VALKNACHT is another of these Canadian bands that seem to be everywhere. Let yourself be embraced by all that is Canadian. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

Why does a Canadian band chose a German band name? What does the name Valknacht represent to you guys?
-Good question. To choose a band’s name isn’t an easy task, but I think that it’s necessary to follow our instinct. We mustn’t choose a name because it would be catchy : the proof is that I didn’t choose a French name which would have been easier to pronounce. As far as I can remember, I’m fascinated by History, more exactly, the one of the Germanic peoples (continental or Scandinavian). Thus because I wanted to create a Pagan Black Metal band, it seemed to me quite natural to use a word who come from a Germanic language. For me Valknacht awakens a powerful feeling, which plunges me into a particular state of mind. It’s like a call for the fight.

What is it about the Germanic/Norse mythology that still intrigues people a 1000 years later?
-First of all, I think that this mythology abounds in fascinating elements who informs us about the peoples of the Late Antiquity (or the Early Middle Ages), their customs, their society, etc. For example : the correspondence between the divine and social castes (priests, warriors, and farmers) corresponding to the three functions of the sacral, the martial and the economic is really fascinating. The myths allow us to glimpse how these cultures perceived the space, the time, the coherence of the world ( and the relationship between order and disorder which constitute it), the relationship between the sky and the earth, between the life and the death. It offers us a completely different vision, foreign to that conveyed by our current society.

What is the biggest difference between the Germanic folklore and the Norse one?
-I’m not sure that we can say that there is a lot of difference between these foklores. Actually, both of them possess numerous similarity, which we perceive both at the linguistic and mythological level. Thor was Donar, Odin was Wotan, Tyr was Tiwaz; the structuring axis of the world was a tree (Yggdrasil) for the Norse, and an enormous pillar (Irminsul) for some German tribes like the Saxons. Both of them consider that the death isn’t the end, but indeed a step, et cetera. But you know I’m not the specialist of the question, so this is why I invite people to inform themselves, and at the same time, to increase their level of knowledge. It’s never a bad thing.

Is it easier to write about something that happened a millennium ago than it is writing about stuff that is closer to home time wise?
-Definitly no! That sometimes take a lot of search and reading to deepen a subject, and it is very important to take the time to make this research work, or you could say a pack of lies and shit. It’s difficult to claim that we deliver the truth, but at least, we try.

What kind of topics do you deal with in your lyrics?
-Lyrics often speaks about battles or historic events which involve a conflict which sets Heathens against Christians. We also deal with more spiritual elements, such as in “Sous une pluie d’automne”, where we talked about a blot given to honor the Nature, “Balder’s Rebirth”, where we sing about the midwinter’s ritual, or “Souffle le Vent vers l’Horizon”, a song which speaks about a funeral rite. Finally, we convey an anti Christian ideology. Christianity weakens us.

When you sing in your native tongue does that limit the success of the band in any way?
-No, and if I’m wrong, well, I don’t care. It’s my tongue, and I like it. It’s a question of cultural identity. Moonsorrow, Månegarm or Thyrfing sing in their mother tongue, and that doesn’t limit their success. I don’t understand a word of Finn or Swedish, but nevertheless I like their music. It’s thus necessary to linger in the quality of the music.

You have two albums out but it this is the first time I hear about you guys. Have I been looking in the wrong places or are you a well kept Canadian secret?
-It’s never too late to discover a band as ours. It’s also necessary to consider that it’s difficult for a group to possess a good visibility and a good distribution. In fact, that can be easy: it’s simply necessary to prostitute itself, and to deny his intellectual’s rights for a thin place under projectors… What we shall not do, because we respect ourselves, and because we have faith in what we make. Everything has to come at the appropriate time, and we must work hard.

When you have such a massive sound that you guys have I guess it is important to find the right kind of people to work with. How do you go about finding these kind of people?
-In our case, everything was a question of contact and friendship. The recording and mixing were made by one of our good friend, Frank “Blastbeat”, with whom I shared the scene when I was in Utlagr (a band from Quebec). For the mastering, one of our friend (and former manager) put us in touch with Jeff Dagenais from Kataklysm. It was simple, easy and effective. On the other hand, maybe we are going to do things the hard way for the next album, by working with more people. With this new alliance, we’ll create an even more powerful music.

I’ve always wondered what it is like to be 7 people in a band. How do you avoid insulting anybodies ego?
-Very simple: we talk to each other, and we drink beer! We’re all good friend, and it’s the key. But sometimes… damn!

What does the future look for Valknacht?
-We have a lot of new songs, and we plan to enter in studio before the end of 2012. It’s gonna be an album darker than “Chants de Guerre”. You shall see!

