“Destiny Calls”, the first full-length from Finland’s CHEVALIER, whips up ferocious speed metal while stretching itself out with epic song arrangements, all capped off by the raw and natural vocals of Emma Grönqvist. They breath underground in every single note and that is what they want to be, it’s hard to get it more true than that.
After 2 eps and one split your first album Destiny Calls is here, how do you feel about it?
I feel we have achieved an original, intricate and complete debut album, however after all the time and work put in getting it finished and released it’s all still a bit hazy.
Chevalier is French for “knight”, just for the sake of curiosity, why a French name?
Because French heavy/speed metal is one of the main influences, and Chevalier just sounds and looks much better than Cavalier.
Your previous songs rised high expectations about your debut, kind of a surprise for you?
Well most of the expectations I came across seemed to be for us to polish our production in a proper studio, which we didn’t, and never will.
That’s very true and surprising too. How lond did you work in the album and how was the recording process?
Shaping up the songs with several demo sessions, working on the lyrics, getting together the fitting artwork, photos and whatnot took a lot of time compared to the recording itself, which was done in just a few days.
I love your songs but I only have a complaint: the production in Destiny Calls is sometimes too noisy or dirty, especially on drums. I mean, your last ep captured the essence of the underground, this debut also but it sometimes sounds too distorted or something. It was intentional? Would you record it again with this sound?
Not with this exact same sound but something along the lines, rough and wild with lots of reverb, that’s just another part of the vision of Medieval Speed Metal.
Apart of that point, the compositions are excellent, agressive with an epic point to it
A great deal of thought has been put to the songwriting to showcase a bit more elements and depth than the average retro speed metal bands do.
Probably with comrades from Legionnaire you are one of the coolest bands born from Finland in the heavy and speed metal sound in the last years
Legionnaire is the closest band to us here in Finland due to the similar mindset in writing music, I would also mention Iron Griffin with the upcoming album out soon.
Another one to follow. Another good point in the album is that you sound as a well adjusted machine, as a pack, the group over the individualities I would say
That’s also something we’ve aimed for with recording the songs live together, only adding vocals and solos later on. If you really want to sound like A BAND, it’s important to be able to do this.
Emma Grönqvist is one of those vocalists that you say “wow this is pure essence, so natural”
I think we have a very unique vocalist greatly helping to make Chevalier’s overall sound something original.
Among the set of songs included in this debut album you have rescued and re-recorded The Curse of the Dead Star, that had already been published in your ep Chapitre II, any reason for that?
We wanted to do some minor adjustments to that particular track, and as it’s also one of our own all-time favourites we wanted to have it on our debut album as well.
What are the lyrics about?
Life, death, destiny, freedom.
This “Destiny Calls” continues the trend of previous publications regardig the cover, in black and white and with that enigmatic and epic atmosphere their predecessors already shown
Also a part of the main concept of Chevalier, something that fits all the other elements of the band.
If we had to compare your music to some big bands may be we would talk about Omen, Brocas Helm or Liege Lord… But it seems also as if you have your own personality and that is gold nowadays…
Influences are strong and I definitely wear them on my sleeve but with enough variation in them combined with a personal vision it’s possible to do something original with those influences. Building up your own identity as a band should always be one of the main goals, as it was for bands like Omen and Brocas Helm you mentioned, and they in turn influence me to try shaping up our own identity, more than just attempting to copy theirs.
A constant element throughout the album is the insertion of voices in off that contribute to the great atmosphere of the album
If you mean the down-pitched speeches, they’re already a tradition since our first release, aimed to evoke an epic and kind of story-telling atmosphere.
It works really well. The guitar solos in the album are really impressive, they take your songs one step further
I myself am not into excessive, technical showoff wankery when it comes to guitar solos, it’s more important to convey feelings with them and the emphasis is always on this when we’re doing them, they have to be a part of the story the song is telling.
Your music would fit perfectly in the 80s alongside bands as Omen, Adx, Brocas Helm, Manilla Road, etc etc. Nowadays it seems most people are meanly focused on melodic, symphonic and pop approaches (see Nuclear Blast and so on), do you care about it?
I don’t care much of what’s going on in the mainstream side of the spectrum, what we have going on in the underground with most of these bands still playing is the important thing to be focused on.
Any tour progreammed in or out of Finland?
Not at the moment, we have quite a few festival appearances coming up this year which is enough for now.
Congratulations for your excellent album, if you wish to add something…
Thanks for the interview, I hope Destiny Calls will be a rewarding album to listen to for the fans of Chevalier.