|Ever wanted to find out what inspired a particular song? Was it based on personal experience or simply passive observation?|
What happened in the recording studio or on stage to make one song sound different from the rest?
These are just some of the question bands and musicians attempt to answer in Line 'em Up! This is where your favourite bands comment on their albums, track by track and give you an insight into the ideas behind their art.
Line'em Up with Nepenthe, the vocalist of Netherbird.
Here’s a chance for you to tell our readers about your new release, ‘The Ferocious Tides of Fate’. But could you please start off by introducing the readers to Netherbird?
I founded Netherbird in 2004 together with Grim (guitars) and Bizmark (guitar). We actually took the decision during the Dissection rebirth gig in Stockholm so I know that it was on October 30th 2004.
The idea from the beginning was that the three of us would just write tunes and then get friends to join in on the recordings. So that is how we did it the first couple of years and that is the reason why there have been so many involved in the band in the earlier phases. But in order to make it possible to do live shows and so forth we have more and more become a solid line-up, it just makes it easier and when the band was already established it is easier to get good people to join in.
Grim who was a founding figure left the band during 2008, but me and Bizmark still form the core of the band, however we have three more brothers by our side today. I would actually dare to say we have never been a stronger unit, both when it comes to our live performances and to our ability to write music.
Stylewise we pull most inspiration from the early black and death metal scene in Scandinavia, so bands like Unanimated, Dissection, Vinterland and Desultory are some that resonate through us and our music. I can honestly say that Bathory is the band that has meant the most for me personally so of course that legacy shines through also. But we rarely find albums that inspire us today, that is why we make albums ourselves. To fill that void, hehe. Though of course there are new good releases, but few compare to what came out during 1989-1995 when it comes to black and death metal.
We have released everything we recorded on CD’s worldwide, but also as free downloads from our website. So anyone interested are welcome to give our music a listen at www.netherbird.com.
And now onto ‘The Ferocious Tides of Fate’ - track-by-track! What inspired you, which topics are you dealing with, what do you want to express with the songs etc.
01. Elegance and Sin
Elegance and Sin is a tune where we honour those who express themselves through the carnal joys, but as humans we all have a choice and some of us use that choice to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh and this tune is my way of raising my cup in salutation to those who dare to go beyond the mundane everyday existence, at least once in a while. But in truth I think all forms of free expression and thought are worth honouring.
02. Sĺ Talte Ygg
This title means “Thus Spoke Ygg”, Ygg being the older name for Oden. So it is us using the words from Hávamál, from the Poetic Edda where Oden tells how he hung himself from an old tree for nine days. So it is our way of introducing the next song for which this piece serves an intro of sorts. I like the words a lot so it made perfect sense to use them here.
03. Ashen Roots
This is the pagan side of Netherbird shining through. It is about the universe and how it defines everything, the beginning and the end and the world as we know it as a spark that one day will fade, though perhaps from a somewhat more Norse perspective.
04. Shadow Walkers
We have a gloomy and slower side in most we do. We like to combine the harsh and ferocious with the painful, beautiful and slow. I guess in this piece we lift more of those elements than in the other tunes. So it is a reflection upon the passing seasons for us humans, and how that both holds a promise and a touch of sadness. In the end we use nyckelharpa, an old traditional folk music instrument and I think that is one of the real highlights to blend the sounds of old with our music. Damn pleased with how it all came out!
05. Along the Colonnades
On this track, which is the last we wrote for the album, me and Bizmark explore some new territory. We wrote this track in just one evening and it came together more or less by itself. The lyrical theme is, as with most I write, rather personal reflections upon our existence. And as always I tend to lift the need and the beauty of free thought. This one is perhaps a bit more abstract so I guess it is only when combined with the music that it all comes alive. This is the longest song we have written since Boulevard Black, and I would say that it might also hint where we are going further down the road sound- and stylewise.
06. Of the Setting Sun
We decided to let this pretty fast paced thing be the ending of the album since it sort of ties everything together. It contains both slower and more technical elements and I personally think the drumming on this one is phenomenal, varied and technical, but yet so flowing! The theme is once again thoughts about that how we lead our lives do affect us in many ways, and what goes around comes around. We also do some twin guitars on this one and I saw that some reviewer felt some “Iron Maiden” in that segment, and I guess that might be true since we are after all a band playing metal, and heavy metal will never be far from us though we usually weave more extreme songs.
Tell us a bit about the artwork and why you have used Swedish painter Marcus Larson’s ‘Nattlig Marin Med Brinnande Fartyg’?
The artwork was painted by Swedish painter Marcus Larson (1825-1864). He was extremely talented, but died when he was a mere 39 years old, completely broke. He was also known to be an ungodly man who didn’t attend church and drove his carriage with his four horses like a madman through the countryside. So with his demeanour and his art combined I feel he is not far from the extreme metal art of today. And since we also like strong art it felt instantly perfect to use this painting since it also made the title justice. I strongly urge anyone with the slightest interest in art to check out his creations. Such unbelievable talent and such a dark fate felt perfect as an illustration of this album and where we stand as a band today.
Thomas Nielsen, January 2014