Archive for Nico Davidson

Interview with Alexander Krull [Atrocity]

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

LeavesEyes-Manchester-2014 026

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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Continents w/Support – Bridlington, UK

Posted in Gig, Live with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 20th November 2013 by Nico Davidson

Continents, Aveira Skies, Sea Of Giants and more
Shades Nightclub, Bridlington
16th November 2013

Down To A Deathmatch - Photo by Nico Davidson

Following their UK tour earlier this year, Welsh hardcore titans Continents hit the road once again this month to tour in support in their new album Idle Hands. The UK tour took to them to the sunny seaside resort town of Bridlington. Opening up the show were Hull band Down To A Deathmatch. Bringing about a sharp, fierce guitar assault accompanied by an overwhelming use of screams and thundering bass and drums which led to a devastating attack on the eardrums. Proving to be active on-stage (and in the case of the vocalist, off-stage as well), DTAD performed a truly exciting set that combined a heavy use of lights and a blistering mixture of hardcore and metal elements.

[4/5]

An Act Of treason - Photo by Nico DavidsonUp next were Hull post-hardcore monsters An Act Of Treason. Their set featured an interesting use of clean vocals and screams, as well as a few bland riffs here and there but these were pushed out of the way by the heavier, more violent riffs which led to some intense pitting from the crowd. Unfortunately there were some technical issues throughout the band’s set but this didn’t stop them from unleashing proverbial hell with their anxiety-provoking drums and volcanic guitar passages. The light accompanied An Act Of Treason with pure precision (though this was the last time the lights came into play throughout the whole show) as they ploughed rather viciously throughout their set.

[3.5/5]

Sea Of Giants - Photo by Nico Davidson

Local deathcore boys Sea Of Giants were the next band to pave a path of destruction and broken bodies at the show. While they started sounding on the weak side, they soon gained the strength needed to deliver a punch to the face with a wall of sound made up from the hellish vocals, gritty bass and snarling guitar passages as well as the crushing use of percussion. The whole set, despite one or two technical issues, sounded like a bus colliding head-on with a train at high speed.

[3.5/5]

 

Aveira Skies - Photo by Nico DavidsonThe main support came in the form of Aveira Skies, who were the touring support for Continents. While they’re talented musicians and were active on stage, their set proved to be uninteresting, making use of uninspiring riffs and mediocre vocals. The music itself sounded like one long song split into several parts, becoming repetitive and inane. Aveira Skies do have the talent and potential but it felt like the songs they wrote were intended to play it safe, so to speak.

[2/5]

And finally, the main event of the night made their way on stage: Welsh hardcore titans Continents. From beginning to end, they unsheathed brutal riffs sharper than valyrian steel and a use of manic and crazed screams. Proving to be as active as the other bands on the bill, Continents really did unleash hell. The use of bass and drums were particularly catalysmic, laying the groundwork for the titanic amount of guitar segments and baneful vocals. Continents certainly represented the Welsh scene with venomous effect and if you’ve not seen them yet, you better prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride of a show when you do.

[5/5]

Continents - Photo by Nico Davidson

Nico Davidson

Interview with Liv Kristine [Leaves’ Eyes]

Posted in Featured, Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 17th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

Liv Kristine is best known for her work as the vocalist for Leaves’ Eyes and former singer for Theatre of Tragedy. As well as fronting one of the most iconic symphonic metal bands on the scene, Liv is also a solo artist and has collaborated with a number of different bands including Cradle Of FilthAtrocityDelain and most recently she appeared on the track The Lay Of Our Love, which is featured on Tyr‘s new album Valkyrja.

With the release of Symphonies Of The Night just around the corner and a UK tour confirmed for January 2014, Nico catches up Liv Kristine to discuss all things Leaves’ Eyes as well as popular TV series Game Of Thrones, her solo project and rumours about Leaves’ Eyes appearing at the next Dames of Darkness Festival…

Nico: Hi Liv, how are you doing?

Liv: I’m good thank you. It’s been a busy day, but in a positive way, you know. Lots of interviews and we’re rehearsing because we’ll be playing the Metal Female Voices Festival in Belgium in a couple of days. I’ll be there with my solo band on Friday and with Leaves’ Eyes on Saturday so yes, we’re busy!

Nico: Sounds like you’ll be having fun though. Is there a meaning behind the title of the new album Symphonies of the Night?

Liv: Um, a meaning or the concept in general?

Nico: A bit of both really.

Liv: Okay, well we came up with the title pretty late in the recording process. I actually had a song called Carmilla from Sheridan Le Fanu’s horror novel from 1871. So the song, which came to be titled Symphony of the Night, was originally titled Carmilla. But we were discussing the title within the band and we weren’t really sure. What happened was pure luck: I was typing an interview and the journalist was asking me about my influences and I mentioned Tchaikovsky, who wrote the Symphony of the Swan Lake and I thought that’s it! This is an album of eleven symphonies of the night, so there we go! So Carmilla is still the main character in the title song, but the title got changed. Things happen, we are a very creative band.

Nico: I was listening to the previews of Symphonies of the Night that Napalm uploaded to YouTube earlier. There is a definite evolution in the band’s sound, changing direction compared to previous Leaves’ Eyes albums. Is this what you were aiming for with this album, and will this be a future direction you will be taking for future releases?

Liv: Well, I’d rather put it this way: Leaves’ Eyes isn’t a planned thing when we start composing. We throw everything into pre-production and what was already there, were two songs: Eileens Ardency and Saint Cecilia. They just didn’t fit on the Meredead [released in 2011] album when it comes to atmosphere. So they weren’t leftovers but they were on no album after the release of Mededead,  so we decided to start working on them. And then we realised that this was a good point to start from. You know, this year we have the anniversary of 10 years of Leaves’ Eyes so we have experienced a lot of being on the road, and all these albums we released and we’ve gathered a lot of experiences. For most of the band members Leaves’ Eyes is twenty, twenty five years of experience. Everything is there on this album, you won’t miss anything. It’s a very powerful album, I agree on that.

Nico: On previous Leaves’ Eyes albums the use of different languages made an appearance on the tracks. Will this be the same with Symphonies of the Night?

