Pages Navigation Menu

TBF chats with Invisus, the “mad-scientist” behind Blodhemn

Posted by on Feb 24, 2015 in Featured, Interviews | 0 comments

Like an impending great wave, Blodhemn – a one-man-band that has raged since 2004 – is approaching, ready to crash onto the forefront of the black metal scene. Described as ‘no-nonsense thrash’ (Blodhemn.no) producing music that ‘remains in memory’ (Metal Only), the Norweigan artist Invisus appears to have a lot more to offer in the future for all devoted metalheads. We chat to Invisus, the sole member of the band and musical scientist behind the madness, to find out more.

  1.       Tell us a bit about the history of Blodhemn – how did it begin?

I started Blodhemn back in 2004. At the time I lived in Fedje, a tiny island off the west coast of Norway. There wasn’t really any suitable people around to start up an extreme metal band with so I decided to do every instrument myself. The first years were spent mainly gaining experience – practicing my skills with the various instruments and making demo tracks. Early in 2008 the first demo, “Logical Madness”, was released, followed by the EP “Brenn Alle Bruer” in 2010. In 2012 the first full-length album “Holmengraa” was released, the second full-length album, “H7”, afterwards released in November 2014.

  1.    It’s amazing that you write and compose all of your music yourself during the creating and recording phases. What motivates you to make your music on your own as opposed to forming a band?

Thank you. I cherish the freedom of having Blodhemn as a one man band. I can do exactly what I want and not have to compromise with anybody. Off course there is an ego motive also.

  1.    Is there a particular message to be heard behind your music?

Yes, every song has a different meaning and message of course. I am not going to speak specifically on these themes…

  1.    Who are you biggest influences?

There’s no particular artist or band. There is no way of telling what is going to influence me musically. I draw inspiration from lots of music from a wide spectrum of genres.

  1.    You’ve been on tour with Mayhem – how was that?

We did a European tour with Mayhem in November 2014. The tour went great. We reached a lot of new audiences and got to promote the release of “H7” properly.

  1.    So tell us about your live performance history. Are there any particularly memorable gigs that spring to mind?

Blodhemn did not start playing live until early 2010. We had two really good gigs on the recent tour with Mayhem; Riga and Stockholm. The Riga gig had really good audience. Stockholm had the best audience of the whole tour. We also did a cover of Tormentor’s ‘Elizabeth Bathory with Attila Csihar on vocals’.

  1.    Would you say that your music has evolved over time in any way, and if so, how?

Brenn alle Bruer was the more straight forward, aggressive release. “Holmengra” was kind of more melodic and maybe not as “edgy” as BaB. The newest album, “H7”, is the most liberal and most experimental of all the releases. In general I think I am moving further away from TNBM with every release.

  1.    What are you working on now? Any new albums to expect?

I have finally picked up the guitar again, after a long pause. So yes, I have started the process of writing a new album, but i’m barely getting started.

  1.    Is there anything else that you’d like to say to your fans?

I would of course like to thank for all of the support! Skål!

Read More

Amon Amarth, Huntress and Savage Messiah go live and make us go wild

Posted by on Jan 30, 2015 in Featured, Gigs, Tours | 0 comments

bySteveBrown_004-572x404

Not to completely state the obvious, but I really enjoy metal gigs. Shocker, right!? It’s not all what you think though, for there is a reason beyond the music itself that I love them – there is also something further, something in the atmosphere. The room, for want of a better word, feels genuine. Probably something to do with the fact that all the people within it are not giving a rat’s ass about how sweaty they are or where their shirts have flown off to, or who they happen to be punching/hugging/crying over at any point. The mood is something different, the crowd and the bands feel “connected” (I appreciate that you might be vomiting right now, don’t worry the corny moment is nearly over), controlled by the spell that’s cast by the musicians onstage who rule the rocking roost with a powerful, vital presence.

