ONE INCH GIANT

ONE INCH GIANT was a surprise to me. Another Swedish band that I had no idea existed. But that is a changed now. Read this interview to find out more about them. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

It might seem strange in this age of instant knowledge through social media but I have not heard of you guys before this new album. So a short introduction might be in order?
-One Inch Giant was born in 2009 and released the album Malva two years later. Last year we signed to Soulseller Records and this year we release our second album.

How hard is it to come up with a band name that will stand out in this day and age? What should a great band name have?
-It needs to be spontaneous, not studious, memorable but not pretentious. For example Arsonists Get All The Girls is not a good bandname! Or is it?! We aim to signal humble heaviness with our name.

What came first, the sound or the name? How hard is it to find a niche all your own musically?
-The sound first, we knew it was heavy and needed a name to signal it. It’s hard if you try hard. If you gather people that like interesting music and everyone is allowed to maintain their own style, I think it can be achieved, even in 2013.

How much do you think about what will work on an audience when you write songs? How much do you do it for your own pleasure? How do you balance what you want to hear with what an audience wants to hear?
-We write music that we like to listen to, so it’s very selfish in that sense. That being said, we try to analyze and modify the songs so the different parts are being put together in an interesting order, thus maintaining the intriguing parts of music.

What would you say has been your greatest influences/inspirations?
-People, life, anxiousness and death.

When you release your debut album nobody expect much but when you are about to release a follow up all of a sudden there are expectations to be filled. How do you deal with these expectations? What would be a total failure to you guys?
-A failure would be to realize that you’ve written music that you don’t want to play or market. Not feeling pride about your work would be a failure. That means you haven’t tried hard enough.

I’ve never ever released anything so I have no idea what kind of thoughts goes into writing a second or third album. What kind of thought process is there when you have to write a new album and you don’t have all the time in the world doing so?
-On one hand we don’t want to feel the pressure of being creative, things must take their time. On the other hand I think most people work better and get more things done if they’re under a bit of pressure. It’s ok if there are flaws (as long as they’re not obvious mistakes), that’s where the energy and charm kicks in.

Does being Swedish come with any benefits? Do people pay more attention when they find out that you are Swedish/Scandinavian?
-Being in a band is much easier with the governmental support and institutions which exist in sweden. And yes, the girls go crazy. It’s a curse.

Has the world of hardrock/metal become smaller with the help of modern communication technology or is there still gaps between different cultures? Are we one big metal family?
-If there wouldn’t be gaps I think there would only exist one culture, and where’s the fun in that? But I think that more music is being exposed and it’s easier finding music of your own liking these days. That helps in creating transboundary music.

What would you like to see happen in the future?
-Ronnie James Dio rising from the dead.

TEARS OF MARTYR

TEARS OF MARTYR is a Spanish goth/symphonic metal band that pretty much blew my socks off when I hear their album “Tales”. Anders Ekdahl c2013

What is the meaning of your band name? Are we to feel sympathy for martyrs??
Hi, and thanks for giving us the chance to share these lines with all Battle Helm readers! The question could be written like “who has not felt in some point of his life like he is fighting against all odds?” Despite of all that big setbacks and moments of weakness, comes from within a throbbing strength that keeps you focused, peaceful and happy to be standing up, no matter what dark shadow could be awaiting for you at the end of the day… I think we all have had that truly martyr feeling, so it’s more an empathy rather than a sympathy matter.

What has taken you so long between albums? 4 years is a long time in today’s climate.?
-“Entrance” was released with the German Label STF in 2010 and we immediatly started to think in new material. We put out some live shows with bands like Epica, Draconian and Dark Moor and had some adjustments in the line-up, that stopped us a little and had to change our calendar. We decided to spend some time looking for the most suitable bass player and when Adrian came in, we finally closed as a quartet.

You have your second album to promote now. Does it feel like you are back on square one and have to build up the band again from scratch?
-We are very happy to become part of Massacre Records, a label with a very important role in Metal history, so it is really great they are confident in what Tears of Martyr has to tell. We would like to think we have had some impact during all these years, at least in the underground scene.Though we are aware of our limitations, which is something very important to put yourself to test, improve and change our course.

