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Als relatieve nieuwkomer in de Noorse metalscene kwam Allfader in eens een duveltje uit een doosje tevoorschijn met een uitstekende schijf 'At Least We Will Die Together'. Hoewel het pas het debuut is klinkt de plaat opmerkelijk volwassen en gebalanceerd met toch een redelijke diversiteit. Een talentvolle band dus en redenen genoeg om zanger John Erik Andersen eens aan de tand te voelen.

Door: Roel de Haan | Archiveer onder black metal

Greetings! How are you doing?
Hi! Doing just great, thank you. I'm drinking lots of coffee so I can stay up and get all these wonderful interviews done! I was a bit worn after work today, but nothing a shower and five minutes on the couch couldn't cure. I thrive when I'm busy anyway, so I'm happy!

'At Least We Will Die Together' is your first full album and compared to the 2004 demo 'Into Nothingness' so much more powerful. What happened in that two-year period that you've become so powerful?
Well, the biggest difference between the two releases is the production. And there is actually only one year between the recording of the two, so not a whole lot happened in that time really. Two of the songs on 'Into Nothingness' (the title track and 'One Thousand Days Of Poison') are on the new album as well, and the songs are basically unaltered, only better performed and of course they have much better sound. The other songs from 'Into Nothingness' aren't bad either, it's just that the stuff we wrote afterwards was better and therefore were included on the album. Of course, we worked under different circumstances when we recorded the album – instead of doing a demo in our rehearsal room, we took two weeks off from everything else and focused fully on making the album as good as possible.

The album is a great mixture of aggressive death/thrash and black metal. The death metal influences give the music that extra hint of brutality often missing in Norwegian black metal would you agree?
I agree in a way, although I like pure black metal for what it is – not what it isn't. But I think our death metal influences give us a broader register and a heaviness most black metal bands can't match. Whether or not that's a good thing is entirely subjective, of course, but we have never claimed to be a black metal band so we do not confine ourselves to this and that like so many other bands do. I think more of us as a death metal band with black metal influences. We are definitely not a pure breed of one or the other.

You're now on the legendary Osmose label, famous for their classic releases by Enslaved, Immortal and Marduk etc. Do you feel you have to live up to a legacy of some sort?
Well, it's certainly an honour to be on Osmose and the bands you mention are indeed great classics. To live up to them can prove to be a daunting prospect, but we can't let that hinder or bother us – we just have to do our own thing. Isn't that what they did, after all? We hope we can give people a sense of exhilaration with our music, that 'fuck-yesss'-feeling.

band image

Lasse Hoile did the excellent and unorthodox artwork. How did the collaboration go?
Very straightforward and smooth. We used Lasse for our MCD release 'From The Darkest Star' back in 2002, and he's an old friend and bandmate of Finn's (guitar) so that's how we got hold of him in the first place. We gave him the title for the album, and he immediately started popping out ideas. Among those ideas was the concept which eventually became the cover. We liked that idea best when we heard it, but a while later he sent over some stuff which was different. Different, but also very cool – but we wanted to see the idea we clicked with first come to life. So some time later he got ahold of a lucky couple to pose for the picture, and that's what we used! We know that Lasse never does anything half-assed, so we weren't worried that any of his ideas or results would be crap, we were just exited and anxious to see how cool the stuff he was working on was.

Sounding diverse music-wise 'At Least We Will Die Together' is also featuring a very variable vocal approach ranging from black metal screams to death grunts and clean singing! Where does all this diversity comes from?
Hard to say. We've always included clean vocals in our music, mostly to a lesser degree. A lot, or most of the music I listen to does not have screaming or grunting vocals, and melodies are important to me. I try to keep things dynamic when I sing, so it's really nice to have the whole spectrum to play around with–switching from black metal screams to growling whenever the song calls for it. It also makes it a lot more interesting for me to sing the screaming parts when I can vary stuff on a whim.

The album is quite technical at times while there is a trend towards simplicity in the black metal scene. Do you actively react against this trend?
Nope. Like I said, we don't consider ourselves to be a black metal band so whatever the trend is doesn't affect us at all (not that we care about trends anyway). But I guess our technical stuff does make the gap between us and that part of the black metal scene even bigger. It's not really intentional though, if a riff is good enough we'll use it. Technical or not.

Now, that you are on a reasonably big (metal) label can we look forward to an European tour with Allfader?
Something is in the works for January/February 2007 with one or two other bands. Osmose are handling it and are working on it now, but it's still too early to reveal any details – because I have none!

On record your music is very crushing, can you reproduce this in a live setting? What can expect of an Allfader show?
We crush live as well. Maybe even more than in recorded form. Live music with a big P.A. gives you that “oomph” from the bass drums, the wall of guitars, and we're a tight outfit. We let the music do the talking when we do shows so we're not overly concerned with filling the stage with props, crosses, pentagrams and stuff. Just us, the amps and a drum kit. But lighting is important to us, so if we get the chance sometime we will definitely conjure up some great light sequences to incorporate into the show. Anyway, we make heads bang and that's what it's about, right?

What's next on the Allfader plan to conquer the metal world?
Hopefully the tour plans will fall into place, and when that's done we'll crawl back to our cave and write songs for the next album. We have bits and pieces floating around but at the moment we're rehearsing ourselves back into form after a too long summer vacation.

That's it for now, thank you for your time and as tradition demands the final words are reserved for you.
Check out our website, listen to the opening track “We Will Go” and see the video for it. If you like it, spread the word! Thanks for your interest and support!

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