assassins bladeASSASSINS BLADE could very well be the title of an 80s Hong Kong kung-fu movie but it isn’t. So instead of a movie night you get to read an interview I did. Anders Ekdahl ©2016

What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-We simply want to be rock stars!! Just kidding. Peter and Dave will often meet in Peter’s studio to try out new riffs and lyrics. 9 times out of 10, this process ends up with a new song. And we write a lot of songs, most of which never end up on an album. Metal music is a very special medium of expression. Some people write novels, some other will paint; we write metal songs. That’s the way we express ourselves. When the songs are good, we record them and then, we turn into metal fans and we listen back with a critical mind. At that point, if we enjoy listening to those songs, we end up thinking that they may as well end up on an album. How do we get the urge to play metal music? I do not really know. I guess it is in our DNA.

How is this new recording different from the previous? How do you take your sound one step further?
-It’s hard to tell since this is Assassin’s Blade’s first album. But we could compare this album to the ones we recorded with our former bands. For example, in his other band, Void Moon, Peter writes more of a Doom metal style. Dave has been writing fast melodic riffs and still does. As for me, my vocal style sounds very much like what I used to do in Exciter, with the difference that I use my wide range much more naturally instead of screaming three quarters of the time.
Also, the music for this album was written before I joined the band, so I mostly adapted to the band’s style. Now, Peter and Dave know what I can do, so they will probably write the next album with my vocal abilities in mind.

When you write songs about the topics you do what kind of reactions do you get?
-We’ll have to see about this one. First and foremost, we are metal fans, and that reflects in our material, including the lyrics. Peter wrote all the lyrics for Agents of Mystification, and his interests are quite diverse. He is smart and reads quite a bit, so he gets a lot of inspiration from the books he reads. He likes classics, fantasy, epic sagas… very much the metal type. Therefore, we think the reaction to our lyrics will be positive and that the listeners will enjoy the lyrics for their content as well as for their form.

Whenever I think of you I cannot help wandering off to different bands. What bands do you identify with?
-We do not try to identify with specific bands or a specific era on purpose. We all are musicians coming from different backgrounds, which probably explains the stylistic diversity of our songs. We write intuitively and play what makes us buzz. Of course, when you listen to our music, you can detect certain definite influences like Priest, Maiden, Motörhead etc. Those influences will always show here and there. No one is 100% original. But in the end, our music will mainly sound like Assassin’s Blade.

How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-That was quite simple. We found this artwork made by a South American artist named JeanManuel Tumburús. We just thought it would fit really well. When you see it you will understand.

What kind of topics do each song deal with? Is there a red thread to the songs?
-As I already mentioned, Peter, our lyricist, mostly gets his inspiration from his readings, so the lyrics talk about a great diversity of subjects. Is there a common thread? I would say yes, values like greatness, honor, conquest, fantasy, even philosophy; all topics that are traditionally metal, in my view.

How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-Song titles will mostly be figured out after the lyrics are written. They will either sum up the story of the song or they will simply reproduce some of the lyrics that are used in the songs, mostly in the chorus.

Is digital a format that fits your music? Is digital killing music?
-In itself, digital is just a format and it has its pros and cons when it comes to sound quality. We would go not so far as to say that the digital format is “killing” the music, but it is a fact that with digital, it is easier than ever to get music without paying for it. It is convenient… maybe too convenient. That format has radically changed the way bands do business. It has become extremely hard to make a living from record sales. That’s when you realize that the majority of metal bands release albums not so much to make money, but rather to express their creativity and enjoy the contact with the metal fans when they play live. That alone is a strong enough source of motivation for us.
Besides digital seems to be annihilating a ritual that has always been dear to metal fans: going to the record stores and just browsing through the albums. I remember when I was a kid, I would spend a lot of time in various metal music stores, especially when I was going to the big city like Montreal or Quebec City. That’s how I discovered a lot of bands.

How much of a live band are you? How important is playing live?
-We all had plenty of occasions to enjoy the stage with other bands, and we will make sure Assassin’s Blade plays live as often as possible. As I said in my previous answer, live performance is an important reason why we are in the music business. Metal concerts are sort of a ritual that is quite exhilarating, whether you are on stage or in the crowd. We will have to wait for the reactions the album generates and see what offers we get. There are a lot of great festivals in Europe.

What lies in the future?
-First, we will see what happens with the imminent release of Agents of Mystification. We already started writing new material. What the future holds for Assassin’s Blade? Well… it is partly up to us and partly up to the metal fans. We will certainly do our part to make our material as exciting as possible; then the metals fans will be the judges.

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