August 07, 2016

Twenty years of SURTURS LOHE

Ragnfalt shared with me, his feelings regarding his band SURTURS LOHE that is celebrating the 20th Anniversary. 
Also, he shared some words about “Seelenheim” album that is coming soon.

01. Hi Ragnfalt! Twenty years ago was founded SURTURS LOHE… There was some line-up change but three years after band creation was released the first demo and then, two splits were, and a 4th album is coming soon… How much did you enjoy this adventure until now ?
Twenty years of SURTURS LOHE is a real adventure. If I think back in the nineties, it feels like a travel trough the time. Still...there are many thinks happen. The scene has changed a lot. When we started 20 years ago to make music, the bands with pagan background were complete different. First, there was much less Pagan Metal bands in Germany. There were in Thuringia maybe eight bands, three of them in South Thuringia (MENHIR, TUMULUS and SURTURS LOHE). 

Today there are many more bands. Thuringia applies indeed entirely as a stronghold of pagan metal. Bud the style of music have changed too. In the past Pagan metal was a very serious and somber music style. There was no place for funny melodies and superficial lyrics. The "German pagan metal" has become a conglomerate of many musical and thematic influences. But the main attention now it seems rather less seriously and interchangeable. That's too bad. I can only hope that the "old" bands hold on and / or rise again to trump with authentic art. SURTURS LOHE is one of the old bands and we`ll rise up with old authentic Paganhymns. Our new album “Seelenheim” is united an epic and bleak piece of music like Black Metal, folklore and medieval music in itself. Our music evolves because we integrate many  of instruments in our music. We use beneath the classic metal-instruments, different flutes, cello, piano, acoustic guitars and timpani. Our producer Enrico Neidhardt (Power Track Studio) gave the album “Seelenheim” a modern and powerful sound. You see…many things have changed and any things are traditional!

02. Did you expect such a long life for that project ?
Of course. This band is my life and I did not want to bury it. SURTURS LOHE is a fixed constant in my life and in the lives of my band members. The modern era is moving fast. It is important to carry on. That's SURTURS LOHE. And SURTURS LOHE is classic and does not go with the trend. I don't want to miss one second of this time. This process with the band and every note of music was formative for my life. 

03. I think the band name is related with Nordic mythology. Can you explain the meaning to our readers and describe your band logo and ideas behind ?
The band name SURTURS LOHE, we chose when we found the band in 1996. We were fascinated by nordic mythology and inspired by bands like BATHORY and MANOWAR. Surtur is the fire giant in the Edda-Saga. He is a central figure of Ragnarök. And he is the enemy of the Gods. He should be our eponymous character. Lohe is the poetic german word for flame. What could be thematically better for a Pagan Metal band than to call themselves by the black rulers of Muspelheim who ignites with his flaming sword the word brand ? That's a powerful theme! The bandlogo includes the "Irminsul" (howly Symbol of Live)with the "Algiz-Rune" turned down(Symbol of dead). The scripture is written in a kind of "Urnes - Stile". We are very pleased about the logo. 

04. September 2nd, 2016 will be released a new SURTURS LOHE album. Is the release date the official date of band creation : September 2nd, 1996 or is it just pressing planning ?
No. It is just the date of the release. SURTURS LOHE Birthday is the 31st of April. 

05. Seelenheim, the "Home of souls" is the new album title. What do you mean with that title ?
Conceptual / lyrically "Seelenheim" dealt with the central elements of the cycle of birth, life, death, the afterlife and reincarnation. The theme of "death and rebirth" is not just in Norse mythology essential part, also the German mythology tells stories and legends, which deal with the dead and the souls. The term "Seelenheim" (home of souls) describes the whereabouts of souls who wander after death of the body in order to move into a tree, an animal in a mountain or in the air. One of the most famous legends is the legend of Emperor Barbarossa who sleeps in the inner of a mountain. Two currents of mythical ideas can participate in the indo-germanic, soul adoration and worship of nature; both often touching close and merge into one, so that they can be kept apart not always. The fascinating thing is that modifications of this ancient pagan legends were passed down through storytelling into modern times. And we want to carry this heritage to preserve it.

06. Seelen is also one Municipality in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany. Is it related with the album ?
Hehe :-) Of course! "Seelenheim" is a hommage to Seelen (Rhineland-Palatinate) because Seelen has one so nice city park. 

