When I listened to the first notes of Archdruid’s demo, released a month ago, I instantly knew: I have to ask them for an interview. Fortunately, the five-piece from New Hampshire was available. Enjoy reading!
Hi, how are you doing?
Great, thank you.
There are, for sure, many readers who don’t know Archdruid yet. Tell us a bit about your band, please.
Paul: Dylan and I have been in a (still active) traditional metal band called Reckless Force since 2012, where I play bass, but we both had an ear for doom metal and I would always pick up our guitarist’s guitar when he’d go out for a smoke break to jam Sabbath-esque riffs with Dylan. In 2014, I grew an interest in paganism and medieval history which are perfect themes for a doom metal band. For years, however, Archdruid was just an idea with a few rough songs, but we would revive the idea in 2019 with my fiance on vocals. We would soon add Chris on bass and Brandon on leads, and the rest is history.
What’s the story behind your band name?
We are a band that sings about British mythology, folklore and paganism. «Archdruid» is the title used for a head druid, like a leader of druids, the priests of the pre-Christian Celtic faith.
How would you define the style of your band?
Traditional doom metal mixed with 70’s proto-metal and epic metal, some folk elements mixed in.
Which bands would you classify as your major influences?
Black Sabbath, Rainbow, Witchfinder General, Uriah Heep, Jethro Tull, Rush, Blood Ceremony, Damh the Bard, Pagan Altar, Solstice, Candlemass, Trouble, Solitude Aeturnus.
Let’s talk about your demo, I like it very much. What do you think about this record? And who is responsible for the songwriting?
We love it. Eric Sauter at Blackheart Studio did a fantastic job getting a great 70’s sound. Paul is mostly responsible for the lyrics of «Wayland the Smith» and «Black Riders». For the most part, they are a collective effort, but they are mostly based on subject matter of his interest and he outlines them. «Spirit of Albion» is a cover by a folk singer named Damh the Bard.
Could you point out a favourite track?
Emily: «Black Riders»
Paul: «Black Riders»
Dylan: «The Forging/Wayland the Smith»
Brandon: «Black Riders»
Chris: «The Forging/Wayland the Smith»
How popular is metal in New Hampshire these days? Is there a vivid underground scene?
New Hampshire has a decent scene, but it’s really the whole region of New England that is collectively cool. We often travel to Boston or Providence for shows. However, there have been many great shows in Manchester, Keene and Nashua.
Are there any local metal bands who you would like to recommend to our readers?
Our fellow doomsters Concilium. Also, Hessian, Seax, Demon Chrome, Ice Giant, Panzerbastard, High Command, Crystal Dagger, Black Mass.
What’s your favourite festival? Where would you like to play with Archdruid in the future?
Legions of Metal at Reggie’s in Chicago. Bob Byrne does a great job. We’d love to play there. We would also be a good fit for Hammer of Doom in Germany or Up the Hammers in Greece.
On our blog, we focus on metal with epic elements. How would you define the term «epic» regarding music?
Epic is not only a sound, it’s visualizing something with the eyes both closed and open. No matter how a power enters your body you feel it, you feel the story as if you were watching a climax scene on a movie screen. Sound that causes your mind to create visions and visuals and invoke stories, art created with power that fills the mind with emotion.
2020 was a disaster, no doubt about it. But there were some great releases: What’s your favourite album released last year?
Emily: Wytch Hazel – III: Pentecost
Paul: Dark Forest – Oak, Ash & Thorn
Dylan: Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron
Chris: High Spirits – Hard to Stop
Brandon: AC/DC – Power Up
Last question, regarding J.R.R. Tolkien: What’s your favourite character out of his universum?
Emily: Lady Galadriel
Brandon: Witch King
No love for Gollum, it’s a pity… [laughs] Many thanks for your time. Stay safe!