Deathtale – “Apocalyptic Deadline”

Deathtale – “Apocalyptic Deadline” (Terrasound Records)

It might seem like a storm in a teacup, but Austria’s Deathtale have been thru their fair share of the wars, even if it’s in a relatively small and I would imagine overlooked scene in comparison to gargantuan German neighbor. Essentially formed out of the remnants of Demolition, a relatively successful thrash band who in their time toured with the likes of Dio, Testament, Manowar, Saxon and Overkill to name but a few, Deathtale is a full on thrash affair that goosesteps in the direction of their Germanic cousins like 80s Kreator, Sodom or even the mighty Celtic Frost! Evil axe swinging riffs, brutal vocals and hammer smashing drums throw you over the battlements on aggressive songs like ‘Blood Trail’, ‘Suffering Rain’ and ‘Imagine The Pain’, which although not original, definitely rate as competent division 2 thrash.

K-Lacura – “Portraits Of The Faceless”

K-Lacura – “Portraits Of The Faceless” (www.k-lacura.co.uk)

Funky, punky and groovy metal core from the splendid Oxfordshire countryside! Reflecting typical English eccentricity, K-Lacura’s name is loosely based on a Portuguese game show of all things, but their music is something else: a whirlwind mixture of bands like Pantera, Bullet For My Valentine and Soilwork – wow! Raw, throat strained vocals, emo harmonies and a strong power groove rhythm drive songs like ‘Beneath The Buried’, ‘Receiving End Of Bullets’ and ‘Drop Down’ that put out an eclectic mix unified by the energy bursting out’ve ’em. Get ready to hit the dance floor.

Hard Riot – “Living On A Fast Lane”

Hard Riot – “Living On A Fast Lane” (Pitch Black Records)

Whoa – these guys have been listening to massive amounts of AC/DC, at least in their hard rock riffs and thumping rhythms that would leave the Young brothers beaming beetroot LOL! Anywhere else in the world and they would probably be lynched (by their guitar strings LOL – Ed) but only in Germany could this really happen cos they also add in the melodic vocals and harmonies of bands like Gotthard! It’s an interesting combination to say the least on songs like ‘Hellfire Rock, ‘Tears In The Rain’ and ‘Black Widow’, if anything answering the question of what might’ve been if AC/DC had gone with ‘regular’ rock vocals. On the other hand, Hard Riot might be one of the zillions of small town bands all looking for their 15 seconds of fame.

Amongst Carrion – “We That Should Not Be”

Amongst Carrion – “We That Should Not Be” (www.facebook.com/AmongstCarrion)

Whoaa – these Welsh devil dogs play a mean n nasty metalcore that twists into you like a knife at death strike! From AJ’s unbelievably raw vocals, AC are like a metalcore version of Lamb Of God or Whitechapel as ugly brutal riffing graced by only the subtlest of warbling melodies and a reeving rhythm churn out songs like ‘The Fear In Her Eyes’, ‘Shadows Over Me’ and ‘Painted Red’. As bleak as their name suggests, AC’s material often comes across as pitiless as nature’s own savagery, yet graced with the hope each new dawn brings.

CROWN OF HORNS

CROWN OV HORNS made me think of a time when death metal was all about aggression and brutality and not so much about melodies. Think early Morbid Angel and Deicide and yopu’ll have a pretty good picture of what COH sound like. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I have to admit that I was happily surprised when I heard your music for the first time. It reminded me how great death metal is when done the way you do it. What was it that made you play the kind of death metal?
-Infernal greetings Anders, this is K. Helvete corresponding to your interview. Crown ov Horns is from Sabah, Malaysia, formed in 2008 with K. Helvete on Guitars and Shaun on Drums. Since the beginning we were very much into black and death metal bands such as Zyklon, Vader, Behemoth, Infernal War, Impiety, Cryptopsy which eventually inspired us to form a band. So when we formed Crown ov Horns in 2008 it was naturally our choice of music without any doubt.