07. What are the ideas behind the artwork ?
The Artwork is created by our guitarist Heidenherz. He is a great artist in this way. The Artwork shows some statuary in a neoclassic stile how looks like ghosts ore souls. They will turning into an old tree to establish themselves into the tree. Basically this scene shows us the process of "Seelenheim".

08. Can you make a synopsis for each track that complete the new record ?
Sure. The first song "Der Kaiser im Berg" tells about the Saga of the old German Emperor Barbarossa. The music is very orchestral and the words are spoken by Joachim Kerzel. He is a professional speaker and the german voice of Jack Nicholson and Anthony Hopkins. 

"Der Kaiser im Berg" is followed by "Lohe Surt". This song is more Black Metal, hard and fast. Thematically "Lohe Surt" descripes the mythological background of SURTURS LOHE. The old legend of Surtur, of the end and the beginning. 

The titletrack "Seelenheim"  includes the lyrical concept of the descriped home of souls in an old german legandary way. The music is very atmospheric and appear more like epic kind of Pagan-Black-Metal. 

"Unter der Linden" is a medival song about the love between woman and man. The Lyrics are written by Walter von der Vogelweide. The music is more folkloristic and medival bud still metal! 

"Gotengrab" tells about the old legend of Gotenking Alarich and his secret grave. It's very atmospheric and a little bit like neofolk. 

The song "Sumar kehre Heim" is harder. This is one real metal song with completly clean vocals and choirs. 

Followed by "Schwertleite" song. This is a piece of music in the classical style. Piano, Cello, choirs and a magnificent female voice of our singer Alraun. The theme handles with an old ritual to grow from boy to man. This is the time to get gifted by sword. 

The last song on "Seelenheim" is one of the strongest. 10 minutes of pure pagan art. "Schildwacht" is realy a masterpice. Bud see yourself... "Seelenheim" is for you!

09. Lately was unveiled the song “Sumar kehre Heim” taken from the upcoming full length. Have you got positive feedback ?
Nearly two weeks ago we released "Sumar kehre Heim" on YouTube. Many people have listened and we got very positive feedbacks. Thank you!

10. Do you plan to make official video for this song and others from “Seelenheim” album ?
Yes! We have the plan to produce one for the song "Seelenheim". The script is written. We hope to publish the video by winter 2016/2017. More I am unwilling to reveal. It`s secret ;-)

11. Do you have some favourite non-German folk metal bands ?
I even like to listeni to Folk Metal bands like LUMSK, STORM or old SKYCLAD. But mainly, I like bands like BATHORY, MANOWAR, IRON MAIDEN and KREATOR. Those are my basics.  Bud I love classic music too. Modest Mussorgsky, Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowski or Richard Wagner are great composers. I dont listen to many bands. The so much modern and new bands there displeased me. I have given up to search for new music or new bands that might pleased me. I listen to the old stuff.  

12. Some SURTURS LOHE members are part of many other bands. Is it okay managing rehearsals & stuff ? 
It is often very stressful. But somehow we do that. That requires a lot of skills for planing concerts or practice time. Other mebers of SURTURS LOHE are playing on bands like ODROERIR, FIMBULVET, MENHIR, THE UNCHALLENGED or HERBSTNEBEL.  We are all inter-connected.

13. How did the recordings for the new full length happen ? Have you met some issues while the making of the “Seelenheim” album ?
Of course, we visited our stem studio the Powertrack Studio in Schmalkalden. Enrico Neidhardt was our producer and for the time in studio a seventh bandmember. We spent half a year to record "Seelenheim". Problems ? No! We worked almost every day on the album and we took thousands of files. This will need a lot of time.

14. The new record, “Seelenheim”, will be released under Einheit Produktionen, but under what format ?
Yes of course. We are glad that we have Einheit Produktionen as partner. "Seelenheim" will appear as Digipack CD and as limited Box. The Box is very noble and includes the Album, a second CD with two bonus tracks and the demo "Urda" from 1999 remastered, one poster and a patch. That's great. something has never happened before for SURTURS LOHE Fans. I'm sure that you'll like it! But the Box is limited to 500 units. You have to be fast.

15. Is it already available for pre-order ? 
The pre-order has started on 5th of  August. You can order CDs, Box or Merch on : 

16. Are you going on tour and make some shows promoting the new album ?
Yes, the next shows are the following :
September 2nd - Erfurt / Club From Hell (D)
October 1st - Rosa / Rosathalhalle (D)
February 10, 2017 - Heidesee / Frostfeuernächte (D)

We still hope to be able to add a few gigs ashore and look forward to set the stage ablaze.

Thank you for the interview!

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