“We’re not gonna fall by the wayside when heavy metal becomes untrendy” – Steve Ramsey (Satan)

Interview with Steve Ramsey from Satan

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 1st of October 2018

Hi Steve! Thanks a lot for taking the time and doing the interview with Metalegion! First I’d like to ask, if you could go back in time, would you change anything career-wise?


Satan in 1983

We probably wouldn’t have parted ways with Brian (Ross, vocalist ed.). It’s just one of those things. We were very young when we made the first album and we listened to the press that we were getting at the time. The two main places we were playing, it was in the Netherlands and in England. And both of the main magazines gave us a bad review. One of them the Kerrang! magazine in England. In the one in Holland where we’ve been doing so well gig-wise, the review was very mediocre and it made us think we were doing something wrong. I wish we’d stuck to our guns.

So did this point made you do things in a different way later?

You know, you’re influenced when you’re young, you’re influenced by what you can see. Foolishly we took that information as we needed a change in what we were doing. Really, we should have just stuck to what we were doing.

About your name: I figure you’re not satanists but find the subject of evil and injustice in our world interesting and like to write about that. To what extent do bands like you with more provocative names have to deal with more criticism than the average metal band?

We for sure got a lot of criticism. When we thought of that name  I think I thought of the name and the logo when I was 15 at school I didn’t have a good time back then and at 15 I thought it was a really cool name for a metal band. Brian still believes that it’s the best name for any metal band ever. But of course black metal and death metal and all that became genres of the music and we were instantly classed in those genres even though we were nothing like that. That’s one of the reasons why we changed things in the early days. Now it doesn’t seem to matter because there are a lot of bands doing a lot worse than us (laughs).

Do you have any outstanding, funny or weird stories about people associating something with you that you don’t represent?

steve ramsey 1983

Steve Ramsey in 1983

We did this support tour with Running Wild in Germany, in 1985. One of the shows was in a country-sort of village-town and a lot of Christians turned up at the church and stopped their kids going to see Satan (laughs). I remember standing outside the show trying to explain them that we have nothing to do with devil culture or anything like that, that was just strange. After that we changed our name to Blind Fury and we’ve had that through the 80s. It was a bit of a trouble being called Satan.

I can imagine!
It’s funny because as you probably know many comeback albums of old heavy metal bands don’t manage to bring the stuff to people that they’d expected. It’s different with you, in my personal opinion your new album “Cruel Magic” is once again amazing! How is the feedback so far?


Satan – Cruel Magic (2018)

“Cruel Magic” was charted in Germany a couple of weeks ago when it was released. If we were in the 80s and it would have been charted Nr 28 in the charts, we would have been quite well off. Now we’re saying “yeah right, whatever, we’re in the charts” (laughs). But we think it’s a fantastic album and people like it too so we’re happy.

Is the reason for your music still kicking that you stayed not far away from the metal scene even in times when it seemed to be dead?

I’ve got no idea (laughs). We actually saw the pitfalls of doing this and we had no intention of ever doing another album. But we decided to do a couple of shows and the reaction especially when we saw that there was a lot of young people at the shows , we thought “wow, this is a scene that we’re not gonna get back again”. And just rehearsing for some of the shows or festivals it was obvious that one of us is gonna come up with a riff on a rehearsal. We just started writing songs and didn’t think much of it, then we’ve listened to what we’ve done, we made a demo and said to ourselves “if we don’t think it’s great, then we’re not gonna pursue it”. But it was working out great. So we did the first demo and then sent it around all the labels and no one was interested apart from High Roller Records and Listenable. Those were the only two that got back to us. So obviously we met up with Listenable at the show we did in Belgium and it was great. With Listenable, we had a great time over there. They believed in us but obviously none of the bigger labels at the time believed that it would be success to do another album. Like you said, lot of bands get back together and try to do that and it just doesn’t work. But I think we knew in rehearsal that we still had the same chemistry with each other that we had back in the 80s; just playing together we knew we had that. And I think all those years apart, we had a lot of ideas that we may have put in if if we had stayed together, and they were all still there. So it seems easy to us to do it.

Looking at you it does seem easy to do it!
“Cruel Magic” is more noticeably melodic than the albums before it. Did you want to achieve something different this time than with your other albums from the newer era?