Listening to you metal I can hear two great influences; Morbid Angel and Behemoth. Would you say that these two bands define what’s great about death metal?
-Yes indeed that these 2 bands are undeniably important influence for us, though I would not say they can define what death metal is in general, let’s not forget that there are numerous bands that are equally important and influential as well.

I had to search the net in order to get to know of Crown ov Horns. How good are you at promoting the band?
-As you can see we are available on many social media platforms such as MySpace, Facebook, ReverbNation, Soundcloud, etc. Aside from that, our releases are mostly available through foreign labels and distributors that are acquainted with our label Evil Dead Production and Ars Funebris Records.

When releasing albums on small labels how hard is it to find out to those that would be interested in your death metal?
-Initially every band has to start with smaller labels, not all bands are fortunate enough to get signed on a major label right away. Indeed it is not an easy task, we in the band and our label are always at our best in promoting the music.

How important is the social medias in spreading the word of the band to those that might be interested?
-Definitely one of the most important medium nowadays, though I know some might not agree with me on this, but to each their own. Social media marketing and promotion have proven to be effective for us, we have garnered a good amount of attention and following, and we have managed to make quite a decent number of sales as well.

I gotta say I’m impressed by the cover art work on you latest release. How hard is it to find the right people to work with when it comes to stuff like art work, production/engineering?
-Ironworx Gravefix is also another close comrade of ours, most of his works are killer and we are very fortunate as he stays in the same town as we are, here in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. The cover art was chosen from the many artworks that he put on sale on the Internet, we chose this one because it can relate to our lyrical concept. We will most likely be working with him again for our upcoming releases. Well, things are a less fortunate though when it comes to sound production and engineering, at the moment there are no sound engineer that can engineer or produce a proper death metal recording, this leave me no choice but to do everything myself, hence the existence of Helvete Studio, a moniker for my home studio.

Coming from a society totally different to the liberal Swedish how does the general public react to you playing death metal? Are you seen as demon spawns?
-Apart from the metal heads and people from the underground scene, only a handful of people know that we play death metal, mostly are close friends and musicians from other genres and they accept us for who we are, without any prejudice.
What kind of national/regional scenes do we talk about? Are there enough people interested in your kind of death metal for you to play live? How important is playing live to you as a band?
-Malaysia consists of 13 states, and separated by the South China Sea into 2 regions, Peninsular Malaysia and Malaysian Borneo. The number of Metal shows here varies, for Peninsular Malaysia, it is more frequent to see Metal shows in Kuala Lumpur, due to the fact that Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia, the place where most people congregate. The other states in Peninsular do have their own scene though it is much smaller if being compared. For Sabah, most shows are held in Kota Kinabalu and for Sarawak, there are 2 notable region that has a good number of metal heads, Sibu and Kuching.
Since Crown ov Horns is based in Sabah, transportation is our biggest setback when it comes to playing shows outside our state, as Peninsular is only accessible by air flights. Nonetheless, we have destroyed 4 shows since our inception and we have travelled outside of Sabah to Sarawak and Kuala Lumpur before for live shows.

Where do you see the greatest interest for Crown ov Horns? Any place that has shown more interest than others?
-Based on statistics generated from our social media websites, most visits are from United States, followed by Singapore.

What kind of future would you like for Crown ov Horns to have? Any goals you like to achieve?
-Looking forward to release more music, and to push ourselves beyond the boundaries of extremity on each release we put out. Also, to reach out to more listeners and to play as many live shows as possible. As for now, we have just entered the pre-production phase for our upcoming Full Length, if all goes well I foresee that we will enter the recording studio somewhere in June 2012.

