Tag Archives: Metal

Trappist: Hell bent for brews

Sometimes a band just finds that golden ticket, combining topics that were not before really connected. Metal and punk have a long history with beer. Good beer, bad beer, truly bad beer and so forth, but everyone has an appraisal for the glorious taste of Trappist. Naming your band after the brewing monks concoction only seems natural when you really look at it.

Trappist combine thrashing metal, d-beat punk and tongue-in-cheek humor to create a tasty bit of music to be savored with high-pace and sturdy drinks. The band consists out of Chris Dodge (Spazz, ex-Despise You, ex-Infest, etc.), Phil Vera (Crom, Despise You, ex-(16)-) and Ryan Harkins (co-owner of popular heavy metal-themed burger joint Grill Em’ All), I’m excited to have found the gents willing to answer some questions for Stranger Aeons. So here it goes!

Brew’m all: Trappist

Can you tell me how Trappist got started? And what role does Hour of the Barbarian play in it?

Ryan and Chris were fucking off doing some songs together and we’re going to just release a 7”. They asked me to join and we started writing all kinds of songs and realized we could do a whole record. Hour of the Barbarian is our time to get drunk and bullshit and talk about the crap we’ve been doing and also go on extra long tangents and interrupt Ryan whenever we get the chance.

You’ve all been in other bands, what is different about this project?

All the bands I’ve either played in or still play in have been different that’s for sure. It helps to actually be playing in a trio though. Less fucking people to deal with to get stuff done. That’s a major difference.

Do you guys also actually brew beer? I have the feeling you do. 

Dodge has brewed beer with a couple guys from Eagle Rock Brewery, but I can’t remember what they brewed?

Can you tell me about the process of creating ‘Ancient Brewing Tactics’? Over what period did it happen and how did it go down?

We originally did a 10 song demo that we were going to try to put out ourselves, but Relapse was interested so we used some of the demo songs and wrote a bunch more for the record. From the beginning of the recording to the actual release date it took about a year. That includes getting the artwork together, consuming beverages, etc.

You are all in prolific bands, so how did you find time for this record? 

We all got our stuff going on, but we make time for this since it’s a blast to do. We also do the podcast (Hour Of The Barbarian) here and there so it breaks up the whole practice and writing songs monotony so we can just sit around and bullshit.

How did you compose the beer list to accompany the album? How much sampling and testing went with compiling it?

Dodge did the whole composing and compiling of the beer list. He did very extensive research for this (have you seen his Big Year in Beer blog?). (Ed. Now I did, so check it out here).

What would you rather do: brew your own Trappist or tour the Trappist locations in Belgium (and sample their brews)?

Hmmm, that’s a tough call. I don’t think we would be welcome in the actual Trappist locations so I would be down to just brew our own Trappist beer.

If you had to pick one Trappist beer that sums up your band, which would it be and why?

I’m not the biggest beer nerd in the band (I mostly just drink them), but I would have to say the Westvleteren 12. Goddamn, it’s delicious and bold and I wish I had another one right now.

What future plans do you guys have with the band?

We’ll be heading to the east coast in November for a few shows. Trying to get over to Europe as well as Japan next year. Already writing new stuff so we’re not going away anytime soon.

Cover image press image by Paul Lee

Underground Sounds: Cân Bardd – Nature Stays Silent

Label: Northern Silence Productions
Band: Cân Bardd
Origin: Switzerland

Nature is never really silent, but sometimes you find yourself in a spot where only the silent humming, gentle trickling of water and wind is what reaches you. That is where Cân Bardd takes you on their very first full length, which has a cover that kind of gives away something of what you can expect.

The Geneva natives have been at it for 2 years. The band consists of two members, namely Dylan Watson and Malo Civelli, who both share membership of the band Kaatarakt. That means the folky, traditional themes in their music are not really coming out of nowhere, but a more subtle take is definitely there on this recording.

A medieval, folky intro starts the record, including the ambient sounds required. Slightly dungeon synthy keys enrich the sound and create an extra layer of grandeur. The launch into the atmospheric sound is black metal with a lot of space. The sound is like a valley with a lot of open air for it to breathe in between on ‘My Ancestors’. The folk music never really leaves and even more, it takes the forefront on ‘An Evolving Painting’ with a strings effect.

Though the black metal parts of songs can sound dense and heavy, there’s always an element of condensed force to it. The sound never gets the full space of the spectrum, so folky passages and soothing synths are always at the edges. For example, check the song ‘Océan’, which harrowing cries and silent intermezzo’s, but also the waxing of the waves and burly drums of war. On ‘A Gift of Nature’, we leave the album in smooth tones, pleasant and warm.

A remarkable record by Cân Bardd, hard to really pin down as a black metal record but captivating nonetheless. Enjoyable to day the least!

Underground Sounds: Raum Kingdom – Everything & Nothing

Label: Independent
Band: Raum Kingdom
Origin: Ireland

Raum Kingdom is a fascinating act and has been working on their very distinct sound for a couple of years now. I had the pleasure to discuss this with the group earlier and with their latest record ‘Everything & Nothing’, they definitely capture my ears once more.

