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Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

LEPER

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How come I became a Christian Gothic musician?

As a musician, I was involved with my youth group. I was play for a worship team in my youth group for a very long time, but the bands I was influenced with mostly were metal even though what I really wanted was punk, I didn't even know what God was yet, but in my mind when I saw Goth band's I saw them as punk, but I did not know at the time how to find any Christian punk or goth, it was not until I met my wife who was really interested in The Cure, Nine Inch Nails, Suxsie and the banshees, and stuff like that that I went on a quest to find Christian bands on that has that vein and I found a lot and then I was hooked.

So when I formed a band, what I was playing just sort of happened to be somewhat Goth, not entirely in straightforward Goth, but Goth influenced, so in a way you can say that I became a Goth musician to impress the girl that eventually I married and have spent so far all my life with.

Was I a Christian from the beginning?

No, not from the beginning, when I was 16 my cousin introduced me to Christian rock and of course this led to eventually me to becoming a Christian. Also all of my life my grandmother had shown me to be a Christian was important but not until I was 16 did I say yes to the Lord.

Where do I get my inspiration for the dark Christian texts I write?

I don't entirely know, my inspiration comes from all over the place all kinds of things, I never know where it's going to come from. Sometimes it's something I've read from the Bible, and I thought "that's dark and cool", or I see in a movie or in a conversation I've had with someone, sometimes it's just a random thought I think a lot of my lyrics come from conversations I've had with other people.

What is the purpose of what I do?

The purpose is that I love to make music. I love the mechanics of music (the way drums and bass, and guitar interact with each other.)                                                                               I love the way music expresses a thought or emotion, I love the way a song can effect persons mood, I love my wife, I love God, I love people, all of those things make me want to write songs.

even though she did not like the way I was doing it.  She wanted me to play some sort of country gospel, of which I was not interested. And of course I on the other hand refused to dislike anyone for any reason.

I don't believe that I as a Christian have any right to dislike someone based on what they look like, based on where they come from or how they dress, how much money they have, how much money they don't have, or any of that kind of thing.

I am a Christian therefore I try to engage and treat people the way Jesus would treat them as best that I can.

Which passage in the Bible mean something special to me?

When I was a young Christian, I was really enamored by anything David wrote, but then when I began looking for a wife, I started to really focus in on various verses that talk about what that means. I don't think I have a favorite Bible passage, but it does say that he who finds a wife finds favor with God, and since I've been married, I found that is absolutely true. My wife is my best friend and there are so many verses about what that means that that's just too much to list right now.

 There are passages that talk about us being as children which, my wife and I both often wish we were little again, so those verses really speak to the both of us. I mean, as grownups many of us try to revert to being 7 years old again because, let's face it the world was safer or it felt safer, there were no pressures, and the kids that you were around most likely nobody was fighting, everyone was just playingand getting along, because when you were a child, all you really want to do is play, and a kind of think that's the kind of thing God really wants for us, is to be friendly and kind to each other, I think is so common sense, I think Jesus is lord of common sense. Everything he said reflects these ideas, so any place in the Bible I find versus that talk about these things I am very touched.

I talk with people who sometimes are hurt by others or situations, I would like to write a song that is soothing to those who have been hurt. I would like to write songs that celebrate the things people are happy about

Do I get some saved along the way?

From the beginning that was something I wanted to see happen. However, I have never seen that happen, except for once. We did a show where the people hosting the show did an alter call about halfway through the show, out of the 40 or 50 kids that were there half of them raise their hands to say yes to the Lord, then the hosts wanted to take those kids to a back room where they could talk with them and get their names and all that so that they can keep up with them and keep them connected.                 While we were supposed to continue playing however, the entire audience left, so all we could do is wait till they came back LOL. Which when they came back, we finished our set and we all had a really good time.

I personally don't do altar calls because I noticed over the years of being a Christian and being involved with Christian bands that a lot of kids or people in general who are at a Christian concert that does give an altar call a lot of the time they're not answering the altar call they are most likely not saying yes to the Lord they just want to be up close and personal with the band they just witnessed, because they're swept up in the moment. I would rather see and know that if someone had gotten saved out of my effort as an artist it was because they had time to really think about that I had to say and really listen and hear and give God a chance to speak to them on a real level and not just get swept up in the moment. And in doing things that way I haven't seen a lot of evidence although I do believe it has happened, I'm just not a witness to it. But then I don't have to be, because what I do is for the Lord.To find a way to use what I do. I don't have to see that it has happened. I don't have to know that it has happened I simply trust the Lord that he is using my music to speak to people

How do I perceive how the treatment with other Christians has been, have they been accommodating to me or have it been the other way around?

Many Christians have embraced what we do and many have not. I have met many Christians that don't like what I do because it's rock and roll, I have met many hardcore fans or metal fans that don't like it because we are those sissy goth kids, we're not playing metal, so we're not playing real music which is aggravating to me but it doesn't matter. My grandmother I believe was proud of what I was doing when she was alive.

 

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

A Hill To Die Upon

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You founded A Hill to Die Upon in 2004 but in 2008 you changed your music style significantly from metal core to Death/Black metal, why did you do that?


We have always played what we want. What we liked has changed and grown over the year. Thus, what we have played has changed.


Many people I talked to say that they associate your music style with Immortal was that purpose


with your new sound or was that just something that developed thru time?


Immortal is a great band. We really enjoy their music, though we never intentionally imitated them. We prefer Marduk and Satyricon.


Since you have played at some Christian festivals such as Nordic Mission and Audiofeed, I want to ask about your faith in God and your outlook on life. Does the name “A Hill To Die Upon” come from the hill where Jesus was crucified? How did the name come about and who came up with it ?


“A Hill to Die Upon” was the title of a book which we have never read. We simply liked the name. We do not associate the name with Golgotha specifically. There are many historical hills: Slane, Slag, etc. However, we understand that most people make the connection.


You have made 4 albums with the new sound how do you see the development of all these albums?


Each one is a testament to the time they were made. Infinite Titanic Immortal was written over more than 5 years. We were heavily influenced by Dimmu Borgir and Behemoth. Omens has always seemed like ITI 2.0. We played live a lot from 2009 to 2011 so we were on top of our game. Holy Despair is the most mature of the Bombworks trilogy. Lyrically, it is my most interesting. We started to branch out with Via Artis Via Mortis, and that was the first album as a three piece band.



I, myself have now been selling this hard music on a Christian basis for 15 years and since I have heard from many bands that as soon as they say they are Christians, the music does not sell as well, so the question: Is your experience that things have gone worse for you, or have you been silent about your faith?


We never made the decision to be a “Christian” band. We have never denied it. Everyone else has decided that.


Have you made the choice to sign over your music to a company or are you started publishing your music yourself?

 Wikipedia claims that you have said: “ We are not so worried about being too original. Many people spend a lot of energy trying to be new, but they waste energy they can spend on being good. We'd rather put out quality art than subpar original art. We are confident that originality will happen, but that is not our focus.” How do you keep control of your music quality?


The band focused on quality for the first three albums. We did not want to branch out in to uncharted territory before we had a firm foundation. Via Artis Via Mortis started to explore new territory, but our new material is going to be extremely different. You have no idea what is coming.

 

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

Images Of Eden

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Hi Gordon, thank you very much for joining this effort. Reading on different pages about you, a lot is characterized around your music and your records. I want to know who are you?


Images of Eden is a band of “survivors” (addiction, abuse, etc.) where we utilize our lyrics as our own testimonies on how we survived, gained strength, etc. We craft our lyrics in a way that non-believers will be open to them. Most non-believers tune out when hearing “preachy” lyrics but would be receptive to the Word described through personal testimonials. We describe all of the hardships, tribulations, etc. that we have gone through but make it specific that the common denominator is our faith that helped us through.


In 1998, you produced your first record. Why did it take you so long to become an established band? Does this have to do with your Christian faith? Or was it something else?


It was very difficult to gain traction in the early years due to me having to finance everything myself and manage all parts of the band. Thankfully in 2016, we were blessed with the resources to be able to go the next level. This is when Steve Dorssom joined. Since then, the two of us have co-managed everything.

Who comes up with all the wonderful texts?


I write all lyrics but with the help of the Holy Spirit.


What motivates you and makes you passionate about what you do?


God gave me my ability and ignited this “fire” so to speak.

Do you always focus on Jesus? Or have you ever doubted that you heard correctly?


Although we are not very “Biblical” in our lyrics, the Word is there, just embedded into the lyrics in a way people can relate and understand.

The interesting thing about you, I think, is that your last two albums have allowed you to play the opening acts for Bigger Bands how do you see it?

Yes, this is exactly what happened. We got signed just before releasing “Soulrise” and our label has really helped us reach the next level with touring with bigger acts.


Since Heavy Metal music has been characterized a lot with alcohol, I wonder how you look at this, have you managed during the tours to avoid the alcohol or has the temptation been too great?


We do our best to follow the Word as much as possible. I haven’t drank since 1997 and have no intensions of doing so again.

