Empressite is a melodic / progressive metal band from Sweden formed in 2012 by Velvet (vocals) and Chris (guitars and composition; who also plays with Bleeding Utopia and Prosector, ex-Decadence).
The couple have spent years writing material and ere joined in 2020 by drummer Nicke Olsson (Putrid Vision, One Day In Pain, Haven Devine, ex-Leprosy, ex-Centinex).
The trio recorded and released single and music video Exhumed in February 2021.
After the release, they recruited bassist Gastón Nanni and second guitarist Patrick Wahlberg (Ex-Nocean drummer). The EP "Road Of All Ends" is currently being recorded and is intended to be released Autumn 2021.
Here they survived their interview interrogation.
On the new music video 'Exhumed' -
Tell us how you chose the name 'Empressite', after all it's a rare mineral relating to silver telluride.
"When I was little, my grandmother used to take me with her outside to go looking for stones, which sparked my interest in minerals. Years later I came across an article about the Empress Josephine Mine in Colorado, USA, where this rare mineral 'Empressite' was found. I really liked the sound of it so I decided to use it for the band we started. The stone itself is black with a silver shimmer."
It has been a long time between your inception in 2012 and the release of your upcoming EP 'Road Of All Ends', what happened in this period; instability or were there other releases?
"When we (Chris & Velvet) started the band in 2012 we quickly realized it was the wrong time to get a band going, studies took time and other bandmates who joined moved, or studied or worked irregular days and hours, so we decided to take a break. We kicked the band into motion again in 2020 when our drummer Nicke joined us. After the release of "Exhumed" our latest additions Gastón (bass) and Patrick (guitar) completed the line-up".
You played Heresy Fest (Argentina) this year, how did you manage to get on the schedule? Will this be your first performance outside Sweden; even broadcasting overseas?
"Our fantastic bassist Gastón is from Argentina, hence the connections and amazing opportunity to join the festival.
Yes, that's right, this was the first time performing "outside" Sweden, even if this was online due to the coronavirus regulations. But we really hope for it to get better so we can actually travel sometime."
"The organiser of the festival is on pretty good terms with close friends and former band members I had back in Argentina, so when the opportunity came up it was pretty good to reach out and coordinate our participation."
Your new music video 'Exhumed' has a Nordic Noir feeling and tells a story, but what challenges did you face in creating the video?
"The video was made all by ourselves, so the biggest challenge was definitely the time consuming cutting and production process.
The whole video was filmed under just a couple of hours, the weather was cloudy, cold and damp. It got really chilly after a while, especially for Louise who was playing the part of Sorrow, standing barefoot almost all day. Take into consideration this was mid-November here in Sweden. Time was also extremely limited since the sun starts to set before 4:00 PM in November, we had to be well prepared and move fast with the takes, leaving almost no breaks at all."
Check out the new music video below
With that in mind your style features doom elements on top of your melodic / prog metal sound - who do you look to for inspiration in your sound?
"Nature, emotions, life, books and games. We want to move towards a more progressive sound with the new material we're currently writing, finding inspiration from bands such as Dream Theater, Haken, Rush, Symphony X, Katatonia, Swallow The Sun, to name a few."
What plans (all things considered) do you have for the year ahead?
"This year we'll release an EP called "Road Of All Ends" with another music video to one of the songs. We'll make a physical copy of the EP and we're having some pretty amazing merchandise ideas upcoming for the release.
We have considered to release a couple of the older rock / metal tunes we have as well before we move on to new material, and perhaps a couple of covers, those are always fun to do."
Could we see Empressite enter Melodifestivalen or Wacken Metal Battle sometime?
"Nothing is impossible, haha"
Do you have any greetings or thanks that you wish to send out to friends, family, etc?
"I want to thank my mum for always believing in me, my daughter, E, Chris, our lovely mini-pigs Toffee and Truffle, and my best friends Louise, Sara and Joshua. I'd also want to thank Rockers.fi for sponsoring me with the most metal and Empressite-like jewellery there is."
"Of course I need to express my gratitude to the Swedish people for welcoming me with open arms into their house, and my family and friends back in Argentina, for believing and supporting me on this ride, most particularly the bands that I had to leave and closest band friends up on stage, Sentinel, Innerforce and Bloodcrown.
"I wanna thank my family for always supporting my passion for music, my girlfriend for pushing me and of course anyone who supports Empressite in any way, as well as Skull Strings for endorsing us with the best strings for metal!"
"Extended thanks to my bandmates for putting up with me. Toffee and Truffle, Edward, Josh, Josh, Tanja, Jacob, Dan, Solar guitars, Bare Knuckle Pickups, Skull strings.
"My daughter Matilde and all my amazing friends!"
Our Endorsers Skull Strings, Bare Knuckle Pickups, Solar Guitars, Rockers.fi jewellery
"People will have heard a few descriptions over the years... the best one we all remember though was that the music sounds a bit like “Honeycomb in a cement mixer”.
Ireland has a very good metal scene with most well known bands being the likes of Cruachan, Mael Mordha and Thin Lizzy (OK they're Hard Rock / Heavy Metal). But what about the waves succeeding them? Well you have bands like Dead Label and then there's the 16 year-old Lazarus known as Two Tales Of Woe, who this year released their single 'Order Of Lies' which dated originally back in 2011. This proved to be a nostalgia trip for the Dubliners (the city dwellers and not the band), given this news GMA decided to interrogate the group (no guinness involved, nor was Catholicism brought up; even if said drink is a form of holy water). They discussed Brexit, their new single, what there is to do in the city of Dublin and what their own genre label 'Sloom' means.
For those who have not heard of Two Tales Of Woe, could you give us a brief history of the band? What does the band name mean?
"Truthfully – Two Tales Of Woe has been 16 years of blood, sweat and tears. 16 years of our lives, that helped shape every person who has ever been in this band - past and present. The proof is in the puddin’ so its better to just get stuck into “A Conversation With Death” and work from there – you will feel what we feel in the music that we have created.
The name Two Tales Of Woe was originally intended to be a project that would be two releases – two tales.
The past few months has brought a whole new meaning to the name and it shall go on to completely redefine everything we have ever done. The last 16 years led us all through the first tale personally and we know in our hears that it has been a positive tale that our fans and listeners have enjoyed. Through all that’s been loved and lost – a new Woe has been born and it is, so far, an endless tale and the best is yet to come."
You recently released the track 'Order Of Lies' (unreleased in 2011), surely this was a nostalgia trip? How did this come about?
"Yes indeed, a nostalgia trip like no other! Ha ha! That track was written and recorded during a time that became a big turning point for the band and it was a major milestone that marked quite a significant change in the bands line up – don’t blame the f**kin’ song though, alright?! Ha ha. It was one of the last songs written as part of the original era and line up of the band, prior to Ross’s departure. Its the song both our guitarist Dan and former drummer Kelvin Doran auditioned with and its always been a song that has held importance to us all and was the beginning of our Oak of Memory era – the unreleased album which, to this day is still lying in wait for the world, especially our brother and former bassist Dave Buttner – we owe it to ourselves to get it out there because it really is something else!
