We are the Legions of Bastards!!
Swedish metal act 'Wolf' return with their latest album 'Legions Of Bastards' released through Century Media in 2011. The band have been around for some time now with Niklas Stalvind been the only original member left from the original line-up. Wolf are a band that makes a statement that 80's metal is alive and kicking as you will know if you listen to their music and lyrics, it's right up my street 80's style metal that way it should be played. Since the band formed back in 95, Niklas has continued to carry the flag for Wolf in their traditional sound that so many of you metal heads love. Wolf first recorded their debut album 'Wolf' back in 2000 and they have recorded a further 4 previous albums up until the new album 'Legions Of Bastards' released through Century Media. The current line-up of the band is Niklas Stalvind (vocals/ guitars), Johnnes Losback (guitar), Anders Modd (bass) and drummer Richard Holmgren. I managed to catch up with the band on their last tour with Accept here in the UK at Sheffield's Corporation club when I spoke to the band about the new album and a little bit about what's been happening to them before the new album was released. Here is what they had to say. So I started the interview off by asking them Niklas what his favourite past album with Wolf was and why? Was there also any album that you thought could of been better?
(N) "Well I'm not sure which one is the best, because I like them all in different ways. I think 'Black Wings' will always have a special place in my heart because that is when we started to become a really good band. it was our 2nd album and we just I think we just found our own style."
(R) "Well for me I think like them all but like Anders I think the new album is the best we have done or the band has done."
(N) "I think that in every album you could of done something better, but it's just details and we have never released an album that we are not happy with."
Was the debut album 'Wolf' released on Massacre Records or another label?
(N) "No it was released on MNW Records, so was the 2nd album 'Black Wings', so was the 3rd album 'Evil Star' but was licensed to Massacre Records which wasn't a big thing for us and as soon as we got to work with Century Media on the 'Ravenous' album things really took off for the band."
So who are the bands influences and how do they reflect in your music?
(N) "Well one of our biggest influences is surely Accept, but we also like Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, are our biggest influences and also Mercyful Fate. (ED: Why those band in particular?) Well if you put Maiden and Priest's music together with M. Fate then you would have the Wolf style. When we started the band they were our influences and we wanted to play like them."
(R) "When we started growing up we were boys & we would come home from school and put on albums like Mercyful Fate and just bang our heads and we will listen too that stuff until we are 90 or 100 yrs old."
What new bands are influencing you right now?
(N) "No new bands are influencing us at all, they never will but I do like some of the new bands. We also like other music so it doesn't have to be Heavy Metal that can only influence us."
(R) "Swedish musician's really don't get influenced by other artists, we just from our hearts and in the end we all have our own style or identity."
So how is the scene in Sweden right now? Has there been a change over the years with all the different styles of metal?
(A) "Well a lot of new bands like Richard said are playing a lot of 80's style metal and I think it is a big thing right now, the old school heavy metal. I think all the styles of metal in Sweden is very popular right now and you really can't say just one style is more popular than the other. People try to label all styles of metal music and a good band is hard to find. All the good bands will still be here and all the shit bands will just disappear."
So how's things with you guys and Century Media since leaving Massacre Records?
(N) "Yes things are going way better than they were with Massacre Records, there are some resources and we have done 100's of interviews, and press and things are going really well."
How did the last album 'Ravenous' do in terms of press and reviews? Also what was the biggest selling country for that album?
(N) "Well did really well on that album, Axe man and myself did tons of interviews. The biggest selling country for that album was the UK, since we did the 'The Black Flame' and 'Ravenous' albums the UK became our biggest selling market. Also Sweden is the 2nd biggest market for the band so we now focus on those countries as our biggest selling markets."
So what countries would you like to play given the chance and why?
(A) "I think we would like to play Japan, also Russia, the Baltic states has always been a place where metal is big but there is too little music for the fans even though the scene is very big they never get the chance to see any bands play over there."
It must be really hard for you and other bands to play in Japan right now with the disaster that has happened over there recently? Are you doing a charity show or song for the people of Japan? I know the band TNT have done a show and maybe a song for the people.
(R) "Yes we are doing a song for the people of Japan which will appear on a CD soon. There are going to be a lot of artist on the CD which will help people of Japan with the money we make on the sales of the CD. I think that Metal Heaven is going to release it as both me and Anders play in a band on that label called 'Grand Design'. We are not sure right now if it is Metal Heaven."
Is this the last album for Century Media and will you be renewing your contract?
(N) "Yes this is the last album for the label but we may re sign to them, it depends on what they have to offer us. We have not been approascu by any other labels yet."
OK moving on let's talk about the new album 'Legion of Bastards', so why the title? Sounds a bit like a Deicide title or album doesn't it? haha!!
(N) "Well it was in a song that I wrote 'Nocturnal Rites', with the lyrics saying 'Legions Of Bastards' which just had the demo as vocals & I didn't think much about until we rehearsed it and the band said to me are you really singing about Legions Of Bastards? So I told the band what I was singing about that and they told me not to change it as we could use it for the album title. It could be any fans of any band been brothers and sisters all coming together and supporting us, legions of bastards!!"
With all the different styles of metal music, how would you best describe your music?
