Questions From the Temple of Pain
CoC Interviews Algaion
by: Drew Snow
When the name Algaion comes up, it's usually associated with high-velocity excursions into melodic black metal -- but no longer. With _General Enmity_, Algaion have separated themselves from that genre, veering much more towards melodic power metal, with various other influences. What brought about these changes? What's the lyrical philosophy of Algaion? What are the band's feelings towards the music world? Read on as Marten and Mathias of Algaion answer these questions and more...

CoC: "General Enmity" is quite a change from your earlier material. What caused the transformation? Hardly any of the old style is there anymore.

Marten: We were completely silent for two years, no rehearsals or anything. Also, if one person writes all the music, it is easier for a band to change radically. Personally, I like the new style better.

CoC: Now, with the new sound, what's your opinion of the older albums?

Marten: I think that they are among the best of their kind and that they are under-promoted. Both our older albums kill.

CoC: The tone of the album seems fairly misanthropic. What's your view of humanity in general?

Marten: I think that humanity in general is totally useless. I have no illusions about man's character or capacity but see man as one of many biological processes. Even with this starting point, I get constantly disappointed.

CoC: What would you say were your biggest influences for the new album?

Marten: My finding out about Sigvard Nilsson-Thurneman and F.T. Marinetti. Sigvard Thurneman was in 1936 declared the most dangerous man in Europe. He was the leader of a secret organization called DMC. They developed a "dehumanization program" that would rid themselves of the human nature they detested. Their goal was the total loss of compassion that comes with realizing you are no longer part of mankind. Thurneman was arrested in 1936 for a series of murders, arsons, and robberies and was locked up for a long time. (He got out in 1969 -- yes, the Swedish legal system is nice.) F.T. Marinetti published his "Futurist Manifesto" in a French newspaper in 1909. He was the founder of what is called the Futurist Movement. The futurists were the furious enemies of all romanticism of the past and of lame art and symbolism. Instead, they proclaimed the glorification of new technology and violence: anything that shaped the world according to the will of the mangod. DMC does not exist anymore, and the futurists have been low on followers after the fall in 1945 of their political comrades. Algaion is the last defender of these great ideas. It would be against my ideal to romanticize these persons in their entirety just because they happened to live before us. The way I see it, they provided the form that we fill with contemporary contents.

Mathias: Well, lyrically anyway. Musically, I get inspired by whatever it is that I'm listening to, be it Mayhem, Helloween, Hypocrisy, Meshuggah, Brutality, Malevolent Creation, King Diamond, or whatever. I think one can tell I get inspiration from many different bands.

CoC: Do you think that with the first two releases the band was holding back some of the elements found on _General Enmity_? Or was there just a sudden shift of musical inspiration, nothing more?

Marten: I think that the last track on the MCD we recorded in 1995 bears certain elements that are found on our new material. We have always been very melodic, so once the pace was held back it was not any big step for us.

Mathias: Yeah, I think it also was a case of us no longer giving a damn about what others might think of the music. I think I was a bit too concerned with what people would think before. Now that we realized that 80% of all into this genre are morons anyway, we just thought we'd do what -we- thought sounded good. So, this CD is for me and Marten, but if others happen to like it too, that's just a bonus.

CoC: What brought the new members into the band?

Marten: We have no new members; we just got help from more musicians. Algaion is and will be me and Mathias.

Mathias: Yeah, we prefer the term 'sidekicks'. Just like Batman had Robin, Algaion have Erik and Tobias. But just like there could only be one Batman, there can only be one Algaion. Me and Marten.

CoC: The vocals on _GE_ are still basically in the old style. Why didn't you change these also?

Marten: I think there is quite a difference. I think that vocals the old high pitched way would not have fit the new music. One of the things that I dislike the most about many bands is the tendency to have the music on the one hand and then the vocals that sound like they have no relation to the rest of the music -- as if the vocalist was in another room imitating a duck as much as he can, with no relation to the music -- and then this misery is mixed so high it easily weighs up ten tracks of music. This is the reason the vocals are mixed so low on all our material .

CoC: Did you ever consider singing cleanly?

Marten: I think that would have been a blatant sell-out, and that was not the idea with this album.

CoC: Is there anything you're unsatisfied with about the album?

Marten: No. It rules.

CoC: Now that you have a full line-up, is there any possibility of live shows in the future?

Marten: Actually we have played live already, one month ago, with Voivod and Dismember here in Sweden. We have several new shows coming up. The closest in time is in November with our good friends Sorhin. Their new CD is out, and their label arranged something that we will take part in.

CoC: Was _GE_ a difficult album to write? How long did it take?

Marten: Once we got started rehearsing, it took maybe two months. This is a -lot- longer than it took to write our previous albums. I do not understand bands that ask us this question and then tell us they have been playing for years and years but that they still only have one or two songs. (Of course, the usual explanation is that they have been playing together not for years and years but rather days and days.) Provided that you are not a nitwit, it does not take too long to write good music.

CoC: How has the reaction to the album been thus far?

Marten: Great. The people whose opinion we care about have thought it excellent. Our label, magazines, and major distributors believe in this new CD completely. Some forestkids are bound to dislike it, but we knew that from the start; it is part of their adolescent rebellion.

CoC: Why did your final choice for a label fall on Wounded Love? Considering negotiations took place with Nuclear Blast, etc.

Marten: Wounded Love is great label that lets us do what we want. We have nothing against Nuclear Blast, except the fact that they have quite a lot of bands that are total crap and have names that rhyme with words that end with "...orgir".

CoC: Do you think the band will continue in this direction for the next album?

Marten: The new material will be (well, is) in the line of the track "Mangod Hold the Sceptre" on the new CD, but with more power metal influences and more melodies. It is also faster than most of what is on General Enmity.

CoC: So what's next for the band?

Marten: We have been offered to tour Europe early next year. There will probably be a new CD recorded next summer, I think.

CoC: What do you like least about being in the music business?

Marten: The "music business attitude". We do not care about being cool, getting girls and unlimited amounts of alcohol. We would never dress up in gay clothes and sing about "gothic romances" just to impress girls, just as little as we would ever join a movement like "Headbangers Against Disco". Algaion is Algaion, and our ideals do not agree with any musical subculture. The music, of course, has similarities with existing kinds of music, but this is a natural result of the limited amount of possible chords. Ideologically, our influences are over sixty years back in time and have no relation to music or coolness or what we would do with a million dollars.

(article submitted 17/11/1997)

9/4/2010 M Dolson 9 Algaion - Exthros
11/17/1997 D Schinzel 6 Algaion - General Enmity
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