SKALD

SKALD might have been scorned in most reviews but give them a chance and you’ll notice that there are more to them that meet the ear. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I’ve thought hard and long on it but I still have no idea why people want to play folk metal. What is folk metal exactly?
-Why people would want to play folk metal? I have no idea actually. For us in Skald, I think it came naturally because of our shared enthusiasm (at least in the past) for Otyg. The term folk metal is, as I have understood, very personal for me these days. I don’t think that just by adding weird instruments upon a foundation of black metal, it automatically becomes folk metal. For me, it is much about a certain feeling and melody. Good examples of folk metal bands that I like are Otyg, Isengard, Storm and Grimm. It has something to do with a certain Nordic folk music feeling that is transferred into metal. Thus, you get folk metal. At least that’s my opinion.

How much better is the name Skald than if you’d been called Bard?
-If we’ve been called Bard – I would associate it with that annoying character in the Asterix-comics and the old drummer for Emperor. I never associated Skald with anything in particular, we just felt that it suited our type of music quite good.

Is there a greater tolerance to bands not singing in English today?
-I have no idea actually and I don’t care. I like bands that uses lyrics in many different languages and I cannot speak for the rest of the metal community. But I guess there might be a greater tolerance today, now that folk metal has become more “popular” to some extent.

What made you want to sing in Swedish exclusively?
-It had less to do with singing and more with the fact that I had so many lyrics written before we even started Skald and they were mostly in Swedish. And since the original idea was to start a band in a similar vein to the (then defunct) Otyg, it was natural.

What kind of lyrical topics do you deal with?
-Earlier it used to revolve much around nordic folklore and old fairytales. I’ve changed that approach somewhat during the years and nowadays my lyrics are a little more rooted in reality and less fantasy-like.

You seem to divide people in two camps. Those who like you and those who can’t stand the vocals. I’m somewhere in between. How little do you care about what people think about your vocals?
-Haha, I’ve yet to come across anyone to actually say that they like my vocals. But in reality, I don’t care that much at all. Truth is – I am very much aware of the fact that I am not a good vocalist in any way whatsoever. I have actually changed the way I am singing a lot if you compare the demos and the MCD to the full-length, but I can’t say that I’m constantly working on improving my vocals since I don’t have the time for that. We’ll just see what the future brings.

Your album has been out a while now. What feelings do you have now that it is behind you?
-Mixed feelings indeed. There are some good tracks here and there and some that had been with us for way too long, but in the end, we just wanted to get the (already delayed) album out as soon as possible. Therefore, the entire recording, producing and mixing was very rushed to say the least. But this was our debut album and we learned a lot from it and there are definitely some things that we will do differently the next time.

When do you start to think about the next step for the band? As soon as you’re done with the album?
-No. We just basically let Skald drift into the periphery once the album was done. “Vitterland” was a very tiring process and we kind of put Skald to a rest once it was released. I did some minor, minor promotion but that was it. We have tried to do something new since, but were are lacking both ideas, direction and passion right now.

What is the best way to promote your band; playing live or relying on the social media?
-The best way is probably playing live, but since we’re more of a project than a band – we don’t play live at all and don’t plan to either. Social media can be good, but I wouldn’t say that we rely on it either. As I stated earlier, Skald is more of a project than a real band and we’re just glad that some people like our music. But in all honesty, we make music solely to satisfy ourselves. We just got damn lucky and landed a record contract out of the blue. That made it easier to spread our music and I like it for what it is, but apart from keeping our website and Facebook page updated – there’s very little promotion involved.

What does the future look like for Skald?
-I would say bleak. We’re currently taking a break due to work and longtime illness, but I’m sure we’ll be back in one way or another. David is composing stuff whenever he finds the inspiration and time and the things I’ve heard so far sounds great. I have just started to write lyrics again for the first time in a couple of years, so things are moving somewhere on the horizon. If I were to take a guess, our future material will sound more blackened and less folkish than earlier.

/Henrik

ACID DEATH “Eidolon”

ACID DEATH
“Eidolon”
(Noisehead Records)
Gotta say that I don’t think I’ve ever heard a single note by this Greek band despite them having been around for so long as they have. Can’t really day why either. I guess that they have just not come my way. Now that I have the chance to hear them I’ll take it. This is to my ears death metal that is a tad harder and perhaps not so technical as Atheist or Pestilence. If you could imaging those two bands in their early years not going so technical/jazzy then you might have an idea of where this is going. This might not be my first choice of death metal to listen to but I’m not totally averse to it. There is a charm to it that can’t be denied. And I do love a band like Coroner that wasn’t the easiest to listen to. This is one that certainly will grow on me. Anders Ekdahl

CHRIST AGONY “Darkside”

CHRIST AGONY
“Darkside”
(Metal Scrap Records)
There used to be a time when Christ Agony was the latest hype on the Polish metal sky. They were the act to look out for. Then along came Behemoth and a host of other Polish extreme metal acts. Christ Agony fell to the wayside and a whole new generation stormed forth. 2012 sees a new Christ Agony record. One that I for one look forward to hearing. This is just as I remembered it to be. Don’t go expecting the most brutal or the most evil extreme metal. What you’ll get is a cross between black and death that is played with conviction and soul. This is just as good as I remember it to be. In a way this reminds me of Master’s Hammer when they were great. There is that same kind of atmosphere to it. Anders Ekdahl

