of the highlights. Crematory was frenetically celebrated and lots of tears were wept because everyone knew that it all would be over now and it was ”Time for Tears”.
At the end of July the time came. ”Remind” was the title of the 10th and final release of a band that has become Europe’s leading Gothic metal band over the last 10 years. The recordings for this CD were done on the anniversary tour that took place in February 2001. Crematory not only was able to transmit the sensational atmosphere of a live concert on CD including all the hits but also allowed us a very intimate look in their complete band history on the accompanying VHS or DVD. Included are all videos as well as loads of backstage and studio footage in vision and sound.
A comeback was never planned and nevertheless the unexpected happened in August 2002. Nuclear Blast got in touch with CREMATORY and asked whether the band would like to contribute a song for the Metallica tribute album „The Four Horseman“ .This was considered a good thing and a new challenge on for the band to simply go into the studio just for fun and make music again, and thus CREMATORY covered the song „One“ by the largest metal band in the world , Metallica, who had a substantial influence on all band members in the past.
The coverversion received sensational feedback from the fans and the press alike because nobody expected to hear from CREMATORY in this form. With the release of the tribute album the matter was finished for the band, till one day in January 2003, something absolutely unexpected happened. A telephone call from the Nuclear Blast boss, asking the band to please record a regular CREMATORY album again.
After a first refusal followed by a good deal of thought, as well as some concessions on part of Nuclear Blast , CREMATORY were convinced to tackle a comeback.
In January 2003 the band began, whenever time and desire were abundant, with the writing of new songs. This was a stipulation of CREMATORY towards Nuclear Blast. To not have to release an album almost annually and go on tour to promote the disc. CREMATORY would like to carry on as a hobby and merely make music when time and a longing are at hand. The band realised that something very important was missing in their lives during their 3 years hiatus .
The recording for the new album „Revolution“ began completely different than in the past during October 2003, in a small but very finely equipped studio in the „Kohlekeller Tonstudio“ which lies in the heart of the Odenwald and is operated by a good friend of the band. CREMATORY have taken production into their own hands with help from arranger Kristian „Kohle“ Kohlmannslehner.
In the midst of the recording and a few days after the new video clip to „Greed“ was shot, the studio visit was interrupted due to the premature birth of Katrin’s and Markus daughter Janina. Thus the originally planned release date of 01.03.2004 for the album could not be kept.
Since more than half of the album was finished, the band decided to pre-release the single „Greed“ with the pertinent video and the maxi-version as well as the coverversion of „One“ and a new ballad with the title „Farewell Letter“ on the original album date.
„Greed“ was not only announced as being a hit-single, it rather quickly became one in reality. This was the first time in the bands history that CREMATORY was able to get a record in the German top 100 single charts. *Greed* reached Number 86, and that was proof that fans have been missing CREMATORY and the band was still top of the bill.
Then on 03.05.04 the day finally came. Germany’s leading Gothic-Metal band released their comeback-album. “Revolution” was not only the title of this album, but the songs on the album were themselves revolutionary. This was the first time in the band’s history that the keyboards were programmed with strong elements of Dance-Trance and EBM. What seemed a very bold move at the beginning soon turned out to be exactly the right thing to do. With this new and fresh sound CREMATORY gained a lot of new fans and achieved a high level of well deserved respect with hits songs like „Greed“ and „Tick Tack“, the latter even serving as a soundtrack in the movie „Con Game“.
A lot of concerts were played throughout Europe. A considerable amount of concerts were played in Greece and Russia, both countries that have never before had any interest in the band. So the goal of gaining new fans was achieved and the band enjoyed playing as many and as successful gigs.
During the whole tour and the special comeback-shows for the album „Revolution“ cameras were brought along and used extensively. Also, the official comeback-concert on the Wave-Gothic-Meeting 2005 in Germany, was filmed with 10 cameras and was recorded separately for audio.
Crematory wanted to let all their fans witness the impressive worldwide reception of the tour, and decided to release a DVD/CD package containing a live documentary and live footage in September of 2005 on CRC, the bands own record label. The overwhelmingly good number of sold units of the live documentary called *Liverevolution* again proved that the fans hadn’t lost interest in the Band at all, but the contrary was the case. CREMATORY are more popular and bigger than ever before. CREMATORY were and still are Germany’s No.1 Gothic Metal Band.
In January 2005 CREMATORY began writing new songs, which in the beginning turned out to be harder than expected. To follow up the sensational comeback album the bar had to be set even higher and the band had come up with something very special.
Announced as a surprise and with sensational success , the German language album *Klagebilder* was released worldwide thorough Massacre Records. The album entered the German album charts at 66 and brought a lot of new fans on board who contributed to further expand their standing and confirmed that not only are they Germanys leading Gothic Metal Band, but they belong to the first class of Gothic Metal Bands worldwide.
