Saturday, November 15, 2014

interview with Elvenstorm, traditional heavy metal from France

Elvenstorm
Metal Bulletin Zine first had the following review about Elvenstorm, a traditional heavy metal band from France. Sometime after the review was complete and posted online, Elvenstorm sent back answers to some questions that the zine had sent.
Below is the review, and after the review, is the interview, to which guitarist Michael Hellström responded.
Elvenstorm (France): Blood Leads to Glory (Inferno Records)
The story goes that in his fundamental principle about metal music, Neal Kay—who in the late 1970s during the emergence of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal was important due to his work with the venue known as The Bandwagon in the U.K.—believed that only bands will talent should be permitted to perform on a stage. At the time, punk was fashionable and profitable, yet punk bands generally did not even know to how to play their instruments in an elementary way and their so-called singers had no ability to carry a single note; but the marketing machine did not care, given that the objective was making money, and the punks were happy to get their five seconds of fame and hype, feeling no sense of shame and sham for being so utterly worthless and inferior in skill.
This matter of talent, of course, is sometimes subjective. No one who is sane can build a rational argument that Ian Gillan did not have the talent to sing after one hears Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” but not everyone might agree that the mythical and legendary Udo Dirkschneider is a good singer in the sense of a clear and high voice. The problem with traditional heavy metal, as many people have observed, is the difficulty in finding a great singer. Just about anyone can scream, shout, howl and growl, but certainly not everyone is able to sing. Be that as it may, but today the traditional heavy metal in the proper sense finds new bands with talent, younger generations who have decided that having quality riffs, solos, singing and songs is a necessity for their musical goals to come true.
That is why it is wonderful to find Elvenstorm and the realm of the air raid siren and of the aerodynamic guitar. Elvenstorm seeks to conquer the world and steal the hearts of the true-as-steel traditionalists stubbornly insisting and unapologetically demanding talent from metal music. Do you live for the rush of heavy metal thunder, and to bang your head when you hear a band working hard to connect with you through fast and memorable songs? This is only the band’s second album, but the effort shown is highly commendable. You can tell that Elvenstorm lives and dies for Helloween’s “Walls of Jericho” and “Keeper of the Seven Keys, Part I” in terms of that heavy metal played at a near-thrash and speed metal tempo, with a great chorus, big riffs, shredding and high vocals. Laura Ferreux sings with energy, and is hell bent on making you sing along. The shredder Michael Hellström loves two inspirations in particular, Kai Hansen, of course, but also Michael positively worships at the altar of classic Running Wild, such as the guitar sound/riffing on the classic album “Pile of Skulls.” It’s a very particular guitar style and Elvenstorm is giving it new life.
As an album, “Blood Leads to Glory” is almost perfect in execution. The band sounds young, which is awesome to think about, because the band has not made its masterpiece yet. Elvenstorm sounds like a band that has learned a lot from the legends of heavy metal: the sound, the style, the songs, the skills, the tempo, the solos, the speed in drumming, the singing, the riffs and all the rest of the elements are utilized very well. You would think that Kai Hansen is going to be very, very angry when hears Elvenstorm because he’s going to wish that he had written these songs! Come to think of it, given that Iron Savior’s Piet Sielck—a man that is Kai Hansen’s life-long friend, from way back in the 1970s in the pre-Helloween band Gentry--mastered this album, it is certain that Kai already knows about Elvenstorm. Kai must be so proud that his musical children have turned out to be such high-standard bands.
On YouTube there are live videos of Elvenstorm and the band has a good energy in concert, but with more experience they will be a tighter playing machine. Also, Elvenstorm will need to find a second guitar player, even as a session player, because it is impossible to bring these songs to life in full effect with one guitar only. No worries, in time all these issues will get solved by this impressive and very promising band. Contact Infernö Records and Elvenstorm now and get the metal going.
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This is the interview.
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Greetings, Elvenstorm. Is it true that the band started in 2008? How difficult was it to find the correct people to form a traditional heavy metal band in 2008 in the part of France where you live?
Yes, it’s true, we started the band in 2008. I had the chance to create ELVENSTORM with Laura that is a great singer with an original clear powerful voice, so we didn’t have to find a singer.
Heavy Metal music was not really popular in our area at that time, so it was really hard to find ambitious and motivated members to add. It was really not simple until we released our first album in 2011.


On Metal Archives it says that Michael and Laura were born in 1987 and 1988. Since you are so young, how did you choose traditional heavy metal as the sound of your band?
We always listened and breath Heavy Metal, since the very beginning of the band, we didn’t follow fashion and trend. As big fans of the German scene, we really wanted to sound Teutonic.
Of course, it’s not trendy nowadays to sound like Running Wild or the Walls of Jericho era from Helloween, but this is how we like to do music.
There’s a sort of revival nowadays with bands such like Enforcer, Bullet or Portrait, it proves once again that Heavy Metal will never die.