CRUSHER

CRUSHER pretty much blew me away with their thrash metal reminiscent of an era gone. Of a time when Wehrmacht and Gang Green were at the height of good old thrash metal crossover. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Tell me why Crusher sound the way you guys do?
-I can talk a lot about sound. I love the sound of 80’s metal albums but there are also many interesting albums in terms of sound nowadays. I try not to dwell on one artist or album that I like. We tend to be close to old school thrash metal but at the same time we trying to play thrash metal in our own way. I don’t like too modern tone but abandon the high-quality sound is incorrect. That’s why we try to combine power and madness of old school thrash with nowadays tendencies.
How far back do you look for inspiration when you write your songs?
-There is an inspiration to write a thousand thrash albums in our country. There are a lot of problems associated with the politics, social issues, and other shit in our country. That’s why we have many lyrics about social problems. But I also like the funny lyrics especially after good drinking parties.
What part is the hardest: coming up with song titles or writing the lyrics? How do you know if a title is good?
-I find it’s hard to write lyrics. My English is not so good and I spend too much time on writing. The song’s title comes itself and if it kicks ass that’s the great one.
Is being a three piece the ultimate band line-up? What is so great about being just three guys?
Great question!! In the beginning of CRUSHER our line-up consisted of 4 guys but due to certain circumstances our guitarist left the band. Search for the replacement did not last long. We decided to stay as three piece band. Three people band has a lot of advantages, for example it is much easier to organize them. And when we are going to play in other city the road is cheaper, which undoubtedly pleases the organizers.
How pleased are you with the album now that it is done? Do you feel anything special about it?
-This is a great weight off one’s mind!! We’ve been writing this album for a very long time and many things changed during recording. For us, this is primarily a very good practice and experience, and of course a kind of stage, which we passed. We are glad everything turned out, considering the amount we’ve paid for the recording. There are a few things that we would like to be corrected but it can not be done and we will take them into account in further work in the studio.
How hard is it to find the right people to work with, the people that understands your vision?
-It’s a big problem in Ukraine. Thrash metal is not the most popular music by metalheads in UA. For the moment we started I didn’t know any existing Ukrainian band playing old school thrash. It was very difficult period! Nowadays Ukrainian thrash gets to the new level. It’s all because of the musicians’ efforts. I hope the situation will better in the future.
What kind of thrash metal scene are we talking about in Ukraine? Any great places to play or is it just bigger international bands that get noticed?
-As I said before, Ukraine thrash metal scene is on the level of its origin now. In the late eighties there was great thrash band ADEM, but now thrash is played by 17-25 y.o. guys only.
How important is it to have a national metal press that gives coverage to local/national bands in order to grow as a band?
-National metal press is very important! Unfortunately, there is not so much of it in Ukraine because it’s not so popular. There are few underground magazines but it’s not enough to advertise bands even inside the country.
How pleased are you to have ended up on Total Metal/Metal Scrap Records? What do you think that they will be able to do for you?
-Total Metal Records really helped us. Of course, musicians can do CD’s by themselves, but label supplies with informational support, distribution and more useful things. The biggest help from label is promotion of our bang abroad. This is very important for young band.
How far do you want to take Crusher? How much are you willing to sacrifice to get there?
-I don’t want to say something likes «I will sacrifice all for band» but we are making a lot of plans and we don’t want to stop! We are working on new material now. We are spending all our time and energy on the band and we like it! If it continues the same way it will be awesome and I hope one day to see you from the stage!!
CRUSHER
Yaroslav Dyatel

JELLY FICHE

It might be a construction but I have so far not come upon one bad band that has sung in French. Canadian JELLY FICHE are no exception. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

To me it seems that there is a whole French speaking hardrock/rock scene in Canada that we on the outside never get to hear of. Why do the French speaking part of Canada seem so reclusive and non-inclusive?
-We are only 8 millions in the big province of Quebec. We have a rock scene market here in Quebec, but the problem is; it’s a limited market, because of the French dialect that we speak here. If you don’t sing international French, it’s tough to expand your market to the other French countries around the world. You don’t see a lot of progressive French rock band in Canada. Many people think that French speaking or other languages except English restricts you in this music market. It’s probably true but none impossible. Many Jelly Fiche fans around the world don’t understand our French lyrics but feel the emotions of the songs. That is the most important! We are proud of our language and the French poetry fits very well on Jelly Fiche’s songs. In fact, that’s making our originality. We are different of other bands. If the French bands are less unknown in Germany or Europe, maybe it’s because the prog fans are not interested by them or it misses some promotion action there. Who knows… It’s not easy for a band to be known around the world at all. It’s a lot of work and our popularity grows slowly and surely. Internet helps a bit…