How have you managed to keep Jesus' focus and humility believed that you have become an established bond?

For me this is easy. I have become even more humble and focused after reaching this next level of success. My humility comes from above.

The reason that I ask is that too many bands have fallen for this pride

Yes, they do. I think it is because they lose focus on Jesus ad get caught up in the “rock star life.” We pray before every show and also as God to place people in our path that need our message. Staying clean seems easy for me because I know where I get my inspiration and want to be proud of us.

Reviews

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Eleos is a hardcore/metal band from Kristiansand, Norway and was established in 2006.

PHOTO

I would define the music style as hardcore/metal with influences of punk and rock n´ roll.                         The vocalist is singing in a style that most fans of hardcore accept and feel comfortable with straight away.

Line Up: Vocals: Per Ambjørn Hvarnes Guitar: Atle Gjelsås Bjorå Guitar: Magnus Espeseth Bass: Bjørnar Moum Jacobsen Drums: Vegard Børjesson.

The discography to be found released on the media platforms this far are three EP´s:

Leaving The Past, 2009

Love Shaped Hole, 2018

Parasite, 2022

With song titles such as  “Finding Your Way”, “Bleeding Soul“, “Loveshaped Hole” and “Home” they are handling topics that most Christians can resonate with.

The third EP Parasite,  was released in May this year (2022 ) and has again the same hardcore sound with the guitars adding the punk and rock n´ roll vibes that make this band to stand out a bit from other Christian hardcore acts. Especially in the tracks “No Hand In Sight” and “Everything”. 

Asking the drummer of the band for their influences he lists:

Zao, Cult of Luna, Sibiir, Everything in Slow Motion og Benea Reach

Personally I haven’t listened a lot to any of those bands, but I appreciate the sound and image of Eleos. The song “Love Shaped Hole” will always having a special place in my heart, Since they performed it so well at Rainbow Rock 2019 and also gave an encore by my request. I´m pleased with the newest Ep and hope for them to continue to develop the music and their sound to an album in the future.

By Miia Rautiainen

 

Inborn Tendency

Inborn Tendency is a groove metal/ melodic death metal band from Finland.

If you love growling vocals this is where to go. Ville Herranen has an amazing barytone tone that he actually pulls off fantastically live, making him one of the best growling singers I've heard. He really has got everything together vocally and the band together feels like a very strong unit. Hearing this well-composed metal makes me happy. The crashing and bombastic beats, to the thrills and chills of the fast, furious, repetitive guitars, the low baritone growls, and black metal shrieks of doom, surely fills a void for me.

Releses great singles since 2017, they released GodKiller 2021, a four-track EP, through    The Charon Collective. The EP is supported by official lyric video of the song “Sacrifice”:

https://youtu.be/FfUnbwDttGc

 

For me, the Inborn Tendency songs like “Mariner Of The Unknown”, “Void” and “Devastation”, are about being out on a journey as a Christian. I love these lyrics about struggles, hazardous ventures, faith, life, and death, but I would wish more adds about how God is all powerful. That would really give it all a lift for me as a Christian metal fan.

I would list their influences as Dark Tranquility, At the Gates, and Amon Amarth. What also makes this band so precious to me is that as a long-term fan of Amorphis is that I hear quite a bit of that sound in this music.

This might not the kind of sound that will get a band on tour extendently, which is a pity, but surely fills a void for extreme metal fans. In a review I wrote in 2019, I made a wish about the future of this band hoping for some lyrics from the Bible and with the Ep I feel it sort of came true. No topics from the Old Testament, at least not yet, but sort of touching the core of Christianity describing what Christ did for us sacrificing himself on the cross. Making a metalhead happy with the groove metal twists of the so familiar texts.

There would  still be so much more ground to cover on the Biblical topics, added with these groove metal tunes, the incredibly skilled baryton low growling, the shrieks and melodic guitar riffs, making it all so enjoyable. Still it makes me to realize that I have not yet lived it all when it comes to metal music and metal experiences and that surely makes me excited.                        

I believe Ville Herranen, Mika Hänninen and Hugo Tiitinen, have remarkable things to offer us fans of melodic death metal far into the future.    Time to state that Finnish Christian melodic metal is alive and well !


By Miia Rautiainen

 

Pantokrator

Pantokrator - Marching Thru Babylon

After more than 1,5 years of the release of Pantokrators fourth studio album, I´m still not tired of this powerhouse of an album. For me this is one of those albums proving that worship music comes in many different forms and to each person there are different tunes that helps them to tune in with God.  

 

In 2016 Pantokrator released the single Awesome God, which has become their most played song on the platforms this  far in their more than 25 year long career. Marching Thru Babylon stays true to the sound they created with the release of that song.

The music is technically advanced with tight guitar riffs and solos with appearances from CJ Grimmark Narnia in the song Wedlock and  Jani Stefanovic in the song Crossroads. The drumming is extremely fast and  advanced drums. The vocalist sings better than ever and his growls are perfectly balanced and mixed with  great choruses, spoken parts and clean vocals.

Themewise  the lyrics contains of Biblical topics which keeps the album together. Even though not being an concept album, there also isn´t any  weak song on the album. This is fullforce Death Metal greatness all the way thru.

Would they ever develop their sound in any other different direction this album together with the single Awesome God will still be precious forever listenable gems in their discography.

 

By Miia Rautiainen

Saved From Ourselves

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Saved From Ourselves, founded in 2009, is an alternative metal/ metal core band from Lappeenranta, Finland. The music consists of a variety of very heavy riffs and steady melancholic melodies. Lyrically the themes vary from topics about everyday life of an individual, to larger concepts about what a meaningful life is. On stage, their goal is to provide an energetic show and spread the gospel.

Line up:

Onni - Vocals and guitar
Andy - Bass

Skysails is the band's fourth release with the goal to reach out to the worldwide Christian metal scene.

Previous discography:

Demos: Empty Place (2013) and Jesters (2014)

EP: Exile of the Darkness (2015)

Album: Metamorphosis (2016)

Single: "Pyrocraft" (2019)

This is Christian metal consisting of  lots of metal core elements, a bit of industrial influences, rock tunes and melancholic melodies mixed with both clean and growling vocals. Onni's growling vocals goes together very nicely with the rest of the choruses and more melodic tunes creating a very energetic feeling.

Where the lyrics in Metamorphosis gave the feeling of being on a journey looking for a more mature faith and learning to lean on Christ, the lyrics of Skysails are more like the faith is truly found; knowing it can carry, to last in life, and has also become a natural part of the identity.

For me, the music of Saved From Ourselves is the kind of music I listen to in my daily life with lyrics I can relate to. Spot on, about topics that are easy to relate to and also evangelistic.

I previously liked the metal core vibes of all four songs on Exile of Darkness a lot. To compare with something, I hear a bit of the works of the veterans Living Sacrifice, and also The Forerunner album Victory from 2011.

Metamorphosis has a bit less of the metal core, but with brilliant lyrics that should hit a Christian or someone searching for the truth about Christ straight in the heart, like the song “Nothing But Jesus”

 

 

In Skysails all these elements meet each other. This is brutal, hardcore metal with lot of energy and a pure, spot-on message. Listening more repeatedly as I often do with a new album I keep on going back to “Coward”, “Colors”, and “Thief & Liar”. I´m sure I´ll find songs to add to my various playlists. In my opinion, all the tracks on this energetic release are well balanced and highly technically produced metal adequate to these current times.

At last  Rainbow Rock 2019 the band stood out, with their performance and with their energy but also for their clear love for the audience and their will to really spread joy together with the gospel .

My hopes are that with the mix of Finnish stubbornness, humbleness, love for music, their will for people getting saved, and love for their siblings in faith, this band will just stand out steady and clear in the Christian metal world.

By Miia Rautiainen

Soulrise

Angle Born

IMAGES OF EDEN is a progressive metal band originating from the Baltimore, Md/York, PA region of the USA. The band was formed in 1998 when founder and vocalist Gordon Tittsworth left his previous band OUT OF NOWHERE.

After dealing with unmotivated musicians Tittsworth decided it was time to bring his particular musical vision to life without it being diluted or compromised. In 1999 Tittsworth entered the studio and recorded the first IMAGES OF EDEN album, which was later titled "Chapter I", with himself playing all instruments(with the exception of an unnamed session drummer) and singing all the vocals. Tittsworth then used the final product to select musicians for the IMAGES OF EDEN line-up. There´s been some shuffling  in the line-up during the years, but the band has been gigging mostly around the mid-Atlantic region, gaining some regional notoriety, and building a fanbase.

Line up:                                                                                                                                                                                 Gordon Tittsworth Vocalist & Rhythm Guitar    

Steve Dorssom Drums/ Percussion    

Eric Mulvaine Bass Guitar                                                                                                                                

Carlos Urquidi Lead Guitar

Dean Harris Piano & Keyboards

IMAGES OF EDEN is a unique project in that each album is a chapter of a story, portraying an ongoing journey through life, told in a very positive/uplifting way, with each release picking up where the previous one has left off.  The lyrics handle a wide range of topics about life, trials, perseverance of faith and Christianity. You could call it a concept band releasing concept albums.

