Månegarm: Metal Legions of the North

manegarm2013_1_400x397The long running Viking metal entity known as Månegarm has returned for their next magnum opus entitled Legions of The North.  Their first release for Napalm Records but seventh album overall, Legions of the North is vast and epic in scope – a sonic adventure that thoroughly enrapture metal heads all across the globe.  Here is a recent interview we conducted with a member of the Månegarm horde to find out more about their grand new recording, glories from the past, a visit to chilly Minneapolis for their lone U.S. show thus far, adventures in bubble bath, and more…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Månegarm, and how long the band has been together.
Hi there, this is Erik from Månegarm answering. I’m the singer and bass player, Jonas and Markus plays the guitar and Jakob play the drums.
Månegarm started up in the cold end of 1995 so that makes 18 years of rock n’ roll together!! 🙂

Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Månegarm started up, and is still located, in our hometown Norrtälje, Sweden. The local music scene here is quite good. It’s a small town but there are a lot of bands playing all different sorts of music but there is just Månegarm that play this typical kind of metal here. I have no particular band to recommend though…

How did the cooperation with Napalm Records come about?
Our former record label Regain Records gave us nothing but headache so we just had to find a new label. I don’t fully remember how the collaboration with Napalm came about but I think that we send an e-mail with a demo recording of the song “Eternity Awaits” (from the new album) to a couple of labels and luckily Napalm Records answered our call 😉

Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Legions of the North?
No there is no real concept or story behind it. All songs stand alone but they are all connected to the title in many ways. We came up with the title “Legions of the North” at first and we wanted an epic and majestic cover to depict that title in a good “Månegarm way”. The lyrics deal with war and death from different point of views influenced by our Norse mythology, they deal with the mystique of our Scandinavian nature and its beings and there are stories about our ancestors and their glorious deeds. I guess you can say that the “Legions” are involved in the lyrics in one way or the other.

MANEGARM_Legions_of_the_northSelect two songs from Legions of The North and what inspired the lyrics.
Sons of war” is a story about Vikings going to war. They leave their homes and families and defy the stormy and raging seas in their search for the enemies. Actually I got the inspiration from an old Månegarm lyric, from our 2nd album.
The song “Fallen” is about a wounded warrior lying on the battlefield waiting to die, all alone with his final thoughts…People are free to interpret but I guess what I just wrote would be the most common and direct interpretation for many readers. In a “deeper” meaning it can also be about those darker times in life; moments when you almost can’t breathe because the grief and pain just feels too heavy to carry…I know what losses I have experienced in life but it’s up to the readers to refer to their own…Don’t really remember what inspired me, just another bad day maybe 😉

Who did the cover art for Legions of The North and how much input did you have on it?
It is the Belgian artist Kris Verwimp who has painted the cover. Kris has painted almost every Månegarm cover but I think that this one is his best so far.
We came up with most of the ideas for the cover but the biggest credit goes to Kris who painted it in such an amazing way.

When you look back on your early released with Displeased Records, what do you think of it now?
Displeased Records wasn’t maybe the best record label, don’t even though if they exist anymore, but I think that our releases on DR are all good! We released 5 albums and I think that they are all cool and special albums, too bad they didn’t get the proper promotion and attention that they deserve. One album that stands out is our acoustic album “Urminnes Hävd – the forest sessions”. On that album we did something completely different and showed a different side of Månegarm and I’m really proud of that album.

Has Månegarm ever played here in the States and if so, what was the experience like?
Yes, we played “Heathen Crusade Metal fest II” in St. Paul, Minnesota…I think it was in 2007 or 2008. Anyway it was in January and it was so f***ing cold!!!!
We played our gig on Friday and it went pretty good. On Saturday we were hanging out in the bubble bath at the hotel where we got extremely drunk and then we checked out the rest of the bands. The after party at the hotel with the other bands was a blast. It was total madness but really, really fun!! 

Any chance for a Månegarm US Tour in the near future?
No plans for that right now but it sure would be great!

What could one expect from a live Månegarm show?
Rock n’ f***ing roll from start to end with the greatest hits from our entire carrier. A Månegarm show is melodic and harsh at the same time and it is diverse and of course very enjoyable 😉

Are you or any of the other members involved with any other bands outside of Månegarm?
Jakob play with a couple of bands, for example the Swedish black metal band Valkyria.
I play guitar, Fender Telecaster of course, in a band with a couple of friends. We play some sort of “Americana” which is a nice mix of American root music like country, rock and blues and with 3 or 4 vocals harmonies. Really fun to play!!

Any strange or scary stories from the road or at a show that you could share?
Well…When we should jump into the bubble bath at the hotel (when we played the Heathen Crusade) none of us had any swimming trunks. Now you all think that we jumped into the bubble bath bare naked but we didn’t as we are very well-mannered Swedes 😉 BUT, at the hotel they had this machine and for like 2 dollars you could buy these lovely white swimming trunks…made of paper!! Yes, they were actually made of some sort of paper and I guess you all know what happens to paper in water! That must have been a scary sight for the rest of the people at the hotel but after a couple of beers, whiskeys and drinks you don’t seem to care about that!! 🙂

If Månegarm could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I just love the German pirate/power metal band Running Wild so it would be really cool to meet them and play with them. The singer/guitarist also has the coolest name in the history of metal – Rock n’ Rolf!!! That’s just so great!! 🙂

What is your favorite beer or choice and why?
I don’t have any favourite but I really like beer. Last Friday I tried a Belgian Ale called Chimay which was really good!

Any final words of wisdom?
Hopefully you will get the chance to listen to our new album “Legions of the North” and if you do we really hope that you all will enjoy it! See you on the roads somewhere 🙂

Rock n’ Roll // Erik – Månegarm

(Interview by Kenneth Morton)

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