Sign of the times – a conversation with Dolk (and Ask) of Kampfar!

Gosh, how long has it been since I last spoke to Dolk, frontman and mastermind of Kampfar?

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It’s a pleasure to catch up with familiar faces, and what better way for me to pick his brain on Norwegian society and traditions again, than before their London gig with Hate and Iskald?

 

Drummer Ask Ty got to chip in with his two cents, to boot!

 

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Live from The Underworld – Ann talks to Aage, from Iskald!

When you’re from one of the smaller scenes in your homeland, it must be amazing to be able to travel abroad and play gigs in other countries.

It certainly looked to be the case, for Iskald’s drummer and co-founder Aage André Krekling.

 

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Right before the band got up to play the first act for Kampfar and Hate at the Underworld on April 3rd, I was lucky enough to snag a few minutes to sit down for a brief talk about touring, the Bodø scene and more.

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Doom or Be Doomed – Ann talks to Nick Ruskell of Witchsorrow, at Damnation 2012!

It’s a small world, and it gets even smaller at festivals. You never know who you’re gonna bump into – that guy who remembers you from two years ago, that band you love but are too shy to speak coherently to, or the frontman of a new band you’ve discovered – as it were, at Damnation Festival 2012 last weekend.

Say “Hello” to Nick Ruskell of Hampshire’s traditional doom act, Witchsorrow

You may know him as the Features Editor of Kerrang! Magazine, but Nick is at heart an old school doomhead. I’d been told to get in touch with him before by friends, ever since I first ventured into the lifestyle of being a metal blogger, so when the chance to grab him for a few minutes in the press room came up, how could I say no? He loves doom, I love doom, we both love heavy metal more than we do other subgenres of metal – this was an interview jsut waiting to happen.

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Art drawing from Art – Ann talks to Chris Hector (AHAB)!

Whenever it comes to pointing out the merits of heavy metal against the complaints of its (often repetitive) detractors, the connection between genre classics and lyrics (be it JR Tolkien, or even the Bible, if we think about it that way) is one that frequently comes up time and again.

In itself, this isn’t anything unique to metal – music as a whole constantly returns to this or other cultural forms to create its own concepts and direction, and the relationship between literature and music is only testament to the knowledge that art does not exist in a vacuum.

In the case of particular niche genres of extreme music like funeral doom metal, such a relationship makes for immensely dark sounds [best heard with the lights down if not switched off - Ann's recommendation], as heard from the German band AHAB. To listen to an album of theirs is to feel dragged down into the bottomless pits of the ocean, owing to the grand role played by Moby Dick and other whaling adventures in their work.

I managed to catch guitarist Chris Hector, so he could tell me more about this relationship between music and words, and how it came to be for the newest record ‘The Giant‘.

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Sounds of A Generation – Ann chats to Jon Rossi of Pilgrim

Much of what’s toted today as rock music leaves much to be desired in my eyes. Hair gel’d fringes and indie rock sounds aren’t what I consider even remotely close to what rock music is and what it’s about, though most of the youngsters of today seem to dig it. A lot.

Mainstream rock music, let alone heavy metal, has mutated into a different beast altogether, which – though (sadly) inevitable – seems to build up ideas in many young people’s minds of what these genres are and where they’ve come from.

(Happily) inevitable, is that there are and will always be exceptions to this pattern, such as the three youngsters in the heavy rock/doom metal band Pilgrim, signed to Poison Tongue Records (founded and managed by Primordial’s Alan Averill; a man whom mainstream media has begun to recognise as an established name in the heavy metal underground).

It was refreshing in more ways than one when I sat down to talk to singer/guitarist Jon Rossi, otherwise known as “The Wizard”. How often do you come across musicians emerging into their twenties these days, who still revere the legacy and history of their favourite music these days? Well, I haven’t.

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Heavy Metal Philosopher – when Ann talked to Oscar Carlquist, of RAM

In the world of music, there are often two camps of thought – those who have got something to say, and those who just want the attention. It’s obvious that both can easily conflict with one another, and even in the “outside” sphere of rock and heavy metal this is an issue.

So it was interesting to play the latest record from Swedish heavy metallers RAM, and then read the comments of vocalist/lyricist Oscar Carlquist in an issue of Zero Tolerance, where he speaks highly about bands having a responsibility for what they say, and what they mean.

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An Interview with Tenhi – Ann talks to Ilmari Issakainen!

Soon I’ll be gone for some time… I shall head Northbound, where it snows, and I may learn something amidst the wintery falls.

What is it that the North (of Europe) can teach me, about what I am and my state of mind? How much will I see some of the human condition in nature’s indifference to our existence?

Perhaps someone can give me an idea of this… someone wise, and meditative.

 

Someone like Ilmari Issakainen, from Tenhi.

The clock is ticking before my journey, but not fast enough that I can’t ask him some questions about the North, as well as the Finnish neofolk maestros’ latest effort “Saivo”. But first things first, eh?

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An interview with Isole – Ann talks to Crister Olsson!

2011 was an interesting year with some ups and downs, yet what better to help mark the end of it with one of the bands that made it to my Top 20 albums list, Isole?

Always on top form with their brand of crushing, doom metal with majestically reaching vocals, Isole’s newest effort ‘Born from Shadows’ delivers more of the same quality that fans have come to expect from them, yet with a few differences here and there.

Though tired from his work as a forklift driver, frontman and guitarist Crister Olsson was kind enough to talk to me about what it was like to create this album, as well as how the commitments between fatherhood and musicianship may intervene with one another.

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An Interview with Primordial – Ann talks to Alan Averill!

There’s deep, self-reflection, and there’s deep, self-reflection.

And then there’s Alan Averill “Nemtheanga”, of Primordial.

A band that need no introduction if you keep your finger on the pulse of Metal – or if you’ve been paying attention to the Metal Hammer Golden Gods Awards – Primordial have always been unwavering in their dark, hard look at the world and its ways. So how could I say no, at the chance to speak to frontman and underground champion Alan Averill, especially about their newest offering ‘Redemption At the Puritan’s Hand’?

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An interview with Kampfar – Ann talks to Dolk!

It’s riding, it’s riding… the Devil in Red…

I’ll be honest with you – these words were stuck in my mind after I first gave Kampfar’s newest record a spin. So much so, that I’ve even put it into the second episode of my online radio show which you can listen to here. Yet at the same time, I was curious – the devil, the huldre, mare (a creature that causes nightmares in Nordic folklore), the blitzwitch – what did it all add up to?

So it was a stroke of luck for me, when the chance to ask lyricist and frontman Dolk had arrived.

Though there was another thing I wanted to discuss, first of all.

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