Monday, October 1, 2012
Warseid... The Next Enslaved?
Country of origin:
Symphonic Folk/Black Metal
Nature, Norse Mythology, Fantasy
Joe Meland: Guitar (lead), Keyboards, Accordion, Vocals (2009-present)
Kyle Cushman: Bass (2008-present)
Kellan Hilscher: Drums (2008-present)
Logan Smith: Vocals, Guitar (rhythm) (2008-present)
Andre Cailliet: Guitar (rhythm) (2011-present)
The Interview (Answered by Kellen)
1. If you could, describe the process in making this album. What was the toughest part of that process?
We started writing music for WFLU sometime in 2010. I don't exactly recall when, but it took us about a year to complete the writing process. We all have a hand in the writing and we're very particular when it comes to it. We never settle.
We were ready to record summer of 2011; we had Cory Scheider at Old Dark House Studios lined up as our sound engineer. At the time thought, The Old Dark House Studio wasn't equipped to record drums so we had to find another location to record them. We went through a few people and places that just didn't work out and it ended up taking us six months to find a location to record the drums. That was the most difficult part of the process, but we eventually were able to record the drums ourselves in the basement of a close friend of ours, Ty Christian. Once the drums were done, the rest of the production went smoothly.
2. What bands/albums are the most influential to your sound? I definitely heard some Enslaved in there.
When we formed we took a lot of influence from bands like Moonsorrow and other blacker folk metal groups, but we've moved in so many directions since then. It can be difficult to pinpoint specific influences of our music. If I recall correctly I was listening heavily to Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk (Emperor), Navigator (Endstille), and Carach Angren around the time of writing WFLU. I was also getting into non western percussion. That conglomeration was kind of the base for Shackles Through Sand. We listen to Enslaved from time to time, it's definitely possible that some of that could have gotten through haha.
3. Where did the name of the band come from, and furthermore; what does it mean?
A lot of our interest and influence (musically and not) comes from pagan traditions and mythology. Seid or Seidr is a type of magic which was practiced by Norse pagans in conjunction with Norse Mythology. Really that's all there is to the name. We stuck war in front of it for less inspired reasons.
4. Is there a theme to this album, and if so, what is the message that you are trying to convey with it?
There is a theme yes, it's contained in the lyrics to WFLU. It's a story we wrote ourselves to tell alongside the music. It doesn't have any profound purpose beyond what the listener see's in it. We're not interested in preaching our beliefs or criticizing those of others, so we wrote a story that the listener can just take at face value and enjoy.
5. How do you feel about the general state of metal in 2012?
Wow! Good question. I think it's as alive as it's ever been, but I feel that you have to dig a lot of the time to find truly original, important music. In most sub-genres of metal there is a massive saturation of groups that either intentionally or unintentionally emulate and capitalize on what is popular, and a lot of that goes right through to the record companies because it's what sells. There is a lot of the same thing in the mainstream. So, it can be a real challenge (but I think it's vital) as a supporter of the scene to dig down and find innovative bands, because a lot of the time they are not heavily advertised. Really, its about how far you are willing to dig. There's some phenomenal stuff in the underground.
6. I heard you guys incorporating some flamenco guitar into what I would term "Viking Metal." Definitely a unique idea, that shakes up the Viking metal camps just a little. What was the idea behind this?
Brandon, our lead guitarist (at the time), has been studying a lot of classical guitar. So, we had the opportunity to incorporate those skills in our music, and we did so.
7. Are there any books, films, or video/computer games that you might recommend?
I don't read a lot of novels so I can't recommend any good ones that people don't already know about. I do read a lot of text books about mythology, religion, and history though.
I LOVE horror movies. Check out Frontier(s), Ils (Them), Seed, Martyrs, Grave Encounters. I'm going to stop there because I don't want to ramble. Also, you really can't go wrong with Asian horror.
As for video games, I love them but I don't play them as much as I used to. I'll skip the ones everyone knows and suggest Mount and Blade (awesome independent PC game), Katamari, and anything from Squaresoft before they became Square Enix.
8. What do you guys do when you're not making music?
Nothing terribly exciting. We go to college, hang out and play video games, sometimes play dungeons and dragons. A couple of us are proud nerds.
9. What was it like touring with the likes of Epica, Blackguard, Skeletonwitch, The Agonist, 3 Inches Of Blood, and such?
We never actually toured with any of those bands. We just supported them for a few shows when they came by Wisconsin. It was a great experience to be sure, but we didn't tour.
10. Do you have any interesting stories to tell us about the tour? Maybe some silly tales of partying or being on the road?
Last winter we went on a tour with a few other Wisconsin bands: Atreus and Casket Robbery. We had to cancel our show in Minneapolis a few hours before it started because everything went catastrophically wrong.