The influences are the like of Deftones, Amenra and more sludge bands with a mythical vibe to them. On this record, I feel that an addition of Urfaust is in place, particularly due to the vocals and the flood of sound that just drags you along. Though they’ve been around for a few years, this is finally the debut from the Irish band and it’s a welcome one indeed.

The howls on ‘Summon’ are the main reason I mentioned the Dutch black metal band a moment before, as they make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. The music is more meandering, more Isis than the bombastic torment of Amenra for this song, but the similar force is undeniable. Heavy and full of that channeled rage, the music just keeps pumping on tracks like ‘Dig’ and ‘Winter’, featuring Mia Govini from Makavrah.

The word you look for when describing the sound of Raum Kingdom on this record is ‘flow’, because that is what the sound does. It’s an endless flow of energy and barely contained emotional tension. The deception of calm and harmony on a tune like ‘Walk With Reality’ is exactly the line that Raum Kingdom likes to walk. Playing with the smooth movements and then harsh, bursting riff-rife explosions, full of tremolo waves, the band sets itself apart in the more blackened sludgy corner. Not particularly driven, the music follows its own path. Lyrically, the songs are personal, highly contextually valid and fierce in their bared essence.

Raum Kingdom has found its place with this record and it is merely a matter of time, before their due recognition is there I hope.

Underground Sounds: Noctu/Augu Sigyn – Temple of Decadence

Label: Bloodcrown Records
Band: Noctu/Augu Sigyn
Origin: Italy/Denmark

This split features two doomy bands, the first being Noctu from Italy. Noctu happens to be the sole member and also plays in Atra Mors and Necromist. After a full length, this is the first record with an English title by the funeral doom project from Crema.

The slow, dirge-like doom by the Italian artist has a certain cinematic quality and minimalism to it. Only lurching forward with an ever lumbering pace, the vocals are muddled into the mix where they hardly seem to really convey any meaning anymore. On ‘Lacerazioni Tra Le Ombre’, they merely appear as abyssal murmurings, rumbling in the distant haze of the sound. With a long intro and outro to his part of the record, Noctu demonstrates a knack for dense atmospheres and troubling ambient.

Strangely enough, Auga Sigyn immediately hits you with a sort of crusty doom sound. The Danish act from Svendborg has released some EP’s before, mostly in the native language too and now the duo, also active in Djævles Skrig, Blackhorned, Grimnismál and a gazillion other projects, participates in this split.

Instantly noticeable are the vocals by Sarah Lee Berthelsen, who bars and howls as if possessed on ‘Antropomorfisk Form’. it’s unnerving, resounding clearly over the distorted, warped guitar sound of their primitive pitch-black doom metal. The harrowing sound of the Danish duo is definitely for the sensitive souls, particularly on ‘Den Hængte Mands Bøg’ the sound is quite derailed and maddening even. Rabid barks and an almost ritualistic drumming is accompanied by piping guitar tunes. It helps to bring the record to its creepy ending.

 

 

 

 

 

AlNamrood will not be tamed: metal in Saudi Arabia

Djinn are creatures of fire, which is why they are invisible, yet destructive. Another creature in Saudi Arabia, that features those characteristics is the elusive AlNamrood. An entity operating under a veil of mystery for very real and tangible reasons. In this country, it can be punishable by death to play dark blasphemous music.

AlNamrood has been steadily delivering music since 2008 and the international attention for the project seems to have given it a boost. The last album Enkar, released in 2017, clearly caught many listeners ear with the raw sounds or protest that could easily be compared to the better bits of Darkthrone. A live show however, that will not happen soon unfortunately.

Through their label Shaytan Productions I managed to ask Mephisto, the master behind this project, some questions. Unfortunately a Skype chat or such is for obvious reasons not possible, but he was kind enough to update us on Alnamrood.

Fear is Slavery, it sickens us

Hello Mephisto, how are things? How is it going with AlNamrood?
AlNamrood is going progressively as usual.

Understanding your need for anonymity, could you shed some light on yourself as a person behind the band? What made you want to do this music and how did you arrive at black metal?
I play guitar, I’m influenced by the extreme metal of fast picking, open strings, and catchy riffs. The main driver to start AlNamrood was the need to express the rage of daily oppression we deal with. Black metal was a great platform, although we fall toward punk more often, either ways, this music satisfy our needs.

Who are currently in AlNamrood and how did you get in touch? I imagine that reaching out to find members can be challenging and even risky for you. Could you tell me about that?
Humbaba and I are the main members, we knew each other for years, but we only came to work together since 2013, we released the album Heen Yadhar Al Gasq Translates to ‘when dusk appears’. I think I’m very lucky to know Humbaba, he is literally the only mate I share my thoughts with, not only music. Finding members indeed is a risky business, not if it is impossible in the first place. This is why the AlNamrood line up is limited.

Your most recent album came out last year. What can you tell me about the writing and recording process of this album?
Enkar was fairly experimental, it was a very interesting experience, the roughness, and the low down dark sound was exactly what we cooked for. The guitar recording was aimed to be down tuning, drums were built based on thrash/punk beats, Arabian instruments were pushed back in the background, the bass is clear. We also used the stem mastering done by Endarker Studio in Sweden, however, the recording and mixing were done by us.