Through our Woes – pun intended – we’ve all had our differences as friends and brothers, something that really did take its toll on each and every one of us, but the past is the past and our love for one another and the music we’ve all been a part of for so many years has been resurrected into something that the fans and friends of Woe, really will not be expecting at all. The reunion of friendship and brotherhood with our long time guitarist and Co-Woe creator; Lar Bowler is the reason for the decision to release the song now as it has marked something significant to all of us but especially Carl and Lar, so it means a lot to be able to share that with everyone.
Lar is still working on his own music, which we can not f**king wait to hear in the future. And any other Woes we’ve not yet unleashed – will be freed within the foreseeable future."
You released your EP 'BloodWood' last year, what was the reception like? Did you have people from outside in Ireland buy a copy?
"The reception we received from 'BloodWood' was incredibly positive as far as we are concerned – anyone we’ve shared it with over the last year has had nothing but kind words to say about it so we’re very humbled by that. It was a long time coming as we had really felt we were at a dead end for a while but we never gave up and with the return of Chris De Brabandere on bass, Ross Duffy alongside Dan Walsh on guitar and the return of the badass that is Johnny f**king Kerr on drums, it really turned into something that gave new life to the band.
We’ve met many people from all over the world over the years, who have become friends and fans of the band and we continue to make more and more connections as time goes by so we know they’re listening, no matter where they are!"
How would you describe your sound without the use of genre tagging, given you play Sludge / Doom (or as you call it, Sloom)?
"Haha, Sloom. That was just being too lazy to say Sludge and Doom hahaha. Many people will have heard a few descriptions over the years: Heavy and Slow, the way of the Woe, was the original sound but, throw in some real f**kin’ Thin Lizzy-esque guitar harmonies and solos and some real groove and just a little bit of aggression and tonnes of power. The best one we all remember though was that the music sounds a bit like “Honeycomb in a cement mixer”. Haha
It doesn’t matter what we think though – find out for yourself. ;-) "
Tell us more about the Irish Metal scene, when did metal arrive in Ireland? What challenges do bands face?
"Metal landed in Ireland about 800 years ago, maybe more. The Irish metal scene is one of the most thriving and f**king incredible metal scenes imaginable. The calibre of talent in this country is insane and its absolutely f**king mind boggling how unappreciated and unnoticed it has been. The Irish fans of metal are amazing, like any fan of metal! Any person to set foot on Irish soil and get to experience the bands that are on offer – will never, be disappointed. There are too many incredible bands to start naming just a few – as mentioned earlier – the proof is in the puddin’ so don’t take our word for it – see for yourself. If metal is your friend – you know where to find it."
Probably a topic that hasn't been brought up in ages, Brexit, as a band are you worried about it or not fussed?
"Many people have worried about that but its one “word” that gets on everyone’s f**king nerves to be honest ha ha. There's no force field at the border, last time we checked and any “border” that was ever recognised in Ireland was nothing more than an imaginary line – drawn on a map, and when you cross that line – the road markings change mysteriously from one colour to another and the road signs also transform into something, almost alien..
So, in a nutshell, no. No worries whatsoever.
“Its well for some”, some might say – but we were all born free so unless you intend to kick some unsuspecting soul, up the arse for no good reason – then no one should worry. Ireland is still one of the most old fashioned places in the world in terms of agriculture so we’ve plenty of land and plenty of food - if you’re willing to get up off your arse and make it happen. Just like anywhere else."
For metalheads visiting Dublin, what sights / attractions and bars / venues could you recommend?
"All metalheads should be travelling to Ireland in general – there's metal everywhere here. In Dublin – Fibber Magees, Parnell Street – a legendary Rock and Metal venue that has a very long history in Dublin and there's many a tale to be told about it! Bruxelles on Harry Street – home to the infamous Phil Lynott statue that everyone comes to see. Sound Cellar for all your Metal needs.
Belfast brings you Voodoo and Katy Dalys/The Limelight. Sally Longs in Galway. There's many places to see whether its metal related or not and who knows what lies in the future of the metal scene and live music scene in general but we remain positive about the future and so should everyone!"
Do you have any thanks or greetings you wish to send to friends, family or fans?
"We would very much like to thank anyone who has ever been a part of the last 16 years of the bands existence. Friends, family, and fans – regardless of who you are or what part you played – you played your part in shaping what this band is today and who we are as people so we thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.
Check us out on all the usual platforms – you know what they are – contact us, say hello, buy something, dont buy something, listen to the music, love the music – or don’t! Hahaha. You’ll be pleased you did though.
Also, Carl has a great podcast called KingWoe’s Court, in which he chats to our friends in metal, far and wide – mainly focussing on the talented bunch of lads and lassies in the Irish Metal scene but there’s a few surprises in store with that too, so listen in and find out for yourself!
And if you like something a bit different – Ross and Dan also played in CausticGod who released the album Sullen Sanctuary. Ross also plays in Strangle Wire – a Belfast based, beast of a Death Metal band, not to be underestimated. Johnny has Okus – something very filthy and nasty. And for the old school – Chris had Run With The Wolf – some of which is available along with other Two Tales of Woe releases.
And lastly, we’d like to thank Global Metal Apocalypse for taking the time to reach out and speak with us!"
"If you throw the towel in as soon things are getting tough, you won’t get anywhere with anything."
For a band that has been on and off since 1984, you could easily forgive Candlemass for considering to take things a little easy... like hell they are. They've just put out their latest EP "The Pendulum" which dovetails their latest album "The Door To Doom" released last year. Pioneers of the Epic Doom Metal style, this Swedish leviathan of the ages shows no signs of giving up even if things like COVID-19 have halted some of their plans, as Leif Edling put it verbatim "If you throw the towel in as soon things are getting tough, you won’t get anywhere with anything."
Take those words of wisdom and imprint them in your mind, especially if you're an upcoming band because these guys have done, seen it, sold the xxxxx amount of t-shirts...
Leif spoke to GMA during his interrogation about how the band has managed to thrive since their inception, why the vinyl resurgence is a huge thing for him and why metal at first in Sweden was largely ignored.
You released your latest EP "The Pendulum" back in March, what was the reception like? Will this lead to an album in 2021 perhaps?
"Oh no, that is too early. The "Pendulum EP" was something of a revived thing after "Door To Doom", so people could hear the whole thing; all of the songs. Now I think the metal world needs to rest a bit after this Candlemass overkill of material 😊. Personally my guess would be 2022 for a new album. But the overall reception was great. We had a terrific year 2019 with loads of great gigs and Grammy festivities."
It was released on vinyl as well as CD and digitally, what are your thoughts on the vinyl resurgence? What was it like growing up with vinyl?
"I love vinyl so it is absolutely super that this format is experiencing a comeback. Sure, some used records are way too expensive, but overall I think that it’s a good thing because vinyl has got a value again, and that means that instead of having the old albums in boxes in the attic or basement, people bring it in the record shops to sell it and get OK money for it. Then all of a sudden, old favourite records are up for grabs again. A bit pricey sometimes, yes, but they are there for you to buy IF you want it. They weren’t before.
It was great to grow up with vinyl. You heard the music in the way it was meant to sound, and also, had a pretty good collection before the prices went through the roof 😊.
Would it be fair to say that Sweden has always been a heavy player in the world of music; all genres? Do you take influence from outside of metal?
