MALFEITOR just blew me away and not for nostalgic reasons. This is death metal the way I love it. Can’t get enough which is why I wanted to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

What is that makes you want to start again after you taken a break from the band? What urge was there to get going again?
Benny: The urge to create good ol’ death metal, the way it was played back in the “age of the cassettes”. It was actually a decision between me and Mattias, we thought it was time to resurrect the beast to see if it was thirsty and capable to kill.

I thought I knew of you guys and your music but I realized that I only knew of you from reading about you. How well known is the band to the general death metal audience? How well promoted is the band?
Benny: As for many small death metal bands back then, we weren’t well known. We rehearsed, got drunk and had some gigs in Stockholm, and that’s about it. We lived and breathed “Death Metal” like crazy ass maniacs, and didn’t even tried to break trough as musicians as we were living in this sphere of underground movement. Also, during the whole period we constantly changed band members (except for me, Mattias and our bassist Marcus) and we never recorded any demo (strange huh?! everyone did!). Nowadays we do this for ourselves, the stuff that we like and if there is someone out there that digs our shit, we are more than honored. So, I guess that we aren’t that well promoted now either haha

Today we see an increase in the interest for old Swedish death metal. I never ever thought about this back in the day but what was it in the late 80s that shaped the sound of Swedish death metal?
Janne: I guess the typical sound was created in the Sunlight studio. Most bands that recorded there had at a touch of that high mid guitar sound. I remember I had to fight hard to get my own guitar sound on a couple of recordings.
Mattias: It´s hard to point a finger on just one thing that shaped the sound of Swedish death metal. But I think that when bands like Nihilist, Carnage. Carbonized, Entombed etc. released their demos from Sunlight studio, many of us were blown away of the brutal sound that Tomas Skogsberg created. But not everybody I must say, some hated it and I can understand that because the sound was kind of recreated on everything that came out from Sunlight.
Benny: Glorifying the mighty work of the BOSS HM2-pedal! haha However, we still use that one in our set of effects, just to have a touch of the classic Swedish high mid distortion. And as said, Skogsberg at Sunlight had a huge impact on forming and distributing the new Swedish sound in the late 80s.

I like some of these newer bands that are so obviously influenced by the old Swedish sound but sometimes it become too comical when they wear their influences to openly. What kind of feelings do have about this resurgence in interest for everything Swedish death metal?
Mattias: I think it’s very cool that newer bands look back to the roots and maybe create something
new from that or just keep the flame burning. But I agree that sometimes it becomes comical.
Benny: I actually like it, but at the same time, how hard they/we all try, the original is always better than the copy. Maybe due to personal memories from the underground scene back in the days. That’s why we are trying to make something slightly different, but still with one foot in the “grave”. Don’t know if we succeed with that thou haha
Janne: I guess it’s kinda cool that swedish DM has in a way ressurected or even been proven immortal.

It has taken you some time to get around to releasing an album. Although almost impossible to answer but do you think waiting this long has made the album better than had you released in years ago?
Mattias: I think that it had sound very different if we had recorded it back in 92 or something, the setup was different and we wasn’t that great musicians back then, but maybe it could have turned out to be a classic…hahaha
Benny: Maybe our last setup, with Pelle Ekegren on drums, could have been a great bunch of musicians to work on a release, but at that time we didn’t have the cash haha. Also, the band slowly started to retire at that time.

The journey has been a long one for you. How has your view on death metal changed over the years? Has it still the same importance in your life?
Janne: I believe DM either sticks or don’t. In our case it stuck like on most DM passionate active at the time of the cradle. Although I personally took a long distance for quite many years it came to a point when it couldn’t be resisted. It just becomes part of you!
Benny: Death metal, as an organic, down to earth, raw and brutal music-form has always been interesting to me, even thou I’ve had periods with only 70s rock/progressive, 80s metal/thrash and 90s Stonerrock. I personally adore the playfulness in the genre, the tempo changes, the cool drumming etc. You can almost do anything and it’s both fun to play and listen to ’cause there is so many cool things to explore. It doesn’t need to have a basic song structure with verse and chorus, to be one of the best tracks you ever heard. And of course I like the dark evilness of it all hehe. Today I’ve listen to almost everything so it’s quite hard to point out any influences thou.
Mattias: Personally I got very tired of Death metal music ,around 97 or something, and avoid it as good as I could :), but after a few year sober I had to listen to some pure Death metal again, and I admit that some of the shit I thought were awesome back in the days really sucked, but some of the stuff were amazing. And I found some new band as well. I admit that it’s not that important nowadays. In the late 80`s and early 90`s we ate, drunk, and fucked Death Metal…hahaha….now we all got families and are not that young anymore….:)

How do you age as a death metal musician? Do you take in all this new melodeath or do you keep true to the original acts?
Mattias: I don´t like that melodeath and the triggered drums and that kind of overproduced shit. The original is always the best as they say…
Benny: I’m not so found of melodic death metal. Of course some melodies are ok to put in there, as long as the brutality is intact. Blast beats is a must! Hehe We all keep true to the original style.
Janne: I personally listen to anything worth the time but I bleed for the original acts and Tampa bay DM in particular.

Is there a death metal aesthetic? Do you have to look and act a specific way to be death metal?
Janne: If you go back to the early 90’s I’d definitely say yes but I do not see the same rules apply to the same extent anymore. In the 90’s really long hair and black jeans together with a black biker jacket and a black and white DM t-shirt was law. If you wore blue jeans or something with brighter colors, you weren’t accepted as nothing but a poseur.
Mattias: I think that is more important for the younger Death metal fans, I don´t look or act a special way to be Death Metal, it’s all in my soul 🙂

When you’ve been doing it for so long as you guys have can you feel a certain pride in being a part of a scene that has come to mean so much to so many people?
Janne: I personally just find it unbelievable that stuff we’ve made over the years is considered part of it all. It’s really cool!
Benny: I can’t take credit for bringing any musical legacy to the scene back then, but I am honored that I got to experience that amazing period of time. I feel a certain pride of being a part of the Swedish old school scene thou.
Mattias: Yes of course, even thou I don´t think we have done anything special for the scene, but I´m proud over been part of it since the beginning, and it was an amazing time in Stockholm back then. It was concerts every weekend. We all sticked together, we were very tight.

