TTI: Ever since your first demo, your take on thrash has always been spiced up with dark and primitive feel of early Norwegian black metal. However, on this album, you have obviously decided to tone those influences down and let your admiration for teutonic thrash take over completely. Is that a sign of you getting purer as you grow older, is that what’s going on?
Chris: I don’t really think it was a conscious choice, although we certainly were in a very thrashy period in our lives. Basically really discovering and uncovering the magic of early teutonic thrash, and thereby naturally importing that style into our own creative outputs, as well as all the other thrash bands from the early ’80s. I guess the real discovery of black metal happened much earlier, and we sort of got that out of our system early on. With that being said, I still believe this album is seriously influenced by the darkness in our hearts. Yeah, we’re pure as hell!
TTI: In the press release for this album, at the very end of it, there is an important note that the album’s title wasn’t inspired by Agent Steel’s Unstoppable Force. It doesn’t take more than one look at the front cover and 20 seconds of the opening song for a listener to realize that Unstoppable Power and Unstoppable Force don’t have absolutely nothing in common. That being said, why did you feel the need to emphasize something so obvious?
Magnus: I just mentioned it because Daniel Salsten once mentioned how similar the title was to Agent Steel’s, something that I hadn’t thought about. It wasn’t really anything I wanted to emphasize, just a little mention.
TTI: How did your cooperation with Rok come about? Why did you pick him to do the artwork?
Magnus: My old house mate Mike and I were talking about how killer all the cover art for SadEx is, and I think he was the one who mentioned that I should try and get Rok to do our cover art too. I knew that an Australian friend of mine had been in contact with him, so I simply asked for his contact details. I sent him an e-mail, and a few months later we had both the front and the back for the album ready. A really easy-going guy to work with that doesn’t get offended if he has to give it a few tries before you’re happy.
TTI: I’m not sure if I can think of any other band on High Roller’s roster, with the exception of Hellbringer maybe, that is nearly as wild as you guys are. Considering the type of sound people who follow that label are accustomed to, are you sure that their target audience will find Condor’s music worth buying or even interesting?
Chris: It seems like everyone who’s into metal likes a lot of different styles, and I’m really happy about that. Hopefully it may be an eye-opener for some people, and that would be a great thing! I love the idea of interfering in narrow-minded groups to expand their knowledge, so it’s worth a try.
Magnus: They re-release a lot of old extreme metal classics, which are more similar to out style, as well as they released the first full-length of both Antichrist and Nekromantheon, so I think most people that are into extreme music know about High Roller.
TTI: Speaking of underground metal labels, can you name three or four whose releases almost never disappoint you and pick your favorite album by each of them?
Magnus: Rush Of Power Records released Evoke’s first demo which is killer, Hell’s Headbanger Records with everything from Deathhammer, Iron Pegasus who releases most Sabbat material and, last but not least, Electric Assault Records which are releasing both the new Occulta and Antichrist record.
TTI: If we take a look at the history of rock music, all amazing three-piece bands, like Motörhead or Rush for example, built their reputation and became famous precisely for not sounding like three, but at least four-pieces. Their extremely intense and skilled drummers, guitarists who were able to play rhythm and lead sequences with equal competence and rhythm guitar type of bass players were how they compensated for a missing band member. Considering that you also incarnate that wall of sound effect with a fair amount of success, what would be your secret? The similar level of technical proficiency, great chemistry within the band or something else?
Chris: That’s a huge compliment, thank you! We rehearsed a lot for this album, making sure that every little detail suited the whole of the sound. We also incorporate some of the fuzzy bass-sound that certainly has a say in the making of the wall, as well as knowledge about what type of sound we want our instruments to have in the studio. Maybe it’s a bit weird, but I feel that it actually may be somewhat easier to get that sound when you’re only three people, because it’s easier to agree on how a certain part should be played, and therefore everyone is on the same page. When I have an idea, it usually comes with a bass line and a guideline for the drums as well, that may be helpful to this effect.
TTI: You said in one of your earlier interviews that the main purpose of band’s existence was for you to get laid because of your music, with a remark that, at the time of that interview, getting laid unfortunately still hadn’t happened. Where do we stand on that matter now, has your music managed to seduce three lost little girls for each of you to score yet?
Chris: Nope. Our music only seduces men with beards. Or maybe our music have seduced some girls somewhere, but not in this town. That’s why we’re so grateful for our amazing looks!
TTI: In addition, if Condor members at some point get all the female attention they need in order to quench their insatiable sexual thirst, how would such physical and mental relief affect the band’s sound? Do you think that having all those means of pleasing yourself could eventually soften not only your penises, but your music as well?
Chris: Physical relief in that form does almost nothing with your mental state, so I don’t think there’s a correlation there. The voice in your head is unstoppable nonetheless. Un-freakin-stoppable. Thank god for mindfulness!
TTI: I would like to apply for a membership in Kolbotn thrashers union. Apart from fulfilling mandatory requirements like moving with my family to Kolbotn and forming a thrash metal band, what else should I do in order to increase my chances to be invited to join?
