Partner: Yenz Leonhardt:
1. Hello! How are you?
First of all my congratulations on “Heathen Warrior”.
It’s a very good release. How do you feel about
it? Which are the potentials of this album according
Hi Nick! It’s good to
hear that you enjoyed the new album. “Heathen Warrior”
is our 4th studio album. The predecessor “Heading
Northe” did very well for STORMWARRIOR and this
time we set out to widen our territory a couple
of steps further, musically speaking. Since the
new album is our first release on Massacre Records,
all pieces are generally laid out for “Heathen
Warrior” to connect with a wider audience as well.
2. How long did it take
you to complete the new album? Which were the biggest
difficulties that you had to surpass? Did you earn
any experience on the recordings of this album
and in which section?
“Heading Northe” was
released in 2008, which was a good and busy year
for us. After playing the summer festivals we ended
that year going out on tour with FIREWIND and our
minds were set on keeping up a fast working pace
with the 4th. studio album. We soon discovered
that our record company at the time was heading
for severe trouble, and that we would have to search
for a new label if we wanted to stay ahead of the
game, so it took us an extra year before we had
sealed the new deal with Massacre Records. From
that point creative powers started to flow freely
again and we completed “Heathen Warrior” in a pretty
intensive run of about 10 months.
On “Heading Northe” we went to Tommy Hansen in
Denmark for the mastering of the album, and he
added so much power and energy to the final result
that we decided to do the complete mixing session
with him for “Heathen Warrior”, and from then on
things got extremely intensive. When I arrived
at Jailhouse Studio in Denmark, Lars was still
working on his vocal tracks in Hamburg, Germany.
So I set up my own recording camp in the studio
guest house and my daily routine was: A) Downloading
Lars’ vocal tracks for the next song, B) Recording
my own vocal parts for that particular track, C)
Walking down to the studio with our collective
tracks and start mixing that song with Tommy Hansen,
D) Phone calls with Lars in the early morning hours,
planning the glorious recordings for the next day.
As that cycle moved on relentlessly, we were so
“in the zone” that there was nothing but the eye
of the storm and that really opened up the gates
both lyrically and emotionally.
3. Why did you name the
album “Heathen Warrior”? Is there a symbolism behind
There is more to that
title than merely symbolism. “Heathen Warrior”
sums up our pagan way of life. We define ourselves
as an active part of a northern folk soul, with
origins in Nordic mythology and history. The close
bond to nature and our gods is our reality. The
Elder Way is a living and growing thing, and the
well from whence we draw inspiration.
4. Personally, I think
that “Heathen Warrior” is your most mature and
“progressive” album. I believe that with this album
the band finally found its personal sound. Do you
agree? Which are your thoughts about your new album?
I certainly agree with
you on that point. For every studio album
we always want to take a couple of steps into uncharted
territory, in STORMWARRIOR terms. On “Heading Northe”
we focused more on the epic and atmospheric and
these elements have been granted more breathing
space on the new album. A main objective was to
let the pagan messages carry more of an obvious
central role, so in many ways we went for more
depth and dynamics rather than sheer aggression.
STORMWARRIOR is still metal anthems built on speed,
but on “Heathen Warrior” there’s so much more going
on in terms of colour and emotion. Another component
was the collaboration with Tommy Hansen, which
gave us a fuller sound with a more analogue quality
of warmth to the mix.
5. I am always interested
in the lyrics. So, in a few words which is the
theme of each song that you have included in your
…Relishing the fight to fulfil your destiny
in this world, with the northern winds raging
in your pagan heart.
“The Ride Of Asgård”:
…The Wild Hunt at Yuletide. Odin leading a
host of slain warriors across the skies, preying
on the unrepentant dead.
”Heirs To The Fighte”:
…Honouring the heroic deeds of your ancestors,
using that strength in your own life today.
“Bloode To Bloode”:
...The healing power of Odin, based on an actual
“Fyre & Ice”:
…Protecting your native shores from the cross.
Fyre & Ice refers to the Norse myth of
Creation. Niflheim and Muspelheim, the realms
of cosmic ice and fire respectively.
