Archive for Game of Thrones

Liv Kristine: “I’d love to further cooperate with Simone”

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 9th January 2016 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Nico interviewed Liv Kristine, the charismatic and Valkyrie-like frontwoman of Leaves’ Eyes in Sheffield on their UK tour, in support of the new album King of Kings.

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you?

Liv: Very good, how are you?

N: I’m great, thanks.

L: Good to see you again.

N: Good to see you too. How has the tour gone so far?

L: Really really well. We’re on the UK leg of the tour now and we have one third of the tour still to play. That’s going to be for the UK only. The first leg was for the rest of Europe which was really nice too. Paris: awesome, Belgium: awesome. But the UK is always something special, we have a very big and strong fan base here. We have fans and friends who follow us for every gig and that’s a privilege. I see that the market for our kind of music is growing here, and that’s maybe not the case in Germany. So it’s very good to be back, we’ve already played three gigs and it has been absolutely fantastic.

N: You’ve released a new album recently: King of Kings – which you’ve based on Harald Fairhair. Obviously Scandinavian history, old Norse history in general, is full of fascinating characters like Eirik Bloodaxe.

L: That’s one of Harald’s sons. You’ll find him in the first or second bonus track, it’s called Trail of Blood. That’s a song about him. So who knows what the next Leaves’ Eyes album is going to be about. We know that Harald had many sons and daughters.

N: There are so many other characters like Erik the Red or Leif Erikson. What is it about Harald Fairhair that stood out from the rest of all these great characters and infamous villains? What made you want to do an album based on his life and his legacy?

L: Because I grew up with the legacy of Harald Fairhair. The decisive battle that made him become the king of Norway took place in a fjord called Hafrsfjord, which is my birthplace. So Harald Fairhair has always been there. I’ve always been interested in history and it happened exactly two years ago, over a morning cup of coffee that Alex came up with this idea: what about king of kings? I started digging through all my books and I contacted my mother in Norway to collect stuff at museums and libraries. So it has been amazing to study Harald Fairhair’s life and to divide it into twelve chapters. Parallel to my studies, Alex and Thorsten composed songs at the studio. We’ve been very busy, it has been a very intense process but highly creative. We had so much fun and it means a lot to me to have this album released. It’s definitely a milestone in the career of Leaves’ Eyes. And as I said, it happened at my birthplace so.

N: I highly praised the album for Valkyrian Music..

L: Thank you very much! I read it, of course.

N:Good! Obviously it’s brilliant to see that you guys got back to how you originally started with tales of Viking warriors, going forth into battle, exploring lands and so on. How would you say that King of Kings compares to the rest of the Leaves’ Eyes discography?

L: I’d say King of Kings has a connection to The Vinland Saga, which was thematically about Leif Erikson and his discovery of America. So if there is a link to any other album, I’d say The Vinland Saga. You already mentioned the folky instruments and the folky touch and the orchestra and everything so it has been there all the time but every album has been different. Now King of Kings happened, it was great to see how everything came together. We worked on every song as if it were one individual piece of music. We added any instrument from London Voices to White Russian Orchestra, cello, flutes…everything. We worked on every song until all three of us, Thorsten, Alex and I being perfectionists, said okay let’s go for the mix, its fine.

N: On this album you added Simone Simons from Epica and Lindy-Fay Hella from Wardruna. What was it like working with those two women on the two tracks that they featured on?

L: Absolutely amazing. Of course I know of the series Vikings and I just thought the music is amazing, the soundtrack is amazing! Who is that girl singing? I found out she’s from Bergen! Through a common friend of mine and of Wardruna, I got Lindy-Fay‘s contacts. I contacted her and she said “of course, I know you and I would really like to work with you”. So I sent her Blazing Waters and we were blown away. A couple of weeks later I flew to Bergen and met Lindy-Fay. I presented her Blazing Waters and she loved it, it was definitely golden. She’s a lovely girl and a great musician.

Simone lives one hour away from us so it was about time to invite her to come to our studio. She’s been at our place before but it has been quite a while. She’s a mother now so she’s busy, but she came by and she listened to the song and…I’d say we are a perfect match. Lovely, lovely to work with her.

N: Obviously Epica and Leaves’ Eyes, despite falling into the symphonic metal genre, have got two completely distinct styles. Do you think there will be any sort of crossover between from the recent collaboration between you and Simone?

L: I don’t know. I have no clue, we’ll see. I love Simone and her work, she’s a lovely girl and we are both mothers… We live one hour away from each other so who knows. I’d love to further cooperate with Simone. It would be great.

N: Going back to Harald Fairhair. You obviously studied his saga, his life story quite extensively for the album. What would you say is the most fascinating aspect about the man?

