Summon: How did the band get started?
Fredrik Rex: I (Rex) started the band in 2006 with our first drummer in a garage in an expensive waterfront housing area outside Oslo. Our main concern was if we were going to be too loud for the neighbors. “Well fuck that”, we thought and set up our band right there in the living room. That was the fanciest facilitated rehearsing room we’ve ever had. Great view, too. Something to aspire to in the future. The band was meant to be a soundtrack for anti-religious ideas, a massive tribute to Norwegian nature, and musically a project to create what was seemingly missing in modern black metal.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Fredrik Rex: As a genre we do play True Norwegian Black Metal. However, we have a tendency to implement modernistic ideas. You could say we aspire to do two things at the same time: Keep the sound traditionalistic, yet modernize the genre. If you look at Satyricon’s track “Phoenix” they have done much of the same as we have on our track “Svart blod flyter”. We both use clear vocals, though Satyricon‘s version is slightly more concentrated around a pop-structure. We are still a black metal band and will more often than not use complex song structures.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Fredrik Rex: We have the best fans on the planet. This is a cliché of course, but it doesn’t make it any less true. Our fans support this band to such an extent that it wouldn’t exist without them. Our debut album is founded heavily on push and support from our fans. I can’t say I know exactly why we get this much support. Maybe our music strikes a nerve in someone. In any case, it is important for us to come in contact with our fans and for that reason we invite all fans to follow us through social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, ReverbNation, BandCamp, Urørt, etc.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Fredrik Rex: Blodsgard stems from my (Rex) family history in the 1700th. A scam over some large prosperous farmland and mountain areas ended in a wedding gone massacre. My ancestors charged a wedding with knives. Hence the name Blodsgard (Blood-farm.) This story sparked massive debate at the time and was depicted by great painters, written poems and music over by names such as Welhaaven and Grieg. And that is something to be proud of in any context. My ancestors stood up for what they thought was right. Our fight against religious dogmatic ideas is also a fight for justice.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band. Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Fredrik Rex: Vocals, songwriting, guitars, bass, keys.
Stein Akslen: Lyrics, songwriting, experimental instruments.
Kenneth Mellum: Drums.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Stein Akslen: From personal introspection, really. The lyrics on “Monument” constitutes a meta-perspective on the process of evolving as a human and coming to terms with your own existence and humanity. To me, Black Metal is a very visual kind of music, and I want the lyrics to reflect that. You need to project images inside the head of the listener. The references to landscapes, to the runes, to elements and emotions in our lyrics has to be seen as personifications of different aspects of the human potential. There is an overall theme of creating something new, stronger and healthier over the ruins of the bridges you inevitably burn during the course of a life-time. Black Metal philosophy has often rested on the nihilistic shoulders of Nietszche. Even more relevant for our goal is his philosophy of the Will to Power as a main driving force in human nature. There is of course also a strong anti-Christian ideology at the bottom of it all. That is perhaps the first revolt you need to address; you need to liberate yourself from the religious shackles that try to hold you down since birth and see through their misanthropic, anti-individual and masochistic agenda. The fuel of Black Metal is the intellectual war against the historical oppression of religion and the contemporary religious influences on the individuals in our society. That is the basis of our agenda, to speak to the individual. There is a specific ethical problem at the basis of your humanity, if you “turn the other cheek” when people do you wrong, and submit to the will of your fictive deity.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Stein Akslen: Oh, this is a big question. I already have a degree in the History of Religions and currently working on a masters-degree in the same academic field. There are so many perspectives I could use to answer this question. Even so, I will refrain from indulging in my academic interest for these phenomenons, and do my best to answer with a philosophical approach. The symbol of Satan serves many purposes, but the most relevant in this context is as a personification of the individual, passionate and strong forces in mankind. In a way, the reference to Satan in Black Metal might actually, in my philosophy, hurt your cause, because it constitutes that you accept the Judeo-Christian worldview (and that is why we do not mention Satan in our album at all). Of course, Satan has been made into a symbol for the battle against religious shackles and the quest for individual liberty. In that sense, I embrace Satan as a part of myself, because that is my goal with art, and life in general. But Satan as an entity is a product of the Christian world we reject, and is not relevant for Blodsgard. As for occultism… That is a wide field. I am an avid collector of obscure occult literature myself, and I have a great interest in esotericism. There are certainly traces of occult philosophy in Monument, especially Liber AL if you look closely, but it’s not a pillar per se. The alchemical concept of Solve et Coagula made the title of our demo, and fits the philosophical approach of Monument also, even though the album is mostly oriented towards an esoteric pagan inclination. I am a firm believer of using an esoteric approach in the interpretation of our old Norse myths. It is important to me to be eclectic in my inspiration, to use the best suited symbol of what I have to say in this or that context. If that is Odin, let it be Odin.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Stein Akslen: “Monument” is our debut album. Earlier, Blodsgard has released the limited edition demos “Nuclear Extinction” and “Solve et Coagula”, in addition to a small promo-EP we handed out for free earlier. “Solve et Coagula” is the foundation for “Monument”, and was the demo that really defined the sound and philosophical approach of Blodsgard how it is today.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Stein Akslen: There is a lot of variety on the CD, as well as a well-planned composition and progress through the album. When we make our music, we start out with a vision of what we want to create, and of what we wish to express. That makes it a well-written album, both lyric-wise and music-wise. We have a very artistic approach, and even though we have worked on the same tracks over several years, there’s also a certain amount of improvisation present. The album is best perceived as a philosophical idea; it all starts with the ferocity of “Påkallelsen” and ends with the depressive jazz-influenced “Svart blod flyter”. Nothing is random here. Our title track “Monument” mid-way in the album is perhaps the most different track on the album, but also one of the most emotional and visual. It represents a change of pace, and general perspective, and works as a motivation for transgression into the vast landscapes of the coming part of the album.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Stein Akslen: I have several. I have released to albums with my dark ambient solo-project V0id&Khaos over the last years on my own label. Soon I will release the debut album with my black’n’roll band Vakslen, together with V of Morgh and Þurs. Rex is a musical genius, and is constantly writing and recording material in a broad variety of genres to evolve his skills as a composer. His understanding of, and respect for, different musical genres is a part of what makes the music of Blodsgard such a unique Black Metal experience. In a genre that in many ways had stagnated, he breathes the fresh innovative air straight back into it.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Fredrik Rex: We mostly take inspiration by classical music. If I had the resources available I would use an organic orchestra to make my music. Metal is the second best apparatus for our sound, a necessary compromise. Brahms, Verdi, Mozart, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, amongst others.
