Interview: Vanquisher

“Know, oh prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the years of the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars – Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered on the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold. But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. Hither came Conan, the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen- eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the Earth under his sandalled feet.“ (Vanquisher, “Nemedian Chronicle“, 2022)

Niord of Nordheim (Vocals)

André: Thank you very much for taking the time for us. How are you?

Niord: Anytime, man. I’m all good. What about you? 

André: I’m listening to your latest album in the background. I could raid a village, but I’m holding back right now… You may have noticed that we’ve been talking a bit on our blog about Manowar‘s latest song “Laut und Hart, Stark und Schnell” (Loud and Hard, Strong and Fast) – and it’s been quite controversial. Have you already heard this track? And if so, how do you like it?

Niord: As much as I love to hear Eric sing basically anything… I gotta say there’s some lazy songwriting going on. 

André: Some readers might not know your band Vanquisher that well yet. Please tell us something about your band history so far.

Niord: Sure. We’re a 5-piece epic heavy metal band making music revolving around the short stories set in the fictional Hyborian age, as written by Robert E. Howard – The author who conceived of Conan the Cimmerian. 

André: You just described yourselves as an epic heavy metal band. The Metallum says heavy heavy/power metal – do you think that fits too? 

Niord: The simplest way is to just call it ‘epic heavy metal’. I tried to get them to use that genre, but they went with what you just said. I don’t mind. The difference is miniscule. But you’d have a hard time labeling us that way if you just listened to our closing track “Serpent God“ or “Priests of Set“. I’d say it can all be given the label ‘epic’ in some sense, but ‘power metal’ doesn’t really cover all the songs in terms of character. 

André: I agree with that. Which bands have influenced you the most? 

Niord: For me, and in the case of Vanquisher, I’d say Manowar, Grand Magus and Kreator

André: When did you first read a book by Robert E. Howard? And what do you recommend as an introduction for those who have not yet dealt with this author so intensively?

Niord: I think I started reading the short stories back in 2012 or something. As an introduction, I’d recommend the short stories The Tower of the Elephant, The Scarlet Citadel and Queen of the Black Coast.

André: Your first full-length record An Age Undreamed Of was released last year. How was the feedback?

Niord: Feedback’s been good! We’ve gotten some praise in reviews and people seem intrigued to hear more. We were happy with the result, and it is great to hear that other people enjoy it as well. 

André: Can you tell me which countries you sent the majority of your records to? And what was the most exotic destination for an edition of An Age Undreamed Of?

Niord: Outside of Sweden, we’ve sent the most records to Germany, followed by Spain, UK and the US. Most exotic place, hmm… Well, we sent to Slovakia once – Didn’t expect that! 

André: Which song on your debut do you like the most?

Niord: As self-congratulatory as it sounds, “Battleborn“ is my favorite! 

André: How does the songwriting work in your band? 

Niord: Normally, one or two people have an idea, record it or show it to the rest of the guys at rehearsal, and then we polish the songs together. I handle the lyrical matter by myself more or less. 

André: Are you planning to perform live in 2023? Are there already fixed dates that we should note in our calendars?

Niord: We’re looking to make it happen! As of right now, there are no dates, but we’re on the hunt for more gigs – no doubt about it. 

André: You are from Malmö. What is the metal scene like there? 

Niord: Not the greatest. We’ve got a great concert hall at Plan B and Kulturbolaget (if they haven’t shut that one down yet) but it’s a shame there’s no proper metal bar to meet up at. Then again, you gotta think that it’s just the third largest city in Sweden, which is not a very populated country to begin with. 

André: Last question: Let’s say you had a bunch of money to spend on live shows – what would a Vanquisher gig look like? Dreaming is allowed!

Niord: Alright, cool! So there’s got to be some sort of giant serpent that I can decapitate, that would then spew out blood all over the place. Also, fire and lots of smoke! And while we’re at it, let’s hire a big-busted damsel in distress and have her be on an unholy altar to be sacrificed to the snake. Yes!

André: I would definitely buy a ticket for that show, haha. Niord, thank you for this conversation – the same goes for Heimdal, with whom I had a couple of chats in the run-up. You are a likeable and talented band with the proper spirit – the Epic Metal Blog backs you!

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