You operate within a genre that has formidable exploded in recent years. How do you stand out from all the other symphonic/gothic metal bands?
-The things you see in Tears of Martyr now, the essence, was already there when the band was formed in the mid nineties. I could say we are now more mature, and we are able to express our feelings with more precision and knowledge. We treat both music and lyrics as a whole thing and we try to express and present those feelings to the listener. We love what we do and we expect it to be like that for many years to come! ?

Your new album is called “Tales”. What tales are we speaking of? Is there such a thing as a Spanish folklore with so many regions fighting for their own identity?
-We have never fallen in the side of politics. I think our songs come from the soul, what motivates the human being to fight for what he believes, no matter what it is. Our songs tell about the desire to improve, about fear, pain, of love and despair. These stories have been packed within the songs, some of them are inspired in novels, others show the classical heroes in the Tears of Martyr Universe, and others weaves legends from Spain, ranging from the Asturias of XVII century to the Barcelona of the beginning of XX and ,of course, Gran Canaria is here too for the occasion. We hope the listener will enjoy Tales!

Speaking of that. Is there a Spanish soul or do you identify more with the region you come from?
The band was formed in The Canary Islands in the mid nineties, and in 2007 we decided to move to Madrid where we have had the chance to meet and make great friends and this has also given us the chance to grow as a band. So we are not feeling from any specific region, when you visit many places around the world you realize we are all made from the same and we share the same feelings and most concerns. And yes, there is a Spanish soul, we are a country with many centuries of common history 🙂

Do you as a metal band feel that your are being left on the side coming from Spain or has it changed to that it really doesn’t matter where you are from as long as you are good?
-We believe a 100% in the audience and think they always have the final word. We have always wanted to play for a wider audience and we love to play live, that is one of the reasons why we moved, as in the Canary Islands this was quite difficult. If the public listens to our songs , comes to see us and finally enjoys what we do, we will be happy.?

What would you say has been your greatest musical influences in shaping the sound of TEARS OF MARTYR?
-This is one tough question as we all have our personal musical background. The procedure of what sounds like Tears of Martyr is second nature for us now, as we have been working for a long time together. Although I was the main composer in the past, for Tales, the rest of the band mates have contributed too, something I find very rewarding.
I guess we all listened to the classic heavy music from the 80’s and later added darker tones to the formula with the Death Metal of the beginning of the 90’s. It has been quite a long shifting and polishing process to finally be like we are now.?

Has there ever been a great rock/metal scene in Spain that you as a band can draw from for inspiration or have you always had to look elsewhere to be inspired?
-Hmm great scene? maybe in the early eighties… but we were not part of that. I remember myself as a little kid watching videos of Kiss, Ozzy, Dio, etcetera etcetera on TV and fascinated with all that energy flowing.I am sure that primed the pump of my imagination.?

What future would you like to see for the band?
-We see us on tour and sharing Tales around the world, that would be really awesome for sure. Music means a lot in our life and we really enjoy it, so it is great when we are given that chance. We are thinking in new ideas as well… so hey, why not a new Tears of Martyr album for 2014?

TRAIL OF TEARS

TRAIL OF TEARS is a classic Norwegian metal band, if there ever was any of that kind, that has been around a while now. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

Your career has been up and down yet you are still persevering. What is that hasn’t made you throw it all in over the years?
-Most of all because of determination and passion towards the music. I think all bands go through periods when you question if it`s all worth the hard work. In the end though, it is the love of the music that matters the most and the positive aspects tend to outlive the negative ones, I don`t think it`s more complicated than that.

You are now on your seventh album. How different is this one to that very first? How close are you still to your original idea of the band?
-It`s different in the sense that we are more experienced now of course, we`re grown-ups rather than a bunch of kids which was the case when we first started out. As you grow as a person, you grow as a musician as well and there is no doubt that we are better musicians today than when we first started out. I think that we have always stayed true to the roots of the band even if we have had a different approach to the albums, it`s the only way to go when you are on the seventh album, it`s extremely important for us to develop the sound, not necessarily change it, but develop it. I don`t think we would be able to stay in the scene for as long as we have had we made seven identical-sounding albums.

