EAR DANGER

Great metal never gets old. Dutch EAR DANGER are proof of that. Read the interview I did with Matt to find out more about this band. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Why is it that so very few seem to have heard of the band? Did you not do it right the first time around?
-It’s hard to say if we made mistakes or not. In retrospect, you may say that we should have focused more on releasing an album rather than stuffing our weekends with as many gigs as we could get, but hey, what did we know? We were playing our favourite music, having tons of fun and free drinks every show, so can’t really say there are any regrets.

When you have a history that dates back almost 30 years yet only seem to be in the starting grid how much of a stand still does it feel like?
-When you’re almost 50, any standstill in time is welcome, hahaha. I do not quite agree about the starting grid, we have been very surprised about the amount of people that still knew Ear Danger and welcomed our return. On the other hand, what can you expect when your band as around for barely 3 years in the early 80’s ? You hay say that we were able to continue where we left off….. in a completely different time set, that is.

Why did you want to give it a go again? What will you do differently this time around?
-That was the thing of “unfinished business”. Like: playing in a band with a steady line-up. That;s one thing we achieved and thank God for that. And, we started recording an album in 1984 and never managed to complete the recordings. But, last year we recorded § Full BLast At Last`, an album title not randomly chosen.

When you come from Holland with all the great bands that have come from there with Golden Earring, Vengeance, Picture and so on does that bring with it a desire to prove yourself as equally great?
-Not really, no. Golden Earring is a completely different ball game, but as compared to Picture and Vengeance, they have always been more mainstream metal whereas as we have sought the darker corners of NWOBHM which implies that we will probably not get as big as aforementioned bands. But then again, Holocaust never had the exposure Iron Maiden had, and that´s just the way it is….

How vital does the old stuff feel today and how much have you had to re-arrange it to fit in with today’s heavy metal scene? How well does Ear Danger fit into the scene today?
-The old stuff feels extremely vital. Both the album track listing as our set list are composed of old, newer and brand new material and it blends in one hundred per cent. We have however update the older material in the sense that it is being played in a much more rhythmic was, Especially as far as the guitars are concerned. In Holland, we feel that we fit in well in the metal scene. We are a band that has stayed true to the NWOBHM style. That will not change. Do not expect a style break, it will be exactly as you would expect Ear Danger to sound.

When you started what where did you find your inspiration? How much of that still affects the way that the band sounds like?
-When I started wring for Ear Danger. I already listened to a lot of NWOBHM bands, such as Holocaust, Bitches Sin, Raven, Angelwitch etc. Later I also grew fond of especially Canadian bands, Anvil and Exciter in the first place and Cauldron.

The Dutch metal scene seem to be more about the extreme end of things, How do Ear Danger fit into it today? Really ?
-Actually, I don’t mind where bands come from but not really into extreme metal. So, I wouldn’t know. I sometimes listen to Hail of Bullets, which is rather extreme and Izegrim has surprised me, but really, extreme metal is not my cup of tea

Over the last decade or so heavy metal has gone through somewhat of a revival. How do you notice that there is a renewed interest for heavy metal?
-Much to my surprise, we seen many young fans at our shows. They dress the way we did 30 years back, buy VINYL and are really into he “old”bands

Will we see a new album from you guys? What can those that remember you expect from the new stuff?
-HELL YEAH ~! This is what is going to happen: Our VINYL release is almost sold out. Record Heaven in Sweden still has a couple of copies though. But the album will be released on CD by Emanes Records in France. In the meantime we have already started writing new material for a second album. Which will be the same style as “Full Blast At Last” Do not expect anything else than our own style

What kind of future is there for Ear Danger?
-I don’t know….. with the CD release we may be able to play a couple of bigger festivals. Because in the end, it’s not about album sales or anything, it’s about playing your huts out on any stage that you can play on !

HATERIAL

HATERIAL is another cool Finnish metal band. My questions were answered by Ipe who plays bass and sings backing vocals. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

How much influence does the cold and harsh Finnish winters have on the sound of the band?
-Well, it does create certain atmospheres and melancholy during the winter when you hardly see sun during the day here in the north, but you have keep in mind that there’s a time in the summer when sun doesn’t go down at all. Usually people who are not around here find these drastic extremes quite hard to tolerate, so you can imagine what happens with your psyche when you are from here. When expressed through our sound I think the feeling of the raw power without any unnecessary elements is the base of it. When you walk in the snowstorm and you’re frozen to the bone, the only thing you think is how to get to where ever the hell you’re going without any stops. Just that approach tends to be too boring and used by too many bands, so when you add the softer elements from the strong summer contrast you appreciate the laid back melodic feelings in between. The things here in north are more based on the feelings than the techniques, I’d say. Always have been and hopefully always will…