Liv: On Symphonies of the Night we’ll have modern English of course, Shakespearean English, some Norwegian, a little bit of French and a little bit of Irish. That’s five languages, I think on the Njord album we had eight languages and on Meredead six languages. I just love languages and I studied linguistics for years so it’s something I really like doing.

Nico: What would you say is the track that stands out on the new album?

Liv: Well that’s the most tricky question you could’ve asked me. Right, um.. This morning in my car I was listening to Ophelia, which is the final track of the album. Of course it’s Shakespeare’s Ophelia, the daughter of Polonius, in Hamlet. That’s my main character, and Ophelia is a quite straightforward and rocky song. It might sound like it doesn’t have a complicated structure like for example Saint Cecilia or Nightshade but Ophelia was the second to last song we recorded. We needed quite a lot of time for Ophelia to finish it in the way we wanted it. All of us: Alex, my husband, our producer, Thorsten my red-haired guitar player and myself are perfectionists. It’s great to have our own studio because then we can keep working until the three of us are satisfied. Ophelia was a tough one but I think it turned out great and at the moment it’s my favourite, if I’m allowed to have one.

Nico: You recently featured on The Lay of Our Love which is on Týr’s latest album Valkyrja. What was it like, recording that track with Týr?

Liv: Actually, I recorded my vocals here in our studio in Germany. But every time I think about doing a duet it’s always the music itself which decides. If I like the song I’ll do it. Heri from Týr helped me out in Wacken last year when Leaves’ Eyes headlined Wacken Open Air. He helped me out on Solemn Sea, one of our tracks. So when Heri asked me ‘Liv would you mind? I have a duet and you would fit very well on it’. I just loved the song and I have good news because we’ll be shooting a video clip for that track in a month! I’m really looking forward to that, it will be in Belgrade.

Nico: Ooh, excellent! I’m looking forward to that. With the recent collarboration with Týr, do you think it will help expose Leaves’ Eyes to Týr fans and Týr fans to Leaves’ Eyes?

Liv: I hope so, I really hope so! If Heri wouldn’t mind, we should tour together some day cause I think we have a potential common fanbase. The thing is, Leaves’ Eyes hasn’t toured a lot in Scandinavia. We should to that very soon, especially in my homeland. Týr is very well known in Scandinavia so that would be an absolutely amazing package.

Nico: I completely agree. A Leaves’ Eyes/Tyr tour would be amazing.

Liv: Thank you. We now have told the universe.

Nico: Speaking of touring, Leaves’ Eyes is scheduled to return to the UK next year in January with Atrocity and Pythia. Are you looking forward to the tour? Which cities are you excited about?

Liv: Absolutely! We toured the UK and Northern Ireland last year with Firewind and that was absolutely amazing. We played at places where Leaves’ Eyes had never played before and for Firewind as well it was absolutely amazing. I remember Cardiff very well because I spent a couple of months there when I was an exchange student. So Cardiff is pretty well-known to me. But of course Manchester is always packed, London is always packed. We will play in some of the venues we played with Firewind as well. We’re building up a fanbase in those places so I’m really looking forward to be back over there in the UK. We have an amazing fanbase in the UK and Northern Ireland. I was really surprised to see that there are so many fans who know about our music in the UK, and many journalists as well. I’ve had quite a few UK interviews this week so that’s good.

Nico: Last time I interviewed you, which was in Manchester last year, when Leaves’ Eyes was there with Firewind, you mentioned that you were a fan of Game of Thrones. So, if you could be any character from the Game of Thrones universe, who would you be and why?

Liv: That’s an even trickier question than the one you asked me before! Oh dear, oh dear… I’m not really sure. It must be Daenerys. Well okay, she’s blonde so it should be her.

Nico: She’s a good, strong character.

Liv: She’s great, she’s amazing yes.

Nico: Going back to touring, are there any future plans for you to tour your solo project around the UK?

Liv: I hope and pray that there will be next year because it’s certainly time to play some solo shows in the UK as well. The only shows I have this year for Liv Kristine, for my solo project, is Nagold in Germany and Pratteln in Switzerland. So those are the two gigs, but they are exclusive gigs. Leaves’ Eyes and Atrocity will be touring most of the rest of the year so we will be very busy. China, Taiwan, Thailand, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Germany, Belgium. Lot of things happening! The end of December is the right time for exclusive solo shows but the UK, 2014..let’s cross our fingers.

Nico: That’s what I’m hoping for.

Liv: Me too.

Nico: Speaking of shows. I’ve heard a few whipserings around the internet from associates of mine that Leaves’ Eyes might be playing the Dames of Darkness festival in the UK next year. I was wondering if there is any truth to this?

Liv: Wauw, I mean that would be absolutely killer! It would be fantastic. Well you know, bookers know things before the rest of the band does so..let’s make it happen.

Nico: I hope it does happen because Dames of Darkness this year was phenomenal and it would be so much better if Leaves’ Eyes was playing it.

Liv: Thank you, thank you very much! I’d love to be there.

Nico: Last question. This is a fan question, asked by April Mccaffrey: if you could have a superpower, which one would it be and why?

Liv: A superpower… Okay, you took me by surprise there! When I was a kid I always thought it would be fantastic to be able to look into the future, to know what is going to happen. But I’m not sure if I need that anymore. It’s a very good question actually. Sometimes I wish I could change things for the better of it. Sometimes, especially when it comes to children and children suffering on this planet, it feels like we are just sitting here being comfortable and warm while on the other side of the planet children are dying because of hunger. That’s when I think I would just like to be able to beam myself to that place and do something. Maybe that’s a project for the future. If I ever get tired of playing gigs and singing that would be something I would like to do, to be part of helping projects concerning children who are suffering on the other side of the world.

Nico: I wasn’t expecting that answer. You’re certainly a kind and caring individual. Thank you for your time Liv, I hope you have a good night.

Liv: Thank you very much, it was a pleasure talking to you again. Take good care and hope to see you in Manchester in January.

Nico: You too, Liv! Have a good night!

Leaves’ Eyes online:

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

Damnation 2013: Bands you must see!

Posted in Editorial/Opinionated, Featured with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 11th October 2013 by Nico Davidson

The days are counting down until Damnation Festival once again lays waste to the city of Leeds with a truly heavy, dark and spectacular line-up. Here’s our list of bands you must go see at this year’s Damnation…

Rotting Christ

Chosen by Iza Raittila.