"Not at all. When we started C-mass nobody got signed from Sweden. No Swedish label wanted to touch a metal band. We were one of the first “underground” bands that got out of Sweden and got signed to a foreign metal label. The guys from Entombed told me that when they saw that we managed to do it, break out of Sweden, then they knew it was possible and tried even harder to get signed abroad. And after that we had the so called ketchup effect he he….. "
For a band who has been on and off since 1984, what were the toughest challenges you've faced as a band? How did you over come these?
"Through hard work and total dedication for metal! We were born to do this! Won’t stop for any bumps on the road to doom hahahaha!! We’ve been through the book of f**k ups from A to Z many times. Been dropped from labels, changed singers more often than Ozzy’s been to rehab. And it has paid off. We have a pretty good career going now, great gigs, headline some even, Grammies, you name it. If you throw the towel in as soon things are getting tough, you won’t get anywhere with anything."
Speaking of which, what advice could you offer to upcoming bands who are trying to navigate the music industry?
"Don’t give up, get a good manager and GO FOR IT!"
How are you as a band coping with the COVID-19 pandemic? What plans had to be put on hold or cancelled? What have you been doing in your spare time?
"We had to cancel 2 great sold-out shows at a theatre in Stockholm in April. Been moved to August, and now it looks like they have to be moved again, to spring 2021. Crap! We also moved many gigs to the autumn, an autumn that is very intense now with loads of cool gigs here, in Europe, the States etc. Big risk that those will be up for a rain-check too… sucks. But it’s the hard reality.
I read a lot now, take it easy, watch series on HBO and Netflix, sorting my record collection out, take long walks in the nearby forest. If it wasn’t for all the cancelled gigs, I really don’t mind taking it easy. This relaxed situation now suits me quite well actually 😊. "
Obviously there's a lot to do in Stockholm, but what gems do you like the most? What venues / bars and sights and attractions would you recommend to metalheads visiting Stockholm?
"I have no idea. Haven’t been to a metal bar or concert in ages. But some nice attractions are Skansen (the Zoo), the Wasa ship, the view from Kaknästornet and the amusement park Gröna Lund. They also have Ghostwalks in the Old Town that they say are quite popular 😊."
Are there any greetings or thanks you wish to send out to friends, family, fans etc?.
"Stay in, stay healthy, stay Heavy!!"
"There's stuff happening (on band releases), and hopefully 2020 will end up being a golden year for Faroese metal."
Having released their 2nd EP 'Ódn' last year to widespread acclaim, the Faroese Melodic Doom / Death Metallers Hamferð are eternally grateful for the achievements they have made during the past 12 years. Sadly however 2020 marked a tricky time for the band as guitarist John Egholm left the band, that but also the global pandemic the whole world is grappling with in COVID-19; putting a halt to the vast majority of the bands plans. We speak to guitarist Theodor Kapnas about the reception their latest EP attracted, the challenges Faroese Metal bands face, the inspiration behind their on-stage attire and the COVID-19 situation on the Faroe Islands.
You released your 2nd EP 'Ódn' last year, what was the reception like and will there be a new album in 2021?
"The EP has been very well received. It does feel different from our other records though. One of the songs is a live recording of "Deyðir varðar" from 2015 which we did during the total solar eclipse, and the second one is a live recording from our release show in 2018 of our oldest song, "Ódn", which we've performed live extensively but have never released until now. So even if we released it as a new EP it's technically older material. People seem to have enjoyed it, and we're really happy to have the tracks out there.
We are working on new material and have quite a bit written, but it's too early to promise any release dates. I do hope that it'll be in 2021 though."
You may well have been asked this many times, could you tell us about the idea behind your stage attire (being suits) - who came up with it, etc?
"The stage suits are part of the original idea behind Hamferð. John founded the band because he was inspired to create Doom Metal in Faroese, and one of the main ideas was that our live show should be inspired by the atmosphere of a funeral. Traditional funeral wear in The Faroe Islands is either traditional Faroese clothes or a black suit, white shirt and black tie to a funeral. So the suit idea came quite naturally. It's something we feel works well for our shows, so we've stuck with it and probably will keep on doing so for the foreseeable future."
For those who cannot speak a word of Faroese, can you offer some tips in how to sing along to your music?
"That's a tricky one. I guess you can just learn the songs phonetically. We've all sung along to songs while having absolutely no idea what the lyrics were about. One way would also be to make your own version of misheard lyrics of the songs. And if someone does that please let us know, we'd love to see them!"
Are the Faroe Islands in lock down? If so what have you been doing at home both musically and in other hobbies?
"First and foremost, The Faroe Islands isn't in lockdown. Large gatherings are banned and social distancing rules are applied, but shops are open and a lot of people are still going to work. But it does of course leave you with more alone time than usual. This has given me time to be able to finish a few musical projects which have been laying around for too long, which now lets me focus fully on continuing with writing the next Hamferð record. I was supposed to do quite a bit of touring as sound engineer during the spring, but that has obviously been cancelled. The rest of the guys live in different places and have been affected in different ways, but this situation affects all of us.
When it comes to hobbies I've done the usual, I love being outdoors and now I suddenly have time for a lot of hiking, fishing, diving etc... The main difference is that people are now trying to avoid seeing other people and are therefore heading out of the towns. So hikers have appeared absolutely everywhere."
Would you say the Faroese Metal scene is growing stronger each year or has it been a rocky journey?
"The Faroe Islands is a very small place, so the metal scene moves in waves. A few years ago we had a lot of active metal bands, but as our generation has been getting older more and more guys have stopped playing that has obviously affected things. I don't think kids feel that it's as cool to be in a band as we did when we were teenagers, so there have been fewer new bands popping up.
Having said that, we still have some really good bands in The Faroes, and 2020 is looking like a very strong release year for Faroese metal. I can recommend checking out the band Ótti, which features two Hamferð members. They just released their debut album, definitely worth a listen. Impartial and Asyllex have also released new stuff, and I know that Goresquad and Iron Lungs are releasing new stuff this year. So there's stuff happening, and hopefully 2020 will end up being a golden year for Faroese metal.
What (in your opinion) are the biggest challenges facing the new crop of metal bands coming up the ranks in the Faroes?
"The challenges are the same as they have always been. The audience in The Faroes is limited, and it's harder than ever to find a rehearsal space which is a challenge for a lot of bands. However, the work that Upp Við Hornunum has done with local events and the Wacken Metal Battle competition has really helped. Bands have been given an incentive to perform live, and it has never been easier to get in contact with people from the international metal industry."
What plans for the year ahead do you have (COVID-19 depending); did you have before this pandemic?
"We have a few shows coming up later this year, if that will be allowed by that time. But apart from that this year is set aside to write a new record. We can hopefully start recording that later this year or early next year. So that's where most of our focus lies at the moment."
Do you have any greetings or thanks you wish to send out? Any final words?
"Stay safe out there everyone, wash your hands and we'll hopefully see all of you when this virus situation is over..."
"Don't think that you are anything, don't think that you're better than me, you're not special... that's the law of Jante."
Konvent are one of the newest and exciting metal bands to emerge from Denmark in recent years and having unleashed their thunderous album "Puritan Masochism" via Napalm Records back in January, it was only fair that GMA gave the ladies an interrogation... of course we played nice, after all their own brandished style of Death / Doom Metal should not be taken lightly, nor should the musicianship of this fearless foursome. Bassist Heidi Withington Brink and vocalist Rikke Emilie List spoke to us about the fortune they've had with the debut album, the label signing and the growing international fanbase they have. In addition to this they spoke about what the whole Jante law concept is about, why vinyl is a gemstone of Copenhagen and how the Danish Metal scene is embracing a new wave of bands.
