Eternal Helcaraxe are an awesome fusion of black metal and melodic death metal. Their new album “Against All Odds” absolutely smokes and if you haven’t heard it, drop what you are doing and get it right now! I had the opportunity to talk to band member Praetorian and here is what he had to say:
Your new album “Against All Odds” is one of the best albums (metal or otherwise) that I have heard so far in 2012. Can you go over who you are and a bit of a band introduction for anyone who hasn’t heard of you?
Eternal Helcaraxe was first talked about in late 2004, Between then and mid 2005 we began writing for a black metal project based on raw emotion and atmosphere. After several line-up changes both founding members, Myself and Maulgrim decided to continue as a two piece and in march 2008 released the first MCD entitled “Palest Kingdom”. Shortly after this release in April of 2008 we were joined by our first drummer Tyrith, and the lineup was completed in August 2009 when were joined by Thule on bass, who both added a new level of atmosphere and intensity to our sound. Since then we’ve recorded two more releases,“To Whatever End” in April 2010 and our New album “Against All Odds”. Musically and lyrically, it was exactly what we wanted to achieve and the feedback has been great.
The album is so good, I am hard pressed to say anything negative about it. The songs are so well done, with so much emotion that I was actually stunned at times. Which tracks are you most proud of? I absolutely loved “As the Snow Gathers” and “One Stands Still Here”.
Thanks. It’s a hard one to answer because they all mean a lot to us! I think my favourite song changes from day-to-day, depending on my mood. At the moment I think it’s As the Snow Gathers”, But it was “We Assist Death” for a while there. Just love the way the song came together.
One thing that really impressed me is how you seem to meld the Swedish death metal sound (specifically Amon Amarth and early In Flames) with black metal. Was this intentional? Are you worried that the hardcore black metal fans will be pissed or do you not care?
No, it wasn’t intentional at all! When we write, we only write for the song, we don’t think about any listener or anything like that, if you were to think like that you’d get nothing done. Besides most of the elite black metal people are total fucking idiots. Most didn’t get enough hugs from mommy growing up and think they’re gonna get back at the world by listening to crap under produced black metal. I have no time for them to be honest. They’re never going to re-capture the early 90’s Mayhem/Burzum/Emperor black metal so they may as well progress like the rest of the world.
I read that the band’s name came from a place in Middle Earth. How important is Tolkien and fantasy in general to the band’s music? And, why do you think so many metal bands are inspired by Tolkien?
We were all big admirers of Tolkien‘s work in the beginning of this project. The first release was based are his books more than our music these day, but with the “Epic Black metal” feel we go for, it really works. For me it’s the “Larger than life” feel that it brings.
Who are the bands musical influences?
Scandinavian Black metal was definitely a massive influence for us, bands like Emperor, Burzum, Immortal. Some other European bands like that, Ancient Rites and Amon Amarth would have also been big ones.
How do you come up with the lyrics? Is there a concept to the album at all?
The main themes for the lyrics on this album is very close to the last release: war, strength of character, having our backs to the wall but fighting anyway and standing proud beside your loved ones. A lot of the lyrics are from personal view points really, places I’ve found myself in the past few years, and the people around me that I am proud to have in my life.
A lot of metal fans (and music fans in general) seem to get scared off by black metal due to the perceived anti-social element in the genre with people such as Gaahl, Varg, Faust and others who all went to prison for serious crimes. Also there is the whole National Socialist black metal genre with racist overtones. Do you think black metal is music for the anti-social or do you think it can be used for other purposes than promoting hatred and violence?
I don’t give a shit about this to be honest. For me black metal is about the atmosphere and feeling. I’m really not interested in all the other crap that comes with it. Most of the time for me when it comes to listening to music in general I listen to it for the song/song writing. The meaning behind it comes second.
There aren’t very many Irish Black Metal bands out there. How did you get into playing Black Metal and music in general?
We were all just big Black metal fans growing up really, so when I picked up a guitar or sat behind a keyboard it’s the music that always came out. We do pretty much all our promotion outside Ireland too, so we never had any big links to the metal genre’s here. It would be a waste of time anyway cause Irish people don’t really support their own bands.
What albums have you been listening to lately?
The bands I been listening are 40 Watt Sun, Austere, Shining, Sigrblot, Warning, Altar Of Plagues, Hammers Of Misfortune, Wolves In The Throne Room, Thunderbolt & Gospel of The Horns.
What’s the bands plans to promote “Against All Odds?”
Abyss Records and Clawhammer PR have been doing an amazing job to promote our music, I have nothing but good things to say about this Label.
How are you able to keep the band going with illegal downloading rampant all over the world? Do you foresee being able to recoup the costs of the album at least?
Well, Abyss Records has put so much time and effort into us, and we’ve put so much time into our music it would be nice to see it worth our while. But it wasn’t the reason why I started writing/playing music: We’re just enjoying were we are now and when it becomes a problem we’ll think about it then.
What are the future plans for the band? Any touring plans or anything?
No touring planned at the moment, broke my collar-bone a few month’s back and I’m just waiting for it to heal. But a lot of other things are going on at the moment. We’re pretty busy with the new release coming out, getting the new T-shirt designs ready, website redone etc. . . A Tape Version of our 2010 EP ‘To Whatever End’ will be released in April by ‘Sword Productions’ from Portugal, and we’re talking to a few labels about releasing ‘To Whatever End’ on CD later on in the year, not going to announce names of the labels until everything is signed and ready to go.