Lack of money, lack of time... [are] the testing stages and they need to be like this. (On being an unsigned band)
As the Metal 2 The Masses (M2TM) kicks into full swing with heats across the breadth of the UK and abroad taking place, bands progressing whilst some fall by the wayside, it's once again time for GMA to probe the bands who have entered this prestigious competition that allows the eventual region winners to earn a slot at playing the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock Open Air Festival near Burton-Upon-Trent.
Third up is Callus from Lancashire; questions answered by guitarist / vocalist Louis Clarke.
Debut EP out now
For those not in the know, please explain how Callus formed?
"Callus formed in early 2013 in Lancaster, Ben and I had been friends since high school and enjoyed the same bands and getting pissed together, so it was only natural that we wanted to form a band. We encountered Mark shortly after and that's when things really clicked for us and when we knew we had the proper line-up. I think we played our first show with Mark in Barrow, Cumbria."
Is this your first time in M2TM? If no when did you previously enter? If yes what are your emotions like?
"This will be our second stab at M2TM, we played last years event in Burnley. We are like a caged violent demon-boar at this point... ready to bust loose and launch an assault on all of your senses."
How important is the M2TM initiative for unsigned bands? Irrespective of whether they win their regional heats?
"I do think M2TM is pretty important for unsigned bands, obviously it gets them in there with a chance at playing the main event. Not only that, but with all the attention that the heats get it makes the nights pretty awesome in themselves, which is still great if you are like us last year getting knocked out in the first round (!). The nights always end up being heavily populated as far as we can tell."
What is the Lancashire scene like? Please tell us about local bands, venues, etc.
"Lancashire's scene is pretty good, we try not to take too much notice on what everyone else is doing in scenes though. We like to do our own thing really, if people enjoy it then that's amazing and that makes our night, if not then that's cool as well we enjoy it all the same.
As far as local bands go Lancaster can boast some pretty meaty bands especially with the likes of Bloodyard (who of course won M2TM a couple of years ago) and Insurgency really starting to break out and make a name for themselves. A favourite band of ours is Boss Keloid although they probably don't know it... it blows my mind that something so original and moving came out of Lancashire, Wigan I think to be precise. Of course Manchester seems to be "Where its all happening" though.
As far as venues we love the Yorkshire House (Lancaster) to bits, and we have grown especially fond of The Dark Room at Roper Hall, Preston. Both killer venues."
Will you be going to Bloodstock even if you don't progress to the finals?
"I think at least one of us may go to Bloodstock this year, but last years line-up was outstanding and pretty hard to top for us... A bunch of us went though even though we didn't get through our round of M2TM. With the likes of Boss Keloid, Foetal Juice, Rotting Christ, Gojira, Mastodon and Slayer it was too good to miss. We also made sure to catch After The Abduction who we have played with before at The Alma Inn, Bolton and The Star and Garter, Manchester (two more awesome venues in Lancashire), who won last years M2TM... those guys bossed the New Blood stage."
What are the hardest challenges of running an unsigned band these days?
"One of the hardest challenges of running an unsigned band has to be a matter of time and money... two of us each have kids, all of us have jobs and responsibilities yeah it can be tough. Lack of money, lack of time... its all a test but that's life its just how it goes. These are the testing stages and they need to be like this. Although if someone wants to sign us and pay for our shit then we will have a chat right?"
What plans do you have for the rest of the year and are there any messages you wish to send out to people?
"The plan for the rest of the year is play as many shows as we can and try to reach as many people as we can. We just released our first E.P. as well called Through, Blood, Sweat, Piss and Pain so we want to support that as much as we can and drill that into as many peoples heads as possible. We have something really big planned for early next year so we are trying to build up as much momentum as possible.
Come to a show if you haven't already, you might be surprised... you might not... still reading? Congratulations if you got this far! Through, Blood, Sweat, Piss and Pain."
For a band who has only released four albums as of 2015 and have only been going 11 years, De Profundis have been making more than just waves happen from the backyard streets of blackened London. Having stamped their mark on Bloodstock Open Air back in 2014 and taken their name from a song by the Swedish outfit Abruptum (although we suspect Oscar Wilde's letter entitled 'De Profundis' (from the depths) is more credible), De Profundis have established themselves as one of those involved in the new wave of British Black Metal.
For this interview, a candlelit room provided the perfect setting for which Shoi (Soikot Sengupta) entered and placed his guitar down on the table... this was going to be one interesting talk.
"Metal is a global music hence why I find the whole extreme right wing affiliations of certain bands even more disturbing for a genre that actually has no boundaries"
Recently times have been great for De Profundis, in 2014 you played Bloodstock and last year you released your fourth album "Kingdom Of The Blind". Now you're playing in September with Egyptian Death Metallers Scarab, surely this tour is going to be one of the best you've done?
"We always look forward to being on the road and playing with bands we haven't played with before so yes we are looking forward to it. Hopefully the turnouts will be great and therefore the tour will be great too."
Will you be playing a mix of songs, some from 'Kingdom Of The Blind' or the majority coming from the album?
"As co-headliners we will have a longer set which means we will mainly play tracks from "Kingdom Of The Blind" but also from "The Emptiness Within" and "A Bleak Reflection". We've been doing that lately on recent shows like at Incineration and it's been working great. The material from "Kingdom Of The Blind and the "Frequencies" EP is fast and brutal, so its cool to bring more mid paced atmospheric songs from our old catalogue to balance the set. That's when we realised that we are in a great position to have such a great back catalogue. A lot of people have actually commented on how nicely the old songs sit with the current set, it's like as if they have been given a second life."
British Black Metal is in a newfound form of renaissance, would you say it's stronger than ever and establishing a unique identity?
"I am going to be honest here I don't follow the British Black Metal scene at all. Our guitarist Paul is in a Black Metal band, so he probably follows it a lot more. In fairness I wasn't too keen on the whole nationalistic theme that some English Black Metal bands have started bringing in as it was often accompanied with dubious and extreme right wing ideologies which I obviously wouldn't be comfortable with."