When I first saw you band name I came to think of a band named Jellyfish. Thankfully you were nowhere near them musically. Where do you draw inspiration from?
-The band name was found one year before we’ve known of them. It’s a real coincidence when we’ve discovered the existence of this band. Our name written like this «Jelly Fiche» means: «Jelly» for vintage sound and «fiche» for technologic aspect. Now, let me tell you about us… Once upon a time some friends had fun in the eastern coast of United States… These friends had a musical contract in Atlantic City in 2005 with other cover bands. Éric Plante (ex-member), J-F (guitar player) and I wanted to build our original band. In a day off, drinking at the beach, we have met some dead jelly fish near the ocean. It was a great afternoon partying with them… At a certain moment, I took a break and nearly watched these things who strangely looked like vintage oil light technology used in psychedelic ages. That inspired us the name.

What is it with French that makes everything spoken/sung seem so romantic? Or is that something we non-French speaking just been fed through music and literature?
-Thanks: that’s why we like to sing in our native language. It is exotic, romantic and original for prog music. In French language you have so much words to describe different images giving good precision to what we want to say. It’s true that English words songs sounds better, but I think we do not bad in French too!

When you compose do you have to be in a certain mindset for it to work? How does inspiration come to you?
-Usually we begin to work on an album with a new artistic concept. We are free to write music in the concept what we chose to write. For the lyrics, I like to represent the inside combat of a men using different stories or fantasies. I like to talk about nature, love, inner evils, hope, dreams; these are all subjects that I like to write. Finally, what I live inside during my inspiration period influences the songs I write. Music comes with the inspiration of the moment. On the first album we knew that we wanted a 70’s sound and now for the new one, we wanted it modern, more rock, more live. We’ll see later what we will do for the next one. When we write songs, first of all, we work on guitar riffs or songs individually. Next we get together to fix everything and we put some arrangements, solos or add other instruments. There’s no magic formula… The lyrics can inspire me melodies or the music can help me with the lyrics. When I work J-F’s songs, I always write lyrics after music, for example « Au NOM d’Apo Calypso » and « Le marchand d’hommes » ; or the opposite, Guy Marchamps’s poem (Quebec’s writer)« Les amants de Sarajevo » inspired me the music and became « Les amants et la guerre ».

Would you say that you sit equally comfortably in the hardrock scene as in the progressive rock scene? Where do you see yourself fit in?
-We are really just in between hard rock and progressive rock like Pink Floyd. Too pop to be prog and too prog to be pop… I like to say that we do «art rock»! Our second album is more hard then the first one but we can be soft as we can rock too, so we do our stuff and let the people choose what kind of music we do, but most of them say that we are prog French rock… The most important thing for us is that we touch the people’s hearts with our music!

How important is it to avoid compartmentalization to you as a band? Is that the death knell if you were to be put into a category?
-I understand that the people need some references to be safe. We like to hear that we are original with our songs and we like to be compared to Pink Floyd because it’s a great and famous band. For me the most important is to give our message at large and earn a living from our art !

When you sing in French does that make it harder to tour the rest of Canada? Isn’t it strange to live in a French speaking in an otherwise English speaking country?
-It’s natural as always to live in harmony with Canadian English people. At first it was not easy and much blood was shed in our history for freedom. Quebec is divided into French and English people. One half of the French people wants independence and all others want to stay in the Canadian country. It’s the paradoxical history of Quebec. We are proud to be who we are, French-speaking Quebecers artists and it is an honor to sing in the beautiful language of Molière. It is obvious that it is not easy to play in other english-speaking provinces. The francophone are still present in various festivals in Canada. In general, prog fans are more open minded than pop fans regarding languages. To me, a good song is a good song in any language! I like Sigur Ros, they are famous worldwide and sings in Icelandic, their mother language. Anyway the music unifies people, that’s the beauty of art !