Honestly, this “heavy-metal-genuine-and-also-awesome-presence” exists. It’s not the liquor talking. And it was most certainly felt last night as Savage Messiah, Huntress and Amon Amarth rocked the stage at Stylus under Leeds University. A raw, electric energy stormed the room from the very beginning, stirring the crowd as the opening act, Savage Messiah, burst into rich metal with no gentle awakening. The heavy metal rockers from England have toured extensively since their culmination, and their experience in live performance indeed showed. The four-piece band produced flawless vocals, immaculately timed rhythms and, basically, dished out a perfect heavy metal platter to their hungry listeners. Not only this, but they were excellent rabble-rousers, encouraging synchronized fistbumping, headbanging and instigating the moshing merriment which would carry on throughout the night. It was the perfect act to kick-start the show – the kind of music which you could feel through the floorboards, shaking you. In particular their final number, ‘Minority of One’, prompted an enthusiastic response as the crowd screamed and formed quick, semi-naked moshpits (which were only going to increase in number and X-rated value throughout the night).

Savage-Messiah

Savage Messiah, roaring heavy rockers who all have better hair than me

Post-Savage Messiah madness came Huntress. Trust me when I say that there is no way that I could state the following which wouldn’t be an understatement – that this band, out of all of the evening, had the most amazing, formidable presence and mighty stage power. Jill Janus, Huntress’ frontwoman, stalked onstage wearing a long, fur-lined cloak with massive spikes protruding from the shoulders, enchanting the audience with her jagged movements and incredible vocal range, the likes of which I could barely begin to comprehend. Indeed, it is especially apparent that this band has it all in the way of vocals – Janus can scream, sing operatically, reach both fever high and bassline low pitch. The crowd went wild for them, and were given the treat of hearing a new song – ‘Flash’ – from their upcoming album, which promisingly seems to foreshadow more excellent, ferocious music from these unique and talented performers. Indeed, they even joked with the audience in-between songs, an amusing contrast to the violent and rousing music that emanated when they played. The audience were also invited afterward to meet them at their merch stand after the gig, a friendly gesture that showed that not only do Huntress – apologies for my French – really fucking rock, they have a big heart for their fans.

Huntress-BandSmall

Huntress, masters of live performance

Following Huntress came, of course, the headliners Amon Amarth, a Viking death metal band from Sweden. Coming up to this gig I was incredibly excited at the prospect of seeing these men perform live (just how Viking exactly would it be)!? You have to be pretty epic, after all, to be in a band which focuses largely on Viking history and mythology. There is little history of a finer ilk. More than this, I had read that Amon Amarth based their name on the Sindarin name of Mount Doom – that’s right, from J.R.R. Tolkein’s Middle-earth. Ladies and gentlemen, it does not get more badass.

Except that it does. And that is when you see them live.

Flagged by an enormous backdrop on which you could only assume a legendary fight was occurring (as it sported a man wearing a large horned helmet and red cloak, and some sort of beast that I couldn’t quite make out but who was probably getting seriously murked), the men came onstage through dim blue lights and a heavy, eerily melodic violin intro. Johan Hegg, the frontman, immediately burst into screaming vocals, as the guitarists headbanged side-by-side in sync. The brilliantly responsive audience seemed to be on another level at this point (probably 70% of them also being a little bit drunk, myself included) raising their fists in homage to the band and shouting the lyrics back at Hegg. Again, there was absolutely no falsity from these musicians – they grinned at their audience, had a word or two in-between tracks and truly spread the metal love via choral invitation and punching allied fists in the air. From their synchronized movements to the impeccable harmonization of voice and instrument, you could really sense that this is a band who is truly meant to play together. And they love it. Johan Hegg belongs to a mic. Fredrik Andersson belongs to the drums. Ted Lundström belongs to his bass. And so on so forth. This is not a sense of belonging, either, that goes to waste, for everything that they did was worthy of admiration. Each track oozed complex musical craftmanship, every guitar solo more mindbending than the last. The vocals throughout were unfailingly gritty fueled by a warmongering stamina which never flaked. Amon Amarth have acquired, seemingly, the unnatural ability to never tire, as the night simply descended into heavier and heavier madness with really no guarantee of stopping. They inexorably thrived, their music coming alive through their organic and dynamic performance.