What is the story on the album? And what message are you trying to convey on this record?
“Enkar” translates to “denial”, and this album (as each album had a core point and narrative) articulates the phenomena of social denial, in particular, what we experience in a daily basis in our community. We expressed the psychosomatic drivers or psychological tricks used to program thoughts as if those are ideas and believes shoved into people minds, and how people accept repression as a safe ticket than speaking out against it. The issue about the Middle East in general, is people riddled with religion, ignorance, and fear. Fear has created slavery, and authority has succeeded to use religion as a tool to empower this fear and make people kneel to tyranny, in order to get the big prize in afterlife heaven, while this life is mortal and not worth it. This has extended to the point of people started to enslave themselves without anyone asking them to. Nowadays, the religious icons do not need to go into platforms to push for their ideologies like in the past, the people themselves will start to defend religion and raise flags of patriotism even though their rights are crushed, this programming is well done and it sickens us to see people suffer from their own doings.

When I listened to your album, I felt it contained a certain level of punk elements. From the artwork (and of course the anarchist symbol in the band logo) to the raw and direct sound of the record. I felt the music was truly rebellious. How do you feel about this?
You described it very well.

 In previous interviews, I’ve read some pretty strong convictions when it comes to religion. Can you tell me some more about your name and views?

As the name implies, we are sick from the religion and its affiliation, we are sick from nationalism and its idiocy, we are sick of the system and how it aimed to work for the specific class in society. We renounce ourselves from all of that.

You’ve used a lot of traditional or if I may say folkish elements and instruments. I’m very interested in what these are and where they originate from.

Typically, we used oud, Kanoon, Ney and of course darbuka.

As the situation in the middle-east seems to be changing in many places, what is the status of censorship, dangers, and liberties you are facing as a musician in Saudi Arabia?

No change in term of censorship and liberties. The claim in moving the country into liberalism is a hoax and no merely than a propaganda.

You have had, as far as I am aware, one face to face interview with a Dutch journalist. What was it like to do that for you, coming from a risky situation and meeting in such a manner?

As long as the interview was not done on Saudi soil and it is purely aimed at Dutch readers, we assessed the situation and agreed to it, after all, there won’t be any public prevalence of our identity. The meeting was fine, the interviewer was flexible and understanding, it was a nice meeting.

I understand that everything when it comes to facilities is pretty challenging too, from instruments, rehearsal spaces to recording and having music or merchandise. Can you describe that to me? Also how you work on getting your work to the label etcetera and influencing all the aspects of the creation.

It is very difficult; we do everything in the home-based studio, very discreet. We get our equipment from close by countries and online, usually the problems occur with getting guitars, there could be some questions, but we manage. We communicate with the label online, everything is sent online.

You pay particular attention to the certain symbolism in the words, but also in the videos. I’m very curious to learn how you do get to make videos, merchandise etcetera, even though there’s an obvious limit on what you can do. I understand you travel a lot, is that key for all this?

The merchandise is handled by the label, the music videos are also handled by the label, expect the last video was done by a Dutch friend. Yes, traveling helps a lot, we created good contacts around the world.

In a previous interview it was mentioned that due to a criminal record, the band would not be able to fully leave the country. How is that situation now and could you shed some light on what might constitute a criminal record in your country?

We can’t disclose any details on this question, all that we can say is what many people are thrown in jail for stating their opinion. Which is not considered a crime in any developed world.

Are there any other bands that play metal in your country at the moment and what sort of history does the music style have in Saudi Arabia?

None that we know or heard of. Saudi Arabia has little history of music, unless if you count national music as a musical event?

Are there any bands currently active that you would recommend?

Nothing that we can recommend.

I wanted to ask you if other bands faced similar difficulties as you do?

I don’t think so, as long as they are nationalist and with a side of religion, no problem at all. Maybe they will be misjudged for a satanic group, that’s the worst it can be.

What are your future plans for AlNamrood or any other projects?

To continue what we do, until one day when can leave and start a normal band life somewhere in the world. (AlNamrood is releasing a new record 

If you had to compare your band to a dish, what would it be and why?

Spicy course, because spices make your blood pressure goes up and your ear to ring and you will sweat if it not suitable for you.

Is there anything you would like to share?
Cheers.

Underground Sounds: Tempel – Tempel

Label: self-released
Band: Tempel
Origin: Norway

The rockers Tempel from Norway are a band of brothers, literally. Espen Gjermundrød (guitarist), Inge Gjermundrød (bassist/vocalist), Kjetil Gjermundrød (drummer), along with their best friend Andreas Espolin Johnson (guitarist), create an eclectic mix of rock music from up north. 

Their heritage is clear in the artwork, showing a wooden stave church as we know them well from Norway. This record is their debut and the identity and image the group brings across are immediately clear and tangible with this exceptional musical effort. All the way from Oslo, with their chest-thumping, t-shirt toting, balls to the wall heavy sounds! It appears no one has signed these guys yet, which is beyond me really.

