They first started out as Heavy / Speed Metal band with the albums and EP („Queen of The Midnight Fire“ / „Steeds of Time“) and later they added more black art from the first wave of Black Metal, creating an interesting Heavy / Black / Speed Metal fusion. A little bit we could liken them to our Malokarpatan band, although both bands are different, but some contact points are there and even both bands will perform at a concert in Slovenia (13.1.2018). Later the band released a great "Hounds of Meggido" album and this year's "Hammer of Satan's Vengeance" (2017). You know it when you find unknown band, in addition from the eastern block and you do not expect much from it, but the album will burn you hole in your head. The same thing happened to me when I started listening to the new CD and I thought it would be cool to interview this interesting band! I have to admit since then I have found more bands from this country and it seems their scene has something to offer. Their music emits the legacy of the 80's Metal, they adhere to all the basic rules of that era, including the authentic sound and the necessary cruelty. We are happy to present you a VIGILANCE interview ... Gillian (guit, vox) answered questions.
Greetings to Slovenia. I have to admit I noticed VIGILANCE yet with "Hammer of Satan's Vengeance" album. In Slovakia you are quite unknown band, so could you introduce your band?
Greetings! We are four guys from Slovenia, who share the passion for all things heavy metal. The band was established in 2010 and we've been terrorizing people with our own brand of heavy metal ever since!
I did not hear your first recordings, but according to some hints you've played Speed / Heavy Metal. Last album is already largely influenced by the first Black Metal wave. How did this development change come about?
Me and Tine formed Vigilance because we both wanted to play NWOBHM inspired music, so at the time it came to us naturally. I played in a lot of bands before, but I was never quite happy with the results and at a certain point I started writing stuff that I wanted to release someday. All those ideas came to fruition when I met Tine as most of the stuff I've written through the years became the "Steeds of Time" EP.
Even though we were happy with the music at the time, we always wanted to find something that was our own and it took us a while, but eventually we stumbled upon what you can hear on the last two records.
As much as we love early Iron Maiden and the like, we are also fans of other genres and those influences slowly crept into the sound of Vigilance.
After a lot of line-up changes and through the overall evolution of the band, I'd still say we are a 100% heavy metal band, right down to the core!
What reactions have you got for "Hammer of Satan's Vengeance"? I have read some reviews and almost all the reviewers have some objections. How do you take review criticism?
I have to admit I do not follow internet reviews very closely, but I do read some of them here and there.
We are mostly a live band and one of the reasons why we love to be on the road is the fact that you do get a lot of good feedback just from talking with the fans and the people who come to the shows. In that aspect, the feedback has been really great and we are very happy about that.
There have been some so-so reviews, but I don't get upset in the slightest because of that. Constructive criticism is always good, but by the end of the day we do things the way we see fit, you know? We are well aware that the style of music we play appeals to a very specific crowd and that's a good thing.
Personally I'm excited about your new album, I was surprised not only by your style but also by instrumental and compositional performance, the power of songs with a fantastic atmosphere. How are VIGILANCE tracks composed? I mean how do you create the songs and which elements do you prefer to make the particular song publishable?
Thank you very much!
What is really important to us is something that has been forgotten in metal music sometime ago, but I see more and more bands returning to that old and arcane art of writing a hook. I mean, we all like speed and aggression, don't we? But what good is that without having a hook that gives you that sense of epicness and memorability that the old bands possessed back in the day. So when we do songs we always look for the stuff that gives us that wonderful feeling we get when we listen to bands that we really like. We mostly write things together as a band so everyone brings something different to the table and we then decide on what elements work better and what kind of vibe we are looking for, but most of the times songs just kinda happen while we jam or work on something else so it's a very spontaneous process.
Do you remember your beginnings when you started with Metal music, which bands and albums had the biggest impact on you? It's clear the most powerful influence for you is the classic NWOBHM...
It was really easy for me to pick up this kind of music as my father was a tape trader back in the 80's so we had a shitload of records at home. I remember being very excited over Van Halen when I was a kid… I was instantly drawn to the sound of electric guitars, there was just something magical about that. What sealed the deal for me and sent me on a lifetime journey through the wonderful world of music, was Iron Maiden's "Killers" and to this very day I still consider it the best album ever recorded.
In terms of what defines me as a songwriter in Vigilance, I'd say you are right! I like a lot of styles of both rock and metal, but the core of the band is based on those powerful guitar harmonies and the punky attitude of the NWOBHM.
Also Black Metal is your source of inspiration, especially the first wave ... What fascinates you most about these old bands? I've read somewhere that your favorite band is also the Czech Master's Hammer, probably with their oldest demos and "Ritual" debut. How do you take their latest works?
While the second wave is responsible for creating some of the most interesting stuff in metal music and established the well known staples of the genre in terms of songwriting and image, I find the so called first wave way more inspirational because of one thing mostly - diversity.
I think those early bands were all inspired by different styles and all of them were very different musically, but what sort of binds them into this one "realm" is the vibe that was common to all of them. Some bands were eerie and more traditional sounding and then you had the more extreme side of the coin, the stuff that was the basis for all extreme metal to come. We are very much after that vibe with Vigilance as we really like it!
We are huge fans of Master's Hammer and we actually played a cover of "Pád Modly" in our set a few years ago. The first two albums are classics, but I have to admit I am not very familiar with their later work, so I can't really judge. I have that on my list, might be the time to correct that!