How do you take Malfeitor further from this point now?
Right now we are waiting for the response on our debut. Hopefully we might start writing material for the sequel after this summer. At this moment we can’t tell you what to expect… but there will be old school death metal for sure, probably we put some more experimental stuff in there. This time we will not hesitate to get signed, we want to have the material ready first. We work a little bit slower nowadays haha. Thanks for a great interview, we believe it was one of the best so far! Also, thanks to all you that support true old school death metal, you are our true brothers, sisters and partners in crime! Be sure to grab our debut “Dum Morior Orior”, that is scheduled to be released on CD by Hellthrasher Productions at the 30th of April 2012 and on Vinyl by Chaos Records.


Beseech might be dead and buried but part of the band lives on in THE MARY MAJOR. Don’t go expecting a continuation though because this is pretty much totally different. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

I gotta ask about the name. Where does it come from and is there any greater significance to it?
-In the band name we wanted a female name. Someone came up with the idea “Jane doe”, and when researching this we came over a list of police terms. In that list we found out that the second unknown female victim in a crime scene usually is called Mary Major. And since this is our second band together we thought that fit perfectly.

The Mary Major seems a long way from Beseech. How much of a conscious decision was it to not do the same old when you started anew?
-It was 100% conscious. We wanted to do something new to us, and get back to do something that we felt was real and honest. The concept of Beseech felt like a closed chapter and we ran inspiration, ideas and energy.

Why the use of dual vocals (male and female)? What does that bring to the sound that a single vocalist couldn’t have brought?
-It gives a wider spectra, and makes the sound more interesting. It’s easier to experiment with harmonies and it gives you a different experience when watching us live.

How liberating is it to go from a rather big label to basically doing it yourself? Does it feel like you are in total control now?
-We are in total control. And it was the best thing we could have done at the moment. The music industry has changed, and it’s easy to distribute music digitally by yourself. We don’t have any time pressure and that’s the most important part. Music need its time to grow. Creating music, and having to speed things up most often results in something you’re not proud of, and that you felt you could do different.

Is there any difference in the creative process playing a more basic music with perhaps fewer hang-ups about what works and doesn’t work musically?
-It’s easier to make music without synth, we don’t have to program sounds and so on. We make simple music because we think it gives us more energy and actually it’s more challenging to make a good simple song than to overdo it.

How hard do you promote the band because I only came upon you searching for bands to interview?
-To promote a band is the hardest thing to do when you don’t have a big label behind you. You really have to put more tools in the toolbox, so to speak.

How do you promote your band the best possible way in an age when people rather sit in front of their computers only downloading tracks that they like and forget about the rest of the album?
-Facebook is great, and it also gives the band control to distribute the songs you want people to listen to. This is also a great way to stay in contact with the people that like what you do. These people are also the best promotion you can get, because a happy fan will tell his friends.

Does playing live still attract enough interest for people to actually check you out? How hard is it to tour aside from the festival circuit in the summer?
-The need for live shows is greater than ever, but so is the competition. So we do what we can to get on the road. We do more club shows, than festival shows. So that’s no problem for us. More festival gigs would be good though, because that’s where you meet the audience that wouldn’t pay to see just your show.

Do you learn from having been there before what not to do again or is the game so much bigger that you get sucked back into the vortex that is the music industry?
-Of course we’ve learned a lot. But everything changes, and you need to keep up with the industry.

What would you like the future to hold for the band?
-Even more gigs. We love to play live, and we love to meet new people.


OSMIUM from New Zealand impressed me so much that I just had to interview them. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Even though you are new to me you seem to have had a life as a band prior to me discovering you. Tell me about the origin of the band and the intentions for forming?
-I put the band together in 2005 because it didn’t really seem like the music I really enjoyed which is just riff heavy, groovy rock/metal with good clean vocals was being represented at all & it’s still few and far between. But really it’s all just for the love of the music and we take inspiration from all the music we listen to regardless of the ‘genre’.

I have a hard time deciphering your music. To my ears you sound like a cross between Soundgarden and Black Sabbath. What would you say characterize your sound?
Haha, That’s a pretty mongrel cross of bands! I like it. People have also said it’s like a cross between Pantera & Alice In Chains. I’m personally a massive Alice In Chains and all the bands mentioned above so I guess all those influences are bound to show in our music. I don’t like to really put a label on it but it generally gets called groove metal or stoner metal or just heavy rock but it’s all the same to me. I mean some of songs could be called metal and some hard rock.

How hard is it to find “your” sound in the myriads of bands that exist in the universe?
Well we don’t claim to do anything new so I wouldn’t even say we’re a new sound. We just do what bands have been doing for a long time but just try not to sound the same, I think one of the things that puts us apart especially in NZ is the clean vocals. It’s pretty rare to have a band in the metal genre over here with clean vocals.

Being from New Zealand has its limitations. What in your opinion is the hardest being so far away from the rest of the metal loving world?
-Well we’re not really on some path of hellbent destruction trying to conquer the world…We just play music cause that’s what we enjoy so it doesn’t really matter where we do it it’ll be the same as long as there are people there enjoying it. But I guess really if you compare the amount of people in NZ to anywhere else you’re going to have a limited amount of people you can get your music out to.

When you are from such a small country as New Zealand is how important does the cooperation between bands become in order to even have a working music scene? Is there room for petty arguments between bands?
-I was about to say everyone in NZ gets along but I don’t suppose they do. In general they do. We haven’t encountered any problems. Everyone is great to deal with.

