Interview with Angel Sword

angel-sword-logo Metal Addicts – Hi, guys! Great album! Fantastic music! For about an hour I thought I was back to 1986, and I suppose that’s a great compliment.

Angel Sword – Thanks!

Metal Addicts – There’s something pounding in my head, and I have to ask you why embracing old school heavy metal in all its aspects?

Angel Sword – There’s just something magical about the whole thing: the songs, the sounds, the looks. And even though there’s a sort of resurrection of 70’s and 80’s music, there aren’t a whole lot of bands playing proper old school heavy metal these days. It’s more either speed/thrash or the blues-influenced 70’s rock, which I like as well, but we want to do something different.

Metal Addicts – I guess you spent a lot of time and effort doing it by listening to songs, bands, perhaps videos to emulate all the sound characteristics, and you did a very good job. The thing that called my attention is that it is clear that your main goal is to be an old school heavy metal band, and that you had many influences of that period, but you got to sound fresh, new, your band is, in any sense, merely a copy, you got style. How did that happened? Can you tell me about the equipment you used?

Angel Sword – The equipment was nothing too fancy, for the guitars we used a Marshall JCM 800 with a Marshall cab and a Fender Blues DeVille. We recorded the whole thing at our rehearsal place. So it’s not like we spent thousands of euros to find a specific vintage mic from 1984 to record with or anything. As for our style, it’s evolved quite a bit throughout the years. There’s a pretty big difference between “Ripping the Heavens” and “The Midwinter Tapes”, for example. Part of what separates our style from others is probably the fact that we never found a proper vocalist, so we evolved into a strange mixture of mid-tempo heavy metal riffs and whiskey-soaked growls.

Metal Addicts –  Many metal musicians nowadays have a classical background, and that is a thing that is stuck to their music. In the 1980’s most musicians were self-instructed which gave their music certain characteristics and sounding. I could notice that some of you may be self-instructed too. I say that because I notice much more musicality, spirit, soul than technique. Your band, as I said in my review, is full of heart as many bands of that period were. Is that correct? What are the musicians’ backgrounds?

Angel Sword – Yes, you’re right. None of us have any training in music and we’re all pretty much self-taught. None of us are professional musicians and most of us couldn’t play technical stuff even if we wanted to! But writing and playing complex music is not something I aspire to anyway – my whole fascination with old school heavy metal is not about technical precision, it’s about the heart as you said.

Metal Addicts –  When you choose to emulate a certain musical style, you have to follow some, let’s say, rules. Most 1980’s bands in the songwriting process used to write about many subjects as you did. How’s your songwriting process?

Angel Sword – Those rules are part of what makes the style so enjoyable to me – like the fact that just about every band had a song called “Night Rider” at some point (and most of them in 1984 for some unknowable reason). “Break the Chains” is a very classic title as well, and ours is something of a tribute to a band called Trance who have a song by the same name. Pretty fitting that we’ll be playing with them at the same festival next year! But even if the song titles are the same, everyone has their own take and interpretation of the subjects, which keeps it fresh. As for the process, I write the music and the lyrics and then we arrange the songs together with the band.

Metal Addicts –  It’s not possible for me to name only one band that you were inspired of, but I sense a lot of Accept, TNT, and other European metal bands in your music.  Am I correct? What are the bands that highly influenced you?

Angel Sword – Each of us has their own influences of course, but some bands that definitely influenced our music are Heavy Load, Accept, Judas Priest, Running Wild, Manowar, Angel Witch and Diamond Head. And countless smaller bands like Witchfynde, High Power, King Kobra, etc.

Metal Addicts –  “Rebels Beyond The Pale” is your third album. What do you mean by the title?

Angel Sword – Well, first full-length album but third physical release, yeah. The phrase “beyond the pale” means something that is outside the bounds of morality or good taste. Back in the day it referred to the territory of Ireland that was beyond the English authority and thus, in the eyes of the English, barbarian or uncivilized. But do barbarians think of themselves as barbarians? We are the rebels that rejected authority, walked into the mouth of the skull castle and crossed over to the other side.

Metal Addicts –  You are from Helsinki, Finland, a land that has given us a lot of bands of almost all metal genres. What’s the metal scene like? Where do you usually play? Are there many places to play?

Angel Sword – The metal scene was very big here in the beginning of 2000, but now it’s not that popular anymore. Modern metal and folk metal are probably still doing alright and stoner/doom seems to be popular these days. There’s a small heavy metal underground scene, but in general people don’t go to see gigs as much these days, which means a lot of places have closed down. There’s still several venues in Helsinki but for small bands things are pretty difficult nowadays, because big venues need big bands and if you play in a small bar on the outskirts of the city it’s even more difficult to get people to show up. My favorite place to play is a bar called Lepakkomies (which means batman), right across the street from where I live.

Metal Addicts – Just one more question: what are your plans to the future? Any plans for a tour? America, South America, Japan?

Angel Sword – In two weeks we’re returning to the dusty vaults of our studio to record a 7” with two new songs. Then it’s mixing, mastering, doing the artwork etc. for the rest of the year, and hopefully it’ll be released around February 2017. We’re playing in St. Petersburg in March and in Metalheadz Open Air in Germany in May. Hopefully we can do a tour in Germany later in 2017. And if someone wants to book shows for us in South America and Japan, we’ll be there for sure!

Metal Addicts – I guess that’s all. Thank you, guys. It was very nice listening to you! Stay heavy!

Angel Sword – Cheers!