THORNGOTH

German black metal might still be underground compared to the Norwegian or Swedish but there are and have been some really great German BM acts, like THORNGOTH. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

You got both thorn and goth in your band name. Is that a good combination of words for an extreme metal band?
-For an English native speaker the name seems to be a combination of thorns and gothic, but it means actually “the horned enemy” in Tolkien’s Sindar language. We are aware that most English speaking people don’t know that. Many metal bands, particularly black metal bands, have strange names. Our band name, however, has also a meaning in English, and that’s not always beneficial, to be honest.

How do you find a style that is all your own? Where have you drawn your greatest inspiration from?
-Every band in the world is influenced by other bands or something else. But it’s important how you interpret those influences to find an own style. We can’t name bands as our greatest inspiration, because there are many that might have inspired us. Generally, scandinavian extreme metal bands may be a great inspiration to us.

How much time and effort do you spend on the band to get everything to look and sound the right way?
-We work on that until all of us are satisfied with the result. This could last between a couple of months and a year, in regards the sound of a recording. We also spent some weeks to get a suitable look for the album cover.

How tough is it to find the right kind of people to help realize your ideas of how things should look and sound like?
-Concerning the recording of the album we didn’t have to find people to realize our ideas, because we did everything by our own. For the artwork we had someone in our circle of acquaintances who did that for us.

When you release a record how much attention do you pay to things like track order, lay out and art work? How planned is everything?
-The track order is important to us. The songs must be in the right order to create the intended atmosphere. When all songs are composed, we let the songs affect us and then we decide, in which order they have to be. Layout and artwork are also important to give an album the impression of a complete work. These optical things are planned while we’re finishing the audio recording.
Once you have released a record how do you deal with the fact that from now on things are out of your control? You can’t control if people will like it. You can’t control how people experience the music etc.
-As a musician, you have to cope with that. Of course we are interested if people like our album or not, but in either way we make music that we like. You never can please everyone, but it’s enough when we are satisfied with our own music.

How do you take your music to the stage? Is it important that the back drop matches the music or can you go on stage in your everyday wear?
-On stage we are wearing nearly the same clothes as every metal head in the extreme metal scene. For future shows we have some stage clothes, which you’ll see on the next shows. Further, it depends on the mood whether or not we are wearing corpsepaint on stage.

What kind of live scene is there for a band like THORNGOTH?
-We are playing only few shows in a year. We’ve never been on tour and have played only shows in Germany and Austria so far. But if any concert organizer is interested to book us, feel free to contact us!

How important is playing live as a promotion tool? Is it worth it if you can’t do it the way you like?
-Playing live is one of the most important promotion tools, for sure. Only a few songs we can’t perform the way it should be, but the most of our songs we can perform the way we like. So it is worth it in the most cases.

What plans do you have for the future?
-We’re looking for some live shows to perform the songs of SCHWARZ-KARG-KALT live. Then, in a year or two, we’re writing on the next album, I guess.

THRILL WARRIORS

Still to this day bands like Saxon, Judas Priest and Iron Maiden rules the earth I walk on. Which is why I like THRILL WARRIORS . Anders Ekdahl ©2013

How serious are we to take a band by the name of THRILL WARRIORS?
– Just as serious as you’d take a band by the name of… well, for instance ‘JUDAS PRIEST’

In the 80s there used to be a British phenomenon of hilarious metal acts like Metal Duck and Lawnmower Deth. Do you follow in that tradition?
– Not our cup of black coffee, but I guess that needs to exist as well… So no, we’re not a comedy act.

Has humour in metal been lost? Is humour in metal important?
– You gotta be able to laugh when you make mistakes, trip on stage, etc. But our view is that while you shouldn’t take yourself too seriously you should still take your music seriously.

What made you take photos wearing moustaches? Are you ashamed of who you are or are your identities a secret?
– Initially there were many reasons for the moustaches, however none of them having anything to do with us being ashamed of who we are. Our identities are not secret and we’re very happy being women. Basically, what is all comes down to is that moustaches are cool! … And yeah, ok, we’re sick of being called a “girl band” because it says nothing of our music, just the gender of the members of the band… We’re a heavy metal band, not a “girl band”. So the moustaches were a “fuck you!” to all of that.