For those who are fed up with all the gimmicks present in today’s black and death metal scenes, be sure to check out Rotting Christ at this year’s Damnation Festival. These guys prove once and for all that there’s really no need for corpse-paint or fancy, “evil” looking stage-props to put on a great show. They rely solely on their energy and skills as musicians to win over the crowds. You won’t be disappointed.

Carcass

Chosen by Alex Cook.

The legendary Carcass are due to headline this year’s Damnation festival and I have heard from many people that they are the ONLY band that they are bothered about seeing. This in many ways is a shame, but such is the power of a band that so many metal fans grew up listening to. Carcass are easily one of the more accessibly Death metal bands, although suitably graphic in their lyrics, their real strength lies in the accessibility of their riffs and the urge they produce in us to bang our heads with complete abandon. I was listening to my copy of Heartwork recently (on cassette no less) and was struck by the fact that despite it being 10 years old, it still sounds fresh and heavy without being over-bearing. It is an album that leaves on imprint on your musical memory, so that when anyone mentions the band or you hear a snippet of No Love Lost, Embodiment or Doctrinal Expletives to name but a few, you are reminded why you first fell in love with the genre in the first place. That, and Carcass’s new album Surgical Steel is something of a quiet masterpiece. Unpretentious and all-encompassing, it delivers on everything we expect from Carcass which is solid, accessible and memorable material. If you’re still not sure about the merits of Carcass, let them entertain you at Damnation festival. I am certain that even if you just stick your head around the door, you will be enchanted and undoubtedly end up in the pit that ensues whenever Carcass play live.

God Seed

Chosen by Hannah O’Flanagan.

If you’re asking me why you should go and see God Seed, I’ll ask you why you’re attending Damnation at all. Made from the fall out of the Gorgoroth name dispute saga, God Seed is Gaahl and King ov Hell‘s new project that delivers insanely atmospheric black metal as only Gaahl and KoH can. They’ve triumphantly appeared at Wacken and supported Cradle of Filth on their Manticore tour, and I can guarantee the experience of watching God Seed perform will be like no other. Their 2012 debut I Begin is a good place to start if you still don’t believe me. But stand before the infernal glory of God Seed and I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Vallenfyre

Chosen by Alex Cook.

Vallenfyre are also a band to look out for at Damnation. They are something of a super-group for those whose hearts belong to early 90’s Doom and Death metal, and they do not disappoint. Featuring Gregor Mackintosh from Paradise Lost, Hamish Glencross from My Dying Bride and Adrian Erlandsson of At the Gates, you get the impression from their releases that it is just a bit of fun and that the members are stretching their wings and proving they have a capacity for a genre separate from how they have made their names. Their album A Fragile King’is engrossing and infectious and just pure, crushing, dirty death metal. Tracks such as Desecration, Cathedrals of Dread and A Thousand Martyrs reek of the infamous Boss HM2 pedal which makes any Entombed fan salivate at the mouth and it is used to spectacular effect. Expect nothing but great things if you catch them at Damnation and be sure to pick up a copy of A Fragile King beforehand so your appetite for the old school is suitably whetted.

Dyscarnate

Chosen by Nico Davidson.

No Damnation line-up would be complete without a slab of face-crushing, ear-splitting death metal and that’s exactly what Dyscarnate offer. Be it recorded or live, Dyscarnate‘s crushing use of riffs will utterly abuse you and leaving you begging for more like a glutton for punishment. Having already devastated venues across the UK and toured with bands like Fleshgod Apocalypse and most recently Psycroptic and Hour Of PenanceDyscarnate are at the front of the UK’s death metal and represent everything good about it!

Katatonia

Chosen by Lauren Gowdy.

Although their songs aren’t as fast as a majority of the bands playing Damnation Festival, Katatonia is one band that everyone should check out. Their playing is heavy and slow but filled with so much emotion that it literally will suck you into their set. Not to mention that their stage presence is captivating, and you may either find yourself headbanging slowly along with the riffs or just standing and observing the sheer awesomeness of their set. Anyone who is a fan of Opeth should definitely check out Katatonia because both bands are very similar only difference being that Katatonia does not have as many heavy songs as Opeth. They will be worth sticking around to see towards the end of the day, and I guarantee you will remember their set!

Iron Witch

Chosen by Nico Davidson.

Liverpudlian doom noise mongers Iron Witch are definitely one to keep an eye out for at Damnation this year. Straying from the classic doom sound, the Scouser quintet incorporate hardcore punk vibes and gritty riffs with their doomesque connoction that has helped put themselves on a map. Being relatively young compared to the vast majority of the Damnation line-up and other bands on the British doom scene, Iron Witch have had their fair share of success and I wouldn’t be surprised if they don’t reach the same level as Liverpudlian doom overlords Anathema.

Twilight Of The Gods

Chosen by Ian Foster.

One of the many band who will be appearing at the Damnation Festival 2013 are Twilight Of The Gods, a five piece band who were initially formed with the intent of paying tribute to the legendary Bathory and writing music inspired by them. The band have just released their debut album Fire On The Mountain. The band includes members of Primordial, Lock Up, Einherjer, Thyrfing and Aura Noir so there’s some real pedigree involved here and there’s far more than Bathory worship going on. You can definitely hear a lot of influence from the classic metal bands on the Fire On The Mountain album, but after all it’s what the band set out to do. Definitely a band for fans of old school heavy metal to check out at the festival.

[Editor’s note: If you didn’t see Primordial at last year’s Damnation, TOTG are the next best thing]

Damnation Festival will take palce on 2nd November at Leeds University Union. Tickets are available from this location.

Visions of Atlantis – Ethera

Posted in Featured, Review with tags , , , , , on 8th March 2013 by Nico Davidson

Visions of Atlantis
Ethera
Symphonic Metal
Released 22nd March
Released via Napalm Records

I’ve been following Visions of Atlantis on and off for five or so years now, so when Ethera landed in my office, my interested was immediately piqued though I will admit, I’m not familiar with the vocal stylings of the current VOA vocalist, Maxi Nil.

The album kicks off with a powerful start through the first two tracks, demonstrating the band’s domineering symphonic-tinted sounds though the third track, Avatara, calls up more of a synth-orientated sonancy that plays along well enough with the vocals and guitar sections. Vicious Circle is one of the more emotive pieces on the album, featuring a heavy use of emotional piano medleys before the driving use of riffs domineer select parts of the song. The pianos and the soulful use of vocals are what help the track stand out prominently, above the other tracks on the album – both before and after.