Regarding Scarab, when you first heard about them, was you surprised about a metal scene existing in Egypt? What are your thoughts about metal's spread across the globe?
"I wasn't surprised at all about the presence of a metal scene in Egypt or anywhere else in the world. Hell I even know a couple of metal bands in Caribbean. Metal is a global music hence why I find the whole extreme right wing affiliations of certain bands even more disturbing for a genre that actually has no boundaries. As for Scarab I have followed them from a distance for some time. You know the funny thing for me is ever since I turned pro I have been listening less and less to music, just through the lack of time really. But from what I have heard of Scarab I do like."
Be there or be square.
On this five-date tour, will there be any new venues / locations you will be visiting? If no, when did you last play in these locations? Will there be a EU tour after the September UK run?
"We've never played in Selby which will be the Warhorns Festival and we are very much looking forward to that. Otherwise we've played all the other venues or cities at some point. Besides London, Plymouth is always a highlight with a highly energetic crowd. We're also playing the Hordes Of Belial festival in Dundee (not with Scarab), we played there last in 2013 so it will be a blast to get back there. The organiser Paul MacMillan does a great job for metal in Scotland. With regards to the EU we are doing a run of 3 shows next week in France and Luxembourg with our friends Nemost. We're hoping for a full EU tour at the end of the year."
What are the biggest challenges for bands in general these days in your opinion? What about challenges facing unsigned bands? Is it better to start your own label rather than seek a deal with an established label?
"Man there are so many challenges. You know if it was just the issue of downloading and all that we could work with that, but when politics gets in the way it's so frustrating. It's less and less about talent but about who you are drinking mates with. De Profundis generally doesn't hang around in the usual London haunts because we are all professional musicians with busy schedules and if we have time we'd rather write music or something. Setting up a label isn't a bad idea but to really make it viable you need to have a critical mass of fans otherwise you will struggle. An established label will always be better I think."
What plans have you got for the rest of the year?
"Well apart from playing shows, we are going to be recording album 5 in August, we've had some downtime lately which we used to write the follow up of "Kingdom Of The Blind". We are really looking forward to that because the new material is absolutely KILLER!"
Have you got any hello's and thank you's you wish to send out? "I'd like to thank Global Metal Apocalypse for their support through the years. We also want to tell the UK metalheads to turn up in masses at the shows in September."
Ilenkus are a Progressive Post-Metal quintet from Ireland, the lads have recently released their latest album "The Crossing" (15/09/14) and have also unveiled their latest music video "Over The Fire, Under The Smoke" which in total honesty is a rather special video, no visual effects, no gimmicky tricks or fancy stuff, just one lad by the name of Chris Brennan strolling through the streets of Galway, singing to the song to bemused onlookers.
You can watch the video further down.
GMA managed to catch up with the lads and talk to them about both the new album, their music video, what they think the Irish Metal scene should have and whether or not they should ditch the euro.
Hi guys, a lot has happened in the Ilenkus camp, can you give us the background behind your new album?
We recorded the album in different locations in Ireland but we wanted to go with an engineer who understood our goals and the sonic real estate in which the album would sit in. We spoke with many engineers about making the album and eventually Chris Common (Chelsea Wolfe, These Arms Are Snakes, Pelican, Chelsea Wolfe) agreed to take the reins, he does not mix music as heavy as ours for the most part but we knew we needed a unique approach.
What inspired you to opt for a Progressive / Post-Metal approach? Do you feel it lacks representation as a genre?
That is the style of music that we play as a group, and there was no conscious thought about it when it came to style on this record. I don't feel that this genre lacks representation but it is a hard style to pigeon hole, and some people are scared of doing that.
Focusing on the Irish Metal scene, what do you feel lacks in the scene? What could be improved?
Wild West themed metal festivals. (Ed: are there even any Wild West metal bands?)
How nervous was Chris Brennan when recording the music video? What did the public think of the production? Who came up with the idea and do you feel this is a great way to promote Galway, Irish culture and connect yourself with the city?
Chris is the only person i know with the right temperament and bottle to have done this, he was cool as a cucumber and there was a very mixed reaction from the public. We chat a lot of s*** in the van and on the road and come up with all sorts of crazy ideas. Josh came up with that idea while we were recording the drums and bass for "The Crossing" in Limerick. The video does promote Galway I guess, but that wasn't our intention - we just felt that it was most appropriate to shoot the concept in our home town.
What plans does Ilenkus have for the rest of the year and into 2015 besides the tour?
We have plans to write some new music.
Since joining the Euro, do you feel Ireland has gotten worse or better off? What are your thoughts on the euro and E.U.?
It's convenient with the money but Ireland has plunged into recession since joining the Euro. Probably would have happened anyway, who knows?
How do the three vocals differ? Could you explain why you have three musicians covering vocal duties?
They were all arguing about who should do the singing and then the voices in the argument turned from speech into singing and even further into screaming, I was scared but the melodies were soothing.
Individually, what song off of 'The Crossing' is your favorite and could you explain your choice of song?
I don't have a favorite song because i have not heard the record, the lads wont let me hear it.
Finally are there any hello's, greetings etc you wish to send out to friends, family, etc?
Kuwait has one of the smallest metal scenes in the Middle East, in fact the scene is possibly on par with the likes of Bahrain, maybe Qatar but it's definitely not on the same level as the Yemen, as there appears to be no metal music history there whatsoever.
With a population of around 4.04 million (for comparison London is roughly double this) and a very underground metal scene, how can bands like Depth, Earsplit, Eyeresist, Benevolent *, Voice Of The Soul * and especially Divine Disorder keep themselves out of trouble, keep the Kuwaiti metalheads supporting what can be perceived as the most internationally-recognized music genres and at the same time, survive the insane heat that you would think affects them when playing at live shows..... well come on, who wants to mosh in 46*c? * formed in Kuwait but moved to Dubai for undisclosed reasons GMA caught up with clean vocalist / bassist Darkvain to gain an insight into what makes the Kuwaiti Metal scene tick.
