You’re a widely read fantasy nerd and have read many series in English. So, apart from the well-known ones such as Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, etc, which do you think are good and why?
I enjoy reading and love fantasy, although I also read across many other areas. As far as fantasy is concerned, Tolkien's works and, of course, the Chronicles of Prydain are my favourites. It’s hard coming up with reasons for my preferences. If a novel or series grips me I don’t usually try to work out why. If I feel comfortable in the fantasy world, I stay there like a while. Apart from the ones I’ve mentioned, the others I’ve really enjoyed are: the Conan stories of Robert E Howard, the Books of Ascension trilogy by Dirk Strasser (by the way, there will be a song on the next Elvenpath album based on this), the Death Gate Cycle series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman, and not least the Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett. I love them dearly. Thanks for the interview, for your interest in Lucid Dreaming and allowing me to present my music here… Support the Underground and stay Metal!
Whoa! I did a double take. The words ‘there will be a song on the next Elvenpath album based on this’ really floored me. A song based on my trilogy? Wow! Something I had written had actually inspired a musician to write a song. I knew the Books of Ascension had been published in German in 2001, but for the series to percolate in someone’s mind all this time and to emerge in musical form is mind-boggling.
I contacted Till via his band’s website to wish him luck and saying I would love to hear the song. He seemed almost as surprised to hear from me as I was to see my trilogy mentioned in his interview. He sent me the lyrics and a copy of the Elvenpath CD Pieces of Fate when it was released in 2015.
So, what sort of music is inspired by fantasy fiction? The only music I was aware of was the acoustic, lyrical, floating-through-the-ether sort of melodies. This band’s elvenpath is completely different. Their music is power metal. So for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term (as I wasn’t when I first came across it—AC/DC is about as metal as I’ve ever been): power metal is type of heavy metal with an elevating anthem-like sound. Like the epic fantasies that inspires it, power metal strives for an epic sound. If Elevenpath are typical, then the vocalists can sing in a high register and have a wide range, and the guitarists have a high level of technical proficiency.
And above all their lyrics are in synch with high fantasy sensibility. They are both evocative and powerful. Here’s an example from Mountain of Sorrows, the song based on the Books of Ascension:
When night conquers the daylight and winter calls our names
Our roads will differ, will fate be the same
Storms cross my pathways, pillars of stone
And many a strange sight I see
Puppets and demons, warriors and masks
They reveal the dark side to me
Cloisters of silence, houses of life
The mountain is standing, who knows what’s inside
Amazone warriors attack in the night
The hour has come when steel will shine bright
Mountain of sorrows, grown of fear and lies
I’ll climb you forever though blood be the price
Mountain of sorrows, made of doom and fraud
Beware the ascension of him who’ll be god
The lyrics are potent and poetic. None of these words are mine, yet they have grasped the essence my novels. There’s no doubt Till Oberbossel gets fantasy. And to write this sort of stuff in what isn’t his first language takes impressive skill.
If you had told me all those years ago when I started to write Zenith—The First Book of Ascension, that a power metal band from Frankfurt, Germany, would be opening their new album with a song based on my work, I would have bet my house on it not happening. You just can’t tell what sort of life your fiction will lead once you’ve given birth to it.
If you like epic fantasy, have a listen to Elvenpath’s Mountain of Sorrows, Battlefield of Heaven and Queen Millennia from the Pieces of Fate album. And remember. Stay Metal!
This first appeared as an Editorial in Aurealis #88.