German symphonic metal band Beyond The Black release their third album, “Heart of the Hurricane”, through Napalm Records on 31st August 2018. I only discovered the band myself last year but became an instant fan and ordered their first two CDs online. The band have gone through a big line-up change since the release of the first two albums, but singer Jennifer Haben remains at the heart of the band and “Heart of the Hurricane” is a great album that shows that Beyond The Black are back with a renewed focus and drive. I was fortunate enough to speak to Jennifer via Skype on 15th August and we chatted about the new album, the band and future plans. You can hear that interview on the 400th episode of the Friday NI Rocks Show for 24th August. The Show is now available from our MixCloud page -




Beyond The Black are Jennifer Haben on vocals, Christian Hemsdörfer and Tobias Lodes on guitars and backing vocals, Stefan Herkenhoff on bass and Kai Tschierschky on drums. Check out their website at



Playlist for Friday NI Rocks Show No 400




BLACKFOOT – Diary of a Workingman

BEYOND THE BLACK – Heart of the Hurricane

Interview with Jennifer Haben from Beyond The Black – Part 1 (6min)


Interview with Jennifer Haben from Beyond The Black – Part 2 (7min)


Interview with Jennifer Haben from Beyond The Black – Part 3 (9min)

BEYOND THE BLACK – Million Lightyears

KAMELOT – In Twilight Hours

TRUCKER DIABLO – We Will Conquer All

SCREAMING EAGLES – Bow Down To the Blues



U.D.O. – Make The Move

STONEBOURNE – Son of this Town

SAXON – Sixth Form Girls

HEAVY PETTIN – Love Times Love

TESLA – Freedom Slaves

SLASH – Driving Rain

HALESTORM – Painkiller

HUNTRESS – Eight of Swords





NI ROCKS – Hi Jennifer, thanks for taking the time to talk to Rock Radio NI. Beyond The Black release their new album “Heart of the Hurricane” on 31st August. We just played the title track which was the first single released. Tell us something about that track.

JENNIFER – Yes of course, and thank-you for having me. “Heart of the Hurricane” – the title is about the band history. I don’t know if you know about the line-up changes in 2016? There was a huge dangerous storm around us and we were in the middle, like the heart of the hurricane, and we created this album, this piece of art, and we’re really proud of that and now we’re spreading that out to the world.

NI ROCKS – Where was the album recorded and who did you work with for production, mixing etc?

JENNIFER – It was produced with Sascha Paeth. We worked with him on the previous albums as well. And Elephant Music, they’re still our team. We started to write last summer and then we recorded at the beginning of this year.

NI ROCKS – How long roughly then did it take to get all the songs together?

JENNIFER – We were writing I think up to last December. When we decided to make a new album, I wanted to have a lot of time, not like the album before. That one we did in three months and there was a lot to compromise and I didn’t want to have that again. So we had more time and I asked the guys to send me some song ideas because I wanted to see how they wanted to write. What the different styles were that they wanted to write. We had about thirty song ideas in a few weeks and then we worked in small groups together. Most of all, Stefan, Chris and me. Then we went to our producers and nailed it!

NI ROCKS – Which studio did you record in?

JENNIFER – We were in Gate Studio in Wolfsburg with Sascha and we were also in Flensburg with Elephant. We had one pre-production in Nuremburg in the studio of our keyboard player from before. There we did a lot of fixing the ideas and everything and then after that we did a lot at home. The vocals are really important for me to do with the producers together.

NI ROCKS – Was there any one song that took longer to get exactly the way that you wanted it or which changed greatly from first conception to getting it recorded?

JENNIFER – I think “Beneath A Blackened Sky” wasn’t that easy, because it was a different idea before and then we created this kind of line over the choir. That was a long process and that was the most difficult song to record because we did it a lot of times.

NI ROCKS – The new album will be available in a few formats. I actually have the gold vinyl version ordered. What other options do fans have?

JENNIFER – We have a big fan box. It includes a live DVD from Loud Park in Japan – we have eight songs on that. And we have some autographs with special cards from everyone, a poster and one special thing that is like an emblem and it is something that I wear on stage now as well – it’s a raven. It’s very special and will be in the future as well. Then we have the vinyl, the normal CD and that’s it.

