Apart from being a staple of the UK shipping forecast and consistently failing to progress from the qualifying stages of the World Cup, the Faroe Islands are still a relatively unknown quantity for many people. However, proving that Metal really does occupy some of the least charted territories of the globe, the little archipelago located 200 miles north of mainland Scotland is actually home to several bands, most of whom are located within the walls of its capital, Tórshavn. Continue reading
Never have I listened to a band that made me want to learn about more about mythology, the band’s country of origin, their heritage, and their language all in one sitting. If you’re a Týr fan, you’ve most certainly been down this rabbit hole every album cycle – I can’t count how many times I’ve spent my spare time doing endless Google searches learning about mythology and Vikings as well as reading and reciting Faroese lyrics while getting lost in the beauty of their music; it’s like getting high without doing drugs. Continue reading
Having a thriving metal scene and more gigs on an area the size of a pinprick on a globe, it’s surprising that the Netherlands doesn’t really have any big outdoor summer metal festivals, like Wacken, Hellfest and Graspop, ever since Dynamo Metalfest called it quits and recently revived in super small-scale all we’ve had is Fortarock. With its three stages and two-day lineup, it’s still charmingly small for the big boys, but it manages to pull impressive headliners and after having taken a break for one year, it sure is back in 2018. Continue reading
Týr fans rejoice! The Faroese folk metallers have announced that they will be returning to North America later this year with Orphaned Land, Ghost Ship Octavius, and Aeternam! Continue reading
The 2017 Hellfest Open Air Festival will be taking place from June 16th-18th in Clisson, France next year, and the final lineup has now been confirmed. Continue reading
The Royal Metal Fest 2015 will be held at Atlas and VoxHall at Aarhaus, Denmark on April 10-12, 2015. The lineup is:
– Týr (FO)
– Destruction (DE)
– The Petulant (DK)
– Diamond Drive (DK)
– When Water Runs Deep (DK)
– Anaal Nathrakh (UK)
– Belphegor (AT)
– Majesty (DE)
– Broken Hope (US)
– Internal Bleeding (US)
– The Walking Dead Orchestra (FR)
– Hell’s Domain (DK)
– Swindler (DK)
Týr has toured heavily for their latest release, Valkyrja (Metal Blade) a grandiose record that nicely showcases their brand of Viking/Folk Metal. Complimenting the strong performances and evolved sound is a different lyrical take on their usual subject matter, showing how powerful and influential the women were over the men. At their Atlanta, GA stop on the Halo of Blood tour, bassist Gunnar H. Thomsen and guitarist Terji Skibenæs were kind enough to grant Ghost Cult an interview before their set, chatting with senior editor Lynn Jordan.
It’s been one month into the tour; how is it going so far?
Gunnar H. Thomsen: Very good!
Terji Skibenæs: Everything smoothly, so far, yeah.
What has been your favorite place so far?
TS: It’s always L.A. for me
Hopefully you’ll like Atlanta.
TS: We like Atlanta too. We’ve been here many times before.
GC: Good! We love our Metal down here.
As the opener, is it difficult putting together a set list?
GHT: It’s not that tough, the tough thing is we have to leave so many things out.
What song did you have to leave out that you really wanted to squeeze in?
GHT: Many (laughs). We know there are a lot of songs that people want to hear, especially the songs with a lot of the choir stuff in it.
That is hard to duplicate live.
TS: But we get a good response for being the first band.
Have there been a lot of people yelling for songs during your set?
TS: Yeah, they’re screaming about it every day, wanting a longer set, but we can’t, of course.
So how is the new material going over?
GHT: It’s going down very well with the audience. Really really well.
So there isn’t a lot of, “Yay, that’s okay now play an old song”?
TS: No, we only play two old songs, the rest is from the new album.
I love the new record, so I don’t have a problem with that.
GHT: We haven’t had any negative response for playing the new stuff. Only thing, is, again, is they wish it were longer.
Since you’ve been getting such a positive response, will you be back in the States any time soon?’
TS/GHT: Oh, yes!
As part of a festival or on your own?
GHT: We are going to do a few festivals.
TS: In Europe, not in the U.S. Are there any festivals here?
(laughs) Europe has the best festivals. What is the biggest festival your going to play?
TS: The next big one is probably Copenhell in Denmark.
Cool, so that’s like a homecoming show.
The new songs have a very triumphant and upbeat quality to them. What do you attribute that to? Did you let the storyline set the mood or did you already have that kind of energy going into the writing process?
GHT: It’s really always whatever we come up with.
TS: Yeah, Someone will come up with a riff, then when we’re done, Heri writes the lyrics.
Do you think this record is a a culmination of the sound you’ve been seeking over the last couple of records?
GHT: Yeah, definitely, definitely.
TS: The style we heading in now, yeah.
GHT: It has turned into something that we all really like. It’s more interesting for the audience.
How did the concept for the new record come about?