 

The band has been compared to and are influenced by such bands as QUEENSRYCHE, FATES WARNING and DREAM THEATER So absolutely a band to listen in to if you´re interested in Progressive Metal and Heavy Metal.

Discography: The discography so far consists of  five full length albums and some singles released before some of the albums:

Chapter 1, 2001

Sunlight Of The Spirit, 2006

Rebuilding The Ruins, 2011

Soulrise, 2018

Angelborn, 2021

The latest EP, Weathered and Torn, released in September 2022, is slated to be a midway piece between Angel Born and their upcoming sixth full length.

This EP is full of a new kind of energy, Tittsworths proficient song writing and fantastic melodies are present just as before in every release. There is  also a new level of heaviness. Maybe because the band now had time, after spending time together and also touring quite extendedly have become a thight unit.

 

As this is written they are just about to hit the road to kick off an US tour with Michael Schenker 50th anniversary tour. Coming to tours with other bands Images Of Eden has an interesting resumé with touring with bands like Metal Church, Doro Pesch of Warlock and Yngwie Malmsteen which has and will surely continue developing their fanbase.

In 2019 they were invited to Sweden 2019 by Metal House to perform at Rainbow rock, but couldn´t attend that summer. And after that all of us know why it was not possible the summers after that. Lets hope and pray that next year September 2023, will be the time to  finally see them performing a live show here in Sweden at Rainbow Rock 2023.

By Miia Rautiainen

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

PANTOKRATOR

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Pantokrator started as a cover band in 1996 and played Tourniquet and Mortification songs. What the story behind that? Did you only play songs from these bands?


Karl: We only had 5 weeks from the time we formed the band, until our first concert. It's not common for you to first get a concert booked and then form a band. As strange as it sounds, that’s how it was. For more details, I recommended to watch:


Five weeks was a brief time even in those days, so we practiced a couple of songs by Mortification and Tourniquet and a couple of our own and some more.

What was your vision with Pantokrator in the first place?


Karl: Now it would sound nice with a high-brooding embroidered vision here, but in our 25 years, the band's vision has never been an issue for us. Everything that has happened has been either God's plan or a chain of random events. Personally, I put my money on God's plan. There have so clearly been specific visions for different works along the way, but any band vision? No, I can't say that.


Are you all burning for it as much still, to make Jesus famous within you genre of Death Metal Music?


Karl: We are five very individual individuals, so it is difficult to do account for others than yourself. And even oneself is not seen with clear eyes, God knows us better than we know ourselves. But my spontaneous feeling is that we are all about where we were when we entered the band, but the difference is that we got older and got more to be responsible for.


How is the unity of the band?


Karl: It's such that it's kept us together for the last 25 years.


From what I understand, it's you and Ricke who stick together the most?


Karl: Both yes and no. Once we all get together, that's not the case. But Ricke and I have periodically taken more initiative to meet, primarily with everyone, but we have also met to create other things. We have probably had the biggest need to put out our creativity.

We have Melech and so I have written lyrics to his Jachin project etc. He helped us with the technical things, when Me and Mund appeared on Symphony of heaven's EP. The list can be long

.

Many people say that your project; Melech, beats Pantokrator by far. Is there anything you want to tell you about the project?


Karl: I have met some people who prefer Melech, but it is not the norm. Melech started during a period when the headband went on a little on a break.          My and Ricke fingers continued to scratch. Like Pantokrator, it was something that just happened in that way that is so typical of life.


I have heard a lot that you had problems from the beginning with the Church. That you were actually thrown out if, I have not misunderstood?  Did that actually happen?


Karl: Both true and not. We found our stuff (me and Mattias) outside the rehearsal room, which was in the church. The band we played with restarted without us.      With other music and under a different name. We were the ones who took our band and continued. Then there was a bit of trouble during the Pentecostal period. They tried to squeeze us into a form that we couldn't really fit in.


What is it like today among Christians, do you still have to fight for your music to be accepted?


Karl: Well, hard to say, we probably haven't tried to be accepted by everyone in the last 20 years. We're not everyone's cup of tea and not everyone is ours. That's how it has to be. Deep cries to depth. We find ours and they find us. Otherwise, we brush the dust from our feet and march further.


What made you develop and start playing the music you play today?


Karl: We are who we are. We never just one day started playing, what we're playing now. Every new song we write leads in  new in a new direction, also the sound etc.,    It's like walking, you put one foot in front of the other and maybe don't have a direct plan for where you're going, but you always end up somewhere.

Who is the main author of the lyrics in the band?


Is there a common thread in all the full-length albums you've made?


Karl: They all have their own thread, but I would say that the threads are connected to each other. It's a bit like a Monet-painting, first it looks just a mess of color from up close, but if you take a step back, the picture emerges.

We talked to each other before you made the Incarnate vinyl. Back then you said you wish to make an Aurum number two. Is your latest album, Marching Out Of


Babylon, Aurum number two?


Karl: It's not entirely unfair to say so. In a way, they belong together. But there is also clear connections between Marching and Incarnate. If I think about it, I think all the previous albums influenced Marching. I'm talking primarily in terms of text, that's my part.


Sorry if this sounds rude, many people including me think this album doesn't hold quite the same class as your other albums. Many people have reacted to poor mixing and it feels more like programmed drumming than real drums. What can you comment on about the new album are you satisfied with the result?


Karl: I'm a bit surprised! You've have never heard it all. That was something completely new to me. We're probably as happy as you can be with that record, but it's probably not the first time I will hear: "Here we should have had that... Or here we could have... Actually, you would have… and so in, from someone in the band a few months after release.


Is there anything you think you could improve on?


No, it's exactly what it should be, and if you don't like it, I guess you're looking for another record. The world is full of records.

And finally, is there any news about Melech?


If the Lord wants to and we live, so be it. It should feature our Easter singles from recent years in new tapping, plus other things.

 

Lars Stokstad

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

(Antestor)

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It is always sad to hear how our Christian brothers and sisters are being treated in this genre of music. How deep-rooted the belief is that it would be evil, satanic, associated with drugs and alcohol. Instead of supporting and seeing the hearts behind the creation musicians make, it would allow us Christians to help these bands reach their goals and win people to Jesus before he comes back:


Antestor - Lars Stokstad


We were interested in music in the Christian youth community in the area. Some of us liked hard music and could also play some instruments. Antestor descends from  Crush Evil. The drummer in Crush Evil left due to studies and the band ceased.   The drummer eventually became a lawyer, something we could have needed many times since then, but never took advantage of.


Some new members joined the band. We have always strived to sound the best we can, but we have had limited resources. Both in terms of musicality, personal abilities, equipment, finances, time, and the fact that we have stood alone. We have never called ourselves black and black metal.

We called our style Mourning Metal. But are familiar with the fact that people have placed us in different genres. We haven't cared so much about what we call it, but more about the music and lyrics.

We stood against peer pressure and developed what we wanted. I guess people know a little bit about how hard it was to be pioneers in that style at the time. With death threats, beer throwing, attempts to catch us, ridicule, angry comments, and exclusion from performing sites. From those we thought would support us, there was at least as much terrible things coming, but in a different form, such as: ridicule, condemnation; for example, someone said that what we did was from Satan and not from God, we lost the rehearsal space in the Church after a voting from those who were leaders of the Church, etc. As a result of all the setbacks, several people were unable to bear the strain and left. Due to a small realm with few potential new band members, few that had the right musical abilities, courage, or willingness to step in as bandmembers. Therefore, if the band were to get back on its feet at all, we had to choose candidates who were not optimal. When you don't have the same visions, the abilities, the desire to get better, there will eventually be sparks and therefore we have had many replacements for that reason as well.


Another characteristic of surviving in the band has also been that you have to be incredibly patient. I've been collaborating with a few people for years in the hope that they're the right candidate. Some have also quit almost before they started, because they didn't want to ruin their opportunities and reputation as musicians in a Christian band. Some had to be kicked out from the band, but most have quit since they didn't want to spend as much time, effort, energy, money on staying in a band.

 

At a time when Martyr was singing in the band, he wrote all the lyrics.                      I like “The Return of the Black Death” record best. “The Forsaken” has better sound, production and is more commercial but still good.

When Vrede took over, he wrote almost everything except "The Ring Of Curse" and a few other lines here and there that I wrote and Tor Buer wrote the lyrics to the song I called "The Green of Darkness".

In the beginning, J wrote most of the music. Maybe the other guitarist wrote a song and complemented a little here and there.

In “Omen” there were several new members in the band. The product “Omen” is a result of the members who were there at that time. There were some strong personalities, who tried to steer the band in a slightly different direction than I liked, but it should be said that without them it might not have been possible to record a new record either.