It is interesting that on your Facebook page, you list as your influences: Running Wild / Gamma Ray / Old Helloween / Stormwarrior / Grave Digger. What is it about those particular bands that you inspired you to form Elvenstorm? What are your favorite albums by Running Wild? Is Kai Hansen the most important person in metal music for you? Do you think that Kai Hansen is a genius?
Yes, I’m really influenced by this German scene, but I also love bands like Savage Grace, Mercyful Fate, Omen, and so much more. 
If Iron Maiden made me a metalhead when I was a child, Rolf Kasparek and Kai Hansen made me a guitarist. 
I had the chance to meet Kai Hansen on a Gamma Ray tour, and he’s one the nicest person I’ve ever met. I wouldn’t say he’s the most important guy in metal music, but he’s one of my biggest influence, and he’s a genius for sure. It’s not a secret that I’m a die-hard Running Wild fan. And I think you can ear it on my way to write songs.
 Anyway, I love all Running Wild albums from Gates to Purgatory to Masquerade, but if I had to pick one, I think I would choose “Blazon Stone” and “Port Royal”


Elvenstorm recently played the No Compromise Fest 2 in September. Was that festival in Belgium? What impression did you get from the festival about the support for traditional heavy metal in Belgium? Did you meet the other bands? Did you meet Crystal Viper, for example? Was the show a good one for Elvenstorm?
It was an awesome memory, because it was the day of the release of our new album and it was our first time in Belgium.
Of course, we met the other bands, and we played with our French friends from Sanctuaire and Hurlement.
We also met Crystal Viper and we had the chance to greet Marta Gabriel on stage with us to sing “Mistress From Hell,” she’s is an awesome performer and a wonderful person. As a Crystal Viper fan I was so proud!!! It was a really special concert for ELVENSTORM.


Your album "Blood Leads to Glory" is definitely a wonderful album with great singing, songs and guitar work. You now have two albums because you also have your first album from 2011 called "Of Rage and War." Now that you have two albums, what have you learned about recording in the studio and making an album? Now you are experienced veterans of the studio! What are some differences for you now in 2014 as compared to 2008 when you were just starting out making demos? Legendary metal producer Piet Sielck mastered "Blood Leads to Glory." Do you know him well?
Thanks a lot, I’m not sure we can be called “veterans” because there is so much to learn. But it an amazing experience to work with Lars Ramcke, we gave us a lot of advices and gave us of his experiences with Kai Hansen in Stormwarrior. He did a great job on the mixing, and the sound is really …. Teutonic!
Now we have really much more experience than in 2008, we record some stuff in our home studio, we have another way to approach the songwriting and we record much demos. Piet Sielck just released the mastering and make the record sounds really powerful. We had the chance to meet him last year on an Iron Savior concert.
On the album, sometimes it sounds like you have a lot guitars working together. Is it difficult to reproduce the songs live in concert when you have only one guitar? Is that correct, that you have only one guitarist during the concert?
I adapt each song for the concerts. Of course, it sounds more “raw” because of the second missing guitarist. But it’s ok for us, we are armed and ready even with 4 members.
Don’t forget, Venom were only three and they were too loud for the crowd!!


"Sirens of Death" is a very memorable, very metal song. Is that a perfect song? "Fallen One" is also another song that sounds perfect. "Reign in Glory" is also a fantastic song that sounds inspired by the album "Walls of Jericho" by Helloween. "Blood Leads to Glory" as an album sounds a like a brotherhood or sisterhood with "Walls of Jericho." Do you know if Kai Hanse has heard your band yet? Piet probably has told him ha ha!! Did you write any of the songs of "Blood Leads to Glory" in the studio or did you write all of them before going into the studio?
There is no perfect song I think, these three songs are really great, but we still work to be better from albums to albums. Of course, as I told you before, “Walls of Jericho” era has influenced us a lot, so it’s normal to hear some kind of brotherhood with our record. But “Walls of Jericho” is legendary and has influenced a lot of bands before us. I’m not sure Kai listened to our stuff, but I would be proud and happy if he put an ear on it 
All songs were wrote before to enter studio and we recorded demos of each tracks shortly after the release of “Of Rage and War” our previous album. 
We are constantly working on new songs.
You are a young band. Do any of you like an old, old band like Trust or Sortilège? Are those bands something that does not interest you because it is too old?
To be honest, I’m not a big fan of French bands from the 80’s. 
I love Sortilege, and old ADX but it’s not really my kind of heavy metal. It’s not a matter of old or not because I love early Judas Priest and Scorpions from the 70’s, but it’s only not my kind. 

What are your plans for 2014 and 2015. "Blood Leads to Glory" is completed and released. Do you feel ready to play concerts in France and Germany? Europe in general has a good audience for your style of metal. What is necessary to happen in order for Elvenstorm to begin touring more? Do you know if a festival like Hellfest has any interest in your band, for example?
Actually we have no official plans for 2014/2015.
For sure Europe is great audience for Heavy Metal, but nowadays touring is harder and harder. Even in our hometown it’s difficult to play gigs. All is a matter of contacts and friendship.
But of course, we are open to every proposal, and I really hope we’ll tour to defend this new album. To my opinion, Hellfest is more interested by commercial bands and extreme metal bands. I never saw Stormwarrior, Paragon, Grave Digger, Enforcer, Portrait or even Lonewolf on the billing.

Quick questions!
What is your favorite movie in the French language of all time?
My all time favourite movie is “The Fog” from John Carpenter, but I can add “Nightmare on Elm Street”, “The Exorcist” , “The Beyond” …
What is your favorite food?
Too much favourite !!!
But let’s go for Currywürst
Which song do you like more: "Heaven Can Wait" by Gamma Ray or "Ride the Sky" by Helloween?
Ride the Sky
Thank you for your time! Congratulations on "Blood Leads to Glory"! Excellent album!

Thanks a lot, it’s a real pleasure to answer about the band and this new album!
Cheers!
Elvenstorm - Reign in Glory
ELVENSTORM - Werewolves of the East
Email: elvenstorm-metal@hotmail.fr
www.elvenstorm.com www.facebook.com/Elvenstorm www.facebook.com/pages/INFERNÖ-Records/104374422992796 www.inferno-records.net Website: www.elvenstorm.com Contact & Booking: elvenstorm-metal@hotmail.fr
Store: www.elvenstormofficialwebshop.bigcartel.com THE END

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