Kansas City’s epic speed metal defenders, Vänlade, are back with their second album “Rage of the Gods”, ten monstruous tracks of molten hot, earth-shettering heavy metal, engineered by sound guru Rob Rebeck. True Metal all the way, a must listen for any fan of Heavy, Power and Speed Metal. Catchy melodies, powerful tempos, awesome solos and a thunderous voice… To know more about it, I have chatted with great vocalist Brett Blackout Scott.
Hello Brett and thank you for this chance to talk to you about Vänlade. Congratulations for you new album “Rage of the Gods”, a storm of Metal.
Hi Alberto! Thank you for having me! I’m happy to be here.
Vänlade is an original real name or is some kind of invention?
The name Vänlade was taken from a character in Norse mythology. I believe he was of nobility – a prince or something of that sort with a pretty cool backstory. To be honest the name had a ring to it that we thought fit the music. We had our hearts set on a name that began with «V» and that was our favorite that we found! It hasn’t been taken and few people know what it means, so it gives us liberty to add our own meaning to it.
I agree with you, it fits very well to your powerful music. Focusing on the new album, what is the difference or evolution between “Rage of the Gods” and your debut album “Iron Age”?
Our influences have not changed, but our ability to showcase more our influences and make them our own has improved, which makes for a more diverse and unique album than «Iron Age.» We have also had a few years of experience and practice which has made us tighter as musicians and better as songwriters. The addition of our second guitarist, Vinnie Lee Camarillo has also brought fresh talent into the fold and helped us take the music to the next level. This is not to mention the incredible production of Rob Rebeck and mastering from Stu Marshall. Altogether I think we’ve taken a step up in every way possible with this album!
You practice a strong Power/Speed Metal, how would you define your sound?
That’s a tough question! We don’t have a hard definition for our genre as I think that can be counterproductive to making good and unique music. I have heard the term «epic speed metal» tossed around and I am probably most fond of that one, but I’ve also heard everything from US power, thrash, traditional, true, classic, etc, so I’m not picky!
However not all the tracks are the same, fortunately, and we can get a piece of Heavy Metal here and there. Personally, I prefer those compositions where you focus a little more on the feeling than on the speed, as the awesome As Above, So Below
The main goal of our music it to marry extreme energy with big melodies. We are definitely attracted to the faster side of things, but we’re very aware that it is vital to mix it up every now and then. Honestly, playing and writing at slower tempos is fairly uncharted terrain for us, but with our newer music we are starting to delve into more emotional sounds, as heard on «As Above, So Below,» and as a fan of classic rock and metal, I’m really enjoying it as well!
What themes do your lyrics touch?
Our lyrics are generally based in fantasy/sci fi escapism, but I try to touch on real world values and ideas within. I think feel and flow should come first, and those who crave the details and wish to understand the meaning are welcome to dig deeper and find the morals.
The guitar work is at a very high level, one the strong points in the band, I would say. What have been Zach’s and Vinnie’s influences as guitarists? What are their strong points as guitar axes?
I know that Zach’s initial influences as a guitar player heavily included Iced Earth and Metallica, which make up a big part of the rhythms found in Vänlade’s guitar work. I think that Zach and Vinnie both developed their abilities on a lot of old-school hard rock and heavy metal, as well as a lot of thrash music which all makes its way into the playing. I think they have incorporated a good balance of bluesy melody and speedy shredding into their solos which makes for a well rounded dual guitar attack.
And about the composition, what bands have marked more Vänlade’s style?
There is the obvious Maiden/Priest influence and of course the other classic metal giants like Dio, King Diamond, Saxon, Accept, etc… Megadeth, Riot, and Queensryche are a few others that we take heavy inspiration from. Other than that there are tons of different sounds we bring to the table. We are huge 70s rock fans so bands like Rush, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Van Halen, and Scorpions show up in our work. We listen to a lot of school power metal a la Gamma Ray, Helloween, Blind Guardian and the like. Tons of other bands make their way into our individual playlists as well… There are too many to list but I think you get the idea!
I would underline also your work on the microphone, it reminds me a lot of a singer from a German band (split-up many years ago) called Atlain, with a raspy voice too, it gives your music so much feeling
Thank you for the compliment! I have not heard the comparison before. Atlain is one that I am not familiar with, but I will put it on my list to check out!
Have you ever toured around Europe? I think your music fits very well with the likes of Metal in the old continent
We have not hit Europe yet, but would love to in the future. We have heard before that our style would go over well there. There are no immediate plans, but we are not slowing down at all, so I hope we will be able to make it over there soon!
That would be great. I think that for this second album you have signed with a new label, Metalizer Records, why the change and how do you feel with the guys?
The goal was to have two separate releases: One independent release funded by the band for North America, and another international release through a label for the rest of the world. Metalizer was the one we went with for the European version and we are happy with the decision! This plan also allows us to keep all rights to our music and to remain independent in our home country, while having the hand of Metalizer help us distribute to the world just out of our boundaries.
Imagine you have to chose between two things: being eternally young or being an Metal star (eternally), what would be your choice?
Oh that’s difficult! I suppose it depends. I think there is some beauty in getting older and becoming better and wiser, and I think my ultimate goal with music is to create the best music I can and to have it reach as many people as possible. My realistic goal is to leave some sort of legacy with my music, which would tie into «eternal metal star.» Eternal youth, on the other hand, would allow me to create music forever and perhaps I could reach that same level in my own supernatural lifespan. I think I’d choose eternal youth if it was a real possibility!
You have convinced me. Tha last question. You are from Kansas, if I’m not wrong that means you are more or less in the middle of the US (not counting Alaska and Hawai), this has his translation in terms of Metal audience and support? How do you see the Metal scene in the States for a band as yours?
We are almost exactly in the middle of the continental United States. Things in the States, and especially in the midwest, are very spread out, and for an underground genre it can make things a little more difficult. There are, however, very small-yet-loyal metal crowds scattered about if you look hard. One nice thing about being right in the middle is that the east coast and west coast are about an equal distance away, so we can make quick trips in either direction and reach everything without much difficulty. The downside is that heavy metal is pretty sparse here in the midwest. That is not to say that there aren’t some incredible bands! Again, you’ve just gotta look a little harder!
Thanks again for having Vänlade on your site!
Fans can find us at facebook.com/vanlade vanlade.bandcamp.com
Thank you very much, Brett, I hope the fans from Europe can enjoy your music in a live show soon!