Some of the tracks throughout the album display a truly dramatic and theatrical sound, conjuring up an electrifying atmosphere. Burden of Divinity is definitely one of the songs that achieves that, with its melodic guitar work and poignant keyboard passages. The vocals are on top form throughout the song as well, helping contribute to its status as one of the memorable parts of the album. One of my other favourite songs on the album would have to be the expressive and esoteric track Cave Behind The Waterfall due to the soothing acoustic introduction and gentle sailing of the vocals.

There are a few tracks on the album that are bland in comparison to the rest of the album but the sound that Visions of Atlantis are pursing with this album appears to be working just fine for them and is a reconstruction of the band’s sound but enjoyable none the less.

4/5

Nico Davidson

 

Interview with David Homer [Apparition]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 31st January 2013 by Nico Davidson

Created 16 years ago by David Homer, Apparition have sailed through the UK’s underground scene, supporting more well-known acts such as ReVamp, Delain and Sarah Jezebel Deva.

With a performance coming up at The Dames of Darkness Festival and their recent album released through Ravenheart Music, David Homer, bassist for Apparition has a chat with Valkyrian Music’s Nico Davidson.

Nico: Your album For Vengeance… And For Love… was released recently, what are the main concepts on the album?

David: They are just different stories sang to music. No real concept except maybe ‘freedom’.

Nico: How does For Vengeance… And For Love… differ from previous Apparition releases?

David: Well, I was the only person on this album that was on the debut Drowned in Questions. The songs on For Vengeance are a lot heavier, better production because we took more time and I did the keyboards on all but two of the songs. I visited this keyboard player called Adam a few years ago and by watching him picked up tips on how to be creative with the keys instead of just playing simple chords. Thankfully, he is in the band now.

Nico: You’re playing the Dames of Darkness Festival in May. How are you feeling about that?

David: As we are hosting the show I am just hoping it all works out and that the bands and fans leave happy with good memories. If it is a success we might do others.

Nico: I understand you’ve shared the stage with Delain in the past. Are you looking forward to sharing the stage with them again at Dames of Darkness?

David: Yes because when we played with them the first time I didn’t really know them or their music. When I watch them this time it means the day is nearly over and I can relax.

Nico: How would you say that Apparition differs from the other “female-fronted” bands on the scene?

David: We are classed as symphonic metal and goth metal and we use live keyboards and not backing tracks like most bands both big and small. I feel there is enough creativity in the band to show that we don’t need orchestras or choirs. Not to say I don’t like bands that do have these parts because I do but it’s just not for us.

Nico: How would you describe your music to a potential fan?

David: If we jammed without vocals and keyboards we could be seen as a Metallica type band. By adding Sakara’s [Apparition‘s new frontwoman] wonderful singing and Adams keyboards we give the music atmosphere and feeling.

Nico: Apparition have played a number of different shows, some of which have been in support of acts like Sarah Jezebel Deva, ReVamp and Tarja Turunen. Which show would you say was the best one you’ve played?

David: My favourite show by far was with Sarah Jezebel Deva in Liverpool. We were really tight and had so much energy that night. The Tarja show was good because we played in front of many people and it was good to meet the lady herself.

Nico: Aside from the aforementioned Dames of Darkness Festival, what other plans do the band have for 2013?

David: We’re going overseas to play again. Last year we played at Angels Rock festival in Belgium with Azylya and ExLibris which was very cool. Before that we need to work hard at practices with new guitarist Nick and hopefully new drummer Alex.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Apparition?

David: There isn’t one, it just sounds right for a gothic kind of metal or rock band.

Nico: Excluding yourselves, which band from the UK would you say are the best on the current British metal scene?

David: I am not saying this because we toured with them but I really love Sarah Jezebel Deva‘s band because they have great songs. Each night after we played I would still enjoy watching them even after ex amount of shows. Also Saturnian, a symphonic black metal band we played with at the Liverpool show were amazing. Everyone who knows our then guitarist Owen will tell you he never shuts up  BUT he was quiet for about the 30 minutes that they played. At first we thought he had gone to the lap dancing club next door but nope, he was transfixed!

Nico: Thanks for your time, David. I look forward to seeing you all at Dames of Darkness in May.

You can follow Apparition at these locations:

https://www.facebook.com/apparitionband
http://www.myspace.com/apparitionworld

 

Interview with Stuart McLeod [Storm of Embers]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 31st January 2013 by Nico Davidson

Scottish power trio Storm of Embers are hot on the tail of the release of their new EP, I. With a string of shows coming up throughout the year, Nico grabs Storm of Embers bassist Stuart McLeod for a chat.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Storm of Embers?

Stuart: When Al and I were coming up with the band name we wanted it to represent the musical ideas we had in mind and nearly all of the other names we were kicking around didn’t seem to suit the music. In our last band the music was very much thrash metal, so the name of that band kind of reflected that. To us, Storm of Embers suits our music perfectly. We don’t really have a meaning behind it, but if you listen to the music then it seems to be the only way to describe what we do.

Nico: Storm of Embers recently released the EP; I. What are the main themes that run through the EP?

Stuart: The main themes with the I EP, aside from giving a glimpse at what we are all about, lyrically speaking the main themes are life, change and the trials one goes through. Musically speaking this comes over as sometimes rather melancholic but with moments of, we like to think, beauty in amongst the melody and metal elements. Already we are working on the rest of the material for the upcoming full length release and it’s taking a pretty dark shape!

Nico: Describe Storm of Embers sound in five words or less.

Stuart: Dark, melodic, progressive music.

 

Nico: Are there any bands you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Stuart: Rather than recommend individual bands, we would like to encourage everyone to check out a new movement in Scottish music. There are so many amazing bands coming from Scotland we would be here all day if I were to try and name them all! We are part of the Hollow Earth Collective. This is a group of musicians and fans who are interested in all music progressive, post and experimental. Already there are plans for setting up a Hollow Earth Collective tour, I strongly recommend people to check this group out and listen to the bands, there are so many talented musicians and bands in Scotland, so that alone is a reason to check out any band from Scotland!