CREMATORY once again produced with Kristian *Kohle”* Kohlmannslehner in the Kohlekeller Studios in the Odenwald, who had already produced the sensational comeback album *Revolution* with the band.
Hits like *Kein Liebeslied*, *Höllenbrand* und *Kaltes Feuer* quickly turned out to be floor fillers in the clubs and are an essential part of the bands set list since they were released.
With an expansive European tour in the fall of 2006 *Klagebilder* was presented live to the fans and they celebrated together.
CREMATORY have started to write new songs in February 2007 and the new studio album with the title *Pray* is set for a 01.02.2008 release.
„Gothic Metal“ and „back to the roots“ were the catchwords targeting the new album-production with the title „PRAY“ – and once more they were fulfilled to the max.
On the musical scale CREMATORY are burning down indescribable fireworks of „earwig-hits“, with fat guitarriffings being even more aggressive and intense compared to the past.
Lyrically – on the vocal side – darkness dominates „PRAY“ again. Going back to english lyrics, the vocalsplitting between Felix and Matthias, the clash of extremes in deepness and cleanliness, has been maintained.
The Keyboardsounds got a massive facelifting as well. CREMATORY didn’t only dig out the earthy sounds of the good old days, but even upgrated them with orchestral arrangements.
A way far beyond Technosamples and digital sounds – back to the darkness of the past, with huge stringarrangements and choirs that guarantee neverending gooseflesh attacks.
The production again was taken care of CREMATORY themselves in the Kohlekeller Studios with the assistance of producer Christian „Kohle“ Kohlmannslehner being the bands’ long time companion since „Revolution“ and „Klagebilder“. A dynamic and massive sound of international standard is guaranteed!
The german tour under the motto „PRAY OVER GERMANY“ starts in May 2008. In the summer the band will play some festivals all over europe and a tour in various, selected countries will follow during autumn and winter 2008.
CREMATORY hatten im Februar 2007 mit dem Schreiben neuer Songs für das am 01.02.2008 erscheinende neue Studioalbum mit dem Titel „Pray“ begonnen.
„Gothic Metal“ und „Back To The Roots“ waren die Schlagworte, die als Zielvorgabe zur neuen Albumproduktion mit dem Titel „PRAY“ dienten und die einmal mehr konsequent und bravourös umgesetzt wurden.
Rein musikalisch brennen CREMATORY ein unbeschreibliches Feuerwerk aus gewohnt eingängigen Ohrwurm-Drillbohrern, gepaart mit fetten Gitarrenriffs ab, die zudem noch aggressiver und brachialer als in der Vergangenheit intoniert werden.
Textlich und gesanglich regiert auf „PRAY wieder die Dunkelheit. Zur englischen Lyrik zurückgekehrt, wurde das Vocal-Splitting zwischen Felix und Matthias, der extreme Zweikampf zwischen tiefen und cleanen Gesängen, beibehalten.
Auch an den Keyboardklängen haben CREMATORY getüftelt und somit nicht nur die erdigen Sounds vergangener Tage ausgegraben, sondern diese auch verfeinert, sowie orchestrale Arrangements integriert. Ein Weg abseits von Techno-Samples und digitalen Sounds, hin zur Düsternis vergangener Tage, die mit fetten Streichersätzen und Chören nie enden wollende Gänsehautschauer garantieren.
Produziert wurde das neue Album erneut in den Kohlekeller Studios mit Christian „Kohle“ Kohlmannslehner, der mit der Band bereits sehr erfolgreich die Alben „Revolution“ und „Klagebilder“ produzierte. Ein fetter Sound, der internationale Maßstäbe setzt, ist daher Programm.
2010 – INFINITY
„Gothic – Thrash – Metal“, sowie „schneller, härter, lauter und düsterer“ waren die Schlagworte, die als Zielvorgabe zum neuen Album mit dem Titel „INFINITY“ dienten, und die konsequent und bravourös umgesetzt wurden.
Textlich und gesanglich agierten CREMATORY auf „INFINITY“ erneut mit englischen Texten, wobei es auch zwei deutschsprachige Titel auf das Album geschafft hatten. Das Vocalsplitting zwischen Felix und Matthias wurde auch diesmal beibehalten und weiter verfeinert.
Gothic-Thrash-Metal ist genau der richtige Stempel für dieses neue Machtwerk.
Die Drums donnerten und die Gitarren- Bassfraktion blies alles weg was sich ihnen in den Weg stellte. An den Keyboardsounds wurde intensiv getüftelt und somit nicht nur die erdigen Düstersounds ausgegraben, sondern weiter verfeinert und mit orchestralen Arrangements, sowie ausgetüftelten Effecksounds kombiniert. Mit „INFINITY“ ist ein nie enden wollender Gänsehautschauer garantiert.