Heidi, Rikke, can you tell us how the band name 'Konvent' came about?
"It came about because Heidi suggested the Danish word 'kloster' which means 'monastery' or a 'convent', but that name was already taken by another band, but we really liked that word and we kind of fell in love with the 'k' in the beginning. Then I [Rikke] suggested what about the English word 'convent' and then just replace the 'c' with a 'k', we thought about it for I think about 3 months; we just tried to brainstorm band names and in the end Sara was like "what about that word 'Convent'"? I kinda like that and we all agreed that we actually like that, so yeah that's how the name came to be. I really like the idea that Heidi suggested because I think it's funny to have a word that indicates an institution; monasteries and convents, there's no storytelling in that word."
How did you choose Death / Doom Metal as your sound, what or who inspired you?
"[Heidi] It was never something we decided upon, it was just when we got together; at the time Sara and I were jamming riffs together and this is what just sort of come out, we never decided that we're going to play Death / Doom Metal. We all knew that we wanted to play something heavy, something evil sounding and we wanted to use grow vocals, that was only the few things we thought about. So it was a little bit accidental that this is is what came out, Sara and I will always agree a lot when it comes to riffs, I feel like we've never been very against things when it comes to music; we agree a lot upon the genre, what we play and the different things we want to explore."
Being an all-female metal band, do you feel there is as much stigma towards female musicians or has it lessened over the years?
"[Heidi] I wouldn't know how it was before, I can only of course talk about how it is now and I feel like the stigma is the thing that people want to call it 'female" and put that in as a genre as well; but it doesn't really define the genre. A lot of people don't even know that we are girls when they listen to our music and I feel like maybe it's getting better because more women are getting out there and doing it; showing other women that it's normal and the more we normalise it, the more people hopefully won't see it as something special.
But of course we as only most girl bands do, we were just on tour and I experienced a few times getting called some kind of sexist remark - trying to sell out my gear and stuff like that, that's annoying... that's really annoying because you're trying to do your job and what you love the most and it's kind of like, it hits you, gets you out of the bubble of how awesome it is being in doing this and then suddenly someone says something, and you just have to go out and just breathe and be like OK it's just one jerk and the rest of the audience is really nice, so you still have to go out and do your best, and not let it affect you.
[Rikke] It is a hard question to answer, but I feel like personally I'm seeing more and more women in metal, mainly as the lead vocalist or bassist or keyboardist. But I think that more and more women are popping up on bands you would stumble upon through social media, metal blogs, whatever I think it's becoming more open, or I think that more women are thinking 'hey we can actually do this as well, this is not just a boys club'. So I think that we're seeing a slow but steady increase on women in the metal scene."
Having released your debut album 'Puritan Masochism' earlier this year through Napalm Records, this must have been a dream start for the band?
"[Rikke] Absolutely and the album has been received so well, we've had a lot of positive reviews and have sold a lot of our records on tour this February and we honestly cannot believe it (laughs), it's been a very overwhelmingly positive reception of this album, so we couldn't be happier."
Can you tell us more about 'Puritan Masochism', how you came up with the title, the song titles, the creative process duration, etc?
"[Heidi] Regarding how long it took to put together, it's been a process ever since the demo which was recorded back in 2017, back then we already had one extra song which was too new to put on the demo... I can't remember which one but it's one of the songs on the album, ever since the demo we've been working on and writing more material for an album, but it wasn't really before we got in contact with Napalm Records that we really started being more serious about 'OK we really now have to get started', even that took us a while because it's not always easy; especially if you're new to making music and you have to figure out 'how am I best creatively?'; what do I do when I feel a lack of creativity?
So it's been a process, but I feel like the guitar and bass have gotten into a really good rhythm where we write riffs at home and then we send it to each other, trying to get a feel for it and then we try and record it into a program on the computer and then we send it to the guys, and then try and go into the rehearsal space and soon as we have a song it usually goes fast, because Rikke is very fast at writing very good lyrics and Julie is also good at finding drums when we're set. It's been... I'm excited for the next album, because I feel like we know each other better now, but regarding 'Puritan Masochism', the title would you like to talk about that Rikke?
[Rikke] Initially it was just the title of the song, but we really really liked that and we decided that we also want to use that title as the album title and then maybe change the song title, but we couldn't just come up with another song title and so in the end we just keeping it as both. I think it's just us not being organised and taking the time to think about all these things (laughs), because you know when we were recording the album there were so many things to keep a track of and plan, suddenly you've reached your deadline and [panic]."
What do your parents think of your music?
"[Heidi] They are very, very supportive; all of our parents and I think our parents are our biggest fans because they've been with us from the beginning. They were some of the first people to hear the first few songs, they're at our our shows. My mum and Rikke's dad have been with us on tour as drivers from the recent tour and we've had several of our parents as drivers heading to different gigs. So they're very, very supportive.
[Rikke] As for them liking the music, my mum has been very open and was like... 'no' (laughs), but she still supports what we do so (laughs)...
[Heidi] Actually the other day, my mum was sitting outside in the garden in the sun and she was listening to music and I just came out and thought she was listening to some of the music she likes listening to, then she took her earphones out and gave it over to me and she was listening to our album!!! So she likes it, I think she likes because she knows it's her daughter who made it because you wouldn't listen to it otherwise I think [her mum starts shaking her head]."
With that in mind do you feel that people who don't listen to metal, sometimes just don't understand it?
"[Rikke] Absolutely, I think that a lot of people who don't usually listen to metal hear a song and they completely shut down because all they can hear is someone screaming, and that it's an uncomfortable noise, but the thing is with metal you need to invest time in listening to it and listening to it again in order to try and get into it. When you do, it just becomes great, not all the music I listen to now is from the first time I heard it, but you've just got to give it one more shot and one more shot again and suddenly you get it; that's how I feel about it. It's about giving it a chance."
Would it be easier to do Death / Doom Metal in Danish or English in your opinion?
"[Rikke] Actually we're working on a new song right now where I've incorporated some Danish...
[Heidi] What? I didn't know that.
[Rikke] Yeah well maybe actually get with the programme? (laughs)
[Heidi] I've been sick and doing my exams just for the record (laughs).
[Rikke] But yeah so everything is kind of up in the air right now, maybe we'll change it, maybe we'll keep it, but that was just a feeling I got when I wrote the riffs for this new song and I was just like 'Ok I feel like singing to this in Danish, let's try it out', but yeah I feel like it depends on the song and not necessarily the genre."
Denmark has had a long history in metal with the likes of King Diamond, Hatesphere, etc., do you feel that we're nowadays experiencing a 'New Wave of Danish Metal'?
"[Heidi] I definitely think so, I think that there are so many bands right now doing really great both in Denmark and outside of Denmark as well; I haven't seen a time like this since I've been listening to metal. I think it's unique and I think it's very, very and really cool that we're [Konvent] able to be a part of that because there are so many other great Danish bands right now... it's insane, so many different genres as well.