Darkvain (far left)
Hi Jassem, how is it going and what has Divine Disorder been up to lately?
Right now the heat and climate in Kuwait is at its peak, it's nothing less than 50C. But overall we are fine hehe and about Divine Disorder, having finished the production of the album and having the official CD in our hands, what we are doing right now is preparing promotional packages and contacting the officials back and forth.
We have worked our asses off to meet the end result, and I can’t imagine throwing it out just like that, personally we feel that it deserves better effort and time ;)
Now Divine Disorder hails from Kuwait, please tell us what the metal scene is like and does the Government tolerate metal music? How long has it been going and what issues has it faced?
We as a band weren't around during the start of the whole metal scene In Kuwait; we still weren’t into metal music hehe. I have met a lot of the guys who put a lot into starting it and so on and have been told it was nearly the mid of 90s and even back then it didn’t face much of struggle as it was too small and no one knew about the activities. As it started to grow, the Government started to see it and labelled the act as "Satanism" and that stayed along with us up until now. At least let's say during the last 5 years metal activities shut down almost completely, we find it as if the metal scene in Kuwait died. And musicians went underground, especially since it has been putting us in serious legal situations and one basically doesn’t want to ruin his daily life routine / activities / jobs with such offensive legal problems. With Divine Disorder we are taking things differently, we hope that it will open up for us the way we imagine it will. Placing things onto an international level could pull the attention of the foreign media towards us.
What in your opinion are the three biggest issues Middle Eastern Metal bands and fans alike face?
I can’t name three different issues as all of them remain in the same category that we face. Not being accepted the way we are, and not giving us second thought on what is metal and what are the ideas or thoughts we are trying to express. This leads to a lot of issues, such as not being able to have instrument shops provide us with the kind of equipment we use and prefer, not being able to perform live shows unless pay extra and travel further away just to perform a small show, and this could be a real issue for bands like us as a lot of labels nowadays only look out for those bands that have enough live show history and that’s very hard to achieve with such circumstances.
Now I would assume the only form of media presence for metal music in the Middle East is Jorzine (and of course GMA but ignore us ;).
I could say Jorzine is one of the biggest platforms that has helped a lot of bands out, but there are also some others who try their best to put the spotlight on the underground scenes. Metality.net is one of the finest examples. Hehe I could ignore GMA if that’s what you want hehe but I have to admit the great effort Global Metal Apocalypse are putting and that’s appreciated so much, and they gained our trust so fast. You RHYS takes things way too seriously and I like that of you!
Who has Divine Disorder played alongside (if anyone) since the band's inception? Any renowned bands?
Divine Disorder haven’t stepped on stage yet, there are a lot of plans regarding that area of things that will come after the release of our debut album, if things go as good as we want them to be. However we have a close association with other artists in the metal scene, two members of Divine Disorder, Azurayl and myself have been in a previous project called "Positive Poison" which started around 2003 and in that previous project the band played with almost all of the existing metal bands in Kuwait, almost, to name few: Throne of Thorns, Depth and Terminus.
Could you explain the meaning behind each of the band member’s stage names? Why these in particular?
Hehe oh those stage names, I remember we were reviewed by one of the local bloggers, and they had to state how childish or horrible they sounded hehe, I could agree to some point, but only if he went through the struggles we went through as musicians, only then would they understand hehe, I bet they were fairly new to the whole metal scene In Kuwait and the issues we face on a daily basis.
At some point or another we had to go with stage names to hide our identities and not be associated with those acts they call Satanism (metal). We were into Gothic and Dark Metal and that’s what our previous project Positive Poison mainly was more about. To add to that I also would like to state that we like to take things in a cinematic / theatrical perspective and that could explains so much. Being known with that stage name all your life, we thought of keeping them the way they are.
Do you feel metal music is becoming more and more appreciated globally? On a local level do you feel it eases social issues?
Some of it. I personally think the Metal scene is changing so much I can’t see it going in a better direction. Things are taken now as 'how fast can you play', 'how brutal and ass-kicking you are', 'how much you screaming and how bad ass they think they are', in fact now it's all about the looks and high budget production with no soul or identity attached to the music.
I can see how the new wave of metal is being mixed with the mainstream more and how the newer generations are accepting metal more but from metal's new outfit / identity.
Did the Arab Spring affect the Kuwait Metal scene and musicians as a whole?
I think it didn’t affect us as much, things are indeed changing but you would still feel the same "uncomfortable" vibe going on.
Does the climate of Kuwait affect musicians when they play, surely it affects the instruments you use?
Hehe we got used to the climate, and we have our ways to deal with it, we would know when it is the right time to have a fresher climate with less heat and less humidity, as at certain times of the year we would have that happen. And to stay safe we usually do our activities indoor where you can control it with air conditioning ;)
But the last time I remember performing live was on 2010. Since then I can’t name or remember one serious metal show that has happened.
Is equipment expensive in Kuwait? Or is it relatively cheap? Where is it usually imported to? I can’t say it’s cheap or expensive, I think it’s average and affordable. But as mentioned before we don’t have much in the way of instrument shops that provide the top notch brands that metal bands or musicians find interesting. And importing any would cost you at least double how much the instrument costs.
What does Divine Disorder have planned for the rest of the year and beyond?
We will be releasing our debut album in early November and in conjunction with this, we will have a campaign to help the release gain attention and sale, after that we will hopefully have more shows.
Finally are there any greetings (hello's, thank you's) you wish to send out?
