Today, we offer you a very special interview with one of the most exciting and unique underground Epic Metal bands on this desolate planet: Ryghär from the wastelands of Texas. I had the opportunity to talk to Mike “Thorigrimm The Mercyful” (Rhythm Guitar) and Ryghar Highwind (Vocals). Enjoy reading… and open a can of beer.
First of all, thank you very much for your time. How are you doing?
Mike: I’m doing well and keeping busy recording and releasing three albums with three different bands currently.
Ryghar: I’m doing very well, and I hope you and yours are as well.
We’re busy with this Epic platform. No time for this damned pandemic (lol)! When and why did you found Ryghär? What’s special about your band?
Ryghar: Ryghär was an idea, a need to tell this story, the fall of Thurmecia, the ziggurat esoternium and the worlds beyond, a story beyond time. I started writing and recording the skeleton of what will become Thurmecia Eternal seriously in the dark late months of 2019, the cold winter nights gave way to the spring and the finding of the other members of the Silver Company. Now we stand six strong AND ready to tell our story and share these songs with everyone.
On Bandcamp, you call your music “Barbaric Heavy Metal”. How would you define this label?
Ryghar: I don’t find labels to be important at all, honestly. the Metal is made or the Metal is forfeit. We are barbarians. Our Metal is barbaric. Witness us and despair, if you must pitiful mortals.
Amazing, I think I need this as a signature in the Deaf Forever Forum (lol)! When are you going to release your debut longplayer? I can’t wait!
Ryghar: We will be announcing our release of Thurmecia Eternal ere the night of the king of holly, as winter’s breath grows heavy, so too does the hour grow late and all will be revealed.
We will be releasing an exclusive patch for those whose hearts bleed for Thurmecia and the lost sons of the Black Heart.
How important are lyrics for you – as a fan and as an artist?
Mike: I think with Ryghär the lyrics are the most important part. Every album is a concept or chapter in our epic story. As a writer I feel – like many bands think – lyrics are second to the riff but there’s a reason they call a chorus a hook. For my other bands, Black Jackal and Goat Bong, I write all the lyrics and feel that it has to do justice to what my other musicians write or the mood I’m trying to convey. Writing lyrics gives you the most freedom of creativity, nothing is off limits.
Ryghar: I am telling my story, nothing more or nothing less, a story older than time. Lyrics are the heartstrings of this construction and being such a fundamental part of everything our lyrics are nothing less than integral. As a fan I’ve cut my teeth on the Heavy Metal gods of old and new, Cirith Ungol, Manilla Road, Glacier, Tytan, Universe, FUCKING MOTÖRHEAD (rip Lemmy), Rainbow, Dio, etc etc and beyond. And the NEW! Iron Kingdom, Visigoth, White Wizzard, Crimson Glory, Sumerlands, Graven Rite, and the eternal Eternal Champion! (very proud of their Ravening Iron release!!!) I’ve always written and lived stories ever since being a young person traversing the Dark Tower my first time, or maybe navigating the ancient Pattern of Amber, but this eternally expanding universe is a hoary gate we crack a beer in front of and hear the reverb echo back every time we share our favorite Heavy Metal with someone or sometimes in the long watches of the night alone it’s the only truth that carries us through to the ever growing dawn. To sum it up: Lyrics are everything, drop out, tune in AND JOIN THE LEGION!!!
You already have a lot of supporters on social media, especially on Instagram. Do you like these platforms? Are they necessary nowadays for a young underground Metal band to get enough attention?
Ryghar: ALL THINGS SERVE THE BEAM. I actually enjoy being able to talk to, or make friends all around the world, surrounding our mutual love of Heavy Metal. I believe it’s a privilege our predecessors couldn’t share at the time. HEAVY METAL FOREVER.
Can you tell our readers a bit about the Metal scene in Texas? Are there – apart from Ryghär – any interesting young bands who our readers should know?
Mike: The Metal scene in Texas is very close knit, everyone who is a die-hard knows who’s who. We all love to party and support one another. Texas is huge so it’s different from any other scene, in that it’s self-contained. As far as Texas bands to keep an eye out for, XIL, Aggravator, U.S.O, Slaughter Witch, Cannibal Bitch, Steel Bearing Hand, Widower, Expander, Churchacide, Skeleton, P.L.F., Sacrocurse, Sardonic Witchery and Violent Practice are all great bands that come to mind. Our projects, Goat Bong, Black Jackal and Spectral Omen…
What are your favourite Metal albums of all time?
Ryghar: I truly believe I would bankrupt your publication if I attempted to answer this question (lol) – so many amazing songs, were I too spend eternity in the beerhalls of a great deal of our ancestors afterlives, I guarantee I would have plenty of material for karaoke night. But if I needed them trapped in a prism between space and time, in no particular order:
- Rising – Rainbow
- Hall of the Mountain King – Savatage
- Abigail – King Diamond
- Screaming for Vengeance – Judas Priest
- Wheels of Steel – Saxon
- Frost and Fire – Cirith Ungol
- The Armor of Ire – Eternal Champion (our dudes are murdering it)
- World Coming Down – Type O Negative
- Thurmecia Eternal – Ryghär (because I went to the future and they said it was sick)
No doubt about it! Last question: Are there any records, released in 2020, that you appreciate very much?
Ryghar: I think the shelter in place order has generated some great material, here is three fantastic pieces to check out:
- Ravening Iron – Eternal Champion (but you already have, lol)
- Exultations of Pain & Suffering – Goat Bong (This is an amazing jump-in to a five album emotional tour, I’m personally featured doing guest vocals on the track “Cursed with Life”)
- The Passing of Time – Glacier
- HONORABLE MENTION: Harbingers of Power and the World’s End – Morgul Blade, I know it was technically released in 2019 but this one is a powerful ripper, and if you don’t believe me, I’ll fucking arm wrestle you.
Hail Thurmecia! AND HAIL HEAVY METAL!!! Keep it True.
Mike, Ryghar, thanks a lot. And may the ancient Gods of Heavy Metal bless your future plans.