How important is a DIY scene in a scene as small as the NZ metal scene?
-Well if no one had the DIY attitude not much would get done to be honest. It’s odd when you compare a band like Sinate who are one of the most well known and respected metal bands in this country in my opinion and they still do everything themselves where as you compare them to one of the most well known rock/pop/dub bands in the country it’s a whole new world. They have massive road crews and tour management and everything. Whereas with Sinate what you see is what you get & I think that’s awesome.

“Misery Harvest” is an amazing album but if no one gets to hear what good does it do. How do you intend to take the album to the most possible masses of metal fans?
-Thanks for the compliment! Well in NZ we do as much touring as our schedules allow so that’s how we promote it here. As far as on an international scene we’re just trying to get reviews and such on blogs and pages such as this one and hopefully a few people will pick up on it.

How many times can you play the same places before it starts to become stale and non-productive?
-Depends on the place but generally not to many times. We’ve definitely been guilty of over playing venue. We actually played two nights in a row in Dunedin not so long ago at the same venue supporting two completely different bands but the thing we always make sure to do is that we played completely different sets. No song was repeated the second night.

What does the art work represent to you and how does it fit with the songs?
-The Misery Harvest was an idea I had. It kinda just portrays every life and how miserable people are with their 9 to 5 jobs. Cause that’s kinda the stuff I harvest into my music. So all that stuff is harvest into one finished product.

What does the future hold for Osmium?
-A long and fruitful life in the NZ heavy music scene hopefully. We just love playing music. Doesn’t get to much better.


RAVENLAND from Brazil are well worth lending some or your time to. If you like your metal goth-tinged then check them out. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

How important is to Ravenland that you reach outside of Brazil with your music? What kind of scene is there in Brazil for your kind of metal?
Dewindson – Hello Battlehelm´s readers! It’s very important that our music achieve every places and possible hearts, but firstly outside of our country because the Brazil´s culture not came from Rock as less from Metal, really there are many fans of metal and rock here, lastly many foreign bands have coming to play here in Brazil, maybe out outside of Brazil, artists and producers believe that there is possible living of Rock/Metal here, it is wrong, look at the SEPULTURA, KRISIUN and ANGRA, these bands just were recognized and valued in Brazil after them had achieved the success outside of Brazil, if SEPULTURA or KRISIUN no has gigs and international tours every time, they would be in a formal work today. About our gothic metal scene in Brazil, there is a small scene, but there is. There are some labels that released albuns from international bands that play gothic metal, there are some few producers specialized in this kind of metal. There are many blogs, sites, radios specialized in gothic metal, dark rock too as many fans, but not just enough to we can get live here in Brazil by our music.

You have a new EP out now. What can you tell us about that one? Why not do a full album and be done with it?
Dewindson – About the EP, are 4 songs, one of them is a cover for “Fire in the Sky” song of Ozzy Osbourne and has 2 versions of the song “Memories” new song, being one of them in acoustic format, we recorded too a new version for “Regret” song, this time with complete band, it´s very cool this new version… The female vocals in this EP were recorded by Tatiana Berke, she made just one gig with us and we were cover/poster of a Brazilian magazine specialized in Rock/Metal, after that she left the band by personal priorities. On the last October we presented our new official singer Juliana Rossi alive in a gig beside of Sirenia, she has been awesome till now. You and the readers may to check the voice of her on “Memories” song wich will be our new video-clip, check the song:
We decided to release just an EP in stead of a fullengh because the third and new album will delay some months else to release it, is necessary to finished the pre-producing of the some songs. We have ready 12 new songs for this album since of 2010, but not were recorded yet, just 7 were pre-produced by our bass player João Cruz together with us, lack finish the pre-producing of 5 songs yet, after this we will enter in studio to record it. Maybe we will work again with the producer Waldemar Sorychta in Germany. We will release a new single to present our new singer Juliana, this Single will have some bonus songs in acoustic format before of the next album till the half of this year.

What kind of response have you had to your music from both nationally as well as internationally? Have you noticed any special interest from places that you didn?t think would like your music?
Dewindson – We have nice response both nationally as well internationally, here in Brazil we have fans a lot, Brazil is very big, but we have the response of fans in all states of Brazil, till Amazonia, Ceará and Rio Grande do Sul wich are distant states, the response of media here were very nice too, as magazines, radios, web sites… All gave great attention for our music. Internationally, we have receiving several reviews with nice notes about it, as magazines and in web too. We have noticed a very special interest about our music from Deutschland and United States, Mexico, Portugal and Japan, but places that I never didn´t think would like our music were Africa and India, I didn´t think that would there are fans of RAVENLAND there, but we have received message fans from these countries talking about they have bought our CDs and they liked so much of it, they have asking to me if one day we will play there in their countries.

How much of a way out of Brazil is Ravenland for you? Is the band a way for you to survive everyday stress or just a hobby?
Dewindson – I have no idea about how much our music is out of our limits, out of Brazil, but by internet we may to have a look out, day by day I have caught informations as international radios that play our music or international web site, blog that talks well about our music…and this way I have idea about it. The band is not a simply way of survive from the everyday stress, not so less a hoby, but is a way to express the art that are in our hearts and we hope that it be a way to express their loves, hates, fears, deads and anyone wish. and everything that we may to become art. RAVENLAND is to me a serious job that I love to do and fortunatelly I found four persons that thinking as me with the same way. The RAVENLAND will complete this year 15 years old since that I founded it.

