Indy Intel Report - Irminsul and Stonecreep
CoC talks to some of the best independent bands around
by: Quentin Kalis
CoC chats to Patrick Gustaffson of Irminsul

I was first introduced to Irminsul on the _Nordic Warchants_ double CD compilation. Their contribution was a shortened version of "Häxhammaren", an infectious and upbeat track capable of holding its own against contributions by heavyweights such as Manegarm and Himinbjorg. Incidentally, that is the best song on their second three-track demo, _Urberg_.

""Häxhammaren" is the Swedish translation of "Malleus Maleficarum", which is a witch-hunting manual written in 1487 by two priests named Jacob Sprenger and Heinrich Kramer. The book was written in three parts; the first was about proving the existence of witches, the second was about recognising them, and the third about handling the "problem". The book had a big influence over witch-hunting between the XV and XVII centuries. The lyrics are written from the perspective of a lady who has, like all others, been falsely accused of witchery, and when she meets her death..."

That explains what "haxhammeren" means, but what does the band name mean? "It was a pillar standing near Sachsen in Germany and was unfortunately destroyed by Charles the main in the year 772. Irminsul was the world pillar that connected the earth and heaven in heathen Saxon beliefs. The symbol has a lot of similarities with the Scandinavian symbol Yggdrasil. Our band name was chosen simply because we thought it sounded good and fitted well for a band like us."

Their formation is significantly less colourful than their namesake. "Robin and Guzten met thru a mutual friend and started to create and record music together almost at once. A friend named Josef wanted to start a band and he introduced us to our drummer Jonas. Josef played with us for about six months before he unfortunately had to quit due to time issues."

At this time of year, it is traditional to look to the year ahead, and Irminsul's future looks promising. "We have made a three album deal with Det Germanske Folket and we are currently working hard on the recording of the first album, which will come out during 2008. We will release our first album and see what that leads us to... We will also start to perform live now when Guilio has been recruited to the band. We haven't had the opportunity to do this before because we have always had too few members in the band until now."

CoC interviews Stonecreep

Stonecreep's EP / demo _We Bleed Disaster_ was not particularly original, and to say it had a slight retro touch would be akin to saying Deicide is a tad blasphemous. What they lacked in originality they made up for in passion and spirit by the bucketload, however.

Stonecreep formed the old-fashioned way. "The four of us grew up in a town called Fargo, ND and we were all friends in school. Mike and I were in a band together, Aaron and Andy had a band, and as fate would have it both bands split up about the same time. We were introduced to each other through a mutual friend and started jamming under the moniker of Rust, but it didn't really go anywhere. Aaron moved to Portland, Oregon in 2000 to go to film school, but when that didn't really pan out he called me up and asked if I wanted to go to the west coast to get a band going again. Mike and I were still playing and had nothing better going on, so we packed our bags and headed west! Stonecreep officially formed in December of 2001. A couple of years later, when our original bass player decided to leave, we called Andy; and the rest as they say, is history.

Stonecreep is an unusual name, but Matt was unable to indicate how they arrived at such a name. "I think the official story now is that Andy and another friend of ours came up with the name back in 1999. I'm not totally sure how they settled on it, but it stuck nonetheless." Perhaps it had a meaning, perhaps it was always gibberish, but it does sound cool.

Matt mentions that a number of bands have served as an influence. "We all grew up listening to the typical stuff: Metallica, Pantera, AC/DC, G 'n' R, Slayer, Megadeth, Maiden and all that." This is hardly surprising, considering their old-school metal rock approach, but the other bands were a bit surprising. "I guess the biggest influence on us early on was the whole Scando/Gothenburg thing. In Flames, Soilwork, Amorphis, Children of Bodom and bands like that definitely started us in the direction that we've taken this band. Lately we're kind of all over the board. It goes from Opeth and Rush and a lot of prog stuff to doom and stoner rock (Down, Witchcraft, etc.) to W.A.S.P., HIM, Meatloaf, Neil Diamond... I could go on forever."

The final and most obvious question: where to now for Stonecreep? "We're laying low and shopping the latest demo around a lot right now. After New Years' we'll begin playing live again and start planning our next US tour for spring. I imagine we'll be doing a lot of writing in the next few months. The plan is to be back in the studio late next fall, so we'll see how it goes! Label-wise, I think there is some interest out there. Our last CD _Tonight We Ride_ got a lot of attention from the underground media and we got lots of positive feedback from sources all over. We're just gonna pimp this one as hard as we can until we put out something else."

(article submitted 11/5/2008)

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