Satan – Life Sentence (2013)

We were sort of looking back at the older albums, thinking what was good about that one and what we like about that album… And we were thinking about that when we made the next one. We thought, on “Life Sentence”, that album was written really as a follow-up to “Court in the Act”, so we wrote the songs like we would be 20 year old. We didn’t use all of the musical skills and talent that we have now. We tried to imagine being young again and that there would be things that we wouldn’t know about certain scales and melodies and harmony, we didn’t use any of that on “Life Sentence”. And then when we’ve done that and it was successful, then we decided to move on and put a bit more of our technical ability in on “Atom by Atom”. I think these two albums are different because “Life Sentence” is a little more catchy, the songs are more accessible straight away. “Atom by Atom” takes it a bit more forth when you’re listening to what we’re doing, it’s a bit more complex. And on “Cruel Magic” we tried to keep the catchy melodies and stuff and still made the music kind of complicated. I think that’s what we’ve done this time, we took the best qualities of the best two albums and put them together. That’s what we’ve tried to do anyway (laughs).

Could you tell me about your most beloved song on the album? I’d love to hear your vision of the song, of the lyrics, some instrumental passages or a story in connection with its creation.

We all have different favorites. The main favorite in the band in general is ‘Ophidian’. It’s so different to the rest of the material, it’s a slow song. We don’t tend to play much slow, and it’s the slowest song on the album. And it’s got a very strange feel about it and the riff is great. The lyrics are about snakes and genesis in the Old Testament from the Bible, the story of Adam and Eve. ‘Ophidian’ is about rising up. They want revenge for humans and for being sentenced by God as punishment for Adam and Eve, there weren’t snakes before that happened. It’s them getting revenge on humankind. It’s a crazy story. That’s the main favorite but my personal one is ‘Cruel Magic’, the title track. I think again it’s a bit different from what we normally produce and it’s a bit more rock ‘n’ roll. It’s a very 70s feeling main riff that Russ (Tippins, guitarist – ed.) came up with and a great catchy chorus. It’s a departure from a lot of the lyrics we write, it’s actually about revenge too. Using black magic as a tool of revenge against someone and telling you to be aware of doing that because you might not see the outcome in the end. And once you’ve started it, you can’t stop it.

Does any of you guys have a connection to mysticism, sort of black magic books or anything in connection with it?

No, it’s just a general thing. Obviously we read books about all sorts of different subjects, that was just one that we hadn’t done any song about yet. Like Voodoo, people using Voodoo as a method of exacting revenge which is an injustice-kind of thing. When there was injustice done to them, this is a path to take to write that. That was a different way of writing what we read about.


Stephen King (writing as Richard Bachman) – Thinner (1984)

Do you have a personal favorite book?

My favorite books when I was younger were horror stories. Lots of Stephen King. The first one I read was “Thinner”, I love that book. I think they may have a movie about it but I haven’t seen it. The book was one of my favorite ones ever.

You are going on tour in the USA soon. Is there any place where you’ve still never been and you would love to go there? Maybe even in the whole world.

We’ve covered most of the USA but we haven’t been to Florida yet. We’re sadly not doing that this time either. It’s like the leg at the end of the bottom of the country it’s difficult to get down there and get back. So we’re missing it out because of the travelling. But eventually I’d love to do that. We’ve been planning to play in Mexico a few times but haven’t been there yet, so maybe next year finally. I’d love to go back to Japan, we’ve only been once. Maybe Australia and New Zealand. We keep doing a lot of press in Australia and New Zealand (radio stations, magazines) but we never get to go there.

How are your views on the future of Satan, how long can we still expect stuff from you coming?

We’re gonna keep going as long as we can. As long as we’re enjoying it. If any of the other bands think it’s sort of a bubble that’s gonna burst like with other old NWOBHM bands and no one’s gonna listen to heavy metal again; I don’t think that’s gonna happen. Not for us anyway. I think for a band like us all that’s doing is help us come back and we’re gonna stay. We’re not gonna fall by the wayside when it becomes untrendy. I think by then we have secured ourselves a good fanbase again so I don’t really think about the future being bleak, I think it looks very good.

That sounds pretty good Steve!
Could you tell me a bit about your 3 most favorite albums?


Black Sabbath – Black Sabbath (1970)

First off would be Black Sabbath’s first album, “Black Sabbath”. I just love the darkness about the songs, just look at the cover on the B side of the album. It’s so good. For me, I can really hear that the guys are really being into what they are doing. The performance, the songwriting, everything. I think it was very very before its time. We’ve always tried to be a little bit like that, be different from all the other bands. I think when Black Sabbath wrote that album, there was nothing like that around.

In the late 70s we got into a lot of live albums because some of the bands that we became fans of had been around for a long time. We couldn’t afford to go back and buy the whole back catalogues. It’s great for the kids nowadays because they can just download everything for free. But we would have to go and buy the records. So live albums were a great way of getting a best-of of bands. And there were some great live albums like our favorite one, “Unleashed in the East” by Judas Priest. I remember us buying that and sitting down and learning every note of every song. We could play the whole album.