Nico: Where do you think the band will be in five years?

Stuart: In five years my hope for the band is to be working with a label to help further our career and help us get the music to as many people as possible. We are in this for the love of it, but having a 400 million pound contract wouldn’t be a bad thing.

Nico: When it comes to writing new material, where does the band draw inspiration from?

Stuart: Inspiration behind our music really depends on whoever the main writer of that particular song is. For me, when I write a song usually all it takes is an idea for a melody or feeling, then let the song write itself. Al is very much the lyric man of the band. So I present the music to the guys and we then flesh it out in funereal and develop the song into what it wants to be, and Al puts a message behind the song with his lyrics. So what may inspire the music may not necessarily be the same feeling that inspires the lyrics. Other times we jam riffs or melodies out in the studio and write it as a band jamming things out. I usually get nervous when Al comes in with songs as it usually means playing some sort of crazy riff in an even crazier time signature! But it’s all good, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter who wrote what because once the three of us start playing, it’s Storm of Embers.

Nico: As the Scottish metal scene in rarely spoke of, let alone mentioned much by the press, outside of Scotland, what can you tell us about the Scottish metal scene?

Stuart: The Scottish metal scene is great! There are so many amazing bands, so many different styles. You can pretty much find a metal gig any night of the week, especially in Glasgow where we are from. All scenes have their good and bad points, but overall its good. Again I urge you to check out the Hollow Earth Collective.

Nico: Do you have anything you’d like to say to our readers?

Stuart: To your readers all I can say a massive thank you for the support, it means the world to us for people to check us out, or buy our merch or come to our shows, and above all else enjoy the music and we hope to play near you soon! Stay inspired, support underground music because that’s where its at!

You can check out Storm of Embers at this location.

 

Interview with Alex Cook [Narcotic Death]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , on 29th January 2013 by Nico Davidson

 

Narcotic Death have left a trail of horror and destruction in the five years they’ve been on the UK’s extreme metal scene and at one point, even boasted My Dying Bride’s violinist/keyboardist Shaun MacGowan amongst their ranks. With their new album, Dies Irae, currently in the works, Narcotic Death‘s vocalist Alex Cook sits down with Valkyrian Music’s editor, Nico, to reveal the grizzly details about the new album and what devious plans the band have in store for the masses.

Nico: What’s the meaning behind the band’s name, Narcotic Death?

Alex: The band name is open to interpretation. For me, it illustrates the soothing capacity of euthanasia and a slow, sleeping death through the injecting of narcotic substances. A seduction of the living senses to dying. Death is something that we all fear in mortal capacity, and perhaps it is wrong to do so, because it is through that fear that we hold on too long and subject our bodies and minds to degradation. If we were more accepting, the journey would be easier; life would be more fulfilling, and grieving less painful.

Nico: You’ve been working on the new album, Dies Irae, what are the prominent themes of the album?

Alex: Warped religious ideals, debauchery, cynicism and punishment. Some of the songs on the album are re-workings of religious tales. Rain is about a deluge from Heaven that drowns humankind. The Accuser is about Christ and the Devil discussing how the religious experiment has failed because even Christ himself cannot endure the torments he inflicts on human kind and The Butcher and the Scribe details a plague upon mankind sent by Heaven’s destroying angels. The other tracks, such a Gorgon and Throne of Stars use humanity’s ignorance and worthlessness as themes.

Nico: Dies Irae is Latin for “Day of Wrath”. Why did you choose this to be the title of the album?

Alex: To incorporate the religious themes and also to highlight how humanity has failed itself and awaits some form of punishment. Religion is an excuse, and our ignorance is too for turning a blind eye and idealising our stained living conditions. The title track Dies Irae embodies these themes most obviously by approaching the matter of child abuse within the church and the casual indifference of the masses because of the power religion still possesses. ‘Intelligence insists the absence of religion, the wholesomeness of our existence, chained to our decay. A man that cannot control himself is no longer free. They know this. They have always known.’ Overall, the title is an embodiment of the main notion within the album; that one day soon, our evils will come back to haunt us, and when it does, we will blame others, but it is ourselves who are guilty.

Nico: What song do you feel will be the strongest track on the album?

Alex: My personal favourite is Cainite because it is laden with doom and suffocating misery. You lose yourself in those sweeping riffs, and the lyrics are chant-like in places to illustrate the character’s despair. It tells a biblical story from another point of view, and this is something I greatly enjoyed doing with most of the tracks on the album. You are taught them one way, but when you look more deeply, there is only darkness and a sordid idealism. The Butcher and the Scribe is probably the strongest track, because of its subject matter and crushing, aggressive guitar riffs and drum patterns. Every member shines on that track, but the others all have distinct qualities of their own whether it be an impending sense of doom, visceral terror or disgust and fury.

Nico: Narcotic Death have played a fair share of gigs and obviously with a number of different bands, which bands have you enjoyed gigging with the most?

Alex: Our gigging history is quite a lengthy one, but I think Severed Heaven are a band that we have known and admired for a very long time; we played our second ever gig with them, and our most recent one, so they are a band that we have grown with. They’re a delightful group of ladies, and it is difficult not to be taken in by them and their unique ‘chug’.

Nico: How will Dies Irae differ from previous Narcotic Death releases?

Alex: I think that the new album will show a degree of maturity both with regards to technique and song writing. Our intention is a lot clearer here than it was with the other releases, and I think that makes for a stronger, more memorable impression. The other releases, our EP for instance was honest, but had a lot of different styles on it; there wasn’t a sound distinctly ours, and the first album was more or less the same due to line-up changes. It has taken five years to develop a sound that is true and recognisable as ours, and that has as much to do with people that have left the line-up as the ones that are still here. Everybody left a scar somewhere.

Nico: How has the experience of recording Dies Irae gone so far?

Alex: Very well. Going in the studio is always a daunting time for any musician, but I am proud of what has been accomplished so far. As of this time, I have yet to go and record my voKILLS, but I have been redrafting my lyrics and planning out the different sections so the sound will be visceral and terrifying with a multitude of layers. Appropriate for such layered and traumatic subject matter. I want the music to be felt as well as heard.

Nico: As it’s still early in the year, what lies in store for Narcotic Death throughout 2013?

