AD INFINITUM - Beyond The Rage, Into The Light

November 21, 2021, 9 months ago

By Carl Begai

feature heavy metal ad infinitum

AD INFINITUM - Beyond The Rage, Into The Light

Vocalist Melissa Bonny officially entered the professional metal scene in 2017 with a roar. Literally. Previously unknown trance / melodic death metal outfit Rage Of Light released a cover of the Amon Amarth classic "Twilight Of The Thunder God" independently, with an accompanying video, and her fate was sealed as someone to watch for in the future. Sure enough, along with Rage Of Light releasing their Napalm Records debut, Imploder, in 2019, Melissa was hired for guest vocal appearances on songs from Warkings, Feuerschwanz, Beneath My Sins, and was a guest vocalist the 2020 Rock Meets Classic tour through Germany (sadly cut short by a pandemic). Her true focus, however, was to write and shape her own music. Melissa released the solo single "I Am The Storm" in 2018, but this quickly evolved into a band dubbed Ad Infinitum, who unleashed their debut album, Chapter I: Monarchy, in 2020. The resulting success was more than Melissa expected, and it signalled the end of her time with Rage Of Light

"Because of all the work with Ad Infinitum, we decided it was better for them to have someone who could really focus on Rage Of Light," she says. "When I was on tour with Rock Meets Classic (in March 2020) we had a call, and everyone was at a different place in their lives at the time. We decided to take things slow, possibly record a single or two and shoot some videos, but one year later Napalm asked if we were ready to record a new album. The guys were in a better place to do that and wanted to push forward, but I was buried in work with Ad Infinitum because we were preparing a new album. It wouldn't have been possible for Rage Of Light to release anything this year, and I felt it was unfair to tell them, 'Sorry, you have to wait until 2022 or 2023.' At that point I decided it might be better if we went our separate ways. So now I don't have the pressure of knowing people are waiting for me, and they don't have the inconvenience of working with someone who has a main band next to theirs."

Fans of Kamelot-flavoured symphonic metal locked into Ad Infinitum at first listen, as they offer up a similar brand of symphonic metal. The band gained an impressive following with the debut, Chapter I: Monarchy, and those fans have been waiting impatiently for Chapter II: Legacy.

"It's crazy," Melissa says. "We didn't expect to be seen and known by so many people after just one record. We had so much great feedback, and so many doors opened for us because of it. It's also amazing since we couldn't tour because of the pandemic. Our Plan B was to release much more online content, and a consequence of that is more people discovered us. A lot of people shared our video and spread the word about Ad Infinitum, which really helped. And the market wasn't saturated because a lot of bands decided to postpone their releases. There was a nice spot for us as a result (laughs)."

While Chapter I: Monarchy was envisioned as Melissa's solo project at the start and treated as such, Chapter II: Legacy is a band effort from top to bottom. Ad Infinitum now features the permanent line-up of Melissa, Adrian Thessenvitz (guitars), Korbinian Benedict (bass), and Niklas Müller (drums).

"The guys didn't really have an influence on the first record because we had a producer that made sure that everything was consistent, that the songs didn't change drastically once they came into the picture. The new album definitely sounds different because the songs were influenced by four different musicians working together not overseen by a producer. We worked with Elias Holmlid, who did all the orchestrations on the album, and we worked with Jacob Hansen for the vocal recordings, mixing and mastering. He also did some post production, but the main songwriting was just the four of us."

"When we started on Legacy it was definitely a little bit scary to realize we didn't have someone to watch over the production. We had to trust our own skills and gut feeling, and to make sure that we didn't drift away from the main Ad Infinitum sound. It was only when we started the recordings that we thought 'Yes, this is Ad Infinitum 2.0.'"

Jacob Hansen is, of course, producer royalty. He has worked with metal bands big and small, and continues to be in high demand. The fact that an up-and-coming band managed to secure his services speaks volumes of the Ad Infinitum's commitment to and Hansen's belief in the music.

"I had the most amazing time recording vocals with him because it was really relaxed," says Melissa. "I could also rely on his judgement. I knew if something wasn't good he would tell me and we'd try it again. And again. And again (laughs). I think that for people who know who Jacob is, they immediately know that we are doing everything we can to produce something that is high quality."

Melissa is known for her growls as well as her clean singing voice, and is arguably capable of giving Arch Enemy's Alissa White-Gluz a run for her money. Ad Infinitum's focus is on her clean vocals, however, with the growls used as an enhancement rather than a dominant element as many people expected when the band first surfaced.

"It's interesting you say that because that's actually how we worked," Melissa reveals. "We put the growls where it made sense, where it served the song. I've seen some comments online saying 'It would be so cool if you would put more growls in the songs...' but that's not what we're about. We want to make something that makes sense for us and that we feel is great for the song."

As a vocalist, Melissa has joined the circle occupied by the likes of Alissa White-Gluz, Floor Jansen (Nightwish), Simone Simons (Epica), Charlotte Wessels (ex-Delain), Elize Ryd (Amaranthe) and Maria Brink (In This Moment).

"I still feel like I'm on the path to join that circle," Melissa counters. "The people you mentioned are vocalists that influence my career and that I still admire. Especially Floor Jansen, for example; she's an amazing vocalist. I don't consider myself to be at the same level as her; I look up to her."

Chapter II: Legacy boasts a huge overall sound that can be chalked up to Hansen's involvement with mixing and mastering. Asked if she and her bandmates envisioned something this powerful as the end result while they were working, Melissa admits she's as surprised as she is pleased.

"I honestly can't tell you 'Our secret recipe is this and that.' We worked together on each song, there is everyone's touch on every single song on the album, and we had a clear vision of where we wanted to take the songs. I have to say, I'm working with some very talented musicians and I am very blessed. On top of that, Elias worked on the orchestrations and that's a big part of the fact the album sounds so big. And Jacob Hansen really knows how to make things sound epic."

"The symphonics are the core," she adds. "They are what hold everything together - but it's not the focus for Ad Infinitum; it's not the first thing you hear. You have the vocals, drums, guitars, bass, and the symphonics are there to wrap everything up in a nice package."

(Photo by: Nat Enemede)

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