After we'd been in a "cheap" studio that we could afford and recorded “The Return of the Black Death,” we sent the recording as a campaign to different companies, hoping to get a record deal and the ability to record it again with better resources, coming to time, money and equipment. Cachophonous wanted to sign. It was a little bit of a setback, when he found out we were a Christian band. He said he hated it, but that he loved the music so much that it overshadowed the fact that we were a Christian band. Just as we wanted everyone to think.

He censored some texts, made his own cover, and printed it up without giving us any call or notice. It still looked good and was released out on the market. We never got any money... Among other things, we have heard from for example Pål Dæhlen, It´s believed believes to have sold around 15-20 thousand copies. We tried to contact the company a couple of times, but we´re told that it was bankrupt. Apart from that he used different nicknames, so in the end there was little and nothing we could do about it ...

Grave Robber

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

PAGE 7

Interview with Wretched Graverobber

1.When I sit and read about the band Grave Robber I can't find any information at all so as far as I understand you have struggled to remain anonymous or have I understood wrong? I’m surprised! There’s 17 years worth of information on teh internet about us! We have a Wikipedia page, numerous interviews in print, and several podcasts featuring Grave Robber. Not to mention a Facebook page, a Facebook group, Instagram, and Twitter.


2. What was the plan from the beginning with Grave Robber, Christian the Misfits? We absolutely wanted to do that. Some bands deny that they want to play the music they love from the bands they love, but their own take on it. We’ve never denied. In fact, we’ve been very upfront about our desire to sound like The Misfits. Now, having said that, we’ve doen a lot of things musically that The Misfits would never do, so ultimately our thumbprint on the music isn’t EXACTLY copying The Misfits, but there’s no denying their influence and what we set out to do.


3. Deep down, I want to know how it all started and what vision you had when you started the band and why your name is Grave Robber. To begin with we were all worship leaders who lead worship at an evening church service. We were all Misfits fans and wished that there was a band that sounded like them, but expressed our worldview. One night after studying a certain passage in Romans 6, our pastor said that we were dead to the world’s value system. Dead to sin, but alive in Christ. Immediately following the lesson, we took communion. Body and blood. So, we are ”dead” and eat flesh and drink blood! It dawned on me that the zombie apocalypse had started over 2000 years ago. As Christians we are dead, but alive, so we are the living dead. That night we began praying about starting a Christian horror band. Two years later we had our first rehearsal. We prayed for TWO YEARS before we hit a note.


4. Have you understood that it has been difficult to break through at concerts and festivals with this concept have few had to defend yourself against Christians who thought you had done wrong? Very rarely. I think most people get it. For those who don’t get it, they can still listen to The Gaithers.


5. I once saw you on Audiofeed and felt God's presence, but the question is, have you received any feedback if anyone in the audience was saved during your concerts? We get feedback all the time about how God has used the music and lyrics to draw people to Him. It’s incredibly humbling. One time we stopped the show to pray with someone. Right there from the stage. A performance just isn’t as important as someone who wants a relationship with Jesus.


6.Now a little curious but will you expect a new album from Grave Robber in the near future? Yes. We are currently writing and forming new songs. We have a possibility of working with a couple EAuropean labels, so of course we need new material to submit to both of them.


7then I want to come up with my final question all of us believers have some favorite place in the Bible and my question what is your favorite place and why is it that particular place. Romans 7:24 ”What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this dying body?” That’s where I got my name, ”Wretched!” But, another favorite is Ephesians 2:8-9 ”For you are saved by grace through faith, and this is not from yourselves; it is God’s gift— 9 not from works, so that no one can boast.” It’s our Holy God that rescues us from ourselves. His gift of salvation is free and only comes from Him.

 

PAGE 8

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

AUGUST BURNS RED

It’s been said that you are one of the biggest Metal Core bands in the USA.

What made you start with Metal Core?


First of all, thanks for interviewing me! My name is Matt Greiner, I play drums for August Burns Red and helped start the band in 2003. I fell in love with Metal Core, mostly because of the progressive drumming and syncopated breakdowns. I met a few friends in high school who had similar interests as me and we decided to get together and start covering a few of our favorite metal songs. We started the band on the farm and got signed in 2005 and started our touring career.


You are Christians. What does your families say about this music choice?


I am a Christian, but we do not consider ourselves a Christian band as we represent several different walks of life. My family was unsure of this style of music when we first got started but has been very supportive over the years and has come to understand that it’s just music, it’s not an evil or dark industry.


How anonymous are you? Have you managed to remain anonymous despite the success of your band?


I live in a small town in Pennsylvania. I don’t see myself as a rockstar or anything like that. We are all just regular guys who love writing and playing music together and touring the world.


Who discovered you?


We played shows on the weekends in 2003 and 2004 and recorded our first 5 song demo and later on, a 5 song EP. We signed to a local record label called CI and later we got discovered by Solid State in 2005 and sign a 5 album deal with them!


Who writes your texts is it you or do you have a ghostwriter?


We write all of our own music. It is a collaborative effort between the 5 of us. We all contribute to the lyrical and musical creative process.

Your Metal Core is not pure Metal Core, I wonder how did the idea came about?


I’m not sure what the true definition of ”pure metalcore” is, but we just write what we’d want to hear in a metal song. We like to challenge ourselves with the speed and technicality of it, and to write music that is catchy and uplifting.


Your first singer, Jon Hershey and bassist Jordan Tuscan left the band. Why did they do that?


We started the band without any confidence that we’d be getting signed or touring. Once we started to get busier and spend more time on the road it became apparent to Jon and Jordan that it wasn’t the life for them, and they quit to pursue what was important to them!


Have they regretted their decision after you became a great established band?


I can’t speak for them, but I would have to say they are quite proud of their decision to start families and settle down. I’m proud of them.


It says you toured in 2008 with As I Lay Dying, was it their big break as well as your biggest tour?


As I Lay Dying was already big at the time, and we were really starting to gain traction as well. It was an important time in our band’s career and helped launch us to where we are today.


When I read about you, it is revealed to me how many record companies you use, what is it because you use different companies and not one of the same companies?


We were signed to Solid State for 5 albums. Once we fulfilled our contract with them, we signed with Fearless Records and fulfilled our contract with them. We’ve

been a band long enough to be blessed with the opportunity to be signed to several labels.


During your tours you support many bands that are not Christian, why have you chosen to do so?


Music isn’t Christian or non-Christian, it’s just music. We tour with bands that make sense to tour with in growing our fan base and providing an entertaining concert for fans to come and enjoy. Much like working in any industry it’s important to work with those who may disagree with you in a wide variety of ways. Christianity calls us to live in humility and peace and love with everyone. We don’t see ourselves as better than anyone else just because of what they believe or don’t believe.


Is that the only way for you to reach this large audience?


We are just working to grow our fanbase and continue doing the best we can with this opportunity!



One thing I can feel a little worry and hesitation about is your statement in 2015: “ We are not on stage to bring people to God, that is not our purpose up there?


That is a correct statement. Just like a plumber or electrician’s main goal is to provide a service to their customer, our main objective is to be the best band we can be and entertain an audience. I believe God has given me this opportunity and I aim to use it for His glory, but this band as a whole has a collective mission, that is to write and perform music that entertains as many people as possible and spread a positive message in the process.


What is your purpose then? I thought you were Christians?


Being a Christian means loving God and loving others. I would argue that our decision to focus on the gifts we’ve been given and give it away to entertain others is something God can use to bring Himself glory and to really benefit others.

Owns all rights

PAGE 9

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

POLTINMERKKI

Poltinmerkki started in 2002, but back then you had another lineup one than you have now.  What made you change the lineup? Are any of you who have been there from the beginning still in the band?


Some band members have moved to another town, and one band member has changed a role because of personal reasons. He is still working with us in studio-lineup.

Tell me about the members in the band. What backgrounds you have, etc.


Ari: I play drums in the band. I live with my family, which consist of my wife and two daughters. My other hobbies: Judo, running and voluntary rescue service at the sea. The band is not my daytime job.


Janne: I ´m playing guitar and I am also a singer in the band. I have a wife and two sons. My hobbies are music and sailing.

Ville: I play bass guitar. I’m an electrician by profession. Maybe that’s why band lights are mostly my design.


Janne is our musical perfectionist, who hunts down every mistake (We don’t make mistakes...do we?


Ville is our electrical constructor, who sees to that things are working as they should (and mostly of a time they actually work ;))

Ari tries to handle the wholeness of a band and sometimes he also has some reasonable ideas.

Many people who have listened to your album that you have made in Finnish say that you have the same sound as Rammstein is it something that you have sought to liken?


Or is it something that has developed naturally over time?


Of course it is an honor to be compared with such a big band as Rammstein, but we are not consciously trying to imitate any other bands. We are just doing music that we think sounds good.


Who is writing your music and who is writing your lyrics?


Janne has a main responsibility of composing, but compositions are a result of a whole bands work. Lyrics are written by Ari.


What dreams and visions do you have with Poltinmerkki? What do you want with the band?


