Interview with drummer Christian "Kick" Holm
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: February 28, 2012
Nekromantheon are a new Thrash Metal force hailing from Kolbotn, Norway that already have two vicious and hostile sounding records out. Their debut studio album, titled "Divinity of Death" was released on German High Roller Records and the follow-up record, "Rise, Vulcan Spectre", came out on an independent Norwegian label Indie Recordings this year.
These three relatively young Norwegian fellows undoubtedly know their stuff; they have chosen to play their Thrash Metal fast and furious - and often I have seen Nekromantheon being compared to bands like Morbid Saint, early Destruction, early Slayer, Sadus and the likes. Those of you who have already heard Nekromantheon, know that all these aforementioned comparisons aren't that far from the truth. Punishing and aggressive are just a couple of synonyms for this amazing Norwegian Thrash Metal group - and while we are at it, let drummer Christian "Kick" Holm reveal us more used and descriptive synonyms about the results of Nekromantheon's destructive Thrash Metal bombardments so far.
Luxi: So, how's it 'kicking', Christian? Already getting tired of winter; snow, frost, all that stuff?
Kick: Hey man! I'm kicking back and listening to Zemial at the moment, good stuff! Haven't really had the time to get tired of winter yet, guess I've gotta hurry...
Luxi: Speaking of some of the current activities of Nekromantheon, you just did a tour in Norway together with Aura Noir and Skeleton Witch, playing six dates all in all. I guess this tour was pretty successful for you after all, right? I mean, just looking at the lineup, all three bands seem to be kind of popular these days, so I only have to assume this sort of mini-tour pulled good crowds to your shows, so would you mind telling us a bit about the tour, what kind of experience it was for you and what good came out of it?
Kick: The tour was definitely a success, we had lots of fun on the road with those guys. We've known the guys from Aura Noir for a while now, and when it comes to live shows, they always deliver! Skeletonwitch was new to us, but they were great guys to be on the road with. All in all it was a great tour, maybe we'll go for a longer one in the future? Sure hope so!
Luxi: Nekromantheon also played at Maryland Death Fest in the States and Live Evil festival in London, England in 2010 - and obviously those two festival appearances worked as good learning trips for you guys, giving you basically a fair insight into everything you need to know when doing festival appearances like those two? How were these festival experiences for you?
Kick: Both MDF and LE are amazing festivals done by promoters who really do their absolute best do create an event for the fans to enjoy, and that's really important for us. We don't immediately travel on to the next city after festival shows like that, we stay and watch the bands. And when the atmosphere is as good as it was on those festivals, it's impossible not to have a great experience.
Luxi: Do you have your own touring crew with you whenever you hit on the road to play some gigs, by the way? Or is still it more like a DIY (i.e. do-it-yourself) type of thing for you, at least the most part of it?
Kick: We do our best to travel light, he-he! No need for loads of techs and roadies, we can carry our own shit and rig it too. There is of course a tour manager that helps with all the things we are too drunk to understand, or a chick to help sell the merch, but that's it. No rock stars here, he-he!
Luxi: Your latest album, "Rise, Vulcan Spectre", has been received exceptionally well all over the world. How overwhelmed and thankful have you personally been about the awesome response you have gotten from your fans around the globe thus far? Has it been any surprising for you to realize how popular Thrash Metal actually is among Metalheads nowadays?
Kick: The response has been overwhelming indeed, especially here in Norway. We're definitely glad to hear words of praise from old school thrashers, and equally excited about hearing youngsters appreciating something else than triggers and synths. If we can inspire more people to play any form of old school metal, or music in general, we could feel we've accomplished something.
Luxi: "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" was recorded at Kickarse Studio just within a week in May 2011, so that happened quick. But obviously that was also one of your main goals to get it recorded fast, just to get this more 'live' vibe and feeling captured into your songs - without losing any of that energetic and vibrant live vibe that you have in your gigs. Do you think you achieved everything what you wanted to achieve in the first place in the actual recording situation, or are there some things on the record that you might do otherwise if you got another chance for it?
Kick: The album turned out exactly the way we wanted, with just the right amounts of coincidence and rough edges. You're right when you say we wanted to capture the feeling, which I feel we did to a pretty good extent. There's a lot of energy in those recordings, energy that would have faded if we had recorded the album over, say, a six-month period or something. I wouldn't change a thing about "Rise, Vulcan Spectre", though there might already be some things we've planning on doing different on our next album.
