Interview with ANGEL SWORD
by Hombre Rancio
Hello friends, today I have the pleasure to talk Angel Sword, a Heavy Metal Band from Finland, very cool stuff.
Hi guys, let’s talk a little about the beginnings of the band. How was Angel Sword created?
Me (Jerry) and Sylvester met at the university in 2008 and I told him I wanted to start an old school heavy metal band in the vein of Diamond Head and Angel Witch. He was interested in the idea, so the two of us started jamming and writing songs around 2009. In 2010 we recorded our first four-song demo with a friend of ours (Artturi) on vocals.
In 2011, Eviltaker and St. Peter joined on bass and drums, respectively, and we began to rehearse properly. Artturi was busy with his own music projects, however, so we started looking for a permanent singer. We tried a couple of different people, but nothing came out of it, so in the end it kind of fell on my shoulders, even though I hadn’t really been singing before.
I like very much the sound of the guitars and the power and classic chords I think in Blüe Öyster Cult and Faithful Breath. Tell about the instrumental work in this album?
I wanted a really old guitar and drum sound on the new EP, something that would sound good even in 10 or 20 years, when the current modern sound will sound like shit. I hate nowadays metal production; it’s too compressed, too distorted, too clinical, too quantized, too much everything (except maybe reverb and delay). So I’d rather ignore the loudness war and allow the music to breathe. If you listen to old metal albums, the guitar sound is not that heavy by modern standards but it still sounds good. But you really have to thank our drummer St. Peter for the sound, since he did all the mixing and mastering.
As for the songs themselves, I like to keep things as simple as possible. Progressive metal is like a swear word to me personally, although some of the band members like that stuff as well. We’re not a very technical band (as you can probably tell) – I just aim to write catchy songs that make you want to raise your fist in the air and drink beer.
What differences are between your first Ep and your new work “The Midwinter Tapes”?
The tracks on “Ripping the Heavens” were written a long time ago and have more of a thrash/punk feeling to them. I wanted to get them out of the way before we start writing songs that are more towards classic heavy metal, like on our first demo, so it represents something of an in-between work while we were looking for a singer. We still have those punk influences on the upcoming album too, but there’s definitely a difference in the songwriting. Also the sound is much better on the new EP, in my opinion.
Four tracks of radiation-laced old school heavy metal.
How was the design and creation process of the album?
We wanted to do a digital release as a sneak preview for our full-length album, so people could listen to our newer stuff online before they came to our shows. We’d been playing those four songs live even before we recorded them, but people didn’t really know them because there was no way to listen to them at home.
The creation process was fairly simple. I wrote the songs after “Ripping the Heavens” and we arranged them together, and by the time we recorded them we’d already been rehearsing and playing them live for a while, so we knew them pretty well. We recorded them in our rehearsal place in four days, mostly with equipment borrowed from friends, and our drummer mixed them.
In your opinion, which are the stronger points of the band?
I think our songs are pretty catchy, and there aren’t too many bands these days playing the kind of stuff we play, at least not with the kind of rough-edged sound we have. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and we have fun playing live.
What are your musical influences?
Jerry: A lot of my inspiration comes from the smaller underground bands of the 80’s that never really made it big, like Heavy Load, Black Axe, Brocas Helm, Omen, Saracen, Trespass, Shok Paris, Trance, Mirage, Medieval Steel, S.A.D.O. etc. There are some real gems hidden in the more obscure NWOBHM releases*. Of the bigger bands that have influenced me I could name the obvious stuff like Diamond Head, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, Angel Witch, Motörhead, Metallica, Megadeth, AC/DC and Manowar. I’m also a fan of 80’s French heavy metal.
St. Peter: At least Iron Maiden, From Ashes Rise and Accept.
Eviltaker: I would add Rush.
Sylvester: And Black Sabbath.
My Favourite Song is Heavy Metal Night, what is yours?
Jerry: That seems to be a lot of people’s favourite. Mine is Midnight Survivor.
Sylvester: Break the Chains.
Eviltaker: Break the Chains.
St. Peter: Midnight Survivor.
What themes do you touch in your lyrics?
Liberty and personal freedom are themes that I repeat often, but you can’t go wrong with songs about beer, women and/or heavy metal, either. Or post-apocalyptic visions. And I have an obsession with writing at least one song about every traditional theme in heavy metal. “Break the Chains” is a good example – there are plenty of songs from the 80’s out there with that title.
How do you see the current scene of the Heavy metal in your country?
Metal in general isn’t as big in Finland as it was in the early 2000’s, but of course that was mostly modern metal which I don’t care for much. There are some good old school bands here as well, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more. The scene itself is small but dedicated.
How can the fan get your album?
“The Midwinter Tapes” EP is available for free on Spotify, Bandcamp and Youtube. There’s no physical release. However, the songs will be on our full-length album as well, which will (hopefully) be released late this year or early next year. That one you will be able to buy from one of our shows, or by sending us a message on Facebook or email, or by ordering it from a distro.
The first batch of “Ripping the Heavens” EP was sold out some months ago, but we have a second batch of tapes coming this week, actually. If you want one, send us a message.
What are your future plans?
Play more live shows and release our first full-length album. And write new material, of course.
Thank you very much and congratulations for your great work. If you wish to add something, go ahead…
Thanks for the support and keep the flame of real heavy metal burning!