Our dream and goal is to plant a seed of a biblical truth and let our Lord take a carry of growth. We are trying to reach as many listeners as possible with this most important message. Our upcoming album reveals this vision precisely.


Christian musicians that play heavier music get various reactions from other Christians. For some very religious Christians, music styles that differ from what they are use to is a vulnerable issue. What kind of reactions have you experienced?


We know what you are talking about, but we haven't had this kind of an experience.


So you haven´t been exposed and questioned that you as Christians play this type of music?


No, we haven't had this kind of an experience.

How would you review your own?


Our music guides a listener to think about very basic questions about human life. Strong musical delivery supports our very important message about our Heavenly Father as our creator.


A final question many Christians including me have a special passage in the Bible that means extra much to them. Which place means a lot to you?


The bands name Poltinmerkki, comes straight from a bible: (Isaiah 3:24). We consider that passage to be very meaningful for us.

 

PAGE 10

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

CRIMSON MOONLIGHT

Crimson Moonlight started in 1997 and that the content of the texts comes from the Orthodox. Is it Catholicism we are talking about? Or is it a different view of

faith?


Pilgrim: That's right! Crimson Moonlight formed in June 1997. As for our lyricism, it can probably be said, that they are quite "general-Christians" but that the themes have been a little different over the years. Some recurring themes in our texts I would say are apocalyptic, Christology, creation romanticism, mysticism, apophatic theology, patristics, and existentialist philosophy. You can definitely see a rapprochement with Orthodox theology and mysticism from Divine Darkness – the plate. I, myself belong to an Orthodox church (St. Peter's Evangelical Orthodox Church, Halmstad) and have found my spiritual home there and in early Christianity. I have studied Theology for six years and have a corresponding Masters degree. In my studies, I have focused especially on exegesis, systematic theology, and patristics (the doctrine of the Fathers of the Church). This, taken together, has made me write a lot of texts inspired by early fathers such as Irenaeus of Lyon, Clement of Rome, Basileios of Caesar, Athanasios, and Gregory of Nyzza. But there´s also medieval mystics such as Symeon the New Theologian, Gregory of Palamas and Master Eckart.

Why the choice Black Metal?


Pilgrim: That's a good question. It was kind of timely. The second wave's Black Metal had some of its inaugural highlight around the mid-1990s. Bands such as Mayhem, Dark Throne, Burzum, Emperor, Dark Funeral and Marduk released fantastic albums that became style-forming. In 1994 Horde released "Hellig Usvart" – an album that changed my experience of music forever! I started listening to Thrash and Death Metal around 1992 and really loved it, but when I first heard Horde's Black Metal around 1995, I was completely captured! The music was rawer, harder, more atmospheric and the song bestial! So, I had been in the Black Metal music for a couple of years before we formed Crimson Moonlight and the other guys, Gurra, Petter, and Alex were also very into this. It was quite natural that it became Black Metal. On the other hand, our style has varied a bit over the years. We have had more or less of Death metal influences (mostly on the Veil of Remembrance album), some symphonic elements, and even a little more experimental sound. From Divine Darkness and on, however, we've always found our way back to our roots and are playing more chaos-mangle a second-generation Black Metal.

 

When it comes to the style of music you play, many Christians have been shown dislike by other Christians. Is it something that you have noticed?


Pilgrim: Not that much really. At the beginning of his career, there was some resistance from Christians (although the Satanists offered greater resistance in the form of murder threats, etc.).

There could be some Christians who did not understand why we played such hard music and were very unaccustomed to the attributes that belong. Significant for that group was that we were often listened to when explaining the themes, the ambitions and lyricism. They may not have become fans of it, but they could see that we had a biblical basis in our texts and symbols. Then there is also a group of Christians who do not want to understand at all and who live very unfree and limited lives. For them, most things are sin or wrong. It can be about going to the theatre, drinking alcohol, hanging out with non-Christians, or playing the "wrong" kind of music. You simply have not the ability to distinguish between what is essential and what is immaterial, what is at the core of religion and what is cultural expression.


In 1997 came your first demo and then there have been a few more albums but what I am surprised is that in 2006 you did the EP In Depths of Dreams Unconscious but then you did not make an album for 10 years why then what happened?


Pilgrim: After 2007 we had a slightly quieter period with the band as I remember it. We reshaped the band a bit as well and got a couple of new members. Divine Darkness was recorded in 2013 and was finished completely by us in the band during the late autumn of the same year. The record company had a very hectic period and it dragged on for quite some time before the album was released. They also released a single in 2015.


In 2016 you made the album Divine Darkness, an album that was exceedingly difficult to interpret in terms of the lyric example Kingdom Of The Wolfs was by many interpreters that the text is about werewolves in the forests of Småland.   I have gone through the lyrics on the last album, the album is very much about sadness, it seems to be a rather negative album when interpreting the lyrics. Can you explain why the texts were so negative?


Pilgrim: I would not agree at all, that the lyrics are negative on Divine Darkness. However, as mentioned above, they are characterized by Orthodox mysticism and theology. Sometimes lyricism can be difficult to access, but it is important to read the texts in their entirety and try to interpret its metaphor. Some examples: The album's first song The Dogma of Chalcedon is a bit of a Christian manifesto. It is based on the seven ecumenical ecclesiastical councils (between A.D. 325 and 787) and especially around the Council at Chalcedon 451. In the text, I mention various heresies that depart from the teachings of Scripture and the early Church about Christ. In accordance with the Council's decree, the text describes the dual nature of Christ as "True God and True Man." Another example is the title track Divine Darkness, which is about the encounter with the High Holy Trinity and how man trembles with trepidation at the Sacred Mystery. Omnium Gatherum is about man's struggle against time and how the God who lives outside of time, in Christ, and through the Holy Incarnation has entered time and history to restore and save humankind. Kingdom of the Wolfs that you bring up is a tribute to the Scandinavian nature in gratitude to the Lord. A bit like a continuation of Thy Wilderness, for those who remember that song from our debut album the Covenant Progress.


What about life today that you have become a father, will you quit the Crimson Moonlight or is it a passion that you want to hold on to?


Pilgrim: Life as a father is a blessing that transcends my ability to describe. The deep love that a parent feels for their child I can see as nothing more than a proof of God. It's amazing, it's challenging, it's joyful, it's educational and it can also be very tough. Generally speaking, most things are working pretty well in life right now. My family and I live in an old croft in the forests of Småland. Work, home chores and parenting naturally takes up most of the time. This has caused me to cut back on some of the things I did before in my free time. In addition to hanging out with my friends, the Church, some theological work, and the Crimson are the few things I'm trying to keep up with. Sometimes it is difficult to find dates to scratch et c, but at the time of writing we are working on new material for an upcoming album. So, yes, Crimson Moonlight is definitely a passion that I want to hold on to.


 

PAGE 11

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

ANTIDEMON


It's not so common that a Christian starts such a brutal death metal band. How do other Christians look at what you do?


Putting together a death metal band was not my idea! I didn't know anything about Heavy Metal. I was born in an evangelical home, the son of pastors and belonging to a super religious Church and with doctrines that prohibited members from even having television or any contact with any kind of distraction that was outside the four walls of the Church. So, I didn't even know the lightest rock'n'roll. From a very young age, still a child, many pastors, missionaries and so many brothers who prayed for me began to pass a kind of prophecy to me... Different people who shared the same message about me. They said that God had a special call on my life, a call to reach different people, who dressed very differently, who liked different music, who had their own culture and their own world. But as much as I tried to understand what this call was, I couldn't imagine anything other than the possibility of being a call to reach indigenous tribes in northern Brazil.

One day, I was walking through downtown São Paulo and I passed a place called "Galeria do Rock" (a four-story building dedicated to CD stores and clothing related to Heavy Metal), at the time I was taken to this place and then my heart was filled with what I began to see and hear... God was taking me to see the people he wanted me to reach. As I passed each store, I heard music similar to what God was revealing to me and I never imagined it already existed. This gallery was full of very radical young people! Long hair, black T-shirts with heavy metal bands. On the other hand, punks with colourful mohawks, studded jackets and bracelets and symbols of anarchy... In another corner, goths with long black capes and heavy makeup on their faces. Today I can recognize each of these tribes, but at the time I had no idea what they were all about. It was another world! A world unknown to me! At one point, something supernatural began to happen to me... A voice filled my head, my heart, my entire body and said: These are the people I want you to deliver my message to! The music I gave you will be used to reach them! Your appearance will change to the point of becoming one of them! It will be similar to them and so you can reach them! God said it inside my mind and my heart, and when I looked at myself, my appearance, I couldn't see how this could happen... I really was very normal! When I started getting all this revelation, I was a totally normal looking young man with short hair, hairstyles, and formal clothes. As early as 1992, with no doubt of my calling, I began to pray that God would show me how and where I would have to start working with all of this. It was then that I met a group of young Christians who had also received a call from God to reach out to these metal people. I started to attend the weekly meetings they held and there I found those who could help me with the start of a band with which I could fulfil this purpose and desire of God that had been revealed to me. I showed them the lyrics and melodies that were coming to my head and, in January 1994, the band Antidemon appeared, and the doors were opening for this work to be carried out and the greatest purpose ever to happen: Lives being transformed by the message of gospel through our music.