Can we speak of a Finnish metal wonder? Or is that more of a mass media fabrication?
-Every country breed good bands, that’s nothing new to no one. I think in Finland we just seem to be a bit too much louder about our achievements than the others. We always seem to be a bit out of the picture (even with the interweb) and follow very closely behind. Not creating anything totally new, but always with a quite unique sound to separate us a bit at least. Usually the appreciation in Finland comes after you’ve “made it” abroad. That tells something about it as well…

I’ve been trying to figure out what the band name is all about but I haven’t done so yet. What made you chose this as the band name?
-World today is pretty much based on production, and we’re not happy with the elements it’s producing. The material; laws, religions, corporations, the whole nine yards, you know. The “real” reality we see is just a camouflage that should be ripped down so the people could take a real good glimpse of the real world and see what direction we’re going. So there you have it, “haterial”, we hate the system (material) and we hate the common reality… Now you’re probably even more confused, but people do intend to get face palm reactions from our name. I suggest a mirror.

In this time and age of no borders does it matter where your record label is located?
-Not really if the communication between the band and the label works and the key elements like distribution, etc are handled correctly. I think the actual difference is in the national publicity of the release, I mean if the label is located in Finland it probably makes sure that all the main areas of marketing are taken care of for the maximal exposure for the bad in their home ground.

How involved are you with your label? Do you communicate all your demands all the time?
-With Wormholedeath the communication is open and first hand, we can express our thoughts straight to the top and get the feedback from there pretty much in real time. We trust that everyone after that stage and behind that contact are professionals and know their job, so hopefully we never have to intervene, since we tend to speak out our minds quite straight.

I don’t know how involved you’ve been in the metal scene in the past but do you notice a difference in how independent labels operate today?
-I’ve been in the metal scene as a player since ’87 so I know what you mean. I remember the times when independent labels were more than common. Nowadays it’s the survival of the biggest, and that sucks. The whole scene is in the strange vortex that no one knows what will happen next. Independent labels with their own publishing ideology still exists of course, but the sort of “semi big labels” with good enough know-how that new talents could benefit to the max are usually either pushed down or taken over by bigger labels. Then the whole picture changes and good riddance with the ideology welcome financial facts. This kills an urge to find something totally new and jams the development of music. Thank god for the live shows.

Do you feel any competition from the rest of the Nordic bands in the same genre as yours?
-There are too many bands and everyone can make brilliant tunes in their living room studio, so there’s no point to spend any energy on thinking about the competition. Also the whole “genre” idea has gotten totally out of hands (I really do suspect those “larping” engineers with their annoying need to make things more complicated than they are), so who which is what, couldn’t care less. At this point if you happen to get a gig with some other band, you feel unity right away and wish all the best for them as well so at least some of us could go forward. There’s no room for real competition or anything like that at the present day, at least at the level we’re at. We’re just trying to stand out like everyone else, on the album and with our live shows.

How much influence/inspiration does the whole Nordic metal scene bring to you as a band?
-In the “brotherhood” kinda way I’d say a lot. We have to stand our ground amongst the talents around the globe. Even if there are lots of references to our similarity with Swedish melodic metal scene, we really don’t have any inspirational sources there or in any Nordic metal act. There are lots of good Nordic metal bands that we do listen, but I think the real cuts are deeper and they are global and across the genres for sure.

Does every Finnish metal band chart on the national chart? What does it mean to chart? Does it mean anything?
-This is funny, I was talking about this subject last week and there was a time that I used to work in one of the record stores providing those sales lists for charts. All in all the sales of CD’s are down which is no newsflash to anyone, and what that does is that if you really want and hook up a “campaign” for a week in your network you can easily get your album on the chart for a week with ridiculously small sales and then you can take all the print screens you want and be happy. The actual “winners” are the artist that really sell, either by being just so fucking good or being able to pre-sell their album (by a label) to a biggest chains in Finland, so the charts are hyped straight away.