L: We got a few facts about Harald through Snorri, but Snorri came about a couple of hundred years later. Next to that we got the sagas and the tales of the Norwegian kings, where you can find a lot of interesting written words about them to honor them. I think it is absolutely amazing to read the different approaches to his person, because he must have been exactly as unruly, wild like his son Eirik Bloodaxe. He must have been exactly like that himself. In many of the tales or poems about Harald it is told that he was beautiful and that he could have had any woman: he was very glorious. It’s fascinating to read other stories like the battle of Hafrsfjord; about blood being everywhere and the fjord burning or different sceneries, a different Harald.

N: He certainly sounds like an interesting figure. As a fan of both Vikings and Game of Thrones, which one do you prefer?

L: Vikings. Last time it would have been Game of Thrones but it’s Vikings now because of the music. Of course because of my friend Lindy-Fay who’s in there. Although it’s made in Hollywood, I think it’s very nice. It’s very nice to watch those great actors. I love it. And also because I’m Norwegian.

N: That’s very good. Thank you for your time. Have a lovely show tonight.

L: You’re welcome, thank you very much and thanks for coming.

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de 

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Interview with Liv Kristine [Leaves’ Eyes]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , on 20th February 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

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Valkyrian Music editor Nico catches up Leaves’ Eyes vocalist Liv Kristine for a fourth interview, where the two talk about the new Leaves’ Eyes album Symphonies of the Night as well as Liv’s recent collaboration with Savn and keeping to the tradition, a discussion about Game of Thrones as well.

Nico: It’s nice to meet you again Liv, how are you doing?

Liv: Nice to meet you. I’m very good, how are you?

Nico: I’m pretty good, thanks.

Liv: That’s good to hear.

Nico: First question is a bit of a generic, obvious one: how has the tour gone so far?

Liv: Absolutely amazing. We played in Nottingham last night. It was our first time in Nottingham and we had a fully packed venue. It was such a warm welcoming. And Cardiff was great as well. Really really nice. So this was such a nice beginning of 2014. 2013 was so busy, really busy. So being back in the UK is just lovely.

Nico: Good to hear. The new album Symphonies of the Night focuses on female figures from both history and literature. How did this concept come about? Because it’s not a concept that is usually found in the metal scene.

Liv: Well that is probably due to the fact that I’m writing all the lyrics. I’ve always been interested in languages, literature and Viking mythology as we talked about last time in the last interview. But this time I thought that Symphonies of the Night has a very strong and delicate side to it. “The Beauty and the Beast” concept is very very strong on this album. Eileen’s Ardency and Saint Cecelia were the first two songs composed for this album and there you go: you have two female characters already. And I thought “all right, this is a very good starting point!” I told my band members and they were like: “yes, lovely! We’ll go for that!

Nico: It’s an interesting concept. It’s somewhat fresh and new for the metal scene as well, which is good because today there are a lot more females who are becoming fans of metal, whereas back in the ’80 it was more male-oriented.

Liv: Yes, definitely!

Nico: Obviously now you’ve got more bands with female vocalists showing up on the scene. Obviously you guys in Leaves’ Eyes, Epica, Nightwish et cetera as well as lesser known bands like Aonia, Hell City from Belgium, Azylya from Belgium, Ex Libris from Holland et cetera. While we are on the topic of the new album, how’s the reception been from both the media and the fans?

Liv: It’s been fantastic. It feels very comfortable to stand where I’m standing with my band right now, and also last year we had our 10 year anniversary. Before starting to compose new songs, in 2012, we all sat down and talked about what to do and what concept, musical direction and all that. And I just said ok, we have a 10 year anniversary so feel free everybody to let in any influence you would like into music. And that’s what happened: we just went with the creative flow. We’ve been very open minded about this production and I think that was a healthy and sound way to do it. So it feels great and the feedback from both press and fans, friends all over the world has just been fantastic. It sums up all the good things about Leaves’ Eyes. Some journalist said, and to me as well, that it’s the perfect beginning of another 10 years of Leaves’ Eyes.

Nico: Personally I enjoyed the new album. It’s something different, compared to previous Leaves’ Eyes albums.

Liv: It is!

Nico: Like Vinland Saga and Njord being more Viking influenced and Symphonies of the Night focuses on something completely different to many people. Folk would be possible, I don’t know if that’s the correct term to use.

Liv: Yes I know what you mean. Me and my band members, we saw how the creative process went on and how the album came together. We saw that there was a new direction to it, with many new elements in our music. A new concept, new lyrics and all that. But still, it’s Leaves’ Eyes! That’s the good thing about it! We don’t have to invent ourselves again because I’ve been around for 20 years and the members even longer. Everything is based on experience and love towards music. That’s it.

