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Intense are a UK band who play hard edged power metal. Power metal is taking off big time here in the UK at the moment, following on form the big success it already enjoys in Europe.

Intense have their new album, 'Second Sight' out soon and it's a must for all power metal fans. They play some UK dates in June with Power Quest and are well worth seeing live. They show that the UK does have some good power/melodic metal acts along with the likes of Power Quest, Dragon Force and Mercury Rain. Over to Sean Hetherington... .

1. What are you currently up to?

We're currently awaiting the release of Second Sight through Underground Symphony (world) and NTS (France only) which is due out in April. It's taken longer than I anticipated to get the album out but I've learned a lot and hopefully some of the "pitfalls" can be avoided next time round , ha ha. I'm also preparing a promotional campaign for the album.

On the show front we've been booked to open the mainstage on the Saturday at Bloodstock this year which we're really excited about and we're also heading out on a dual headline tour with Power Quest with a different support band for each venue, this is happening in June and so far we have around 4 confirmed dates with more tbc. I'm very lucky as Steve (PQ) has taken it on himself to do most of the booking so that's very cool of him. I'm also looking into a mini European tour for July. We've also secured a live keyboard player which is great as we've never really had keyboards on stage so far.

2. What has been the highlight(s) and low point(s) of your career to date?

Well the highlight so far has been completing the album and getting signed. I'm hoping there'll be many more at the end of this year so ask me then, I'm hoping Bloodstock will prove to be one of them.

Low points? Not too many in the recent past, unfortunately you still get people who lie to you in this business, they "dress things up" but they're still lying to you and that's very disappointing! I don't like people with little honour and hope that Karma will catch up with them. I'm not going to elaborate any more at this stage .. ha ha

3. The new album, 'Second Sight' is out soon - could you take us through some personal highlights please?

Sure, well lyrically I wrote the majority of the album and was really pleased with the results. I also wrote a number of the songs musically and ones that stand out for me are; "War of Angels" came together really well. It's a follow on from the track Dark Season off of our EP which is based on the Prophecy film trilogy. We got up to 196bpm on this one and the chorus worked really well and I love Dave's solo too. It's about man's struggle amidst a mutiny in Heaven where the angels have started to begrudge the love shown to man by God and are looking to wipe out mankind. A very deep song ...

The Winged musically was written by Ady, and I supplied the lyrics. Probably the most commercial song on the album, very catchy pre chorus and chorus, it's based on the Lord of the Rings, "The Winged" being a flock of crows.

Seeds of Betrayal has been around for a little while and has been a labour of love for me. It existed for a while in only an acoustic form but I later added the heavy section. I love strings and the ones added to the track are superb and really help the mood of the song. This song is about Judas, and a possible outlook he had on things. Read the lyrics and you'll get the picture.

Finally Your Final Breath, I wrote mainly on acoustic and got Dave to add a decent bridge to it plus a cool solo. It was written in honour of my mother who died a few years ago and this song just grew and grew. When we recorded it, it was stripped right down but then had harmonies put into it, lots of strings, it got massive and worked out better than I expected. What can I say all the songs had highlights in some form, I could go on and on.

Btw there will be a full explanation of each song on our site when the album is released.

4. How did the tour with Power Quest & Mercury Rain go last year? What sort of set do you have planned for your Bloodstock appearance?

The tour with Power Quest and Mercury Rain was excellent! It was so nice to have a group of musicians together and no egos. We all got on really well and everyone was very supportive of eachother which I believe is the way it should be. We only got to do 2 shows on the tour but they were enjoyable, that's why we're doing more with Power Quest this year.

Haven't really planned the Bloodstock set quite yet, but we will be airing a new track or 2 that will be on the next album. You can be sure that we will be "full on" for the show though, expect a very lively performance.

5. What would you like Intense to achieve by the end of the year?

High album sales for Second Sight (goes without saying) a successful UK tour and European tour and a superb Bloodstock show and I'd be happy :-)


6. How do the band juggle day jobs with trying to get the band more gigs/exposure?

Up to now the tour wise etc the band hasn't been too time consuming for the rest of the guys although the studio last year worked the guitarists quite hard. This year will be a bit different as it's going to be busy and fortunately most of the guys are in a situation that they can get the time off.

If you're in a band you plan ahead and don't get in a super strict job otherwise what do you expect ?! All the guys that are into the band know how important this year is for INTENSE and will do whatever they can to make themselves available to represent the band. I can't ask any more than that.

7. Who would you like to work with in the future and who would be in your fantasy band line-up?

I'd like to tour with any of the big bands, (as long as they weren't ego maniacs) as just being on a bigger stage would benefit the band. You know I'm a massive Iced Earth fan so, Yes I'd like to tour with those guys as well as Nevermore, Kamelot the list goes on.

My fantasy band, Matt Barlow on Vocals (formally of Iced Earth), Dave Lombardo on drums, Jon Petrucci and Jeff Loomis on guitars, Marco Hietala on bass.

8. Do you feel power metal is growing in popularity in the UK thanks to Bloodstock & more bands touring the UK?

Yes definitely. The scene is growing very quickly. It seems the nu metal thing is dying and people are moving on. Power Metal also seems to attract a wide fan base, I've seen people into Black metal and Gothic on Power Metal forums which is cool.

The amount of bands coming over to the UK is excellent and long overdue, there was a while when we didn't see anyone! Bloodstock is helping to raise the presence of Power Metal in the UK as a lot of the bands playing are Power Metal bands. I just hope it doesn't get hi-jacked and turned into just another festival. I think Vince would fight that anyhow. The growth of the scene can only benefit everyone so it's great news.

9. What do you do in your spare time outside of music?

Phew spare time?... I don't get an awful lot especially as my wife and I recently had our first son (Matthew), he's only 5 weeks old now so that's meant a bit of a life change, ha ha.

When I do get a chance though I watch a bit of footie, Liverpool supporter along with Steve from PQ :-) , I also like playing strategy games on the PC and Fifa on the PS2, I'm waiting for Karl Groom to take me up on a challenge with regards to FIFA 2004 but in true Arsenal style he hasn't taken me up on it yet, ha ha( Yes he supports Arsenal).

10. Message for your fans...

A lot of people would have heard of INTENSE but not heard anything by us. This year will see that change, the album will surprise a lot of people. Thanks for all the support we've had, this year we will paying some of that back. Spread the Word!

Interview © 2004 Jason Ritchie/
Format and edit: The Music Index.

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