Tempel instantly releases a barrage of rock’n’roll on ‘Vendetta’, with screaming, hardcore vocals. In the best tradition of Norwegian rock music, it kicks off with vitality and vigorous rhythms. At times their sound has a bit of that thick, black metal layeredness. but overall it’s big, Kvelertak and Skambankt-like waves of powerful rock music. The vocals are definitely the rougher edge this music needs to stand out from the masses, but the frantic drumming has a hand in that too (two hands, obviously).

Dense and fierce, the music never really lets down, but when you get that clear, all-piercing riff like on ‘Fortress’, it is as if the clouds are pierced. The phenomenal sound of Tempel is one I absolutely love. Ranging from bluesy riffs to rigid powerplay, Tempel blasts their way onto the scene with this excellent debut. It has all the catchiness of classic hardrock, but also the Norwegian ruggedness bands from their neck of the woods often produce. Surprising is therefor the emotional ‘Farewell, featuring Benedicte Edvardsen from Mowlith as guest vocalist. It only enhances the versatility this band has to offer on their debut record.

Kazar: Madagascar’s metal fathers

Madagascar probably invokes very different images, but metal has been on the island for decades and Kazar are one of the first bands on the African island. Center of the band are Lallah and Milon Kazar and have been since the start.

I got in touch with Nix Adkin, the latest addition to the band that is still growing strong. With only two albums in their decade-spanning carreer, the love has not diminished for the music genre that caught their attention back in the eighties.

Nix was kind enough to answer my questions about metal on tropical Madagascar.

Kazar

How are you guys doing?
First, we are full well!!

How did you guys get into metal music? What bands inspired you to make this music?
We got heavy metal through Iron Maiden’s songs! that’s our first influence and by the time, we discovered Slayer, Coroner, Metallica, Overkill

Lazar was started by the high school classmates! they have seen Lemmy (Motörhead) so, the band began to play. In the band, we’re not a really a family but we act like a true family.

Kazar is probably the oldest active band on Madagascar, is that correct? What is your secret recipe for staying together this long?Yes, Kazar is one of the oldest active metal band from Madagascar, the secret is just the mutual understanding and respect! It’s a Malagasy wisdom

You’ve released, as far as I understand two full length albums, one in 2002 and one in 2004 (titled ‘Two’). What was the reason that your production in 30 years is so limited and yet both albums came out very short after each other?
Kazar has 2 albums since 30 years. The reason is just that in your country, Madagascar, heavy metal can’t be considered as a job (showbiz) so the production wasn’t the priority.

What stories are you telling in your music? What messages and such do you try to put in your lyrics?
Kazar often tells scared scene, in order to encourage people to be brave to face fear.

When I listen to your music I hear thrash, power, and prog all in one. Would you say that describes the sound of Kazar adequately?
Thrash, prog, speed… Let’s be cool and just say “heavy metal”.

Madagascar as a country is a francophone nation from the past and now Malagasy is the dominant nation, your musical tradition has had influences from all over the place, how did metal come to Madagascar? Was it through French metal music or English? 
Metal came to Madagascar through English music. After the discovery of glam, metal came to Madagascar around the 80’s under the influence of Motörhead, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden… Different metal Malagasy bands were formed such as Green, Red MetalLokomotiv, Martù Gass, Kazar, Apost… The main metal genre at this time was heavy and thrash.Those groups often gave shows together through festivals such as Tohivakana metal and Big Rock.

Having your own traditions in music, is there anything of Malagasy musical tradition, instruments or songs that you use in heavy metal? Do you find there’s anything typical about Madagascar metal music? I have the feeling there’s something there.
You are right! We use Malagasy roots music with heavy metal! check the song titled “Mmpangalatr’omby” on YouTube.

How big is the metal scene in Madagascar and how did it get started? Can you give me a bit of history on it and your place in it? What bands pioneered the genre?

Big rock festival was one of the biggest Malagasy metal moments! It was started in the middle of the 90’s. This festival was conceived by some Malagasy journalists, the latest date was in September 2000… The reason was just no more promoter.

Are there any problems in acquiring instruments, rehearsal space, a place to perform etcetera? Do you face any limitations being from a country like Madagascar?
In Madagascar, metal is still an underground music genre! we really have problems with instruments, music tech, promoters, sponsors,…

Is there any censorship on music, any form of repression in your country? Do people understand what you guys are doing?
There is no censorship nor repressions but with the trunching-system (marketing system based on giving money to radio an TV tech to broadcast songs and video clips) tropical Malagasy music overruns all places on radio and tv.

Which bands from your country should we be checking out? And why? Have you seen a lot of them come and go?
About other bands, let me suggest you some young guys such as Behind the Mask, Beyond Your Ritual, Urban X Tribe(UXT Mada).

What future plans does Kazar have?
For the future, Kazar hopes to go abroad to participate in metal festivals.

If you had to compare your band to a dish (food) what dish would it be and why?
You make me laugh with this last question,😄…if we compare Kazar with a dish, it will be a Malagasy sausage + beens+ tomato sauce!!