You have over the years gone through line-up changes, from male/female to male/male back to male/female vocals. What has been the idea behind these changes?
-There has not been a master plan behind that decision, it`s all part of the evolution of the band and we have always done what feels natural at the time. When it came time to do the “Free Fall in to Fear” album, our female singer split with the band and instead of recruiting a new one we felt that the songs would actually benefit more from using only mine and Kjetil`s vocals. That album is still one of the best selling albums that we released and even though we lost some fans with it we also gained new ones who preferred the band without female vocals. You win some and lose some, it`s the way it works and no matter what we do, it`s impossible to satisfy everyone.

You were one of the first to use the male/female vocal duality. Did you ever think that the line-up changes would mean the death of the band?
-If we thought that, it would be a pretty stupid move to proceed with it, wouldn`t it? You never have any guarantees in this business, the only thing you can do is to make the best judgements possible at any given time and hope that it works out. Line-up changes are never pleasant but sometimes it is necessary and to answer the question in a different way, I believe that the band would not have survived if we HADN`T done those changes. A band can not survive if the members doesn`t get along and this is more evident now than ever before. So as most people know by now, this is why we have decided to close the chapter called Trail of Tears with this album and it will be our farewell gift to the fans. Finding new members would not be difficult but I hold the rights to the band and feel that it would be the best for us to close the book now and let the band go out in style with a great last album.

When you do these changes how does the character of the music change? Does it change?
-The changes in the line-up have very little to do with any musical change as I still, and always had, a strong vision for how this band should sound and how the band should be run. Any changes that might occur comes from us changing as people. After all, it would be pretty weird if I had the same mindset and way of thinking today as I had when I was 15 years old.

This new seventh album; what expectation do you have on it? How has the expectations changed over the years, from when you released your first album to now 2013?
-Well, when we released the first album we naturally didn`t know what to expect since none of us had any experience whatsoever. After releasing six albums (this being our seventh) and touring and travelling the world for more that 15 years we of course have a better understanding of what is possible and what we should expect from a release. I`m very curious with this release because first of all we have a new label in Massacre and secondly the market, industry and music business has changed a lot since the last release almost four years ago. So in many ways it`s a new situation for the band. The only thing I can say is that we worked the band into the grave with this release and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

How pleased are you with this new album? What do you expect it to do for your?
-I`m very pleased with the album, I think it contains some of the best music we have ever written and as I said I hope that it gets the attention it deserves. As always there are things that I would have done differently as is the case with all our albums but again the best songs on the album rivals the best material we have written in my honest opinion. That is pretty much the only thing I can do, my best and hope that as many people as possibly will agree that it is a great record. It will be interesting to see what Massacre can do for it as it is our first album with them, so that is always an interesting thing to follow. So far the reviews have been really good so let`s hope it keeps going that way.

How hard is it to come up with an album title that is both to the point yet not too cheesy?
-Well, what is cheesy for one person might not be cheesy whatsoever to the next guy so this is a totally individual opinion. The most important thing for me is to find a title that can do justice both to the music and lyrical content of the album and to come up with something that can describe the content in a fitting way. And since everything I write comes from a rather personal standpoint, those things are dead serious to me and without a trace of cheese? if others see it differently there is not much I can do about that.

How important is the album title and the art work to sell an album? Does it matter in this day and age of digital downloading?
-Not as important as it used to be, that is for sure. But it`s important to me. I don`t think an album title sells the album alone but having a great package where everything fits together and serves a purpose sure doesn`t hurt. If people prefers a crappy MP3 version without bothering to look more in-depth to what the band is all about, then that is fine by me, whatever works for them is fine but personally I still prefer bands that think more thorough and I appreciate when people try to offer the fans something extra. They don`t have to you know, so it`s always nice when bands go that extra mile to create that wholeness to their product.