DESECRESY “The Doom Skeptron”

DESECRESY
“The Doom Skeptron”
(Xtreem Music)
I’ve been into Finnish death metal ever since Funebre and Xysma entered my life back in ancient times. Add to it early Amorphis and Sentenced and you have a pretty great base to stand on when it comes to Finnish death. This is death metal on the more doomy side. Try imagining if Bolt Thrower and Autopsy met in a dark alley. This is the offspring of that encounter. I like this simply because it is so heavy yet so “catchy”. There is something very appealing about this that gets me going. Perhaps not the stuff you mosh around to in your living room. Instead this is the stuff that you play loud on those nights when you feel a bit down. This is music to cheer you up. Anders Ekdahl

DEVILISH IMPRESSION “Simulacra”

DEVILISH IMPRESSION
“Simulacra”
(Lifeforce)
There used to be a time when Devilish Impression were all over the press. You could not turn up a page without seeing them. Then all went silent and they seemed to have vanished down a rabbit hole. You couldn’t find them even if you searched with the brightest flashlight available. Turn to 2012 and a new album sees the light of the day. Will they be able to pick up where they left off? Has a new generation of extreme metal fans come along that has no memory of them? That is all to be seen. What can be said is that Devilish Impression does not seem to have softened. This is just as I remembered then to sound like. There is a symphonic element to it that might make you think of a cross between Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth. If that sounds enticing and you haven’t checked them out yet then this is your chance to acquaint yourself with Devilish Impression. Anders Ekdahl

DISINTEGRATE “Parasites Of A Shifting Future”

DISINTEGRATE
“Parasites Of A Shifting Future”
(Massacre)
I love the fact that there are a ton of new thrash metal acts around today. It gives me great pleasure to discover them all. Disintegrate is another new Dutch metal treasure that I’ve recently discovered. Along with Izegrim and a handful of other acts the Dutch thrash scene seems to be growing strong again. And I’m not one to complain. I remember the 80s scene and what great bands that came out of Holland back then. It feels like we are back to that period again. Disintegrate are a new favourite. Anders Ekdahl

DREADLINK “Zero One”

DREADLINK
“Zero One”
(Massacre)
I am not too sure about the band name. I get strange images in my head when I see the name. Don’t know why but for some reason I react negatively towards the name. But that is me. Thankfully the music from this German band doesn’t give me the same kinda feelings. This is described as modern thrash metal, and since I have no idea what the hell that means I’ll ignore it. Instead I’ll say that this reminds me of a Morbid Angel gone thrash metal. There is that same heaviness to this as to “Blessed Are The Sick”. If that is modern thrash metal then I’m all for it. Good is it any which way. I like the heaviness that Dreadlink bring to their metal. It is like a really slow-mo blow to the stomach. You see it coming but there is nothing you can do about it. Anders Ekdahl

NECROVATION ” Necrovation”

NECROVATION
“Necrovation”
(Agonia)
Swedeath has come to mean something to a world of extreme metal fans. Every week you get a new release by a Swedish death metal band, or at least by a band influenced by the sound. Necrovation are not new to me. I managed to pick up their first album when it was released. I liked what I heard on that one so it was with great expectation that I approached this new one. I gotta say that this one did not disappoint me. This is swedeath when it is simply just great. This is the stuff that nightmares are created from. There is a darkness to this that will scare the living daylight out of those not ready for it. Try imaging a cross between Nihilist and Incantation coming at you in a dark alley and you’ll get an idea of what to expect. This is simply da stuff. Anders Ekdahl

THE ORDER “1986”

THE ORDER
“1986”
(Massacre)
Back in 1986 I was totally immersed in the extreme metal scene and I had gotten rid of all my hardrock/heavy metal albums (well most of them anyway). In 2012 I have bought back most of those albums over the years and I whip myself for being so stupid to get rid of them in the first place. But that is youthful arrogance for you. Hardrocking Swiss The Order are on their fourth album. I can’t remember having heard them before; I might have seen their name around but not given them the time of the day. Until now that is. I gotta admit that I like this album. It’s not in any way original but then what is. To my ears this does not sound like 1986. This is as fresh today as it would have been back in the 80s. Anders Ekdahl

SPELLCRAFT “Yersinia Pestis”

SPELLCRAFT
“Yersinia Pestis”
(Xtreem Music)
For every week that passes by I get to discover new and wonderful bands that I never heard of before. Spanish Spellcraft is one of these. Back in the 90s I had a pretty good overview of the Spanish black metal scene but somehow we came to a split around the Millennium and I lost touch with it. But now it is time to reacquaint me with that scene once again. I’ve already started with a couple of bands and I’ll continue with Spellcraft. This is black metal in the Dark Funeral/Marduk school of full on blast, beat them to a pulp school. I can fully appreciate this kind of black metal. There used to be a time when I almost couldn’t stand mid to slow tempo metal and all had to be speed for me to appreciate it. I’ve changed over the years but I still have a special spot in my metal heart for a metal that stops at nothing. This got my heart beating and my pulse racing. Anders Ekdahl