And stuff like Thin Lizzy, UFO and one of our big favorite, “Tokyo Tapes” from Scorpions. They were one of the first bands we went to see when we were kids. Scorpions kinda got me into heavy metal, I listened to a lot of pop music before I heard them. They just released “Lovedrive” and they were playing some tracks off that in a record shop and I just had to know who it was. I bought the record and I remember how that was kicking me off with heavy metal.

You said you’d be able to play the whole “Unleashed in the East”. Is there any chance you are going to?

We’ve kind of almost done that in the past. But we wouldn’t do that now. We’re still being asked all the time to play songs from “Suspended Sentence” and we haven’t even done that yet, so our own songs come first before doing the Judas Priest ones (laughs).


Steve Ramsey at Blastfest 2015 [Photo: Jarle H. Moe]

Sure, makes sense (laughs)! What’s a subject that you aren’t often asked about but you would like to talk more about it?

We aren’t really asked about the lyrics even though the lyrics are quite important to us. That’s the main thing that I think is disappointing when I do an interview myself. Our lyrics aren’t rock ‘n’ roll lyrics, they’re not about burning churches down, all this shit you know. We spend a lot of time and lot of research on some of the songs that we do, because they are interesting subjects that we think people might be interested in.

I also think lyrics are underrated in the metal scene. Thanks for the advice, gonna put more effort and lyrical research into my future questions too! So Steve, thank you very much for your time and have a good night!

Thank you very much! Good night Estelle!

R.I.P. Mark “The Shark” Shelton!

The Shark and Estelle in May 2017 at a Manilla Road gig in Halle, Germany

One of the most enthusiastic, fan-loving and intimate bands of our time; thanks to you, Mark “The Shark” Shelton! Your musical work is indescribable and your energy and nerves for playing live gigs and catching up with fans in the past few years is honourable. I am incredibly happy I had the chance to be present at your second last live concert at Chaos Descends. Rest in peace – if someone, you can be sure you’ll be missed!

Metalegion Magazine #2


Purchase the issue HERE

The second issue of Metalegion Magazine, another exciting project I am contributing to is now out and ready to be purchased for the fair price of 6€ (printed version) or 0.99€ (digital version)! Besides lots of other highlights, the issue features my in-depth interviews with top acts of the metal scene like Running Wild or Sodom, a few reviews as well as an extensive festival report of the French Fall of Summer Festival 2017; written under the name of Estelle.

92 English-written, full colour pages + a 79 minutes Sampler CD covering metal bands from different genres ranging from Heavy to Brutal Death Metal: If this sounds good to you, don’t hesitate and support us by purchasing the magazine HERE!

We’re really thankful and will get to work soon with the third edition. Couldn’t be more excited! :))

“I never felt myself forced just to write about the pirate stuff as it could be too limitating musically” – Rolf Kasparek (Running Wild)

Interview with Rolf Kasparek from Running Wild

Interview for Metalegion Magazine by Estelle on the 26th of August 2016

Hi Rolf, first of all thanks a lot for taking the time and doing the interview with me for Metalegion Magazine, much appreciated!


Death or Glory (1989)

Which album of Running Wild do you think was the most crucial or significant one in your personal career and/or in the fans’ opinion?

I would say Death or Glory – we had a lot better conditions concerning distribution, that was the next step for us as we sold pretty much more than we ever sold before. It was a very big step forward for Running Wild. And Blazon Stoned was the next step, it was the best sold album of my career. It was a truly important album that made the status of Running Wild.

Rolf, you are the only so to say “old” member in the current lineup of Running Wild. To what degree does this affect the songwriting process for the newer albums?

This time we had pretty much more time to write and to collect the ideas than I had for the albums before. It happened not intentionally, I just broke my shoulder so I was “knocked out” from the world for one year and that is why I could really make up my mind about the cover and the lyrics; I really could collect everything that was coming up to me.


Rolf Kasparek (1989)

When I was doing the record and writing the songs back then when my shoulder was again moveable and I could finally play guitar, it turned out to be a great situation because I could pick out 11 songs from all these ideas (I had about 30-35 basic song ideas) which are still all different from each other. Every song should gain something to the album that the others couldn’t, in order to have a wide range of style. I had the time to work on the small bits of pieces and the arrangement of the songs.

Rapid Foray is more complex in a way than the earlier albums by reason of the basic ideas. Also, I haven’t used studio before we started out with the record. It was a pretty much relaxed working situation even if it was hard work to achieve all that we finally did with the album. But it was a great situation for me to have the time to work out the bits of pieces, the details of the songs.

You mentioned that you broke your shoulder in the beginning of 2014. As far as I know you also needed surgery in Germany from one of the best doctors to repair it – During that period, have it ever crossed your mind that your career as a guitarist could be in danger?

