Crannk Interviews NorthTale-Bill Hudson

Bill Hudson has built up quite the resume over the last 15 years working with artists including Doro, Jon Oliva’s Pain, U.D.O., Circle II Circle, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and David Vincent’s I Am Morbid, But it is with his Power Metal Project NorthTale where he really gets to shine, and I recently caught up with Bill to talk all about the latest Album for NorthTale “Eternal Flame” due out worldwide 12th of November through Nuclear Blast.

With NorthTale, I wanted to start the band that I wasn’t able to when I was 16 years-old.

So says Brazilian-American guitarist Bill Hudson, who has made a name for himself over the past 15 years working with artists including Doro, Jon Oliva’s Pain, U.D.O., Circle II Circle, Trans-Siberian Orchestra and David Vincent’s I Am Morbid. In spite of these achievements, it was in 2017 that Hudson was finally able to realize his dream by launching his own band, NorthTale, and releasing the debut album Welcome To Paradise two years later. All was not well in paradise, however, and the industry-standard “creative differences” between Hudson and vocalist Christian Eriksson (ex-Twilight Force) brought things to a grinding halt. Rather than give up Hudson chose to regroup and treat the NorthTale debut as a demo for greater things to come in the form of a new album, Eternal Flame.

It is, without question, the true beginning of NorthTale’s story

At its core, NorthTale is Hudson’s solo project in the same way guitar legend Jeff Waters works under the Annihilator name, but the ultimate goal was to turn it into a real band. Heavily influenced by early Stratovarius, André Matos-era Angra, and Keeper-era Helloween, NorthTale draws heavily from their respective catalogues, all of which can be heard with scorching clarity on the new album. “When I started touring as a professional musician in 2006, nobody cared about this genre,” says Hudson. “The only power metal that was around was DragonForce and the band that I was in at the time, Cellador. I’ve seen so many trends in metal come and go, and now I see all these bands trying to sound like an ’80s or ’90s throwback. I started thinking that maybe now is the time to try and do this music again, because if nothing else it will reach people like me who are old now (laughs) and remember that time fondly.” It’s fair to say that everything Hudson has done over the course of his career has led to this point. He readily admits the artists he has worked with have had an influence on him one way or another, largely due to the fact he had to learn how to play their songs. And in some cases it wasn’t even a matter of style. For example, Eternal Flame features heavy orchestration fused with the band’s power metal sound, which was inspired by Hudson’s experience rehearsing with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Adding to NorthTale’s sound embracing Hudson’s Brazilian roots is the addition of vocalist Guilherme Hirose, who hails from Hudson’s home town of São Paulo and came on board more by fate than design. After parting ways with Eriksson, Hudson began the process of auditioning singers, opting to try and find a relative unknown rather than using one of the big names in metal on his speed dial. He eventually settled on another singer from Sweden, but as fate would have it one final audition, from Hirose, changed NorthTale’s course completely. Recording sessions for Eternal Flame were surprisingly smooth considering Hudson, his bandmates and producer Dennis Ward (Pink Cream 69, Unisonic) were separated geographically thanks to the global pandemic. Impressed by Ward’s body of work, Hudson felt he was perfect for the job and he was not disappointed. When the original plan to record in Hudson’s Florida home base fell through, Ward introduced the idea of recording the album using groundbreaking Audio Movers software, which allowed them to stream audio note-for-note in real time. Ward oversaw the entire production from his studio in Germany and, according to Hudson, was involved with every note through the entire process. The icing on the cake, other than a killer cover of Iron Maiden’s “Judas Be My Guide”, is the unexpected guest vocal performance from Helloween / Gamma Ray icon Kai Hansen on “Future Calls”. As an added bonus, Hansen’s son shreds his way through the guitar solo.

‘Eternal Flame’ due out on Nuclear Blast on the 12th November 2021. Pre-order the album here: https://bfan.link/eternal-flame.ybi Digital sale link: https://bfan.link/eternal-flame Physical sale link: https://www.jbhifi.com.au/products/cd…

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