The lyrics of your albums are mostly in Portuguese, what is the reason for that? Is it due to a lack in English language?


Antidemon's first album (DEMONOCÍDIO) recorded in 1998 was entirely in Portuguese, as the target audience was Brazilians. Antidemon's second album (ANILLO DE FUEGO) recorded in 2001 in Mexico was entirely in Spanish as the target audience was Latin American countries and Spain. The third album expressed a very strong moment in our hearts and the feeling with which we made it led us to compose in Portuguese and that's how we recorded it and at that moment I wasn't thinking about who we would reach, but about the most authentic way we could express ourselves and this should undoubtedly be done in our language. Antidemon's fourth album (APOCALYPSENOW), was recorded with lyrics in English, Portuguese, and Spanish, now thinking about a worldwide reach.


How do you perceive the response you have received from the world; it is easier to be accepted in your country Brazil with the music you play than in other countries?


We are grateful to God, because we feel welcomed and loved in our country and around the world! We have already completed 38 nations reached in 04 continents. Endless missions, where we spent several months wandering from city to city, from country to country, carrying out our calling. Thousands of lives have been saved for Jesus Christ. Testimonies come to us from all over the planet. People taken from the underworld of Satanism, drugs, and a lot of alienation, through this strategy, through our music and especially the anointing of God to make this possible!


Why has it been so difficult to keep the band members in Antidemon?


We are a band that year after year, we had a very big activity with tours that connected to other tours, where we stayed 10 months outside Brazil in a single year. This makes it very difficult for a member to remain in Antidemon for a long time, as he would have to give up his life and family to take on this mission for a long time. As of 2018, we assumed that we had a team of guitarists who could take turns so that the sequence of tours would not be too heavy for the same person. In the other positions, however, Antidemon has Juliana on the drums and on the vocals and bass I, Batista.


How do you look at all the expressions in heavy metal? I mean here in the Nordic countries and many other countries also, we divide the styles into different name styles such as Death Metal, Black Metal, Power metal and so on?


Heavy Metal is represented all over the world as an amazing style with these wonderful ramifications that give its fans what they really like!

You have even started a kind of church called, Crash Church Underground Ministry


What can you tell us about it?


At the beginning of Antidemon people were converting to Jesus Christ at every concert the band did. In the middle of each song, I delivered a gospel message. Before long, there was already a flock of people following the band, I tried to take them to the church they attended at the time, but the presence of so many different people attending the same church caused some problems. The Church was not prepared to receive them and began to reject them, mainly because of the stereotype and style of each of these young people. It was inevitable to look for an alternative

and, due to the extreme need to continue the mission with these young people, in October 1998 I created a different Church to receive this flock. I had no alternatives; this was God's plan and he made me pastor these people. God was fulfilling his will. And from then on, the Antidemon and the Church began to walk very closely together.

This Community of Headbangers of Christ grew, and new congregations were born and the fruits of achieved and transformed lives multiplied every day. Today our headquarters are in the city of São Paulo, and we have other congregations spread across Brazil and Argentina. In our Churches in addition to the underground people, we also have parents and grandparents and many children, and we understand that this is what God wants from us as a church: A place where everyone can worship God with a lot of freedom of expression.


What will things look like for Antidemon in the future, will there be a new album? Could you believe it would be in English this time?


Yeah! We are currently working on the composition of the fifth full Antidemon album! We plan to have songs in English and Portuguese.

My last question is that many Christians have a special place in the Bible that means a lot to them, I have the Psalms 103:20 – 21 which means so much that I tattooed it on my right arm. What place means something special to you and why.

One of my favourite passages is Jesus' speech in John 15:5:

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing”

I really feel like a dry and lifeless branch that has been grafted onto the vine that is Christ and that all the fruits and results in my life from this come not from myself, but from Jesus Christ! He is the source of my inspiration, the energy that keeps motivating! He is the meaning of my life and without Him I cannot and cannot do absolutely anything! 

 

PAGE 12

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

Björn Stigsson

Liviticus & XT

The questions that I will now ask are both about Leviticus and you as a solo artist.


It's quite interesting that when you search the web for backstories about you. There actually aren´t much about you, even though you have been doing it for so many years. Among the things that can be found, is that you started in 1981 but already in 1987 there was a first split up. Then you split up again, a second time, but no year is stated. What really happened why did you split up?


Already in 1986 Håkan decided that he didn't want to be on stage anymore as he had a longing to go Bible school. Sven Gomèr started as bassist and Terje Hjortander as a singer. Hakan was mixing guy 1987 in the autumn, we split up again, and then Sonny Larsson came along as a singer and Håkan came back as bassist. Sven o Terje formed Jet Circus. We had some differences and it felt most natural for everyone that it happened.Since late summer 1988, Håkan and Sonny decided to go to Bible school and then Peo Pettersson and Niklas Franklin joined the band. Peo had always worked as a percentage close to us so it became very natural when he came along. We were then going on a Europaturnè with Bloodgood and we also recorded our 4th album with John & Dino Elephante as producers. Later reunions like 2011 - Håkan is back as bassist and Niklas Edberger on keyboards.


It also says that you count as one of the larger Christian big Hard Rock bands, what do you think about that?


It's not something we've thought about, yes know we were one of the very earliest bands to play metal. We also had a huge entrance into the profane world, it started especially with the album "The Strongest Power". The metal magazine Kerrang, praised the album and it was one of the best that year 1985. We also came in an honored 4th place when Swedish radio P3 voted on Sweden's most popular hard rock band. After Europe but before Yngve Malmsten.


Was it only when Peo came into the picture that made you tighter as a band?


No, I don't know, we are very tight as friends and Peo has always been in the background as a producer and is a great guy both as a musician and friend. Musically, Håkan &amp. Kjell has always been great.

The websearch also mentions that Sonny Larsson was the lead singer in the band but he was not on a single studio album, why was that so?

That was not the case because he started Bible school in the fall of 1988.


Now that we're on the topic of studio albums, I have to ask even if it sounds a little rude, why are your albums with Leviticus perceived as having a bad sound and badly mixed ? Has it been the purpose of making it sound a little oldskool garage? (As I said, no offence).?


I've never heard that before, it must be a small group that thinks so. Of course, the sound is 80's and today the sound is different, but the guys who mixed are not blueberries. Bernard Löhr, Ronny Lathi, John and Dino Elephante are all very established. If it had been bad sound and mix, we probably wouldn't have sold records all over the world.


You reunited in 2003 and played at a bobsled party, was there a new ignition there?


Yes, there was, and we had the idea of making another studio album. It was a live album instead


From what I understand, it wasn't until 2011 that you played with the original set again.  Why did it take you so long to start playing with that lineup again?


We probably weren't motivated enough before and we were busy in different places. But in 2011 we celebrated 30 years as a band, so it felt natural for all of us and it was a very successful evening at Valhall in Skövde.


I was at Rock alive when you announced that you started playing for fun, but after that something happened.  You stopped Leviticus and started playing in XT What was the reason?


We all felt like we were going to take a break again. We thought that it was fun to play and we're a great group of friends, but not everyone was motivated in the right way. XT was going to release a compilation album and then Leif from Talking Music asked if we had any unreleased songs. Sonny came over to the studio and then it worked perfectly once again and it became a new album, "Saved by the blood".


A while ago you made a masterpiece, New Beginning, an absolutely fantastic album! I associate the sound and your voice with Pink Floyd and David Gillmour. What was the plan of that album and what made you write that particular album?


Thank you very much! I wanted to make a song of praise for the Lord and I wanted to make it different. Pink Floyd and that kind of symphonic rock have meant a lot in my musical journey, even old Genesis and Yes. David Gilmour is a great guitarist and plays with so much emotion. He has also been a great source of inspiration to me. I'm glad you're connecting the sound with Pink Floyd and David.


Will there be more of this great music?


It's not impossible, I have a lot of new songs in stock. So far, I haven't decided anything. We'll see what the Lord wants.


One last question Christians mostly have some special Bible verse or passage that they like best. As an example I have two, Matteus 16:23 and Psalm 103:20-21    I wonder which your favorite is?


I have several places, but something that I usually come back to is: Psalms 103:1 – 5.

 

 

PAGE 13

Passion Project

@night.growler

Niclas Buss

 Music Production

Ville Herranen

Growl

Henrik Larsson

Project leader and lyrics

Tom Denlinger

Lead Singer 

Emma Backman Choir singer

Calvary

The song Calvary is a collaborative project created by me Henrik Larsson principal conductor of DHA Record, Metal House, Rainbow Rock Festival, From My Metal Heart & Metal House Cafe & Rock Shop.


