Not very many Finnish metal bands make the move to present themselves in a different manner visually. The sight of four or five (sometimes six) long, blonde-haired Finns looking solemn is the norm and thus, is expected from bands of the Ten Thousand Lakes. The rare black metal ensemble notwithstanding, Helsinki’s Chaosweaver might take the cake in terms of being the most visually enticing Finnish metal band. Part circus sideshow/part devilish rodeo, Chaosweaver’s image is intended to mingle with their spacey, orchestral brand of extreme metal and it does so, rather unflinchingly on their sophomore Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger (Napalm Records).
With a sound that lends itself to Norwegian symphonic black metal as much as it does homegrown Finnish metal, Chaosweaver main dude Max Power (note: the Simpsons episode in which Homer brands himself with this name is classic) was kind enough to give the Blistering the band’s origins, its visual design, and much more. Here’s what the top hat-adorned frontman had to say…
Blistering.com: We’re four years out from Puppetmaster of Pandemonium. Can you bring us up to speed with all that has happened to Chaosweaver?
Max Power: We started writing new songs shortly after the release of Puppetmaster in 2008. We were super creative, and had over 70 songs or themes demoed for Enter the Realm of the Doppelgänger before we started laying tracks down for the actual album. It was a tough task to choose just nine, which would fit the concept of the album best, and tons of killer stuff was left over.
We started recording the album in December 2009. We were planning to get it in the bag before summer of 2010, but a lot of stuff was happening in our personal lives, both positive and negative, including becoming a father, breaking up with long-time girlfriends and suffering from "the sex, drugs & rock'n'roll syndrome," which pushed everything back. Jack, our drummer, moved his studio from another city to Helsinki during the recording process, and he had to build another one from scratch. It took months. I personally moved from Helsinki to about 300 miles north with my family, so it was harder for me to drive down to the studio. But all this was mirrored in a creative way on the album - it came out genuine and full of emotion! So, the songwriting process took about a year and a half as did the recording and mixing processes. The album has been mastered over a year ago, and we're really anxious to finally get it in stores!
Blistering.com: How did you hook up with Napalm Records?
Power: After we finished the album, I asked a friend of mine to build up a promo site to help us fish for a master deal. I think I sent the link to about 10-12 labels in September 2011, and Sebastian of Napalm replied less than an hour after I had send him an email. He had listened to the album, loved every track on it, and promised to send us a draft of the contract the very next day. So he did!
Blistering.com: You come from a rather happening metal hotbed in Helsinki, Finland. However, your sound and style doesn’t come across as Finnish whatsoever. Is this something you are cognizant of when writing?
Power: To be honest, we don't think of anything else but the actual song we're working on at that particular moment. Our thing is not to copy, but to be as creative as the four of us can naturally be. By 'naturally' I mean whatever flows from our brains through our fingers and mouths without having to force anything out. And at that point, we pay absolutely no attention to whether we sound Finnish or not - nor do we think of snatching influences from songs by other artists. So, to answer your question, our goal to sound more "out of this world" than Finnish or non-Finnish. In my personal opinion, we don't sound too much like some other metal band with orchestrations either.
Blistering.com: As for Enter the Realm of the Doppelganger, when did you start to work on its songs?
Power: If I remember correctly we started working on them in June of 2008, and wrote "Wings of Chaos," the last track which made it on the album, at the very end of the recording session in late 2010 or early 2011.
Blistering.com: Your sound is heavily cinematic, reminiscent of bands like Bal-Sagoth and The Kovenant. Do you see any parallels to these bands?
Power: Well, yes and no. It is true that our music is heavily cinematic as is theirs, but I wouldn't compare us with Bal-Sagoth too much. Our stuff is mostly dark and evil, as theirs is epic, heroic and "radio play-like," especially the narrated parts. Having said that, both of us use a lot of orchestrations and spoken words, and are "musically visual." I hardly ever listen to their albums even though they are really good at what they do.
We relate more to The Kovenant, who are a mutual favorite of ours. Animatronic and Nexus Polaris are masterpieces. The common factors between us and them are the use of industrial elements and theatrical vocals, as well as embracing the darker side of things. Nexus Polaris has awesome riffs and keyboard melodies, but it is not that well performed playing-wise. Nexus Polaris is kind of like our Puppetmaster, and Doppelgänger our Animatronic, even though we haven't upgraded the use of industrial elements as much as The Kovenant did between those two albums. Animatronic is more professionally produced and performed, as is Doppelgänger in our discography.