No, because it was totally cured as I reached to the point back then to play guitar in the proper way again. In the first place it was the best doctor that I could get. It was just a coincidence that I landed there in this hospital but he was the best doctor to work on a shoulder in whole Germany (laughs). And I just told him that I’m a guitar player, I’m a musician and I need to use my shoulder. And he did a really great job then, the operation went well.

It took me about half a year just to get to working on Rapid Foray again because of having to have a second operation half a year later. I could already play guitar but not in a proper way, I couldn’t work for hours: 3-4 hours a day was not possible, in the beginning it was like half an hour here and there… I simply worked on the ideas and was picking out songs for the record.


Rapid Foray (2016)


This section of our magazine would basically mean a song by song explanation or just an explanation of one song, focusing more on the lyrical and instrumental side of the song(s).
Could you share your vision of a song, explain the lyrics, refer to some instrumental passages or tell how the song was created…? It’s up to you.

I was interested in doing the last song on the record, the Last of the Mohicans. It was a really important one mainly because of the idea of doing a song about the novel from James Fenimore Cooper. I already had the idea in 2000 while writing the Victory album but it was not coming down, it was not the quality I wanted to have and that’s why I put it down again and again. And when I started out with the Shadowmaker from 2012 I had the idea to the song again, but on the other hand I had another song called Dracula which finally made it onto the album. On Resilient from 2013 it happened in the same way, I had the idea to write the Last of the Mohicans but there, as the last song, Bloody Island made it onto the album.

While writing Rapid Foray I finally did have the time to do the song, I figured out very early a lot of ideas for it concerning my working situation because of my shoulder.

And the story it tells – I know the story since I was a kid, had to see it in Germany, we had this kind of tradition in the 60s and early 70s. Before Christmas we had these 4-piece movies about a certain adventure topic that was sold by German TV to French TV, so different TV stations got this together. There was one film called the Hawkeye Movie and another one was the Last of the Mohicans, which is one of the stories of this book.


James Fenimore Cooper – The Last of the Mohicans (1826)

I was really impressed by the story because it was a battle on the one hand, and on the other hand it’s a very adventurous case. I must have been around 9-10 years old when I saw it for the first time and I was simply impressed. There were a lot of movies coming up with the story but telling it from a different kind of view, a different kind of perspective.

I wanted to do this song and I figured out that the story is too complex to tell it in just in 5 verses or so. I just had to figure out what was the main point to me from the story and this is the loss of Chingachgook [one of the three frontiersmen, among the main figures of the film – ed.]. He not only lost his son but he lost his culture, he lost his present, he lost his future, he lost everything. His pride… Everything that was important to him that made up his life so far; he had to start at a new point from then on.

And that was the point I had my focus on while writing the lyrics and telling the story. I also had to tell it musically and that’s why it turned to be such a long song because it’s such a complex story.

Now it’s understandable why it is the largest song on the album with a running time of around 11 minutes. The song, as you also mentioned, was clearly influenced by the 19th century novel written by James Fenimore Cooper. What lead you to adapt this particular novel into a Running Wild song and also, do you think it fits entirely into the Running Wild pirate image you built up over the years?

rw5I always brought in different kinds of ideas on the albums because I never felt myself forced just to write about the pirate stuff as it could be too limitating musically. Also, if you only write about that kind of certain topic just have certain melodies in your head and certain musical ideas. Back on Death or Glory we had a song called Battle Waterloo which also was a part of history. From time to time I’m just doing different stuff because there were also some songs on the album just like Victory of Guns which is just a normal rock ‘n’ roll song. So I never felt myself forced to just go ahead for this kind of image stuff.

The story of the Last of the Mohicans takes place in the 18th century, but the pirate stuff did too. So it fits in that case as it is a part of the story and so it is a part of what happened then. The indians were pretty much in the same kind of situation as the pirates were. They had to fight for their lives and for the right and had to see how they pull through this. The first place there was a war between England and France about North America, they just wanted to keep their hand on that, so that was the basic story back then.

We can notice that the lyrics after your 1987 album Under Jolly Roger were intensely researched. Where did you get the inspiration and especially the information for the lyrics?
What does the whole pirate image mean to you and how did you get yourself into it?

Everything started with the song Under Jolly Roger. I was watching TV when I came around with the idea of the song, there was this advertisement for the movie called Pirates (1986) written by Roman Polanski. And there was this scene where the flag was rising up and I found it beautiful. “Wow Under Jolly Roger, a great title for a track!” – It started with that. I became especially interested in this stuff when I was writing for Port Royal. And I just love books about that. Totally different kinds of books about different pirates, about history, about theories, about shit, about everything that had something to do with the life in the 18th century. It was all about that pirate stuff on the Caribbian. And I had a lot of books where I could pick the stories from, stories that all come from reality. Just as our song called Calico Jack.

rw-jollyrogerAnd sometimes our songs are coming up with imagination about the topic. If you have a look on the new album a song like Black Skies, Red Flag has nothing to do in the first case with the reality, just has this kind of red flag as a symbol for the pirates that they will show no mercy at all. We have the real pirate flag in our minds with a skull and crossbones. But actually every pirate had his own flag back then.

