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By Martin Popoff
I asked Michael what's going on within Wages Of Sin lyrically. After explaining that the title was chosen in homage to the vibe of Judas Priest album titles from the '70s, he sez "It's all about blood and guts and gore (laughs). No, it's not so much that. I got seriously into writing lyrics when we started Arch Enemy. There was a window open to start writing lyrics, because the singer we had at the time, Johan, was not a big lyric writer. What I write about is mostly emotional stuff. For me, it's really important that the lyrics fit within music somehow. So it's got to be aggressive, but I like a little bit of desperation and inner turmoil (laughs). I really like Geoff Tate's lyrics a lot, the lyrics he used to do for Rage For Order and stuff like that. I like that style of writing. And of course like everybody around, I'm influenced by Slayer when it gets to the more brutal stuff. Angela also wrote two or three lyrics on this album and she has her own style. It's not conceptual in anyway, but I like there to be one feel on the album. When I do an album I have all these notes everywhere and I'm going crazy because I want everything to fit together, the artwork, the words, solos, the riffs, the production. So I see it aas just one thing. At the end of the day, that's sort of your piece of art and that's what you care about and I care about every aspect of it. It can get very frustrating and emotionally draining. But it's the same for most people. If you pour your heart and soul into something, you want to do it right."
"It was my suggestion that we should have a lot harder of an album," explains Michael when asked if there was a clear production philosophy for the record. "Because the music we made was just more intense. I just wanted an all-around harder, more extreme soundscape, and that's why we wanted to mix with Andy Sneap, in England. Basically we tracked the album at Studio Fredman in Gothenburg and he didn't really get involved as such with the production, even though he is credited as co-producing the album with me. He wasn't even there for the most part really. Then we took the tapes over to Andy and he worked wonders on them. I can't say enough good stuff about the guy. He just had a way of definitely making things sound extremely in-your-face, which was kind of missing on our earlier albums. I think our earlier albums kind of have a soft sound; hard music but with a soft sound, kind of like Slayer, who have kind of more 'rock' production values. Does that make sense? The overall sounds are not totally extreme but it sounds extreme because the music is extreme. But now we have a really in-your-face production and it just made such a difference, because people... you know, we brought the drums out, and now everybody is talking about what a great drummer Daniel is. He's always been a great drummer, he's just been buried underneath all the guitars!"
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