The vision is to create a Metal Opera on a Christian basis

Contributors:

Henrik Larsson Lyricist and (Project Leader)

Niclas Buss Music composer

Rodney Feltman Mix

Ella Lappalainen ( Video )

                                          Jani Stefanovic Programming of drums

Tom Denlinger Lead singer

Ville Herranen Growl Choir singing

Emma Backman Choir


Three singers with different characteristics make this project something unique:

Niclas Buss who wrote the music, is the originator of the bands Hilastherion, Parakletos & Northern Flame he has also participated in the band In Divina.

Tom Denlinger is the singer in the Power Metal Band SARDONYX

Ville Herranen we normally see as the lead singer of the Death Metal Band Inborn Tendency

Emma Backman has singing in the band In Divina and is a freelance singer mastering Classical, Rock, and Opera can even hear her in the intro of Parakleto's song "Opera Ab Aeterno".

Do you like this song? Probably  you will also like the rest. We have planned 8 more songs but you will only be able to buy these as digital download cards.

D.H.A is only a digital record label that launches digital download in professional way

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Victor Griffin

Place Of Skulls & Pentagram

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

Victor Griffin

As far as I understand, you are or where a member of the band Pentagram a band belonging to one of the first Doom Metal Bands. Considering the name, I wonder if the band has ever been satanic?


I’m not currently a member of Pentagram. There have and probably always will be Satanic connotations to the name. As for being a Satanic band perse,’ not in the sense of practicing black magic, Satanism, or anything like that. As a matter of fact, when Bobby and I first discussed the possibility of me rejoining back in 2010...one of my concerns and conditions was that the promo and imagery related to the name like baphomets, pentagrams, inverted crosses and so forth be dropped, other than the name itself. Of course, we could only do that to the extent of what was in our actual control. Venues and promoters always have their own ideas for promotional things like posters and flyers.

The story that can be read about Pentagram is quite sparse. It adds to my curiosity further about how as a member of this band you managed to become a


Christian, and then as a Christian managed to continue playing in the band that both carried the name and used the symbol symbolizing Satan. How did you succeed? And how were you saved?


“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other." The key is in the word "Look". It's not going through religious motions or working to get God's approval. It's simply coming to terms with our own need and being helpless to do anything about it. When we get to that point of sincerity and just LOOK to God with a pure motive, He will save us.


Then from what I understand, the singer in the band used a lot of drugs at one time when you played in Sweden and you came down with him to me and he was totally stoned, how did you manage to stay away from the drugs? Or didn't you?


It's well known that Bobby has had long term drug dependencies. That's a big part of why I've been in and out of the band over the years. As for staying away from the drugs personally, it's really a decision you have to prepare for before going into any tempting situation. I remember some great times being cooked up, doing a couple of shots, having as many beers as I could hold, and having a good ol time. But I also remember the downside of wasted time with hangovers, bullshit conversations, violence, chasing the proverbial sex, drugs, and rock n roll, and repeating the same thing over and over with the same ending. I don't want anything that causes me to lose control over my senses anymore. That's not to say that I don't have my own struggles or haven't fallen in the ditch either.


When you formed Place Of Skulls in 2002, you had recently become a Christian or had you been for a while. You left Pentagram in 1996, but from what I understand you started playing in Pentagram again. Why?


With becoming a Christian, I had some decisions to make...including how to move forward musically. I knew I couldn't go back to living in strip bars, coke, and all the rest...so I left Pentagram and relocated from the DC area to Tennessee to figure things out. Eventually I joined back up with my friend and bass player Lee Abney and we formed Place of Skulls. It wasn't for another 10 years or so after several Place of Skulls albums and tours that I reconsidered getting back with Pentagram. But yeah, I guess to properly rationalize that, would be the same way other musician believers have done it as well...Nicko McBrain, Kerry Livgren, Alice Cooper, Blackie Lawless, Mark Farner, to name several. That's kind of our world and the fans of heavy music are in a sense my people...know what I mean? I look at it and ponder if there's maybe a bigger reason, I have this connection with this particular music scene. I think life is way less coincidental than we like to believe...and if I still have a presence there,


I want to use music as something positive, even though metal in general has a dark reputation. We're all gifted in different areas with different demographics, so why should I abandon that?


How has it been for you out there in the metal world have you been able to be honest with your faith or have Fans and Band members not accepted it? How did record companies respond to this?


I think I've been honest about my faith and Christianity. Not that I necessarily bring it up, but I'm definitely willing to talk about it. It's hard to tell how well it's accepted sometimes but doesn't really matter to me in the sense of social acceptance. I think it's becoming harder on some people with all the "wokeness" garbage that's spreading. Christians are one of the few groups that people feel they can still ostracize without consequence. But that's exactly how Scripture has accurately predicted it will be. As for record companies...I'm sure they want you to fit their mold just like the rest of the world does.


What is the vision of Place Off skulls and is it something you will continue to play concerts?


At the beginning of 2021, Lee and I had some good plans for Place of Skulls, but it all fell through in October. We'd started working on new songs and rehearsing again with our original drummer Tim Tomaselli, to play the Maryland Doom Festival this past October. Unfortunately, Tim had to pull out for reasons we're still not quite clear on, but I get it, things happen in life and priorities change. Anyway, I gave Sean Saley a call (ex-Pentagram, The Skull drummer) with about a 3-day notice and fortunately for us, he was ready to go! We rented a rehearsal space in Maryland the day before the show, and he knocked it out of the park. However, after years of trying to keep Place of Skulls alive with different members, we've decided to move on. Since Lee and I started the original Death Row, our new focus is putting it back together under the new name Death Row Revival.


Are you planning a new album with Place off Skulls?


Just reissues of the first two albums. 'Nailed' should be out this summer on vinyl for its 20th anniversary. Then a reissue of 'With Vision' next year for its 20th anniversary. Songs we're working on now, are planned for the new Death Row Revival debut album.


Last, this question comes when all of us Christians have a special passage in the Bible that means a lot, so which passage means the most to you?


I don't really have one special verse or chapter. There's so much in The Bible that speaks to me at various times and different seasons in life. Lately I've been in the book of 1st Peter and the Scriptures on Christ's suffering and how it relates to our own suffering is always inspiring to me. Like 1 Peter 4:1 from the Amplifiedersion..."Therefore, since Christ suffered in the flesh [and died for us], arm yourselves [like warriors] with the same purpose [being willing to suffer for doing what is right and pleasing God], because whoever has suffered in the flesh [being like-minded with Christ] is done with [intentional] sin [having stopped pleasing the world]", and 1 Peter 5:10..."And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore you, secure you, strengthen you, and establish you.

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

Millennial Reign  

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What´s the story behind your band name?


I was in a church service one day and the pastor was talking about the thousand-year Millennial Reign of Christ. I remember the thought crossing my mind “that would be a really good name for a metal band.” It would be quite a few years later that I would put this project together and use the name, but it definitely came to pass.

 

When are where did the band form? 


It actually started as a recording project. I used to play in an 80s Metal band called 3:16 back around 2000 to 2005. I had written a full CD’s worth of songs for that band and they had never been released on a full scale. I decided to record and release them under the name of Millennial Reign. I recruited my old drummer (Bryan Diffee) from 3:16 and a vocalist (Trae Doss) that I had worked with here in the Dallas area to record with me. I released the self-titled album independently in 2012. Later I began writing for a second album, but the music definitely leaned more toward PowerMetal because that’s all I had been listening to since discovering many bands from Europe around 1998 or so. I recruited a new vocalist (James Guest) to fit the style from here in Texas and then started submitting to record labels. Ulterium picked us up as we were still writing for the album. After several months they suggested that we try to form it into a full band, so I began recruiting for the final members and we became a full band around 2014.


What's the purpose of the band?


The vision has actually changed since the band began. When we started, it was mainly to glorify God through our music, but we would play just about anywhere. Now that the world has gone through a drastic change, my vision and calling has


Two years ago, you supported Stryper.  Now very recently you supported Timo Tolkki at a concert in Fort Worth Texas. Stryper is very straight forward about being Christians in their lyrics also your lyrics mention God and many things that can be associated with Christian life.  Timo Tolkki is a well-established artist in the Power Metal genre, but not Christian. On coming tours and more opportunities coming up, if you could choose, Which bands/artist do you hope to share stage with? 


We’ve supported many international bands, Hammer Fall, Sonata Arctica, Accept, Delain, Leave’s Eyes, Y&T, Theocracy and Joe Lynn Turner just to name a few. We also toured with Stryper and opened for them on many other occasions. We played with many secular bands simply because that got us in front of many people who needed to hear what we had to say. Of course, we couldn’t speak openly on stage, but it did open the door to speak to people privately at our merch table as we did meet and greets. We’re hoping to share the stage with Bloodgood, and Whitecross once medical issues are healed. And we are believing God for that as we speak.



Who would you say is a typical fan of your music? 


Any melodic PowerMetal fan should be interested in our music. Stryper fans were very receiving of us when we played with them. And so were most every other fans of the bands we opened for. 

