jueves, 28 de abril de 2022

ZORNHEYM - INTERVIEW



1. Zornheym was born around the year 2014, why did you decide to create the band? Was your departure from Dark Funeral an incentive to want to create your own bands? Why the name of Zornheym and what does it refer to?

Zorn: My services weren’t needed anymore in Dark Funeral in 2014. Before that happened I had already been playing around with some ideas for Zornheym. I had fragments for two songs and it was something that I had planned on doing on the side. When I was out of the band I saw it more as an opportunity to realize my own dreams and form my own band. Zornheym was my stage name in Dark Funeral and when looking for a new band name it made sense to use it. Zornheym is German and means “Home of Anger”. I had already decided that I wanted to make a concept album about an asylum, so the name fitted very well for that. Zornheym was really what I needed to  do musically so everything turned out for the better!


2. Your first album “Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns” from 2017 received good reviews as well as a more than acceptable repercussion, were you a bit surprised by the good reception of the public and media towards this first album?

Zorn: We worked hard on the album and to push the album. I am very happy that people liked the album so much and took the time to check it out. We knew that we liked the album but that doesn’t necessarily mean that anyone else will, so yeah we were very happy that the album got a very good reception.


3. Almost four years later you give continuity to this first album with “The Zornheim Sleep Experiment” where I consider that it maintains the essentials of the first album but you feel completely comfortable within a sound that has become more recognizable. How have you been the process of writing and recording this second album? What brands of instruments have you used in the recording process? How do you think the sound of this second album differs from the first?

Zorn: We are extremely happy with how “The Zornheim Sleep Experiment” turned out! We kind of used the same writing process as for the first album. I start with writing the music on my own basically and when I have some parts ready I show them to Bendler and he starts putting down some vocal lines for it. After that he sends his ideas and I tweak the music around and feedback on the vocals. When we have a full song I start adding on some orchestral ideas and when I am happy with them I head over to Scucca who helps me finalize the orchestral work and the sound design for the song. When that is done Steve Joakim checks my drum demos and constructs some killer drum arrangements for the song. When everyone is happy with everything the song is ready to be recorded and then I start writing out the tabs for the guitars and Scucca starts writing down all the notation for the strings and the choir. 

The two biggest differences between the two albums are that Steve Joakim is playing drums, Angst played on the first album, and a new string quartet and this time they recorded their parts in the studio. This gave the studio engineer, Sverker Widgren, more control over the sound and made the strings pop more on this album. On this album we also used a real marching snare, some woodwinds and a 12string guitar. I think all of these things made our sound richer and wider. We are also using two choirs, a female and a male choir but that is something we did on the first album too. On this album however, the choir gets to sing more words and fill in phrases in the lyrics. I think this worked out really well. We even gave the choirs a few spots to shine on like the choirs for “Slumber Comes in Time” and intro track “An Evil Within”.



4. One aspect that has been reinforced on this second album is the greater presence of symphonic elements in the sound, offering a much more powerful sound at certain moments. Was this greater presence of symphonic elements on the album something premeditated? How do you describe the sound of the album for those who haven't heard it yet and which bands have been an influence for you when it comes to defining the sound of the album?

Zorn: I think we gave the strings more space in the mix since we really liked the string quartet’s work on the album. When we had booked them we kind of added some parts at the last minute. I had envisioned us to use the choir more on this album and have them be singing more words. So it was kind of premeditated but we also got carried away by the great performances of both the string quartet and the choir.

I find it hard to describe and label our sound. I guess you can call it Symphonic melodic death metal that’s guitar driven. When it comes to the lyrics we are a concept band and all our albums will revolve around the asylum Zornheim.