NI ROCKS – The second track from the album to be released was “My God Is Dead” which we’re going to play next. Can you tell us something about that track?

JENNIFER – That song is like a metaphor. “My God is Dead” is really heavy like. You can believe that we’re not really that religious (laughs), but it is really more a metaphor for something that you believed in and now can’t understand what is happening in this world. You can’t believe in that anymore and don’t believe in what you believed before.



NI ROCKS – As we mentioned, the new album “Heart of the Hurricane” is released on 31st August. The band plays a gig the night before the release and then you’re part of the ‘Full Metal Cruise’. What can you tell us about that and what other bands are involved?

JENNIFER – I’ve been there three times now and it is always amazing. I love to go on that boat and fans are all around – in the elevator, eating together, at the bar – and that’s a very special kind of thing that keeps you close with the fans. I love that. I think Battle Beast are there as well, but I don’t know how many different bands will be there.

NI ROCKS – There are a few more shows in Germany and then an appearance in Spain in October at another festival. Are there any more tour plans for the rest of the year?

JENNIFER – Yes, we will have a big support tour. It’s all fixed up, but I can’t talk about it now. But it is really amazing – I can tell you that. That will be at the end of this year and then next year we will do a big headline tour around Europe, and maybe to other countries as well. We’ll see how many people are listening to our album when it’s released!

NI ROCKS – Any chance that we might see Beyond The Black in the UK sometime in the near future?

JENNIFER – I thinks so. I can’t believe that we won’t come to that beautiful country.

NI ROCKS – Hopefully, to Northern Ireland as well. It’d be great to see you in Belfast.

JENNIFER – Fingers crossed!

(Note – It was announced shortly afterwards that Beyond The Black would be supporting Within Temptation on their European tour – but not unfortunately on the UK dates)

NI ROCKS – Is your main focus at the moment on Europe or do you have plans for N America or Japan as well?

JENNIFER – We have no actual plans for Japan or North America, but we would love to go there again. Japan was really amazing and we’ve never been in North America, but we know we have a lot of fans there. Maybe we’ll have the chance with the new album.

NI ROCKS – Going back a few years, you mentioned that there was a big change in the line-up in 2016 which basically saw you re-emerge as a new band. How easy was that transition at the time?

JENNIFER – It wasn’t easy. It was not the best period of my life, because it wasn’t my decision. You see in a lot comments or whatever that I fired my entire band; but it was a decision of every one of us. It was difficult for me to see all the comments that were negative and personal comments. That was....difficult! But, after the first shock, I was getting so much energy and power for the new chapter of Beyond The Black. I’d seen that things could be over very fast and maybe that’s why I got this power to make sure it would go well and that everyone would know about Beyond The Black. That was very important for me.

NI ROCKS –Shortly after that, in January 2017 there was a re-release of the “Lost In Forever” album – called the “Tour Edition” with some extra tracks. Were the new band members involved in that at all or was that the old line-up?

JENNIFER – It wasn’t really a line-up, because I did a lot with Sascha, our producer. The line-up wasn’t fixed at that moment, but it was important for the new line-up to have new songs. It wasn’t written for them, but it was important to have something new to get us together. That was really important for the band.

NI ROCKS – So the first track recorded by the new line-up would have been the re-recording of the track “Forget My Name” late last year? What was that first recording session like with the new band?

JENNIFER – It was fun (laughs). You have to get to know how somebody works, so it was like getting to know each other more. Most of all it was fun and you can see it in the video as well. That was really important for us as well. To have a new video that is pure and emotional and so that everyone knows the new band is doing something. Everyone felt better after that.

NI ROCKS – We’re going to play that re-recording of “Forget My Name” now. Can you tell us anything more about that track, or why you decided to re-record that one?

JENNIFER – We’d decided, like I said before, that it was important that we had a new thing for the new guys and that they show their faces. So that everyone knew something different was coming – that there was a new Beyond The Black. With the new album a new chapter is beginning.



NI ROCKS -  Your first break through was I believe in 2007 when you won a TV talent show and that later led to a brief involvement in the band Saphir. You were very young at that time, but what were your musical influences?

JENNIFER – I would say that I always liked and listened to many powerful female vocalists. When I was very young it was singers like Whitney Houston, After that, from Paramore, Hayley Williams – she’s really amazing. Then after that when I heard Floor Jansen from Nightwish – an absolutely powerful voice and I love that. That is what I listen to, even if it’s a different style, the power voice is most important for me.

