It’s only appropriate to conclude our Epic Metal Blog Birthday Special with a trip to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is the home of the band whose debut album Aidan chose as his album of the year in 2021: Morgul Blade! As he did shortly after the founding of this blog, Klauf (vocals, guitars, synth) answered our questions. The following lines will show you that he is one of those musicians who really have something to say.
Today, my Epic Metal Blog colleague Aidan will celebrates 19th birthday. What bands were you listening to at that age? And what books, movies or series were you most excited about back then?
Klauf: Firstly, thanks for having me back in. You guys were my first interview I ever completed back in 2020, very stoked to be chatting with y’all again, and as always appreciate you folks being a part of the journey since the beginning. Also happy birthday Aidan, getting old happens quick! Anyway, back to business. When I was 19 I was just starting to get into the stuff I listen to now, that was the year I discovered Bathory, Emperor, Windir, and a host of other black metal and melodeath. Growing up through high school I was really into Sabbath, and other stuff like Punk and Hardcore. That kinda shifted when I graduated and headed down the metal route. As for books, tv and movie series, I really don’t watch a lot of movies or TV, unless it’s sports, namely NFL, Premier League or Bundesliga, and that was the same back then. My favorite book from that era of my life, was The Chronicles of the Black Company by Glenn Cook, it’s a really gritty grimdark fantasy, written by a man who was a veteran of the Vietnam war. I was also into reading paranormal accounts like ghost stories, and cryptozoology.
As most readers of our blog know, Aidan is my colleague, but first and foremost a great friend. It is indeed music that brought us together. Have you also had many good friendships develop over the years thanks to your shared passion for music?
My band mates are great friends. I’ve met the best people I’ve ever come across in the music scene and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. I’m painfully horrible at small talk, so generally when I cross paths with someone who I know has shared niche interests, it allows you to skip that status quo bullshit of asking questions that no one has any actual interest in answering. Talking about riffs is always better than talking about work.
Aidan has chosen your first studio album Fell Sorcery Abounds as his album of the year 2021. On my list you landed on the 3rd place. How did the reactions turn out in general, which you have caused with the record?
Man I can’t tell you honestly how blown my mind is that people are so stoked on my music. I did this project for myself to keep me busy instead of playing video games and whatever other mundanities that would be inevitable otherwise. Even the fact that I’m speaking with a German blog about my record is still hard to fathom within myself. We just played our first ever show last night, and it really hit me when we were on stage and people in front of us knew the lyrics front to back of every damn song we played. Gives me goosebumps. I hope that never changes.
Can you estimate in which countries Fell Sorcery Abounds was particularly well received?
Other than the US and Canada, Germany really seems to be leading the charge with the Legions of Mordor. I want to get to Germany to play some gigs, drink some lagers, consume some wurst und schnitzel and watch some Bundesliga in the stadiums. Hopefully I will make that happen one day soon.
Was there also a review that you were a bit annoyed about? Or was there a text that made you laugh?
I definitely don’t want to use the term “annoyed” as far as an album critique goes, because I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it really doesn’t affect me in anyway. But their was one blog in particular who said “like a whisper in a cyclone, Morgul Blades debut will also be forgotten by history.” And that made me laugh so hard. That blog in particular was puzzling because every other band on there was like tech death and djent, so I wondered why he even bothered reviewing ours.
Aidan and I bought your album at the No Remorse merch booth at Keep It True Rising in Würzburg. I guess I can say that No Remorse is our favorite label. I suppose it’s fun to work with our Greek friends?
It’s great being a part of No Remorse. We wouldn’t be where we were are without them.
You wrote me earlier that you guys just returned from a show in NYC…. Any chance that we’ll see you in Europe in the near future?
Last night was our first show ever. Much much much more to come, though. This was never meant to be a live band, however, after the huge and positive reaction internationally I didn’t see how I couldn’t bring this to stages for people to enjoy. We want to get to Europe (Germany in particular) really badly. If anyone is reading this and books shows in Germany please hit us up!!! I long to crush Lagerbiers with my Deutsch family!
If you follow our blog a bit more closely, you’ll know that we’re always talking about social and political issues – both Aidan and I are concerned about that. What do you say to people who say: “Metal must be apolitical”?
I fucking loathe politics, at least on the macro scale. The upper echelon of US politics regardless of what side you’re on is rotten and foul and indicative of a cruel and uncaring world. I think people should be able to do whatever they want as long as it doesn’t harm others mentally or physically. I also think it’s up to us, to keep our own world in check, and protect each other, because our governments are never going to do this. I speak of course only as an American with only a very surface layer understanding of the politics in the EU and elsewhere.
Do you have the impression that there is a generation conflict in this respect? I sometimes have the impression that people of Aidan’s age – I mean journalists, musicians and fans – are more likely to address political issues in a metal context than older people.
I never got the sense that it was a generational thing, and maybe that’s different in Europe but not here in the US.
Aidan has twice created a playlist for International Women’s Day, which was meant to honor female musicians. Looking over our scene: Which female musicians fascinate you the most at the moment? Do you have any insider tips for us?
I tend to not like the term “female fronted” as a genre descriptor since the women musicians I know completely surpass me talent wise. I would be remiss to not mention our honorary wraith, High Priestess Nighthawk who has lent her multi talented musicianship to our record and live performance. She also was responsible for the cello on “Oak in the Mist” along with the vocals for that song and “A Last Waltz of Gevaudan.”
The year 2022 is still quite young. But were there already releases from this year that could really inspire you? And which record are you particularly looking forward to?
So my favorite release of the year thus far is the Stangarigel record released in January. It’s like the peak years of Ulver during Bergtatt and Satyricons Shadowthrone. It’s from the man behind Malokarpatan who are my personal favorite band going currently, and the two projects share the same ethos, of fairy tales and esotericism. I’m also looking forward to the new Sumerlands record, and the new Hällas as well. Night of the Vampire ep is worth a shout as well if you like Darkwave mixed with vampiric black metal. My friends in Devil Master also have a record coming out soon, and it’s gona be huge. Erech Leleth’s new project Bergfried is also going to be a major drop. Lots to look forward to!
Last question: Which character from The Lord of the Rings appeals to you the most? And could you imagine writing a Morgul Blade song about him (or her)?
If we’re sticking to just the Trilogy in itself and not the greater world and lore, then I’d like to write a song about the king of the dead. His mini arc is a great one of redemption. We also have a new song about the Corsairs of Umbar that you’re gonna hear on our next album whenever it’s recorded. Because, who doesn’t like Middle Earth Pirate Lore!?
Well, Aidan and I would be thrilled, you can be sure of that. I want to thank you very much for this interview. Hope to see you in Europe one day!