People into metal seem to know everything worth knowing about the Swedish scene and every new band is being hailed as the greatest thing since sliced bread. With Brazilian metal you need to have a greater interest to find new bands. What is so different about the Brazilian and Swedish metal scenes that one garners more interest than the other?
Dewindson – Really I need to say that Sweden have one of the best metal scene of the world, always have been so, Entombed, Unleashed, Tiamat, Katatonia, In flames, Dark Tranquillity, At the Gates, Amon Amath, Draconian, Mercenary, Scar Simetry… In Brazil we have a great scene too, but in the end of 80´s and beginning of 90´s, the explosion of Death Metal turns the lights to our scene, Sepultura got the attention of the world with his music and many great names from Minas Gerais and São Paulo appeared in world metal scene, names as Sarcófago, Sexthrash, The Mist, Chakal, Salário Minimo, Overdose, Vulcano, Korzus, Holocausto, Witchammer, Viper… Nowadays we have great new bands too, as Desolated Ways, Serpent Rise, Imago Mortis, Holiness, Semblant, Hellarise, Ancesttral, Trayce, Command6, Expose your hate, Tuatha de Dannan, Unearthly, Kamala, Dynahead, Miasthenia, Mythologycal Cold Towers, Torture Squad, Shaman, Obskure…of course that each scene has your moment of world attention, I guess this thing happen ever when explodes a new name, for exemplo, Brazil was when the Sepultura, Sarcofago, Korzus and theThrash/Death Metal exploded, in Sweden was when appeared the new Melodic Death Metal from In flames, Dark Tranquility, At the Gates…That´s happened too with the Britain in 80´s NWHM and with the US in the age of Bay Area Thrash and death metal of Florida too…

How easy/hard is it to find the right kind of people to work with when you want to record? Do you have the resources to go abroad to give the music everything it deserves?
Dewindson – Not so easy and not so hard when you have money or a great label company that support you, in our case, our second album “…and a crow brings me back” we used own resources to invest in it, we choosed one of the best studios in Brazil and one experienced person to support us in studio, Ricardo Confessori, he helped us to produce the album, after this records sessions we talk with producer Waldemar Sorychta in Germany to finish the album, we believe that we had the best resulted that we can get using our own resources. The Freemind Records sent our material to the factory and paid it. In “Memories” EP, the process was totally different, because this time we hadn´t resources to invest it, but we have a home studio and our bass player João Cruz is degree in Regency and Composition Musical, also has experience by have worked with Ricardo Confessori in whole prodution process of our second album and no one is better than us to know what we want to do with our music. So, we put the hands on the mass and we made all by ourselves… pre-production, production, recording sessions, mixed, mastered, just the artwork of cover was developed by Jean Michel of DESIGNATIONS ART WORK. We know the resulted could be better, but we hadn´t resources to do it. We know that our music would deserved more than we did for it in ways of production.

Have modern technology made it easier to get a great sound and not having to beg, borrow and steal for it to happen?
Dewindson – Yes, we know what that modern technology has to offer, but we always made things without abuse the technology, we prefer to do it ourselves than use a software to do by us, I believe that capitation is very important, we dont used trigger on the drums, we don’t use digital distortion or choosed in a data base of a software, we use a nice guitar combined with a nice amplifier with a nice mic put in his front and so…after this recorded, we use the technology for some effects or equalizer, something that no steal our work.

I have a hard time seeing how you could set up a national tour of Brazil with the country being so big. How do you tour the countryside? Are there places to play outside of the bigger cities?
Dewindson – We have made gigs in all possible states for us, Northeast, Southeast and South from Brazil, we made presentations, gigs, tours in these places… but there are places in Brazil that we never play before, as North, Northwest, and Center. Brazil is really a big country, but actually the scene has been developed in each place, city, bigger cities and this became the things to easier. There are many places to play outside of bigger cities, we always play in these cities too, many times is better to play outside of bigger cities because the lack of gigs frequent doing the fans gives else value to that.

What kind of abroad touring experiences do you have? What would be the perfect tour in your eyes to promote the band the best possible way?
Dewindson – We have grow up so much with experiences acquired in tour, playing with others bands like Moonspell, Tiamat, Theatre of Tragedy, Sirenia, The Gathering, Anathema… also playing in the big Brazilian festivals like Roça´n´Roll, Mada, Ceara Music, Plis Rock Festival, Mossoró Rock Festival, Palace of sin and many others…Each gig is important to promote our music, but is ever perfect when you have the better quality in equipment to present your music for a new public and old fans, when you enter on stage and seeing a great number of public and fans, when you play and you seeing the fans singing our songs together with you, when you leaves the stage satisfied with the resulted, when you sell a lot of merchandising, when you play almost every day in different places, when you have minimal conditions to sleep, to take a wash, nice food, and after all, you have made new fans, new friends and new doors would be opened for you to return again. It´s a perfect tour!

What can we expect from Ravenland in the future?
Dewindson – We will make a new video-clip on the next month, the video will support to promote the new album with a new physical and digital single, we´re finishing the production of our third album with 12 songs.
I´m planning to record images for a DVD in celebration by our 15 years that we´re completing in this year. The DVD will content a great and special gig, also some pieces of our acoustic presentations and others gigs as bonus, an interview with all in the band, some statements too from some persons whose were and are important for us, some ex-members too… After that, we hope to play in Europe at the end of this year or on the summer of 2013.


Alright all you fans of USDM. Here’s an interview with SHROUD OF DESPONDENCY answered by Rory Heikkila. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

How important is it to create an ambiance with your music? How important is it to lure the listener into your musical world?
-There are a lot of little variables here. We are, by no means, an ‘ambient’ band as we try first and foremost to be a metal band but I definitely think that our interludes, whether they are acoustic guitar driven or synth driven, serve to ‘lure the listener’ in. They are usually downtrodden, even when some of the harmonies are uplifting, and are always designed to capture the feeling of the lyrics. They also play a very important role in how we arrange albums in that generally they are very meticulously placed around songs where they, in my mind, fit. This could mean they are an extension of certain themes in the lyrics or present a juxtaposition against a theme in order to bring about the song that follows an interlude. We aren’t really a typical modern ‘black metal’ band in that we don’t want to capture the same feelings with our instrumental pieces as we do our metal songs. When we set out to write metal the most important thing is that it sounds like a metal band, not a folk band playing metal or a goth band co opting black metal patterns or something. We work hard in attempting to make everything seem naturally connected, across songs as well as across albums, and ultimately fitting into one specific genre isn’t really important to us. It’s very important to me that any potential listener understands this.

