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An Era of Melodic Death Metal Artistry with Re-Armed

An Era of Melodic Death Metal Artistry with Re-Armed

An Era of Melodic Death Metal Artistry with Re-Armed

On the verge of celebrating their 20 year anniversary as a band, the almighty Re-Armed has unleashed Ignis Aeternum upon the world at large.  Now available through Black Lion Records, Ignis Aeternum presents Re-Armed at the very height of their sonic artistry.  They’ve toured with Insomnium in Japan and have also played throughout Europe with the likes of Chimaira, Suffocation, Origin, and Cattle DecapitationHighwire Daze recently caught up with two members of the Re-Armed brigade to find out more about their Ignis Aeternum manifesto and what keeps a metal band together and thriving as they approach their 20th year in existence.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Re-Armed, and how long the band has been together.
Iiro: Hi, I’m Iiro and I play drums in Re-Armed. The band is celebrating the 20th anniversary next year, I’ve been member for something like 6 years, I think. And in this form we have been for couple years.

Jouni: Hello. I’m Jouni and I write lyrics and make noises with my mouth in this band, heheh. I’ve been in this band since the beginning of “time”.

Where is the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
Iiro: Re-Armed was formed in 2001 – Kerava, Finland. And we are still rehearsing there. The city is also known as home town of Stone (legendary Finnish thrash metal band), and today there are still coming lot of metal and rock bands. So, I quess our local music scene is breathing fine.

How did you wind up signing with Black Lion Records?
Jouni; We simply sent them few links to previously released material, and rest is the history.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the Ignis Aeternum title?
Iiro: Our latest album “The Era of Precarity” was about living under control, and under pressure of meritocracy, big corporates, money and other people’s manipulation – under so-called precarity. So, it was kind of dark or even hopeless one album. After that we started to move on, and founded ourselves new way of thinking. Thinking from brighter side of perspective. That maybe after all there is so much more, a way for life to carry on even without us and our materialistic problems. A man might rule now, but it’s possible that it’s only an era. I mean millions of years ago there was an era of dinosaurs, and now man rules the earth. I’m not that smart guy to say that human race is gonna die in the future, but if we meet our end, we like to see that life will continue in some other forms, and it is a comforting idea. This light, fire of life is forever. This album is an ode to life.

Jouni: Well, if you look at the album artwork. The statue in the picture presents us as human beings. DNA mycelium runs around the statue, ‘cuz we and everything on this planet is built around it, basically, we all are the same. The idea behind the picture is that we have been here on this planet just for a second and life and its many forms are in constant change. Evolution keeps going on, no matter what we do. Generally speaking, life is like an eternal flame, as Iiro said. If we humans disappear, something else comes and takes our place. And a loose theme for the album is about positivity, a constant change and seeing life as it is at every level. It is a trip, a breathtaking view of life’s diversity. This is the basic idea behind the songs and some lyrics drill deeper to different areas within this wide theme. Let’s say, Cosmos-documentary series and few scientific books really worked like psychedelic drugs, heh.

Select two songs from Ignis Aeternum and what inspired the lyrics.
Jouni: “Beyond The Horizon” and “Words Left Unsaid“. The first one was made to cherish the hope overall. The second one is more darker themed and reminds you to be open to your closest ones.

Iiro: All of the songs are important, there are no filling songs. But some of my favorites are “Dive Within“, because of the badass blast beats and epic melodies at choruses, and “The Hollow Lights” because there is probably the sweetest outro and ending solo.

Who did the cover art for Ignis Aeternum and how much influence did you have on it?
Jouni: Romulo Dias did the album cover art and I basically designed the whole idea for it to support the theme.

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected the band and the release of your new album?
Iiro: It has some effect. Obviously we had to cancel or reorganize all the upcoming shows. Some of them are still on hold, and waiting for the situation to settle. New album release date was moved a little. And like almost the rest of the world we had to rethink our plans. Everything about releasing album, tour plans etc. But in the end we try to stay positive and keep going, ’cause it’s not that much difference for a normal music business. You know anything can happen in the way you are making and releasing an album.

When you look back on your album Worldwide Hypnotize on Massacre Records, what do you think of it now in retrospect?
Jouni: I actually tried to listen the whole album a few weeks ago and I lost my focus on it at some point. I think, it’s an ok album still, but I know that we did better songs on two demos just before the debut album. Hmm, maybe we should actually release some of those earlier demo tapes to Spotify etc..

What could one expect from a live Re-Armed show?
Iiro: Our live shows are intensive, unexpected, fast going, we are always moving and we keep connection to the audience, anything could happen and has happened too. It’s full experience metal concert including moshpits, headbanging, and energetic show with powerful riffs, beautiful melodies and fun moments with us.