Does this also make it harder to promote the band outside of Canada? Is there a greater tolerance for non-English sung music world-wide?
-Probably, we are penalized singing only in French in the rest of Canada, United States, England and other countries. It’s more difficult to book the band in English countries not open minded. It’s easier to promote a French group making progressive rock worldwide than a French pop group. The reception of our work is well received by prog fans and we gain popularity year after year… Outside of Quebec, Jelly Fiche made its last tour in 2011 in France which was a success. It’s true that it was a francophone country. It remains to be seen if we could deeply penetrate the English market over time. The conquest of any English market is not easy but possible!

What kind of live scene is Jelly Fiche part of?
-Jelly Fiche band leave no one indifferent. You like or you don’t like it, simply! Many fans told us that we distinguish ourselves from other groups in our show, by our lyrics, by our music, including our theatrical acting. The acting of the band on stage helps to understand the symbolism of our lyrics. We bring the listener into our surreal world; people must have an open mind and have to abandon themselves to board our universe. The musicians on stage are raging and they give a good rock show! For those who are attracted by the acting, they find their account and for those who want to hear good rock music, they are well served.

What does the womb of 2012 hold for Jelly Fiche?
-Up to now, we are invited to perform on stage at the Festival Prog’sud in Marseille (France) May 18 and at a the theater Muzikomania in Marseille with Elora’s prog band May 12. There are other performances dates scheduled for France in negotiation. In Quebec, we have upcoming shows this spring and summer. We are now looking for promoters that could help us to get more booking. We are also putting good effort to promote the new album in every part of the world!
Thank you Anders! I hope we’ll meet on an upcoming show one day in Germany!

www.jellyfiche.com
www.unicorndigital.com

SILENT OPERA

SILENT OPERA might just be another Italian goth metal/Lacuna Coil wannabe but lend them an ear and you’ll notice that there is more to them than meets the ear. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I gotta ask this: What is it with Italian metal bands and symphony? I don’t know how many symphonic metal bands I’ve heard coming from Italy.
-In these years in Italy there has been an explosion of bands of this kind. Some are born for passions, some to follow the trend, and some just to emulate the great symphonic metal founders. The difficult thing is to be able to find a specific identity which characterize the group, making the band unique.

Where do you draw your greatest inspirations from? What kind of vision did you have for Silent Opera?
-The inspiration, for both the music and lyrics, comes, as it often happens, from everyday life, from
feelings and the mood you’re in. One day you can be angry or happy, and a song see the life. Or maybe a melody comes into your mind while you’re just walking… Regarding the second question, Silent Opera are a strange concept; every period, every album, has its concept, used to express at its best the message we want to share. Immortal Beauty treats about the beauty-theme, the efforts to keep it unchanged forever, and the masks used to hide what we really are; the band comes as immortals devoted to pleasures and luxury. Silent Opera will always be like that: a visual group, not just a musical one.

I understand that you’ve gone through some line-up changes recently. What kind of state of mind does that leave you in when you are in the middle of promoting an album and then half the band leaves?
-Sure it’s not a great thing when some of us has a major priority and is forced to leave the band.
Especially when it happens when we are promoting a new album! These months were difficult; many certainties translated into doubts and problems. But we are glad we found two new members; the feeling and cohesion between us is great now, the passion that was getting lost has come back, and we are stronger than ever!

How do you continue on from that? Where do you find the new members and the strength to carry on?
-Silent Opera are back and already working on new materials; we’ll publish soon the first single with Aria at the voice. The strength to go on comes from this: when you find people who share your same dream and willing to work together at it; it’s a great feeling, especially when the new members perfectly fit in the band, also bringing new ideas that you’ll be able to see and listen to soon.

You’ve spent time on doing a music video. What were there reasons for that? What channels are there today to get it shown on?
A musical video, in this multimedia area, it’s pretty much needed; it associates faces to music, to express with images what the song is about, and, for us, it’s also to show the world we’re a visual group; images must be associated to our music to be able to realize what Silent Opera are. And that’s what we do at concerts, were we try to propose a real and concrete representation of the songs. The video allow us to shows what we are also to whom hasn’t got a chance to see us playing live. Obviously the main channels are Youtube and Facebook; they are indeed useful to show to everyone what we are, to fans and casual visitors.