Amon Amarth

Amon Amarth: intimidating beards but really nice guys

Indeed, on comparing the performances given by each band last night, there are a few things that are obvious. Although all bands belong loosely to the same genre, and indeed complimented each other well onstage, they also all have their own, definitive styles. Savage Messiah are, in my mind, more classic, never-gets-old heavy metal rockers, whereas Huntress adopt an occultist theme and possess a hardcore frontwoman to boot. I may almost have said that Huntress stole the show, but Amon Amarth were nothing short of legendary and, of course, had the awesome unique twist of being, basically, modern Vikings themselves.

Another thing is, also, glaringly apparent. This music – although immense-sounding through your speakers – should be appreciated firsthand. The enigmatic presence of each band brought the music itself even further to life (I do get the pun, “death metal” that is “brought to life”, haha very funny) and the experience became that of a thrill, as opposed to just headbanging wildly in your computer chair. The moral of this tale, then, is this: see them perform. Catch this tour, if you can, because they really do work well together. For if what I witnessed yesterday was anything of a foretelling, Amon Amarth – as well as Huntress and Savage Messiah – have many great years of touring ahead of them.

Read More

The Black Flag speaks to Medusa’s Julian Molinero

Posted by on Dec 8, 2014 in Featured, Interviews | 0 comments

Pegged as “the bad boys of metal” by FMV Magazine, Medusa have been creating and developing awesome, raw music for a while – and if you haven’t heard of them yet, you better make sure that you’re paying attention now.  Beloved by us here at The Black Flag and becoming only bigger and better with each new release, we decided that it was high time that we chatted to their front-man, Lancashire-born Julian Molinero – the band’s creator and constant since formation – to find out about their third album and Medusa’s general badassery.

10147920243_37e91b13ab

TBF: Tell us about Medusa. How did you meet and form a band?

Julian: Well it’s one band but I started it when I was fourteen and in school so it was with school friends at first but then that dissolved. It’s a three-piece band so it’s had different bass players and different drummers. The current drummer is Stefan Hale and the bass player is Milo De Nack. Everyone starts music when they’re young but I just happen to have kept the same band – we just matured.

TBF: What’s been your best moment as a band? 

Julian: Best moment would probably be making the albums.

TBF: Who would you say your main influences are and  have they changed over the years?

Julian: The first gig I ever saw was The Buzzcocks when I was fifteen, so that influenced it, but mainly just punk and alternative stuff, like Nirvana and The Offspring. I deviated from that when I was around twenty – I kind of got into that guitar solo type music like Van Halen, and the band changed a bit for a while – but now it’s gone back more to how it was when we were fourteen, more like punk.

TBF: Tell us about your new release – ‘Headcase’s Handbook’. What can we expect from it?

Julian: It’s stripped-down, simple punk.  All of our music is honest, lyrically – the opposite of political. Human experiences and stuff like that. Maybe you could call it a confessional-type, personal work. I write all of the lyrics – the drummer and bass-player add to it and make it better, but before we go into practice I already know exactly what it will be, though they improve it by doing what they do. My parts are already completely decided by the time we go into the practice room. That’s what I’m most interested in now – the songwriting side of it. I don’t think about my voice or anything, it’s just the overall thing and hopefully they turn out to be good, powerful songs.

TBF: Do you have a favourite track on the album?

Julian: No (laughs). I just don’t feel that I would put anything out that I wouldn’t like. I like them all but in a different way – it depends what mood I’m in, I guess. A lot of people keep saying that The Sweetest Elixir is their favourite but I don’t know. Maybe in ten years I’ll be able to see it all more for what it is. I think that everybody must like their own music to an extent just because they made it, they had a thing in their head of what they wanted to do and they created it and then have to justify putting all that effort in, especially if they’ve made sacrifices to be able to do it.

TBF: Are there any stories behind any of the songs?

Julian: I think it’s just there in the lyrics! It’s not mysterious or anything. I guess they’re all stories but they’re not all full of metaphors or pretentious or anything, just embarrassing stories (laughs). Kind of like Weezer’s second album ‘Pinkerton’ which is really confessional – I was bearing that in mind, not throughout all of it but through some of it. I wanted to do a similar thing. And that guy (Rivers Cuomo, Weezer’s frontman) was really embarrassed by his album but it was like my favourite thing ever. It’s just good to be really, really honest, to talk openly about your life, whether your love life’s a disaster or whatever. But our album had a different type of production, it’s a more polished sound so it might not sound the same as ‘Pinkerton’ but it has a similar structure. However, I don’t think I would chase that kind of songwriting again if I could possibly help it, because I think writing in that style encourages you to make a self-sabotaging trap where you chase things going wrong in your life for the songs.