[Rikke] Yeah I agree actually, I feel like we can really see new bands want to experiment and not fit into a certain genre, I think people are sick of seeing bands just trying to sound exactly like Cannibal Corpse or Slayer or whatever, so I feel like a lot of bands right now are really trying to do their own thing and are succeeding in doing a really good job. It's a great time to be in Denmark, except for when there's a lockdown and you can't actually go to concerts."
With that in mind, are you discussing new music and merch ideas for Konvent frequently during the lockdown?
"[Rikke] Yeah I think we're in touch almost everyday, talking about new riffs and keeping each other updated on what we're working on at home, trying to plan as much as we can; getting inspiration and seeing how much we can do from home. It's very frustrating at not being able to be at our rehearsal space.
[Heidi] Yeah we actually just last night, Sara and I updated our riff library where we share the riffs that we have made and we just updated it with all the new riffs that we've had on our phones and it was actually quite long all of a sudden, all different riffs and was almost like an album that we have here, we just have to like put the puzzle together; that's the hard part. But yeah it's going to be fun to get to play together and try some new things out, because 2 weeks before the lock down I was at home and not in the rehearsal space because I had an exam. So I really, really are longing to get out there again because the other guys started doing a new song and I really wanted to be there as well, it's going to be good."
Have you had any instances where you've had fans reach out to you from unsuspecting places?
"[Heidi] (laughs) yeah from all over the world, it's crazy. Especially, this is something we had happen a long time before the album, we would get contacted by several people from around the world but especially with the album we have gotten a lot of attention from North America because Napalm Records has a base out there who are really good at doing PR and getting reviews, interviews, etc., so we're getting a lot of attention from over there. But also South America, Asia, Russia, Australia, all over Europe."
For metalheads visiting Copenhagen, in your opinion what are the best sights, attractions and venues to go to?
"[Heidi] Loppen in Christiania is a very good venue for music, they have put on a lot of metal as well, then there's Pumpehuset where we played our release show and then there's a lot of smaller venues also - places like Amager Bio, Basement, Vega... [Rikke] - you can go for the building alone, it's just so beautiful (around the 14th-15th century) and is protected by the Government, meaning it cannot be knocked down.
[Rikke] I've seen a lot of concerts at Vega, such as Gojira, pop bands also play there, it's a venue you can go to for everything. But when it comes to the sights, I feel like that there's a lot of craft beer, bars in Copenhagen and it's like, just pick one and its going to be great (laughs)."
Could you please explain to non-Nordic people the concept of Jante law?
"[Rikke] That's if you feel like another person is showing off, or bragging and you get a feeling inside that they shouldn't do that or that they should be humble, I think that that's what it means. Or it's a feeling that you can't yourself be ambitious or aim for the stars, it's about knowing your place and staying humble, not bragging, keeping quiet I think.
[Heidi] Which can be good and bad in different settings, it's kind of like don't think that you are anything, don't think that you're better than me, you're not special... that's the law of Jante."
Is Jante law still very much engrained in Danish society?
[Heidi] Of course there's always going to be people who like to tell the world how great they are, you will always have those kinds of people, but most people in Denmark I would say are pretty humble, you don't think about how much you make, you don't really speak about it if you have a lot of wealth - you keep that to yourself because you don't want to try and make the other people feel bad or inferior. So we're like the opposite of the USA, here it's like don't think you are anything.
[Rikki] But I think it can also apply to bands as well, like some people think it's not OK to go out and say 'I want to go play on the other side of the world, I want to do this where I am living, travel the world and tour and be a professional musician and just aim for the stars, go 100% out on this idea - this could result in bands holding things back in case they're concerned about what other people might think. So they're lowering their own ambitions because they don't want people to think that they're bragging, when you look at the band Volbeat - they have made it, they're doing this for a living and are touring the world; people worldwide love their music, when you hear Danish people talk about them, sometimes it can be a bit negative and you just want to feel like, is it because of the music? Do they not like it or have you actually not heard of the music, but you just don't like the idea of them succeeding, which one is it? I think there is a bit of Jante law when we're talking about a band like Volbeat."
Your debut album "Puritan Masochism" was released on Vinyl, are you into Vinyl yourselves and are you used to it?
"[Heidi] Yeah we're all so used to it because, I feel especially in the metal genre here in Copenhagen, vinyl is a pretty big thing if you're into this genre, I have collected vinyl since I started getting into the music business since 2013, I don't have a lot but I always used to buy the ones from the bands I was always putting on as a promoter and I used to have a vinyl club, where I would meet up with 3 of my friends; we would have some vinyls with us and discuss about music, so it's definitely not a new thing to me."
Do you have any greetings or thanks you wish to send out to friends, family, fans, etc?
"[Rikke] Since we played in the UK about a month ago (around February), we just want to say thank you to the people who gave us a warm reception in the UK; we're so surprised that people actually showed up, yes OK we played along with a bunch of local bands, but it was packed when we got up on stage and people were just awesome. I think we just want to say thank you to everyone who showed up, we can't wait to come back and see more of the UK.
[Heidi] Yeah we're coming back in November to play in Sheffield at the HRH Vikings Festival, somehow we ended up playing a Viking festival (laughs), but the UK was so much fun. Other than that we would like to send thanks to all of our colleagues at Napalm Records because they've done such a great job, we know they must be having a lot of work these days with the cancellations and everything so, keep up the good work."
Chile on the western side of South America has always had a vibrant metal scene with some notable musicians and bands making their names known far and wide, with bands like Mar de Grises and Criminal ending up with record deals with European labels in Season of Mist and Metal Blade, it's no surprise that the Chilean Metal scene goes on with bolder and greater ambitions. Leading the next wave is Weight Of Emptiness, a Doom / Melodic Death Metal outfit who released their debut album "Anfractuous Moments For Redemption" last year physically by themselves and digitally through the British label Sepulchral Silence. It was then later reissued through the Mexican label Sun Empire Productions. Thus showing their never-ending attempts to explore markets outside Chile.
Drummer Mauricio Basso (also plays in the Melodic Death Metal band Letargo) agreed to talk to GMA about the band's history, their complex sound, touring Mexico and life as a Chilean Metalhead.
"The main obstacle is that there is not much formality and guarantees for musicians in Latin America"
For those who do not know of Weight Of Emptiness, could you please give us a brief history of the band?
"Three individuals from Buin (a town near the capital of Chile) plus two friends and musicians from Santiago gave shape to Weight Of Emptiness, all of the members came with experience from being in other bands, we came together to give shape to this new experience."
You've only been going two years and yet released an EP and an album, surely that's a dream start?
"It has been a lot of work and focus, besides that it is not our only activity, but there is always strength for what we want to achieve and everything so far has gone well. It has been a lot of work these last couple of years."
Your debut album "Anfractuous Moments For Redemption" was released last year, what was the reception like?
"It has been quite good from the public and the media in general, we are very grateful for that too. We have played many shows to promote it and the reception has been incredible, even with many interesting proposals going around."
You toured Mexico last year, how hard is it to tour Chile let alone organize a Mexican tour? What difficulties can you face?
"Well, the main obstacle is that there is not much formality and guarantees for musicians in Latin America in terms of contracts and that kind of thing. Everything is based enough on trust and goodwill, especially if you're not very well known, but with great effort they put on a lot of shows and quite a few producers were interested in the band.
In Mexico, there were also previous contacts with friends from a radio program there. It was an incredible experience, lucratively speaking it was not something important, but the experience was magnificent, the people were wonderful and there were very good vibes."
