Svartahrid is a thrilling Black Metal band from Norway who had their debut album released on the notorious Napalm Records label. Featuring members of Mactatus, Svartahrid play classic Black Metal that is both moody and melodic, relaying tales of Viking adventures in a grand, epic fashion. A member of Svartahrid finally answered my e-mail, and let me in on all the news on the forthcoming storm of the mighty Svartahrid!
Highwire Daze: Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in Svartahrid and how long the band has been together.
Svartahrid: In Autumn of 94 Forn and Istar Formed a band called Svartahrid --Forn played drums, Istar guitars and vocal. In 96 Illvastarr joined on bass. Shortly thereafter Beorn began to play synth. In June of 98, we recorded our first demo containing the songs: "Forthcoming-storm" and "Herskende I blod." After 4 - 5 months we got signed with Napalm Records. In January of 99 we recorded our debut album in Akkerhaugen sound studio. The album was called "Forthcoming storm" and was to be released 25/10/99. The album was inspired by Norse myths, and battles between the Norwegian kings. Today the band is Forn: Drums, Istar: Vocal, Guitar Illvastarr: Bass. Beorn left shortly after recording the album. We have no plans replacing him. Forn will do all synth in studio.
HD: Where is the band from and what is the music scene like there?
Svartahrid: We come from a place in Norway thatís called Telemark. There are a couple of bands here that are interesting. You have Emperor, Myrkskog and Mact„tus, but mostly its boring folk music and trad. rock. The blackmetal bands are few so we all know about each other. But itís still not accepted by the common people to play this glorious music. F*ck `em all!!! There is a upcoming band called Transcendent here, so if you get the chance check them out.
HD: Describe the music of Svartahrid to someone who has never heard it before.
Svartahrid: We try to create older sound than the typical BM bands of today -- trying to keep it non-technical, to create that grim style. If we had to explain the music with few words, bombastic and majestic would be a good explanation. We have always listened to the creators of this style like, Venom, Celtic Frost, Bathory and Darkthrone also a lot of Motűrhead. So we are absolutely inspired by the early extreme metal-bands.
HD: What exactly is a Svartahrid and how did it wind up the name the band?
Svartahrid: When dark clouds are building themselves up in the horizon and a storm is coming, that is Svartahrid. Itís an Old Norwegian word used by the Vikings when they were out on the seas. We thought it was a cool name, and it fitted the lyrics and style of our music. So it was a natural choice.
HD: Where do you get the ideas for the lyrics?
Svartahrid: I usually take a trip to the mountains or any other place of great nature. Then I get inspired to write about Norwegian history and the fight against Christianity. I have also read a lot of Norse mythology so that has also inspired me a lot. Sometimes when Iím in a bad mood, itís a great way to get out frustration and anger. But most of the time my inspiration is the Norwegian nature.
HD: Which member is formerly of Mactatus and why did they leave?
Svartahrid: Illvastarr and Istar are formerly of Mact„tus so Forn is still playing his shimmering synth in that band. Svartahrid was formed long before Forn and Istar joined Mact„tus.
HD: Has the band ever played live before and what is (or would) a live show be like?
Svartahrid: We have recently played in a pub in our hometown, and that was our first concert ever. It went great -- lots of people, good response and good sound. We donít use face paint because everyone is doing that, and itís a bit glam. We try to focus more on the music and not so much on theatre, but we hope to use smoke and bombs later on but weíll see. Of course it is a must with brutal guitar sound and lot of drums and bass.
HD: What do you think of the state of today's Black Metal scene?
Svartahrid: I donít know so much about todayís blackmetal scene because I donít listen to too much of the new stuff, in fact I donít listen to much black metal at all. Itís so many bands that itís impossible to keep track of `em all, but it seems to be a trend that all must be very technical and fast. I donít like this trend very much -- thatís why we try to bring back the old way of making Black Metal.
HD: What do you think sets Svartahrid apart from other Black Metal bands?
Svartahrid: We are a trio, which is quite rare amongst the BM bands today. And we donít use face paint and have that satanic image. On our next album, which we are going to record in August, September this year, we will use lesser synths, so thatís pretty rare too. We are going to keep our old school style, so you can say we are against the trend.
HD: Any chance of Svartahrid playing here in the States?
Svartahrid: That would be great, but itís up to the record company. We have not heard anything about that from Max and the Napalm crew. If we get an opportunity, we will be there.
HD: Which bands do you like that aren't heavy metal?
Svartahrid: I listen to a lot of melancholic music like Nick Cave, Pink Floyd, etc. The most important part in all music is the mood and I like the melancholic and dark moods of music. And none can create more depressive moods than Nick Cave, so he is excellent.
HD: What was your favorite CD of 1999 and why?
Svartahrid: That is a difficult question but I think it must be Darkthroneís "Ravishing Grimness" because itís excellent old school BM. The sound and riffs are awesome and the drumming rules. This album is a must for all BM fans. So if you donít have this album, buy it immediately!!!
HD: Do you have any messages for Black Metal fans here in the States?
Svartahrid: We are going into the studio in August this year to record our next album. It will be about when god met the Norwegian winter. We hope to get it released late this year or early in 2001. We have no title yet but it will be more aggressive and with lesser synth and keyboard. We look forward to hear your critics about it and we hope to come over and play in America sometime.
FORTHCOMING STORM by Svartahrid is available from Napalm Records!
NAPALM RECORDS: The record label for Svartahrid!
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