Alex: More acquaintances to be made, more countries to be seen and more people to be terrified into submission. First and foremost, is to get the album released so we have something to show for ourselves at any future gigs. We are also hoping to shoot a music video for one of the tracks; a Narcotic Death first that will undoubtedly be a great experience, as well as something to show off and express our madness through.

Nico: If you could take any poem or other piece of literature and turn into a piece of music, which one would it be and why?

Alex: Paradise Lost by [John] Milton would be an excellent choice, just for how the tale twists and turns from awe of heaven, to grief and anger at being cast out, as well as wonder and bereavement at walking on earth. It is hopelessly romantic, melancholic and sincere. Imagine soundscapes, maybe with just a few whispered phrases. For a work like that with such power, words are not needed to express what it is trying to say.

Nico: Describe Narcotic Death‘s sound in five or less words.

Alex: Traumatic visceral Swedish-esque near-death experience.

Nico: If you replace the soundtrack to any film with your own music, which one would it be and why?

Alex: Perhaps one of the Universal classics, such as Dracula or Frankenstein. That era of film was a realm unto itself, and our music would add to their sinister edge, or be complemented by the strange, but beautiful images on screen. 

Nico: Are there any bands you’d like to recommend to our readers?

Alex: Severed Heaven for glorious chugging riffs and painful vocals. Ebony Lake for a surreal, tormenting sound stupor. Nightshadows Lament for classic, doom soaked black metal.

Nico: Do you have anything to say our readers?

Alex: Thank you very much for reading and expressing an interest in our sinister cynicism. I hope that the misery we breed will live on in you, and in turn, infect others. I hope too, that I will be able to meet you at one of our gigs, and that you will be heartily traumatised by all we have to offer.

You can follow Narcotic Death at the following locations:

https://www.facebook.com/narcoticdeath
http://www.myspace.com/narcoticdeath616

Azylya–Sweet Cerebral Destruction

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on 18th January 2013 by Nico Davidson

Azylya
Sweet Cerebral Destruction
Released January 2013
Gothic Metal
Released via Wormholedeath Records

Azylya’s story begins in 2007 when vocalist Jamie-Lee (then aged 14) wrote the story of a young girl who was abused by her father and was abandoned in an asylum. It wasn’t until 2009 when the story took form in music as Jamie-Lee formed the band that is now Azylya. Sweet Cerebral Destruction is the band’s second album.

The album is an ocean of differing sounds and pieces of music, with the vocals of Jamie-Lee navigated ever so careful along the waves of tragic keyboards and lycanthropic guitars. There’s a certain darkness that creeps out from each track like fog inching its way up from the ocean. The keyboards are what impress me most, resonating their siren-like song out above the rest of the instruments on each track and creating a powerful and captivating gothic sensation. There’s a few tracks that have a prominent sound such as Incest and Azylya.

The story that’s told throughout the lyrics is beautiful narrated during each track, portraying a nocturnal shade of poetic stylings that only Poe could achieve – Something that is emphasised by the carefully crafted musicianship of the band. The beauty and beast vocals contrast dramatically compared to other bands but still achieve the same effect: an unyielding union of two powerful vocalists.]

I’m surprised that Azylya haven’t got more exposure. Sweet Cerebral Destruction embodies all the strong points of Europe’s symphonic and gothic metal scenes – dramatic and tragic orchestration and keys, dark and brooding guitars and melodic vocal work. Sweet Cerebral Destruction is a sign of things to come from Azylya and I’m definitely looking forward to them.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Azylya will be playing The Dames Of Darkness Festival later this year with bands like Delain and Visions Of Atlantis. For more details, click here.

 

Spires–Lucid Abstractions

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , on 21st July 2012 by Nico Davidson

Spires
Lucid Abstrctions
Released: July 2012
Acoustic
Self-Released

Hailing from the rich and diverse metal scene of Manchester, come the progressive metal quarter Spires, a band who have received critical acclaim from radio, printed and online media since their debut release of Spiral Of Ascension, back in 2010. Following their recent tour of Ireland and a busy 2011, where they toured with Incassum and two slots at the UK’s biggest metal festival Bloodstock, Spires have released their highly anticipated acoustic EP.

The grimly titled Under Bloodstained Skies opens the EP under with calm riff and intense set of vocals that add that eerie touch to the lyrics. The title track Lucid Abstractions follows next, in three parts. The track begins rather mystically with almost jazz-like musicianship that leads into the more progressive styling of the band. The main vocals are soothing, whilst the guest vocals, provided by Talena Cuthbert, add a certain warmth to the song.

Perception takes a subtle approach to the music but keeping true to the progressive spirit of the band’s sound. The vocals really stand out yet blend in well at the same time. The cello sections, provided by Jacqueline Wilson, adds a unique touch to the song. The melodic riffs of Inevitability bring a very enchanting aspect to the EP. The final track is none other than Sprial Of Ascension, which does take some getting used to when listening to this version if you’ve already heard the original version on the album of the same name. However, the acoustic version does really capture the essence of the song and project across quite brilliantly, though when I listen to it, I can’t help but epect to start hearing some major extreme metal styled riffs.

Acoustic music isn’t really my thing, save for a few artists, but Spires really have proven to be a band with a diverse and unique style. Each track contains its own unique sound and spirit without betraying the band’s sound.

5/5

Nico Davidson

Interview: Neiph [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , on 4th November 2011 by Nico Davidson

Infernal Creation have been a part of Hull’s metal scene for a few years, supporting acts such as NWOBHM legends Blitzkreig, the mighty Hecate Enthroned and several other acts. They also took part in the Warhorns Over Aengland tour in October, playing with bands such as Ravenage, Celtachor, Nothgard and Windrider. Nico sits down with the “Voice of Misanthropy”, Neiph, who is the frontman for Hull’s very own Infernal Creation.

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Nico: What did the idea for Infernal Creation come about?

Lewis: The ideas and beliefs behind Infernal Creation started to take form long before the band as it is today came into existence. Sin and I started to discuss the formation of a band that could aid in the exploration of the darker, negative and chaotic aspects of being. When we found a drummer skilled enough and with the same vision as ourselves we began work in earnest to create the band that exists now. With Bastard on board it wasn’t long before we could create such an intense and nihilistic beast and, despite various problematic times throughout the years, we have never faltered from our path.

N: Does Infernal Creation differ from other black metal bands? If so, how?

