Interview with Drummer Legion and guitarist Dark
Interview conducted by Cluedo
Date online: November 19, 2006
Theirs is a devotion to all that is metal. At a time where many a 'metalhead' drifts further away from the genre's roots, they refuse to surrender and still remain firmly aligned with the dark.
The founders of DARK LEGIONS, drummer Legion and guitarist Dark, share their views in the following interview.
I don't usually ask this sort of question, but given the lack of widespread information about your young band, could you please fill us in on a bit of history?
Legion: Well, basically what happened was that two years ago Dark and I were getting drunk on German beer while listening to our old cassettes with VENOM, SODOM, KREATOR and HELLHAMMER. And both of us felt those early recordings still are superior to modern metal in terms of heaviness, speed, aggression and spirit. They didn't need synthesizers or triggers to make heavy music so we just decided to show our respect for them and honour the bands we ourselves grew up with in the 80's by picking up our own instruments again! And then things happened really fast. Young growler Pest auditioned and together we recorded a demo after only three months of playing together! Then we recruited a young bassplayer, Vomit, and with a complete line up we were able to perform live. To our surprise, a local crowd of dedicated supporters started showing up at every gig, banging their heads and knowing all the lyrics. With a complete line up we began to write more stuff and focused on putting out more material. I sent a promo to German label Pestilence who showed interest in putting out a full length – which was released a year and a half after Dark and I founded the band.
What compelled you to form DARK LEGIONS? What vision do you hold for the band?
Legion: You know to us metal has always been an underground movement towards trends, fashion and the mainstream. It's a rebellion against the established so called good taste. A lot of metal released these days just doesn't have the true spirit and we're not gonna take it! DARK LEGIONS is happy to be a stronghold of resistance towards everything that is wrong with modern metal, with major labels and with the mainstream. Metal wasn't meant to be radio friendly easy listening sing-a-long choruses. It was supposed to be played fast and loud with power and aggression! We want to bring back the original metal feeling from the early days. And one really overlooked tool today for achieving that, is the classic backwards message so I can promise we will have at least one on every record we ever release, ha ha!
DARK LEGIONS clearly has its roots in Old School Metal. What attracted you to making this kind of music, and espousing this Old School image and spirit of metal?
Dark: What is old school? I've never been interested in any other kind of music, I still mostly listen to the records I bought in the 80's and early 90's.
Legion: Thing is me and Dark are not able to play anything else than old school, since we both picked up our instruments and started playing in different bands in the 80's when we grew up. We didn't choose to sound old, it just comes naturally as we don't know how to play or sound in any other way.
Your lyrical themes return to Metal's days of yore, and seem to be straightforward and without pretense. Satanism seems to be the most prominent theme. What does Satanism mean to you? What about your choice of title for the debut album or is it just a play on KISS' Destroyer? Could you please comment on your other, less obvious lyrical themes as well?
Legion: My lyrics are very personal, much more than you might understand when you hear or read them the first time. Writing lyrics is kind of therapy for me, it's a channel I use to get rid of depressive and destructive feelings. So my lyrical themes are always very honest - even if they are about horror movies which besides metal is another thing I'm really into. And some lyrics, like "Venom (We'll drink tonight)" is of course a straight forward homage to metal and metal lifestyle! On the topic of Satanism, all I have to say is said in my lyrics and I will not comment them further as I very much oppose the idea of being a spokesperson for any church, coven or order. People should use their own minds and follow their own free will. Something I however do have to say, is that people into metal and especially the darker side of it, should stay away from the sheep mentality they mock Christianity for. The Internet is crowded with fools that only copy other peoples or organizations beliefs. Do not turn into blind servants, free your own will! Sometimes it is much more liberating not to read esoteric literature and instead turn to philosophers like Torbjörn Tännsjö or other thinkers like Jung and Daniel C. Dennett instead of the incoherent rants in many "occult" books.
We chose "Satänic Deströyer" for the title of the album because true metal is evil and evil is forever – just as it says on the backside of the cover. Of course it is also a play on the title of the classic KISS album but first and foremost our aim is to help destroy all polished mainstream metal. Plus we could use both "ä" and "ö", ha ha! On the official t-shirt there's a longer text printed on the backside about the Satänic Deströyer and it's written like a manifesto all true metalheads can relate to.
PESTILENCE RECORDS released your debut album, Satänic Deströyer. How did they come across your music? How has the working partnership been thus far?
Legion: I sent them a promo. They are also friends with Irminsul Records whom released our demo in a limited edition on cassette. So far we're very happy with Pestilence, they believe in us and have put in a lot of money, work and enthusiasm into our release. They have a clear vision what they want to accomplish and so have DARK LEGIONS so it's a perfect fit!