What would you like the future to hold for the band?
-Well….we got around ten new and of course better songs ready that we’re fine tuning for the next album. The style will be there, so no worries. What we want is to get more and more live shows so we can show people what we’re about. Have your face palm, hate our music, hate our faces, but just come to our gig and we’ll make your head nod and adrenalin run! Try it, it’s been good so far and it’s getting better…

LEVANIA

LEVANIA is another exciting Italian band that needs to be discovered. Do so to begin with by reading this interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Do you see any limitations to being described as gothic metal? What is gothic in your metal to you?
Elena: unwittingly have hit the mark. For us, the definition of gothic metal has always been cause of problems within the band! Because actually the gothic genre is very broad in that we may be the only male voice as the only female voice can be symphonic or less .. we had no small dissension, but fortunately we overcame them all, almost unscathed. For us gothic means introspection first. then, female voice, growl, and what we play in our music

Reading the press release you are made out to be some sort of intellectual metal band. What kind of influence has Sturm und Drang, neo-classicism and 19th century philosophers had on the sound/lyrical themes of Levania?
Elena: ehehe, yes, we have an intellectual vein, but without smell under the nose! in our first album, venza “intellectual” can be seen, for example, texts such as Narrow way of Juliette, in which the basic story is taken from a short story by Edgar At Poe, interspersed with a poem of catullo. Latin and ancient greek we like very much, for their musicality, and always try to stick to the original philological way.

Is romanticism and classicism necessary means to fully be gothic? Where does gothic fit in the 21st century?
Elena: In romance lontanza time was critical. For us this album is the gothic should dye distance, both temporal and physical. Today there is too much technology, if I find the Gothic today I’d move to force things, at least as topics on cyber.

Is it possible to control a bands destiny to a hundred percent? How much a life of its own does a band live?
Fade: No it’s not possible but I think it’s possible to make events happen. Everyone makes his one hundred percent in the band, it’s clear that any single different personality bring differtet provision, the result is what you listen.

How much of a pre-described agenda did you have when the band formed and how much has been improvised?
Fade: When we formed the band we had no pre-descibed agenda ma not all was improvised. We had clear ideas from the beginninig about what kind of music play and what kind of songs write. It was also clear in our minds to follow a serious way of working. Music is our passion but we want play in a professional way putting as much effors as possible. Of course the wish is to arrive to be a famuos and known band all over the world.

How do you go about getting a sound that is yours alone? What kind of ingredients have you use to cook up you take on gothic metal?
Still: The sound is the last thing. First, for being original we must have original ideas, do not look for ideas from other groups, nor does it stop too much attention on them. The original sound is given by the originality of the idea. How much original an idea is, the more you can experiment new sounds. More original is a song more surprise the listener. The ingredients of gothic metal are: female voice, growl and keyboard, while in our kitchen we thought of adding at least a dozen more ingredients. You will discover listening.

I know what synthesis is but I’m not sure about parasynthesis. What is the album title all about?
Elena:Parasynthesis is complex dynamic of italian language. A “parasintesi” means merge of opposites. In the Italian Grammar means “generation of a word by apposition of opposites affixes. For us means duality, the opposition between soft and hard, black and white

Do you spend a lot of time on researching your lyrics or do they come mostly from the gut?
Elena: ehheh, our song …our songs are not born ever of jet. of jet we improvise, but then the pieces we study them thoroughly. and so for the lyrics

How important is image in today’s metal scene? What kind of part does it play in getting people to remember you, to set you apart from all the other thousands of metal bands out there?
Moon: For us the image plays a key role in the metal scene like in other musical genres. The metal has examples of a successful image in the field of metal from an early age and over time has become increasingly refined. Levania We are convinced that this combination must be built from all new recruits to be competitive in all respects music. For the moment we are still in the process of growth and experimentation and our aim is to grow more and more in terms of image and also offer a show that can enhance our compositions. Be remembered is not easy in today’s scene and now was invented a bit ‘of everything (in the most successful cases and less), but we will do our best to to remind us in one way or another …

What future would you like to see?
Fade: We will continue making our music trying to write always better songs. Our biggest desire is making peolple to appreciate what we do with so mouch passion.

BLOOD OF THE SUN “Burning On The wings Of Desire”

BLOOD OF THE SUN
“Burning On The wings Of Desire”
(Listenable)
This is band that I have a history with. I’ve heard the previous three albums they’ve released and I liked what I heard. I don’t care what anybody else says. I like the whole stoner rock thing that happened a decade or so ago. Just like I liked Grunge when that happened. You just gotta sort out the good from the bad. And on the good stoner side you find Blood of The Sun. This is the kind of hardrock that I like the best. There is a groove to it that makes my feet move. Blood Of The Sun is like a cross between Molly Hatchet and The Hellacopters. This is booty shaking rock the hard way. If you’ve missed out on this band then it’s about time you do something about it. Anders Ekdahl

THE DESCENT “Dimensional Matters”