(A) "I would say it is Heavy Metal, we do not want to be categorized in any style at all, it all started as heavy metal and that is the way it should continue to be."
Niklas did you have any other titles for the album besides the one you chose?
(N) "Yes we did, we were going to call the CD 'Full Moon Possession" and 'Nocturnal Rites' & 'Road To Hell', 'False Preacher' which all ended up as song titles on the album."
What about the artwork for the album, who handled it for this new album? Also how do you come up with the ideas for the album? Do you approach the artist with your ideas and leave it to him to design the artwork?
(N) "Well it was handle by the artist who did our previous album Thomas Holm who also did the Mercyful fate albums and a lot of King Diamond albums in the past. He is a great artist and he likes to work with us now. Thomas wants to have some inspiration to titles and lyrics to help me out with the artwork. So I send him lyrics and I talk to him on the phone to tell him what the album is about & so he talks the ideas away and comes up with some pictures. He came up with just 1 idea which was a sketch and we loved it. He is not a musician but he loves Heavy metal music and he sees pictures what are Heavy Metal so his ideas are great and they do inspire us."
Let's move on, are the songs wrote as a team effort or does Niklas write all the lyrics and the music too?
(N) "I write most of the music and lyrics, but I do get some ideas from Anders as well as Axe Man, and both Anders and me wrote a lot of the stuff together on this new album and to make each song become the album. When the songs were finished we went to the studio to were the singer of Grand Design owns a studio to record the album."
Do you all live pretty close by as a band?
(R) "No not really, both Anders and me live pretty close by the Stockholm and Nick is about 2 hrs from Stockholm and Axe Man is down on the west coast & we rehearse in my studio. When we have ideas we email each other ideas and so we can bring the whole song to the table when.
So where was the new album recorded? At the same studio that the Grand Design CD was recorded?
(N) "Yes it was, the studio is called 'Studio Underground', and we recorded the lead guitar in my own studio which is called Viper Studios. Basically is my main song writing studio and I do a little of the production there too which I use Pro-Tools, its pretty much a basic thing that musicians use. When we record the drums we use real drums and not click drums, and if you forget a part of the song or drop a stick then we just done the whole song again, it's not a problem for Richard."
How long did it take to record the album?
(A) "Well it took about 5 and half weeks to record, then we took a break and then went back to record the vocals. Nick took a break because his voice because he has lots of colds which took a longer time to record, we wanted to get the vocals perfect. We are really happy with the way the album turned out, there is no sampling and the drums you can hear are real drums. We wanted to do an album that sounded live so when you come to our shows what you hear on the CD you can also hear live, no samples at all. We also play the 3 of us together just to keep the live vibe together as we are recording a song."
So what are the songs about on the album?
(N) "Well there is a story to the album, it's about a the church of Santology which is my favourite cult right now. There is a science fiction writer who wrote stuff like Pulp Fiction, & then he decided to start a new religion because that is were the real money is. He started a cult that calls themselves a church but the only purpose is to grow and get all the members to bring their money and it is probably the most dangerous cult ever because it has become an army. There many different songs with different subjects."
So what are your favourite songs on the new album?
(N) "I would have to say 'Full Moon Possession', 'Absinthe', just because when I started to write them I just left that there was something different."
(R) "I would have to say my favourite song is 'K-141 Kursk', because it is like a story about something real which is not made up. it's a really good song from beginning to end.
(A) "Well I really like the song 'Jekyll & Hyde', and to be honest I really couldn't of picked a bad song on the album. There all good songs on the album, and my favourites change everyday."
(Axe Man) "All of the songs, they all give me an erection haha!!"
Where there any famous musicians appear on this album as guests?
(N) "Not this time around, we had a famous producer on the last album which was Roy Z (Halford/ Judas Priest), we also had Mark Boal's singing and the guitarist Hank from Mercyful Fate. We are not a band that needs a celebrity producer or guest musicians to make a good album."
So how is the tour going so far for you with Accept? Must be great to support one of your idols?
(R) "Well it is shit, we are in Sheffield haha!! No it is going great!! London and Dublin were great shows, this is the last night of the tour so we are expecting a good crowd tonight. All the gigs have been good on this tour, we have a lot of Wolf fans and Accept fans are showing interest in us too. yeah it's been a blast so far."
How did the whole tour come about then?
(N) "Well Sharon from Music factor got us on the tour, thanx Sharon. When we heard the Accept album we were blown away by it, and we knew it would be a perfect tour for us, so a few months later we got on the bill."
What festivals are you playing this year besides Bloodstock? Are you looking forward to appearing there again?
(A) "Yes we are looking forward to be back at 'Bloodstock'. We just did the 'Hammerfest' with Accept which was awesome. We are also playing 'Summer Breeze', and we have more to come but we don't have any confirmations yet."
Well thanks guys for the interview great meeting you again, do you have anything to say before we end this interview?
(N) "Yes thanx to our fans for their support, we hope you enjoy the shows."
(A) "Yeah thanx Jason for the interview, pleasure meeting you again. Thanx to our fans for their support."
(R) "Yes, enjoy the album and stay metal"
(Axe Man) "Yeah stay hard, keep the erection hard haha!! No thanx for the support, without the fans we are nothing."
Thank's To Nuclear Blast.
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