Underground Sounds: Droid – Terrestrial Mutations

Label: NIghtbreaker Productions
Band: Droid
Origin: Canada

This may indeed be the Droid you are looking for. The progressive thrashers from Ontario, Canada have released an album that incorporates everything that is awesome. It’s considered progressive, but with the raw energy of thrash metal. These guys have an eclectic mix that just screams enthusiasm with this debut album ‘Terrestrial Mutations’.

Even the band name is very, very awesome. The sci-fi theme is something that always appeals to me and with a sound that puts them in league with the likes of Voivod (yes I went there), we’ve got some fun listening time ahead of us. The band has been releasing some stuff before, but since 2012 this is their first full length. It’s rather important for me to note, that they were called Wesley Crusher before, the character from Star Trek played by Wil Wheaton. Since my blog originally was titled ‘Wheaton’s Law’, I think we have a click.
The sound is remarkably clean, with a lot of space for frivolous guitar fidgetting and kick-ass riffing. The freedom that a lack of distortion allows is definitely a contributing factor to a great sound that is vibrant and full of crackling energy. The listening pleasure Droid offers stems from the same source, which also allows some little reverb here and there to make things sound just bigger than they are. What I’m also quite amazed by, his the freedom you feel in their music. Listen to the at times almost post-metal sounding ‘Temptation of Terminal Progress’, with its spun out passages. Sometimes it’s that little guitar riff in the thrashing, vibrant sound, like on ‘Abandoned Celestial State’ that does the trick in grabbing your attention.
At times the band has the frantic thrashy energy, that even leans towards some first wave black metal at times. Other moments, the vibe is much more old school thrash or even straight-up rock’n’roll. The futuristic themes and effects often add a different flavor to the music, that is hard to really pin down the style. On ‘Mission Drift’ it even seems like the band leans towards some mathcore at times. Just saying, this album is awesome. If a beardy guy in brown robes comes up to tell you this isn’t your thing, just tell him to fuck off.

1914: Metal and the Horror of War

Ukraine has always had a strong metal scene. Some of the bigger names are well known, but also sort of ignored in the west. That’s mainly in the more black metal side of things, but politics (usually a reason for censorship) are almost unavoidable for bands. The same goes for 1914, even though their main theme is the Great War of a 100 years ago!

The band 1914 has a fascination with history, particularly the great war, which heralded an era of darkness for there part of Europe. The idea of a Ukrainian nation was crushed for years during this period of turmoil by the Soviet Union. The world saw huge changes and took the shape it still largely has.

So I got in touch with Dmytro Kumar, frontman of the band, who is fascinated with the Great War. Not only does he find it a historic time that he wishes to explore, he sees a continuation of sorts in our current history. That and more in this interview.

1914: Eschatology of War

Hey 1914! Can we start by introducing 1914? Who are the band members and how did you guys get together as a band?

We started 3 years ago, on the anniversary of the Great War, in summer 2014. And as it usually happens, first year was spent for rehearsals, grinding in, crew changes. Actually crew changes finished just this summer. So 3 years ago (when we split up with my hardcore punk band) I just wrote to a few good guys in Lviv with proposal – let`s play some kind of black metal and sludge, what do you think?
They said – hmm.. good idea))
So guys, what do you think about WW1 theme, soldiers fate, despair and a lot of history?
They said – ok, man, don’t fuck our brains with all of this, it`s up to you))
And we started.

Did you play in other bands before? And where did the need come from to form this band?

Yeah, all band members had a huge musical experience in another bands and styles – hardcore-punk, grindcore, brutal death, black metal, stoner, noise, industrial, nu-metal, MDM. As for me – my music story was started 20 years ago with my first punk band. So very different experience, but when we started together we liked the result. I define our style as trench core
There a few past band of our members: Disentrail, Ambivalence, Ratbite, John B Gut, and ForceOut.

Your theme is mainly World War I and surrounding themes. What made this theme so compelling to you? Is it the drama of it or maybe its idealism?

I think this type of questions always will be at our interview and will follow us everywhere)) So about Great War:
Over 10 years ago I went into war archaeology, actually WW1 archeology. I love this war, this history, uniforms, weapons, armament, stories about battles, the fate of soldiers. I am a really big fan of Great War. Here in Ukraine, there were many battles of Great War – Brusilov`s offensive, Carpathian winter operation, Galician battle. All kind of troops was there – Russian, German, Austro-Hungarian, ottoman, Belgian, Romanian soldiers…they all here.
So I dig up dead soldiers – skeleton, with uniform, weapon, ammo, with all the stuff and wrote songs about their fate, silent death, their feelings, and fear.

I have always been inspired by this theme. I love films, books, stories, artifacts of this war. And no, it`s not about idealism. You cannot idealize any war – because war is always about shitty politics and bullshit propaganda, death, mud, mass graves, suffering, broken lives, despair. I just love history and this strange feeling – when you dig up a soldier, who died here 100 years ago, you sit down near these bones which once were human, with all human’s stuff – love, feelings, hope, some hobbies, maybe he was a beer lover, traveler, good musician, painter, maybe just good father or son, whose parents were waiting at home, you think – why and for what did he die? Why this fucking homo sapiens always killing each other? I don’t know, I just don’t have an answer.