What does it mean to a band’s popularity to be featured on a magazine CD? Do you notice an increase in interest?
– Actually, we thought we’d notice a bigger difference than we did but we’ve recieved some rather good feedback on the song. It’s the greatest feeling when people tell you they like what you do.

What would you say has been your greatest inspiration/influence?
– Musically, Judas Priest and Black Sabbath are our greatest influences and when it comes to being inspired some might be surprised by what some red wine can do for the creativity glands.

Where would you like to see the band go? How much are you prepared to sacrifice to make this band happen?
– “In for the kill, in for the thrill” are not just lyrics – we’re in it to win it. We’ll take this as far as we can without having to compromise our vision.

Sweden doesn’t have a great tradition of cool places to play live if you are a smaller band. Is it worth it playing live in Sweden or should you go for Germany and Europe straight away?
– We’ve actually never been outside of Sweden so we’re not the band to answer this question properly, but there are some pretty neat places in Sweden too. However, friends of ours that have been in europe keep praising Germany and we’re counting on going there sooner or later.
On a sidenote, our main fanbase (outside of Sweden) seems to be from South america actually. So who knows, maybe we’ll play in Brazil before we get to Germany 😉

How do you best promote a band if you are in the starting grid getting ready to take the world by storm?
– We’re lucky to have started during the glory days of myspace. That was a brilliant website for small bands to get their music out there, but it’s completely dead nowadays. Sure, we’ve facebook (and soundcloud, and bandcamp, and, and… ad infinitum) but it ain’t the same… I really recommend subscribing to Bob Lefsetz newsletter – he knows the industry and he’s got loads and loads of tips for small bands and artists who wish to “make it” in the business. There’s no quick tip for instant success, I’m afraid.

What plans do you have for the future?
– We’re currently working on some new material and have been discussing starting to work on a debut album – we finally feel somewhat ready for it now, hehe!
But before that we’ll be releasing a demo that we recorded last year. The song ‘Devil’s Chord’ – which can be found on our bandcamp for free download – will be on it and is, in fact, the title track.
And of course: play as many live gigs as possible! That’s the best part of playing in a band after all.

http://thrillwarriors.bandcamp.com/track/devils-chord

TOTENGEFLÜSTER

TOTENGEFLÜSTER have that symphonic black metal sound that when done right is simply irresistible. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

How often do you get compared to Dimmu Borgir and how tiresome is it?
Narbengrund: To be honest: very often and yes sometimes it’s a bit tiresome but on the other hand Dimmu Borgir was one of our main influences, the early works of this band are legendary and they were groundbreaking, so it is also an honor to be compared with them. Apart from bands as Emperor, Limbonic Art or Cradle of Filth they were responsible that symphonic black metal reached a level like this. We all adore the symphonies Dimmu Borgir created in their past and especially Totleben, our guitarist, keyboarder and artwork artist, is a huge admirer of their music. So it’s no wonder if Totengeflüster sounds a bit like Dimmu Borgir. We do use the same elements, namely black metal and classical music and we use cinematic effects to create a creepy atmosphere, so if these 3 components are adequate to sound like Dimmu Borgir, then yes, we do sound like them. I personally think that there are plenty of differences, but as long we’re not getting compared with some shitty bands, it’s not that bad.

I remember a time when keyboards in metal was sin punishable by death. Nowadays we hear majestic arrangements in what is supposed to be an extreme form of metal. What place does keyboard and synths have in black metal?
Narbengrund: Totleben and my humble self, view Black Metal as a form of art and art is something that could be expressed in many different ways, of course you can use keys and synths that bad, that they destroy the essence of a black metal song and of course, symphonic black metal bands are highly endangered to get caught in this trap. The art is, to use the keys in a favorable way, if you do so, a song can be keenly improved by the use of a keyboard. The line between trash and a masterpiece can be thin, but it’s our duty as musicians to recognize where the right level is reached. We set great value upon atmosphere, which is a necessary attribute for the kind of Black Metal we use to create. “Vom Seelensterben” is lyrically considered as a horror story and films use orchestration to create a convenient atmosphere and so are we. It’s all about expressing feelings like despair or hatred which that are deeply enrooted in our pitch black hearts.

