The End Complete
CoC talks to Harald of Crematory
by: Adrian Bromley
Crematory bassist Harald is well aware that the end has finally come for his German gothic metal band. The band recorded, toured and partied for the last ten years and he is glad that the band is finishing things up on a high note, their double-disc _Remind_ (on Nuclear Blast).

So, how does it feel to know that the band is over?

"I don't know. It feels very strange, but in a good way", starts Harald. "When we started this band off, we never imagined that we would even get this far. When we recorded out first album [1992's _Transmigration_ on Massacre Records -- Adrian] nobody really believed in what we were doing. But we had seen some success, some fans really liked what we were doing, so we kept going and recorded another album. We [the band is rounded out by vocalist Felix, guitarist Matthias Hechler, keyboardist Katrin and drummer Markus Jullich -- Adrian] took this band further than any of us imagined we would have."

As mentioned above, the final installment of Crematory and their career comes to us as a deluxe double-disc set. _Remind_ is a live seventeen-song set from the band that sounds really good. No doubt the band wanted to go out with a bang, opposed to a half-assed live record like the new one from In Flames, _The Tokyo Showdown_ [reviewed in this issue]. Also included are alternate versions of songs and some old demos, as well as a 60-page colour booklet (written entirely in German, so I didn't understand one word) with tons of pictures and words from the band.

So why does Harald think many music fans grasped onto what Crematory was doing musically?

Starts Harald, "I think people, our fans, just really liked what we were doing. We always did what we wanted to do musically and there was never any real pressure from our label to make our music become a certain way. Our hearts always guided what we did musically. When we got such amazing feedback from fans, it really helped us become more excited about what we were doing."

"We are very proud of what we have done with the band. I think one of our biggest accomplishments was our last studio album _Believe_ [2000]", says the bass player. "For me personally, I think we had the best songs we had ever written on that album, as well as the best production we ever had with any Crematory disc. It was just a great record for us, with sales and chart entry. It was great to release that record and see how people reacted to it."

Are there any regrets or mistakes he would like to correct in his career?

He responds: "We made a lot of mistakes over the years. <laughs> But we always continued on. You will always look back at what you did and say you could have done things differently, but you also learn from those mistakes. We knew what we had done wrong at certain points in our career and we moved on. We just used that experience we got from our mistakes and used it to help take this band further."

The topic turns to the idea of assembling _Remind_. How did this double-disc set idea come about?

Says Harald: "We could have finished things off with _Believe_, but we wanted to give the fans of Crematory a present. We also wanted to give ourselves a present as well, to celebrate what we had done as a band over the past ten years. We thought it would be great to sum up the last ten years in one album, to record a live show and assemble a double-disc set with a good lengthy booklet. It took almost a year to do all of this, to pick out photos, write the history and put it all together. It took a long time for us to make sure this was the perfect gift for our fans. We wanted it to be a perfect summary of our band from day one up to now."

"I am happy with everything about _Remind_. We did all of this ourselves. Our keyboard player Katrin did it all, really. She just collected all of these pictures and items from the last few years. It looks really good."

So now that it is all officially over for the band, what is next up for bandmembers of Crematory? Day jobs? Relaxing time? New bands?

Harald comments, "I think we all just really want to have a normal job right now. We also have to take care of our private lives, too. For the last ten years it has all been about Crematory and rock 'n' roll. We are all in our thirties and it just seems like it is time to get things in order. Also, none of us have ever taken any real vacations, because the band has been so demanding. This band needed 100% from all of us all the time, so vacations never really happened."

"Over the years, making records for us has been a chore", he continues. "Early on we spent a while trying to find our sound and style. We eventually did, but as the years went on, it became a little easier to add onto what we had accomplished the record before that."

"It just seems like this is the right time to go out for us", Harald states about their decision to end it all. "We have done so much as a band and with our music. We made some great records and toured a lot. It has been a great experience. We just think this is the right time to go out. We wanted to go out when things are going good for the band and have been able to play for so many years. Crematory, in a way, is a cult band. We want to remain that way for our fans forever. We want to go out on a high note where people remember us being great, rather than fading out like a lot of veteran bands do and no one takes notice of them any more. Those bands just disappear. We wanted to quit on a high note and just say "goodbye"."

He ends, "This seemed like the right thing to do. I don't think Crematory fans are upset; I think they are proud of us and excited about what we left them with _Remind_. Who knows? Maybe in two, three or five years we might create some songs together and return with Crematory. Right now that doesn't seem like it will happen, but I promise you, if we do come back it will be with a big bang. Until then, goodbye to all of our fans."

(article submitted 19/10/2001)

9/14/1997 A Bromley Crematory: Burn Baby Burn
8/12/1997 A Bromley 7 Crematory - Awake
1/17/1996 B Meloon 5 Crematory - Illusions
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