Interview: Battlelore's Jyri Vahvanen

JyriVahvanen As we wait for the release of the fifth Battlelore Album, The Last Alliance, I interviewed founding member and guitarist, Jyri Vahvanen.

How did you decide to write music about the Tolkien Mythology?

I use to play Middle-earth role-playing game years before I even started to play in a band. I red Tolkien's books like LotR, Silmarillion, The Hobbit etc. and a few years later I started to play guitar and bass and joined in a band. It was black metal and not exactly the dearest metal genre for me. I do not consider my self as a Satanist, but paganism is very close to my heart. Anyway, the music wasn't exactly what I wanted to play so I decided to found my own band, Battlelore and for me it was a very natural choice that I united Tolkien's Middle-earth and metal music which both are very dear to me.

You style of music has been called variously beauty and the beast, silk and steel, and symphonic metal, how would you describe your style?

You just described our style quite well. Our record label have used the slogan "Epic fantasy metal" for our music and I think that it describes our music perfectly. We have this Tolkien's Middle-earth fantasy theme and we use quite versatile elements in our music. Personally I don't care about the genre spicifications because we just want to to compose our music right from our hearts and without any limits.

What stories and characters can we expect to hear songs about on The Last Alliance?

I have tried to write our lyrics in more 'universal' way but still in contact with Middle-earth. But of course there are songs which could be easily pointed from Tolkien's writings. Just for exaple: Mouth of Sauron, The Great Eagles, Radagast The Brown, Minas Itheil etc.

Have you ever thought about recording a concept album with an accompanying film/live performance to tell larger stories?

I've been thinking to make a concept album some day but I don't know about the film or live show with it. Actually there was a small continuous story in our Evernight album which included three songs, but that is hardly a concept album. As I said, maybe some day...

What characters or races do you prefer to write songs about?

All of them. I do not want to pick any sides between the good and the evil.

Which song/songs will be released as singles?

There won't be any official singles, because our record label doesn't do that. I believe that Napalm Rec. has released only a one single in their whole career.

But there will be three downloadable web-singles, published in our Myspace site with printable covers.

Which song/songs are you planning to make videos for off of The Last Allaince?

There will be at least one video and it will be from the opening track Third Immortal.

As the release of The Last Alliance approaches, I will be posting reviews of the previous four Battlelore Albums.  My Review of Where Shadows Lie is already out (read it here).

Battlelore has posted a sample of The Last Alliance on their MySpace page.

Review: Where the Shadows Lie by Battlelore

[reus name="Music Review" meta="cd=Where the Shadows Lie&artist=Battlelore&release=2001&recorded=Music Bros Studios during July - November 2001&genre=symphonic metal&length=46:59&label=Napalm&rating=10"]Where the Shadows lie is the first album by the Symphonic metal band Battlelore. It is hard to explain this band to those who have never hear their Tolkien inspired lyrics.  Their style has been called variously silk and steel, beauty and the beast, and symphonic metal.  It is a mix of styles bringing together elements of rock, blues, folk, classical, and doom metal.

This is a brilliant album, recorded and mixed by Miitri Aaltonen at Music Bros Studios during July - November 2001.

Cover painting is “Morgoth and High King of Noldor” copyright Ted Nasmith and HarperCollins, 1998.

The Band

Kaisa Jouhki - vocals Patrik Mennander - vocals Tommi Havo - guitar Jyri Vahvanen - guitar Miika Kokkola - bass Henri Vahvanen - drums Maria - keyboards

Guest Musicians

  • Jyrki Myllärinen - Classical guitars

The Tracks

  • Swordmaster stars-5 The lyrics are a bit weak on this track, but The mood and the music are a fitting ode to the Swordmaster.
  • The Grey Wizard stars-5 This song follows the formula established with the sword master.  I happen to like the formula so I love the song. It tells Gandalf’s life story for the time he is the grey wizard.
  • Raging Goblin stars-4 Fitting its theme of Goblins on the warpath this track has a harder, more chaotic edge.  The force of the blast beats and growling vocals evoke the stories of the Goblins and the Olog-hai.
  • Journey to Undying Lands stars-5 (See Video here) Great song, mesmerizing and powerful.
  • Shadowgate stars-5 The tale of Minas Morgul is told through a sparse song that barrows many elements from techno/industrial music, but it stays a symphonic metal song.  This is probably my favorite track on the album.
  • Fangorn stars-5 Join the ents in their attack on Isengard.  You have to love any song with the line: Die, die uruk-hai!
  • The Green Maid stars-5 The cleanest and most stripped down song on the album: nothing more than a guitar and vocals.  Hauntingly beautiful and echoing.  Luthien Tinuviel is well remembered in this retelling of the great love story from The Silmarillion.
  • Khazad-Dum, Pt 1 (Ages of Mithril) stars-3 The origin of Moria.  I think this is an overly simplistic song for Battlelore.
  • Ride With the Dragons stars-5 The tale of Morgoth''s creation of the dragons.  This song sent shivers through me at times, maybe from the story, maybe the music, or perhaps it was just the dragons.

Get you copy of Where the Shadows Lie by Battlelore from Amazon, eMusic , and Battlelore - Where the Shadows Lie.