Your CD looks really amazing. How much time and effort has gone into it?
Narbengrund: It took about two years to complete the artwork, but it has to be added, that Totleben did it alongside many many other artwork projects for different other bands (also for bands like Necronomicon or Imperium Dekadenz) and only during the evening hours or at the weekend because he’s got a “socially appreciated” job too.

How does the band name fit in the concept of it all?
Narbengrund: “Totengeflüster” is german and could be translated into “whisper of the dead”. But the dead shouldn’t be simply seen as cadavers or skeletons of the deceased but as apparently dead thoughts and emotions, hiding in the depths of our souls. Most of us killed great parts of their identity to be conforming to the “social demands”, but some of us, may realize the essence which slumbers in all of us…

You also did a special edition of it too. Is it necessary to offer the fans something a bit extra to get them interested? What was the reason behind doing it this way?
Narbengrund: Totengeflüster shouldn’t be seen as a band containing three members, it should be seen as an organism and Totengeflüster wishes to express itself in different art disciplines. Since Totengeflüster is a coherent artistic synthesis the artbook was the perfect way to express and acknowledge this sinister mosaic. We truly appreciate true art and despise worthless, faceless and blunted music, so it may be no surprise that we are enemies of music downloads, because we don’t think that you can capture the whole charm, the soul of a true artwork in such a derogative, degenerated format…
When you release an album on your own, what are the biggest problems you encounter?
Narbengrund: Doing something on our own is not a curse, it is a blessing. We see how our spawn grows, we feel everything happening to it as if it happened to us and last but not least we aren’t marionettes of any label. Of course there are some difficulties as well, just look at all the promotional stuff etc., so we would appreciate to have at least a distribution for our art, cause there are so many people out there that don’t even heard anything about us… Anyway… we have close contact to our “disciples” and this is something that shouldn’t be underestimated

How much time do you spend on the band both physically but also mentally each day?
Narbengrund: Well, Totleben, our main songwriter spends at least 3 hours per day, when he’s also working in his main job. If it comes to weekends he sacrifices 6 or sometimes even 12!!! Hours per day! I guess he’s a kind of workaholic… But each second he spends was worth the trouble.
Schattendorn regurarly practices his drumming skills; I think two hours, three or four times per week. When it comes to me, my sacrificed time differs from day to day. There are some days which are as good as exclusively filled with Totengeflüster (for example while writing new lyrics), but also days where I don’t spend time at all for the band. It’s not always that easy to reconcile work, band and private live and to be honest each one of them goes short…

Is it worth all the time and effort in the end? What do you want with the band? What is the purpose of playing in a band?
Totengeflüster is a very hungry scion and it’s favorite food is time… It’s hard to say if all the time, all the effort will pay off, but we want to create something special, something with a right to exist and if you like it or not, this costs an huge amount of time. We want our scion to be acknowledged and appreciated, we do love our child, with all its mistakes and we do want it’s best! We want to care about him, even if he’s not longer under our wings…
What do we want with the band? The purpose of playing? Well, beside the fact that this is a formidable way to express ourselves and we simple love giving birth to this dark kind of art, we would like to enchant, to hex our listeners with our symphonies but we also like to open their eyes, we want them to see the world as it is, we want to give them an understanding of our “truth”. The sickness spread far too wide, it’s high time for us to wake up. Totengeflüster needs to be heard, Totengeflüster needs to be understood!