All my thank you's would go to Rhys, the guy behind Global Metal Apocalypse for his great effort to draw a better metal world! And all the people who have helped us in pushing ourselves out onto the scene
BAND: Descent From Aten LOCATION: Clacton-On-Sea, Essex (England) GENRE: Technical Progressive / Deathcore FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/DescentFromAten During the night of brutality, GMA's Rhys Stevenson slipped outside to have a natter with fellow county-men Descent From Aten. A five-piece Progressive Technical / Deathcore group who are progressing currently with the re-mastering of their EP and are also cementing the foundations for their new album. So this is what happened (you can hear the whole interview above, below are 6 questions we hand picked that we liked most): Hey guys, so how long has the band been going and what does the band name mean? Artis and I were researching conspiracy theories about Ancient Egypt and aliens, things like that and so we had written down a few names to do with the conspiracies and (another member takes over), the main meaning behind the band name is basically aliens ruling over Egypt at the time of Akhenaten, when head binding began and all of that paraphernalia. The songs we do are about aliens ruling over Egypt so we try to get Egyptology in there as much as possible, I would say 'The Apostasy' kind of follows this because this means to lose faith in something. But basically the alien god Akhenaten told everyone to stop worshiping the other gods, so basically they are apostatizing because they are losing faith in all of the other gods. Would you consider yourselves the harder or softer version of Nile? (all moan), well they're Death Metal and we're more Technical Metal I'd say, (like Born of Osiris?), yeah that sort of Born of Osiris style really, we're more drifting towards that area of music, even Veil of Maya. Theme wise, well Nile for sure as the lyrics are near enough the same topic. What non-music influences do you take on-board into your music and general life? Perry King: I take a lot of influences from philosophers, I like philosophy a lot and like the Dalai Lama has a lot of things you can learn from. Member 2: I'm sort of an agnostic at the moment, I don't really care to be honest, I don't have any religious views apart from the band and games (laughs), I'm a bit of a nerd and guitar is my life so I don't really, I guess I'm just a guitar nerd and I don't differ out so I just play guitar, that's all I do basically. I play a lot of war games so I would liken myself to a chaotic guy, I just like to kill everyone... kill everyone... (laughs), as a guy I'm just a f**king joker, life is a big joke, that's me Member 3: Well for me I'm not into much religious stuff either, I don't take many public figures really (another member interjects with 'Justin Bieber, another quips afterwards 'who doesn't?'). Patrick Barker: I agree with Perry and the whole philosophy thing because well I sort of appreciate people who can say things that mean something, that's just outside metal but with me I'm mostly just into music and stuff, playing bass and gaming as well, we're all nerds basically (all agree), I actually game quite a lot surprisingly, too much. (So you would have your own avatar in Skyrim if you could?): pretty much haha. (another member quips 'That's where I wish I was Trevor Phillips from GTA, he just gets away with everything, he probably wants to kill you just doesn't want to!'). Yeah again I'm not really religious, I can appreciate why people believe in religion but it won't make me believe in it, but honestly if someone said to me 'I believe in God because this random thing happened to me and since then my life has been great', I'd be like well fair enough, other things could have caused that (all laughs) but yeah I play a lot of games still, I'm just like a massive gamer like I'd also say slightly political at mind, sometimes maybe, but especially if it's to do with UK politics and American, so like what's going on in America, the whole Government shut down thing I thought that was ridiculous, that's given me an idea for a song (bus screeches). but yeah with the whole NSA case (libel remark made), they are going to know what you are looking at on the internet. (Perry interjects with: 'this is what happens every time Pat and I sit down, we'll always talk about one thing and then he'll divert and go onto something else like the surveillance, Xbox one, camera spying, etc, he's like this all the time'). Member 5: As for religion I don't really believe in anything, I was born as a Christian and was baptized and everything, but as I grew up I don't really follow it by heart, I'd definitely stay with the gaming as I play Skyrim, Battlefield and GTA quite a lot, (another member interjects with 'I'm not a gamer and that's because I can't afford a console', another replies with 'you're missing out white herbert, oh and if anyone's listening into this audio Perry looks a lot like Wade from GTA 5 (see below), if anyone plays GTA 5 and sees Wade he does look like him a lot, he just needs the clown paint and that's it, he'll be Wade').
^ Perry vs Wade, yup we see a resemblance So as a group does it matter where a band comes from, so you have bands coming out from Africa, Asia, etc people say 'yeah its music that's all that matters', does it really matter where they come from? I wouldn't say so, if you make music you make music man. Music is for everyone, I wouldn't say it was for someone who was from a specific country or area, do what you want to do, music makes you feel good about life so f**king crack on with it. (Even when you got countries with political regimes who state if you play metal you're dead?). Really? Oh, I wasn't actually aware of that, but my view on that personally is that's ridiculous, (members interject: 'to be honest if that's the case I would want to do it more', 'I think the whole point is it's about people rising up against the Government', 'I think music is everyone's right, it brings everyone together but yeah there's not many people in our home town, but when you play at a metal gig loads of metal people come from all over, you know it should be everyone's right', 'its like we've just summoned them', 'If you enjoy music in any form, then just do it, I don't understand why people are like 'urgh metal, going to kill that person now' (laughs); 'well no because everytime you walk down the street, you hear someone playing rap on their phone loudly, you know you don't just get the urge to stab them' (laughs).
So you know 2014 is practically upon us, what plans have you got next year? New album. In the start of December (the 6th) we're going to be sorting out the drums for the album so yeah we're going into the studio to record our full length album, which should be out around Spring-Summer time really, but that's sort of a rough estimate of when it's coming out. I mean we've written it all out, but the thing is we have to line it all and perfect it basically, it's all written out theoretically and so we have to practise and learn it, some of the stuff we end up writing it takes time and so it could end up taking longer because of how technical the album might be. Compared to the EP the album is a lot more different, it blows it out the water and so we feel people will rate us more than they did with the EP. Finally have you got any hello's, thank you's, greetings you wish to issue to your friends, fans, family, maybe your boss at work? I just want to thank the metal community in general, I've had a lot of random metalheads add me on Facebook because they've heard our music and thought that we were good. I'd like to thank people like Lewis cause he 'naked Lewis', because he knows who he is, all the fans who come to our local gigs, the main ones that got us going really so I would like to say thank you to them. I want to say thank you to some of my band-members as well because they never really like my music but they're there to support the band the whole way through, I'd also like to thank my mum as well for giving me the courage to go on. I'd thank my family, my nan and my grandad for just being supportive and I know they think the music is a load of s**t but there's no way to sugercoat that, I know they're always supportive and I'd probably thank my mum whose probably looking down at me like 'learn to sing normally', but also the guys in Acrania for putting a word in about us to get us on Night of Brutality, the fans for sure, all our supportive friends and basically the general metal community for being such awesome people. I'd like to thank my friends for supporting me, with the band and everything and also the bands we gig with because all of the guys we meet are cool to get along with and we enjoy their music as well. Cheers guys and stay metal \m/
Regarding Finntroll: "But they're Finnish and they're all the same (laughs), I feel like I know them already"
Following the confirmed release date of their upcoming album "Valkyrja", upcoming tour date announcements and a hefty load of activity over the year 2013, Global Metal Apocalypse spoke with Týr's lead vocalist / guitarist Heri Joensen and discussed about the history and current situation with the Faroese Metal scene, Týr's touring and music activity, as well as talking about the Faroese language and how fans can learn how to pronounce the vocabulary in order to sing to their songs.