”The Returne”: …The
sign of the times: Tsunamis and nuclear meltdown
foreboding a return to life in pact with nature
…The Twelven Nights at the turn of the year
where the spiritual world is at its closest,
and the year is magically contained.
ode to the bravery of the followers of the
Elder Way, in the times of the Christian invasion.
“The Valkyries Call”:
…Valkyries weaving and thereby deciding the
tides of battle.
“And Northern Steele
Remaineth”: …Connecting with the power of your
gods in the unyielding nature which surrounds
6. Some people say that
there is no room for traditional metal to progress
and that the new bands do nothing more than recycle
good old ideas. As a musician what do you have
to say on that? What do you want to achieve personally
when you create music?
What matters is, if you
have something worthwhile to say and if you have
the utter conviction to transport that message
to a crowd. There is always going to be a lot of
skeptics and cynics around, telling you what can
or cannot be done. Music has always been about
building on existing traditions and conveying that
to a new generation, whether the style was classical,
rock and roll or metal. Throwing a lot of different
styles into a blender and call it something brand
new, really amounts to the same thing. Musical
patterns are recyclable. A unique personality playing
straight from the soul is what makes the difference.
7. You exist almost 13
years (I follow the band from the demo tapes).
What do you think that you have achieved so far?
Do you think that you have composed songs that
will endure the test of time?
Like you said, STORMWARRIOR
came out of the metal underground, the first releases
being demo cassettes and vinyl singles. And it
was step by step from there. Now we are part of
a bigger operation through Massacre Records and
distributors worldwide, but we still carry the
pride of knowing that the metal community put us
where we are. We still have a long way to go, and
that’s really a great thing to realize. Other people
will decide if our songs will last until we leave
for Mars, but we’re the kind of band that will
keep evolving and growing with the challenge of
each album, as long as the fires burn.
8. By the way the first
2 albums of the band are either hard to find or
very expensive (at least here in Greece). Are there
any plans to re – release them?
The first two albums
“Stormwarrior” and “Northern Rage” are being handled
by our record company back then, Remedy Records.
I’m not sure about their distribution network in
Greece, but I hear they’re doing pretty well with
the Internet sales.
9. How have the press and
fans received your new album so far? Which was
the most interesting comment that you have read
or listened to about “Heathen Warrior”?
As you might imagine,
our working desks are piling up with interviews
at the moment. An amazing thing, we are truly honoured
by the interest in this band.
Of course, you get to listen to all kinds of highly
philosophical opinions, right from: “STORMWARRIOR
retracing their thrash metal roots” to “Racing
mice of the desert” over “Experiments with down-tuned
guitars” to “Lars Ramcke wants to be the kid-brother
of Kai Hansen” it is indeed honest work that keeps
a healthy smile on your face.
10. If you had the money
to do an expensive video – clip, how would you
like it to be and which song would you choose to
Let’s say we do a clip
for “And Northern Steele Remains”. Setting: Vaguely
reminiscent of “Braveheart”. First verse, Lars
on a black stallion in full stride, on his way
to the battlefield. Vultures are circling hungrily
above. Second verse, I climb the sacred hills to
discover the bones of my ancestors. In fury I perform
a shamanistic transformation and turn into a hawk,
flying rapidly to meet Lars at said battlefield.
Every 20 seconds the whole band are blended in
sitting cape-clad around a fire in the forest,
carving blood runes for a Odin Cult ritual. In
every chorus we play “live” on a stage built by
human skulls, with Christian churches burning peacefully
away in the background. Does that sound expensive
11. Since we are all metalheads,
I would like to ask: What kind of bands do you
like to listen to in your free time? Are there
any new promising bands from Germany that we should
I mostly read books,
but I do think that the music from a band like
BATHORY had a great atmosphere. I also enjoy listening
to more recent stuff like AVENGED SEVENFOLD or
downright ancient stuff like QUEEN or BUDGIE. I
wish I would have more time to go out and check
out new bands on the local metal scene.
12. Thanks for your time
answering my questions. Good luck with your new
album! The last lines of this interview are yours…
Thank you, Nick. I had
a great time doing this interview. We all hope
to return to Greece with “Heathen Warrior”. We
played an incredibly hot night at the Underworld
in Athens after the release of “Heading Northe”
and I remember us partying until dawn at a metal
bar around the corner. And Northern Steele Remaineth…
Nick “Verkaim” Parastatidis