BlackHelm is a band from Florida, recently created, with one Ep in the streets, released last year under the name of Lore. But these guys are busy with other projects, even some Viking Metal…, as you will read. No rest for them, good for us, the fans, especially when the goods they deliver are so powerful. Here is the chat with Miles Neff, the guy who started BlackHelm’s fire, we could say.
Hello Miles, the band was created in 2014, can you introduce yourselves a little?
Greetings! The starting point for BlackHelm is a little fuzzy, but I think it’s safe to say 2014 was the year of inception for the project. It started after I got home from a North American tour with Tampa-based band, The Absence. After that tour ended, I knew I wanted to start with something fresh, so I started writing a lot of music, revisiting old riffs and piecing together songs. It took a little time to figure out the logistics of getting everyone together. Kevin and Keith Byrd were on tour in Europe with their band Seven Kingdoms at the time while Tyler plays actively in Within Us and Andy and I were busy with Fathoms Pass. Eventually things started to shape up for the debut EP Lore and our live debut, opening for Arkona this past October.
You are from Tampa (Florida), an area with a long tradition in Metal. Have this influenced your career in any way?
First off, I truly appreciate the fact that I grew up so close to the music I love. Although you don’t hear the Tampa Death Metal sound in our music, it has been great to live in an area with venues that welcome Metal bands of all types.
Last year you released your debut with the EP “Lore”. How do you define your Metal?
It’s really tough to nail down ONE genre that would define us. I generally tell people that we’re a European influenced Heavy Metal/Power Metal band with some Melodic Death Metal mixed in.
How was the process of creation of your album?
The songs for Lore were written over a several year span. I think the first riff was written in 2009 for Way Of The Sword. It didn’t really come together until everyone in the band was able to put their own influence into the songs though.
One of the things I mostly appreciate is the dark touch you put in your compositions, not everything is hapiness in your music…
It’s great to hear that someone appreciates that. I’ve always been drawn to the darker sounds myself. You’ll hear prominent use of the harmonic minor scale all throughout Lore. Music can be very moving emotionally, and it’s great as a musician to be able to express those feelings with a riff.
My favorite song is The Pit because of its versatility, what do you think?
Listening back to The Pit, I definitely think it stands out a little from the other songs. It was originally written for a previous band of mine and was changed around to be used by BlackHelm. As a musician, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut while writing. For me, The Pit was my attempt to write something a little different.
When “Lore” ends I have the sensation that I want more, I need more… When are we going to get a full-length from BlackHelm?
You’ll definitely be hearing more from us. We will be working on a full length in the future, but now we are actually working on another EP. It may be strange to release two EPs in a row, but I think it’s important for us to be able to release new music quickly. It’s also a good chance for our sound, writing and even production to mature before taking on the task of a full length album.
It will be welcome anyway, and review in this site too. Are you promoting your album doing gigs around or you are just focused on the composition of new songs?
As I mentioned, we did play a great gig as local support for Arkona back in October. We may play a few occasional shows when everyone’s schedules allow for it, but for now, writing and recording are the main focus.
You have other parallel projects or you are only concentrated in BlackHelm?
Both Andy and I have been working on an acoustic Viking-Folk project under the name Heimdallr for a while now. Tyler plays with his own band Within Us while Kevin and Keith are working on new material for their band Seven Kingdoms. We all have been very busy musically, but BlackHelm will keep moving forward as time permits.
What are your main influences in Metal?
That’s always a big question. I should definitely mention that Megadeth has been my favorite band since childhood and was the reason I wanted to play and write music. There are many bands that influence our sound, some of those include, Powerwolf, Sabaton, Tyr, Ensiferum, Wintersun, Amon Amarth, Kalmah, Alestorm, Rhapsody of Fire, Demons and Wizards, Iced Earth and Blind Guardian. The list could go on and on obviously, but I’m confident you’ll be able to hear those different influences in our future releases.
How do you see the Metal scene in your country?
The Metal scene in the United States has been a pretty intense topic for years now. You’ll always hear people say things like “Nobody goes to shows anymore” or “It’s not like it was in the 80s”. As a fan of the genre, I try to go to a lot of shows, especially if a European band is coming through town, but it’s tough for bands to try to support themselves over here and I’ve seen that first hand.
It seems the situation is very similar all around the globe, but we keep rocking. It was a pleasure to chat with you, Miles, if you wish to add something
From Miles and all the guys at BlackHelm, it’s been great catching up. The most important thing is that people get to hear the music and we encourage everyone to stream and download our EP Lore for free.