2013 saw the lads from the Faroe Islands partake in the North American leg of the Paganfest tour with Ensiferum, Heidevolk, and others. Coupled with their upcoming release of "Valkyrja" scheduled for a release date of 13th September in various editions: Fan edition, Limited 2 CD edition, Digi-CD, LP and digital download, it seems to be a good year for Týr, except the sad departure of long-time drummer Kári Streymoy who quit the band on 12th May 2013 owing to a back injury he sustained 5 years ago. Swords at the ready, here we go.
So guys this is Heri Joensen from the Faroe Islands metal band Týr and now that you're considered the Faroe Islands most successful metal export, how does this feel for the band in general?
It feels very good actually, erm and I think we are not only the biggest metal export I think actually we are the biggest music export in the Faroes, I think, but I'm not really keeping up with the scene, but there are some people who play country and western music who do quite ok, I'm not sure how well but I'm 90% sure we are the biggest music export. I take great pride in that of course, erm what else can I say?
As far as the band's concerned, because you sing about the Vikings and Nordic mythology, do you feel that Týr is different from other metal bands in Scandinavia that do similar styles?
There are probably some that are a bit like us, not the same style of music and maybe similar lyrics but also the other way round, well I'm not sure I think our music is fairly unique but the text writing is not all that original, there maybe some bands who do it in the same way but I mean with our combination I think we have set ourselves apart a little bit from everyone else in this genre, so this Viking Metal whatever they call it isn't really a kind of metal it's more of an attitude in the lyrics and I mean the music styles often have nothing to do with it other than that they are types of metal.
You'll be releasing your latest album on September 16th in the UK (September 17th in North America, and September 13th in Europe) "Valkyrja", could you explain the process behind this album?
Yes, we have been working on this album since around the time we finished the last album and we always do it like that because there's always something in the works, some of the songs that were leftovers from the last album that didn't make it onto that album for various reasons, some even older and about two or three months before studio time that was this March we started working very hard to get the material done and even though we have all the basic ideas before that I guess most of the work is done in the period of the few months leading up to the studio, and we work on the internet sending files to each other, I use a programme called Guitar Pro and we also do some scratch recordings on Logic and the last thing to be done is the lyrics, I have the idea for the name of the album and the basic story outline long in advance but the actual lyrics aren't written until the very last moment.
Because you play Folk Metal do you take any influences outside of the Folk Metal genre?
Yeah I guess we do, I mean our sound and our approach is very basic Heavy Metal with some progressive elements in it so erm, I mean there is clearly a cross between some kind of Progressive Metal and Folk, so needless to say I guess we do that and we I think all of us grew up with the New Wave of British Heavy Metal you know especially Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and those bands, some German bands also like Accept, Scorpions and all the American bands like Pantera, Metallica, Manowar, Dio, Motley Crue all that, so that you know growing up listening to metal like that of course has influenced our approach to metal in general, now all we did was add some Folk to that, that's basically how I see it, so you have to say it's something like 50/50 as there's the folk influence and the other 50% is the you know standard good ole Heavy Metal influence.
So how did Metal begin in the Faroes, how did it start?
Well, when I was young I used to watch Headbangers Ball on MTV, that was before the Grunge wave hit and that's how I got to know most of the Heavy Metal I know of, there was some enthusiasts before that who played you know I guess you can call Hard Rock, there was some cover bands on the Faroes I remember even before that who played Deep Purple and Rainbow especially, so I was aware of this Hard Rock thing and I'm not sure if you call Deep Purple Heavy Metal I don't think you do, anyway that's beside the point so there has always been someone there for us to look up to ever since I was young and there was some local metal bands or Hard Rock bands that played a few concerts every year that we used to enjoy a lot and go listen to, it's been there for all my musical life you know as some kind of metal in the Faroes and now we are a part of it.
You originally started off on Tutl Records, you then went onto Napalm and now onto Metal Blade, do you feel that you have made progression in as far as going from and to different labels?
Yeah I clearly have that feeling, of course Tutl is a non-profit musicians owned company so they don't have the international presence, but the good thing about them is if you make music here they will release it almost regardless, so that was a very good way for us to get started and that with a little bit of international attention was enough to get us to Napalm and then that was a great step forwards especially in promotion, I'm talking of when we released on Napalm and as for this one (upcoming album) regarding Metal Blade we haven't released the album yet but it looks very good so far and I hope that it will be an equally big step forward.
And of course regarding Tutl Records, your side projectHeljareygais signed to them.
Yes, I wanted to do something a bit more local with Heljareyga and I didn't even go to any other labels. I called Tutl Records up, got the deal and they made a distribution deal with some company in Germany and I have two more albums in that country I want to make and actually I want to release the next Heljareyga album before doing the next Týr album again.
I noticed that Heljareyga specifically has got Ísak Petersen from Synarchy as your bassist so with all that sort of inter-connectivity do you think that the Faroe Islands metal scene is more tight-knit than any other country or dependency?
Well I don't know any other country that is as small as the Faroes and that has a metal scene so I guess that goes without saying, we all know each other and we all play together sometime, so yeah it is pretty tight-knit.
Now going back to Týr now you got your UK tour coming up and how are you preparing for that andis this your first tour in the UK?