TBF: What’s coming up following the release? Will you be releasing any videos with the singles, and any clues as to which?

Julian: We’re kind of planning to make a video in mid-January for the opening track Sid and Nancy. I had to contact loads and loads of child acting agencies and variations of that to try and find kid-actors – two ten year olds, a boy and a girl. The boy is a normal kid feeling lost and down, and he meets this girl and decides to become a punk so starts dressing really crazy and stuff, but then because he’s gotten so crazy he realizes that he’s gone too far and his life is even worse. We’re just going to try it – it’ll be out next year anyway! After that we’ll maybe make just one more for The Sweetest Elixir because people seem to like that one the best.

TBF: I had a look through your previous video releases and really enjoyed Tinkerbell. Any tales about that one?

Julian: We’ve made three videos so far and that was the first one where I directed it. When we did the first one, the video guy wouldn’t let us do what we wanted in places. With the second one I went all out with crazy ideas and hired a midget and stuff. I kept it a secret about hiring the dwarf to the camera guy so he turned up and after we were in the limo for a little bit, we then picked up the dwarf and a little later when we were all drunk by the Thames, on the raw footage you can hear the camera guy laughing to himself going “Oh my God”, surprised at the craziness of what was going on.

We were drinking properly as well – it’s not fake in the video – it was all just spur of the moment stuff. We actually filmed it on my birthday – it was really stressful directing it and being involved in it at the same time. And I did the cartoons for that one – the ones which aren’t digital, of the band and stuff but that’s my first and last attempt at being an animator!

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RCaU40zdJtc[/youtube]

TBF: Where will you guys be performing next?

Julian: The thirtieth of January at Nambucca in London.

TBF: Anything else that you want to say?

Julian: The album can be downloaded for free from the Bandcamp page (http://medusaworld.bandcamp.com/album/headcases-handbook). The music’s free – we don’t care about the money! We just do it for the music, and music’s not the right way to get money.

You can also find Medusa news at: 

http://www.medusaworld.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/medusauk

 

Read More

Reporting on Skindred live at The Welly Club: a performance like you’ve never seen

Posted by on Dec 1, 2014 in Featured, Gigs, Reviews, Tours | 0 comments

Skindred2012ThrashHits

On Tuesday the 25th on a frosty November evening, I and about two-hundred others packed ourselves into an intimate room at The Welly Club to experience the “Ragga Metal” band from North Wales, Skindred, perform live. This is a night I will always remember. You could tell that there were people there who had already seen a Skindred gig, and knew what we were all in for. I had been an amateur to such an experience – but nothing could have prepared me for it. Watching Skindred perform has added a whole new dimension  to my experiences of live music, and I could sum up this entire review with one sentence: that they are the ultimate band to go and see with your own eyes. This is a total guarantee. There is nothing like them – and I feel like I am quite late in experiencing this revelation. They have already been awarded with “Best Live Band” at the 2011 UK Metal Hammer ‘Golden Gods’ awards, and granted  the “Devotion Award” from Kerrang! magazine. Indeed, their onstage presence is a force to be reckoned with, as the band have presence and talent in seemingly all areas of music and entertainment: mixing reggae, metal and punk influences along with jungle, ska, hip hop and dubstep, a beautifully executed mashup delivered with ecstatic dexterity.