 

 

Have you received any dislike by Christians making the choice to share stage with non-Christian bands?


If so, I’m not aware of it. No one ever voiced their disapproval of us playing with secular bands. It’s simply where most of our opportunities were to get in front of an audience. 


Christians often have some favorite Bible verse or passage. Do you have any and in that case which?


There are too many to list here but a couple of them would be:

Isaiah54:2-4

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities. “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated. You will forget the shame of your youth and remember no more the reproach of your widowhood.”

 Joshua 24:15

But as for me and my house, we will serve the lord.

 



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Do you want to support us ?

Contact us at rbr@metalhouse.one

Do you want to support us ?

Contact us at rbr@metalhouse.one

In 2023, it's finally time for a new edition of the Rainbow Rock Festival. Some bands like Images Of Eden From the UNITED STATES as well as Sangreal from Italy, a project by Alessandro Batini known from the band Dark Horizon. Images Of Eden has also climbed the ladder and is becoming more and more established playing opening act for Iron Maiden, Yngwie Malmsten and soon they will play the opening act for Helloween.

It is a drug and alcohol-free 3 day festival.
soon there will be more information where the festival will take place, as well as the cost of admission.

www.metalhouse.one 

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Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

ULTIMATUM

It says that Ultimatum started in 1992 but that you didn't come along until 1993 was ultimatum a Christian band from the beginning or did it become a more Christian band when you came along as a singer?

Ultimatum formed in 1992 from the ashes of power metal band Angelic Force. Guitarists Robert Gutierrez and Steve Trujillo had been playing in bands together for years. Robert and I were friends and he kept asking me to come sing for his new band Ultimatum. The band performed two or three local shows before I joined with Robert singing and playing guitar. I officially joined in January 1993 and we started performing live in May of that same year. Soon after we started recording demos. Much like Angelic Force and every other band Robert had been in at the time, Ultimatum was a Christian band. However, on all the Ultimatum albums I wrote the lyrics for every song, except for the track Puppet of Destruction which was co-written by myself and Robert.

1992 - 1995 you performed regularly but then from what I understand there was a pause why did they become?

We never paused in 1995. We were constantly practicing, performing shows, recording demos, etc. In 1993 we recorded our Fatal Delay demo. In 1994 we recorded a second demo that we sent out to magazines and record companies, which was called Symphonic Extremities by Ultimatum. In 1995 we recorded five more songs and put them together with the 1994 demo and released our first "album" on cassette tape. The tape sold well for us. We went through thousands of them. Eventually we were picked up by a small independent label and the album was released on CD.

After this we recorded songs that were released on several compilations. We were looking for a record label and signed with Morphine Records. We started recording our second album to be titled Puppet of Destruction. Unfortunately Morphine Records was struggling financially and we asked to be let go from the label and we were on the search again for a label. God obviously had other plans for us.

As well we were playing shows with other bands like Crashdog, Jesus Freaks, Precious Death and Mortification. Steve Rowe became a big fan of Ultimatum when we shared the stage with him and has been a friend ever since. He offered us a spot on his U.S. Metal Compilation and eventually we signed a record contract with Rowe Productions. The album was delayed due to the changing of record labels but was finally released in 1998.

Drummer Sean Griego joined the band in 1995, whose more aggressive style helped the band transform from traditional heavy metal to a more aggressive speed and thrash metal style, did you feel comfortable with that change?

We very much wanted a double bass drummer from the very beginning of the band. Mike Lynch was a great drummer but he did not play double bass at all. When he exited the band we set out to find someone who could play steady double bass and help push us into a more thrashy direction.

As far as I know, you've jumped around to different record labels, so why did you do that?

In 1997 we signed with Rowe Productions for three albums. However in 1999 when recording our third album we were offered a deal by German label Massacre Records on their new thrash sub-label Gutter Records. We called Steve in Australia and told him about the offer from Massacre. He was over-joyed. He said he was a fan of the band and wanted nothing more than for us to sign with a bigger, secular label, so he let us out of our contract. Unfortunately Gutter Records folded as well and we were again without a label. Steve Rowe was dealing with health issues and wasn't really releasing much music anymore, so once again we were on the search for another label. We ended up signing with Retroactive Records for our fourth album Into the Pit. However, it took a long time to find a label, so in the meantime we released the Til The End EP which featured four new tracks and a cover of a Testament song. All four songs were later re-recorded for Into the Pit. We stayed with Retroactive for two albums. Our last album Heart of Metal was originally scheduled to be a four song EP, but Retroactive wasn't interested in releasing a 4-song EP, so we got an offer from Roxx Records in California to release it. They came up with the idea of releasing it as a compilation with remixed older tracks, a couple rare tracks from compilations and the four new songs. They also released a box set with three CDs and a DVD.

A number of times when I talked to fans about your albums, almost everyone says that there are usually only a couple of songs that are good on your albums why has it become so do you think?

I've never once heard that from anyone. We have some great fans and all our albums sold relatively well. For me, Into the Pit is my favorite album although I am quite proud of Heart of Metal as it encompassed 20 years of music and ministry. I think anyone who says that just hasn't really given the albums a chance.

What about experience from secular concerts how has now been received as a Christian band?

We played many, many shows at clubs and theaters with non-Christian bands. We played with Exciter, Fueled by Fire, Vindicator, Vektor, SeventhSign, among many, many others. We held our own and had a great time. We never really had any issues with any other bands we shared a stage with. We did have the occasional club that did not want us to play because we are Christians. For me it was all about making my Father proud. We always walked off stage completely soaked in sweat. We always gave it our all.

How did you get out of alcohol and drugs?

I was never really a big drug user or alcohol drinker. Our bass player Rob was. He has an awesome testimony about how God brought him out of drug addiction, but I will leave that for him to share.

What do you have to say to Christian bands who get drunk and act like shit to others?

It makes no sense to me. We are ambassadors of Jesus Christ on the earth. If you are a "Christian band" you are representing the King of King and Lord of Lords. You should treat that with the utmost respect. Ultimatum always had a policy that we would help the other bands we performed with loading and unloading their amps and drums. It opened up so many doors for us and I am still friends with many of those bands today. If you treat people like crap, you are not representing Jesus Christ.

 

As far as I know, you're no longer playing Or do you have something new going on?

Ultimatum went on hiatus in 2012. We are all still good friends and we have gotten together to jam on occasion. We've had offers from record companies to record new music, but so far we have not officially gotten back together. It could happen in the future. Robert has songs written. Robert, Rob, Alan and I all still live in New Mexico, so it's not out of the range of possibilities for a reunion to happen in the future.

PAGE 18

Edited by Miia Rautiainen And

Interviewed by Henrik Larsson

Theocracy

As for your chosen music path, what was the purpose of it? What vision did you have from the beginning with the project Theocracy?

 

I always wanted to write songs since the time I was in school, and I always wished I could find a Christian band that had a similar level of musical integrity and creativity as my favorite bands back then like Queensryche and Metallica. Since I couldn’t find that band, I decided to create it.

 

Then you made the first album. Why?

 

I had been writing songs for years, and I finally had a collection of songs that I was really proud of. I recorded demos for these songs, and a guy named Deron Blevins from MetalAges Records heard the demos and said he wanted to release them. So those demos became the first album.

 

“Mirrors of Souls” counts as your best album, but something happened to your music after that, you became more Progressive with every album. What happened?

 

It’s hard for me to hear any changes in style, as I’ve always just written what comes naturally. But every artist evolves over time, and I love a lot of progressive music, so that’s not a big surprise. I think a natural evolution makes a band’s career more interesting.

 

 

Many people associate your music with Avantasia, but I wonder why you as a band do not deliver your music in the same way, making a Metal Opera? Do you have “a hard time” with letting others sing your music?

 

No, I’ve actually released a few songs under the Project Aegis name with different singers. It’s great fun to be able to write for other voices, and with that project I was able to write for some of my favorite singers ever! Daniel Heiman, Neal Morse, Rob Rock, Daísa Munhoz, etc.—it’s been amazing. But Theocracy is more of an actual band, so that’s just a different thing.

 

Your texts are very much about the spiritual and the Christian message is there. Can you tell us more about it?

 

Yes, I think a lot of Christian music can be repetitive, which is why I’ve always tried to write with a lot of variety. Some songs are about things I’ve gone through personally, or things that people I know have experienced. Other songs are more historical in nature, or about larger concepts or thought experiments. So, it all fits under the umbrella of Christianity, but I hope there is enough variety there to keep it interesting.

 

I've heard for a long time now that if you're a Christian, it's hard to succeed as a band. Have you experienced this too?

 

There are definitely biases you have to deal with, but I kind of like it. I consider it a badge of honor, and I enjoy going against the grain in life.

 

Many bands have made new material during Covid 19, so of course the question is what do we have to expect from Theocracy?

 

Our new album is basically finished, and now we’re just waiting on label details and scheduling. So new Theocracy music is coming your way soon!

PAGE 19

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Vinyl Examples

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