What would you say Weight Of Emptiness brings to the table that other bands have not? What makes you different?
"In truth I think that influences that are not very common together in the same band can be something that distinguishes us, and the other thing is that we care enough about the sound and the effect it has on the perception of the listener."
How did you get into metal music in the first place? Are any of your family members musicians?
"Well since I was little there was a lot of music in the house where I lived, the radio was always on in the morning where there were also radio theatre programs. My uncle's had enough vinyl's and cassettes with plenty of bands from the 70's and 80's era's, and that was what I was trained with. My dad is a drummer too and that's where the drummer comes from as an instrument of worship."
For those visiting Santiago, what sights / attractions would you recommend to metalheads?
"There are quite a few shows of national Metal bands playing. Locals like the Oxido Bar are frequented almost every day of the week. I recommend Pablo Neruda's house, that has a very special vibe and is full of beautiful objects. There are also interesting museums and parks, the restaurant El Hoyo and especially outside Santiago there are interesting landscapes."
With 2018 closing up what plans do you have for the rest of the year?
"A lot of work. Another album is waiting, a new process is coming full of interesting things, new people on this trip, presentations outside of Chile, video's, we hope to surprise you with this new stage of Weight Of Emptiness"
Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"A special greeting to all those people who take the risk of looking for new sounds and forms of expression and take them to extreme metal. Also to all the people who read your media I propose to know our band and join us on this trip. Cheers"
The Heretic Order are a horror-inspired Heavy Metal band dwelling in the mass graveyards of London, this year they performed at the revered and internationally-attended Metal festival, Bloodstock Open Air. They also released their second album this year, 'Evil Rising', guitarist Count Marcel La Vey stopped all cremation proceedings for the day and spoke to GMA about the band's haunting history, ghoulish gear and paranormal performances... OK enough with the horror-style puns.
"In the UK there's plenty of bands that are amazing, they just don't get the chances that they should"
What does the band name The Heretic Order mean? Tell us the band's history.
"Well it's the order... (you've put me on the spot there aha), it's basically the order where the four of us connect, we're the heretics.
We've been around for about four years, the kind of music we do has a kinda classic metal feel to it but it's modernised, it's got an old-school feel to it but we keep it modern. We like the occult, history and so all the lyrics are about that kind of stuff, it's all dark subject-orientated.
Funny enough our influences include the headliners tonight (Judas Priest) as well as Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, etc, so it's dual guitars playing off each other, we get heavy and doomy but we also have our small songs as well, there's a lot of variation in the music."
How was it to play at Bloodstock this year, what are the emotions in the camp like?
"We're excited to play, it's not for a few hours yet and have only just got here, settling in and are looking forward to the show" (any nerves?) "Not yet, simply because of the rush we had to get here, just getting over that; it was a nightmare to get here... so hopefully the rain doesn't spoil the rest of the day for us."
Who is the go-to band member if anyone has any issues or problems?
"We're all pretty good with each other to be honest, we don't really have the one person to go to you know what I mean? We all have the same feelings towards each other and are comfortable with one another, so there's no one particular person."
With the vast amount of international bands playing at Bloodstock, are you surprised at metal's global spread?
"Nah, not surprised at all as music comes from all over the place and like any market it's usually dominated by one or two countries, one of them being America but you go anywhere in Europe; even in the UK there's plenty of bands that are amazing, they just don't get the chances that they should. Metal is all over the world, you just got to have the people to put it out there for everyone else or if you're very keen you can go find them yourself - there's plenty of bands I want to see that can't make it to the UK, so whenever we travel to their countries we try and see them, and they do the same (for us)."
What (if any) challenges does the London Metal scene face right now?
"London has a lot of bands who want to play and get noticed, so there's a lot of competition in London, the trends are the same for us as probably across the country - you see it often in every festival (rock or metal), that every year the styles of metal are different. A few years back Megadeth played and now this year we have Judas Priest, it changes... but yeah London is quite tough, it's always the way it has been down there."
Do you feel Brexit will have an impact (good or bad) on British Metal bands?
"It's going to make travelling across Europe a lot harder, we're just going to have to play it by ear and see how it all ends up, it's not going to be easy getting to Europe or to come in to the UK. We're not looking forward to it, but we'll find a way; it's the way it always goes, you want to go do something or get something done, you want to play or get your music heard, you have to find a way to do it and it's always been like that".
You supported Soulfly, what was it like playing alongside the legend that is Max Cavelera?
"The guy's a legend, what can you say? He's got his family travelling with him, playing with him, the guy just has to open his mouth and the crowd reacts to anything he says. So it was great, we said a quick hello and all of that, great guys in a great band - it was a great night to play but also to watch the band."
Do you feel Social Media is still as relevant for bands, or is it overused?
"Unfortunately it still has to be there, I say unfortunately because I'm not great on it but it's got to be done, it's part of the business so you have to do what other bands are doing, and get noticed doing it in a different way. Social Media is here to stay for a while longer.
There's bands who of course will use it differently, different people equals different tastes, but for myself I think there are bands who do too much of it - I might like certain bands but I find myself just swiping through their stuff because I know they're going to have something else up in the next couple of hours again, or whatever, you can always go back and look.
But it can also turn people off, so you got to be careful and play it right and hope you're doing it right."
After Bloodstock what plans do you have for the rest of the year leading into 2019?
"We have a tour that we're trying to line-up, we got a few dates sorted out so we're trying to finish that for September / October. We're organizing a European tour for the beginning of next year and working on new songs. We've just released our second album "Evil Rising" back in June, but we're already working on our next album so whenever we get the chance, we're basically working on new music and tour dates."
Summarise Bloodstock in two words, and explain why. Any greetings you wish to send out?
"'Real festival' - why I say real is because I like going to metal festivals and this one is the only one I really do feel is a metal festival; other festivals I have been to, they have some metal bands... I don't know maybe it's just my taste is changing - the atmosphere here is a different thing and whoever I speak to who has been to Bloodstock has said the same thing; Bloodstock is unique and hopefully they keep it that way.
Just to the usual people they know who they are, I won't mention any names but I just want to thank the people in advance who will come to see us - make some noise for us when we see you tonight."
* (Due to the ongoing issues surrounding the legitimacy of what is the true Northern Irish flag, GMA has instead placed a map of Northern Ireland in, instead of the theme of the national flags)
Usually when you think of Northern Ireland you think of the political and religious history shared with the bordering Republic of Ireland or on a more historical-majestic note RMS Titanic of which was built in the Belfast dockyards. However Northern Ireland also plays host to a vibrant metal scene as Andy from The Crawling explained to GMA, the topics of Brexit, the band's second album and sights / attractions there are in the capital Belfast; although the band are from Lisburn.
"We have a ton of bands, probably too many for what the scene can support"
For those who have not heard of The Crawling, could you give us a history of the band, what the band name means and why you opted to play Doom/Death Metal?
"We formed late 2014. It was all our bass player, Stuart’s, idea. He wanted to get together with a
few mates and jam out some death metal tracks, but it kinda escalated into a ‘proper’ band at some point - arguably once i got involved! ha, ha! We secured a line up and got to work. We released a single almost immediately, played some shows, released an EP, played a couple of fests, the debut album followed, played some more cool shows and now the sophomore is en route!