So there’s totally different stuff that comes from that. And sometimes I’m coming back to that, I had all the ideas for the new album and one of them turned out into a song called Black Bart, which is a song about Bartholomew Roberts who was the most famous and the most successful pirate of all time. He was mentioned in the story of Treasure Island and he was real. It was not just imagination, he actually existed and was a very strong character; there were a lot of different things in his character that were not at all usual for that time. He was never drinking alcohol – what a weird situation for a pirate (laughs)! He was always sober, all the time. And he was gay, for the 18th century he was gay! He was very very open, he didn’t hide it, he was never hiding. And it was very strange for the 18th century to do that. The crew was really onto him, he was also relentless, a really tough guy. And so that was the story I was coming back to, I was just going for the books again and I found a story about which I haven’t had a song written yet, I figured he would be a great character to do a song about.


Running Wild (Death or Glory era)

Rapid Foray also brings back some of the memories from the classic Running Wild period. Your previous two albums (Resilient, but especially Shadowmaker) didn’t convince entirely many older fans of yours. Was this something you were looking for this time, to make peace with the older fans?

No, not really. When I was going through all the ideas I had for the album, I figured out that there were some parts that had some more trademarks from the late eighties-early nineties. But I was not heading down when I was writing the songs, when I was collecting the ideas. I never said to myself “you have to write songs like back then” – that simply wouldn’t work. If you try to do a copy of a song from 25 years ago, there would not be coming any good song from that. If I got a great idea that sounds like that and I got this feeling and I got this kind of spiritual thing going around what you feel about the pirate stuff or the metal that you consider to be classic for Running Wild… It’s great when it’s there. You really can rock on that and you can go and work on the bits of pieces to make it to be a great track. And that’s what I did. But I never said to myself that I had to write songs like that. I don’t think that would really be ending up as a great record. The record was just the way I was feeling when I was writing and collecting the ideas and when I was picking the songs for the album. I figured out very early when I was working on the tracks themselves that a lot of songs had trademarks from the classic stuff.

I agree with you on that that you couldn’t simply copy a song from back then because it wouldn’t work out the same way.
As you also mentioned earlier, you had more than 30 songs completed for Rapid Foray. If I can ask do you sometimes use portions or complete songs that were not featured on the previous album(s)?

This was the first time that I had so many ideas for an album. If you have a look back into the early days Death or Glory etc. – those were really the songs I had that I put on the album. I couldn’t pick from such a big “pool” from which I have the possibility to do that today. There were a lot of ideas I had to put down because they didn’t fit to these 11 songs. But that doesn’t mean they are not great songs. Meanwhile I was writing the material and was working on the production itself, I had a lot more ideas for the next album that I had to put down and force myself to forget them. This is a kind of pool of creativity I have in the last 2-3 years which I never had before in my life. There are a lot of things going on, a lot of ideas are just coming and I really can’t stop it (laughs). It’s totally different because before, I put down Running Wild as it was really hard for me to write the songs and get the proper ideas for a good track. It was really hard work, but today it’s just coming like a river.

That’s for sure great for us fans to hear!


Running Wild at Wacken Open Air 2015 [Photo: apesmetal.com]

About “putting down” Running Wild as you said, the last time you played live was on Wacken Open Air in 2015. Was it because your last show in 2009 also happened to be on Wacken? Also, do you plan to give concerts anywhere else seeing that so many fans are kind of dying for you?

I was just starting out working on the new album and we got the idea from the Wacken guys to do a show there in 2015, festival headlining. We felt like it was a great idea to do that but we had to find 2 new members for the band as it was just P.J. [Peter Jordan guitarist – ed.] and me at the time. We figured it out but after that I had to go back to the album to finish the recording.

About concerts, we are not doing touring but we will play on a lot of festivals the next year. So we just get all the offers and we sit down and consider all of them and see what we can do, what festival is suitable for us concerning the fees and the possibilities. We plan to bring a full set from Running Wild on the stage. This is all planned for the next year. It is also the plan maybe to do 2-3 shows around the next Christmas, 2017. This is the next plan and now we are working on that. Now we are pretty much involved in interviews and the promotion for the new album. We will just sit down and see what we can do about 20 different offers from festivals all over Europe.