You as a band have been very prolific in releasing music on various formats. I don’t know how many albums I’ve downloaded from your bandcamp page. Is there ever any danger of overdoing it? A risk that people find it too much?
-I create with very specific psychological intent. This goes for writing lyrics, writing music, playing guitar, etc. I never write without reason and purging of this nature is very important to me. Given that the world is a very complex and often horrifying place, there is always something for me to eliminate psychically if I am to live a life that is adjusted to the demands of civilization. This allows two things to happen. One is that I’m always writing. I have been for over 10 years now and I will until I die. It’s not always metal, it’s not always full of contempt and longing, but I’m always busy creatively. I don’t question it. I grow and change along with it. The other thing it allows is a certain distance between me and any potential listener/fan. In other words, I don’t care what other people think. If it’s too much or you don’t like it you are free not to listen, free not to read interviews, and certainly free not to buy our/my material.

Is there a purpose to releasing stuff in limited editions. I have one of your CDs that I think was in a 10 copy edition or something.
-I have no idea what CD that is! Honestly, it usually just boils down to financial issues. I don’t have a lot of money and neither do my band mates. It was even harder when I was doing this by myself, which is why a lot of stuff is cdr released, sounds like ass, and generally not worth your time. Having partners to write with, and share some of the financial burden with, has really opened a lot of doors for this project in terms of getting the right production, pressing CDs, and having the fine gentlemen at Clawhammer do some PR work for us.

When you release stuff as downloads only and offers it for free what effect does that have on the actual album sales of albums released on physical formats?
-There have been a decent amount of people who want both. Some of the people that support us are really awesome because they realize we’re doing this ourselves, and they see a product that is worth their time, so they buy a physical copy after downloading or they simply hold off on downloading until we have some physical copies available or something. Every bit of money given to this band goes back into it. The personal profit I get from this band is psychological only. Also, some of the stuff doesn’t cost me any money to record and there aren’t any actual physical copies available so why on earth would I charge money for that? I recently started charging like 2 bucks or something for all the old albums, but it basically amounted to wanting to get money raised to pay off Ryan for producing “Pine”.

You are often described as black metal but to my ears you have very little in common with the Norwegian definition of black metal. Is there an American black metal sound and if so, what is it?
-I’m honestly pretty removed from what ‘black metal’ is. It’s not something that concerns me, these little soap operas and young, simple minded, kids pointing fingers trying to earn street cred or something. I write music selfishly. However, I can comment on this in one way. If you were to take a lot of the riffs from the last 3 albums (Objective:Isolation, Dark Meditations in Monastic Seclusion, and Pine) and play them on a guitar in standard tuning they would sound more Scandinavian. We tune in A# which definitely gives us more in common with American death metal. I think most genres are too diverse to actually exist. What is commonly called “American Black Metal” these days really doesn’t sound like what I knew as American Black Metal back when I was younger and cared about such things. Nowadays everybody wants to sound like Wolves in the Throne Room and have shoegaze elements and shit like that. Not really my thing, even though some of it isn’t really that bad.

How do you take your music beyond being just this or that to become an entity all its own? How do you move away from being stereotyped/type casted?
-It’s all relative and I don’t take insults or praise too seriously. Some people do stereotype us. I can’t tell you how many reviews we’ve gotten comparing us to Wolves in the Throne Room or Agalloch and I personally don’t see it. It’s just that that is what sound is ‘in’ these days so it’s real easy. We have nature photos and interludes so it’s easy to just say that that is what we are going for. Honestly, I love Agalloch and “Dark Meditations…” has some Agalloch moments in the acoustic songs and some of the harmonies on “Half Open Gates” from “Pine” have some influence, but we are a bit more ‘metal’ influenced in my opinion. There are riffs on the new album that were influenced by Root and Inquisition more than anything. On top of that we openly embrace old thrash and death metal as well as elements of grind and doom when we write metal. In my mind, that’s how we avoid it. Do what we want when we want, never throw away a good riff, and never care what people think.

How would you like to describe the progress your music has made on your latest album “Pine”?
-“Pine”, to me, is the most actualized Shroud of Despondency album to date. It’s also a bit different for the project in a few ways. For starters, there isn’t nearly as much acoustic work on this album as previous albums. Instead there are four “Wanderlust” interludes that were written by Jon (guitars) on Synth and have me playing Balalaika and Cello on them. Greatly influenced by “Ommadawn” by Mike Oldfield. A close friend said he was pretty disturbed when he heard them and that’s what we were going for. This is also the first album I’ve written lyrics for where I outright stole passages/lines from another writer(Nietzsche) in order to move the album. In terms of the metal songs themselves, I think it is the most diverse batch of tunes I’ve ever participated in. There are elements of black metal, old school death and thrash metal, grind, doom, and traditional metal. But I also feel that the songs were written honestly and have a natural flow to them. It’s not like ‘ok it’s time for a thrash riff now’ or some shit.

How do you take the band one step further without losing all that is connected to what the sound of Shroud Of Despondency is to the listener?
-Not really concerned with this ‘connection’ to the listener. Again, the listener has every right to not listen. We are starting work with a new drummer, as Jeremiah had to leave the band after recording his tracks for “Pine”, and I imagine this will affect the song writing process. I’d expect a bit more thrash metal in newer material, but it’s also too early to comment. We’re taking it slow for once and we’re gonna begin working on the next album when we feel everything is right. However, I have also been writing some material with drum programming by myself and it’s a continuation of the “Objective: Isolation” album in terms of style (Tech death meets black metal). This will be seeing the light of day very soon. I don’t mean to sound arrogant or like I don’t appreciate our fans here because, as I alluded to earlier, we’ve got some people who support us and I love their kind words, honest criticisms, and general interest in my/our music. The simple truth of the matter is they aren’t there when I create. I’m inside myself and my own experience on this planet and I need to be honest with myself when I do that and that means not stopping the building process of an idea for anyone. I’ll listen to my band mates if they tell me something is ‘off’ or they just don’t like something and I greatly enjoy the building process with them but I also do a lot of stuff on my own. Music, to me, is the greatest thing on earth and I’ve been exposed to it from such an early age that it’s all just kind of a melting pot in my head and I can’t shy away from that. I never let the media or a fans criticism prevent me from thinking for myself, discovering my own reason, and having the courage to actualize it.

