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An introductory chat with Svartalfar

Formed in 2000, Austrian black metal band Svartalfar have returned after a 16-year hiatus with their newest full album release ‘Geisterwerk’.

Welcome to Metal Digest!

What have you guys been up to during the band’s hiatus? Have either of you worked on any other projects in the meantime?

Mallorn: During the hiatus I tried to hone my guitar skills by practicing a lot, which has always been very important to me. I also tried to broaden my scope a bit by playing some classical music (e.g. lute suites), which I found very rewarding for my musical development. Furthermore, I worked on material for my solo project Catastrophilia which might see the light of the day in the future.

Blot: I was always involved in bands, and played in a punk and a rock band until late 2014. Then I made music on my own in style more of synthie cinema music. Since 2018 I play guitar in the alternative grunge rock Band CanDie. So yes I was always involved in music projekts since the hiatus.

What do you think have been the biggest changes in the music industry during that time? Have any been difficult to adjust to?

Mallorn: Concerning those changes I think it’s a bit of a paradox situation. On the one hand it has become easier for a band to publish their music online, but as a consequence of this development, it has become much more difficult to get recognition. If you are not on the right channels or in the right playlists you have a very hard time to make people aware of your music.

Blot: I think in Metal Music its different to other music styles. In the normal pop or Rap genre you have to focus on spotify, Instagram and tiktok for supporting your music. In Metal or Rock its more about the big youtube Channel like Black Metal Promotion or bandcamp. If you are featured there you are able to reach thousands of people. So for a small band like us its really hard to sell cds during covid because you also have no chance selling cds at shows. So to all readers support us in buying our cd. It’s a great Album in the traditional black metal style hehe!

What are the main differences and changes between your music from your earlier releases such as ‘Wahre werte’, and ‘Geisterwerk’?

Mallorn: One of the main differences is that Blot used to write the whole music for the early albums, whereas I was the main songwriter on our three most recent releases. Consequently our different approaches in songwriting are reflected in our music with the old material being much stronger influenced by bands like Burzum and Darkthrone, whereas “Geisterwerk” has a more melodic vibe to it.

Blot: Like Mallorn mentioned I switched since the reunion from guitar to drums and he is now the creativity head of SVARTALFAR cause he´s the main songwriter. Im focusing more on to give our songs the right “vibe” and atmosphere or write some dungeon synth tracks for SVARTALFAR.

Geisterwerk’ is lyrically inspired by the novel ‘Bahwarter Thiel’. Can you tell us why? Does this novel hold any particular meaning for you?

Mallorn: “Bahnwärter Thiel” is one of the most famous works by the German writer Gerhart Hauptmann, whose main focus are topics like poverty and social injustice. It is by no means a gothic or horror novel, yet it has an eerie and melancholic atmosphere to it which I have always found very intriguing and when we wrote the music for the album, I felt that it would be a perfect match. It is the story of a pious working-class protagonist who gets mentally unhinged by the early death of his wife and finds consolation in the loneliness of the forest where he dwells upon his memories until he starts having visions of the deceased. One day his son dies in a tragic accident and Thiel (the protagonist) loses his mind and becomes a murderer. It’s not so much the plot itself that I find fascinating, but rather the way Hauptmann tells the story. The minute detail in which he describes the descent into madness; the beautiful descriptions of nature; and the melancholy and hopelessness of the whole story – all of this adds up to a very dense and haunting atmosphere which, as I have already mentioned, perfectly fitted the music we wrote at that time.

Who are your biggest musical influences, and how do you incorporate them into your work?

Mallorn: I am very strongly influenced by melodic black and death metal bands from the 90s, such as Dissection, Emperor, Naglfar, Kalmah and Dark Funeral. In addition to that I also listen a lot to power metal and classical music. Hence, I’d say that the melodic aspect is vital to my personal preferences in music.  My approach to writing music is mainly based on incorporating melodies in a grim and heavy framework, so to speak.

Blot: Im listening to so much different genres. So I like also the old 90s Black Metal album and Bands like Gorgoroth, Burzum, Gehenna or Darkthrone. Also I love german Black Metal  bands like Nagelfar, Lunar Aurora and Nocte Obducta. There are also a few new good bands like Spectral Wound, Kekht Aräkh, Doodswens or Lamp of Murmuur and others I cant remember right now haha. But I also listen to rock or singer songwriter music a lot these days.

Can you tell us a little bit about the music scene in Austria?

Blot: Nowadays im not so into the scene like in the old days with tape trading and fanzines. But im in contact with a few Metal Supporters from Austria and Germany. Also there are great Bands out there like Plaguepreacher, Voidstalker, Ancient Mastery, Synkende, Weltenbrandt, Anomalie,  Darkfall, Schänder, Scion of Darkness, Misanthropic Might, An old Sad Ghost, Cryptical echos and so on. Sry who I forget, but there is a great black metal scene in Austria. So everybody should listen to Austrian black metal!

Also shout out to Metal_Xes and Metal Abstrakt Cora. They are supporting us right in so many different ways. So take a look at their Instagram or youtube channels.

 Can we look forward to any music videos?

Mallorn: To be honest, I don’t really see that in the near future. Coming up with a music video that actually does justice to your music (especially with a limited budget) is a very challenging task and I think, we’d rather put our time and energy in our next album.

Blot: Nahh I don’t think so. We don’t have the right budget for developing a great music video that fits our music. We are more into short teasers.

What’s next for Svartalfar? What does the future hold?

Mallorn: As far as live shows are concerned, it’s a bit difficult to make any plans at the moment, due to the current situation with Covid. However, generally speaking, we certainly would be interested in performing our songs live if opportunities arise.

Our main focus at the moment is our next album, for which most of the music has already been written and which we want to record in the next months. What I can already tell is that it will be a concept album again and musically it will be very intense and massive.

Blot: Promoting our Geisterwerk album and to reach many metal heads. Also to play the first live shows since 18 years (sicccccc) and to record our next album or some eps. Maybe releasing Geisterwerk on vinyl. But that’s not fixed right now. But stay tuned on the trve Svartalfar!!!


 https://pesttanzklangschmiede. thetrveSvartalfar/ trve_svartalfar/

The new album ‘Geisterwerk’ was released on the 12th of December 2021 via Pesttanz Klangschmiede as a limited 300 copies of a DIGIFILE CD with an 8-page booklet. Also available as a standard edition (250x) and as a special edition (50x), with additional booklet poster and logo patch.

Line up:

Mallorn: Vocals and guitars

Come on in!

Metal Digest is an online music magazine specializing in rock and metal. It is aimed at the mobile market, who can get their fix whilst on the go. Whether you walk, drive, fly, sail or teleport make sure you do it with Metal Digest, bitesize heavy metal rock and metal news, reviews and interviews for when you’re on the go.

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