 A fan’s Running Wild-themed leather vest

That’s awesome to hear that there is a chance of seeing you!

You guys are also really active on your Facebook-site when it comes to marketing, for example you have an album where you upload fans’ pictures with their Running Wild tattoos and reliquia. What was the most surprising way of a fan showing his respect towards Running Wild that you’ve experienced?

The fans are so loyal to Running Wild, even if we talk about 32 years now because it was in 1984 the first album which was revealed for the public. I see so many people getting tattoos from Running Wild, some of them even more than a dozen. It’s a statement that Running Wild means a lot to them and it is a big part of their lives and makes me proud. Also if you take a look at how many musicians claim to be influenced by Running Wild, even if they are fans you never came across with because they are doing different music themselves. In Flames for example, they have grown up with my music – they are making totally different music themselves but are saying “you were a milestone for us because you’re the reason we started out making music”. It makes me proud to see the next generation rising. Or Sabaton, they also claim to be great Running Wild fans and have grown up with my music. Handing over the fire to the next generation – I am really proud of that.

rw6About fans and about being proud of fans being so loyal: Do you feel like you ever disappointed either your fans or yourself with any of Running Wild’s records?

You know the fans are a big part of Running Wild, we would be nothing without them. That is for sure: they bought the records, they bought the tickets… They made the band great and this is what it’s all about. You always have to have the focus on that these people were loyal to the band through the good and though the bad times, and it makes me proud to be a part of their lives. For example once we got a letter from an American soldier who was fighting in Iraq and he said what brought him through all these evil things going on there was to listen to Running Wild all day long. And this means a lot to me to be the help for people through situations, to feel better, to make it through.

All time highlights…

For the end could you select up to 3 albums that you consider your all-time favorites and tell me something about each one? (For instance when you have heard it for the first time, why you consider it a highlight or some sort of memories when hearing it.)


Judas Priest – Unleashed in the East (1979)

Firstly Unleashed in the East from Judas Priest: Priest is a starting point for me for heavy metal in the reality. When this album came out, everything started and one year after that all the NWOBHM started. We are called since then a heavy metal band because we were called before some kind of a hard rock band. Listening to KISS and AC/DC…

What also was really important for me is British Steel. It’s an all-time classic for me, THE most heavy metal album of all time. It just sums up everything that heavy metal means to me.

Thank you very much for all the interesting things you told me Rolf, all the best to you in the future and looking forward to seeing you sometime in 2017!

Thanks for the support. Have a nice day!

Even though at first listen it seemed rather mediocre to me, Iron Maiden’s new album The Book of Souls started to grow on me right away. They changed and got even proggier yet managed not to disappoint this time either – personally, I even enjoy the new one better than The Final Frontier.

Let’s listen to this epic closing-track, the 18-minute-long Empire of the Clouds for example, Iron Maiden’s longest song to date. It’s so well-written that instead of getting bored the listener gets completely lost in the various gradually building melodies, slow and soft yet dynamic sections while not even noticing its length and getting the feeling of something satisfyingly complex and ‘whole’ at the end.

IN SOLITUDE. Not a hint of desperation or artificialness


In Solitude – In Solitude (2008)

Review by Estelle on the 2nd of July 2015

First part of the In Solitude-review series as a tribute to the band after their break-up.


  1. In the Darkness
  2. Witches Sabbath
  3. Kathedral
  4. Beyond is Where I Learn
  5. 7th Ghost
  6. Faceless Mistress
  7. Temple of the Unknown
  8. The Monolith

Genre: Heavy Metal

Label: High Roller Records
Country: Sweden
Date: December 22nd, 2008

Pelle Åhman – Vocals

Uno Bruniusson – Drums
Gottfrid Åhman ­– Bass
Mattias Gustafsson – Guitars
Niklas Lindström – Guitars

insolThe five-piece Swedish heavy metal band In Solitude (formed in 2002, split up in April 2015) is one of the few bands I can think of who have three albums out, all of them showing a different side of theirs yet each being fully characteristic, representative and outstanding in their own way. On their debut In Solitude the band put the stress on instinctiveness, catchiness and simplicity – very much to fans’ delight.

As album-opener In the Darkness strikes, the first thing our ears spot is the odd, drawling, low-pitched voice of Pelle Åhman – then come the simple yet fresh, well-written and catchy riffs that keep flowing and flowing through each song until the very end, taking over the lead and turning out to be the most important component of the record.
The album consists of melodically complex songs with mesmerizing tunes in the veins of 80s heavy metal, surrounded by a great deal of mistery and obscureness. Even though In Solitude is a far cry from a ‘copy-band’, we cannot ignore the obvious Mercyful Fate/King Diamond influences both appearing in the vibe, melodies and lyrics of the album (e.g. Witches Sabbath). The lyrics include occult, otherwordly, mystical themes with no signs of irony or silliness, keeping the listener from not taking them seriously.