From the very beginning of their set the band surprised us, bouncing onstage to a remix of the Star Wars opening theme tune. The audience was completely gripped – a state of total attention that I have never before witnessed at a gig, yet Skindred completely deserved such attention. There was not a moment’s silence for the whole set, each member of the band pouring tremendous effort into bringing their tracks to life and communicating personally with us. I think you would be hard-pressed to find somebody who wouldn’t enjoy them – even if you believed that their music wasn’t for you (which seems to be impossible, as they cover such a wide range of musical styles) it is undeniable how entertaining the lead singer, Benji Webbe, actually is. After every couple of songs, the eclectically-dressed and multi-talented singer would pause to joke with his audience, encouraging us to sing with him and making dynamic, short speeches, building a truly electric atmosphere in the room as we responded to him. At one point he asked us how many of us had bought his music over the years, to which we responded with a cliche “woo” and airpunch, the given audience-response to live artists. He then asked us how many of us illegally downloaded Skindred’s music, to which an even louder “woo” was given. His answer was roughly this – “*laughing* you’re all a bunch of c****s. The next song you’ll probably all know then from STEALING IT you b******s”. Webbe’s genuine attitude was brilliantly witty, and – cheesy as it is – really created the feeling that we were all good friends: unified by humour and a passion for the band.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fv2iOUQqCks[/youtube]

Each live track, of course, was amazingly executed. You could distinctly tell that they’ve have been in the industry for years (since 1998) as their talent is so raw it’s basically palpable. They covered songs from their older albums, like “Union Black”, including a version of Cut Dem which began with Damien Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock and my favourite song of the evening Doom Riff, alongside tracks from their newest release “Kill The Power”, which came out in January this year. Webbe can go from throaty, ominous screams to fast-paced, energetic rapping in 0.11111 seconds, keeping the audience in a constant headbanging state as each track switched between styles. Not only this, Webbe switched styles like he switched his look, wearing a Steampunk-style tophat at the beginning of the night, before later swapping it for a fluffy red hat, roaring passionate vocals into the mic whilst sporting a fairly adorable look, making the audience possibly love him even more. I cannot mention enough the pure energy that Skindred pours into their live performances, both in delivering their music to a crowd and entertaining them between songs. These efforts did not go to waste,  the adrenaline in the room only spiralling higher and higher until tiredness seemed to become an unknown concept to us all. There is no doubt that Skindred really loves their fans,  shown through their constant attention to us, a love which further perfectly mirrors their ethos of unity between all people.

Benji’s dynamic personality and Skindred’s rousing music practically bounced of the walls Tuesday and have left me feeling slightly empty and a little nostalgic since. I would recommend an extensive listening to their music as it can only inspire and excite you more to go and see them for yourselves, but stay away from YouTube live videos. Let that be a surprise. It’s worth the wait. Book your tickets.

Laura Demaude

Read More

The new Blodhemn album, “H7”, is quite something to behold

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 in Featured, Record Releases, Reviews | 0 comments

The upcoming album from Norweigan Black Metal band Blodhemn, entitled “H7”, is fated to impress. Continuing on the path paved by the genres musical predecessors, including bands like Immortal and Gorgoroth, Blodhemn – essentially a one-man band commandeered by the multi-talented Invivus – manages to create an iconic, aggressive sound that captures the listener with relentless beats and a medley of savage riffs. After an excellently received first album, “Holmengraa” (2012), the band is back to stun again with this phenomenal second release.

Due to come out on November 10th, “H7” consists of seven punchy, rousing tracks, reminiscent of the Black Metal tradition whilst also being distinct to Blodhemn’s particular style. The music almost dares you to listen, drawing you into its unique strain of old school metal combined with dynamically thunderous and raw sounds. Invivus’ dark guitar work is magical (or, should we say, black-magical) and serves as the driving, urgent force behind each track, matched with ruthless vocals that particularly resonate in the opening number “Flammenes Virke”.

Blodhemn are renowned for being phenomenal live and on listening to this album you can only imagine how incredible it must be to translate Invivus’ raw music to the stage. Instantly big with the underground scene on their fruition in 2004, Blodhemn’s live presence is heralded by existing fans as mesmerizing, a must-see for all fans of both Invivus and the metal genre. Even through their recordings it is obvious that Blodhemn masters creating atmosphere – an atmosphere once again spreading as the band have announced their first ever European tour to promote the release of this album and support metal band Mayhem, commencing on November 2nd. This remarkable testament to the Black Metal tradition will be (and already is by many) adored by fans of the genre, and those who have not yet listened to Blodhemn I invite – and urge you – to do so.

Tracklist:

  1. Flammenes Virke
  2. Slettet Av Tid
  3. Evig Heder
  4. Veiten
  5. Andenes Ansikt
  6. Fandesvenn
  7. Holmengraa
Read More