Chris: No one gets in, no one gets out. No one is a member, and all the members are stuck in the union for eternity. You may get invited to join if you send an application to the head master, who is not a member by the way, and say that you do not wish to join. Thereby, you may, although probably not, get a letter back in three to five years, eight tops, where the head master’s assistant – not a member, but she actually has a membership – would write you something along the lines of: Unfortunately, you have used the wrong procedure in asking for a membership, and have now become a member. So give it a go!
TTI: As Kolbotn citizens, how do you feel about the benefits local community has from Gylve Fenris Nagell’s involvement in local politics? Would you say that he does a good job as a Councilman and would you like to see him re-elected?
Chris: I think it’s difficult to really see the impact that involvement in local politics have, unless you’re involved yourself. None of us actually lives there anymore. With that being said, he’s a brilliant role model, and I think everyone interested in making a better society in this fragile world should follow his lead and care about nature, animals and art. From a personal point of view, I believe that the market has the control, and the fastest way to get a decent hold of our earth is for each individual to only support and buy the products that will lead to a greener environment. When you stop giving money to the worst actors in the scene, they lose their power.
TTI: I remember when Hades Rise came out, Fenriz said he thought that was the best album he had heard in years. In hindsight, I feel the same, that is by far my favorite Aura Noir album as well. Which one is yours?
Chris: That’s a great one! I think all their albums have a lot to offer, but the riffs on Hades Rise are spectacular, and there’s some great songwriting there, no one sounds like that.
Magnus: To me, Hades Rise is actually one of their weakest albums, I would certainly say that Black Thrash Attack, The Merciless and Deep Tracts Of Hell are all better albums. With that being said, Hades Rise is also a ripper of a record though, of course.
TTI: I read an interview with some prominent Norwegian metal musician a few years ago, can’t remember who it was at the moment, but anyway, he said that if you want to recognize a hipster metalhead in Norway, you just need to look for a guy in Nekromantheon shirt. Apparently, listening to Nekromantheon is a sign of bad taste in Norway, as if they are some kind of mainstream metal sensation that just pretends to have the underground mentality or something. Is that really the case and do you also feel they are getting more hype than they actually deserve?
Magnus: That’s a very strange thing to say. I have never seen neither a hipster nor a poser wearing a Nekromantheon shirt, and I most certainly don’t think they have gotten too much attention. I think both their records speak for themselves. The person who said that must be some idiot that is whining because they won an award.
TTI: Reptilian, Gouge, Inculter, Sepulcher and Execration are just a few promising underground metal bands that have recorded more than decent albums over the last couple of years. Style-wise, many of them are right down your alley, or at least down the very next one, not too far away anyway. That being said, do you think that all those bands, Kolbotn crew included, share sufficient amount of similarities between themselves to be considered unique and distinguishable from your peers from other countries?
Magnus: In some cases I would say so. In the same way as many German bands have adopted the sound of Nocturnal, a lot of newer bands take inspiration from the older ones here too. From the most newest thrash bands, I think there is a clear similarity to either Nekromantheon, Deathhammer or Aura Noir. Bands tend to sound like the bands they listen to, and I think it is very common to listen a lot to the local band around.
TTI: Speaking of Norway and Norwegian cities, which of them are a mandatory visit for Kolbotn bands when they tour locally and where, besides Kolbotn, Kolbotn thrashers have the biggest and most dedicated following?
Magnus: I wouldn’t actually say that Kolbotn is a mandatory place to go, not much to see there except for a lake and a shopping centre. I would go to Oslo, and maybe a bit further north. Personally, I haven’t actually been much around the country. Oslo is great, don’t know about the other cities, as I haven’t spent much time there.
TTI: Is an average Norwegian metal audience a wild bunch of metal enthusiasts or a calm group of people who quietly watch what is happening on stage, without getting too emotionally involved?
Magnus: It depends on which band is playing. When for example Deathhammer plays, the crowd is usually a little wilder than normal, but in most cases people are pretty calm. Especially compared to the Spanish, Italian and German crowds. It also depends on which day of the week the concert is held I guess.
TTI: When you first got in touch with Norwegian black metal, do you remember which bands and albums made the strongest impression on you and how important role that movement had in your life?
Magnus: The first black metal record I got into was Transilvanian Hunger. I remember it was just after Herman, our previous drummer, had gotten into Norwegian black metal. He was more about Hate Them and A Blaze In The Northern Sky, but Transivanian Hunger was the one I got into. I don’t listen to it too much anymore, but whenever I do, I get brought back to when I was 15 and felt like I had finally found my thing.
TTI: Speaking of Darkthrone, which of their legendary album covers is the best one in your opinion?
Øyvind: My favorite Darkthrone album cover is Soulside Journey. That’s a beauty.
Chris: My favorite is also Soulside Journey. It’s perfect.
Magnus: Mine is A Blaze In The Northern Sky.
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