Everything fits together astonishingly: the ominous voice of Pelle, the harmonized instruments, the strange yet matching combination of the energy and freshness and the misty, gloomy atmosphere. To my great surprise (as I’m personally not the largest fan of modern sound), on the Swedish guys’ debut even the clear production is appropriate as it gives an edge to the dark, cold, haunting tone of classic heavy metal In Solitude managed to capture perfectly, making the Mercyful Fate-like gruesomeness come alive.
Everything is cohesive, natural and straight to the point – not a hint of desperation or artificialness, no ballads, no useless experimentation; instead vivid riffs, meaningful lyrics, innovative power, non-repetition and a massive amount of passion. It all sounds so effortless that we can question ourselves why no one came up with as brilliant ideas in our days as the ones In Solitude present on their debut.
By means of the lively riff-flow throughout the songs kept interesting by the tempo changes, In Solitude turns out to be an album which is catchy, easy to get into and to digest and is still absolutely enjoyable.
If you were asking yourself where the good albums are nowadays or if you simply need an authentic, exquisite cut of first class heavy metal: you have found what you were looking for.

Outstanding tracks: Witches Sabbath, Kathedral, Temple of the Unknown, The Monolith


My top 10 of 2014 albums

Making lists has never been my cup of tea but let’s try. (Including EPs)

1. Morbus Chron – Sweven
At first the Swedish Morbus Chron’s second album didn’t convince me but I can’t describe how much the record grew on me a few months after the first listening – I got to the point where I consider it to be no doubt one of the most unique death metal stuff existing out there. Completely dissimilar to their first one yet just as excellent in a different way.
Morbus Chron – Towards a Dark Sky

bölz-s2. Bölzer – Soma
The black/death Bölzer set the standards high with their first EP ‘Aura’ [read my review of the record here] and even though ‘Soma’ needed more listenings to reach up to its level, the two-piece Swiss band did not disappoint. Very much looking forward to the album!
Bölzer – Labyrinthian Graves

midnn3. Midnight – No Mercy for Mayhem
Similarly to Bölzer, if Midnight’s Athenar wants to reach up to the level of his early works and first album Satanic Royalty, he probably has to put plenty of effort in it. ‘No Mercy for Mayhem’ is a little bit slower as a whole than any of his earlier works but is still really intense and among the very best of 2014.
Midnight – Woman of Flame

vampp4. Vampire – Vampire
The evergreen Swedish death metal scene shows once again what the Swedes are capable of. One of nowadays’ best old school-styled death metal album for sure!
Vampire – The Fen

rangg5. Ranger – Shock Skull
Finnish old school speed metallers with crushing live performances. If you don’t understand the hype around them, listen to Shock Skull and afterwards you most likely will.
Ranger – Shock Skull

acc6. Accept – Blind Rage
Nice to see the German heavy metal veterans being still as strong and enthusiastic as ever. It really is a delight listening to Blind Rage!
Accept – Final Journey

nocwi7. Nocturnal Witch – Summoning Hell
Bestial German black/thrashers rising with their first album. I’d say it is worth buying.
Nocturnal Witch – Black Star

riot-unl8. Riot – Unleash the Fire
Awesome to hear the old guys still in such a good condition. Aand… Johnny the seal is back in one of his funniest forms ever.
Riot – Metal Warrior

port-cross9. Portrait – Crossroads
With their third album in 2014, the Swedish heavy group well-known among quite a few Mercyful Fate-follower bands in the country came up with a record fulfilling every expectation and beating out many other competitors.
Portrait – In Time

noct-storm10. Nocturnal – Storming Evil
Even though I personally liked both of Nocturnal’s earlier albums better, ‘Storming Evil’ was still a great album worth mentioning amongst the top ones from 2014. One of my favorite female vocalists, all hail Hell Tyrannizer!
Nocturnal – Rising Demons

With the Skull Fist guys


Me with Jonny and Jackie from Skull Fist after their show here in February, + Barry from Vanderbuyst in the grandma-sweater. I tried to do an interview with them but since 1. they’re just completely crazy 2. we were all quite drunk, it turned out to be a total chaos :D There wasn’t one single useful sentence during the interview, I also asked total stupid things at the end so it was funny, seeing this interview I wasn’t really expecting anything else though: the funniest interview of 2013

Live interview with Olof Wikstrand

Even though I actually made this little interview randomly (I thought it would be great for practicing since I love Enforcer anyway – I was like, if I’m already at their show, why not?), also at the end it has turned into some kind of a chatting that I didn’t include, I think it’s still worth publishing. So here it is:)

Live interview with Olof Wikstrand from Enforcer

Interview by Estelle on the 18th of Febr 2014

I’m here with Olof Wikstrand, the guitarist and vocalist of the Swedish heavy/speed metal band Enforcer which is currently on tour with Skull Fist, Vanderbuyst and Gengis Khan; we are looking forward to a really good Enforcer show in Budapest, Hungary in about 1-2 hours or something.

