Interview: Fer De Lance

Mysterious, Epic, Arcane! In my opinion the American three-piece Fer De Lance is the most intriguing band of the last year. Not only because of the quality of their amazing music but also because of the fact that only so little is known about the band. They truly are a band shrouded in darkness. Thus, even though they have only released four songs (as well as a cover song) up to date, I had tons of questions I wanted to ask them. Kindly, they gave me the opportunity and honour. Therefore, I now present to you the interview with Rusty (Drums, Bass, Percussion) and Collin Wolf (Guitars, Bass)! Enjoy and stay safe! – Divine Victim

Hey Rusty and Collin, thanks for giving me the opportunity to interview you. How are you doing?

Rusty:  Considering we have all been living through a global plague for the past year, I am thankful to be alive, have a home where I am safe and warm, and with plenty of strong drink and other indulgences.

Wolf: Likewise! Obviously could be better, but thankful to be here with my health.

When you released your debut EP Colossus in March last year, you were an utter surprise. No one had expected you and then you struck into the scene like a lightning with one of the best releases if not the best release of 2020. Can you tell us a little bit of how and why you formed Fer de Lance?

Rusty:  Fer de Lance was born from stagnation in our other bands: Moros Nyx and Professor Emeritus. When we left the latter band, we refocused on the former. However, MP began writing darker, more epic songs. We also began spending more time in nature, and the soundtrack was Bathory, Amorphis, Jethro Tull, Stan Rogers, Borknagar, and lots of music we thought made a lot more sense in both nature and isolation. These converging factors naturally led us to the point of starting Fer de Lance. More directly, when MP sent me the demo for the song «Colossus» that was the exact moment I knew we needed to put Moros Nyx on ice and start a new path.

Wolf: A few years back, I had briefly joined Moros Nyx for one rehearsal. It went well, but as Rusty said, when MP approached us with the FDL demos he had written, we could tell it was something very special and had a feeling that was not present in much metal nowadays. I am very thankful that I was asked to take part in Fer De Lance and continue working with MP and Rusty.

Although Fer de Lance is new to the scene, the three of you aren’t.  All three of you are or were active in various bands, most noticeable Smoulder, Moros Nyx, Professor Emeritus, Midnight Dice or Olórin. To what extent would you say do your other projects influence the style of Fer de Lance? Could you draw a lesson from your experience regarding how Fer de Lance is supposed to be in the future?

Rusty: Fer de Lance, I would not say, is influenced by my other bands as far as the style, though you might hear some similarities. Both Moros Nyx and Fer de Lance feature choirs and more epic songs,  but that is likely because of many shared influences. As far as a lesson, what we learned from our other bands was not to rush anything and always put the music first, above any outside pressures, to put out a full album, play a show, or quickly write new material. Slow down, do it right. We do this for ourselves. These songs belong to us.

Wolf: As for the other projects I am involved in and Fer De Lance, I can say that we draw from much the same pool of influences. Although FDL is more influenced by black metal and the melodic side of death metal.

The pandemic brought the whole world to a halt and ruined so many plans. What did you guys have planned for this year? To what extent were your plans thwarted?

Rusty: As you said, many people have had their plans ruined this year. About 1.7 million people have perished and have had their plans ruined for eternity. As I sit here, it is difficult to sit here and complain. We wanted to record more this year, but there will be time for that in the future. Moreover, we were asked to play a few festivals last year. On the plus side, we have a fair amount of material written, both from MP, as well as Wolf and I, and demos made. So, when we are able. We can pick back up from where we started. I hope that time comes soon, as many people and bands are struggling right now.  

Wolf: Compared to a lot of bands that survive on playing shows, we have been relatively untouched. We just keep on writing and focusing on keeping ourselves, families, and neighbors safe and healthy. However, my other project, Smoulder, had a Greek tour and a bunch of other great gigs canceled because of the virus. That was very disappointing, but at the end of the day, as Rusty said, it’s hard to complain; we have our health and livelihoods, and many people weren’t so lucky. Shows are just shows; while they are important, it is far better that we hunker down, keep writing and demoing, and stop this virus so that we ALL can enjoy these things again.

But if we work together and act solidary, we can defeat this pandemic! So that we will have normal times again. What do you have planned for the near future? Can we expect some more material, or will we get the opportunity of seeing you live?

Rusty: Right on, yes. This year, we have spent time writing a lot, or more so, MP has been writing a lot. The Fer de Lance songs come from his brain. We have several releases planned for the future, but no details at this point. We are booked to play the Keep It True festival in April, so we are waiting for word on that. We hope to play live in the future when it makes sense. That being said, we have put some work into finding live members of Fer de Lance. With all of the different instruments and choirs in both the EP Colossus songs and our new material, we aim to make the live show as true to our sound as possible. 

I will say that in my opinion, no band exemplifies «Epic Metal» as much as Manilla Road. The atmospheres of their music and their lyrical topics all create a sense of arcane power and mystery that engrosses the listener. I would say that Epic Metal requires that; an immersive nature that takes the listener away on a journey of sorts.