How did your tour in Japan with Insomnium go and what were some of the highlights?
Iiro: It went well. We had an awesome time. Japanese culture is fascinating, those two cities were fine and clean, and people in there were always polite. We felt very welcome everywhere we went. The shows were amazing, and the audience was noisy and fulltime with us for the whole show. They seemed to enjoy with full heart with us. Of course when it’s Re-Armed tour we couldn’t avoid Spinal Tap moments, and our tour bus decomposed at the highway. We spend some hours at random hotel’s backyard before we get a lift to train station. We took a train to the next big city, and had to wait a few hours for the next train to Tokyo so we ended up in a Karaoke bar 8am in the morning. Of course. Where else? In the end we arrived to Tokyo and the venue. We passed out immediately, after travelling whole night without sleep. Insomnium was making a soundcheck, suddenly they started to wonder if there was something wrong with their gear or where that noise is comings from. Before they realized that it was just us snoring on the floor. Our soundcheck didn’t go well, and we heard that some were worried if we can make that night’s show. But after we had couple hours of sleep, and something to eat. We started a storm at the stage and there was no doubt of anything. After the show someone called us cockroaches, that it looks like Re-Armed will survive even thru the nuclear war. Highlights might be the shows because they were so strongly intensive. Also the atmosphere at there made us feel welcome and almost like home.

If Re-Armed could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Iiro: Maybe some monster size bands like Slayer, or Metallica might be awesome, or Testament. I used to be big fan of those. Also one of my favourites Behemoth would be a dream come true. Those might help us open new doors and grow our fanbase. And it might be an opportunity to meet them and know a little what kind of guys they really are as humans.

Jouni: I don’t have any specific in my mind for future tours, but supporting Chimaira in Europe 2012 was good one, and tour in Japan 2017 with Insomnium was something that you just simply can not forget. Really hoping to get on the road again.

Has Re-Armed ever toured here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
Iiro: So far we have been focused for Europe and Asian touring. Trying to keep our territory easier to handle. In my opinion, if we don’t have enough name and fans around here, and not enough time to visit there more often to keep it or grow it, there is no point to run around the world making things hasty. But.. There is a but, if someone makes a good offer for the tour we can debate about it.

Jouni: Some years ago, before this current lineup was found, we were actually talking about our first tour to the States with a few local promoters, but then something happened there in the States and connection between us and them just ended. Reasonable tour offers are always welcome!

Next year marks the 20th Anniversary for Re-Armed. What do you think has kept the band together for nearly 20 years and counting? And what keeps you so passionate about metal?
Jouni: We were 16 years old kids when this band was formed, and I never really thought how long this ride will last. I’m the only former member in the band at the moment, so obviously it has taken it toll during the trip, and naturally these days there are lots of important things in our lives other than just this band. I feel that we have found balance together with these guys, and everybody knows our goals – the realistic goals that we have set for the band together. I’m lucky to have these kind of friends around me, and I mean friends, not just men on a mission. About passion for metal music, from time to time I need to really listen to something else than metal to find my passion back on it. You know, the metal music is one of these genres that is sometimes repeating itself so heavily that it’s kinda ironic, hehehe. You know, it’s made by closed mind people who think they are open minded, and they forget that music and art shouldn’t be closed minded at all. I’m not blaming here any specific groups or subgenres, but sometimes it’s kinda funny to see people who are preaching about some specific music genre just like it’s some kind of religion. It’s just one music style among many other great ones. Music is about mood and feelings, not about how it looks like and what is your attitude.

What’s up next for Re-Armed?
Iiro: Before we were even ready to release Ignis Aeternum, we started to talk how we will start recording new demos and ideas for the next album. Also there is that 20th anniversary coming on, so we have planned something special for that. Some special shows, maybe some new versions from old songs, there is lot of plans to celebrate that. Obviously the situation all over the world is erratic, so we can plan but everything is on hold till we know more. We would love to have a tour and play shows as soon as possible.

Any final words of wisdom?
Iiro: Stop to take a look at your life. For that you have, and the people around you. Is there anything more precious than time with your loved ones? Or time with your hobbies? We all have our duties, but why are we rushing?

Jouni: Indeed! Thanks for reading this, and thanks for the interview!

Band Members
Iiro Karjalainen – Drums
Juhana Heinonen – Bass and backup vocals
Jouni Matilainen – Lead vocals
Oskari Niekka – Guitars and backup vocals
Allan Välimaa – Guitars

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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