1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Hello, and thank you for taking time out of your day to talk to us.
:BOLVERK: is the latest musical adventure from brothers in arms:
Christopher “Rammr” Rakkestad (Elvarhøi, Jordskip, ex. Ragnarok)
Lucass “Yautja” Edquist (Gnida, Insidious Disease, ex. Mork)
Bjørn “Narrenschiff” Holter (Images at Twilight, ex. Illnath, ex. Aasmegin)
Thomas Bolverk (Under the Oak, Welcome to Hell, ex. Ragnarok, ex. Images at Twilight, ex. Darkness, ex. Black Currant etc…)
All of us have spent many years in the Norwegian metal scene and also on international stages We came together to do :BOLVERK: because we all think we have something to contribute to extreme metal music, and we are also friends who get along and who enjoys spending time in each other’s company.
2.You have your first full length coming out during the end of May, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style that you went for on the recording?
:BOLVERK: is EXTREME NORWEGIAN METAL aiming to be as sad and melodic as Solstafir in one end and as brutal as Marduk in the other. We are exploring the borders of the Extreme Metal genre and are actively working with the contrasts that all our inspirations have embedded in us. Our music is about melody as well as brutality. We want you to sing along as well as wanting to furiously bang your head. Good music makes you want to move, and that is one of the goals we aim to achieve with :BOLVERK: It’s easy to play slow or fast, but the challenge lies in getting the fast parts and the slow parts to work together…making the contrasts seem natural instead of forced. We have put a lot of work into acheiving just that and we think this works well in the overall compositions and makes the album an interesting listen.
3.Most of the band members are also in other bands, what is it that you bring into the music of ':BOLVERK:' that you are not able to do with your other groups?
That’s an excellent question. In order to play this kind of extreme music, working within the contrasts and making it actual music...not just riffs stacked on top of each other, you need to have some skills and some understanding of the difference between making extreme music that challenges the listener or making extreme music just for the sake of it. People have different taste, of course, but I enjoy music that conveys different emotions...be that anger or sadness...or whatever, instead of just making crazy stuff. For :BOLVERK: the extreme lies in the diversity of the different parts.
As for skills, there are some awesome musicians in this band. Lucass “Yautja” Edquist is an excellent drummer with sick skills. Just listen to the album and you’ll know what I mean. He has extensive experience from many genres and he is a complete drummer that can master any style, but his fast Death Metal drumming will really blow your mind.
Bjørn “Narrenschiff” Holter is a very versatile vocalist. He can growl and scream with the baddest of the bad, but he also has great clean vocals and speaks english as a native speaker. We’ve really tried to make use of his whole range on “Uaar” and I think that his voice really is the icing on the cake that makes :BOLVERK: an interesting band to listen to.
Christopher “Rammr” Rakkestad plays bass in :BOLVERK: but he’s also a guitar player and has a very beautiful clean vocal that you for instance can hear on the chorus of Bride of Christ. He also has great understanding of composition and we have challenged eachother extensively on the arrangements of the songs on “Uaar”. He taught me to think about the song’s narrative and I really think that has made us better song-writers.
As for the guitar player, yours truly...they could probably find a better one, but as long as I keep the riffs coming I hope they let me tag along, he, he...
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band has explored so far with the music?
The title of the album, “Uaar”, means a bad year in older Norwegian language. This was usually used when the crops failed and people starved. It fits well with the state of the world for the last two years, we think. The title-song Uaar is about that, obviously. As for other topics, we take a critical look at religion in Bride of Christ, Sectarian Bloodshed and Svovelpredikant. With Prevail in Silence, the title is kind of self-explanatory...you might as well just keep quiet because those who make the decisions in the world only listen to their own voices anyway. Death the Whore tells about all the empty words that have been spoken about the after-life. Chaos is a constant state of mind for a modern thinking human in Time for Chaos and From the Depths describes the depravity of your soul even if you are keeping up appearances.
5.I know that the bands name comes from Norse Mythology, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in this topic?
The name “Bolverk” is originally one of Odin’s personas. He used the name Bolverk when he went out to steal the mead of poetry, and there was a lot of blood-splatter and killing in the process. Later adaptations see the word used as a description for something solid and impenetrable. We even have it in our local dialect as “bælværk” where it means something like a big, sturdy unformly mass. Anyway, all this, maybe apart from the unformly mass, are things that comply with our music. Melody, poetry, brutality, tightness and a sturdy and down-to-earth attitude.
All in all, I think all Nordic people are very proud of their Viking heritage. From Icelandic sagas that tell the stories of regular people being heroes or assholes to the Eddas that tell about the Norse mythology. In Norway, we have Snorre’s saga about the ancient kings and all these preservations from our past make us feel connected with our history and our heritage…our roots, if you will. Tales of plunder and terror, but also about love and loyalty. All the verses that Odin tells us in Haavamaal (Odin’s speech to humankind) is still relevant today a thousand years later. How can that be? I think because the verses are mostly about human nature. Almost everything in the world has changed in these thousand years, but human nature is still the same…you will always have good people and assholes…heroes and traitors…and so forth…
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
The cover painting is painted by a very talented young Norwegian artist, Kenneth Lien. We were checking out his art thinking he might have something that would fit our music. We were looking for something truly original. Something, that when you saw the cover, you couldn’t guess what genre it was and we also wanted it to make you want to listen to the music...to give you some expectation of the unexpected. When we saw this painting, there was no doubt in our minds...a crazy image that really catches your eye. The two guys in the boat really caught our attention with their crazy wailing. They look so insane, they might just be part of the logo from now on...time will tell...
