(Our Norway-based contributor Karina Cifuentes brings us this new interview with Andreas Vidhall of the Swedish band Stilla.)
Stilla is an interesting band with a distinct sound. Their artwork is pretty somber, cold, organic, and melancholic, and so is the music.
The last album Skuggflock has some Darkthrone-ish influence and I simply love that. Another band that I like for the same reason is Hate Meditation. But in spite of those common vibes, you can’t really say the bands are alike. I prefer to use the word “vibes” since the degree of presence and the way in which a band let their influences flow into their own compositions (whether consciously or unconsciously) varies so much. Personally I find it delightful to listen for those details, it keeps it interesting.
Skuggflock gives you a bit of Ulver-like ambience at times, but it can switch to avant-garde Arcturus style, slighty goth, and even stoner. It’s complex if you pay attention to the details, but everything is done in a subtle way, not messy or overwhelming. It’s just enough detail and change to enrich the musical experience. You can say Stilla dwells both in the past and the present. They have succeeded in composing an album that gives you the ’90s BM vibes while incorporating diverse influences that render it modern — but not so modern as to call it “post-black”. I think they have kept a balance, and that also makes the music enjoyable.
(Norway-based Karina Cifuentes returns with this interview of Jørn André Størdal, composer/guitarist of the Norwegian metal band Fleshmeadow, whose debut album Umbra we premiered and reviewed here just last month.)
Fleshmeadow are a pretty interesting band. They have a relentless, tight tempo that reminds me of Keep of Kalessin. They have the Norwegian sound roots firmly in place, but have dared to blend in sounds from other modern metal styles, including drumming patterns that range from straightforward powerful BM to a more blues/postmetal subtle elegance. When it comes to the guitars you’ll find BM-oriented harmonics and pretty techy scales that at times blend to conform again to a BM pattern.
So it is varied and textured. It is a refreshening musical experience, if you take into account the amount of black’n’roll that is coming out of Norway now. Layered over a powerful drumming discharge is a subtle atmospheric layer skillfully created with the guitars. So it is both a beautiful and intense musical experience. This is a good solid release that deserves all your support.
(We present Karina Cifuentes’ interview of Erik Molnar, one of the guitarists in the Swedish band Hyperion, whose 2016 album Seraphical Euphony appeared frequently in our readers’ year-end lists and is indeed damned good.)
I have not made any end-of-the-year list and I probably won’t do it this year neither, because I think it’s difficult to rank albums, so I prefer to stick to interviews at this time of the year. I chose Hyperion this time, an excellent band from Sweden.
Metal music to me is pretty closely connected to my emotions and I really appreciate it when a band gets me to feel something, and even more if it manages to awaken a wide variety of emotions. That’s one of my main criteria for a band to make it to my personal egalitarian list.
Hyperion is just one such band. Their music evokes a wide range of emotions, and I love that. Seraphical Euphony is a pretty interesting album that has a really well-structured composition and it succeeds in giving the listener awesome epic buildups and symphonic elements. Interspersed throughout the album you will find both melancholic and merrier tunes beautifully entwined with powerful Black and Death Metal riffs and a totally relentless and crushing Swedish style of drumming.
(Karina Cifuentes, who usually brings us interviews from her home in Norway, brings us some welcome news this time — and first reactions to the music.)
I’ve been actively looking for bands to interview or write about lately, and it’s getting difficult to find something that isn’t generic, synthetic, lacking feeling, or flawed somewhere. Lots of bands out there are just trying to fit into some pre-existing mold either musically or image-wise, and it may get tiresome and rather boring to go through them while looking for some jewel, but well, I keep doing it because something really awesome always comes to compensate for everything that’s uninspiring.
So today I got to listen to something really awesome that is going to be released on February 10. It’s Nidingr’s new album! if you are a Mayhem fan, you may know of them. It’s Teloch’s side project. Teloch is one of those guitarists who has developed a unique sound. (I wish he had taken more of his own style to Mayhem’s latest album). Teloch’s style is pretty harmonius, elegant, and absolutely representative of the Norwegian sound. So this is what you should expect to find in Nidingr’s new album.