THE DESCENT
“Dimensional Matters”
(Xtreem Music)
All that I know about The Descent is the things that they said in the interview that I did with them. Yet I can’t help feeling that this album will be a highlight of the year for me. Minor or major time will tell. I’m not too fussy about the music being commercial or not. All I go for is if it is any good. This is metal for those of you whom like me think that In Flames and Dark Tranquillity are the epitome of the Gothenburg sound. Throw in all kinds of bands from Gothenburg (Gardenia, Taetre etc.) with that characteristic sound and you’ll end up with The Descent in the end. I like this. I could listen to this for hours and not tire. Perhaps not the highlight of the year that I had hoped for but a strong enough melodeath album to make it melodeath of the month. Anders Ekdahl

ENTRAPMENT “The Obscurity Within”

ENTRAPMENT
“The Obscurity Within”
(Soul Seller)
Dutch death metal. That alone should wet your appetite. A better declaration of content you won’t get anywhere else. That the band has a name just like a movie with Catherine Zeta Jones and Sean Connery doesn’t make matter worse. If the band can live up to my highly set standards then this will be like the best sex ever with the most gorgeous woman on earth. That this is old school in the vein of Asphyx, Nihilist, Entombed, Grave and Autopsy is just an added bonus. I can’t seem to get enough of this kind of death metal. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again for as long as albums like this comes my way. This kind of death metal touches regions on my gut that no other metal does. I could die happy listening to this kind of death metal and nothing else. Entrapment is another one to add to my list of cool old school death metal. Anders Ekdahl

FOGALORD “A Legend To Believe In”

FOGALORD
“A Legend To Believe In”
(Limb Music)
I gotta say that the first time I saw the band’s name I kinda laughed but as the band explained in the interview it is a combination of the words fog and lord with an added A. It does take a bit of getting used to but once you’re over the hilariousness of the name you’ll see that this is another of those grandiose Italian symphonic metal bands that there seem to an endless supply of. If you like Rhapsody and any other Italian symphonic power metal band of the epic galloping variety you’ll simply love this too. This is like listening to the metal version of Lord Of The Ring trilogy. You’re taken on a journey into a fairytale kind of land that seems to never end. This is the kind of metal that is contagious. You can’t sit and be downright depressed when you listen to this kind of metal. This will put a smile on even the most hardcore pessimist. There is an abundance of positive energy oozing out of this album. Anders Ekdahl

GLORIA MORTI “Lateral Constraint”

GLORIA MORTI
“Lateral Constraint”
(Cyclone Empire)
For some reason I haven’t paid any attention to Gloria Morti until now. I have no idea why. But as they say; better late than never. I’ll just have to start with the most recent album and work my way back to get to know this Finnish band better. Somehow, and for whatever reason I don’t know, I expected this to be in the vein of Impaled Nazarene but then I realized that I haven’t paid attention to IN n a very long while. But still that is where I’d like to place Gloria Morti. There ‘s the same kind of rage to this as there was to IN. I like the thrash till death kind of approach that this album takes. Slay all, leave no prisoners. No compromise, just full throttled death metal. In that aspect they also remind me of Impiety and a bunch of Aussie extreme metal bands that too have that uncompromising attitude. I like it. Anders Ekdahl

GROAN “The Divine Right Of Kings”

GROAN
“The Divine Right Of Kings”
(Soul Seller)
I liked Cathedral from the very first note on their debut album “Forest of Equilibrium”. Back then they were quite unique. No band played that slow in my book and got away with it. Today we all know that there is a plethora of bands so slow that you think time has stopped. Groan sounds to me like the missing link to the 70s. If that is good or bad you’ll have to be the judge of. I’m a huge fan of Black Sabbath’s debut album from 1970. Not only because I was born that year but because it has an aura that few album can match. I get the same kind of aura from this album. There is something sinister lurking in the forests. Something truly horrific that cannot be seen or touched but still is there. If Sabbath’s debut was the epitome of evil back in 1970 this second album from Groan comes very close second to it. Anders Ekdahl

LION SPLICER “Holiday In Dystopia”

LION SPLICER
“Holiday In Dystopia”
(-)
Lion Splicer returns with a new album. For those of you following us here at Battle Helm you’ll know that this is a band made up of true die hard metalheads. For each new release that we get exposed to the band has taken a step or two forward. So it is with great expectations that I take on this new album. Will they blow my socks off this time or will I end up feeling a bit let down because they haven’t progressed the way I’d expected them to? Lion Splicer wasn’t an easy entity to take in even on that first album. There was an awkwardness to them much like Primus or Mr Bungle without the oddness. That is still present on this new album. This is not straight forward in any sense of the word. This twists and turns like a bull at a rodeo. Listening to Lion Splicer is like being served a smorgasbord of all different style of hardrock/metal that has been on the table since the 80s. If that is a good thing or not I’ll leave to you to decide. I know what I think of it (I like it). Anders Ekdahl