There seem to be countless of record labels willing to give you a chance but how do you know that you’ve found the right one? Everybody can promise you gold and green forests but only few can deliver on that promise.
-The music world is a difficult one to emerge; but it’s not just that, it’s also full of promises. We
decided to sign with Ravenheart because they have been transparent and available from the beginning; with no doubts or marginal notes to make clear; we also have a strict direct contact; the label is always at disposal and kind; we are pretty satisfied with them.

What kind of reactions have you had to your album so far? Where do you see it fit in today’s metal scene?
-I must say we’re getting so much good responses! We received many positive feedbacks from
visitors through the world; either fans or not. Obviously there’s always someone who views things
differently, or has something to say or criticize; as long as the critics are constructive we try to learn from them and correct ourselves, whenever it’s possible! I think I am not supposed to place ourselves in today’s metal scene… our listeners should do it!

Do you see a danger in painting yourself into a corner with such a specific style of metal that you play? How much room for variation is there?
-I don’t think that our style has a limit. Indeed, as I said, Silent Opera are a changing concept, which evolves and grows. Surely symphonic music is the main road we follow, but there’s always a chance to characterize it and change it; take our “Your Muse”; it implements new elements in our music, with synthesizers, loops and darker atmospheres.

How do you take the record from the studio to the stage? How different will the music be live compared to on record?
-Obviously every orchestrations we use in our CD can’t be reproduced live, so we use bases to be able to give the fans the best reliable experience of our music. If the CD is what is needed to get every details of our compositions, live concerts are needed to give them life, and set-off their power and transmit it to the crowd!

Do you feel that the rest of 2012 will be the year for Silent Opera? What have you planned?
-This will surely be a great year for the band! We are going to play live in many dates, we are going to promote the album at our best, and in the meanwhile we’ll continue to compose new songs for the next CD, hoping to start to record it by the end of the year. Obviously to keep you updated on our activities, you can follow us on www.silentopera.it or www.facebook.com/silentoperaitaly

UNITED MIND CLUB

UNITED MIND CLUB impressed me enough to want to find out more about them. Hopefully you too will be wiser after having read this interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Why is it that I haven’t heard of you guys until now?
Del Toro: As we say in Russia, everything has its time; I think you’ll hear about us again and again!
Train Freeman: We also have another proverb: in Russia for a long time harness then run fast!

When you have built up a back catalogue and nobody seem to have heard of you does that feel like a failure?
Train Freeman: How do you know where it begins luck and where it ends? What generally means to be successful? Kurt Cobain was lucky or unlucky? Life is not divided into black and white, life is a struggle and it is the common rule for everybody.
Del Toro: We never felt like failures, we always see the goal and believe in success, this real kavabanga!!!

Listening to your album, it seemed I heard echoes of such bands as: Rammstein and White Zombie / Rob Zombie. How eclectic you really are?
Train Freeman: I think we have the most eclectic band in the world. This is Mind Metal.
Del Toro: Actually, we do what we like and what we can do well, based on our desires and possibilities.

How important is presentation to the band? Looking for your promo shots, it seems that you are not without a sense of humor, right?
Train Freeman: For us, this is one more way to express ourselves and our music.
Del Toro: We in Russia are always “welcome by clothes”, so this is an important factor and we bet on it. At the expense of self-irony – why not, if a person feel emotions and even more positive it is always pleasant.

How far can you take the humor bit without it becoming a parody? When does the music lose its seriousness?
Train Freeman: Now all the bands are trying to be the most serious in the world, for me this is a parody, we are creating something new. We go with you, but we’re not like you.
Del Toro: In my opinion – all depends of the style of music. If you play punk rock so there imagination can reach enormous peaks, in our style we try to combine humor with our share of rather serious music and uneasy lyrics.