L: The essence of Black Metal is felt differently by all artists, it manifests itself in various different ways so in that sense I would say all Black Metal bands differ. After all there can be no set structure or pattern placed over chaos.

N: Infernal Creation recently toured with Ravenage, Celtachor, Windrider and Nothgard as part of the Warhorns Over Aengland tour, how was that experience for you?

L: The shows we’re quite difficult for me as I was suffering from a throat infection at the time however, the tour itself was a tremendous experience for us we gathered quite a few new fans and contacts from the event. The energies flowing from each band on the bill were unbelievable. It was an event we were truly proud to be involved with.

N: The new album “The Serpent Seed Doctrine” is now available, how would you describe it to someone and what would you say are the album’s highlights?

L: “The Serpent Seed Doctrine” is our first full length CD and as such it is almost a beacon for us to illuminate our future paths.  I feel that the music within is an intense and aggressive piece of black metal art and although it has just been released it is already being well received in the underground community. Songs such as ‘War Is Worship’ and ‘Cataclysm’ are already becoming live favourites.

From a personal point of view it has been interesting to work with different sounds and elements in tracks like ‘The Faceless Prophet’ and ‘Cruciatus Vobiscum’.

The album has taken a year to complete and feels to us as though a piece of our lives and experiences have been removed from us like flesh from bone and transformed into a sonic representation of our trials and tribulations up to this moment for all to hear. We are extremely happy with the fruits of this labour.

N: What has been the best show you’ve played so far? And why?

L: It depends, we have performed at some amazing venues and showcased our art alongside many different bands. I’d say a stand out gig for me would be 2 years ago when Rune Erikson came to a Hull show, we spent some time with him after the event and his advice really hit home and helped us to shape the next paths of the Infernal.

N: Does the band have any plans for 2012?

L: Yeah, we have a lot planned for 2012, we will be starting the year by performing at the Sermon of Underground Brutality festival featuring artists such as Abgott, Hecate Enthroned and Primitive Graven Image. We have a few big events in the works but for this moment in time we’re keeping them within our circle until further details come to light.

N: Infernal Creation will be playing the first ever Valkyrian Festival later this month, how do you feel about this?

L: It will be a great experience. You guys have been very helpful and supportive of the underground music scene for a while now so it will be great to perform under the VM banner.

N: Where do you find the inspiration for the music and lyrics from?

L: I personally find inspiration in many different places, throughout life there is always scope to ask further questions, to explore the hidden paths and truly begin to understand the movements of your soul. It is these actions that create the energies I take inspiration from.

The same applies musically, Sin has a lot of similar influences to me and allows his creativity to almost possess him throughout the writing process.

N: What’s the metal scene like in your area?

L: The Yorkshire scene is quite healthy at the moment, I always think it’s easy enough to simply see the activities of the more mainstream bands in anyone’s area and despair at its current state. But in reality there are a hell of a lot of bands who are carving their own path and if I have to put up with 10 mainstream fools to witness one band who fully follow their hearts then at least I know the true stream of negative art is alive and well in this area.

In terms of the UK underground, we have received a lot of support from the British legions of black metal ever since our inception, which we can be nothing but thankful for.

N: What advice would you give to someone looking to form a band?

L: To follow their own path no matter where it may lead them, to always question, always evolve, to never back down and to expect a lot of hard work.

N: Are there any bands you’d recommend to our readers?

L: Unfortunately there are far too many to mention in full but I would urge people to seek out bands such as Nothgard, Celtachor, Ravenage, Cryptic Age and Baalberith as these bands are devoted to their art forms and give their lives to their music, go see them live and you will understand exactly what I mean. Other than that I would say people should seriously hunt down and listen to Chaos Invocation and Ascension from Germany who are creating some amazing music right now.

For more information on the band, check out their official Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/infernalcreationofficial
Infernal Creation’s new CD is also available for purchase at live shows or through the band’s official website: http://infernalcreation.com

Interview: Graeme Farmer [2011]

Posted in Interview with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on 27th June 2011 by Nico Davidson

Nico sits down and has an exclusive interview with Graeme Farmer of Lancastrian black metal outfit WOLFTHORN to discuss the up-and-coming album and other things.

Nico: Greetings Graeme. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us today. The band [Wolfthorn] recently stated on their official Facebook that there’s a full length album in the making. How’s that going for you guys?

Graeme: Cheers mate, thanks for the opportunity to chat and for showing interest in the band! The album is coming along very nicely, thanks. The bulk of it was recorded in Lancaster during the first few months of 2011. At the minute I’m just re-recording some of the lead and acoustic guitar parts at home, and adding small things like keyboard tracks. After that, it’s just a case of mixing and mastering etc, so with any luck it will be released by the autumn. It contains a mix of brand new songs and songs that have been a staple of our live shows for some time, but which were not recorded for the EP. The title of the album will be The Cold Descent of Eternal Winter. I’d say on the whole that it will be a darker, heavier and more progressive record than Echoes was, with the lyrical content continuing to focus on the people, places and events that helped shape the history of the British isles. There’s also a couple of nature-inspired tracks, which is something we haven’t touched upon much before.

N: In regards to the keyboard sections on some of the tracks, will some of the tracks be more symphonic heavy or will the keyboard sections just be there for a more atmospheric effect?

G: They’re there to add atmosphere to the tracks primarily. We don’t have a keyboard player in the band, so we were very conscious that if the keyboard tracks were too prominent the songs would sound totally different when we came to perform them live. We used some synth tracks in Twilight in Valinor and Sworn in Blood on the EP and felt they worked quite well, so they’ll appear in a few more songs on the album, but they’re very much there to thicken out certain riffs rather than to become a dominant element in the song.

N: That’s good then. When the album is out, do you all plan to tour in support of it or just play a big release show in Lancaster?

G: That depends if people in other towns want to see us play! We haven’t played much outside the north west as of yet, but that’s certainly something we’re looking to change. There will almost certainly be some sort of release show in Lancaster though, and I imagine the ale will be flowing! Playing live has been difficult this year as I’ve been living a long way away from the rest of the band and working a job that involves working evenings, so our show at The Flapper in Birmingham on July 30th will actually be our first gig of 2011! But I’m moving jobs in a few weeks, and I’m hoping to be in a position to move back to Lancaster soon, so if all goes to plan so should be able to play live a lot more often before too long. Playing live is by far the most enjoyable aspect of being in a band, so for me personally it’s been something I’ve missed doing a lot these last few months.

