The RingMaster Review Interview: Norrsköld

Hi and thank you for sparing time to chat with us.

Thank YOU for taking the time!

Could you first introduce yourself and the band and tell us how the project began?

NORRSKÖLD started out pretty much as a studio project by me (Henrik) in 2013. The overall ambition of the music was to combine “the best of worlds” considering melodic metal and black metal. A large part of the inspiration for the songwriting came from early 90’s Scandinavian acts like Dimmu Borgir, Dissection, Opeth and In Flames. So what would happen if these bands would have been merged into an unholy alliance and release music today with a modern production? Well, that´s the sound Norrsköld has been aiming for. After a number of releases the band was evolving into a live act, performing at clubs and tours in primarily Europe. During/after the pandemic, the main focus has been to create and release new music and defining our sound even more.

How would you define not only your sound but the creative character of the band?

A common description of our sound has been “multi-metal” since we tend to mix darker black metal sections with really melodic and harmonic parts as well as folk music. So a technical term would probably be melodic black/death metal.

Are there any previous musical experiences for band members and how have they been embraced in what you do now?

For our current album Prisma Aeternus the line-up has been me as the main songwriter and most permanent band member. Session musicians that have contributed to the album are Erik Christoffersson Källström (bass) who has a background in modern, technical/progressive metal in the band NEEDLE GREY. Session guitarist Gustav Linde has a background in rock and folk music and is also playing in SEVENTH CRYSTAL. Vocalist Adam Rexius has been a part of Norrsköld during previous releases as well as during many of the live shows. He also screams in a band called A DEAD TREE DOESN’T TALK. All members have different backgrounds which has been very valuable for adding some flavour to the songs. The album would have been quite boring if it would have been written and performed by one person only.

Is there a particular process to your songwriting?

The foundations of the songs are usually written mainly by Henrik. As session members join recordings, they of course add elements and compositions to the songs as well. As with most bands, there´s a certain value not to limit the compositions 100% to one person. Usually the songs are composed based on a melody improvised on acoustic guitar or piano, and the rest of the song “writes itself”. That´s the magic of songwriting…As soon as there is a main hook or melody, the rest of the song tends to shape itself quite naturally.

Would you tell us about your latest release?

The songs were written during 2020 i.e. during the beginning of the global pandemic. Originally there was this idea of releasing the songs as a part of a completely new band. After some consideration the decision was to release them as a part of the Norrsköld catalogue after all. The actual writing of the songs went pretty fast, however the recording and release planning took quite some time. The album consists of 9 brand new songs, ranging from aggressive black/death shreddage to slower, more atmospheric pieces.

What are the major inspirations to its heart and themes?

The aim of the new songs has been to focus more on melodies and straight forward catchiness while maintaining the classical Norrsköld atmosphere. Lyrically the overall theme of the album is depicting the fall of mankind as failed rulers of a world we have kept on devastating since we evolved as modern human beings. So the lyrics therefore describes the “relief” of the Earth the day the last man has finally vanished…Dystopian in many ways.

I am always intrigued as to how artists choose track order on albums and EP’s and whether in hindsight they would change that. What has been the deciding factor for you or do songs for the main do that organically?

It is truly an art in itself to find the right structure for a whole album. The idea, which probably many artists also share, is that an album is supposed to be a “journey” from start to finish. It´s important to have a strong and memorable introduction in order to catch the listeners full attention. As the listener has got into the atmosphere of the album it´s more flexible to mix the song characteristics between the second song and the song before the final outro. Usually, there´s an ambition to mix faster and slower songs in a convenient order to maintain the dynamics. Some artists claim that the “hit song” should be song no.2 or 4, but I guess that really differs between artists. Apart from the intro song, the final song of the album is most important. The idea is to leave the listener with a sense of “wanting more” by the end of the last song…And it´s usually a good thing to have a really epic and atmospheric song as the last one.

What do you find the most enjoyable part of being in a band and similarly the most cathartic?

It fully depends on if it concerns a full act live band with only permanent members or if it´s more of a studio focused band with session members. During the previous “live era” of Norrsköld, the most enjoyable part was the feeling of belonging to a family with similar ambitions in creating and spreading art to the world. The backside of this would be all the compromises one has to make. Being a part of an ambitious live band demands a LOT of time and efforts, both emotionally and economically. And since most of the members that have been/are a part of the band are close or above 30, other things in life tend to get a lot of attention as well (families, careers etc.). Keeping the band more like a studio project, which has been the case for the last 2-3 years, is generally mostly enjoyable. There´s more focus on crafting the actual music.

For anyone contemplating checking you out live, give some teasers as to what they can expect.

Live gigs are not planned for 2022, but if things go well in the future, live gigs in 2023 might not be impossible! Seeing us live would mean getting a first-hand contact with a new-born version of the Gothenburg sound as well as getting to experience our charismatic vocalist Adam in action, which is never a failure.

What has been your most thrilling moment on stage to date?

There are thrills in two senses. The most positive thrill must be supporting Amon Amarth during a Ukraine/Belarus/Russia tour in 2017. Playing in front of thousands of fans in big arenas never fail to give you goosebumps. Other spectacular thrills have concerned experiencing epic technical failures on stage, getting beer spilled out on the pedal board, playing with high fever etc.

What can we expect from the band in the near future?

Following the release of three new singles during Oct-Nov, our new full length album Prisma Aeternus will reach the ears of the world 7th of November. Two official videos are also released in connection to the album. Check out the videos for Beyond The Night and Only Silence on our social media! As for 2023, the plans are to write more music and eventually get into the live scene again.

What are the major inspirations to you sound wise and as a musician?

The major inspiration for music would actually be soundtracks to movies and games…Especially epic soundtracks. There´s a cornucopia of beautiful soundscapes to be found in those genres. Also, classical folk music is a timeless source of inspiration of course.

And finally what song or release would you say was the spark to your passion for music?

Maybe an unorthodox answer, but there was this live recording of a Dire Straits concert from the 80’s (“On the night”). That album really blew one away in an early age, especially the dynamics in the song structures and elegance of the instrumental parts.

Many thanks once again; anything else you would like to add?

Many thanks for noticing our band and spreading the word! We really recommend giving our new album Prisma Aeternus a listen, especially if you’re a fan of the melodic death/black metal hybrid kind of music. And of course, please also support us on social media!


Pete RingMaster

The RingMaster Review 20/11/2022

Copyright RingMaster Review

Categories: Interviews, Music

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