Lithuania despite it's relatively well-positioned geographical position, seems to have a metal scene devoid of western attention with the exception of a few metal bands. One band who fits that category is Blackened Thrashers Dissimulation, whilst on the other hand of the spectrum it is arguable that Žalvarinis is another band who has garnered attention outside of Eastern Europe. But what about the new generation?
Well, with the latest news concerning Berserker's signing to Sliptrick Records the future looks bright for the Lithuanian Metal scene. This female-fronted melodic metal outfit have been around since 7th March 2009 and are set to release their latest offering and debut album "Dark Worlds Collide" this year. Having already performed in Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and Poland, it's only a matter of time before they reach British soil.
But before they get that chance, GMA decided it was only fair to give the two ladies and four gents a brush over and interrogate them...
What does it feel like signing to US label Sliptrick Records? Where does this go in terms of the bands achievements?
"Dark Worlds Collide“ is our first released album. Our debut album, the digital version of it was released after 6 years since the band was founded. We gathered old songs, wrote new material, arranged intros and interludes. Now that this task is behind us, we are excited to have the opportunity to release this album not only in digital format, but also in physical format together with Sliptrick Records. We believe that this is only the beginning and with the help of Sliptrick Records we can further develop as a band, and share our music with broader audience.
Could you give us a brief background history of the band?
Berserker was founded in 2009 by classmates Romeo (bassist), Krzysztof (guitarist) and George (drummer). Over the years we as a band suffered line-up changes that held us back from playing more gigs and finishing the record earlier. Our current singer Agnieška and second guitarist Mažvydas joined the band in 2013, Kristina – keyboardist in 2015. Now we can say that we have a stable line up.
The Lithuanian Metal scene appears to be very small (from a UK perspective), what can you tell us about the scene? (can talk about clubs, labels, media, successful bands, public perception of metal, etc.).
There are a lot of interesting metal bands, playing and incorporating very diverse styles into their music. The Lithuanian metal scene is quite small in terms of places to play in / at. There are a handful of clubs and a couple of festivals where you can play such music. Therefore bands tend to write English lyrics and share their work with audiences in other countries.
With Eurovision 2016 have been and gone, has Berserker ever considered (or thought about considering) entering the contest? What are your thoughts on it?
We have not thought about participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. For now we have many other
goals to achieve and to grow as musicians. Maybe we will when we get older.
Kristina & Agnieška, what are your thoughts on female musicians playing metal? Would you agree that the stigma towards female musicians in metal is not as oppressive as once was? Would you agree that modern society is more appreciative of having diversity in music be it gender, race, religion, etc., that there is very little oppression towards the mentioned traits?
I believe that gender does not matter in music nor that it ever did, female musicians can be as good as their male opposites. Although sometimes female musicians do not get a whole lot of respect from some metal fans, there are a lot of strong and respected female-fronted bands out there. I always felt good being a female singer in a metal band, for me it is fascinating to be a part of a band playing strong music.
Metal music lets you express your inner energy, spiritual power, emotions and rebellion – traits, which every person has, regardless of their gender. Of course, not everyone can play this kind of music, but if metal is not only in your ears, and makes your heart beat faster and lets you feel the passion, it means you play the right music – that’s what I feel. Modern society is very diverse, meaning its tolerance to a wider spectrum of music styles, I believe, that we are living and playing in the right time, when people want diversity, when it is pursued to be tolerant in all of aspects, because it gives a freedom of choice and actions. I can’t argue, there is always some disapproval, but without it, it would be harder to improve.
Where has Berserker got lined up to perform in support of the album re-release (via Sliptrick)? Is the UK on the table? (in contention).
We did a "Dark Worlds Collide“ tour in Poland, performed in Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and of course Lithuania with the purpose of promoting the albums digital release. Now the planning stage concerns
how can we support the re-release and find time to work with new material and other projects. Gigs
are being planned in Lithuania, Latvia and Poland and we can say, that the UK is planned for November. With proper support there is a bigger chance we will actually do it!
What would you describe your sound as without using genres in your answer? What sets you apart from other similar bands?
Our music combines epic melodies, apocalyptic lyrics to bring every listener to his own unearthly, magical, fantastic reality.
Finally have you got any hello's, thank you's etc you wish to send out?
We would like to thank all the people that support us, that attend and have fun at our shows. This is the main reason that pushes us to go forward and create music.
"Dark Worlds Collide" is out via Sliptrick Records date tba
It's not uncommon for a metal band to fall into a sub-genre that is totally unique, not only in terms of lyrical content or sound, but by the sub-genre name itself. So when Finland's Whispered announced details for their forthcoming album "Metsutan - Songs Of The Void", the slight-head turn became imminent after the first word. Why is a Finnish Metal band using a Japanese word in their album title? Turns out they're a 'Samurai Metal' band, well musically they're Melodic Death / Power Metal tinged with Eastern 'Oriental' Folk music influences, but we prefer the new genre tag as a way to describe them.
They might be fashioning blades, experts at martial arts, or masters at kanji calligraphy, but they're not resistant to our interrogation methods. Sadly no sake came between us or the band....
Vocalist / guitarist Jouni Valjakka and guitarist Mikko Mattila entered the interrogation chamber.