I recently had a chance to
take a break from things at college and catch up with Eternal Legacy
lead guitarist Shaun Vanek. We talked about everything from guitars to
Eternal Legacy's album in the works, tentatively titled The
Secret of Humanity. The following is a cleaned up transcript
from our IM conversation. Simply enough, CD denotes me and SV is Shaun.
Chris Duxbury: So are you planning on buying any more guitars any time soon? I know parts of your last [Ibanez] RG are now
resting in a field somewhere Germany from your summer jaunt there.
Shaun Vanek: I fuckin' miss that Ibanez. Yeah, I might pick up
another [Gibson] Explorer soon; possibly a "V".
sort of an American standard, almost. A lot of American metal bands play
SV: Yeah, I really like the sound of my Gibson though. It is definitely the best sounding guitar I have ever owned.
CD: Which I find to be interesting since you didn't modify it at all.
SV: That's the point; all of the other guitars I had to modify like crazy. This one is stock. That tells you something. Realistically, my Ibanez (with all of the changes) wasn't that much cheaper than a Gibson Explorer.
CD: You have to remember that you've also changed your playing style since getting that Gibson, too. I'm sure back a few years ago when you were playing with Gravity and really stuck on thin necks and low-gauge strings you wouldn't have liked a Gibson as much.
SV: I used to hate Gibsons and Marshalls back then. What do I have now? (laughs). They are a great combination. Yeah, I guess my style did change. But I am still going to mod the explorer one of these days so I can get back to the whammy stuff.
CD: Why are using the [Ibanez] Iceman instead of the Explorer for your guitar tracks on the new record, again?
SV: I will [use the Explorer] for some solos, but the neck is very loose-sounding. The pitch fluctuates like crazy during a recording. That's it's only drawback. But most neck-through guitars are like that.
CD: So speaking of the new album, how goes the recording of that? Did you finish that batch of 3 songs1?
SV: We are in the vocal stage now. The rhythm section has now been complete, and all that's left is the fun part; leads, keys, vocals, and backing vocals. The keys won't be as loud on this album, though.
CD: Why is that? I always thought keyboards were kind of a trademark for Eternal Legacy.
SV: They still are, but the last album seemed to have been lacking the rhythm guitar section. This album is going to be a lot fuller; we're going to turn up the guitars a bit and turn the keys down just a tad. I mean what you hear on the first record is what you are going to hear on the next one, only more well-rounded in the overall sound.
CD: So you might say that "Metal Anvil" and "Shadow of Revolution" are more what the second record is going to sound like?
SV: You will hear more songs like that, along with songs like "The Coming of the Tempest". We forgot how much of the old [Mercinary] songs we had written, so we then decided to throw more on [The Coming of the Tempest] after completing Metal and Shadow on the last record. It will be half and half I guess.
CD: Yeah, I think you're right. In terms of rhythm guitar, the songs kind of fall into two camps: epic stuff like "Realm of Wind & Ice" and "One Last Hope" and then more riffy stuff like "Cyberplague" and "Coming of the Tempest".
SV: I like it that way. I think we found our style on the last album. Now it is time to refine it on this next one. I guess I shouldn't say refine, maybe, build upon it? But I don't want the fanbase to think completely change. If it wasn't for Bill Peters [Auburn Records] , a lot of songs wouldn't have happened on the last album. We totally forgot about our old songs.
CD: Any chance of any new material during the next couple of shows?
SV: The next show we will be doing two new ones; Dragons of Abbadon and Wicked. It's actually just called Abbadon now. We named that song like five years ago. It doesn't fit with what the others are about.
CD: That's a Mercinary tune?
SV: Well, post-Mercinary, pre-Eternal. We just never recorded it, it was always on the back-burner.
CD: Any plans for a redux of "Command of the Apparitions"2 for this next one?
SV: No, not at this point. However, I do see it being released somewhere in the near future. We have a shit load of songs that are lined up to be recorded along with ones that haven't been born yet. We plan on recording like fifteen and picking the best nine for the album and using the leftovers for either bonus material, or other album stuff. We'll see what happens. The songs that we don't have written yet are going to be interesting.
CD: I thought you had said before that the whole album was written?
SV: Again, it could be, but we are going to figure in the end what we like after a few more are written. I think having a choice is always a great decision. At least in the end things are fresh and your not as burned out, because you have a choice of songs. When you are limited to certain songs, you always want to change ideas, and it gets out of control. Usually the original ideas are the best.
CD: This one isn't that concept album you were talking about, is it? The one about the Cleveland Torso Murders?
SV: No, that's the next album, I will finally write some lyrics on that one. This one is all Jason as far as lyrics go.
CD: What's the working title and theme of this one?
SV: Secret of Humanity. It is supposed to take off where "Cyberplague" left off. I also have a really cool concept I want to use in the future besides the Torso one. You know how humans only use like 10% of their brain? Well, what if in the future we learn how to tap into the other 90% of our brain and that leads us to becoming acquainted with the supernatural world. What if, instead of going to heaven, the living eventually can communicate with the dead by using the other 90% of their brain? So the dead pretty much walk among the living now, some just don't know it. I mean, you do hear people who have encounters with ghosts and stuff. What if its just them using their other half of their brain? I think that could be interesting.
CD: Well Shaun, thanks for your time and in-depth responses.
SV: No problem. It's always a pleasure. Take it easy, man.
1: The album is being recorded in three song sessions in order to have some completed material for early promotional purposes. The songs being referred to are tentatively titled "Wicked", "Abbadon", and "Eyes of a Wiseman".
2: "Command of the Apparitions" is a track from Eternal Legacy's self-titled EP from 2004 that didn't make it on to The Coming of the Tempest.