Eine Coverversion ist nie so gut wie das Original. Das wussten CREMATORY auch, aber mit „Temple of love“ von den Sisters of Mercy und Metallica´s „One“ hatten CREMATORY in der Vergangenheit eindrucksvoll bewiesen ein hervorragendes Händchen und Ideenreiche Umsetzungsvarianten vorzeigen zu können, die für Coverversionen seines Gleichen suchten.
Deshalb gab es diesmal eine Coverversion von Depeche Mode´s Knallernummer „Black Celebration“, die nicht nur wegen des Titels hervorragend zu CREMATORY passte. CREMATORY hatten aus diesem hervorragenden Song eine Gothic Rock´n Roll Nummer gezaubert, die für einiges Aufsehen sorgte und zum Clubhit avancierte.
Produziert wurde „INFINITY“ wieder in den Kohlekeller Studios mit Kristian „Kohle“ Bonifer, der mit der Band bereits sehr erfolgreich die Chartalben „Revolution“, „Klagebilder“ und „PRAY“ produzierte. Never change a winning Team! Kohle als Produzent von CREMATORY war hier erneut der Garant für fetten Sound und eine herausragende Produktion die internationale Maßstäbe setzt. Ein Album für die Unendlichkeit!
2011 – BLACK PEARLS
Was gab es zu Deutschlands erfolgreichster Gothic Metal Band, die sich im Februar 1991 gründete und bereits mit dem zweiten Album 1994 als Genre-Vorreiter des Gothic Metal etablierten, nach 20 Jahren unvergleichlicher Bandgeschichte noch zu sagen? Das Bemerkenswerte an dieser Tatsache war, dass CREMATORY zu einer weltweit gefeierten Band wurde, und nicht nur in den deutschsprachigen Ländern abräumte. Es folgten weltweit unzählige Interviews, TV- und Radioauftritte, sowie massenweise Konzerte, bei denen CREMATORY von ihren Fans und der Fachpresse frenetisch abgefeiert wurden.
Bekannt wurden CREMATORY mit Hits wie „Tears of time“, „Shadows of mine“, „Ist es wahr“, „Fly“, „The Fallen“, „Greed“, „Tick Tack“, „Höllenbrand“, „Pray“, „Infinity“ oder „Sense of time“, um nur einige dieser Ohrwürmer aufzuzählen. Auch bei Coverversionen wie Sisters of Mercy´s „Temple of love“, Metallica´s „One“, oder Depeche Mode´s „Black Celebration“ bewiesen CREMATORY ein gutes Händchen für hervorragend umgesetzte Coverversionen.
Die Band stellte seit 20 Jahren eindrucksvoll unter Beweis, dass die Hitfabrik CREMATORY ohne Wenn und Aber mit Starkstrom betrieben wurde.
Auf dem Zenit ihres musikalischen Schaffens und nach 20 Jahren Bandgeschichte wurde erstmals eine Greatest Hits Doppel-CD und DVD mit allen Hits, Clips, Livekonzerten und zahlreichen privaten Backstage Filmaufnahmen unter dem Titel „Black Pearls“ zusammengestellt.
Musikalisch hatten sich CREMATORY von Album zu Album Schritt für Schritt weiterentwickelt, und auch mal ein paar neue Ideen und Inspirationen mit in die Lieder eingebaut, die die Band immer frisch und modern klingen lies.
Textlich und gesanglich agieren CREMATORY mit englischen und deutschen Texten. Das Vocalsplitting zwischen Felix und Matthias, der extreme Zweikampf zwischen tiefen und cleanen Gesängen, etablierte sich im Laufe der Zeit.
CREMATORY entfachten mit all ihren Hits ein einzigartiges musikalisches Feuerwerk aus eingängigen Ohrwürmern, gepaart mit fetten Gitarrenriffs, donnernden Drums, melodiösen Keyboards und brachial fetten Samples. Bei CREMATORY war ein nie enden wollender Gänsehautschauer garantiert, wie dieses Greatest Hits Machtwerk „Black Pearls“ eindrucksvoll darstellte.
2011 und 2012 wurden 2 ausführliche Europatourneen gespielt, die die Fans zum 20jährigen Bandjubiläum begeistert mitfeiern ließ.
Crematory sind seit Januar 2013 erneut ins Kohlekellerstudio gegangen, um ein neues Album zu produzieren, welches dann auch 2013 veröffentlicht werden soll, soblad die Band eine neue Plattenfirma gefunden hat, die dazu bereit ist in CREMATORY zu vertrauen und zu investieren.