Hey Olof, first of all thank you for doing this little interview with me! I would like to ask, is there anything that maybe didn’t go how you wanted in connection with Enforcer? 

Ugh, that’s a tough question. Yeah of course, when we started the band we had some ideas that within a year we would do stadium tours – that didn’t happen, but lots of other things have happened, we’ve toured the world a couple of times, so that’s not bad either. (laughs)
It’s really hard to say I’m not really disappointed in anything, but as long as everything goes in the right direction and we have more crowd on every show than we had before, and you know, selling more records all the time, getting to new places, then it’s an achievement for me. The day when the band stops to grow, now that would be a disappointment but so far everything is on the right track.


Still, is there anything that you would change if you could go back in the past of the band?

No, really not. I think we’ve done the right decisions in most of the things, but you know you always learn from your… not mistakes, but you learn from everything you do. Keep everything as close to the band as possible, do as much as you can, as much as possible, never give any responsibility to any producer, always follow your own ideas and make them 100%. It’s sort of what we have learned from working with a band. Some things have turned out great, some things could have turned out better if we did it more according to our own visions instead of listening to some producer sometimes, but the business is always shit you know, sometimes it really doesn’t depend on the band. But when it comes to ideas and stuff, always follow what you think is right instead of giving any responsibility to any external person.

Now a personal question for you: if you could hang out or spend a day with any musician even from the past, who would it be? 

It’s really hard to say. I mean every time has its own vibe and, especially when you hang out with lots of different bands, you effect each other, together you create – not only within let’s say this band, but among other bands – you create ideas together, and actually I think the time that we are living in right now is perfect for us.

Can you say a few words about Enforcer? If you had to describe the band in 3 words, what would you say?

The way I want to see it is: Enforcer is a fist in the face of current trends, past trends and everything.

Do you know why do girls like Enforcer so much?

Do they? I have no idea. You know when we started we played only in front of all the guys, all the metalheads, it was actually just let’s say 2 years ago when girls also started to show up on our shows, and that’s really really cool.

Actually it’s so weird for me, I mean with Skull Fist and with you as well, because you know metal is liked by men usually, and as I could notice you have much more girl fans from around the world than lots of other young (heavy) metal bands.

It doesn’t have to be like that. I can’t see any genetic difference between the feelings that you create with music, it doesn’t have anything to do with gender in my opinion. There’s nothing surprising in that but I find some girls at least from my experience maybe a bit weaker when it comes to trends. Many girls choose to follow current trends rather than doing something on their own. More girls seem to choose more contemporary trends like listening to disco music, going to discos, following fashion. Boys are maybe brought up to stand out more, stand out from the crowd – traditionally, but it can be different in every country, it can be different in every culture, it’s just my impression about especially Sweden.

Enforcer+enfDo you have a personal favorite song by Enforcer?

I would like to see it the way like my favorite songs are all of the songs, because if we did a song that wouldn’t be as good as the other songs, then there would be no point in doing that. All the songs have to be the best you have ever done, otherwise it’s useless to do any new songs. Do you?

My personal favorite is everyone’s favorite actually, Katana. 

I don’t know, it’s always different, some people say that but at the same time you can’t do things that sound the same all the time either.

Did you get any offers for playing at big festivals or something in the summer?

Yeah, we have a few coming up, we’ll play on Summer Breeze in Germany this year but we played on lots of big festivals during the years, we played on Sonisphere, we played on all that big festivals in the summertimes.

How do you like Hungary so far? (You don’t have to say it’s nice if you don’t think it that way :D)

So far Hungary has been treating us really well. I’ve never been here before, this is the first show that we do here and I’ve never been here as a tourist or anything. We had a really really good night out yesterday, did some quick sightseeing, met some really nice people – it’s been treating us really well.
I’m also really curious to see how it’s gonna be tonight, they say it’s usually quite good to play here.

Well, the Hungarian metal community isn’t as big as German or even Swedish of course but we can do well with the right people for sure.

It’s not so big in Sweden either, we have many bands in Sweden but we don’t really have big audience for this type of music at all.

Anyway, let’s see, I’ll be there and I’ll be headbanging, thank you very much again for doing this little interview, I was Estelle from (… yeah I was just referring to my previous site here) and see you at the show!

Looking forward to see you there!