If I have to name a few albums that have inspired me in making this kind of music I would say:

Blind Guardian - Nightfall in Middle-Earth

Dissection - Storm of the Light’s Bane

Rhapsody - Symphony of the Enchanted Lands

Yngwie Malmsteen - Magnum Opus

Helloween - Keeper of the Seven Keys Part II

At the Gates - Slaughter of the Soul

Dismember - Death Metal

Iron Maiden - The Number of the Beast


5. The final result of the sound of the album is very complete and outstanding, I would highlight the presence of a real quartet when recording and composing the album. What do you think has separated the final result of the sound of the album from being able to count on these musicians? How important is it for you to get a sound, let's say real or perfect, when it comes to being able to offer it to your fans?

Zorn: The string quartet did an amazing job. In fact, everyone involved in this album did a fantastic job. I think that a sampled sound can never replace all the hours a person has put into learning to master an instrument, so the real instrument thing will always overcome orchestral samples. I really hope that we can use more real instruments on the next album and the goal is to perform with more real instruments live as well. We decided to go down this path from day one, that’s why we recorded real strings for our debut album without being signed to a label. That pretty much should show you how serious we take our music and how dedicated we are in presenting it in the best possible way.


6. The album also has a good job with the voices, full of nuances and intensities, how did you approach the work of the voices for “The Zornheim Sleep Experiment”? What aspects would you highlight about them?

Zorn: Bendler really gets to shine on this album. When I composed this album I wanted him to get a lot of space to show different vocal styles. It fitted the overall concept. So Bendler worked hard on finding the right voice for the different characters that appear on the album. His clean vocals got more space on this album, which is something that gave the album a more interesting contrast in my opinion. I also love his clean vocals.

Scucca is doing a lot of cool Gregorian chant bits on the album. The whole album actually starts off with it. In general I think we are quite spoiled with a lot of fantastic performances on this album!


7. Let's say this new album is conceptual, with a story that revolves around the experiments that are carried out in Dr. Bettelheim's asylum related to sleep deprivation. At what point did you decide to deal with this topic and where did the idea come from? inspiration for it? How did you develop the whole story and how did you adapt it to the content of the album?

Zorn: I decided on this concept while writing the first album. So we actually added a lot of hints of what to expect for this album on “Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns”. The graphic novel ends with Dr Bettelheim taking the female enigma of the asylum down to the Chamber where they are conducting the sleep experiment. The whole outro of Hestia is actually the intro to the “The Zornheim Sleep Experiment” and you can actually hear that we are playing the acoustic piece as the main riff in “Corpus Vile”.

While I was doing research for the first album I stumbled across a Youtube channel called “Top 5” that told the internet myth or urban legend of the Russian Sleep experiment. It was a really cool story and I felt instantly that this would blend into the Zornheym universe really well. So I saved that idea and told the other guys about it and they liked the idea as well. So while finalizing the first album we decided to hint about it already on the first album. The cover art of the WHDaDR actually shows Dr Bettelheim taking the female enigma to the sleep experiment Chamber.

I think we did a really good job with adapting the whole story and the general feeling to the album. Both when it comes to the visual aspect of things and to the musical, I still think we managed to maintain good songs. Meaning that we don’t have random tracks that are supposed to represent certain events that are just unbearable to listen to, but they make sense to the concept. I think this is an album you can enjoy if you are into good music and then the whole concept aspect gives the album yet another depth if you are willing to enter the rabbit hole.


8. The album cover is undoubtedly related to the theme of the album, who designed the album cover and what do you intend to convey to the listener with it?

Zorn: Thanks, man! The artwork is done by the great Pedro Sena - Lordigan. He also did the cover art for “Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns”. Bendler came up with the general concept for it and then I gave feedback a little bit on it and then we started working with Lordigan for it. We wanted the album cover to have the shape of a triangle and be like an old Star Wars poster showing different scenes from the story taking place. I love how the circle window - The Eye, looks like a moon on the cover btw. Really happy with how this turned out, Lordigan did a fantastic job with this cover!



9. How has it been working with Sverker Widgren for the recording of the album? Why did you decide to do the recording with him and what do you think he has contributed to the final result of the album?

Zorn: Since we were so happy with the sound of “Where Hatred Dwells and Darkness Reigns” we had already decided to go back to Sverker Widgren. He made the blueprint for our sound on that album. Scucca and I also live in Stockholm, where Sverker’s studio is located, so it made it very easy for us to record the album in different sessions. We recorded the drums in February 2019 and I think recorded the last bits in the fall of 2021.