We have just picked out the songs for the set list and we are rehearsing with Amon Djurhuus these days.
No no no, we have been in the UK many times since 2006, and we have been there a few times since, last time was I think last year or two years ago the York festival, Viking festival.
What was the reception you got the first time round?
It was pretty good we were on tour with Amon Amarth from Sweden and they draw a big crowd so that was of course nice to get to play for them the crowd that Amon Amarth attracted, it was a good UK tour and then the last time was probably the best so far in the UK at the York Viking festival, that was amazing.
So with the tour coming up you're covering a lot of dates in Europe, are there any countries that you are going to be playing in that you haven't played in before?
Oh yeah, yeah! Actually we are very excited about that, we are going to Ireland this time we have never been to Ireland before and I am really excited to get there we have had many requests from people, it just never happened yet and now we finally get to do it, I am really looking forward to that, it's always nice to put another country on our list especially such as one as Ireland and also Romania, we have never been there before either and so we shall see what that is going to be like.
Of course you're touring with Skalmold from Iceland and also Finntroll, now have you toured with Finntroll before? If not this will be a new experience for you guys?
No we haven't, neither of those bands we've toured with before. We played together with them at some festivals here and there, never had a chance to tour with them. This will be a new experience for us, but they're Finnish and they're all the same (laughs) I feel like I know them already.
Going back to your upcoming album, because a lot of your die-hard fans have been following you through the years, but for those that are new to you guys from the upcoming album what song should they check out?
The first two 1. "Blood of Heroes", 2. "Mare of My Night" and the fourth one "The Lay Of Our Love", maybe also the last one "Valkyrja" the title track, that will give you... if you listen to those four songs you will have a pretty broad or whole impression of the band I guess.
Track number nine, "Fánar Burtur Brandaljóð" which looks like is in Icelandic, could you explain what it means?
Nope that's in Faroese and it means 'Fate is the sound of swords' and well it's erm, if you know the storyline of the album there is a Viking warrior (just someone no names mentioned here) who leaves his home and wife, goes off to battle with the intention to die, hero enough to make the Valkyrie carry him off to the realm of the gods in specifically to Freya and her realm Fólkvangr as is described in Norse Mythology, so this is the part where he has to die and is lifted by the Valkyrie from the ground up through the skies and so as he goes up the sound of swords fades away for him. That's the meaning of the title.
Now regarding the releases the band has done, the songs are in English, Faroese and Icelandic, because of the multilingual presence, for the fans that can't sing along because they don't know how to pronounce the words in Faroese or Icelandic, do you have any tips for them?
Well that's not easy because, it's not really pronounced the way it is written especially if you're really used to reading English, so if you are really interested in how to pronounce it you should go to maybe one of the news websites in the Faroes the ones that has video on them, go towww.KVF.fo and listen to some Faroese and how it is pronounced, you can even look up an article and there's a automated play button so you could play and hear how it is pronounced, and I know it's complicated but that's the only thing I can think of.
And is Faroese only really spoken in the Faroe Islands?
Yes, there are maybe 15,000 Faroese people living in Copenhagen or somewhere else in Denmark as a whole, but that's the largest gathering of Faroese people outside of the Faroes and there are 50,000 people in the Faroes, so maybe only 70,000 or 75,000 people in the whole world speak Faroese and it's the national language of the Faroe Islands, and you're not going to find it in many other places except a little bit in Denmark, some in Iceland and a bit in Norway maybe, but that's from immigrants from the Faroes.
Going back toTýr, the band has been going since 1998 and so what would you say has been the highlight of the band's career so far?
There have been a lot of highlights sort of outshining each other along the way, when we went to Iceland it was the first country we really got a hit in, that was a fantastic experience and that was in 2002 I think, and then signing with Napalm and starting to tour on the mainland that was also amazing. Also playing twice at Wacken Open Air Festival in Northern Germany and both times have been mind-blowing fantastic and now I think recording this album and signing a deal with Metal Blade feels like a real milestone and I hope in retrospect it will be as well.
And you toured with Ensiferum and Heidevolk on the North American leg of the Paganfest tour, was this successful forTýr?
Oh yes! Probably our best tour so far in the USA, it was very very well supported with a good attendance and we know both bands well, we've toured many times with Ensiferum so it's a great feeling to be on tour with people you know and you only get to meet them on tour, you know just meeting old friends and having a ball for a month it was a great experience.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings you wish to issue to your Týr fans, friends, family, etc?
I'm not sure how far your broadcast goes but I would like to appeal to everyone who has any interest in this kind of music to please buy our albums and come to our shows and that would pay my bills and I hope I can in return provide you with music that you will like.
You can read up about the album, upcoming tour and other bits here.
"The people who live around us consider our music as something underground and marginal".
Following on from our recent reviewal of Galician Power Proggers Talesien and their latest album "El Silencio" we thought it would be best to deliver the Spanish inquisition and put the flaming tongs on this sextet to explore the past, present and future of Talesien, but be warned, there may be blood.
So guys, how long has the band been going, how did the band form and what does the band name mean?
Talesien has celebrated just our 10th anniversary in 2012. The band name comes from the third long play "The Book of Taliesyn" by Deep Purple, but we decided to change it a little, the second part of the title specifically in order to avoid coincidences and also because there were other bands which had chosen this name too. So…
What inspired you to play the style of music you play?
We feel that we are inspired by every single metal song that we listen to in whatever style. We listen to Bon Jovi but we listen to Slayer too. We are open minded people in that sense. We only search for good songs, it doesn´t matter if we are talking about Thrash, Power, Heavy, Progressive, Death Metal, etc.
What is your local town / city scene like?
There are a lot of bands playing different styles, we live in a very rich land in that sense. Unfortunately we also live in the north-western corner in Spain and it´s too difficult to spread our work and especially playing live music around the country because of the distance. Also it´s a social question, the people who live around us consider our music as something underground and marginal.
Have you played alongside any big bands, if so who? If not who would you like to play alongside?