Luxi: I suppose the type of situation like you guys would lock yourself into some studio for two months to do all your recordings, would be somewhat impossible. It would probably ruin the fact Nekromantheon would sound like Nekromantheon but something else after that helluva long recording session, am I correct?
Kick: Two months to record an album would be far too much, yeah. However, if we could be locked in our rehearsal room for one and a half month to write the material, and then use half a month to record and mix, that would probably be pretty cool. No distractions in the writing process, and a quick and painful recording. Doesn't sound that bad! He-he!
Luxi: How was it different recording "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" compared to your debut album, "Divinity of Death"? I suppose you guys were simply better prepared for working in the studio this time, than when you recorded "Divinity of Death"?
Kick: Well yeah, we had learnt from what we did with "Divinity..." and were way more focused on getting everything right before we actually started to record. We knew what we were going for to a much bigger extent, and had a clear visualization of the final product. Just minor stuff but it all helps. Practice, you know!
Luxi: Your latest record has been advertised by the words: "unholy Thrash Metal from the burning depths of Hades. For fans of old Sepultura, Slayer, Sadus and Sacrifice". That makes four hard-boiled and known band comparisons to Nekromantheon. Do you freely also subscribe all those bands as some of the strongest influences and inspirations for you guys?
Kick: Definitely, as long as you emphasis the word "old" in there! If you like "Hell Awaits" or "Schizophrenia" but not "Rise, Vulcan Spectre", we haven't done our job right and must try even harder on the next album. Not because we feel we've ripped those albums off, but we've tried to capture the intensity and the evil atmosphere that surrounds those records, and we feel we have.
Luxi: The painting on the front cover of "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" was done by Byrkv. Would you kindly tell us where you got the idea for the front cover, and who's this artist named Byrkv?
Kick: The cover is simply the ancient blacksmith god Vulcan in his cave, hammering ancient weapons from solid metal. The idea for the cover came together with the whole concept of the album, including the title and the lyrics. And what? The artwork was done by R.K.V., not by Byrkv, haha. He's the drummer of Obliteration and Aura Noir, and an amazing artist. He's the same guy who did the cover drawing for "We're Rotting" and the layout for "Divinity of Death".
Luxi: How important do you see the lyrics for this outfit? Are they merely just there as some sort of 'necessary evil' for you guys that simply need to exist to give a more serious value for the band, or do you put as much weight on them as to your music?
Kick: It would be easy to just go on about something that sounds evil but has no meaning, but then it would be just as easy for listeners to hear that we don't mean what we're blabbering about. The same rules apply as when in the studio, it's important that you can feel the energy and authenticity. It's definitely important for us to make the lyrics reflect a common message hidden beneath the veil of obscure Greek mythos, and it shouldn't be hard to get what we're trying to say just by listening to the hellish shouts of Arild.
Luxi: What's your own unholy pack for five of your top Thrash Metal releases of all times anyway?
Kick: These things change all the time, but at the moment I guess it would have to be something like this:
Slayer - Hell Awaits
Sepultura - Schizophrenia
Dark Angel - Darkness Descends
Sadus - D.T.P
Destruction - Infernal Overkill
Luxi: Subscribing to the slogan 'Old school - or no school at all' may also be relatively easy for you when it comes down to the music what you do; I strongly believe Nekromantheon are not into compromising or expanding their sound much toward other territories except probably adding even more violent and hotly burning old school Thrash Metal spices into their own cauldron, which supposedly is the reason why such a band as yours even exist? Uh, may wiser words come from you up next for this...
Kick: The slogan was new to me, but I can easily subscribe to that. I'd rather quit playing than changing the music into something we don't like, what the hell would be the point of that? How can you create something if it doesn't come from within, and you don't even enjoy it?
Luxi: May I ask how old (or young) you guys are? I mean, you look like a half of my own age but then again, I am an old fart - but never too old to Thrash my heart out, ha-ha!!
Kick: We're all 24, and ironically weren't even alive when most of our favorite albums came out (I was... but hell, I will turn 44 on April 15th this year, Luxi comments painfully). Luckily I don't think the extreme musical expression has an age limit, and is just as great for youngsters like us as for old farts like yourself, he-he!
Luxi: All of you have also some other bands going on. You pound the skins in Audiopain, both Sindre and Arild shred their necks in a Death Metal outfit called Obliteration. Is it easy to share time between all of these bands? Are all of these bands you are members of equally important to you, or is the main focus on Nekromantheon, so everything what you do goes on terms of Nekromantheon, as that's your absolute main priority right now?