At the first listening of "Hammer of Satan's Vengeance" I thought you were pretty close to the early Mercyful Fate from spiritual and musical side, especially to their debut. Your songs are alike raw and melodic with the necessary dark aura and scary feeling...
Thanks, that is a very big compliment to us!
We are all big fans of Mercyful Fate and I think we wear their influence on our sleeves with pride. I think what influenced us the most was the peculiar way the songs are structured. We like to spice up things with tempo changes and multi-part riffs and I won't even deny that Fate's first two records have a lot to do with that haha!
Could you write something about the sound you've got on the new CD? Was it recorded digitally and edited to sound as analogue? I cannot get rid of the feeling that this could not have been created in 2017, you might have brought the magic of the 70s and 80s into the sound, it is so raw and natural...
That is exactly what we wanted to achieve, the natural and saturated sound of a long gone era. Both analogue and digital techniques and gear were used, but what really makes the difference, at least that is my belief, is the way you approach the recording sessions. We always try to play with gusto and devotion as that really makes the difference in the overall sound and performance. We also do longer takes than usual, we don't edit at all and we don't manipulate audio more than we need to. With that said we still embrace some of the digital aspects of the recording realm as we are well aware of the benefits and we don't believe that digital is inherently inferior or bad, but that is a topic for another time!
The harmonics of the guitar riffs, but also the rhythm, are also adapted to this period, the melody is archaic, full of nostalgia and occult spawn. Is it natural for you to write such and old and classic harmonies?
We were very determined to pursue this kind of style from the get go, but I think we really perfected the craft through the years. Some things in the band changed and evolved, but this core element is here and even stronger than it was before. It has become second nature to us so we don't really think about it, it just comes out when we play and it is something that defines us as musicians and as a band as a whole.
The lyrics are greatly adapted to dark music as well as the title of the album. Do you consider yourself as Satanist Rebel or Satanist Practitioner? What does Satan mean to you, are you looking at him as a mystical being as he was portrayed by Abraham's religions?
I have been really into all things macabre since I was very young, it was a weird hobby for a kid to say the least haha. But it was always more of a fascination than anything serious and I prefer to read books on certain matters than doing the stuff written in them. I am equally interested in various forms of Satanism as I am in Christian liturgy… I don't know, I guess I'm just a curious person by nature. If I'd have to chose, I'd say I'm definitely more of a rebel.
Why we do all these dark themes is, I guess, because they were always more interesting to me than anything else, really. I see darkness in heavy metal the same way I see darkness in books and movies; it interests me, it intrigues me and it stirs my imagination. Plus it makes for a really good entertainment. Heavy metal was always about escapism and the tough, dark side of life.
Do you believe the world is controlled by God and Satan, and human civilization evolves to good or evil by their power? How do you look at similar Christian interpretations?
I'd say no to the first part. I think people's inclinations are defined by what they do and even then we can argue about where lies the line between true evil and true good. With so many different moral systems around the globe, that are ironically so contradictive, the best thing is to stay true to yourself and your beliefs and maintain a healthy dose of respect for others and their beliefs.
Your lyrics are also influenced by mythology or historical events. Which mythology is closest to you and what historical periods or events fascinate you most?
There are a lot of myths and legends across the world that kick our imaginations into a higher gear, but lately we've been more and more interested in Slavic mythology as I think it is sadly overlooked by many people, including Slavs ourselves. I think we will incorporate more of that into our future work hopefully.
"Nekropola Tiranov" is sort of our first venture into that as it is roughly related to some local legends and our home town.
We find a lot of historical events interesting and our drummer is a historian by trade, so we have a lot of inspiration in that particular area haha.
Now we are experiencing Heavy Metal comeback in some way, the young bands are coming up with a legacy of old masters, most of these bands also carry a dark message in occult lyrics and adapted image. What do you think caused this wave?
I think us young punters just decided to take matters into our own hands as fans of the music. There were not many bands doing this on an underground level, so we just started doing music that we wanted to listen to ourselves. I might be wrong, but that's my overall impression. Interestingly it has taken off really well!
Finally I would like to mention our Slovak Malokarpatan band which also plays roughly Heavy / Black Metal and their new "Nordkarpatenland" album came out a few days ago at Invictus Productions. Have you met with their music already? Which bands would you recommend from Slovenia?
Yes! We love the band and "Nordkarpatenland" is even better than their previous stuff. We have actually already traded albums with them and I can proudly say that we'll be sharing the stage with them in January 2018, when they'll be playing here in Slovenia.
There are a lot of really cool bands in Slovenia, both old and new. From the contemporary scene it is worth checking out Hellsword, which are a fantastic blaspemous speed metal trio. Lots of NWOBHM inspired parts too. Our local friends from Morbid Creation also deliver in spades if you are into oldschool style Death Metal. No wankery, just good old slimy riffs!
That would be all from me, hope I probably did not forget anything important, maybe just how can Slovak fans get to your merchandise? Thanx for the interview and thank you for answering my questions, have a good time!
Our merchandise is available through our bandcamp page but you can also give us a nudge on our facebook page or at firstname.lastname@example.org, as we check all channels pretty regularly. Hopefuly we come to Slovakia soon and you can get it directly from us while we crack a few cold beers!
Thank you for the interview and keep the torches lit!
Gilian 11. 12. 2017 Mortuary
Hammer of Satan's Vengeance