King of Asgard – From Here, To North
By: David E. Gehlke
Blistering.com: I’m sure you’re getting this a lot, but the new album at various points, is simply brutal. Was that intentional?
Larsson: Well it’s more a result of this being the first album we’ve all been involved in the making of. It all came natural. This time around I’ve been way more involved, along with Karl, which could be another obvious reason as well as I have a history of a more extreme musical background which I still cherish high and want to bring as part of this. We all have been playing in numerous bands during the last 20 years or so and this being mainly in the vein of black and death metal, so it’s something that is deeply rooted within us and it’s also very present in the immediate sound for KoA as well. Creating this aggressive/epic approach or simply brutal one as you put it, comes natural out of dedication, devotion and heart. We see King of Asgard as something that depicts and describes our concept and old heritage, Viking age and so forth, which hardly was much that could be described as fun. Thus we skip the happy approach as we’re not a band existing on expressions of bliss. This is what we personally like and seem many with us.
Blistering.com: There’s some absolutely killer riffs to be found on “The Nine Worlds Burn,” “Gap of Ginnungs” and “Plague-Ridden Rebirth.” Who’s responsible for all of the great riff-action here?
Larsson: Probably most of them are written by Karl [Beckmann, guitars/vocals], our riff machine. The base of a song is mainly done by Karl and me and it's taken care of during a long time at the rehearsal and at home and so forth. So the basic ideas comes from Karl, which we build upon until everybody is satisfied. All of us come up with opinions and ideas which we try out until perfection is reached - according to us that is. An example for this is "The Nine Worlds Burn" which was the first song we wrote for the ...to North album and actually was the last one that got completed. It got a completely new verse and structure just weeks before entering the studio and it sure came out a killer in the end.
Blistering.com: You must be itching to play some of these songs live. Which songs do you think will work best?
Larsson: Yeah for sure! We actually tried them all in front of a live audience two weeks ago. We had a release party for …to North here in Mjölby (27/7) where we performed the entire album in exact track listing as on the actual record. Unfortunately far from all had heard all the songs but one really felt which ones worked better on the crowd, as for us. First out of the ones that probably will work is “The Nine Worlds Burn,” a great live song that set margin. This time around we also had live guest appearance by Heléne Blad (album guest singer) which was amazing! Other songs we felt worked out fine was “Nordvegr,” ”Gap of Ginnungs” and “The Dispossesse.” So, we’ll see which ones we’ll pick up next time. But one thing that struck us was that all songs actually worked out fine and it was indeed an interesting experience to present the album in its whole.
Blistering.com: If anything, the new album leaves a lot of the folk/epic metal connotations you had in the dust. Do you think you’ll gradually move away from that style?
Larsson: Could be that some of it is out of picture. I still think it’s present though but in a more discreet way and not as obvious as on the predecessor. It just came out this way and was nothing we planned. We’ll not deliberately turn our backs on the folk/epic parts. It’s still going to be a big part of King of Asgard and its sound and we have already some interesting ideas which actually is purely based on folk tunes that will be presented in a KoA manner. We’ll see what will come out of that. More than that, well, we don’t plan on these things to happen. This is where King of Asgard takes us and we’ll see where to go next, still we’re careful to stick to our roots.
Blistering.com: Conceptually, what was the focus this time? And what does the title …to North represent?
Larsson: Our main source and focus of lyrical inspiration was yet again based upon Norse mythology, legends and sagas. There’s no concept behind the ...to North album as far as it goes throughout the whole album though. There are main themes that is Norse mythology based, prehistoric tales/reflections of/and believes, but no more than that actually. The title ...to North kind of reflect upon that, our Norse heritage. It has ambiguous ways of being seen upon and is vague in its description and left open for interpretation. A tribute to the North, our heritage and (longing for) home. We felt it fit right away as we came up with it.
Blistering.com: A few years ago, there were tons of bands playing the epic/folk metal style. Now it appears the scene had died down a bit, therefore, do you think this will benefit King of Asgard?
Larsson: Have no idea to be honest. Never been that involved in the actual epic/folk metal scene or style but of course I’ve noticed its ups and downs. But I guess it’s like it usually is with all these subgenres when they get overcrowded. With bands and records popping up like mushrooms, without specific quality, target or spot. Be it death metal, black metal or whatever, it happened to them all. One get fed up and it’s suicide decease. If this will benefit us? Don’t know but hopefully we’ll be more accessible if so. Let’s just hope we’ll stand that test ourselves and that our followers will be on our side. Time will tell!
Blistering.com: Finally, what’s on the agenda for the rest of 2012?
Larsson: Thanks a bunch, David, Blistering.com, its readers and the followers of the King for supporting King of Asgard! Well, 2012... hope for some shows ahead, meet our followers and that the album gets the attention we believe it deserves.
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