When it comes to the Hungarian Metal scene, despite it's flourishing there have been far too few bands breaking out into the wider metal world. Bands like Dalriada have taken around 10-15 years to get noticed by the European elite, alongside them are the wider-known Thy Catafalque, Ektomorf, Tormentor and the recent AWS; the latter being Eurovision finalists. But what does this say about the Hungarian Metal scene? The bands are great, but the lack of attention from the wider metal community (labels and all) needs to be addressed.
In spite of this, Hungary has given birth to it's own labels (most bands signed are Hungarian naturally) such as Edge Records, Hammer Music Prods, Hammer Records and Nail Records to name but a few.
Enter Mytra, a sci-fi themed Progressive Metal band of whom are set to release their second album "N.I.R.A." via Nail Records; their debut album "Beta" was also released through this label.
GMA spoke with Robert Hocza to find out more about the band's history, the state of the Hungarian Metal scene, their latest single and the industrialisation of their home town...
"Metal in the past, was completely suppressed in Hungary. Nonetheless, many people like it, although it has always been banished from the mainstream media."
For those who do not know who Mytra are, could you give us a brief background history?
"Hi Rhys and greetings to the readers of Global Metal Apocalypse! Our band was founded in 1996 in Kazincbarcika, a small town in the northeastern part of Hungary. Our name comes from the name of an ancient Roman god, written in a special way. Over the years, we've written songs in different musical styles, ranging from melodic, complex death metal to instrumental rock. Our primary musical goal has always been innovation and eccentricity. Essentially, our songs have a futuristic feeling with sci-fi themed lyrics. We have self-published three singles, and our first album titled "Beta" was released in 2014 by the Hungarian publisher Nail Records. Our second album is to be released in a few days, also by Nail Records."
You just released your new single "N.I.R.A", what was the response like and what does the song title mean?
"The feedbacks on the single are actually much better than we expected. It seems like our new album will reach out to a broader group of people. We will see this more precisely in a few months. The title of the song is an abbreviation for "neural intelligent research assistant". This is a fictive character who has already played a role in "Beta". In fact, it is a brain implant with advanced artificial intelligence. The theme of the song, in a broader sense, is based on an occurrence that emerged recently. It's called digital solitude, which will develop even greater dimensions thanks to more advanced technological tools.
People, as individuals, will seek the company of a submissive, personalized, well-programmed machine, rather than their fellow human beings, which can sometimes lead to serious conflict. This will result in complete alienation within our society."
Your second album "Logos" is due out next month, will you be doing a tour of some kind to promote it?
"We are aiming to distribute the album to as many places as we can, and make it available on as many platforms as possible, with the help of our publisher. Like most bands, we would also like to perform these songs at concerts, because we believe this is the best way for listeners to become acquainted with us. We know there is a lot of work ahead, but this doesn't pose any difficulties for us, because we love to play and deal with the band."
Is metal music popular in Hungary or is it still relatively underground given AWS going to Eurovision last year?
"Metal genre in the past, was completely suppressed in Hungary. Nonetheless, many people like it, although it has always been banished from the mainstream media. Fortunately, things have started to change in the last couple of years. You can hear rock and metal performances on radio and television more and more often, which is very encouraging for Hungarian artists. AWS is an excellent band and we were all very happy that they participated in the Eurovision Song Contest, showing the world that rock music is actually alive in Hungary!"
Do you feel there is a lack of 'Cyber Metal' bands these days? What influenced you in creating your 'sci-fi metal' sound?
"Honestly, I never followed the current trends in the world of metal music, and as to which sub-genre is favoured by more people at a certain time. I know a few bands, who write songs with a similar theme, but the work of the New Age composers such as Jean-Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield, Vangelis, Enya had the greatest impact on our music. Old electronic artists: Kraftwerk, Tangerine Dream, and Aphex Twin also affected our work. Eternal favourites from the metal genre include Death, Cynic, Atheist, and Morbid Angel."
What is the Hungarian Metal scene like in terms of venues, festivals, media, etc?
"There are many metal festivals organised in the summer in Hungary, and these events attract large audiences. There are clubs nationwide, but these don't generally have many visitors. Fortunately for the media, things are getting better: there is press available in print and also on the internet, and we have internet based radio. There used to be a Rock TV channel, but if I'm not mistaken, it doesn't work any more."
For metalheads visiting Kazincbarcika, what sights / attractions could you recommend? Any favourite places of yours?
"We used to have favourite places... since the late '90s, things have been getting worse in our area. Poverty, desolation. These are the characteristics of our region for the most part. As a result, the clubs were closed down one after the other, and the audience slowly disappeared. The last club in town closed in 2018 on New Year's Eve. We were the last performers at the club. We are hoping that this downtrend will end one day, and that there will be active musical life in the city once again. "
What plans does Mytra have for 2020 after the album release? Are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"Organizing concerts, shooting a new music video, and writing new songs. Fortunately, we have collected plenty of ideas for the next album. And we'll see the rest! Thank you for the interview Rhys, and we would also like to thank Global Metal Apocalypse for the opportunity. Our special thanks goes out to the dear readers, for reading this, and devoting a few minutes of attention to us!"