Kick: It's not easy to put all our attention into every band at the same time, but we manage to focus our creative sprees where it's needed. Like now, we've just released the new Nekromantheon album and have a lot of live shows to do before we can write anything new. That gives lots of time for Obliteration to write their third album, which is well on the way and will definitely be a milestone in Death Metal. Obliteration existed years before Nekromantheon did, and will probably always be more important for Sindre and Arild. As for me, I've only recently started playing in Audiopain and still hold Nekromantheon dearest, but I'm definitely looking forward to record a new album when all the tracks are done.
Luxi: Norway overall isn't that well known for its Thrash Metal bands but mostly its huge and influential Black Metal scene. Do you think this situation might well change a bit in the coming years now when you have got at least a little fistful of very potential Thrash Metal acts that have already raised some stir not only nation-wide but internationally as well. I mean, such Thrash Metal hordes as Blood Tsunami, Imbalance, Infernö, Nocturnal Breed, Aura Noir - and of course as of lately, Nekromantheon, have all been noticed already by the Metal community worldwide - and due to some sort of success of the aforementioned bands, I guess there's nothing out there that could possibly stop and/or kill the Norwegian Thrash Metal invasion from gaining more ground in the future. Well, what's your own viewpoint about this? Is there any hope left for the future of Norwegian Thrash Metal scene? What do you think?
Kick: I think many Norwegians are getting sick of the countless Black Metal bands out there regurgitating the same stuff we got sick of a long time ago, and that the Norwegian music scene is already well on the way of changing. Aura Noir and Infernö started this a long time ago, and I hope even more people are inspired to create something different. It doesn't necessarily have to be Thrash, just something else. Something from within, done in an old school fashion, he-he! Great examples are Condor, Deathhammer, Execration, Diskord and Black Magic. Killer bands that all do things their own way!
Luxi: If you guys lived in England or Germany for example (or any other countries that are largely known for their vivid Thrash Metal scenes), do you believe Nekromatheon would have already gained more ground for themselves popularity-wise than what you have done thus far? Or does it matter after all where some band comes from?
Kick: We don't think too much about popularity, and try to keep our focus on the music. I guess there are all sorts of circumstances that affect these things, so any answer would be pure speculation. I don't think we'd been able to make "Rise, Vulcan Spectre" if we lived anywhere else, though. It has a lot of our hometown Kolbotn in it, and wouldn't be the same if written and recorded anywhere else.
Luxi: What kind of touring plans do you have for 2012? I know for sure already that Nekromantheon have been booked for the Jalometalli festival that takes place in Oulu, Finland on August 10-11 2012. Assumable you might already have some other plans to play at a bunch of festivals during this forthcoming summer, so please shed some more light on your touring plans if possible at all...
Kick: Yeah, Jalometalli is gonna be sweet, I've never been to Finland. There's also Death Doomed the Ages in Germany and the Øya Festival in Norway. We also have some other festivals planned but not yet announced, and probably some more gigs here and there. No proper tours planned at the moment though, as I said earlier Obliteration is in the middle of a creative spree and cannot be stopped, ha-ha! Check our Facebook page for updates on live shows!
Luxi: Are there actually some bands out there that you'd be dying to make a tour with. I mean, the type of bands that have had an important role in being a huge musical influence for Nekromantheon since the band was first put together?
Kick: I bet there are hundreds, we'd love to go on tour with any of the bands we've been inspired by. However, touring with Slayer would be killer in the 80's, but maybe not the same thing now. After already being on the road with Aura Noir, we can imagine a tour with Sabbat (JPN) would be insane! Or maybe Autopsy? They're still going stronger than ever, that would be absolutely amazing.
Luxi: So, have you some concrete plans for 2012 what you are hoping to achieve before the year is over?
Kick: Not really, he-he! We're just gonna keep doing what we've done so far, and hope for the best!
Luxi: Alright, I guess that was it. Thank you Christian for your time to get this done and I wanna wish you all the best in the future, with whatever you may throw your spoon into. Any last comments, perhaps?
Kick: Thanks Luxi, may your spoon also be thrown with the best of luck. And don't forget to check out Antichrist's "Forbidden World" if you haven't already! Skål!
|Other information about Nekromantheon on this site|
|Review: Divinity of Death|
|Review: Divinity of Death|
|Review: Rise, Vulcan Spectre|
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