Since their beginnings in the mid-90s, Argentinien true metal outfit FEANOR has evolved into a band of international renown. Among other things this can be seen by the fact that in addition to German vocalist Sven D’Anna (Wizard) the band recently welcomed former Manowar guitarist David Shankle into their ranks. With „Power Of The Chosen One“ the group led by bassist Gustavo „Gus“ Acosta recently released their newest album – the first to feature the American musician in every song. We spoke to the band’s leader about the new album and the challenges of keeping a band going across several continents.
Hello Gus and thanks for your time! We are living in crazy times – I hope you and your family are well?
Gus: Hello, thanks for reaching out, we´re living in really crazy times, myself and my family got the virus, and thanks God nothing serious happened, but I know others didn´t had the same fortune and a lot of families were desintegrated by this awful virus. I practice martial arts, and with my taekwondo group (T.A.P) we cooked in our homes more than 10.000 units of food that we delivered personally to the poor and hungry people that suffers the most the lack of work and opportunities, galvanized by this covid situation. Also, bussiness were put on hold, family dynamics were tested to the limit and the kids are unable to have a proper education on schools, they can’t interact with other kids, etc. It is really premature to weigh and understand the full scope of this damage. I am myslef really attached to my kids and family and spent the most of my working career flying and traveling around many countries, so for me, is kinda refreshing to have the chance of enjoying family time, I am really a kids person and I enjoy greatly their company and being with them, so, again, it is all new terrain and I know it will eventually end, but surely will leave us with many teachings about things we give for granted and now we can valorize much more.
Five years have passed since the release of FEANOR’s last album „We Are Heavy Metal“. What’s been happening for you guys since?
Gus: After releasing the album you mention, we did 2 southamerican tours with David Shankle and Sven D Anna and not only that, but also started the production of the album we´re releasing wich was a massive endeveaur, meaning that we needed to visit several studios, shoot videos, photo sessions, all of that takes times, and lots of it, so we were really active indeed…And of course, this covid situation delayer our release plans even further… but hey! We made it!
With „Power Of The Chosen One“ you recently release a new record. What can you tell us about the album?
David: Even though I toured for 6 years with Manowar, I never created another album with the band. This was the way that I could give the Manowar fans an epic metal CD and follow-up album to all the songs I composed and contributed while co-writing with Joey on „Triumph of Steel“. The first track I wrote musically for Manowar was Ride the Dragon so the first track I wrote for Feanor was Rise of the Dragon. „Triumph of Steel“ offered the 8 section Achilles, Agony and Ecstacy while „Power of the Chosen One“ delivers the 9 part epic Odyssey.
In 2018 you were joined by none other than legendary guitarist David Shankle of Manowar fame. How did this come to pass?
David: Gus approached me to do a guest solo on their album „We Are Heavy Metal“. Along with that was Ross The Boss and Tony Martin formerly of Black Sabbath. After doing that, I joined Feanor for a tour in Argentina and Brazil playing the „Triumph of Steel“ album. That was a successful tour so they asked me if I’d like to be in the band. I agreed and we did a second tour where we debuted a couple of the new songs which went over very well so we continued writing and released „Power of the Chosen One“ through Massacre Records on April 23rd, 2021.
Did David’s addition to the band have an impact on the songwriting for „Power Of The Chosen One“?
David: Since the goal of „Power of the Chosen One“ was to give Manowar fans a follow-up to my contributions to „Triumph of Steel“, it definitely had an impact. And many Manowar fans have reached out to share their recognition of the music. Over the years, playing with DSG, Feanor, and GraveReign, I’ve tried to keep the neoclassical shredding consistent while varying the styles of bands. But „Power of the Chosen One“ brought me back to my Manowar roots and let me reach out to those amazing fans.
How would you describe the new record and where do you see differences – or similarities – to the previous effort?
Gus: First than all, on this album we have the collaboration of David and he interacted greatly with Sven, on the former album most of the bands were done by me with Walter, now musically the participation of David and Sven is quiet notorious. Secondly now Feanor is not sort of a project with several guests, but a formal band, with an internal sinergy and his own tempo. So right there you have a different dynamic of creation, then of course the matrix of knowledge between us and Sven has increased dramatically, I know perfectly well what he can do and how are his times and what triggers on him the spark of greatness, so all in all i think this album a natural step foward in comparisson with We Are Heavy Metal.
How did songwriting and recording sessions for „Power Of The Chosen One“ go down?
Gus: We did recorded in the best studio of south america, with real drums and real amplifiers, no midis, no plugins, no electronic drums, and we mixed and mastered all of the tracks sent by David and Sven with several takes and version until we were all satisfied. Also we did record real female voices, real choruses. A lot of time and production to achieve this final shape, but i can tell you we are totally satisfied with such an efford.
FEANOR hail from Argentinia but with vocalist Sven D’Anna and guitarist David Shankle you have two members from other countries in your line-up. Is it difficult to keep a band going across the continents?
Gus: The main problem is the practices, of course we have the root, the core with Emiliano and The Scorpion here, and we practice and we send files and wavs with our recordings, but i know if we would be all together things perphas could speed up a bit, nevertheless both David and Sven are seasoned musicians and they know how to perfectly deliver on a profesional and expedited way, so all in all, i think nowadays with so much internet and communication features at hand is not so difficult after all. There are a lot of bands that lives in the same country but different cities or coasts, and they make it work anyway, so I think is not such a big obstacle.
The COVID-19 pandemic affects all areas of life yet touring bands and venues seem to be hit especially heart. How do you cope with that after more than a year?
Gus: I don´t fucking cope with it, I hate it, I dont like the online experience, the washed out “streaming” performances, I need the real deal, I love to meet with fans, before and after a gig, drink some beers and have a real party, thats for me is the true metal experience, to be able all sweaty after playing to have a drink with people and talk about the music we love. For example I have a friend called Antoine Hess from France, he was a drummer and loved really bad Tico Torres from Bon Jovi, you wouldn´t expect an individual with such an unique taste to be friend with a guy like me, but metal music bounds people and regardless of his unconfortable artists he likes we meet and we became brothers, thats the magic of metal music.
Right now this still seems out of the question but are you making tour plans for when live shows finally resume?
Gus: Is so difficult man, so difficult, right now we´re weighing if we can tour or if we should start composing a new album, either way we will make a choice during the next months.
On closing, let’s do a little brainstorming. What’s the first thing that comes to your mind regarding the following terms?
Concept album: I love it, INTERESTING!
Manowar: Best band on this damn planet
Summer Festivals: Beer and sweaty boobs under a wet shirt.
True Metal: People that plays what they want because they feel it.
Underground: The soil were true metal is germinated.
FEANOR in 10 years: Three new albums and European tours checked.
At this point I want to thank you again for your time. Would you like to say a few closing words to the readers?
Gus: First of course, thanks you for give us the chance of express ourselves and be a bridge between our thoughts and the people. Secondly if you feel like hearing some true metal in the Manowar vein be sure to check our social media, I am sure you´ll find us. And finally try to kiss your sons everyday if you can, hugh your family really tight every day, fuck your chick really hard until make your bed to grow veins in their legs, and drink for your brothers who are never to fall. Since with this shit that is happening round the globe every day counts.