Straight To Hell, folks! Straight To Hell! Indeed. VHÄLDEMAR may (at first glance) look and sound like your average Swedish-ginger-Viking-bezerker. Take a broadsword or battle axe step back and discover the old skool Heavy Metal 5-piece from Barakaldo in beautiful Basque Country. I believe they are still a part of Spain? Yeah? This is however the band's sixth full length album released thru Fighter Records on CD,LP & MC, MDD and Red Rivet Records in Japan. The production was taking place in the Chromaticity Studios property of the guitarist of the band and the smashing cover artwork has been created by Darkgrove (Manowar, Battle Beast, Testament, etc). The album displays fun, uplifting melodies and both guitar and keyboard solos and complex interludes. Find out more about VHÄLDEMAR and Straight To Hell. Here to answer the questions from RockUnited.com: CARLOS ESCUDERO (vocals) and PEDRO J.MONGE (guitar)...
What's the story behind the band name, Vhäldemar? You went out drinking and met a strange goblin? :-)
Carlos- Haha, It is the character of one of the first songs I wrote, which gives its name to the old King of kings, who fights for our music and we for him, haha, something like that, we had drunk something ... haha
Where do you usually find lyrical and spiritual inspiration? (Conan? Norse tradition? Tolkien? RPG?)
Carlos- I'm almost always inspired by the music of the song, what it transmits to me. On this album in particular we have almost never told a lot of real situations that have happened to us or simply stories but always with the Heavy Metal point of view. 'My Spirit' talks about my life in the band, 'Black Mamba' is a tribute to Kobe Bryant and his inspiration to me; every song has a reason.
Pedro: We always like to give a message of self-improvement. Don´t let something sink you and always fighting to the end!
Your latest effort is entitled 'Straight To Hell' can you explain the meaning behind this?
Carlos- I think the strength of the album is hellish, haha, and that's where we'll all end up, right? So be it, let's enjoy the music then...
Pedro- It's a tremendous album and it takes you to a hellish dimension. It is where we want to send everyone who gets in our way.
Kindly tell us something about the writing process and what you're trying to capture on the album.
Pedro- Again, this album is recorded at Chromaticity Studios, my Studio. We have looked for a very current and very Heavy sound. This album has a special magic, all the songs are perfect and they could all be singles. Each one has to be perfect. It takes a lot of work and inspiration. We are still in our good years, when inspiration lacks we will retire.
Do you recall the idea behind the 'Death To The Wizard' track? Who brought what to the table?
Carlos- It is a totally real story, what happened to Pedro with a creeping and quarrelsome magician who tried to deceive him with his dirty tricks and tried to stain his name and honor, luckily he has a great friend who is me and we came to his aid and we managed to scare him away; you have to be very careful with that kind of people ... haha, but revenge against him will be eternal, I am bitter to death. The music is inspired by an ancestral rhythm that is played in Pedro's town festivals, which is very Heavy, "El Colacho".
Pedro: Thanks Carlos
Kindly inform us about 'My Spirit'. What inspired you to write the song?
Carlos- The lyrics are about everything I suffered in my life with music and this band.
Pedro- This song was the first riff on the album. It inspired us so much that the other songs came out quickly, even so, it was the last to be finished. Carlos has many battles to tell, as he shows in our shows.
You also produced the album. What's the secret behind a good production? (any fave records or producers?)
Pedro- When I write music I know at the moment how I want the song to sound. We like to produce it with great choruses, explosions, very flashy and fast solos, come on ... what comes to be heavy metal. As for the sound itself ... I'm a huge fan of Jacob Hansen, producer of Primal Fear, Pretty Maids ... Someday I would like to work an album with him.
What's the most important ingredient according to Vhäldemar. Pace/Speed, Power? Melody? or Heaviness?
Carlos- Haha, You said it, we look for all that, they are all the ingredients that a great Heavy Metal album must have: feeling, anger, strength, passion, amazing guitar solos, powerful vocals ...
Pedro- That's right. Heavy Metal! We don't like to beat around the bush. On this album we have even done a ballad, which we never do, and the result has been impressive, I think the song with the most metal feeling on the whole album.
What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about Vhäldemar?
Carlos- Perhaps mainly that they call us Power Metal, in all our last albums we have shown that we do HeavY Metal in all its ways, some more Hard, others more Heavy, power, speed ... but the main base is the pure Heavy Metal.
Pedro- Maybe our first albums if they were more crazy speed and such .. Now we have a very clear concept, to make a perfect Song, with its own essence, it gives equal speed, the song requires what it requires, we always do songs with an intense sentimental air. I think power metal is happier, we are much more hellish.
How would you like Vhäldemar to be remembered?
Carlos- For defending our music to the death, leaving our lives both in each album and in each show, and enjoying it as if it were the last thing in our lives.
Pedro- For having the most epic songs ever written. I would also like to say, Thanks to you for being interested in the band and to all the fans of the band during all these years, I hope you enjoy the new album as we do.
Interview by: Urban Wally Wallstrom