I’ve noticed that the art work seem to follow a specific imagery. How conscious are you of the bands portrayal, of the way the fans see the band?
-Every picture in the layout for “Pine” is of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan where I was born and raised. This cultural importance is all I’m aware of in terms of the ‘imagery’ of our discs. I’m aware that many bands use nature shots and such, and I enjoy a good portion of bands that do it, but I simply can’t imagine having a Shroud of Despondency album that doesn’t have them. To me a good nature shot, of water or trees, captures more emotion and evokes more thought than anything other metal bands use. This is not necessarily an insult to other metal bands, I just don’t see it changing with us. Most of our fans are from Michigan and Wisconsin and I think they inherently understand the importance of the woods and water. If you haven’t been in the calmness of a forest at night and experienced that connection, you simply haven’t lived. It’s been a part of my life since birth. Despite the fact that we live in the city, our friends and fans live in the city, it’s just not typical to be raised in this area and not have a getaway place in nature. I think a good portion of our fans share these thoughts with me/us.

What future is there for Shroud Of Despondency?
-More music. Hopefully somebody that wants to put out some of our material on vinyl someday. Those interested can visit our bandcamp site at and “like” us on facebook and all that jazz. The downloadable version of “Pine” comes with 4 bonus songs and, if you prefer, we have some hard copies available. Contact us if interested. Thanks for the interview. Thanks to those that show support. Mitt Romney 2012.


Canadian metal band TRIBUNE were kind enough to answer my questions. Interview with Ryan O’Shea – Bass. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Tribune is a pretty good name for a metal band. How hard was it to come up with it and what does it represent to you?
-The name Tribune was easily agreed upon once our drummer Jason Brown suggested it… It seemed like a fair representation of what we would like to achieve with our music. The “Tribune” was a Roman political position that was considered to be the representative, or defender of the common people. At that time Rome needed a voice for the masses because the plebeian people were ruled, and abused by their aristocracy. We feel that our band Tribune is a unified expression of the interests, and ideologies of our members. A voice of the people if you will.

To my ears you play a rather modern form of metal. How much do you look to the past for inspiration? How much do you draw from present day “trends”?
-We’ve drawn much inspiration from heavy music throughout our lives, and those influences have definitely colored our sound. However; we also strive to break the rules of heavy Metal, and be progressive with our music. Not only do we as people love Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and Pink Floyd, but we also love Lamb Of God, The Black Dahlia Murder, and Gojira.

Something I noticed listening to your album is that you move smoothly between different genres. Do you have a problem with sticking to just one? Does more actually make it any better?
-Music is art, and we feel that our art should not be limited by genre, or media classifications. We don’t think about what genre a riff sounds like when we write. We just focus on creating diverse arrangements that appeal to us.

I gotta ask you guys about the album title “Elder Lore – The Dark Arts”. To me that is a strange title. What does it mean to you?
-Well this album is a culmination of material that was written over the past 7 years, part of which was written before the band had a second guitar player. This first generation material is what we are referring to with the title of “Elder Lore,” and “The Dark Arts” represents our newer arrangements since the song writing has changed with the inclusion of the second guitar.

How does the art work fit in with title and lyrics? Does the art work necessarily have to fit with the lyrics and music?
-Of course it’s not necessary to always have the art on an album represent the subject themes within its musical content, but albums that do have at least some thematically related artwork show a more unified creative vision. However; “Elder Lore/The Dark Arts” is somewhat unique in it’s design. It has artwork that is not only representative of its lyrical themes, but also pieces that are otherwise unlinked to the albums content.

When you are Canadian does it ever feel like you have to compete with American bands on the wrong terms and that people should support home grown more than just to go with the latest American stuff thinking that it must be better because it’s American?
-Music is universal. We’re not particularly interested in what country or culture the music that we enjoy comes from. We appreciate the music on its own terms.

What kind of support does the national metal scene have? Some pretty great metal bands have come from Canada?
-Support these days is fairly decentralized due to online promotion. If you play any given town a lot, you’re still going to build a scene, but you can now also build a scene on the internet. Waiting for industry support to come along and notice you is sort of a thing of the past, and it has become increasingly important for bands to take their careers into their own hands.

What kind of support are you gonna give the new album now that it is out? What kind of summer tours opportunities are there in Canada?
-We are about to embark on The Dark Arts Tour, starting in the U.S. and then continuing on into Canada. Here’s a link to our tour dates.

How hard is it really to tour Canada? You got paved roads and comfy mini vans. What with the distances being so great.
-Touring in Canada is really fun, not hard. The hard part is being able to afford to go on tour, though it must be said that in Canada we are able to get guaranties, whereas in the States we kind of just have to get out there and play and hope that we can break even. The distances between towns in Canada are certainly large, but in the past we have found that this is more than balanced out by all the great people we have met and the fun shows we’ve played.

Is there a future for Tribune?
-Absolutely, and it will be a future created on our own terms, with, of course, the help and support of all our fans across the world.