What future do you see for the band?
-I`m not a psychic of course and I don`t know what`s going to happen five years from now but what is sure is that Trail of Tears will cease to exist with this album and I will concentrate and spend my energy on my new band Viper Solfa in the future. We are writing music as we speak and the line-up, with a few major surprising names, will be made official very soon. So in the meantime I would like to thank everyone for the support towards Trail of Tears over the years and hope that you will enjoy this last album. Cheers!

ZOMBIE INC

I am not going to mention Pungent Stench because that name is going to be tossed about enough in connection with ZOMBIE INC. Interview answers by Gerald. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

When you picked the moniker for the band what was the choice behind it?
-It just sounded cool and a little bit ironic too. Wolfgang had the idea and everbody liked it. There is some kind of an funny aspect too behind the name. So we did that.

What is it about Zombies that are so fascinating that we see movies and TV-series about it?
-I guess they are just cool, haha.. but I also like the dark and apocalyptic visions behind it. I think there is a fear in everybody to become a zombie in real life. There is a hype nowadays for series like The Walking Dead and Zombieland etc…so hopefully the fans ask more for Zombie Inc too 😉

You have a very specific look. What was the idea behind it and how much of that follows on from Pungent Stench and Disbelief?
-We’ve played our first show “normal”, without the masks and clothes. And it was kinda boring. Martin said that we have such a cool topic to create an image for the band and we talked about it. In the end we decided to wear masks and clothes to shock the people a little and also for the fun aspect. An image is really important for a band, beside the music of course.

How do you avoid for it to become a Gwar or a Rock Bitch where the image becomes everything and the music suffers?
-That’s easy. Just making good music, haha..and playing a good show too of course, where music stands first and everything else is just a nice side effect.

Is this to be considered a full band given your other engagements? What was the reason behind doing ZOMBIE INC?
-Yeah, it’s a full band now. First Wolfgang and me were trying to do an unique project to hail the good old death-metal stuff, just for fun and probably an ep or an album. So, now we have the second record out soon, played some cool shows last year, it makes fun and we are a serious band now.

When you do something like this that is perhaps a bit on the side of your regular things is there less pressure of delivering? How much pressure do you put on yourself to get everything perfect?
-No, definitely not. Especially for the new record we felt a lot of pressure cause we weren’t finished with the songs and the artwork and so on. But we had some pressure from the record company to fix it sooner. And we try to make anything perfect, so there’s pressure everyday.

When you have been/are a part of something big what do you bring with you experience wise into this band? What mistakes do you avoid doing?
-The most important thing that I’ve learned is to make compromises. Otherwise no band will really work and it makes anything complicated. Everybody has an different taste, and I respect that. That preserves you also from doing mistakes.

This is the second album. What kind of reactions did you get on the first record? Did that inspire you to write a new album?
-The reactions were really good, especially in germany and austria. And that was a fact too to write a new one, beside the thing that it is cool in general to create a new album 😉

What kind of bands did you base the sound of ZOMBIE INC on? What has been the biggest inspiration for the sound?
-For me personal Morbid Angel, Immolation and Entombed, which are one of the coolest in my opinion. They were an influence for my songs. Of course the sound is based a little bit on our own other bands too.

Is there a future for the band?
-I think so, yes. There are a few tasteful shows upcoming, and I look forward to that. I think that will be an awesome time for us.

CPT KRONOS “The Invocation”

CPT KRONOS
”The Invocation”
(Violent Journey)
I do not know how much comics these Finns have read but CAPTAIN KRONOS is a really cool band name anyway as it is a cool super hero name too. What I wouldn’t give to be the God of time, to have the ability to stop and shift time and with that the power to make people like a band’s music, or something to that effect. As I don’t care about Gods or being them I’ll trust my own judgment on this one. I gotta hand it to the band. The start of this EP pretty much gave away what this is all about. if you like you heavy metal heavy and think that Black Sabbath is the beginning and end of everything you will pretty much think this is crap but for those of us that think that everything that even slightly resembles Black Sabbath is worth checking out or who sadly miss Reverend Bizarre this will do as a really cool EP of heavy 70s heavy metal/hardrock. Anders Ekdahl

