Rage and Frustration
Heavy Metal Reviews & Interviews
Interview with Stortregn
Band – Stortregn
Album – Emptiness Fills The Void
Country of Origin – Switzerland
Genre – Blackened Death Metal
Label – Non Serviam Records
Interviewer – Hayduke X
After hearing Emptiness Fills The Void, Hayduke felt the need to hear more from the band regarding this album. Stortregn was gracious enough to answer some questions via email. Read on below, then go check out this ripper of an album. Better yet, do both at the same time.
Hayduke X: Congratulations on the completion of Emptiness fills the void, your fourth full length album. What can we expect from this one?
Duran: Thanks man! The album is a killer, we’re extremely proud of it! We turned everything to 11. From the first track to the last, you can expect a blend of brutality, killer riffs, blast beats and headbanging pleasure.
HX: Did you have a vision for the album and, if so, do you feel the finished product completes the vision?
Duran: As is often the case with Stortregn, we start writing, and the first few riffs or songs set the tone of the album, and that’s where the vision starts. Emptiness Fills the Void was thought of as a symmetrical album, with all the songs converging to a short central piece, The Chasm of Eternity. Cyclical and devoid of lyrics, this instrumental track contains a lot of new composition elements. You’ll see, you’ll hear!
The artwork, by Dan Seagrave, takes different elements of the lyrics and generates a nervous environment, as if the Universe is about to collapse on itself, into nothing. It is a very interesting and detailed piece of work.
Johan: We really wanted to have a constant link between each song, to avoid the simple scrolling of isolated tracks during the listening of the album. The central track has an important role in this concept. It ties the album together. It’s the converging point, where all the surrounding songs congregate to this center.
HX: Stortregn has been around since 2006 under this name after evolving through a couple name changes. Take us back to those early days and tell us how the band came together.
Johan: Well, we were 15 years old at that time, without any experience and no means. But we had a huge will to create, to play and fight ourselves. That was the starting point. There is not so much more to say, except that we’re really proud of what we accomplished in those years, despite the relative youthfulness you can hear in our EP “Devoured By Oblivion”, which came out in 2008.
Duran: You can hear the difference of maturity on each release, each time there is a significant leap. And we’re continuing in this direction.
HX: The band has been through a lot of lineup changes. Do you feel that you have a more permanent lineup nailed down now?
Johan: Before the stable aspect, it’s far more important for us to have a lineup with people who have a strong musical vision, and one that can be shared by the band. I really think that the richness and interest of an album comes with the melding of our musical ideas, which feed off each other, and form a coherent whole.
Duran: Although the line-up has changed quite a bit with time, nobody has left the band since 2013, so we’ve been working as a whole unit since then. The line-up we have now is stronger than ever. For Emptiness Fills the Void, each one of us brought ideas, and you can hear it in the diversity of the compositions.
HX: How has the band evolved musically since 2006?
Johan: We’ve always considered this band as a laboratory for expressing our deepest feelings and moods, but also for playing music that we believe in. That’s why we always stayed faithful to our roots, a blend of melodic black and death metal, although we constantly try to improve ourselves by developing new musical ideas and technical challenges.
HX: To me, this album has a fairly spectacular blend of black, death, and traditional heavy metal. These blends of genres sometimes don’t work, but I feel like you guys really nail it! Do you have any insight on into how your able to accomplish that?
Duran: Thanks for the compliment! We all have our own sets of influences, ranging from the old school stuff (be it black metal, heavy metal, even some obscure pop-rock), to experimental modern jazz, and contemporary classical music. You can hear them all in our songs. Outside of the music world, we also have different backgrounds, so there is a great deal of versatility on that end as well.
Johan: And there is no magical recipe to write a song, or least, we didn’t find it. As in every demanding and rigorous music, including extreme music, you have to be totally convinced and devoted to what you’re doing, and organize your life around it. Inspiration will follow, then.
HX: What was your writing process for this album?
Duran: Johan and I work a lot together, sending each other riffs and songs. Through the Dark Gates is a prime example. Manu and Romain compose their own stuff alone, while Sam lays down his complex rhythms to the riffs we send him, sparking up new ideas.
We have been exploring odd timings with this album, but not in the prog metal sense of it. Our songs remain direct and straight to the point, so you can always headbang to them. We’ve also worked on the layering of the guitars and the difference between each layer. Johan and I never play the same riff at the same time, so there is a base of two distinct guitars. On this base we can add acoustic guitars / a third lead / another rhythm and another lead / whatnot. We can also keep it raw with only two guitars. These variations add a dynamic to the songs and keep the listening experience of the whole album fresh.
HX: Who writes the lyrics? Can you share any insight into what they are about?
Duran: As the name of the album implies, there is a sense of nothingness which is explored. Sometimes by a character, at others from a purely spatial point of view. Lyrics are handled one song at a time, by whoever comes up first with the ideas.
HX: Tell me about plans for touring/festivals. Is there any chance of seeing you in North America?
Johan: We’re working with a management company, Alpha Omega, for European tours. We just finished touring with Immolation, Full of Hell and Monument of Misanthropy, and it was a blast! Hails to them! North America will be brutalized one day, for sure!
HX: What’s next for the band?
Duran: Next tour, next album, next beer, next tour, next album, next beer, next tour, next album, next beer, ….
HX: Is there anything else we should know about Stortregn? Any last words?
Duran: The black sun will rise and cast a dark shadow upon the world, bringing cold wind from beyond the universe. Emptiness shall fill the void!
…..and seriously, get our album !
Thanks to Stortregn for the incredible interview. And like the man said, go get their album. You won’t regret it.