The band name was created by my younger brother (vocals from Strangle Wire). It was originally
one of his song titles for one of his more doom-ire tracks, but once i let him hear what i was doing
he was like - you have to use this name for that shit! I loved the name, and the fact my wee bro named us was even better; he’s always been so supportive of everything I've ever done. It suits the style perfectly, slow yet menacing.
The doom/death thing was a no-brainer for me. I’ve always written music in that vein, but my last
band had a clean vocalist. Once it folded i decided i would only do exactly what i wanted, and as a die hard fan of the early Peaceville bands i adopted the guttural vocal. Combined with the slow death, doom guitars i write, it kind of made itself."
You're due to release your second album 'Wolves And The Hideous White' in November, what will be different to your debut album? It seems there is a concept story going on?
"We’re still the same band, so it’s always going to have the same underlying vibe to it, but it’s
certainly got something else going on. It was more focused than the debut, as i had a very clear
vision as to how i wanted it to be this time. It’s more venomous, a much angrier tone, and I worked longer on the song structures to create a different type of listen from the debut.
I’m not sure if it’s a concept so much, but the album has a common thread throughout. Over the
last year i became fixated on people’s relationships. I watched how individuals behave in their effort to connect with others, and remain connected. As animals i think we are programmed to find a “mate,” a person that you can always be with; but society has fucked the natural process and people are forcing themselves into relationships as a form of expectancy, rather than just letting it flow organically. Each song on the album is a view of a certain type of connection, how it is created, developed, and subsequently fails; and they always do - people simply don’t realise.
Could you give us the meaning behind the album title and a break-down of the song titles?
"The title is simply my view of society’s acceptance of a “normal” life, and so many seek such a
thing without realising that’s not even close to what they wanted originally. Just because you get older doesn’t mean you have to forgo dreams, aspirations and life goals. You only live once, and no one is getting out of here alive; we don’t have to accept anything in life. Even if it goes horribly wrong - we’re going to die and it’ll all be over; but at least you tried.
The title track is a story of a man who comes home every day to a spouse that despises his existence, and children who don’t acknowledge he even breathes, draining any joy from an otherwise meaningless life. The children are Wolves, and spouse the Hideous White (bride).
I’m loathed to go into too much detail about every track, as i don’t want to ruin a listening experience. I recall reading a review of our EP, and the journalist got something totally different from what i was writing about and it was fantastic. I don’t want to interfere with that experience by giving a step by step critique if you follow me? Not to mention that’s a really long conversation! We’ll meet for beers and I'll talk you through the whole thing! ha, ha! :)"
With Brexit, are you concerned or not about what will happen? Both generally and of course regarding the Northern Irish/Irish border?
"I’m embarrassed to admit I'm really crap with politics, but yeah Brexit will have an effect at some
point I'm sure. I’m certainly concerned about how it will affect me economically, health care and that sort thing. From what i can tell currency has really taken a hit - my British pounds aren’t going as far as they used to when i travel.
Ireland wise, I'm not sure what will happen. I grew up in an era when there was hard border, and
it’s not something I'd like to see return. I can’t see it to be honest, but if there’s money involved ... and there always is, you never know."
Will there be a tour or release gig for the new album?
"Release show is all in hand, and a real big deal for us. We’re working with Shizznigh Promotions
and playing a release show in The Empire Music Hall, Belfast.
Thursday 15th November / Support from Conjuring Fate, Neahmni and Disconnect.
9PM / £3 in
No tours as yet, but we’re working on shows all the time.
Any music videos?
"Yep, we love our videos; it’s such an enjoyable creative outlet and experience. The title track
“Wolves and the Hideous White” is completed, and we are moving onto the next story board right now. Expect 3 at the very least."
Do you feel metal music tends to speak out against world and societal issues than any
other music genre does?
"I don’t really listen to other genres of music really, so I'm not sure i can comment, but i reckon rap would be more in tune with that kind of stuff. I don’t listen to any metal that has political undertones."
What is it that seemingly makes metal music rebellious or open-minded?
"Ultimately metal music doesn’t make as much money as other forms, well, certainly in comparison to rap or pop music. As a result i think it allows artists to be artistic, which allows an
unopposed voice or opinion as it’s not financially driven. Of course a record company will find a way to make money from it, but i think the original sentiment isn’t as affected as other forms of
music, if they even have a message."
Can you tell us about the state of the Northern Irish Metal scene, is it currently vibrant or in
"Northern Ireland music is a viscous beast right now. We have a ton of bands, probably too many
for what the scene can support, but it’s definitely vibrant. We have underground shows on a weekly basis, and touring bands playing in between. We’re also pretty lucky to get local talent supporting the touring bands, as tour support often remains on the mainland. It’s a great time to be playing in bands in Ireland right now."
For metalheads visiting Belfast, what sights / attractions would you recommend to them to
"Easy - head immediately for The Limelight, Belfast on Saturday afternoon as The Distortion Project runs show every week from 5PM - 9PM. Voodoo, Belfast is the other main venue for metal related pints and live acts. It’s an amazing venue and has recently had a re-vamp so well worth a visit. Touristy wise, i highly recommend the Titanic quarter for all their exhibitions, and get a look around HMS Caroline; it’s a decommissioned light cruiser from WW1. It’s a fantastic experience."
Finally are there any greetings, hello's or thanks you wish to send out?
"Thank you for chatting with us, and thank you to everyone that continues to support The Crawling, check us out live, and buy our stuff - we really appreciate it!"
With the exception of the South African Metal scene, the vast swathe of national scenes across Sub-Sahara have either come and gone or are on the rise just at a slow pace. Sure countries like Botswana might just be behind South Africa, but between them and the other scenes is a gap as wide as the African plains.
GMA spoke to Kenyan Metal musician Martin Kanja (Lust Of A Dying Breed and The Seeds Of Datura) about his native metal scene, which although isn't too far behind Botswana in terms of progression, still has a long way to go to make it's recognition internationally known; in doing so also sheds light on metal's spread across Sub-Sahara Africa.
So firstly how did you get into metal music? What do your parents think of metal music?
"I started out listening to rock and roll since high school. After I left high school I moved to Nairobi with the desire of forming a band as I am from Nakuru. I was just a teenager and I needed something heavier than rock. There used to be a show I would tune into called 'Metal To Midnight' hosted by one Shiv Mandavia, vocalist of Blackened Death metal act Abscence Of Light. I had started to formerly research about metal and I just got into it really good as I love the energy and positive power. My parents know I've always done what I love but the opposition was there. I can't fake so I just continue being myself."
Can you tell us the histories of Lust Of A Dying Breed and The Seeds Of Datura.
"I formed LOADB together with its bassist Timothy Opiko soon after I moved to Nairobi. He came up with the name and I dug it and we wanted to play metal in a fashion never seen here before in Kenya, let alone the world. Abdalla Issa Khalid came through after 4 months of it's formation. He was a student at JKUAT (Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology) and he had passion like I never seen in anyone for metal. We got our permanent drummer Larry Kim after a lot of hardship as good drummers are so rare. We met guitarist Sam Kiranga sometime in 2011 and he settled in nicely as we loved his playing and dedication, and then year we went ahead and wrote the record "Cat Of Nine Tails" and released it in 2012; we formed LOADB in 2010.
