LEO is Dutch drummer and composer Koen Herfst’s second solo album, which he worked on over the last 3 years between touring and releasing albums with his many different projects. LEO is a progressive metal concept album about the death of Leo Herfst, Koen’s father, who passed away when Koen was only 10 months old, while his mom was pregnant with his sister.
After the successful release of his first solo album Back to Balance(2015) and developing as a composer over the last few years, the moment came to tell this tragic story through music. The music came to life during a household move, after finding personal items like his father’s glasses and agenda. Koen also found tapes on which his father’s voice could be heard, as well as him playing the piano. Leo’s piano eventually moved to Koen’s studio and Koen wrote most of the music on this instrument. Because of this, the piano is the central point of this album and even features a recording of Leo’s playing.
The concept album has four main characters; the mother’s role is played by Anneke van Giersbergen (VUUR) , the father by Merijn van Haren (Navarone), ‘Death the person’ by Koen (voice with effects), and ‘the Son’ by Koen (singing). The album tells the tragic story from the characters point of view, expressing their emotions, thoughts and feelings. It takes the listener on a journey through this process, in the spirit of a progressive rock opera.
The album is mixed and mastered by the legendary Dan Swäno (Unisound) and the artwork is designed by Robert Muda van Hamel (Spacebar), who worked with De Staat a.o. Artwork will be revealed soon in an update!
Koen says: “My first solo album Back to Balance I wrote together with many different guest musicians’. For LEO I wrote every note, melody and lyric myself. Next to playing drums, I also play most guitars on the album, programmed most keyboards and also sang quite a few songs. So for me this is a very special album for many different reasons”.
LEO has been released worldwide on 14 July, 2019: Leo's birthday.
Anneke van Giersbergen (VUUR): vocals
Merijn van Haren (Navarone): vocals
Rob van der Loo (Epica): bass
Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater): keyboard solo
Paul Quinn (Saxon): guitar solo
Ruud Jolie (Within Temptation): guitar solo
Jord Otto (VUUR, My Propane): guitar solo
Mendel Bij de Leij (ex-Aborted): guitar solo
Ben Mathot (Ayreon): violin solo
Marcela Bovio (MaYaN): backing vocals
Harrison Young (The Cards): backing vocals
Throughout the album writing, recording and producing process, two documentary makers ( Alfredo Pouwiel and Anko Fekkes) followed Koen in the last years and they made a film about it. This documentary (also called LEO) will be shown at an exclusive album release event, which will be held on 14 July 2019 in The Hague.