We have been playing alongside many different bands throughout our history, bands such as DIO, Cradle of Filth, Riot, Marky Ramone, In Extremo, Lost Horizon, etc and we would be very pleased to play alongside Dream Theater, Symphony X, Kamelot, Evergrey, Circus Maximus, Seventh Wonder, Iron Maiden and many more…
Has the band got any plans for 2013?
Keep playing and to continue with our brand new long play presentation in places where we still haven´t gone and also to start to compose a new one asap.
Finally any thank you's, hello's and any other messages you wish to say?
_Global Metal Apocalypse caught up with the lads known as A Hero A Fake during their time of recording their upcoming release 'The Future Again', we spoke to guitarist Eric Morgan.
How did you guys form and has there been any line-up changes, if so why?
Justin and I started the band in 2005 while we were in high school. We were already good friends and both shared a love for heavier music so we decided to put a band together. It was our first time doing the band thing so we definitely had a lot to learn, but we worked hard and picked up so many valuable lessons early on from just trial and error. By 2007 we had picked up Patrick, Matt, and Tim, which is when we started to really carve out our own identity within the music scene.
Lineup changes are one of those necessary evils in this business. It is so rare for bands to span their career’s without any changes (i.e. Thrice) but for us it was something necessary to move forward. This album features two new members – Evan Kirkley on drums and Chris Rosser on bass. Evan had actually been in the band previously during 2005 and recorded our second demo but couldn’t stay since he was already engaged in a couple other bands. We met Chris on tour in 2010 and he stayed in contact showing us songs he had written so when Matt left we felt comfortable bringing him into the band. To be honest Evan has always been one of my favorite drummers and when we had the opening I immediately approached him about joining.
Describe the band's genre without genre-tagging or using cliches?
It’s an energetic and passionately voiced take on the modern heavy where we have refined our traditional AHAF style quirkiness and blended it with more engaging song structures.
What makes your upcoming album 'The Future Again' different to the previous two albums?
The music on 'The Future Again' definitely marks the biggest evolution in sound for the band. Our last album was over an hour long and wasn’t quite as focused as we would of liked. So we decided to concentrate on making a shorter album that was a lot more focused and allowed us to pay more attention to detail – quality over quantity. This album is also more powerful sounding which has a lot to do with Evan’s drumming which takes the dynamic energy to the next level.
When you got the call from Victory Records to be signed, what was your response?
I got the call from Tony during the summer of 2008 while I was working in between semesters at college. Justin and I were going into our senior years at The University of North Carolina and were both pretty insistent on finishing our degrees out. Fortunately Victory was on board with the idea of letting us finish and using our first release as a developmental album while still in school.
For those music fans out there who judge bands upon appearance, what do you have to say to them?
That’s a hard question to give a general answer about. For some bands their “look” is what defines them to their audience and so they 'want' the fans to judge them based on appearance. For us, we just never had an interest in doing anything bizarre looks wise (makeup, paint, etc). Actually we didn’t even wear a lot of black on our early tours because we were just nerds who loved to play heavy music. That was actually a bit of a problem for us early on because on tour these kids would see looking more like an indie rock band and it created a mental block for some getting into us for the first time. But music transcends everything so we just made sure to go balls out and make sure we got their attention with our performance.
Which song from the upcoming release stands out most and which one should fans check out?
My favorite track of the new album is “Princess of the Sun”. It was the first song I started writing for the album and it is one of the longer more complicated structure wise. Really though, it was after we finished tracking vocals that made it stand out so much to me. Justin’s vocals are so passionate throughout the song and then we added guest vocals from Hudson Hower (Bruised But Not Broken) and Dayan Marquina that really just made the track shine.
Where are you touring this year and do you have any UK tour dates being planned or considered?
We start touring in September and will be on the road heavily from then through next year. We don’t have plans to come to the UK currently (though I would love to!) but it is always something I’m looking into.
Finally, what does the band have in store for 2012 and beyond?
Right now we are just looking forward to getting our album out (July 17th) and we also have a new music video for the single “Dead and Done” dropping in the next couple weeks.Other than that we’re gearing up for tour and making sure we get to play these new songs in as many places as possible.
BAND:EXILED SANITY MUSICIAN: DEEPTAROOP BASU COUNTRY: INDIA GENRE: PROG / EXPERIMENTAL METAL
1. How long has Exiled Sanity been going and how did the band form?
The band has been around 6 -7 months (formed in 2011) I was playing for another blackened death Metal band which i left, so these guys who have been playing under a similar name, but they left soon and asked me to play, so i checked them out. It was initially like a class, where I was guiding them how to focus on a new sound, then about 6-7 months ago we started playing officially and we released 2 self-produced original compositions 'Twisted Route to Salvation', and 'Redesigning Humans'!
2. How big has the Indian metal scene become and who are the most notable bands?
India has been doing alright, but not that great, because I want to see Indian bands go on world tours, there are numerous great talented bands such as Scribe and Undying Inc. But I guess some negotiations are to be done with international gig organisers and tour coordinators, for making not only the old bands which are big already outside India but also emerging bands like ours and our buddy bands such as What Escapes Me or Yonsample from Kolkata
3. Are there any problems playing Metal in India and what is the media press like?
Yeah Metal is still considered taboo here in a lot of places; people tend to think it's a bunch of crazy guys, banging their heads like they have gone bad to music, where the words are not understandable. The press and media level is getting better as there are a few online websites coming up but there is metal being talked about in the daily newspapers, only reviews of international acts are presented sometimes, that's about it.
4. Do you feel with bands like Demonic Resurrection getting signed to Candlelight, that this has opened the gateway for Indian Metal to be globally recognised?
Yeah Demonic Resurrection has been in the circuit for over a decade now and the band has helped in spreading Indian metal to a certain extent as it's the only band which has a fair amount of international gig experiences and a few tours.
5. Out of the metal genres, is Black Metal shunned upon in India due to religion?
I have doubts because I haven't yet come across any black metal bands from India who are doing it spiritually, I mean if you are comparing black metal bands from Norway, then India is very far behind. I guess the music needs to be spread and understood more because the concepts are deep and everyone cannot change their lifestyle due to these kinds of music, only feeling this kind of music to a great extent will encourage the person to play black metal religiously.