NI ROCKS – When you formed Beyond The Black did you have a clear vision of what you wanted the band to sound like?

JENNIFER – Not really. I was searching for years. I started with rock, because I was hearing so many different styles, but always knew that I had to do something more heavy. I didn’t know that I would get to symphonic metal; first I tried rock, then I went to singer-songwriter things, but in the end I was sure that I had to do more heavy again. I felt so comfortable with that sound that we did with Beyond The Black. It had everything together. It had that heavy thing, but in almost every song a little piece of silence and emotion. When you listen to Beyond the Black you will hear a lot of songs with a silent part.

NI ROCKS – The band did a lot in the first few years. What were your own personal highlights from the first few years of the band?

JENNIFER – I think Japan was always a dream for me to go to. Also to play support for the Scorpions – that was amazing when I heard that. And to play at Wacken also. To play the first show and then every year – not this year, but we were there and did some promotion. Maybe, I think, we will play next year again.

NI ROCKS – The band released some quite epic videos from the first two albums – for “In The Shadows”, “Night Will Fade” etc. Did you enjoy doing those and do you think they helped raise the profile of the band?

JENNIFER – Yeah, I really enjoyed it. “In The Shadows” was filmed in South Africa and that amazing to see. But it was always...well not the one for “Million Lightyears”, I think that was the first video that we weren’t as cold as hell or hot as hell (laughs). Before it was like, just surviving (laughs). That was South Africa and it was as hot as hell. And on that cliff, if you’ve seen “Love Me Forever”, it was such a windy cliff, so it was cold as hell (laughs). Then “Lost in Forever” was I think from 10pm to 6am in the morning and so cold. This time, “Million Lightyears” was really good weather and I could survive ok! (laughs).

NI ROCKS – Earlier this year you appeared on one of the tracks (“In Twilight Hours”) on the new Kamelot album (“The Shadow Theory”) and you’d previously done guest vocals for Kissin Dynamite (“Masterpiece” on the 2016 album “Generation Goodbye”). Is that something you’d like to do more of and would you have a wish list of artists that you’d like to collaborate with?

JENNIFER – I have no wish list, but I love to do something with such artists. Hannes, from Kissin Dynamite, I’ve worked with since the beginning of Beyond The Black and he wrote a lot of songs with me together as well. He featured on “Pearl In A World of Dirt” (from “Songs of Love and Death”) so it was like giving a friend something back and I always love to do that. With Kamelot, I think it was because of the work with Sascha, our producer, as he produces Kamelot as well. Sascha is such a great person and is always talking about everything that he does; with every band that he works with and I think that maybe he talked about me when he was talking with Kamelot. So they asked me to do that feature, and Tommy is such a great singer, a really, really amazing singer; so I definitely said yes right the second that I heard it. That was a ballad and it was great when I heard it. I was very happy with it and I listen to that song very often, because I love it very much and think that our vocals match very good.

NI ROCKS – I actually first heard of Beyond The Black only last year when I was doing an interview with Kobra Paige, just ahead of the tour the two bands did together. That led me to check the band out and buy the first two CDs. Would you be keen to do more co-headline type tours - you’ve mentioned you’re doing something - and would there be any bands specifically you’d like to tour with?

JENNIFER – I think it’s good to do some co-headlining things because you get another crowd than when you’re headlining something and maybe get some more fans. So I love to do that of course.

NI ROCKS – Any bands in particular that you’d like to do that with? I know you can’t tell me who you have planned.

JENNIFER – (laughs) I think we got the big deal this time and I can’ say anything.

NI ROCKS – You mentioned earlier the track “Million Lightyears”, which is the latest single from the album and which we’re going to play now. Can you tell us something about that track?

JENNIFER – “Million Lightyears” is about missing somebody, but it’s not always about missing a guy or woman. This time, as you can see in the video, we decided to go with another thing – to miss yourself, and search for yourself. You can transfer that to many, many situations that people can have.

NI ROCKS – That’s all the questions I have. Thanks very much for taking the time to talk to Rock Radio NI. Best of luck with the new album.


JENNIFER – Thank you very much.