We got to Minneapolis early in the afternoon and decided to kill time at the Mall of America, so we parked at an iHop across the street and hung out there for a few hours. At 6:00 pm we got a call from Atreus (who was hauling our gear) that their van broke down two hours outside Minneapolis. We high tailed it back to our van to head out and help only to find that both our van and our merch guy's car had been towed. So, we spent about 30 minutes getting a cab and made it to the impound lot just as it was closing. It was too late to get our gear at that point so we had to cancel the show and the whole venture ended up costing us about $700. That's definitely the craziest thing that's happened to us on tour.
11. What do you guys think of being on a major label? Have you been approached yet?
We haven't been approached yet, but we also haven't been actively searching. There are some labels that we would really love to be on, and we fully intend to pursue that goal in the near future.
12. I'm sure that you've head the conspiracies of solar flares and 2012 doomsday scenarios. As we know, this is all fake, but what would you guys do if it really happened and our planet was without electricity for months, or even years?
Hahaha, I guess we'd go unplugged for a few years. I'm sure we could make due as an acoustic group. The real challenge would be going without video games.
13. If you had the choice of an apocalypse (no matter how silly) to bestow upon the Earth in order to cleanse it; what would you choose?
I think a massive war between the damned and divine would be pretty awesome. Massive mythological beasts ripping through metropolis, Goliath sea monsters ten times the size of airship carriers, chaotic demons staggering out of giant fissures in the earth. Watching an actual war between titans would be pretty killer.
14. Finally, what are some ways that you guys think we could actually mend our broken world?
My guess is you can't. But getting rid of the multinational corporatocracy that governs the western world would certainly be a start. At the very least the media conglomerates.
Thank you for making such an incredible and refreshing release in the metal scene, and for your answers as well. Maybe you'll come down to Little Rock, AR; my neck of the woods, sometime!
Thank you for the kind comments and we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us! We 'd love to play in AR someday soon!
Warseid - Where Fate Lies Unbound (PR2012) - Warseid has been a band since late 2008, but they've gone through many changes and additions, becoming the well-equipped party of metal bards that you see in the photo. Upon listening to this 2012 EP, I automatically knew that this was a band that I wanted to interview and I feel grateful to have been able to do so. But more than that, they're an American act that I wanted to bring to your attention. Black metal has done some amazing things here in the states, where bands Agalloch, Absu, Krallice, Abigail Williams and several others can humbly stand toe to toe with some of Norway, England and France's best.
This is just the kind of album that further proves this statement is not useless fodder. For Warseid are able to mix their black metal seamlessly with both classical and folk instruments, flamenco guitar, and elements of Viking metal. Though the EP isn't quite as produced as something that would be on a major, this is pretty damned good when you're funding it out of your own damn pocket, and that's exactly what these guys did.
The wonderful mix of melodies and black metal prowess, "Frost Upon The Embers 6:24" is most certainly the highlight of this disc, due to the fact that it contains so many different layers of folk, melody, prog, technicality and atmospheres that really showcase this band as being good enough to stand in the ranks with heavyweights like Agalloch. Yes, they really are that good. "Shackles Through The Sand 7:40" might not be your choice for an opener, as I've never yet heard an album of this nature open with flamenco, but it is a refreshing (takes a breath) of fresh air in the metal scene.
I've also got to recommend the slightly more epic sounding, "The Vengeance Pact 5:36." This is just another one of those songs that comes from nowhere. Sure, you hear the whole epic atmosphere and black metal, but when it switches gears and goes into realms of extreme technicality and then into a progressive jam fest, the only words that pop into my head are: "THIS BAND WILL MATTER IN THE NEXT FIVE, TEN, MAYBE EVEN TWENTY YEARS." and personally; I like that feeling. I can tell when I hear quality, originality, workmanship and gentlemen who know how to play their instruments. I'm even going to go out on a limb and say that these guys could hold their own against current era Enslaved. There's impeccable drumming, guitar work (and solos when used), and the folk instrumentations just fall right into place. Also, the use of synths help to enhance the songs here, not overblow them, like some bands... (Ensiferum.)
The final track on the disc "Farewell 11:24" is a little bit of a ballad with light and flamenco guitar, but it rounds out into the sort of experiments that we might expect from another such band that took eight years to deliver the same effect (Wintersun.)
This disc is only thirty-one minutes long, but I'm sure just like the new Autolatry EP, Land; you'll want to play it over and over again. I'd certainly recommend this disc (while folky) to any and all fans of extreme metal, because the band is brimming with talent and it's a truly incredible release that came out of nowhere. This might even be my favorite folk metal/Viking metal album of the year, and it's only an EP. If this is what these guys can showcase in half an hour, let's see what they'll do with an entire sixty minutes.
I have absolutely no complaints here. These guys might do as much (or even more) gaming as I do, but they certainly polish their music just as much as they polish their controllers. I usually don't like EP's, but since they've been as good as Agalloch's Faustian Echoes, Autolatry's Land, and this disc; I have to say that I'm definitely becoming a fan of them. I guess that sometimes a band doesn't need to do a full-length to matter.
Go check this out. One of the best EP's of the year.
Highlights: All (31:00)