We went into hiatus after its release due to various personal and economic issues in 2014. I Went into the sales and logistics end of the security industry until 2015. I became self-employed in 2015 and I could now relax and think what I wanted in life. I love metal and had always been writing music like everyday and every week. I met Dani Kobimbo as he wanted to interview me for a magazine he ran called 'Heavy And The Beast' that gives coverage on the Kenyan Rock and Metal Scene and our friendship took off. We found ourselves in studio one time in Kiserian ran by Last Years Tragedy's vocalist David Mburu, we jammed out and I was surprised how well he could sing. We decided to collaborate and and continue jamming. I went to manage my family's tourist camp in Masai Mara at the end of 2015 and I had a burst of creativity and I wrote lyrics like crazy. So I returned to Nairobi and we moved in with Dani and we wrote music and articles.
Our current drummer Lawrence Muchemi comes from my home-town and he had always hit me up, we hang out and he doubles up as the vocalist of Irony Destroyed. So we started hanging out looking for places to jam, just the three of us. Shortly after we went to Tigoni, to a studio called Realm Of Mist in June 2016. The owner Harvey Herr invited us to jam and chill at the studio and that's where we met our first guitarist Sultan Rauf as he worked there. On the same day we met Slammy Karugu whose is also bassist for the punk band Powerslide and our current bassist Mordecai Ogayo who was playing violin. We started regularly and Wilson Muia came through a few months later and we made a whole song the first day we met. The name Seeds of Datura came about one afternoon. To embody out our individual energies as one family and our thought provoking music for mankind."
What is it like being a metal musician in Kenya? What challenges are there? What is the public perception of metal music?
"First of all it's all about the degree of focus and passion you have for your art. It's not easy or anything but we don't do it for that. We do it for the love of it all. There are many challenges, Kenya being a dominantly Christian country has a negative perception towards Rock let alone Metal. Also getting equipment is also a challenge when bands are starting out. Shows don't happen all the time too and most times we have to organize shows ourselves. The scene is steadily growing and venues are steadily getting packed. The recording is also a part that musicians find a challenge in as getting the right sound for metal and getting a good producer who understands the music. They are a quiet few but The Powers have blessed us with always bumping into the right people. "
What do the authorities think of the music? Are youth encouraged to learn music?
"The authorities don't support our music of course because we embody a millennial counter-culture contrary to the popular. The youth have access to the internet at a very young age and they begin to get exposed really early. They are encouraged to do a lot of other stuff they don't like but they are seeing how much a waste it all is with all the corruption and extortion going on and they are choosing their own paths and thinking for themselves. At least from how I see things and what I've been exposed to."
How long has the Kenyan Metal scene been going? Do you know of any bands from South Sudan, Tanzania, Ethiopia or Somalia?; Could you see metal music reaching every African nation?
"The earliest I've heard that metal has been around must be around the early 2005's. Further back like the 70's, rock bands were In circulation. Yeah I know Threatening and Vale Of Amonition from Uganda. Haven't heard of metal bands from the other countries you've asked. Yes I do. There are very serious scenes in Mozambique, Nigeria, Botswana, South Africa, Egypt, Angola, Morocco, Guinea, just to name a few. Personally I think Africa is the most Metal place on Earth with how we are portrayed in international media and shit. It's quiet different, but the dark spirituality and ancestral roots tie very deeply with the real issues that metal chants about."
For metalheads visiting Kenya, what sights and attractions could you recommend? Are there any places that aren't generally safe to visit?
"I'd recommend the Masai Mara, Tea Fields of Limuru, Aberdare Forest, Obsydian Studios, Sanctuary Farm Naivasha. Lol"
What plans does both bands have for 2018? and are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"Content, content, content, releases, releases, releases. Yeah shout out to all the real ones in the scenes doing their thing. Shout out to Tshomarelo Mosaka of the Botswanan Death Metal band Overthrust. Shout out to Austine Nwankwo of Nigeria's Audio Inferno. Shout out to Patrick Davidson of Metal 4 Africa. Shout out to Truka Kasser of African Metal. Got a lot of shout outs but I'll take all year. Keep it heavy my people. It's either a pinkie or its metal horns \m/"
Although metal music has been around for the past 4 decades (40 years), it is yet to fully touch every country in the world, and whilst Europe, North America, South America and Asia, with the addition of Australia and New Zealand have embraced metal music and it's culture (with the exception of the Vatican City and a handful of Caribbean islands), the African continent and Oceanian nations have yet to join the global legion.
However, there are a number of African countries who have metal music history established such as South Africa and Egypt, but, there are some Sub-Sahara countries like Uganda who are very underground and regularly get omitted from the New Wave of Sub-Saharan Metal.
Enter Vale Of Amonition, a Progressive Doom Metal band who have been romping the streets of Kampala for nearly a decade. Having released countless singles, 3 demo's, an EP, a compilation and their debut album, the Ugandan metal flag-bearers return with their second album "Those of Tartarean Ancestry", a solid effort given the slew of drummers who have come and gone over the last decade. GMA spoke to frontman Victor Rosewrath about Vale Of Amonition's current position, the Ugandan Metal scene and his thoughts on metal music.
"Metal has a rebellious energy attached to its ethos and construction... Metal will always find its people"
Vale Of Amonition and Threatening appear to be the only active metal bands in Uganda, what is new in the metal scene?
"There's probably a bit more underground or starting bands than we are aware of because we haven't really kept tabs on the development of the scene. I was aware of a few musicians trying to get things started here and there but I really can't say for sure."
How was 2017 for Vale of Amonition?
"2017 was one of the best years for the Vale. We released our long awaited second album, we headlined the Nairobi Metal Fest, I worked with an exciting new band called Doomcast with whom I released an E.P titled "Farewell To The Flesh" and we partied like crazy. It really has been thoroughly awesome."
You have just released your latest effort 'Those Of Tartarean Ancestry', what was the reception like?
"The reception for "Those of Tartarean Ancestry" has been great. We've matured tremendously as a band and we are in a much better position as songwriters to express the darkness of the Vale. I'm glad our fans and supporters are able to understand and appreciate what we are doing."
What do the Ugandan authorities think of metal music? What does society think of it? What do your parents think of metal music?
"They all hate it. But we never cared in the first place. We're not going to start giving a shit now."
Growing up as a musician, what challenges did you face? What challenges do you face these days?
"The challenges I faced were access to the equipment I needed until I realized there's ways around that and there's magic in making the most of what you have. I think my biggest challenge now is separating myself from the Vale and the Vale from me because I am really getting worried about my mental health."
There is a metal scene in Kenya, but do you know of any rock / metal bands from Rwanda, DRC or South Sudan? Do you envisage metal music to be present in every African country one day?
"Yes. I know metal will spread from one end to end of Africa someday. It probably won't happen but I'm an optimistic man despite what you might have heard."
What would you say attracts people to metal music? Living in war-ravaged areas? Corruption? Poverty? What are your thoughts on how metal has an affect on people?
"Metal has a rebellious energy attached to its ethos and construction. It's in the wiring of the music and the culture it has spawned...even the more depressive, introspective metal has a loner, me-against-the-world quality about it. That is very relevant today as it has always been. Metal will always find its people."
What plans do you have for 2018?
"More shows, more music."
Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"Not particularly. I keep in contact with most people I care about. Maybe a shout out to Peter Steele in the nether regions. Thank you for the music, Green Man."