Interview with Kleber Mandrake (Axehammer)

MER: On behalf of the crew at Metal Express Radio, congratulations to you and the band on a fantastic album Marching On. This record has certainly been a long time coming with your previous album Windrider being released in 2005. What have you guys been up to for the past seven years?

Kleber: Thanks for the compliments. The guys and I in the band appreciate that. After the Windrider tour, Bill Ramp left the band and singer Mark Stewart joined. The band performed in The USA and Europe, and then had to write new material for the new album. They got in the studio to record, but Mark left the band. They started auditions for a new singer and that’s when I got into the band in January 2010. Then I recorded the vocals for the album. Our bass player, Oso, passed away and we had some line-up changes. Horacio Colmenares joined the band and re-recorded the bass. We finally finished the album. As you can see, lots of unexpected surprises!

MER: Axehammer certainly has the sound and feel of the “New Wave Of British Heavy Metal” style from the early ‘80’s. How would you describe your music?

Kleber: We are influenced by bands like Maiden, Priest, Sabbath, Purple, Dio, and Uriah Heep. We’ve got a lot of ’80s influence in our music. The band was formed in the early ’80s. It’s Power Metal, or Traditional Metal as it has always been. Our music has a lot of energy, most of the time is fast, pulsing, and it makes you feel alive.

MER: What are some of the artists that influence your creativity?

Kleber: I am particularly influenced by singers like Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Michael Kiske, Ian Gillan, Tim Owens, James Labrie, and Sebastian Bach.

MER: Axehammer’s origins date back to the early ‘80s. Tell me a little about how the band got started and a brief history through today?

Kleber: The band got started with Jerry Watt (guitar) and Kit Carlson (bass). Then Mark Sky (drums), and Bill Ramp (vocals) joined the band. The first song “Axehammer” followed after that. The band recorded a demo and started to perform around Los Angeles. Later on, they recorded Lord Of The Realm and the band got a record deal, which fell through. Then some members were having personal and family issues, and decided to quit the band. Around 1998, Sentinel Steel records found some lost tapes and wanted to release Lord Of The Realm, which became a cult classic among fans, and after some years the band got together again and recorded the 2005 album Windrider.

MER: Guitarist Jerry Watt is perceived to be quite the riff master. Tell fans a little bit about the songwriting process of your material …

Kleber: Jerry is a great guitar player and composer. He writes most of the songs and lyrics for Axehammer. The songwriting process for this album was a little bit different, though. When I got into the band, the songs were already written, but for some of the songs we had to create new lyrics and vocal melodies. So Jerry came up with 2 new lyrics and vocal melodies, which are “Midnight Train” and “Fire Away.” I also co-wrote with him “The Dragons Fly” and “Swing The Steel.”

MER: What are some of your favorite songs from Marching On, and why?

Kleber: I like all of the songs … I think they all have a different approach, at least that’s how I felt when I sang them. But, my favorite is “Demon Killer”, which I think it’s one of the most aggressive and heavy songs on the album. Also, “Midnight Train” because I love those high vocals and it has a burst of energy, and “The Dragons Fly” I think is really epic and solid Power Metal.

MER: What is coming up for Axehammer? Will there be some shows and a new album in the works?

Kleber: We are negotiating a new management deal and after that we will be performing in the USA and Europe. Jerry and I already started to write new songs for the upcoming album, which sounds more mature and heavier.

MER: Do you have any final words to share with your fans out there?

Kleber: I want to thank the Metal Express crew for giving the band this opportunity and I would like to thank all of our fans around the world that have supported the band throughout these years. Axehammer is more alive than ever. Up the hammers!! Click here to find out more about Axehammer.


  • Sean Meloy

    Sean Meloy was a reviewer, interviewer and DJ here at Metal Express Radio, based out of Iowa , USA. By day he is a straight laced, buttoned up, number crunching accountant; armed with his portable calculator. All other times he is a hard rocking Metal head! He spent many hours listening to records and 8-tracks with his father. Classic bands such as Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Kansas, Led Zeppelin, and Eric Clapton just to name a few. His father bought him his first record, Kiss Alive II, at age 6. By the time he reached his teens he was discovering all the Classic Metal of the 1980’s; Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Twisted Sister, etc. He became a huge fan of the Thrash Metal of the time as well; Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, Exodus, and Overkill. During the 1990’s he experimented with the Grunge and Hard Rock. However, by the time the millennium came he found himself going back to his roots and rebuilt the music collection he started in his teens.

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