Sverker contributed a lot with creating the actual sound and made it crystal clear to the point where you can hear every single note, even though there is so much stuff going on. I also think he had a lot of great input when it came to vocals, guitars, bass and the drums. We will record our next album there for sure!


10. This new album has been released by Noble Demon, why the change of record label? What has Noble Demon brought you? How did the possibility of making a cassette edition of the album through the Graveless Souls Records label arise?

Zorn: We are very happy with how Non Serviam Records treated us and I think we accomplished great stuff together. Noble Demon contacted us quite early in the process of making this album and they really wanted to sign us. We saw that they had done great stuff with bands like Night Crowned. They also have a very wide distribution network and a very good online presence. So going with Noble Demon felt like the natural step to take to make the band grow. We want to grow because our music belongs to big stages with big production.

Tommi of Graveless Souls Records contacted us and said that he loved the album and wanted to release a limited tape version of it. I thought it was a great idea, especially since I am too young to never have released anything on the tape format. Tommi then contacted Noble Demon who also thought it was a great idea and the rest is history.


11. How were your beginnings in music: first concerts you attend, first albums you buy? What happened in your lives pushed you to want to be musicians?

Zorn: I started with singing and had my first band when I was 11 years old. I was the only one who didn’t study an instrument and my idol was Axl Rose, so it was natural for me to pick the vocal spot. Several years later when I formed a punk band we didn't have a bass player and then I started with singing and playing bass. By that time my dad had brought me home an acoustic guitar that I wrote songs on. The more time I spent with the guitar the more I liked it so eventually I switched to singing and playing guitar. I never really got any vocal technique down so I had a constant sore throat from all the singing. Eventually I did the switch to lead guitar and left the vocal duties to people who could master it.

My first BIG concert was Ratt, DIO, and Alice Cooper in Linköping on the Brutal Planet tour. I was in the first row shaking hands with DIO during “Holy Diver”, pretty epic!

The first album I bought was the CD version of “Appetite for Destruction”. I still have that copy in my record collection till this day!

When I saw the “Use Your Illusion” live VHS as a kid and saw how Guns N’ Roses made my favorite songs come alive, I knew that I wanted to push to become a musician. Like I said early, it was more Axl that spellbound me than Slash. Axl’s stage presence blew me away.


12. What album represents for you the essence of black metal? What recent albums have you bought?

Zorn: To me “Storm of the Light’s Bane” is the perfect Black Metal album. My latest album I bought is a vinyl version of Dissection’s “The past is alive… the early mischief”. One year ago I started collecting vinyls.


13. What future plans do you have for Zornheym in terms of upcoming releases, concerts or reissues?

Zorn: We are currently on tour in Sweden with Månegarm and Kvaen. We played in Stockholm last friday and tomorrow we are hitting Linköping and on saturday we are playing in Örebro. Next month we are heading out on a headline tour in France. I have started composing for the next Zornheym release. We are currently in talks with Noble Demon with pressing more vinyls and CD for “The Zornheim Sleep Experiment”, since it seems to be on the brink of selling out. I think the label has like 100 copies of the CD left in their warehouse and even fewer vinyls. We have also talked a little bit about making a special box release for “The Zornheim Sleep Experiment”, we might wait with that for the next album though.


14. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions for Black Metal Spirit. If you want to add something for Zornheym fans, this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.

Zorn: Thank you so much for taking the time to check out the whole interview and if you haven’t heard us before, please take some time to check us out! I also want to thank everyone for the massive support that we are getting. See you on the road!


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Vindkaldr ‎– Abyssos Symphonia 24,99 €


BE023 Vindkaldr "Abyssos Symphonia" 12" LP.
Limited to 150 copies on 150 gram white vinyl.

All compositions, recording & mixing by Mauhulakh.
Mastered by Ekaterina Volkomurova






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