Your music has a sort of grandeur to it, while not shying away from the dark and grim reality. In many ways World War I was a transition from one world to another. Is there a sense of melancholy or nostalgia to that for you?

Hmm…nostalgia. Yeah, maybe nostalgia is a right word. The Great War – this is the time when I would like to live, the strangest war, the last war of gentlemen and knights, the death of all empires, a time when the whole world was changed. I think my irrational love to this war and actually, this period of history was rooted in this word – nostalgia.
Fuck, typing this passage and understood what a boring old fart I am…

How did you find the sound of 1914? What sort of choices do you feel make you guys sound the unique way you do?

To be honest – I don’t know. A lot of rehearsals, good guys and a few bottles of moonshine. We`re just creating our songs the way we consider correct, with passion and every song some kind of a story about soldiers, how they died, their feats, about battles, gas, machine guns and tanks, about all of this deadly stuff of Great War, with all these emotions about nonsense and senseless war.

Are there any bands that inspire you and in what way?

As you can understand there are different musical tastes in band, so I’ll talk about mine
Music that I listen to and about influence – it will be a long list from Japanese noise to grindcore, from true BM to old school rap, from hardcore punk to industrial, electronic, death, doom, sludge, stoner.

Actually, I am a big fan of Misfits, Exploited, Anti-Nowhere League, New Model Army, UK Subs, Bolt thrower, Lake of tears, GBH, Paradise lost, Bathory, Grave, Obituary, Asphyx, Merzbow, Einstürzende Neubauten, Black flag, Mork Gryning, Aube, Mayhem, Bad religion, Darkthrone, Social distortion, Unleashed, Atrax Morgue and tones of old-school hardcore punk, death, true black metal from early 90`s and noise\industrial from 70-80`s. I fucking love Japan noise and some British and Scandinavian bands like Nordvargr, Dead Voices On Air, Cremation Lily, In Slaughter Natives. I`m a big fan and collecting releases of noise\industrial\ambient labels like Cold Meat Industry, Slaughter production, Cold Spring, Old Europa Café, Drone records, Ant-Zen etc. A lot of awesome new music we can have today and it`s great. If we talk about just one band what give`s me an inspiration I think it would be Lake of tears.

You’ve recently released the single ‘Stormtrupp 1917’. Can you tell a bit about that? Maybe what its about and what it signifies to you? (and is it related to the 1934 movie?)

This a first single from our upcoming album. About this song, we received different feedbacks, but mostly positive. The song is about German assault troops, and it’s neither about their glorifications, nor about propaganda or ode to Stormtrupp. No, it’s just a story from the first person, German’s soldier who loved to kill peoples and war. Because at the Western front this Stormtrupp were the most horrible and successful assault brigades. The same we have about Italian, British, Ottoman, Ukrainian troops. And yes, I wrote this song with a strong influence of this propagandist movie and book Storm of Steel by Ernst Junger, he was a German’s assault trooper, he was fought on the Western Front during the Great War. I even receive a letter with words like this – song about German soldiers with iron crosses, why? Are you a nazi band?

What could I say? Just no, it`s about human nature, homo sapiens behavior, history, and war. And – fuck nazis and all kind of totalitarian shitheads.

When I saw you live, I was quite impressed by the stage presentation and the outfits. It was quite powerful. How did you come up with this look and do you think it helps you to get into the state of mind your music requires?

Remember Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas?

– Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a serious drug collection, the tendency is to push it as far as you can –

If you know what I mean. If you get locked into a serious WW1 theme you cannot stop. So we use a some artifacts from WW1, some of this stuff I dig up by myself (all buttons, grenades, trench axes, helmets, etc) we use a real working Mosin–Nagant rifle as custom microphone stand, we use a lot of things to create an atmosphere of Great war – sounds of war, hymn samples, sounds of machineguns, speeches between songs about this part of history, old and rare video footage from WW1. Now we are planning to buy a copy of uniform from WW1 period (British, French, Russian, Austrian) and use it on the stage, so we becoming a real re-enactment. But all this stuff costs a lot of money, and I hope that some WW1 re-enactment clubs and teams will help us with this.

What role do politics play in the music of 1914? Dealing with themes of the World War automatically brings up connotations with the world we live in now. Do you put any of that in the music or does it play a part in themes you chose?

We’re 100% non-political band and we don’t want to have any relation to all that shit. To all that teenage ideology games within system boundaries. Yeah, we against all this bullshit like racism, nazis, commies, religions, all kind of discrimination and totalitarianism or any dictators shit. My only policy is to live, to love and to let others do the same. All the ideologies, politics, subcultures, games of movements that allegedly change the world can go fuck themselves.
War ended a hundred years ago, but still, we’re facing its consequences. Second world war, this monster – it’s an ugly child of Great War. All the geopolitics and Balkan conflict are the heritage of Great War. The Communist regime and the iron curtain, concentration camps and Third Reich, mustached dictators – this all started in the times of Great War. Arms races and conventions, tanks, aviation, chemical weapons – all stems from that time. Great War is way deeper and stronger in our life as you used to think.