Nico: That’s the way to go. Speaking of Leaves’ Eyes, Leaves’ Eyes and Atrocity have been touring together recently. How did this idea occur?

Liv: I think it’s a nice idea, it’s a good idea. Although it’s tough to do double time every night. It’s a lot of work, a lot of sweat. Atrocity’s latest album Okkult is a pure death metal album and I think that’s a very nice contrast in the live program. I enjoy that more than Atrocity playing Work 80 because I don’t think that would fit so well with Leaves’ Eyes.

Nico: You’ll be playing the 70,000 tons of Metal festival soon. Are you looking forward to that?

Liv: Very much! I’ll be travelling with my whole family so I’m really looking forward to that.

Nico: The last two interviews have always ended up with something regarding Game of Thrones, so to stick to tradition: what’s your favourite moment in Game of Thrones?

Liv: Oh I can tell you what was not my favourite moment! That was the final scene of the last season: The Red Wedding. I was shocked!

Nico: When I read it in the books I was picturing so many different ways that they could do it in the television series and they just completely shocked me. They did it so brilliantly.

Liv: Yeah, absolutely. It’s brilliantly done but I didn’t want it to be that way! *laughs*

Nico: Rob Stark is young, a bit arrogant and stuff but they could’ve at least spared him for a little bit longer.

Liv: Exactly. My favourite moment… Hmm… There are just too many of them. I really love the series. But still, I was shocked after the final scene of the latest season. I couldn’t sleep! *laughs*

Nico: Just for the fun of it, another Game of Thrones question: if you could write a song about any event in the Game of Thrones universe, which one would it be and why?

Liv: Oh I would love to write a songs about the wolf pack. The boy seeing through the eyes of the wolf.

Nico: I think that would be pretty cool actually. On to the last question. You are appearing on Savn’s debut album, which is making it the first ever collaboration with a band with your sister Carmen. Are you looking forward to it?

Liv: I’m really looking forward to it. Carmen had the idea to do a project next to Midnattsol and she gathered some very good musicians: some of them are from Sins of Thy Beloved. They came to Germany to Mastersound studio to record the first album and Carmen joined me for Eileen’s Ardency. I said in return I will join you on a song of your choice. That was a very nice thing. I’m looking forward to the album. It will remind you of the early Theatre of Tragedy days.

Nico: Sounds good.

Liv: Yes, very good.

Nico: I think I speak for a lot of fans of Liv Kristine when I say that we are looking forward to it.

Liv: Thank you very much.

Nico: You’re welcome. Thank you for your time and I hope you have a good show tonight.

Liv: I hope you will enjoy it too! Although it’s pretty cold out tonight, I think we will be sweating since we have a full house. I’m really looking forward to it. Thank you so much for being here.

Leaves’ Eyes online:

http://leaveseyes.de
http://facebook.com/leaveseyesofficial

 

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Interview with Alexander Krull [Atrocity]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 29th January 2014 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

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Nico got settled down in Manchester earlier this month for a chat with Alexander Krull, the voice of Germany’s death metal powerhouse Atrocity.

Nico: Nice to meet you Alex, how are you doing?

Alex: Nice to meet you. I’m fine. Fantastic tour in the UK. We’re happy to be back.

Nico: It’s been a while since Atrocity last played the UK. Has the Atrocity fanbase changed since you last were here or is it pretty much still the same?

Alex: The people we met before appeared at the show, so they are pretty much the same. I think they all liked the new album, the Okkult album. We got some really good feedbacks so we are happy that we were able to do this tour. On the other side we have been touring through many countries with both bands, Atrocity and Leaves’ Eyes, like 40 countries or more. It’s a little bit of a pity if you have a circle consisting of studio, album, touring. But maybe one tour is not happening and you go on tour with the next album, so there can be a long time in between.

Nico: If you were booked to play a festival and you get to play only one Atrocity album, which one would it be and why?

Alex: At the moment, the Okkult album. Obviously because it’s the brand new album and the songs are doing very well, so that would be the choice of the moment.

Nico: Speaking of festivals, does Atrocity have any festival plans for this year?

Alex: Yeah, it’s still in the making, but bring us back to the UK if possible!

Nico: I’m sure something can be arranged, maybe Bloodstock?

Alex: Yeah that would be awesome! We’ve played there with Leaves’ Eyes, it was amazing, it was really good. Yes maybe somebody wants to bring us back with Leaves’ Eyes or Atrocity, I don’t care!

Nico: Let’s hope so.

Alex: I mean, there are festivals coming up but I can’t tell which ones. Two new ones are coming up soon on Facebook or the page, you will see.

