First of all thank you very much for your great work. "Nordheim" is a masterpiece.
Thank you very much for your compliment - we are really satisfied with our work and we'll keep working hard for everyone!
Do you care for the opinion of your fans, the press and people in general? Or is it just you and your music?
"Nordheim" has been a really personal work. In fact it's not a secret that it was not even supposed to be released, but we kept going on after a while - that's why it took us two years before releasing our album. Of course we like to know what fans think about that, it helps us improve our music and know what viking metallers are up to! We're fans ourselves, and we know what we'd like to say to our inspiring bands.
The heart of "Nordheim" is a triology. Tell us it's story.
“The Day Odin Stood Still” represents the historical and religious annihilation of the Viking folk, with Gods forgotten and the impossibility of being able to stop the flowing of the river of history. “200 Years of Fury” it is a tumultuous narration of all the greatest conquests of the Vikings, who put Europe through iron and fire for 200 years, spreading panic in towns like London and Paris, and terrorizing regions like Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Italy and even Morocco. But the heart is “Ragnarok”, the trilogy that tells of the end of the world as it comes described by Snorri, great Icelandic history writer of the Middle Ages, with succeeding of majestic images, sometimes lyrical and cruel. Good Gods wake up and take conscience of their own end, the evil ones sharpen the blades and prepare to break ties, and the great final crash drowned in blood and fire. Historical and imaginative figures of enormous epical impact.
You show us a dark part in Viking historie while most of the other bands sing about the glorious battles. Why?
Because we liked to convey the idea that Vikings weren't always drinking and fighting and singing and marauding around. The Viking era - and the viking mythology - tells us tales of dark gods, of cruel spirits, of epic imagery and strong beliefs - and it ended abruptly, as it started. It's a side not many bands like to depict, so we did. We think it's the best one by far - and the less known, as well.
"200 years of fury" is rather different. How does it fit into the whole context?
200 years of fury is the most celebrative of them all - we wanted to tell the Viking Era as a short and turbulent period of time where few men managed to terrorize the whole western Europe. It's a bit different - and harder - because it's based on real facts, unlike the previous, more mythological tracks.
Most people I talk to about "Nordheim" love the album. The few who do not like at least this song. Can you think of reasons for this?
Maybe because, as you told before, it is different. It's less epic and more raw. Probably Bathory fans like our albums, and Bathory fans like epic, choral songs. 200 years of Fury is a bit different, and appeals to different kinds of people methinks. It's just a guess. Personally I like it a lot.
Which one is YOUR favorite song from the album and why?
I'm a human being, and like all human beings I like things more than others, even if they're my works. My favourite song is definitely Ragnarok - it's long, fairly simple, epic, and it tells one of the most epic tales of them all - the awakening and final battle of the gods. Things like these really awe me.
Please tell us something about the picture on the album cover and your feelings about it.
When I first took Vali to the National Gallery in Oslo, we walked up the steps to the first floor and there it was the famous Nicolai Arbo’s "Asgardsreien" that has adorned the cover of Bathory’s "Blood Fire Death". Next to it, you will see the immense picture that we have chosen for our cover. It is a battle described with the most magnificence from the Norwegian native art of the XIX century, and perfectly fitting to our warlike style. Whenever we see it, we can't help but feel the strength of these 200 years of fury.
Where do you get your inspirations from?
Pretty everywhere! From nature to history, from music to art, and from our spirits, accurately helped by huge amounts of beer. You can never tell what's going to be the next thing that strikes our mind hard enough to inspire us for a new song. That's the good part of writing music.
I have heard some adventurous stories about the recording process of "Nordheim". Please tell us the real story.
Well, I don't know where those stories came from. Nordheim come out by instinct, probably from a phonecall, I don't remember it clearly. We felt the unquenchable urge to meet together and throw on a digital disc all the nights we spent together talking about history, philosophy and mythology. We're huge fans of viking mythology, and we usually speak about that for hours and hours, finding new twists and new inspirations for our life. We were about to meet a huge bend in our life, and we decided to seal that moment forever in music.
We guessed that Vali is Deathmaster and Gungnir is Wrathlord. Is that correct?
Vali told me specifically not to talk about that, but it isn't a secret that two members of Gjallarorn play in DoomSword as well. We tried to keep things as obscure and separate as possible, but informations keep slithering off everywhere. I guess you'll have to see us live to prove your point, heh!
Tell us Fenrir's tale, please.
Fenrir was a huge wolf in Norse Mythology, and it's the wolfish essence to clash against Vali's wolfish essence. I'm a good friend of Vali, we use to call ourselves "brothers", and we found ourselves agreeing on many matters. That's when our friendship became brotherhood, and brotherhood became Gjallarhorn.
How have Vali and Fenrir met and how have Gjallarhorn become Gjallarhorn?