Norway-based metal writer Karina Cifuentes brings us another interview, this time with members of Sweden’s Mist of Misery, whose new album Absence we premiered and praised in a review at our site here.)
So, you guys are by no means amateurs. Tell us about your other projects, and have any of you been to a school of music?
Mortuz: I have several other projects, such as Eufori and Soliloquium, and yes, I have been to a school of music, or rather a school of audio engineering several years ago.
Phlegathon: I also play guitar in Hyperion. For a while I studied various musical courses at The University of Stockholm, but I would not regard it as such a particularly serious undertaking.
(Norway-based metal writer Karina Cifuentes returns to us with this interview of frontman Doedsadmiral and guitarist Nord of Nordjevel (“northern devil”), whose self-titled debut album was released at the beginning of this year, and who recently released an amazing video for the song “”Djevelen I Nord”.)
I think Nordjevel is one of the best new bands that we have right now here in Scandinavia. But the fact that the band has a solid sound and a pretty professional image has a lot to do with its experienced musicians, so please tell us about your background and what elements of your other bands you have brought with you to Nordjevel…
Nord: What do you mean by “pretty professional?” Haha. Well, we have been around the block a couple of times, and we had a really strong vision for what Nordjevel would be. It changed a bit along the way, as visions tend to do, but it was only for the better.
(Norway-based NCS contributor Karina Cifuentes brings us this interview with Sina, the man behind From the Vastland, whose new album Chamrosh was released last month by Immortal Frost Productions.)
You are from Iran, but moved to Norway, tell us about how did this happen?
Yeah, true. Well, it is a long story, but to make it short I can say I had another band when I was in Iran, and back in 2007 one of my albums was released on vinyl here in Norway, and then I got an email from the producer of the documentary film Blackhearts and he told me about his project and how he discovered my band by that release, and then everything started from that point when I got the chance to come to Norway and play my show at Inferno Festival. Later in 2014 by help of the Safemuse organization I moved to Norway to continue my music works here.
(Norway-based metal writer Karina Cifuentes returns to NCS with this interview of guitarist Jeff Liefer and vocalist Jason Keyser of the band Crator, whose line-up also includes drummer John Longstreth and bassist Colin Marston. Their debut album The Ones Who Create : The Ones Who Destroy was released last month and can be streamed at the end of this interview.)
I think Crator is the best of all the bands you play with (Origin, Krallice, Skinless) and it makes it sound pretty unique actually. Why did you guys feel the need to start this band? What are you aiming for with this project?
Jeff: The aim was to create something punishing, dark, and cerebral. Our styles clash to create a production whose sound diverges from our separate projects yet still retaining each individual’s creative signature.
(Norway-based Karina Cifuentes returns to NCS with this interview of Andy Marshall, the man behind Scotland’s Saor, whose new album Guardians will be released on November 11. Photos by Land of Light Photography.)
When it comes to composition of both music and lyrics, do you need to have a particular mindset or do you need to be at a particular place to compose?
I don’t need to be in any particular place but I like to take my acoustic guitar with me when I’m visiting my family’s cottage in the Isle of Skye. It’s really remote and the landscape from the garden is stunning. I also get a lot of inspiration from hill walking or when I’ve been out exploring in the wild. Sometimes it just takes a film, book, or soundtrack to trigger my creative side. I usually start out with a guitar riff or melody then start adding other instruments. As for mindset, I definitely have a place in my head I go to when I’m writing Saor material. It’s total escapism.
(Karina Cifuentes returns to us with this interview of Norwegian musician Per Valla, founder of Vredehammer and Valla and former member of Abbath.)
Tell us about yourself, your musical career so far…
I was born and raised in a small town in the north of Norway called Mo i Rana. Here I lived a typical small-town life with typical small-town friends and typical small-town dreams. When I was around 15 years old I injured my knee, and my dream of becoming a professional football player instantly died.
That same day after leaving the hospital, I went to our typical small-town music store, and the first thing I saw when I entered was a VHS with the amazing John Petrucci on the cover — entitled Rock Discipline. I bought the fucker and from that day on I started practicing guitar and my focus on being a professional football player quickly turned into working towards becoming a professional metal guitarist, preferably lead guitarist.