6. Does Exiled Sanity have any plans for 2012?
Yeah we are planning to release our self produced EP, we will be coming out with a new song probably end of January or in the 1st week of February, the EP would be in the late end of mid 2012 hopefully before 21st December 2012.
7. Finally do you have any tips for musicians looking to improve skills and/or get into a band? What do you have to say to the global metal scene?
Ahh.. II have always wanted to play an instrument so as to channel my emotions, I play heavy music so as to get my aggression out of me as its immature to act randomly when you are angry so music is the best way to channel emotions, therefore I would like everyone in this world to play an instrument because it helps you take out whatever you are feeling and music does a lot of things to you. Which beginners will get to know better as they start learning music and the global metal scene is doing good, new bands with newer sounds are coming up, and music is evolving; now people have more choice of listening to whatever kind of music they want to listen to.
_BAND: SONATA ARCTICA MUSICIAN: HENRIK KLINGENBERG COUNTRY: FINLAND GENRE: POWER / PROG METAL
SONATA ARCTICA INTERVIEW WITH HENRIK KLINGENBERG (Vocals / Keyboard)
I spoke to Henrik Klingenberg of Finnish Power / Prog Metallers Sonata Arctica, to catch up on goings on and some past topics, read and enjoy:
1. How did you guys form and could you explain how the band name cameabout?
Well, I wasn't there but I guess it's pretty much the same with every band, you want to play, find some guys and start hammering it out. No idea about the original name either, sorry. I think the story can be found in our bio on our homepage or something...
2. In Finland is there any encouragement for people to learn an instrument whatever the instrument is?
No I wouldn't say there's any special enouragement to get into music or sports or anything else for that matter. Of course if you want to do something in particular there is usually some help available.
3. Would you consider your music to be part of the genre 'Winter Metal' along with Wintersun?
Hmm, that's a bit confusing, no I don't consider us Winter Metal, I didn't even know there was a genre called that.
4. Your currently working on your seventh album, what details can you give? I.e. album title, release date?
The name is still a secret but the album will be released in April-May 2012. I don't want to try to describe the music too much but it's once again something new for us as a band.
5. Out of all the cover songs you have done, which is your most and least favourite, why is this?
We did a cover of Roy Orbison, you got it with one of my other bands, Silent Voices, like 10years ago and that was pretty horrible. The best cover would probably be the Gary Moore one we did with SA, called 'Out In The Fields'....that song is so good, even we couldn't mess it up and I got to learn Gary Moores guitar solo note for note which was fun.
6. Sonata Artica is now 15 years old, quite an achievement isn't it? What is your highlights (both best and worst) of the band's existence?
Probably the worst time was during the recording of Unia when all these issues with Jani started to unfold, it was a very disturbing time in the history of the band. Whenever we're on tour or recording , those are the highlights for me. There's so much other things we have to do, like business stuff etc. so when we finally get to actually focus on the music, that's the best part and the only reason to keep on doing this.
7. Tony Kakko, what is the best advice can you give to those wishing to sing in the Power Metal style of vocals?
Sorry, can't help you there....actually to be able to sing well, one really important thing is to take good care of your body because that's your instrument, meaning, no smoking (unless you're David Coverdale or Lemmy) and take it easy with the booze. Any sport will also help.
8. Tommy, Elias, Marko, Henrik, what advice can you give to musicians wishing to improve their skills on bass, guitar, keyboard / keytar and drums?
There's a lot of stuff online to help you out with your playing skill no matter what your instrument is, however nothing can beat a good teacher, so find someone who plays the way you want to play and ask them to teach you....and of course practise your ass off.....and while doing this remember that it's supposed to be fun, if it's not fun when you're starting out, I'll tell you, it won't be fun later on either.
9. Out of all of the releases, which is your favourite and why and what song of all time in Sonata Arctica is your favourite?
This changes every day and it's impossible to answer while we're working on a new album because of course that's your favourite (if it isn't then maybe we should rewrite some stuff, right?)...of the previous ones I really like Reckoning Night since it was my first album with the band and the recording experience was really interesting. 'Don't Say A Word' is probably our best song, somehow we found a balance with that one.
10. Have you ever considered recording a cover for a Christmas song?
Personally speaking no, I don't know if Tony ever thought about it....but I hope we don't do that, rather write our own christmas song.
11. Do you plan to tour the UK sometime in 2012, if not what festivals are you looking to play at in Europe?
We'll be touring all over Europe in the fall so I'm sure we'll hit UK at some point if not already during the festival season. I have no idea about the festivals yet, I think a couple of ones are online now on our site but apart from that I have no clue.
12. As Metal is very popular in Finland, would you consider it a major export, before and after Lordi's famous Eurovision win?
Metal is probably the most exported music style from Finland but there's no way to compete when compared to other branches of exports (outside of the music industry).... I don't think the Eurovision thing had too much to do with this, after all metal people don't need to watch that kind of TV crap to find out about new music.
I guess Lordi got new fans but for other bands it didn't make make that much of an impact, and why should it?
13. Over the 15 years, how has the band's sound changed and what differences can you notably hear?
We've become more progressive to some extent and more mature I guess, I think the sound has changed on every album, sometimes more and sometimes less. What the changes are, is something everyone has to figure out themselves, if I tell you how my keyboard sounds changed from album to album that's not gonna be really helpful now is it? We will continue to change and explore new things with every album, I think that's the only way to do it for us, and I'm sure you all will hear the difference when the new album comes out; or not, who knows?
14. What can we expect from Sonata Arctica in 2012 and in the future?
We just released our 2nd DVD 'Live in Finland' which basically tells the story of the 'Days of Grays world tour', and right now we're in the studio recording our next album. It will be out in spring and then it's time to tour for 1 and a half to 2 years again. Right now that's all we have planned...so if we make it alive through this cycle we'll be back in the studio after that making more music, let's cross our fingers :)