Single Stream – The Succubus –

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VOICE OF MIDNIGHT is not an Arkona clone but still a folk metal band if you get my drift. Interview with Ivan Kyznetsov – vocals & boozing and Ivan Novikov – guitar & trolling. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

At first I thought your band name was kinda lame and non descriptive but the more I thought about it the better it got. What is it that you want to say with Voice Of Midnight?
I.Kyznetsov: Well, 1st of all, the name of the band makes people think of what stands behind it. And of course, the night is always associated with something unknown and wild, it’s like another dimension.
I.Novikov: The name reminds me of all our night adventures, whether it’s just boozing and having fun, or mysteries like meeting a possible walking dead, ghosts on the swamps, once I heard a mermaid. So if you were in the county, alone, at midnight, I bet you’d listen to Voice of Midnight. Well, most likely it’ll tell you “Get the hell out of here!!”, but who cares: Looks cool, sounds awesome, I’m fine with it. No need to translate into English, less work for me.

I guess there’s no beating round the bush. Playing the kind of folkish black metal that you play there’s one band that will get mentioned more than others: Arkona. How can you benefit the best from the success of Arkona in order to promote Voice Of Midnight?
I.Kyznetsov: And again I’d like to state, that we are not like Arkona. Yeah, it’s a great band, etc, but not all of us are huge fans of it, though we respect them very much. We shared the stage with Arkona multiple times, but the first time had become crucial. Back then we had no experience of performing with such monster-bands as Arkona, so for us there was no turning point, we must rock! I think, now people can become interested in “another folk-metal band from mighty Russia”, it can pay into our hands. Arkona has developed greatly since then and become indeed very popular. I was like stunned, when Finnish guys from MyGrain (we played pool with them) kept asking questions about Arkona as they came to Michael Jackson’s homeland and were late with the concert in a week.
I.Novikov: I never listened to Arkona. They are very well known, so in order to succeed, we must try another way, what we are actually doing. Also there couple of other ways gain benefits from Arkona’s success, like beating the shit out of everyone who would say that VoM is like Arkona, launch a very agressive PR company, become one of the most aggressive bands, who hates everyone else (like Mayhem, for instance) and then die because of cocaine overdose. But it’s very childish, so we just keep doing what we’re doing, making our own way to the Top. And keep drinking, smoking and raising Hell.

In singing in your native tongue does that limit the market for your music or is there a chance that that exotic touch can add to the interest for the band?
I.Kyznetsov: Well, Russians listen to English-singing bands very willingly, even more than Russian bands (well, mostly ‘cos we stole everything from the West, and everyone knows that). So why not let our English-o-whatever-speaking friends listen to Russian lyrics? Even more, Arkona has already laid the foundation of it, I thing, the interest will be only growing. And also it’s very confusing when people write lyrics not in the same language as they are speaking and thinking.
I.Novikov: English is one of international languages of our planet. So, in Russia there is one simple choise – either one sing in Russian, or in Russian. That’s what I’m gonna talk about. If one, let’s say, is Russian and sings in perfect French, that is insanely awesome, that’s fine, but that is a rare thing. All Russian bands that sing in English, can go fuck themselves, ‘cos they are miserable traitors, who sold out their native language in order to get into mainstream, become popular, boo-hoo. Also, listening to pronunciation of Russian bands singing in English makes me laugh to tears. For better understanding you can listen to Manowar’s “Father” or Scorpions’ “Wind of Change”, that were performed in Russian. Of course I think that that “exotic” touch can add to the interest for the band. That’s awesome, that’s how it should be, never hear of American bands, that threw up English, and began writing and singing in Swahili.

I imagine that there is a rich folklore present in the former Soviet satellites that never died and has come back to life after the fall of communism. How much of the folklore seeps into your music and lyrics?
I.Kyznetsov: I can say that there’s very little native folklore that seeps into our music and lyrics, well, there is no native folklore at all (For that you can listen to Arkona. I.Novikov). But there is a bigger problem. Metal itself didn’t appear in USSR and post-soviet Russia for a long time, and people think stereotypes till nowadays. That is a very huge problem. Here, on the streets, people refuse to understand it, you should have listen to more Russian bands.
I.Novikov: Well, nothing to add, the shit is pretty fucked up. And I didn’t answer on your question, yeah, I know that.

What can we learn from these old tales? How can the tales be applied on our modern way of life?
I.Kyznetsov: Thousands of years ago people knew much more, than we know now with all new-fashioned technology. They were much wiser and stronger than we are. The Old Tales is a stereotyped image of ancient wisdom. During the last 200 years people began behave themselves as the owners of our beautiful blue planet. But at the same time we know, the flea can’t own the dog. We have a lot of modern gadgets and there is like no inevitable wars, but still people keep shooting each other. We continue to lose ourselves. And most of us don’t even understand the importance of this problem. And in order to see how the tales can be applied on our modern way of life, you should look at any very successful man.
I.Novikov: The greatest and best example of these “old tales” are my grandparents. They represent that exact ancient wisdom, strength, they have great personality, and I’m proud to be raised by them. I was raised as a brave, honest, simple-hearted and naive, but clever and sensible “hero of folk Russian legends, defender of the Truth”, don’t know if you understand “bogatyr”. No wonder me and Kyznetsov share equal names. And I hate modern way of life, ‘cos people undergo degradation. One can re-read “Fight Club” to remember the description of our generation, or look at the results of presidential elections in Russia 2012. The world is doomed, unless it begins to listen to the voice of ancient past. And Voice of Midnight.

Why is “Bifrost” only 30 minutes long? Wouldn’t the songs and the lyrics benefit from a longer playing time giving them a chance to shape a life of their own?
I.Kyznetsov: Well, probably that’s because of our character no one thought about the timing, but we can assure that next album will be way heavier, better and longer. Sometimes the size does matter.
I.Novikov: First try, first album, first release. May be you are right, we should have let the songs develop and live their own life, but who can guarantee that they won’t turn against us, pick a huge hammer and smash their own creators’ heads??? Let’s leave the contest of “Who can play longer to sledge and post-metal, listen to Rorcal’s track “Heliogabalus” – 1h 10min 32sec.