We met by case in a pub for the first time. We were both quite drunk, and we started talking about things. We lived very far from eachother, (and now we live even farther), so we both bid farewell and thought we'd never meet again. Then we met again on the internet, but I didn't recognize Vali at first, and treated him quite badly - I always snicker when I think about that. Then we realized who we were, and wrote many e-mails about pretty much everything. Then we met together some months later, and then again, and then again. Then, one time, as I was heading away for a long time, and probably didn't have the chance to meet him again, we instantly decided to record this album and it came out as a great farewell.
Is Gjallarhorn a real band or rather something like a project?
Gjallarhorn is a real band, and expect other works from us. We're not done with the world!
How would you describe the music of Gjallarhorn?
Instinct, pure and raw instinct. As I said before, this album wasn't planned, and the short time it took to record it maximises the idea of instinct music.
Your musical influences are quite obvious. Would you name them though?
We have a lot of musical influences - they're the bands we grew up with, and of course they showed up in our final work. Bathory has been a great inspiration for us, though the so-called minor epic and viking metal bands played their role as well. Can't name them all, because it's all and nothing. It's a blend of personal music and the many authors that made Viking Metal so great.
There is a release by a girl named Jennie Tebler who has recorded a Song together with Quorthon named "Silverwing". She has released it together with her version of "Song to hall up high". Do you now this CD and if so, what do you think about it?
Yes I know that CD. I bought it out of curiousity, and let me tell you that "Song to Hall Up High" sounds really awkward with a female voice. Though it's fascinating on its own, I think it has been a suspicious move from Black Mark to push on Quorthon's death. Not that they didn't do this sort of things before, mind you, but lately Black Mark has been releasing too much useless stuff on Bathory.
Please name some lately released CDs that you like to listen to at home.
I am really into the latest Moonsorrow right now. I don't know why, really, but their music is really something to be proud of. I've been listening to Windir's "Valfar, ein Windir" too. Their lyrics in nynorsk are really something, and their music is majestic as well. I was positively stricken by Ulver's "Blood Inside" as well, and I'm eagerly waiting for the next Arcturus and Solefald. It's a bit Norway-centric alright, but Norway lately is producing some of the best extreme metal ever.
Do you like to watch other bands play? Have there been some shows lately that impressed you?
Yes, I like going to concerts, I attend to as many concerts as I can and this year's Wacken is going to be something. I have really been impressed by Arcturus' concert in Bergen's Hole in the Sky, and Satyricon/Darkthrone's gig in Wacken 2004 has really been an experience. I was impressed with Bal Sagoth's performance as well. That man's voice is like an atomic bomb. I can't wait to see a Moonsorrow gig, though. It must really be something.
What makes the difference between Gjallarhorn and other Epic Viking Metal bands or projects?
To tell you the truth I don't know many pure-epic Viking Metal bands. Maybe the late Falkenbach reflect us the most, or Bathory of course. But since Bathory is no more, I think we contribute in keeping the epic viking metal vein alive and kicking. It would be bad if it died because nobody is interested in it. I think Of course every band is different from the other. We've got our own attitude and our own goal, probably different from that of any other band. Musically we use the same instruments - guitars, bass, drums, vocals - but that's where the similarity ends. Every group creates its history, and every history is different.
We'd like to know something about the underground in your hometowns. Are you still in touch? And if so: Where do you hang out? Are there some yet unknown bands that you like?
There aren't many metal underground bands in my hometown, but I'd like to support them as much as I can - I like the underground idea of music, and new artists need to be supported - there are many gems in the darkness. I can't suggest anything specific though - I've got too little time for underground researches and the "big ones" are really catching me right now. I go to summer festivals to know minor bands: I discovered Ensiferum this way, back in the late 90s!
What about the Viking Metal Scene in general? Do you know some bands, and if so, is there friendship, rivalry or more or less nothing special?
I know loads of viking metal bands - it's my favourite genre. Too bad that I don't personally know any of them. I've interviewed Johan Hegg from Amon Amarth once - they're my favourite band - but I can't say I know them. Alas, I live in a forgotten place... but if I ever knew one of them I'm sure I would try to keep them friends rather than enemies: we were spawned from the same passion.
How important is it for you to play live on stage? Will there be Live Shows with Gjallarhorn?
We'd like to play live, unfortunately at the moment it's very unlikely because we live in three different conutries. We'll try to do something next year, though. You never know what's going to happen, and future is not ours to know.
Still three questions to go. What do you think of Metal web magazins?
They're crucial to spread music around the four corners of the world. Since the birth of metal webzine heavy metal has been widely known, bands have put together and stars are going to be born. I think they're a good thing and I am grateful for their existence, although sometimes they can create confusion or spread false rumours on whatever band or artist. You know, on the net it's really hard to know what's real and what's not.
Is there something that you have never been asked but always have been eager to say?
It's really hard to tell, since we've received loads of interviews and they've asked us pretty much everything possible on the earth. This interview was one of the most complete, to boot, so we're quite satisfied of the depth of most questions.
We are looking forward seeing you in Germany. Best whishes to you all. Any last words?
Thank you, we really look forward to playing in Germany as well. Germany has accepted our work with enthusiasm and we can't help but thank you all for your support. See you in Wacken, and thank you for your great interview.