Kenneth Lien is also hired to do the cover for our next album (that already will be out the spring of 2023) and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with.
7.Has the band had any opportunities to do any live shows?
As we are all also working with other bands, and we kept the band a secret until january, we’ll probably only do the release-party for the album this year. The release-party will be held in Oslo the 11th of june. Entrance is free and we are filming and recording everything and the goal is to release it as a live video. We are a live band. We have rehearsed regulartly and it’s very important to us that we can perform the music live, just the four of us, maybe even a bit better than on the album. It’s nice to enjoy music on the stereo in the comfort of you own home, but the ultimate musical experience will always be in a live setting where you meet the audience face to face. That’s the moment of truth...that’s when band and audience can thrive on each other’s energy.
8.The album was produced by Devo Andersson of 'Marduk', can you tell us a little bit more about his contribution to the recording?
Most of us have worked with Devo before. We have a personal relationship and we have alway been happy with his work in the past. There really was no doubt in our minds whether Devo was mixing the album or not. The album is recorded in different locations. Lucass “Yautja” has his own studio and it was only natural for him to record the drums there. The same goes for Christopher “Rammr”. Bjørn “Narrenschiff” lives neighbour to a studio, so it was of course very practical for him to record there. I, myself, have tracked all the guitars in my rehearsal studio. It was my first time doing it like that and I had to upgrade my recording equipment a bit and get used to that way of working. In the end, it turned out great, I think, and we will do the next album like that also.
As for Devo’s role...he did a bit of producing in the way that we went to his studio, listened through the album and tried to find out where there maybe was a little bit too much or where we maybe needed a little bit more. It was very important to us not to use a million overdubs so that we could perform the album live with only one guitar. That makes it a little bit minimalistic, at least on the guitar-front, but I think that really adds to the direct approach of the album and it’s kind of an art itself to not overdo everything. It’s easy to fall for the temptation to put way to much stuff in there...just because you can...not because it actually enhances the music. Furthermore, Devo reamped the guitars and the bass as well as mixing and mastering the album. One of the advantages of working with Devo is that he knows the music. He understands what we’re all about and he knows how to treat the music in a just way. As usual, we only told him to give the album a good sound that makes the music justice. We didn’t want it to sound like this or that...just good. And that’s what he did...He made it sound awesome.
9.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black and extreme metal?
It is early days still, but so far the feedback has been great. People seem to find the music interesting and challenging to listen to and they seem to agree with us that it’s hard to pin point a specific genre. It’s difficult to define the music and label it and that’s one of the reasons we call it EXTREME NORWEGIAN METAL...pure and simple. If you wish to find out what we mean by that, you just have to listen, I guess...
10.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of?
All the members of the band are busy with different musical projects. I can name some of them. Lucass “Yautja” is working on his death-core band GNIDA as well as playing in INSIDIOUS DISEASE. Christopher “Rammr” is doing his Folk Metal band ELVARHØI and his Black Metal band JORDSKIP. Bjørn “Narrenschiff” is still part of IMAGES OF TWILIGHT, but he is also a very talented tattoo-artist (and artist in general) that is high in demand, so he is a very busy gentleman. I, myself, play in the Thrash Metal band UNDER THE OAK and I also have my very own Venom tribute band WELCOME TO HELL. This list is not exhaustive, but it gives you an idea...
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
As most of the ground work for the next album is already done, we know that it proabably will stay within the same parameters as “Uaar”. We are still exploring the contrasts between melody and brutality and we are working hard on the arrangements to make them interesting. I think we learned a lot making the first album. We had a lot of experiences that we bring with us when we record the next one. So far, the material seems very interesting and we can’t wait to start recording...
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
There are a lot of different influences that is behind the music of :BOLVERK: Everything from Classic Rock, Progressive Rock...to Thrash Metal, Death Metal and Black Metal including everything in between. I often find that my mood dictates what kind of music I listen to. I like a lot of different music, but it’s all about time and place. One day it can be Marillion...the next day it can be Deathspell Omega. I have probably forgotten most of the music I’ve listened to lately, but I recently picked up KVAENs two albums...excellent stuff. I also completed my collection of NOCTURN SLAUGHTER CULT, listened a lot to the three latest DEATHSPELL OMEGA and the two latest THULCANDRA. I did a bit of a dive into the catalogue of OBSCURA and CATTLE DECAPITATION...and so on. You get my point? A lot of different stuff...
13.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Thank you very much for taking an interest in our band and thanks for supporting the scene. We’re all in this together.