Dark: That's right, everything has just worked out fine.
The artwork chosen for Satänic Deströyer is not quite the standard fare of Metal bands these days. Could you please give us a bit of background on the choice of artwork?
Legion: I've always found KISS' album covers interesting, much more than their music actually, so when the idea for the album title came up it seemed like a good idea to have the four of us in the band featured in the cover art.
There were a few eyebrows raised when the choice of artwork was revealed. Would you care to respond to the critics?
Dark: Well, I guess either you understand what it's all about or... you weren't there in the 80's, ha ha!
What has the reaction been like to the actual music, both of the Awakening of the Legions demo and the debut album?
Dark: "Awakening of the Legions" was a hint of what to come. Some people found some influence in there from the Norwegian black metal scene, which surprised us quite a bit but maybe it's so because the Norsemen in their turn were influenced by bands like VENOM and BATHORY who are big influences for us too. Somewhere in our music you will always find something that you can refer to from the 80's. For the debut "Satänic Destöyer" we had a full line up and more time so it's obviously closer to the way we want it to sound like.
Legion: Yeah, the demo generated quite a buzz in the underground and the debut has so far received very good reviews, especially among the "right" people; that is those who are die hard metal heads and understands true metal. A lot of writers seem to compare us with VENOM and that is of course very flattering although we are far more influenced by thrash acts than Cronos & company ever was. Plus my double bass drums are tuned to the same tone, ha ha!
There is an impressive supporting cast on the Satänic Deströyer album, both from the underground and a couple of well known names. How did this collaboration come into being?
Legion: Ever since my tapetrading days I've enjoyed the vision of a global network of metalheads exchanging music so it was just natural to have many contributing special guests on the album, too. All of them have bands of their own really worth checking out. Our most well known guest are probably Nicke Johansson of MANINNYA BLADE and Jonas Isacsson of ROXETTE and the truth is they both contacted us and asked if they could contribute, ha ha! Nicke is a close friend so he just came over to the studio and improvised a couple of really cool licks and solos. Jonas is a friend of our growler Pest and we're very proud to have one of Sweden's most sought after and most expensive studio musicians on our album! He added a very twisted and evil bluesy vibe to "The Sleep" which is a midtempo heavy metal tune with really dark lyrics I wrote when I was suffering from a serious depression.
Were there any specific musicians whom you missed out on working with?
Dark: We would have liked to have the mighty Cronos and we tried to reach him by mail several times but never got any answer, ha ha! Bastard!!! For the next release we'll try to get Kerry King as we have some new material in the true vein of really really old SLAYER that would fit his playing style perfect.
What was the songwriting process like, with these other creative minds about?
Dark: Just fine, those people really understood our suggestions in completing the song, with vocals or a guitar solo.
The basic setups for each song (drums, bass and rythm guitars) was recorded by me, Legion and Vomit in the studio. Before the recording, we had selected a few songs to use with guest appearance. On two songs (Venom we'll drink to night and The Sleep) we added guitar solos from Nicke and Jonas and for the songs Pentagram, Bang Your Head, Venom we'll.., and Sons Of Hell we decided to use guest vocals. How we made it work? We chose the most simply way, we put together some rehearsal mixes for each song and sent them by regular mail (CD's) to each guest. Then they had to record their vocals by them self in someway. The only person who visited us in the studio was Nicke. I am totally satisfied how it all worked out and I have a lot of ideas for how the next album can be recorded. With the use of Internet and for example an FTP-server we can more easily (and faster, the regular mail must be playing in 12 bpm...) communicate with people and let them add their spirits to our songs.
Will you be collaborating with other artists on future albums? Do you have anyone specific in mind?
Dark: We'll see, it all depends on the new songs. I hope Nicke have the time to deliver one more classic guitar solo.
Legion: We have a very good friend and allie in Kutcheck Gorealis of MISANTROPICAL PAINFOREST and he's an extremely creative person, unique individual and gifted musician so I wouldn't be surprised if he becomes involved somehow.
What is a typical DARK LEGIONS live performance like? What does it mean to you to play in a live setting?
Legion: Everybody bang their heads like crazy, people join us onstage for some headbanging and after the show we all just get totally wasted.
Any predictions for the future DARK LEGIONS?
Dark: A new album next year and a lot of empty beer cans.
All done. Thanks for the interview, and keep the flag of TRUE METAL flying high! If you would like to add anything, please do so. Aaaarrrrggggghhh!
Legion: Stay underground and hide from the light. Never surrender!
|Other information about Dark Legions on this site|
|Review: Satänic Deströyer|
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