I imagine being a band from Ukraine politics are impossible to keep out, seeing what the country is dealing with. At Kilkim Zaibu you paid homage to the Ottoman army who fought against the Russians You also drew a parallel with the modern world. Could you elaborate a bit on that?

As you know (or don’t) Russia invaded the neighboring country as usual. It’s their way of life – shit under every fence around, capture other’s land, and after all, that keep whining that nobody likes Russians. In fact, they invaded us again, as they did during last 100 years. Just the same way they invaded Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and so on, just like they once in the middle of Europe boldly captured Eastern Prussia and Konigsberg. This is what’s happening here right now – military intervention and seizure of territories. Of course, we’re all affected, I have many friends on the frontline now, my fellow musicians. It’s really hard to realize that in 2017 when Tesla rolls over the world and drives out fuel engines, water is found on Mars, Elon Musk plans private space journeys – our young guys are dying just because some insane post-soviet dictators imagined themselves to be masters of the world and invaded a foreign country. And Europe still feels deeply concerned with their tongue stuck deep in the ass. Such a position of frightened impotent. Or do you think these fuckers gonna stop on us?

How does 1914 create its music? Is it a band-effort or are there separate roles and one person in the lead?

I write all lyrics, concept and all this stuff. 90% of the music created by our guitar player Oleksa (Liam Fessen from 37.Division, Feldartillerie-Regiment Nr.73). He just brings to rehearsal some parts and ideas, let`s play this way this and this. After that I often just have a picture in my head – oh… this new piece totally about Somma or about panzer A7V or about a British soldier in the shell hole.

I imagine you draw inspiration from history material. Are there specific books or films that you would recommend as required reading for people who get inspired to dig into this part of history through your music?

There are thousands of great books about WW1, tones of documentary films and photos. Of course books of Gerard De Groot, David Stevenson, John Keegan, Alistair Horne, Erich Maria Remarque and Ernst Junger, Martin Gilbert, Irving Root, Christopher Clark, Barbara Tuchman, Pat Barker, Paul Fussell, Siegfried Sassoon, Dalton Trumbo….i can type and type a thousand names. There are great publishing houses like Pen & Sword, Schiffer Books, and Casemate Publishers, they published a lot of great stuff about WW1. Very recommended their books. About films – there is not too much good films about Great War, some like 100 I think. So if you started right now watch it all, one per day – you will be finished around early spring And of course BBC and History documentary films.

In what way should we look at history? Should we make it a guide for our future or should we see it on its own?

Just a simple phrase – Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

What future plans does 1914 have?

Tell about the Great War to the whole world, to all metalheads, to all military fans. Told this part of history to all who can hear it. Record a new fucking awesome album, make a video clip, collaborate w a th big label (first of all find one), playing tours and gigs in EU as much as we can, and of course – creating a good music and stories about Great War. Sounds like plan?

If you’d have to describe 1914 as a kind of food, a dish, what would it be and why?

Bottle of Carpathian moonshine with marinated cucumbers and homemade salo. Why? Have you ever tasted it? Because it`s fucking good!

Satanakozel: in the far north of Karelia

In the far north, metal has found fertile soil through the years. Finland was late to the party, but is pretty much the most metal nation in the world these days. Just across the Russian border though, a small scene has been brewing in Karelia. A prominent band in these parts is СатанаКозёл, which translates as Satanakozel (Satan’s Goat).

Though the band seems to be mostly having a good time, there’s a deep appreciation for nature, their lands and traditions inherent to Satanakozel. Their last album, titled simply ‘Север’ (North) is a testament for that. Though never very prolific due to their inherent issues (you’ll read about that soon), the band has been a staunch touring group and loves their metal.

I found drummer Nicolai Kuskov willing to answer some of my pressing questions about making music in Karelia, touring, the relation to Finland and how reverence for the nature goes together with good old fun.

Can you kindly introduce yourself and tell us a bit about how Satanakozel got started as a band?
Hello! I’m Nickolai Kuskov, the drummer and the co-founder of Satanakozel. Me and Vasiliy Kozlov started the band in 2002 as a nameless duo, in 2003 we have got the first full line-up and started to rehearse as SK. Nowadays SK is a 5 piece band:
Vasiliy Kozlov – guitars, vocals, folk instruments
Nickolai Kuskov – drums
Dmitriy Dobrynin – guitars, vocals, keys
Vladimir Savvateev – guitars
Dmirtiy Makarov – bass
I must mention that we never thought that it could grow bigger than just another garage band, we never had any special goals, we played music only for our own good, nothing more, nothing less. Great that it grew in a something bigger.

What bands influenced you and made you want to make this type of music?
I suppose most of the readers can recognize these influences, the bands from Finland, Scandinavian bands had a huge effect, also the folk music from our region did the job!

