Interview: Protean Shield

Epic heavy metal fans are always spoiled by No Remorse Records. Regarding Protean Shield, this is no different: With their self-titled debut album, the Greeks have recorded a sophisticated, varied and captivating album that every fan of the genre must buy. But before that, please read this interview with the newcomers from Hellas.

Hello André! Thank you so much for taking the time for this interview. We’re right in the middle of the Greek summer, battling this intense heatwave, but despite that, we’re doing great! Our debut album was released just a month ago, and we’re loving every single part of the process so far! 

For me, that would be Ereb Altor’s Vargtimman… like, seriously, it’s scorching hot right now, and we’re trying to cool things off with some epic Norse metal! Some of the other members tell me about Soul Cage’s last album Moon and Moahni Moahna’s debut Temple of Life

Protean Shield came together back in 2018, with Harris on guitars and vocals, Odysseas on drums, and Giannis (Aktypis) shredding on guitars as well. Our mission was to make music inspired by our favorite epic heavy metal bands like Slough Feg, Manilla Road, Virgin Steele, Cirith Ungol, DoomSword, and Domine, but do it in our own way so we don’t sound like copycats, you know? We already had a few tracks ready and tons of ideas piled up, so we decided to go for a full album. As we kept going, we welcomed Petros on bass and Giannis (Tsiligkakis) on guitars, and with Harris picking up full-time duties behind the mic and the producer’s sound board, we completed the lineup for our self-titled debut!  

Our debut album was released digitally on Bandcamp on June 21st and by No Remorse Records on CD on June 23rd. The reception so far has been great and we are pleased and very humbled by the positive feedback we’re getting from media and fans alike! Looks like everyone finds something to love about our music and this can’t be but the greatest reward for all of our efforts so far. 

Haha, it totally depends on who you ask in the band. Some of us dig shorter songs that get straight to the point, while others are all about those epic, long tracks with intricate structures. Nevertheless, we can all agree that we are big fans of dominant melodies and pompous riffs in our music. If we were forced to choose at gunpoint (hypothetically, of course), then “Mariner’s Dream” – along with its subtle intro “Lament” – would be the safest choice! 

It depends on the circumstances. Sometimes, writing a song begins with an idea or a set of ideas, while other times, someone introduces a full song to the rest of us. In either case, whoever wants to be involved in arrangements or introduce new ideas to what’s already in progress is free to do so. Then, we all review the outcome, make adjustments if needed, and the song is either rejected or greenlighted for further development accordingly. 

Lyrics are a significant part of this album. They are not the “generic” kind of lyrics that one will find in most of the albums of the genre. Each song has its own story to tell, in a poetic manner and in perfect unison to the underlying music. We encourage our listeners to dive into the lyrics as their experience will be greatly enhanced! 

We can rationalize and talk about such and such chord progressions and meters etc, but at the end of the day it all comes down to feel and aesthetics. There is more than one way to conjure up mental images of cursed heroes, last stands, heroic deeds and all other things we associate with “epic” music and “epic metal” in particular. What we, as a band, strive to achieve in creating an epic atmosphere is a focus on well-written, serious, lyrics that can touch the listener (while dealing with themes traditionally associated with the genre), as well as music that creates a mental wanderlust so to speak. Compositions that are adventurous, deep and, well, “protean” in their nature. 

Short answer: no. Even though performing live is something we’ve been considering ever since the pandemic restrictions were lifted, pursuing it right now would be a bit of a stretch for us, at least for the time being. Nonetheless, we’re absolutely stoked about hitting the stage and rocking out in front of an audience who shares the same passion for epic metal as we do at some point. We’re slowly but surely working towards making it happen, and when that day comes, you can bet you’ll be hearing from us! 

You said it yourself! The Greek metal scene has been growing stronger over the past few years, and some of the albums released recently are proof of that. Just look at the works of Sacred Outcry, Triumpher, Horizon’s End, Doomocracy, Wrathblade, Achelous, Sacral Rage, or our Cypriot Brothers Arrayan Path, Solitary Sabred, Mirror and the list goes on. One could argue that it’s the best time to be a part of the Greek Metal scene!  

Bearing in mind that, on a grander scale, we can safely say that humanity moves forwards (despite temporary regressions on a smaller scale such as the one we experience right now, without wanting to sound too political) I would like to think that the best is yet to come. We only have to  survive the damage to the ecosystem, that is. With that in mind, I would choose to live somewhere in the future. Especially in a timeline where something akin to the Star Trek society gets to happen.  

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