What is nationalism to you? It seems that whenever you talk about the pride of your homeland people start to shout about fascism and right wing extremism.
I.Kyznetsov: Nationalism is a healthy world outlook. People try to save their traditions, not to mix the blood, without it you’re nothing. Nowadays it is very convenient and profitable to call everyone “fascists”. One should turn deaf ear, ‘cos if someone doesn’t know the difference between being fascist and knowing who is your father, than he probably a fool, I feel sorry for him.
I.Novikov: I agree that nationalism is a healthy world outlook. The problem is that most of nationalists that I’ve seen a stupid bald fucks, shouting something about white pride, doing physical training and posting AK-47 pics is social networks. But that is it. Their level of live will never raise from dirty gyms, camo clothes, low-paid work, and most of them will end up in jail. Open Russian wikipedia, the “Nationalism” article, first 2 lines that everyone can see are “Do not mix up with nazism. Do not mix up with fascism” And that’s the point.

Folk metal seem to be very much about feeling pride for ancient ways of life. What is it about modern life that is so wrong that you have to look to old stories to find solace?
I.Kyznetsov: We have already mentioned this topic, yes, and I think we need examples. Here is one. Back then women were not allowed to drink alcohoe. Yeah-yeah, you can start yelling about sexism, feminism (and other funny words. I.Novikov) But the funny thing is that alcohol cause germ cell mutation, and the child could suffer deviations. Why women? Women have one supply germ cell since the birth and till the death, it never refills and changes. Unlike women, men’s germ cells can be restored is a short period of time. It was known long before Mendel’s laws. And there’s another example. Nowadays we have a lot of technology of building wooden structures. They are covered with everything one could possibly imagine, but they still rot. And in the 8th century people knew that if they stump a tree in winter solstice, then the house made of such logs will stand at least 3 centuries. Another example. Re-enactor staged an experiment. They built up a drakkar, using ancient technology as close as possible, and then put it against a modern yacht with equal sail area. The results didn’t differ, and drakkar’s max speed was far better. If nowadays people cared about technology that much, I guess the future that saw Marty McFly, would have happened long before. And I’m not mentioning the spirit and morality.
I.Novikov: Instead of being part of nature, we place ourselves above nature, and that causes us all the troubles. That is not that hippie bullshit. Need more – google it.

How do you promote Voice Of Midnight the best possible way? What channels are there for you to spread the word of the band?
I.Kyznetsov: We’ve got tons if ideas, but no money to realize them. We need cash. I think we’d made up a great show, of course, the greatest of all times, but as we’re poor kids, we have to earn respect with our music.
I.Novikov: Well, I guess all the best ways for promotion are described in “Promotion for Dummies”. We have made an awesome teaser of over upcoming album Bifrost, shared stages with monster-bands, we’re sneaky and crafty, I guess we’ll find ways to become Gods of Metal.

What kind of live scene are you part of? Any particular bands that you wouldn’t share a stage with or do you cater to all kinds of metalheads?
I.Kyznetsov: We are very friendly, but still bands of different music styles should go one after another. And I hope, Justin Bieber is not a modern metalhead, I guess he is like my friend Ivan, am I right, dude?
I.Novikov: Well thank you very much, I appreciate it, very, very funny. Almost as funny, as Ozzy’s “Who the fuck is Justin Bieber?” As for me, I’m a huge fan of Pantera, and so I can’t stand hipsters and indie rockers, ‘cos they are another trend like Cobain, rap metal, nu metal, deathcore, etc. Getcha pull up that shit!

ALIEN KEN “Son Extraordinary”

“Son Extraordinary”
I have no idea why Roswell and its UFO history still fascinates people almost 70 years later but if we get anything good out of it I’m not one to complain. The whole aura surrounding Norwegian Alien Ken is that of abduction, secrecy and paranoia. And that is just the outside. The music is a whole different kettle. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this would be some of the strangest music you’d ever heard but the reality is that musically this is pretty good hardrock/heavy metal in a rather traditional way. Alien Ken gives me the feeling that they could have come out in the 80s when hardrock with strong melodies wasn’t something to be ashamed of. Maybe they do have something in common with fellow Norwegians TNT in that both bands are very melody driven. Anders Ekdahl

ASARU “From The Chasms Of Oblivion”

“From The Chasms Of Oblivion”
(Schwarzdorn Records)
I don’t know if the band got the name wrong from the start but I thought that they were called Asatru (as in the worshiping of the Ancient Nordic gods) but the name is actually Asaru. Either way works fine for me. This is supposed to be one of the oldest black metal bands to come out of Belgium. I haven’t heard of them before but then the Belgian black metal scene is pretty much a blank to me. I kinda like this. It wasn’t exactly what I had expected. For some strange reason I thought that Asaru would be more like Ancient but that’s not true. This is more along the way of Gorgoroth and its kind. Black metal somewhere between atmospheric and full on assault. That works for me. I like the way that they go from atmospheric to assault mode. There is a bit of old Dissection to that. And anything that remotely reminds me of Dissection gets two thumps up. Anders Ekdahl


The name Disaffected seem familiar but I can’t say for sure if I got them confused with another band or if I’ve read about/heard of them previously. Don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or because I get subjected to so much music that certain bands tend to fall of my radar. Disaffected are being described as modern heavy metal (that phrase again) which really doesn’t say too much. Fear Factory were modern metal when they first appeared on the metal scene. It’s a bit like the Emperor’s new clothes. You can call it what you want but any which way you look your nose is ahead of you. But Fear Factory might not be a too shabby reference point. There is that techno (as in technology) side to Disaffected. Like if some Star Trek nerds wanted to form a metal band. While not being anywhere near the catchy tech feel that Fear Factory had this is a times borderline good thrash spliced with some tingly tangly tech/industrial splashes. Maybe not the most fun I’ve had lately. Anders Ekdahl