N: On the note of live music and gigs, how would you describe the music scene in Lancashire? Are there any bands you’d recommend people to see? Aside from Wolfthorn, obviously.

G: Lancaster always surprised me in that for a small town it has a very large and varied music scene. There are a number of pubs in the city centre that regularly put on live bands, and people in general are very enthusiastic about music. I’m talking music in general here, and not specifically metal. We often see people at our shows that you wouldn’t expect to be into extreme metal, and I’ve always been really impressed by people’s willingness to support local music regardless of genre or style. There’s also a large music scene in nearby Preston that’s worth mentioning too. In terms of bands from the area I’d suggest to others, there are a couple that spring to mind. Firstly, our guitarist Andy would be extremely unhappy if I didn’t use this opportunity to plug his other band, Consecrated Flesh. You owe me a pint if you’re reading this mate! They play a more extreme form of black metal than Wolfthorn, incorporating influences from German thrash bands like Kreator and Sodom. They released a new demo a week or two ago, which is well worth checking out. They’re a band that have come on a lot in the last few years, and are well worth seeing live as well. Their guitar player Will is actually responsible for the recording and mixing of the upcoming Wolfthorn album! And secondly, as a massive fan of traditional Heavy Metal and the NWOBHM sound in particular, I’d highly recommend a local band called Eliminator who are probably my favourite band from the area. Wolfthorn’s first ever gig was opening for them back in 2008, and they’re well worth checking out if you’re a fan of bands like Heavy Load, Gotham City and Sortilege.

N: You mentioned earlier that the upcoming album will be focusing on events and people in British history that helped to shape said history. Is there any reason particular reason for this or is it just one of those things that just happened while writing the songs?

G: Believe it or not, when I started the band I was going for a sort of “grim and frostbitten” vibe and we had songs about Satan and Elizabeth Bathory and stuff like that! It didn’t last long though, as I realised it was totally insincere and unconvincing. History is something that I’ve always been interested in, and I spend a lot of time reading about ancient Britian, so it just seemed the logical thing for me to write about. So we kept some of the riffs and stuff from the original songs, but I totally redid the lyrics with this new theme in mind, and it seemed to work a lot better. I think lyrics always come out better when the subject matter is something their author has an interest in or feels strongly about, and that certainly proved to be the case for us as the quality of our lyrics improved dramatically! I think with this kind of music the lyrics are extremely important, so I’m pleased to be able to stand behind my lyrics rather than have to perform some contrite, cliched black metal nonsense that I feel no connection to. But I suppose you and our other listeners will be the judge of whether or not that early change of direction worked!

N: At least you broke away from the cliché that a lot of black metal bands get trapped in. Throughout the time Wolfthorn has been around, have you or any of the other members been accused of ridiculous antics like “goat sacrifice” or “devil worship” based on the music? Or is it something you fear will happen when the band gets bigger?

G: Haha, not yet I’m afraid! We’ve had a few strange emails from nutjobs in America accusing us of being a racist band and ridiculous things like that, but that happens to a lot of bands that sing about heritage and history these days. It’s a shame that some people jump to conclusions like that, but you just have to ignore it really. As a band we have absolutely no political or religious agendas, and while our lyrics do refer to “British” heritage and identity, this is not intened to convey a sense of superiority over other people, racially or otherwise. We are proud of where we come from, and write songs about periods of history we are interested in, but that’s as far as it goes. Criticism like that is not something that’s ever really bothered me though, if anything I’m pleased that people in America have heard our music, even if they totally missed the point of it! There’s no such thing as bad publicity I guess. Haters gonna hate!

N: It’s good to see that there are bands that keep politics and religion out of the music. Speaking of other countries, are there any countries you’d like to tour in the future when the band has a larger, more international fan base?

G: It’s not something I’ve ever thought about to be honest. If that were ever to happen, I’ve never left Europe in my life so I suppose it’d be cool to visit places like the USA and Canada or Australia and New Zealand. It’d be really cool to play in places like Germany or Scandinavia where Heavy Metal music is still a mainstream force. But that’s all in the future if it ever happens at all, for now I’d quite like play the rest our own country! We’ve never played in the south of England, and we haven’t done Wales, Ireland or Scotland yet either, so we’ll probably try and tick those places off before we start leading the jetset lifestyle!

N: Just a few more questions now. In terms of your writing, aside from history, what influences you the most?

G: A variety of things really. History, along with mythology and folk legends, as you mentioned, is definitely the main influence lyrically. There are a few exceptions, however. Twilight in Valinor, from our EP, is about JRR Tolkien’s epic The Silmarillion. I’m quite proud of the lyrics in that one as I managed to rhyme two Elvish words! Aside from that, there are a few songs on the new album inspired by nature and the countryside, as well as one track that touches on some more personal themes. Musically, I have a wide array of influences. When the band formed the main influence was definitely Dissection, and they continue to be a big inspiration, although I always wanted to incorporate things like guitar solos and twin lead sections from the more traditional Heavy Metal that makes up the majority of my record collection. Whilst writing the second release, I was listening to a lot of Swedish death metal, particularly the record Silence of the World Beyond by A Canorous Quintet, so expect to hear that influence come through more strongly when you hear the album! Most people describe Wolfthorn as black metal with NWOBHM influences, which I suppose makes sense as that is essentially the sound I’m trying to create with my songwriting.

N: They’re certainly some impressive influences. Once again, thank you for your time. Final question now… Aside from the next album release and the Birmingham gig, what else is the band planning for the rest of the year? Any underground festivals or gigs elsewhere in the UK?

G: We’re playing a show in Lancaster on October 28th, which we’re quite looking forward to as it will be our first hometown show since November of the previous year. I would imagine that there will be some kind of release party whenever the album comes out too, which would also be in Lancaster as well. Other than that, there’s nothing else planned, but we’re always open to offers, so if anyone reading this likes our stuff and wants to book us to play their town, don’t hesitate to get in touch! Cheers for talking to me anyway mate, it’s been fun. Best of luck with your website, and hopefully I’ll see you at a Wolfthorn show in the future and we can have a pint together!