Is TOTENGEFLÜSTER a live band? How do you take your sound to a stage without loosing any of the grandeur?
Narbengrund: Totengeflüster could be a “live band” but currently our line-up is simply not completed. We do have plans but we don’t have the urgent need to get as soon as possible on stage. As I said before, Totengeflüster operates as an artistic synthesis and it’s important for us, to capture the “grandeur” of our art and transport it into a suitable vesture. Be sure we won’t let you wait that long…

What do you have planned for the future?
Narbengrund: Well, our current plans could be summarize into evolving and creating our art. Totengeflüster is finally alive after all these years and Totengeflüster is like cancer – it will grow…
I like to thank you in the name of Totengeflüster for your attention and the opportunity of having this interview…

www.totengefluester.de

VARGSHEIM

When I first heard of VARGSHEIM I didn’t think that their combo of 70s hardrock and black metal would work but I was wrong. Anders Ekdahl ©2013

Where did the idea to mix black metal with more 70s sounding hardrock come from?
-It wasn’t a idea, it’s only a description to what our sound’s like. We were raised on rock by the music of our parents like Deep Purple, Scorpions, Def Leppard. Later we came into Metal and especially Black Metal, but the Rock´n´Roll never left us and was always a big influence in our style.

How important is the right band name? What made you go for VARGSHEIM?
-When we started rocking together we played Black Metal with a Pagan supplement. But our band-name should not be too defining and limit us to a lyrical theme. “Vargsheim” means “home of the wolfs” and this is what the band is for us. It’s a spiritual place where we can retreat and express our selves, but the most important thing is not the name, it’s what you do in this name.

How well has that mix worked out for you guys? What kind of responses have you had to your sound
-We didn´t aspire a special equality of BM and Rock elements. What emerged is the result of channeling our feelings and inspirations into the music, it all happened intuitive. The feedback is pretty good, to be honest much better than we expected. I treasure we created something really unusual that really polarizes.

Is it important in today’s metal scene to find a sound that really stands out? What have been your greatest influences?
-If you look at the current retro-hype it doesn’t seem so. But that’s ok, I do also like a few of these “new-old” bands even if they don´t have a very creative sound. The most important thing is to be authentic and not to be bent by trends. Like I said we are inspired by several Rockbands since our childhood and listen to many of them till today. Guns´n´Roses or Rainbow for example always find their way in my CD-Player. The most influencing Black Metal-Bands are probably Taake, Enslaved and Shining.

You have a bunch of albums to your name. How do you feel that the progress of the band has gone so far
In fact “Erleuchtung” is just our second album, our other releases where a demo and two split-cd´s. We’re proud of what we reached in the past and that our style has evolved to what it is today.

What does it give to you to use your own language instead of going at it in English?
-It just feels right to us to use our mother-language. Years ago I tried to write some English lyrics, not for Vargsheim by the way, but all of these tries ended in cheesy crap about drinking beer and girls, haha. Only in our own language we can express in the way we want it.

Do we see a greater tolerance for music sung in other languages than English today? If so what do you feel has contributed to this?
-Yeah, maybe…Metal-Bands that sing in English not as their mother-language often use the same few words like darkness, death and so on. I think it’s interesting for people to listen to metal sung in a unusual language, even if they don’t understand any word. But who does that in many in English-singing Black Metal-bands?! From the technical side German is a hard and rough language and it’s very suitable for BM-vocals. Though I think we’ll release some official translations to our lyrics because they’re very important to us and we don’t want to be misunderstood by the people.

What kind of scene is there for metal like yours in Germany? What kind of response have you gotten so far?
-We’ve got a very huge Metal-scene and the subgenre Black Metal is getting more important in the hole context in my opinion. We got some very positive reactions to our new album “Erleuchtung”, and we’re very glad with the support. The lyrical concept receives great interest of what we’re very proud.

How do you best take your music outside of Germany? Do you play live a lot abroad?
We have never played abroad, there wasn’t any chance to do that yet. At the moment all of our appearance in other country’s is based on the work of our label MDD-Records and our Internet-presence.

What lies in the future for your guys?
-We’re working on new Songs already and target the next album-records. Of course I hope there will be a lot of gigs more and we’ll get better and bigger.