2015 – MONUMENT
Anniversary time! For 25 years now, Germany’s leading gothic metal act Crematory have enthralled their countless fans at home and abroad. Since the band was founded in 1991, they have released twelve studio albums, in addition to a number of live recordings, singles, EPs and compilations. A proud record which is about to reach new heights with Crematory’s upcoming thirteenth studio album Monument. Their latest recording is scheduled for global release on Steamhammer/SPV on 15 April 2016 as Digi/ 2LP / download and will mark an unmistakable return to metallic toughness by the band from Mannheim. Infinitely more strongly than on its predecessor Antiserum (2014), the twelve tracks on Monument are based on brute guitar riffs and hard-as-nails drum grooves, replete with sinister keyboard hooks and that mix of growls and clear vocals – some in English, some in German – that is so typical of this band. The group’s fans will be thoroughly delighted with Monument and its dynamic sound.
When the work on Monument commenced in spring 2015, a personnel issue had to be settled in the Crematory camp: Matthias Hechler, guitarist, clear voice and a style-defining member for 17 years, had left the band for private reasons. That his departure went off without animosity or internal quarrels was confirmed by Matthias in an interview on the Live At Wacken 2014 DVD. Following his decision, Crematory made a virtue out of necessity, enlisting two successors: Tosse Basler (Scapegoat, Avalanche) joined the fold as rhythm guitarist and clear vocalist, and Rolf Munkes is Crematory’s new lead guitarist. “Tosse and Rolf have brought a breath of fresh air to the band, they’ve really inspired us with their powerful style and phat guitar sounds,” rejoices drummer Markus Jüllich, who composed the songs again with producer Kristian ´Kohle` Bonifer before going on to produce them together at the Kohlekeller Studio.
The result is a gothic metal opus that positively bursts with energy, featuring twelve diverse numbers with different degrees of toughness, including double guitar parts and guitar solos. The opener ´Misunderstood`, which is supported by the first video release, is probably the most metallic number of Crematory’s career. Markus refers to the track as an “ideal introduction, not only to our new album but also to our upcoming shows”. The ballad ´Save Me`, which Jüllich/Bonifer wrote some time ago and have now approved for release in view of the new line-up, presents a stark contrast. “As far as I’m concerned, this number has an orchestral flair”, Jüllich reckons. “It suits Tosse and his timbre perfectly.” Talking of which: because of their new team, Crematory have honed the homogenous blend of frontman Felix Stass’s raw growls and the clear voice of their new band member Tosse Basler even more finely than ever before.
The album carries its symbolic title with justification and the twelve impressive songs are undoubtedly a real monument to this group’s amazing creative powers. In line with this, the cover artwork is both classy and sublime: for the third time in succession, Crematory, worked with Hungarian artist Peter Sallai. As in the productional collaboration between Markus Jüllich and Kristian Bonifer, the band has relied on tried and tested collaborators without repeating or indeed copying themselves.
2018 – OBLIVION
Like all great rock bands, Crematory have based their success on the creativity of a well-rehearsed songwriting team. With Germany’s leading gothic metal act, it’s drummer Markus Jüllich in collaboration with the producer of each individual album that’s kept the group’s compositions on course for more than 25 years. At the same time, Markus Jüllich has enough experience to know that the band’s evolvement depends on fresh ideas and new influences.
So, by enlisting guitarists Tosse Basler and Rolf Munkes and, soon after, bassist Jason Mathias he has ensured that the band has remained contemporary and diverse ever since their 2016 release Monument, reaping the fruits his efforts on the new album Oblivion. “In particular, the sound and the selection of songs reflect the impact our three new band members have had,” comments Markus Jüllich. “Tosse is a fantastic rhythm guitarist who adds even more diversity to the material with his clean vocals, and our lead guitarist Rolf enhances the record with his solos. Jason has added lots of drive to the deep frequencies, which is why we’ve consciously opted for a loud mix of the bass parts.” Along with his wife Katrin (keyboards & samples) and vocalist Felix Stass, the three new additions are important factors that ensure that Crematory find themselves in a contemporary and forward-looking position in 2018.
Crematory have rarely sounded as multi-faceted and timeless as on Oblivion. The group’s classic trademarks, such as Felix Stass’s deep growls, are still present, at the same time new influences emphasise their great commercial potential. Markus Jüllich: “So far we’ve had a special motto to set the direction of each of our albums, but Oblivion simply combines all our strengths and experience. Over the years we’ve learned to blend different styles into the typical Crematory sound without ever losing sight of the importance of playing in a way that benefits our music. The motto “less is more” applies to our compositions 100 per cent. Crematory songs never lose themselves in exaggerated effects but always go the whole hog. That’s partly due to the fact that we’ve remained very much down-to-earth.”
Which is exactly what Crematory’s countless fans will be able to witness when the band embark on their 15-show tour of Germany at the end of April 2018. As Markus Jüllich aptly puts it: “Even if we know exactly what matters when you tour, we want to learn something new with every new concert.”
„Believe in you and specially in Crematory“