Is there something you like to say with the album art work and title? How involved are you in the whole creative process with art work etc.?
Train Freeman: It is impossible to explain, this is a mental process.
Del Toro: : We have discussed for a long time about what should be the cover, invented and developed a variety of options, a lot of work has been done by us and our friends from Bulgaria and in the end we chose the best of a huge portfolio.

Does it feel like it is for real now that you guys have a physical product out on the market?
Train Freeman: Yes, this is the real test of our music for its valuation.
Del Toro: I think every musician at a time feels it and we are no exception. The main thing applies to everything philosophically. If we are a product and someone needs us, so we are a good product :).

What do you think of the whole digital V/S physical battle that seem to be going in today’s music consumption?
Train Freeman: At one time, people used to say that cinema can kill theatre. This did not happen. The same thing will happen with CD, they are not going anywhere & will take their place such as vinyl, just their number will be less.
Del Toro: This battle has long been lost by physical media, although I personally have always preferred to live sound, for example, nothing can replace good old vinyl.

How important is playing live to you? What do you get out of playing live?
Train Freeman: During the concert you realize why you record an album. That’s all for them – for those for whom music – a whole life.
Del Toro: Incredibly important! Only on the live performances we see glowing eyes of our listeners, feel their emotions and give ourselves completely into the power of the public. That is unforgettable experience.

How do you take United Mind Club even further from here?
Train Freeman: In the nearest future we’re going to Europe tour in support of the album, and then we’ll record a new album. I think everyone will be pleasantly surprised; I’ve already done about 700 reefs. See you soon!
Del Toro: We’re going to constantly move forward to improve our music, to deliver even more fun to our fans. Soon we are going to record a new album, it would be cool!

WINTERTHRONE

WINTERTHRONE turned out to be one impressive one-man project. So impressive that I had to interview the man behind it all. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I’m not so sure that I hear Burzum in your sound but I did come to think of Obsidian Gate when I listened to “The Godslayer”. What was the reason behind the creation of “The Godslayer”?
-I do not think that Burzum influenced me, and neither did Obsidian Gate, although there are stilistic similarities (Burzum: quite simple guitarstyle Obsidian Gate: rather high speed and a lot of keyboards). O.G`s Music is much more „thoughtful“ and skillfully played and their melodies more similar to „real“ classic music, while Winterthrone has its focus more on a violent and lofi-raw side of black metal and uses keys in an different way. The reason to create this album? I am not sure that there is need for a reason or any kind of goal to create music. It just satisfies me. it is more or less what I do since I am 14 years old. I think it is the act of forming and creating that I like. Watching ideas grow and develop.

The title “The Godslayer” implies that there is something bigger behind, like a concept for example. What is it that you want to say with the album? The God’s to slay could be any number of characters.
-„Concept“ is a big word. No, it is a little story in the album, telling about the godslayers attempt to change his fate and take revenge for his (undisclosed) sufferings. During its course he goes from despair to blind wrath and hate, then to triumph, then to insight ( yes, he succeeded, but what now?) and therefore back to despair again. It maybe mirrors that all human effort in the end is pointless…or something else. Maybe the question if man is able to find purpose in himself, without the guide of self made „greater beings“ of any kind. Or more profane: „The god(s) to slay“ must not necessarily be seen in a religious/Christian way, more like every concept/circumstance that makes man dumb, ignorant or tries to oppress or manipulate otherwise. But getting rid of authority and omnipresent attempts of control always comes with a certain amount of (self-)responsibility, and not everyone is made for that.
It could also be just some thoughts on the mechanism of rebellion in general. In the end it is the music that is most important for me, though I think that there should be some content in my lyrics. I am not on some kind of „mission“ and do not want to promote a certain ideology or statement with the album.
It is a story (not a novel, more some vaguely connected pictures) the listener can make of what he wants. Even ignore it and go for the music.