CARDIAC ARREST “Vortex Of Violence”

“Vortex Of Violence”
(Ibex Moon)
I could make some fun of the band’s music not giving me a cardiac arrest but I think I’ll restrain from doing so. I honestly didn’t know what to think the first time I heard this. Was it any good? Or was I just tricked into thinking that this was anything but ordinary. That it is death metal there’s no doubt about. Is it any good death metal then? Yeah, to be honest this isn’t too shabby. It will never win prices as the most innovative or even original but there is an energy to it that makes it well worth checking out. Cardiac Arrest’s death metal is on the more extreme side of things. Think early Morbid Angel sped up to 11 and you get an idea of where on the scale you’ll find Cardiac Arrest. Anders Ekdahl

CHAOS INCEPTION “The Abrogation”

“The Abrogation”
I like when an album burst into action. When you are spared the intro and you’re taken into the action straight away. Chaos Inception dispersed with the usually intro and instead bombarded me with their metal of death. I liked Krisiun the first time I heard them simply because they didn’t take no prisoners. I get the same kind of feeling listening to this. This is uncompromising in a way that breaks everything that happens to stand in it way. If you like you death metal filled with melodies then this isn’t for you. If you like your death metal filled with ball bursting energy then that is what you’ll find aplenty on this album. This is for those of us that like Hate Eternal. Krisiun and every other extreme death metal act we can think of. Anders Ekdahl

COFFIN TEXTS “Tomb Of infinite Ritual”

“Tomb Of Infinite Ritual”
(Dark Descent)
With a name like Coffin Texts you could be in for any sort of ride. Everything from stoner to doom to death metal to I don’t know what. What we get is death metal. There was a time when I thought that Morbid Angel were the gods in the death metal sky. I couldn’t get enough of them. Coffin Texts remind me of that era of Morbid Angel. And that alone makes me like them. But there is also a charm all their own that makes me like this album. I can’t explain what it is that makes this so appealing but this is the stuff that I could listen to in every aspect of my life. This (too) is the stuff that gets me going. Anders Ekdahl

DRAGONY “Legends”

Austria might not be the most sexy country when it comes to symphonic power metal. I’m the first to admit that I wasn’t too excited over hearing Dragony the first time. It wasn’t as pretentious as I feared at first. There is an edge to this that stops it from going overboard completely. Thankfully I can appreciate this without feeling sick to my stomach. OK, so there are the symphonic bits but they are done tastefully so that they fit into the music instead of trying to overtake it all. This is symphonic in that restraint manner that Rhapsody never were. And even though Rhapsody has it charm this is so much easier to listen to. Anders Ekdahl

FASTKILL “Bestial Thrashing Bulldozer”

“Bestial Thrashing Bulldozer”
Japanese thrash that sounds like it’s been through a blender might not sound like the world’s most charming proposition. And while it might sound fabricated with its paper thin sound and razor sharp guitars there is a charm to this that can’t be denied. This is thrash in all its 80s glory. The stuff that kept pouring out of South America en masse back in the days. This is primitive to say the least. But that also is what makes this great. Listen to it and tell me that you don’t like it and I’ll tell you to get the hell out of here. This is the kind of stuff that I grew up with listening to demo tapes all day long. The nostalgia aside this is raw and basic and pretty darn good stuff. Anders Ekdahl

LASTER “Wijsgeer Narreman”

“Wijsgeer Narreman”
(Dunkelheit Productions)
Without knowing anything about Laster I’d say that they are Dutch. Don’t know and don’t really care. It’s just something about the name and the song title that screams Dutch. Could be Belgians too. Musically this is black metal in the early Burzum school. You might think whatever you like about the Count but those early albums were great, still are. I like this minimalistic style of black metal that is more about ambience and atmosphere then sheer power and hate. There is something to getting the most out of the smallest particles. There is something to the use of only guitar, bass and drums that appeal to me. This scaled down way of doing things acts as a contrast to the complexities of everyday life. This is the stuff I drift off into the night to. Anders Ekdahl

MAJESTY REVIVAL “Through Reality”

“Through Reality”
With a name like Majesty Revival this could not be anything but power metal with a symphonic touch. And so it is. As with all kinds of metal there are the good, the great and the not so great. Majesty Revival belong to the good category. This is meal in the same category as for example Evergrey or Andromeda. Metal that is borderline. Not enough power metal and not enough symphonic/progressive to be considered a fully fledged member. But I like the mix that they present. There is something to great arrangements, guitar solos that are all over the place and a vocalist that could break glass. I like this kind of metal that is pretentious without trying to be it. I like pretentious if it’s done the right way. Anders Ekdahl

MORTAL INFINITY “District Destruction”

“District Destruction”
(Digital Media Records)
I am a big sucker for German thrash. Had it not been for bands like Sodom, Destruction and Kreator I wouldn’t be doing this. I can name a handful more influential German thrash metal bands from the past. Mortal Infinity seem to want to carry on the great tradition of German thrash metal. This is thrash that continues the tradition started by Destruction. This is raw and basic to the bone thrash that leaves little room for any misconceptions as to what it is. This is pure thrash metal, nothing more and nothing less. Just the good stuff. You don’t want to stand in its way when it comes rushing down the Autobahn doing 100MPH. This is the equivalent of a bull at a bull fight. All it sees is an opponent to kill. Anders Ekdahl

OFFENDING “Age Of Perversion”

“Age Of Perversion”
I remember the first time I heard extreme metal from France. It was on a compilation record. I don’t remember how I got to hear about it but it pretty much opened up a new world to me. The French bands weren’t at all like the bands I had heard previous. I had had some experience with French heavy metal but this was a whole new world. I have ever since that day had a special relationship to the French metal scene. Offending are French and with that of interest to me. I don’t know if the French are indoctrinated with being special from birth but they sure know how to twist and turn and make what in other people’s hands turn out average special. Offending’s death metal isn’t death metal the way we are used to it. No, that would have been too easy. This twist and turn like there’s no tomorrow. And yet it is so accessible that you’ll find yourself headbanging to it. Anders Ekdahl