CHAOS INVOCATION “Black Mirror Hours”

CHAOS INVOCATION
”Black Mirror Hours”
(WTC)
Oh boy! Another BM band for me to indulge in. I couldn’t be more anticipating than this. Knowing my track history with BM-bands metal bands this could only go one way really. Or could it? Will this be the one that disproves the theory of all BM-bands being good. This is black metal in the more brutal school. For those of you who like Marduk or Dark Funeral. I can at times feel that black metal isn’t as dangerous as it thinks it is but then along comes an album like this and proves that black metal can and is totally brutal. And even though I grew up with black metal in the 80s this is what BM is all about to me. Anders Ekdahl

CHOSEN “Resolution”

CHOSEN
”Resolution”
(-)
Ireland might be a green place to live but beneath the happy brave face lays a history of great difficulties. What better place to form an extreme metal band then. CHOSEN might be heralded as the next great Irish metal band but how good are they really? That is what we are about to find out. It did start on a good note though. I got an At The Gates vibe from the first song. And starting on that note they’d have to go down a completely different road to fail full on. You get that this is a young band in that they have the clean singing that comes and goes in the songs. But it is no abomination. Mixed in with At The Gates I get a Machine Head-ish feel too. Perhaps not the band that will save the Irish metal face but still good enough to warrant your interest. Anders Ekdahl

CORNERS OF SANTUARY “Harlequin”

CORNERS OF SANCTUARY
”Harlequin”
()
I remember a time when bands like KISS or Saxon used to release two, three albums a year. Nowadays you’ve be lucky if your favourite band release an album every two years. So when a band like CORNERS OF SANCTUARY releases 4 records within less than 12 months you gotta applaud them. When I reviewed their single back in December I think it was I was impressed by how heavy metal they were. That is still there. This is classic US metal. Think back to the records of the 80s and bands like Armored Saint or Malice or any of the Metal Masscre compilations and you’ll find the sound of this band. As I’m a huge heavy metal buff this is right up my alley. Anders Ekdahl

DARK SALVATION “Der Letzte Weg”

DARK SALVATION
“Der Letzte Weg”
(-)
I could have sworn that I had written this review already but as memory will have it I must have thought about it and not acted on it. But here we have it. A metal band from Lichtenstein. How many metal bands do you know from this tiny country? I can only think of two, three at the most. DARK SALVATION are a death metal band on the more melodic side in the Dark Tranquillity/early In Flames vein with a touch of Amon Amarth thrown in for good measure. It is when I get to hear this kind of metal that I realizes how great Dark Tranquillity and In Flames really are/were. DARK SALVATION keep a tradition alive and they do it really well. Anders Ekdahl

EASY TRIGGER “Bullshit”

EASY TRIGGER
“Bullshit”
(Street Symphonies Records)
EASY TRIGGER has a name that that implies some sort of glammish hardrock. Like a Sweet for the 21st century or a version of Sweden’s Easy Action from way back in time. I have no clue what possessed this Italian band to pick their moniker. But it does fit the music though. This is sleaze metal in the vein of bands like Hardcore Superstar and Crash Diet and that whole scene. So if you like your metal with hair spray and make-up then this is the stuff for you. I myself go more for the songs and they are there too. There is enough attitude to the music to appeal to me. It is nice to hear some melodies every once in a while and not for it to turn into a sob fest. EASY TRIGGER turned out to be a nice surprise. Anders Ekdahl

FLAGELLANT “Maledictum”

FLAGELLANT
“Maledictum”
(WTC)
FLAGELLANT does not exactly ring of extreme metal to me. The word has a totally different connotation to me than that of an extreme metal band. But I guess if you can mix BDSM with metal like the Genitorturers you can be called FLAGELLANT and play extreme metal. Even though this band are Swedes there is a Norwegian feel to their black metal. You know the one with a lot of open chords and a drone kind of feeling. I’m more of a Marduk/Dark Funeral kind of guy but I do love Mayhem’s grand opus “De Mysteriis Dom Satanas”. That album is what it is all about and the reason why FLAGELLANT sounds the way that they do. And why bands like Watain, Ofermod and a whole host of others sound like they do. I have to admit that I like the sound they got going for themselves. Anders Ekdahl