I can only agree!

As one can read, we are devoted to the epic tunes in Metal and without a doubt Fer de Lance has one of the most epic sounds I have heard in a long time. How do you define Epic Metal and what makes Epic Metal so special in your opinion?

Wolf: It’s an amorphous term, isn’t it? For example, I’d say that both Atlantean Kodex and Cirith Ungol both play Epic Metal but sound nothing alike. So I’m not sure it’s something I can accurately define. However, I will say that in my opinion, no band exemplifies «Epic Metal» as much as Manilla Road. The atmospheres of their music and their lyrical topics all create a sense of arcane power and mystery that engrosses the listener. I would say that Epic Metal requires that; an immersive nature that takes the listener away on a journey of sorts.

I personally love the combination of folky acoustic elements with mighty choirs, emotional vocals, and beautiful melancholic melodies. You do that so unbelievably well that I without hesitation claim that Colossus is on the level of Viking-Era- Bathory or early Ereb Altor. Who are your biggest influences? And which Epic Metal bands are your favourites?

Rusty: The key inspirations for Fer de Lance are Bathory, Amorphis, Rotting Christ, Jethro Tull, Falkenbach, Enslaved, and the like. In talking about my personal favorite «epic» sounding metal bands, my thoughts turn to German bands Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian, and, more recently, Orden Ogan. Yes, they are power metal, but also they have huge choirs and choruses…so to me…this is epic fucking metal. In our underground scene, some of my favorites include Saor, Legendry, Morgul Blade, Slough Feg, Pharaoh, and of course, Atlantean Kodex.

Wolf: Bathory, early Ereb Altor, Scald, and Atlantean Kodex are truly the lifeblood of FDL as well as Amorphis, Rotting Christ, Primordial, and Enslaved. We strive to have our more extreme metal influences come into play and merge with our love for bands such as Blind Guardian and Manilla Road. When I write for Fer De Lance, my biggest influences are Bathory, Scald, Winterfylleth, Amorphis, Atlantean Kodex, Summoning, Panopticon, Virgin Steele, and Falkenbach. Some of my favorites in our scene currently are Gatekeeper, Wytch Hazel, Crypt Sermon, Eternal Champion, White Magician, Havukruunu, Malokarpatan, Throne of Iron, and Vultures Vengeance.

If somebody asked me the difficult question what my favourite song of Colossus is, I probably would have to tell him «City in the Sea» or on some days «Triumph and Tragedy». What is your favourite song of Colossus and why?

Rusty: It is definitely the title track. As I mentioned earlier, in my mind, the song «Colossus» is where Fer de Lance, the band, was born. I hold this song in high regard. Even though I did not write any of the music or lyrics, of all the bands I’ve been in and songs I’ve recorded, I am most proud of this one. However, we have noticed that so many people enjoy singing along with the song «Fer de Lance», but whether it’s Poe’s concept of the City in the Sea or MP’s story in «Triumph and Tragedy», we have noticed that many people are identifying with both our songs and lyrics. 

Another question that really interests me is, what your songs are about, as one can’t find the lyrics of your songs anywhere. Is there a concept behind the whole EP? What is the story behind the lyrics of «City in the Sea»? And what does the Colossus stand for?

Rusty: MP likely shouted the vocals so far into the void in these recording sessions that we do not have the lyrics anymore. I believe that the concept of the EP is that each song deals with death. For instance, «Triumph and Tragedy» speaks on both the tragedy of death but the triumph of choosing when or how we die. While there were some other songs prepared for this EP, we wanted to tie together these four songs with this overlapping theme. It has been very interesting to see the number of ideas about the meaning of the songs we have seen. 

Wolf: «City in The Sea» is adapted from an Edgar Allen Poe poem. «Colossus», I feel, has a lot to do with the inevitability of death and decay; no matter how mighty we become, someday it will all fade away.

Metal is something that exceeds language, culture, and borders, so we enjoy seeing how our name is interpreted in South America, as well as North America, Europe, and the rest of the world. 

On the Meaning of «Fer de Lance»

One final question and one I have already heard several times. Why the name «Fer de Lance» and what does it mean?

Rusty: I’m pretty sure it has something to do with hell, death, and damnation – all that good stuff. Or, it is a type of venomous pit viper that lives in the jungle. Or, it is French for spearhead. I think the best names can mean something different to everyone that listens to the music. Metal is something that exceeds language, culture, and borders, so we enjoy seeing how our name is interpreted in South America, as well as North America, Europe, and the rest of the world. 

Thank you so much for your time it was a real pleasure! I can’t wait to hear more from you guys. Stay safe and hopefully see you soon in front of a stage!

Rusty: Thanks a lot, Aidan. We are thankful for your appreciation of Fer de Lance. Cheers from us, and well-wishes for a healthy and EPIC 2021.

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