Summon: Which current bands?
Fredrik Rex: Apart from that Satyricon, Gorgoroth (Ad Majorem), Shining (the Swedish band) and Mayhem are inspirational. The rest of the metal scene is pretty much shit. Anything that could be played in a pub or performed in a country band is shit in my book. Most modern metal bands fit into that category.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Stein Akslen: Blodsgard does not yet play live. We have been focusing all our attention into crafting a brilliant album, an album we consider a work of great art. For this moment, that is how we channel our creativity with Blodsgard. But nothing is carved in stone, and there might be select live appearances in the future, when we have had the time to develop the right way to express our art live.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Stein Akslen: I think nothing of it. That is not meant as critique, but as an honest perspective. I don’t care for so-called metal scenes, and I have basically no idea of what is going on in the US at all. I have never been much interested in American bands at all though, except for punk rock.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Stein Akslen: By overseas I guess you mean the Scandinavian areas? Again; nothing. Nothing at all. I know some artists of course, some I consider friends and some I don’t. I know some promoters and other individuals who work hard to bring the music to the masses. I respect that. But I am not qualified to speak of any “scene” as I detest that kind of community-rhetoric, and do not consider myself part of any scene. I am far too caught up in myself to care about what others are doing.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Stein Akslen: I have never been interested in death metal, so I am not able to answer that. I have evolved a general apathy towards new Black Metal bands over time. Earlier I liked listening to demos, navigating the underground and giving everyone a chance mainly because you have to be an uncompromising idealist to create Black Metal music. But the genre is stagnated, dull and filled to the edge with orthodoxy and narrow-mindedness. I can’t stand the worship of the early 90’s. I love the albums of the old Norwegian Black Metal bands, but I cannot grasp this yearning to go back in time. Romantic tradition is one thing, and I encourage paying homage to your roots, but this extreme recycling is just incredibly boring. Unfortunately, that of course means that I miss out on the gems in the underground. I am sure they exist, and I am sure there are people who create great art that I would love to listen to. It’s just hard to find the true gems in a sea of stagnation and ignorance. It’s sad to say, but today I have the feeling that there’s not much to gain by checking out new bands. I then prefer to listen to what I already know is good, and spare myself the inevitable disappointment time after time.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Stein Akslen: The creation of “Monument” was a long and hard process. It took us nearly five years. We have learned a lot during the process though, which will simplify things in the future. I think both Rex and I are always in a creative state, working on ideas and ambitions, but you also need to be in the right mental state in order to create this kind of art. It is impossible for us to make any kind of promises, but hopefully we can start recording some demo-tracks and start planning our next album during the coming year.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band?
Fredrik Rex: A lot of people have strong opinions about what a metal band should be, and try to fit those ideas onto Blodsgard. We must be so-and-so, drink beer, be macho, have long hair. Sort of like a redneck metal-head. A basic expression of themselves onto us (which is fine). Blodsgard however is a very different band that is hard to fit into that stereotype. In terms of live shows our outlook to the future is probably very different from that of other Black Metal bands. We don’t necessarily dream of touring the planet. We do have some ideas, but it will probably be very different from your standard “audience-stage-band-playtime-40minutes”. As we have set out to create unique music, we will also aspire to the same uniqueness live. I am sure it will be something truly special. In terms of the bands success, world domination is suitable. But we will be satisfied with the continuous support of our fans. That is what truly matters for us. We make our music for the sake of great music in itself.
Contact them at:
The album is available to purchase as a physical CD from our label The Oath (www.theoath.it) or on our bandcamp as a physical CD and digital download (https://blodsgard.bandcamp.com/) We are streaming the entire album for free at our website, and there is also shirts, patches and other merch available at blodsgard.com