TS: Well, we’re always writing about Viking men…
GHT: So, we thought a little bit of sex.
TS: A bit more of that!
How did the track “The Lay of Our Love” with Liv Christine come about? Did you have her in mind?
GHT: Heri met her at a festival…
TS: …And he was invited to sing a song with them at the festival.
GHT: She wanted to do the same thing with us, do a song on the record. We already had the song, so it was an obvious choice.
That’s great considering the concept of the record.
You guys did a high production CGI video. What was the experience like, and would you do it again?
GHT: I LOVED it.
TS: I love it. I will never do outdoor again. I hate that. We all do.
GHT: It was really easy.
TS: A lot of people doing everything, makeup….(laughs)
Do you have an idea for the next video or what song it will be?
GHT: Fire! Fire! More Metal!
TS: Yes, so people won’t think we’ve gone soft with this latest video.
Any new songs?
GHT: Pretty soon we’re going to start working on the new record.
TS: We have to start getting new material. But it always takes time.
GHT: It won’t get recorded until next year.
Do you find it more challenging doing covers of popular songs like ‘Where Eagles Dare’ or ‘Cemetery Gates’ rather than something more obscure?
GHT: No, for us, this was something that we decided a long time ago that we were gonna do. The record companies always want a bonus track, so we decided to take a favorite song from each person in the band. So we each picked one…that’s the way it came along, so it’s not really challenging, it was pretty straightforward.
TS: Yeah, we just record it.
GHT: We just focus on doing our best, and not try to imitate it too much, I guess.
When you guys are not touring or making music, what are your hobbies or interests?
GHT: Diving, I worked as a plumber.
TS: I’m a tattoo artist. That’s pretty much all I do.
How do you book folks with your schedule? Do you go to people or do they come to you? Do you have a shop?
TS: People write me, email…they to come to me, to Faroe Islands. From Denmark, Finland…
GHT: Sometimes he will have it on tour.
TS: Yeah, but it doesn’t work when you’re the first band, you don’t have the space, and it has to be clean.
Is there a music scene on the Faroe Islands, and are there any bands we should check out?
TS: There’s a cool Metal band call Hanferd.
Since Gunnar you’re in Denmark, how did you guys rehearse for the tour.
GHT: We don’t rehearse. We just practice at home. And we send files when we’re making the songs, we just record them on Protools, or whatever and write down the tablature and send an email to the next guy.
So what about preparing for a tour?
TS: We rehearsed a few days before in order to get it together, that’s all. (GHT) lives in Denmark, so he doesn’t come.
GHT: I do my best (laughs). It’s something we have to do, but it’s not easy. I didn’t realize it was that far from the Islands to the mainland.
Folk metal or Viking metal, whichever you prefer to call it, is a sub-genre that really seems to have taken off over the last decade, with an abundance of successful acts coming through, many of which hail from the Scandinavian plains. Tyr are a Faroese three-piece who have been riding under the above musical moniker for quite some time, as their name, subject matters and often chosen singing tongue all have roots in their Nordic heritage. Tyr however, isn’t your typical Viking metallers, a point personified in their new album, Valkyrja (Metal Blade).
A conceptual album loosely surrounding the tale of a Viking warrior who sets off to battle in order to impress goddess Freyja, Tyr’s seventh studio output doesn’t rest on their previous laurels, with a ballad even making its way onto the album. Recorded with Leave Eyes leading lady Liv Kristine, ‘The Lay of Our Love’ works surprising well on the album, even if it is a shock upon first listen. As for the rest, Valkyrja slips from progressive moments to heavy riffs and power-laden rhythms, with songs such as ‘Mare Of The Night,’ ‘Another Fallen Brother’ and ‘Grindavisan’ bringing some respectively hefty, technically brilliant and grandiose moments to the fold.
The real magic on this album however lays in their bonus tracks, which come in the form of Iron Maiden’s ‘Where Eagles Dare’ and Pantera’s ‘Cemetery Gates.’ Whilst both are fantastic renditions, their version of Dimebag and co’s masterpiece is truly astounding with justice thoroughly being given to a track that most heavy metal bands wouldn’t dare to touch, never mind genuinely make their own. Another triumph for the Faroese metallers, their mission is apparently to break down the heavy metal walls and with Valkyrja, their quest certainly seems to be all the more closer to fulfilling.
The New England Metal and Hardcore Festival is entering its fifteenth year as one of the most successful and longest running shows in the United States. Taking place every year at the Worcester Palladium, which is the metal capital of New England, the show brings in diverse acts from across the heavy metal spectrum and fans from all over. This years’ show runs from April 18th – 21st. At the center of the chaos of the weekend is the relatively chill promoter extraordinaire, Scott Lee. As an employee of the company Mass Concerts, Lee founded and helps put on the show every year. Ghost Cult caught up with Scott to discuss all things Metal Fest with about one month to go until the curtain goes up on the weekend. Continue reading