I can definitely hear some Finnish influences in your folk metal sound, would you say that is correct and is there a connection between bands from Karelia and Finland?
Yep, you’re right, we are impressed with the Finnish and Karelian folk music, which are quite similar. We share our myths and legends with Finns and, that is why there’s a connection. We do not have a lot of metal bands from the Russian side of Karelia, so I do not know about the rest.

How would you describe the message that Satanakozel has for the world? In biographies you’ve written you’re free from politics and that the band is about nature worship and fun. How do you bring those together?
Well, one would think that our lyrics are full of humor, jokes and so on, but the serious meanings are hidden under the mask of fun. The song ‘Pivovar/the brewer’ is an example, it may sound like the song about how good is to drink beer 24/7 but the real meaning is telling the listener that heavy drinking leads you to death. With the latest album we did a few serious lyrics, the topics are WWII, North and its power, but still we have enough humor.

How did you guys come up with the name? I understand it’s a silly sounding name in Russian and it started as a joke, but how did it stick with you for a good 15 years?
It was a local joke. The ex-keyboard player put our band on the roster of the festival under that name, because we had no other ideas how to name the band. I think we didn’t even think about it. We wanted to change it, but we never came up with anything better, haha.

So what is Satanakozel up to these days? It’s been awhile since ‘North’ came out. Can you tell me a bit about what direction you guys are planning to go in?
We are looking forward to start composing the new album. The biggest problem is Vasiliy Kozlov, our main composer, lives about 400 km from us. It is quite hard to get in touch with him because there’s no mobile coverage, internet or even basic phone in his village.

We tried to gather together at his place to compose something, but it all ended with a vodka and beer party… Still, we have a lot of ideas for the future songs, looks like it will be even more “metal” than “folk” as we did on the last album. Personally, I’m tired of all these shitty pseudo-folk metal bands with the same melodies, same sound, same lyrics.The style itself became too boring, there are no great newcomers and the veterans do not care about the quality of their music.

Also, we would like to have as many gigs as we can. We already did a few tours in Europe, this summer we’re going on the road again.

You clearly identify as a band as being from Karelia or being Karelians. How important is this identity for you and in what way does this appear in your lyrics as it is written that you guys use Karelian folklore in your lyrics.
It is very important for us, especially for me and Dmitriy Dobrynin because we both have Karelian roots. Our cultural heritage gives us a lot of inspiration to compose the music and the lyrics, we have lyrics about characters from local folk tales and legends such as Priest Sivolday, Kullervo from the mighty Kalevala Epic.

We identify as Karelian, though that doesn’t mean we don’t like our mother Russia, it’s just simply closer to our hearts and spreading our culture is important.

Since most people don’t know much about your part of the world, can you give some general outline of what the folklore and mythologies are like from your region?
Is mostly the same as in Finland, it is based on Kalevala Epic, also we have Russian folklore.

What does nature mean to you? Is it something that is generally a large part of your lives?
Northern nature is definitely a big part of us, we spend a lot of time in the forests. Vasiliy Kozlov earned his living for a few years in hunting and fishing, so you may guess that nature and its gifts are the most important part of his life. It always will be the biggest influence and inspiration for us.

It appears that there’s quite a little metal scene in Petrozavodsk. Can you tell a bit about that? You have described yourselves as a DIY band, is that what the scene is like there as well?
There’s no metal scene, Petrozavodsk has been mostly punk/hardcore town, just 2-3 bands and these bands are the side projects of SK members. I can mention only heavy metal band Aspaziya, great USSR metal style!

From the very beginning, we’re trying to do everything without any interference from aside. I run my own recording studio, where we record our music and I do the graphic design for the band. Dmitriy Makarov is in charge of the mixing and mastering process (he did the sound of the “North” album)… I think the DIY thing is the best way for independent musicians, go DIY now!

What bands should people really check out from your region (and why)?
Antimelodix, Minuala, Ork Bastards, Soli Diabili Gloria, Meti Bhuvah, Sattuma, Santtu Karhu & Talvisovat, Myllarit, Toive folk ensemble, Kantele state folk ensemble.

In a sense Karelia is a remote part of the world. The only way to go farther north is Murmansk. How do you think this shapes the music and words that you use?
As I said before the nature of Karelia is the main influence for our music & lyrics. I have nothing to add, just turn the latest SK album on and try to feel it. I highly recommend you to visit Karelia, especially the Paanajarvi national park.

You’ve chosen to be a-political as a band. How did you get to this decision in a world that is so overly political these days? Especially living in such border region. Is this a decision as a band or are you guys also not interested in politics as individuals?
Yep, we are a-political band and it was our choice since we started SK. We all know what is going on in the world, but we never trust the news from the state TV channels, even the independent media became corrupted. Seems like most of the people in Russia are completely brainwashed about the rest of the world. I’m traveling a lot and talking to the people from different countries, that’s how I make my conclusions.

So, what does the future have to offer for Satanakozel?
We’re planning a summer Eurotour with Grai & Gjeldrune, also we will try to get together to start working on a new record. I think that’s it, no special plans.

Final question, if you had to describe yourself as a dish, what dish would it be and why?
Lohikeitto, fish boiled in milk, sounds weird, but the taste is awesome! Try it once.