Germany is a pretty liberal country even if you have the Christians at the helm of Government. How much of an impact does the Church have over everyday life in Germany?
-Nearly none, you can avoid church and religion very easy if you want. Even in school no one is forced to take bible lessons or something. At the other hand, there are some Christian traditions that most people do participate in, but I doubt that this participation is heartfelt. Christianity seems to be hollow these days. At least in that part of Germany I live in. No need for burning churches here…

In being alone in this how much time do you spend on every little detail to get it perfect? When does enough is enough happen when nobody tells you to quit?
-It is always an „eternal struggle“ and I truly hate that part. I can work many months on the musical details and the mixing without making major changes, just moving in circles. When I really start hating it, I usually make several versions and then force myself to pause for a week or two. After that I choose the version I consider to be the best and make some final adjustments.

When you are alone in the creative process how much of a job is it to cut and slice the good from the bad that you have to do when there are more people contributing ideas? Do you use everything that pops into your head?
-Usually a Winterthrone-album in its basic(!) elements is written in one session, it takes me one, maybe two days. I have to be in the mood, being able to have nothing else in my head. It all has to feel right, I need to be obsessed to a certain degree. When this is not the case, or it had a good start, but then the flow stops for some reason, I usually throw it all away. Since the bones-album in 2006, I threw away 3 or 4 full albums.

When you record, what do you start with? Is it easier to start with the drums and then work your way up from there?
-I always start playing guitar, writing down riffs and melodic ideas on a sheet of paper. Maybe in this state I also write down first words or a first song name or working title. When I feel I have enough material, I record it to a basic drumbeat and arrange and refine it. The other elements are built around and get worked over and over to the final shape. Once I am satisfied, I spend a weekend listening to the new music, drinking and makind notes for lyrical- or other ideas like intros,solos or samples.
In the end I add the vocals. After that the fun-part is over and the mixing and the above mentioned moving-in-circles-part begins.

The art work to the CD version that I received is kinda dark and murky making the resolution rather weak and hard to see the actual artwork. Was that the intention? To make it somewhat more suggested than actually seen so to speak?
– I have to state that it did not look that blurry an dark while working on it on my computer. I do not think that it was the pressing plants fault, I just have to improve my skills concerning graphics and industrial printing….but at the other hand, it would have been much more dissatisfying if the print would have become too bright;). So, in the end I am ok with the artwork being dark and murky, especially if it causes the recipient to take a closer look..

How important is art work to get the picture/meaning through? Can art say more than word ever can about a concept/aesthetic?
-When I listen to music of other artists, I do not care if I get their message right, I do not even care about the lyrics most of the time and barely take a look at the artwork… I surround myself with the sound and let my mind go to whatever direction it wants. And exactly that is the important thing when it comes to music. So I may end up liking music of complete fools just for its sound and the mood it gets me in. That is a fact I consider to be good for me. Otherwise I would not be able to enjoy some of those great „Hail Satan, I-am-way-more-evil-than-you“ BM-bands and metal-stereotypes in general as much as I do… Concerning my own music, I sure try to create an artwork that supports its mood and maybe contains references to the lyrics, but I do not consider it to be very important. The second part of your question: I think words, graphics and music are equally able to decribe a concept or aesthetic.Combinations of words can be art, too. It is just not my cup of tea.

Does the music and the art have to have anything to do with each other to make it a whole?
-I do not think that the music needs the artwork to be complete, it can stand for itself. At least I do not need to see any artwork to decide if I like music or not. Nevertheless it is a nice feeling to hold a complete album in your hands. So, they do not need each other to be „a whole“, but the artwork of an album maybe „gives directions“ to what awaits the listener and helps establishing a mood. To me that is secondary, but other people may have other priorities. I do not consider myself to be a graphic artist, I find it really hard to being called an artist at all. Winterthrone is my playground, where I can do anything I want, and I want to do it all alone. Sure, I could pay people (who can do better) to get that perfect look or production, but I simply enjoy doing it myself – in this process improving my skills, and in the end hopefully get exactly the result that I want. Most of the time I don`t…;)

Where does the future take Winterthrone?
-There is no master plan or something like that…the only thing I can say right now, is that I will re-record the „The Burning Skies“-demo from 2002 quite soon, since this year is Winterthrones 10-year-anniversairy. After that, I will keep on creating and releasing music from time to time, without pressure or goal.