Interview - Ereb Altor - Forging a sound with elements of both black and epic metal

Read a review of "Fire Meets Ice" here
Ereb Altor is hailing from Gavle, Sweden. It was founded in 2003 and plays Viking metal highly influenced by a legendary Bathory. Yet this is not their only inspiration, and Ereb Altor's music clearly shows that the band has their own identity. Interested? If yes, read what Mats (Vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards) have to say about his fascinations (both musical and other ones), music and some cultural issues. Fans of epicness in music - this can be something for you!

1.Hailsa! First of all I would like to know how people in the undeground reacted on your last opus "Fire Meets Ice"? Did you receive some negative opinions?
The reactions have been great, better than after our previous albums. Great reactions when it comes to mails from fans and also great reactions from the media, both underground and bigger magazines.

2.We can listen to "Fire Meets Ice" a year after releasing of your previous album, that's kinda fast! Moreover, the material seems to be different than "Gastrike" - it's less black metal, even if there are some black metal influences in your music. Why did you decide to return to this more viking metal style?
Both "Gastrike" and Fire Meets Ice was written at the same time musically. I chose the more harsh songs for "Gastrike" because of the lyrical approach on that album.
I think "Fire Meets Ice" unites the history of Ereb Altor, forging a sound with elements of both black and the epic. It was a challenge to make an album with all these elements but I believe we succeeded.

3. The material is also highly touched by an almighty spirit of Bathory. I know that questions like this one are present in every interview with you, but do you imagine the world without Quorthon'smusic? And how do you think he would comment "Fire Meets Ice" if he was still alive?
Yes, it’s true that he had a great impact on my world of music. It’s impossible for me to imagine how it would be without it.
Quorthon would probably not comment the album at all, or say something weird as he did in most of the interviews.

4. Do you think that this is important to keep the spirit of oldschool viking metal alive, if we are around this subject? How do you personally rate the present scene - it's strong, weak or simply mediocre?
To be honest I don’t listen that much to the viking metalscene, mostly because I can’t recognize it. It doesn’t sound the way at all as it did when I grew up with "Hammerheart" and "Twilight of the Gods".
To me the old school Viking metal is glourious and let’s stick with that.

5. I suppose that Bathory had also started your fascination with norse mythology and history in general. How important are those topics for you? And here's my favourite question to scandinavian bands, hehe: what do you think about those who are worshipping norse gods nowadays? This makes sense in our high-tech societies or not in your opinion?
I am interested in mythology and supernatural things in general. Not only Norse mythology and legends from Scandinavia. But since we have a nordic touch in the music and we are from Sweden I think it suits us very well to deal with such topics.
I think everyone is entitled to worship any religion as long as no one is forcing others to follow their belief. But to me it’s more about inheritance and history, to understand how things were from where we come from.

6. Your lyrics are also inspired by a fantasy literature. You even named your band after a fantasy roleplaying game. It was in your youth, but do you still have an interest in such kind of stuff? Can you name some of your favourite authors?
I grew up playing fantasy games and I grew up with reading Lord of the Rings but I wouldn’t say I am a big consumer of fantasy litterature nowadays. I mostly read historic litterature and books about folklore. I also read regular books about murders and so on but no fantasy. And there isn’tmuch inspiration from fantasy in my lyrics either though it was supposed to be from the beginning but I changed the direction and focused on our inheritance and dark stories from the north instead.

7. In some moments, and especially in "The deceiver shall repent" I hear an echeos of some more traditional music, even if I wouldn't describe it as folk. Some more epic moments remind me a heavier soundtrack to some movie. So what would you say if some director had called to you and proposed to compose music to his new, upcoming epic movie about vikings? Agree or not and why?
Perhaps you are right… I thought the album needed some traditional elements to fulfill the dynamics.
Of course I would say yes, it would be a challenge! I’ve never done such a thing and I belive it would be a good experience.

8. Ha, speaking of movies, I like your lyric-video to "Nifelheim". Can you tell me who's the creator of it? And do you have any plans to record a real videoclip in the future?

It’s done by Luigith Web design (www.luigiht.com).
We have discussed to record a real video many times and I hope we will soon!

9. Modern pop-culture seems to be full of vikings, norse mythology and cliches bounded with them. Why in your opinion we can observe such an excitement about your ancestors' culture? Sadly, too many times a topic is treated very superficially...

The pop-culture touches everything sooner or later but only for a short period of time so it was inevitable that it would come across Norse mythology at some point. Trends come and go and most of the time the research is not the best.

10. OK, back to your music. "Fire Meets Ice" has a strong relish of doom metal, and I know that in the past it was even stronger. Because of that diversity of your musical fascinations, your own music is more diverse itself, and thanks to that more interesting. Am I right, haha? But while listenning to your albums, do you have sometimes thoughts like "Damn, that riff sounds too much like Bathory"? Or the opposite - "Shit, Candlemasshad stolen our riff!".
I’m actually not focusing that much on riffs, I focus on a song entirety. Working with atmospheres.
Even if you still look at one single riff and it might be sounding a lot like for instance Candlemass you can make the music sound different still, working with song harmonies, keyboards, basslines etcetera.

11. By the way, don't you think that closed-minded musicians are a problem for many genres in a modern metal music? I am not saying of course about being desperetaly original at all costs, but about an own identy.
It’s important to have an own identity and I think we have. But trying to be too original often complicate things too much and the most important thing, making good music, can be lost.

12.  You released your new album via Cyclone Empire. Are you happy with it? And why did you left Napalm Records - you weren't pleased with them? As far as I know, your second band Isole is still in Napalm, can you explain it?
Yes, we are very happy co-operating with Cyclone Empire, it was a good and natural step for us. We wanted a label that believe in our music and a label that are dedicated to us. Napalm Records have a lot of bands and a lot of them are much more famous than Ereb Altor so I think we will benefit with a smaller label that put more effort in the band.
Yes, Isole is still in Napalm Records.

13. Speaking of Isole - what's going on in this camp? Do you have any plans of releasing some new material?
We are recording a new album right now. But I want [propably Mats wanted to write "won't" - Vlad.] be giving you any details.

14. OK, now's time for a few short questions not bounded with your band. What is your favourite:
- beer

I don’t like regular lagers that much… I’m more of a Guinness guy.

- band (besideBathory ;])

-hockey team?
Don’t like any hockey teams at all… I like soccer… Liverpool!

15. And at the end, please tell us about Ereb Altor's future plans.

In March next year we will go on a European tour with Borknagar, Månegarm and Shade Empire. We will do a release of some new material in one way or another, perhaps a 7” vinyl.
We also have some festivals booked and we are focusing on getting more festivals with ourbooking agency ”Doomed Events”

16. All right, that's everything I wanted to ask. Thank you very much for your time! The last word is traditionally yours.
All Hails to Quorthon !
See you in Valhalla !

A lyric-video for "Nifelheim" on Youtube: (click!)

Photos: band's archieve.
Interview by Vladyka 2013. Please do not copy this interview without HA'Z permission. Respect the copyrights!

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