Nico: Okkult was released last year like you said, and it’s the first part of a trilogy. Have you started on the second part of the trilogy?

Alex: Yes, actually we recorded one song before we left for the UK. But it will take a while. I mean, we will play after this tour in North America and Puerto Rico for four weeks. That’s the situation we are in now : we are touring and playing festivals. After North America we are going back to Europe so there will be time to write and record songs. But it’s also cool to grab the energy from the shows, the experiences that we have, to write new songs.

Nico: I imagine it’s still a bit early to be talking about the second part of the trilogy, but what can fans expect from the second part?

Alex: I think you ask this question is because we have had a lot of changes within the bands history and diversity in music. But the Okkult concept is based on this epic backstory let’s say, like we have on the first album. I think we are going to keep that style which is already quite diverse. I’ve heard from some press people that they were a little bit afraid that people would not understand everything on the album. They were a little bit like ‘what?’. It’s up to the fans and I think it’s good to have a diverse album. So we are going to follow in the footsteps of the first one and develop the style. There will probably be some changes, we don’t want to be a boring band. We’re always looking for new challenges.

Nico: Are there any releases by other bands that you are looking forward to this year?

Alex: Let me think..there are a few but the thing is, I’m not sure if they are going to release next year or this year. Who’s releasing something?

Nico: There are a few bands, it’s hard to keep track of it all to be honest.

Alex: You know, who announced they were going on tour with a new record.. Was it Live or whoever? Not a metal band but I would love to see a new album of them too.

Nico: From previous interviews with Liv, I understand that you are a Game of Thrones fan. If you could be any character from the Game of Thrones universe, who would it be and why?

Alex: Wow. Okay, I think the character is dead already! Ned Stark.

Nico: Good choice! Apart from the fact he’s dead…

Alex: I didn’t read the books but yeah, that was not like in other movies… [makes chopping movement with hand] over-out!

Nico: That was one of the most impressive moments for me in the Game of Thrones universe, apart from the Red Wedding.

Alex: Yeah, the Red Wedding, I saw some reactions to that on the internet.., It was quite heavy.

Nico: It was brilliant how they did it on TV especially if you read the books as well. Because I knew it was coming so I was like “no no, not this season, not this episode! Do it another time! Please for the love of God!”

Alex: [laughs] Yeah it was quite interesting to see some reactions when they cursed the directors: “ how can they do that, the characters die!”. It’s written in the books, so..

Nico: Some fans take it a bit overboard so..,

Alex: Yeah I’m looking forward to watch the new season. I think it starts in april? Yesi *two thumbs up*

Nico: Thanks for you time Alex, I hope you have a good show tonight.

Alex: Thank you!

Nico: You’re welcome.

Alex: See you guys!

Atrocity online:

http://facebook.com/AtrocityOfficial
http://twitter.com/atrocitypage

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Common Gods – Helveien

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on 14th August 2013 by Nico Solheim-Davidson

Common Gods
Helveien
Released 4th August
Trve Glasgy Death Metal
Self-Released

Hailing from Scotland, a land whose metal scene goes unnoticed the majority of the time, Common Gods have been dwelling within the darkest and grimiest depths of Glasgow. Having made an appearance at the first ever North Of The Wall Festival, Common Gods has been a name that is slowly making its way onto the lips of Scottish metal lovers from John O’Groats to Hadrian’s Wall and even to the lands south of the wall.

A crushing wall of riffs and a barrage of drums begins I Used To Pray, the first track on the EP, and is soon joined by a wrecking ball of vocal passages. Some slivering melodic pieces find their way into the song, taking away from the crushing effect of the guitars but adding to the fiercely sharp feeling of the song. Extinction parades a heavy, somber sound allowing for the guitars to create an almost doom-like atmosphere while the drums create that devastatingly brutal effect for the track – Something which is only enhanced by the sirenic keyboards.

Severed Tongue is begun with a colossus-sized wave of riffs, which are soon accompanied by the bloodthirsty vocals. Overall, the track is a snarling beast who’s bite is worse than the initial bark. A gentle passage opens up the title track, Helveien, before a sudden metamorphosis into a heavier, dulcet piece of guitar craftsmanship. The vocals, for the first two vocal passages, sound blunt but soon become a horrendous wailing of aggression later on in the song.

Helveien not only embodies the talent of Common Gods but the sound that makes up Scotland’s fiercely vehement extreme metal scene. Combining an iron wall of titantic riffs and melodic passages, with bestial vocals and cumbersome drums, Common Gods could easily become one of the best acts Scotland has to offer.

4.5/5

Nico Davidson

Common Gods online:

http://facebook.com/CommonGods