Hail to the Blade! First of all; congratulations with your debut album 'We Are The Hammer'. But before we get more into the album, Savage Blade is a quite young band, so could you please say a few words to introduce your band to our readers?
Thank you very much! To all metal lovers everywhere… we are The Blade! We are proud to bring the spirit of traditional metal back to the people. Our band consists of Nikko Forsberg on lead vocals, myself, Eric Hoodicoff on guitar and backup vocals, Christopher Rand on bass and backup vocals, Mike Modsall on guitar and Chris Killeen on drums.
Savage Blade's music is very old-school and if I didn't know better I could have sworn that we were dealing with a resurrected eighties band! I find that remarkable, seeing that a lot of new/young bands choose the more modern side of power metal. But with 'We Are The Hammer' you go way back to the roots of NWOBHM. Can you tell us more about the band's love for this era?
We all grew up listening to the old metal, it's that simple. We were raised on Iron Maiden, Saxon, Angel Witch, Judas Priest, Manowar, Black Sabbath, etc. etc. Eric's and Chris' first band together were a Scorpions tribute band. Mike and Chris are also in an AC/DC tribute band. When it came time to write music our influences came through.
As I mentioned in my review, your music is heavily influenced by bands like Saxon, Raven, Accept, Diamond Head, Sweet Savage, Tokyo Blade, Steeler, Anvil, Triumph and Scorpions among others. Another remarkable thing is that you have also approached the old sound of these bands. Can you tell us more about the way you recorded the album?
We're really proud of the sound we got on this record and we learned a lot so for our second record it will sound even better!! Basically, we started with the drums. We used REAL DRUMS, not the fake computer bullshit that lazy people use these days. The drums were engineered by Cole St. Denys who is a master of drum sounds (and is even better now, wait until album two). We wanted an old-school drum sound, we got it! As for the bass and guitars, that is a secret. I will tell you that the only two electric guitars used were a Gibson Explorer and a Gibson Flying V.
By the way is the name Savage Blade a combination of Sweet Savage and Tokyo Blade?
No, we were brainstorming ideas one night and Savage Blade popped out of nowhere. There was no reasoning nor meaning behind it. We just thought it sounded metal and it fit our sound. Don't you agree?
I must admit that hearing the album for the first time I thought we were dealing with some sort of gimmick here. The old-fashioned character of the music aside, initially I had to put a few question marks on song titles such as 'Night Of The Blade', '(In) The Eyes Of The Storm', 'Stallions Of The Highway' and especially 'The Eagle Is Stranded'! Your opinion please…
Well, there was sort of a “gimmick” or a “concept” to the record. We were paying tribute to all of these bands we loved growing up and still love today. It would take me three hours and six pages to list each reference on the album. The song names 'Stallions Of The Highway' and 'The Eagle Is Stranded' are obviously a tribute to Saxon. You can hear which bands influenced us on certain parts of songs (like '(In) The Eye Of The Storm' sounds like The Scorpions mixed with older Def Leppard).The parentheses around 'In' on '(In) The Eye Of The Storm' was a joke. It's a nod to similar song titles like '(Oh) Pretty Woman'. We have jokes all over this record. That is something no one has really pointed out yet which surprises me.
Nowadays there are more and more musicians that keep hold of the “classic” ways and fall back to what was done almost three decades ago. A lot of critics say that it's because of lack of inspiration, but I think it's because of the love for this type of music and the pure and simple way music was made back in the days. Why do you think more and more bands “ignore” the modern ways of metal, so to speak?
You're exactly right! We write this kind of music because it's the kind of music we want to write because we love it. There is DEFINITLEY no lack of inspiration in this band. I can't tell you why more bands ignore the modern ways of metal because I'm not in any of those bands. Savage Blade doesn't really ignore anything, we just do things our way.
Initially the album was released on vinyl first, before you signed a deal with Pure Steel Records. From what I've understood the album is now totally re-mastered. Unfortunately I haven't heard the vinyl version, but seeing that the CD-sound is already very old-fashioned, I wonder what the vinyl sounded like, hehe. I always say that vinyl makes the music sound more pure and more natural. Again, your opinion on this matter please…
I will never forget the night we all sat around with a bunch of beer and listened to the first test pressing of the album. It was amazing. This album sounds the best on vinyl hands down. Unfortunately, you can't listen to vinyl on your MP3 player or in your car so we made it available digitally and on cd. The remastering job that Pure Steel did was phenomenal though. The CD sounds great!
So far the LP is not sold out, but looking at its limited amount of 500 copies, it's very likely that by the end of the year you will be through all copies. Will 'We Are The Hammer' be reissued as vinyl through Pure Steel later on? I'm sure a lot of old-school fans would love to get the vinyl version and prefer it to the CD… I know I do!
I think we might be sold out of vinyl now. The current deal with Pure Steel is CD only. No one knows what the future holds. Pure Steel have been very good to us so far.
You know, I have never paid a high value to originality of a band/song, because a good tune is a good tune and although 'We Are The Hammer' is nothing renewing or original, it's a killer metal album. But in what way do you think Savage Blade distinguishes itself from the rest of the 21st century NWOBHM bands?
I think we have great riffs and great melodies. Our lead singer is amazing and he is crazy. In fact, the live show we have planned is going to be top notch. Wait until you see us live!
As you know the metal scene in general in nowadays overloaded with bands and releases and there is a lot of great stuff out there. But due to the huge amount of bands and albums, a lot of bands stay “out of sight”. Well now, you do have a great label to support you, but what is the Blade's way of survival for the next – let's say - decade, so to speak?
We just plan to make good music as long we can. We won't put out anything unless it's amazing. That's all we really can do.
Now that the album is released and you have found a great label in Pure Steel, what can we expect from the Blade in the near future?
You can expect an amazing live show and definitely more albums and releases very soon.
As far as I could see, there aren't any shows planned to support the album yet! Of course I'm more curious if we will be able to see the band on stage in Europe…maybe together with your label mates Helvetets Port…?
Our goal is to tour Europe. We'd love to play the big meal festivals in the Summer especially. Everyone in our band has nine to five jobs so we can't just get up and go until we have something amazing and are ready. The time is drawing near.
Well then, I guess we can warp it up for this time. But if there is anything left that you'd like to mention, please don't hesitate…
All hail The Blade! Metal Forever! And we'll see you soon!