NECROCURSE “Grip Of The Dead”

NECROCURSE
”Grip Of The Dead”
(Pulverised)
This is somewhat of a Swedish all star line-up with people from Runemagick and Nifelheim joining forces in creating some really cool old school metal. Not that it will differ that much from what they do in their day time bands but I really look forward to hearing this album. I think that this could very well be one of the highlights of 2013. When you stop thinking about what is and what isn’t old school and just write the music that you like you end up with “Grip Of The Dead”. With so much coolness collected in one band this was going to be anything but bad. And no, I’m not blinded by the member’s previous engagements. This is really cool metal in the death/black vein of a time when it wasn’t too important what metal you played, just that you weren’t a wimp or a poser. Anders Ekdahl

NONSUN “Good Old Evil”

NONSUN
”Good Old Evil”
(-)
I have absolutely no idea what this band is all about. This is my first encounter with them which makes it a bit scary to approach it. You don’t know if you’ll end up feeling cheated out of your time or if you won’t be able to put it down. In the 80s a demo came on tape and looked like a demo should look. These days you pretty much can’t tell a demo from a professionally released CD. Not that I’m complaining. If I were to label this then it would be funeral doom. I get a Finnish feel to this even though the band aren’t Finns. I get Unholy vibes or a Cathedral around the debut gone even slower and heavier. I gotta admit that I find this incredible charming in all its apocalyptic-ness. This is like listening to the total devastation of planet earth. There is no hope for mankind whatsoever. Put your head between your legs and kiss your ass goodbye. And do it to NONSUN. Anders Ekdahl

OCTOBER TIDE “Tunnel Of No Light”

OCTOBER TIDE
”Tunnel Of No Light”
(Pulverised)
OK, this is a band that I’ve been aware of since day one but haven’t checked out for various reasons. But as we’ve entered 2013 and almost gotten to half time I see no reason why not to do so now. That there are ties to both Opeth and Katatonia might give me some idea of where this band operates but as I haven’t heard a single note by them I have no real idea what to expect. I love melancholic music. The sadder the better. A fave for a long time has been The Cure. Another one is My Dying Bride. No I’m not going to compare OCTOBER TIDE to a cross of The Cure and My Dying Bride. But they do operate in the same arena as My Dying Bride when it comes to heaviness and sadness: melancholy. Having heard this I have no idea why I haven’t checked them out before. This is the metal that I love so much. Anders Ekdahl

OPRICH “Birdless Heavens”

OPRICH
”Birdless Heavens”
(Casus Belli Musica)
Another band that is totally unknown to me. And as per usual I approach this band with a completely open mind set. You never know when you’ll stumble upon another great act. OPRICH might very well be my new faves. Only time will tell. I don’t know what it is with Russian bands and pagans but there seems to be an abundance of these kinds of bands. And they all seem to be so sad and epic at the same time. Like there’s no future but hard labour and little reward. That all is grey and colourless. Musically OPRICH offers us a very bleak sound. If you are prone to depression you should stay away from this. Having listened to it doesn’t make you happy. This is like reading a scientific report on the state of the countryside in the 1930s. All dirt and no sunshine. But I can’t help liking this. There is a feel to it that entices me. Anders Ekdahl

OVEROTH “Kingdom Of Shadows”

OVEROTH
”Kingdom Of Shadows”
()
Just from looking at the artwork for this album I’ve come to expect this to be death metal. Yeah, you shouldn’t judge an album by its cover but sometimes it is hard not to do so. This one has a cover that screams death to me. There is something to this that promises a blast along the lines of early Morbid Angel and Death. And it does deliver in those regions. This is death metal that is neither too technical nor too simple. It is just right in every department and without it making this a weak album in any ways. This one surprised me by being just death metal, nothing more and nothing less. And if that isn’t enough for you to check this out you’ve either overdosed on Cryptopsy or any other overly technical bands or you have lost all interest in death metal. Anders Ekdahl