It was nice to get a folk metal related release from Slovakia this year in the form of a new EP by Achsar. Formed in 2004, it has been 5 years since their debut album (“Septentrionalis”) and they have finally gotten back together with “In Battle I Was Born”… 5 tracks, 18 minutes of epicness and a great comeback of sorts for them. I was able to have vocalist Milan and guitarist Peter answer some questions regarding the new EP, the long layoff, playing live and a few other things…. check it out…..
Congrats on your new EP “In Battle I Was Born”…..what has been the response to it so far?
Milan: “Thanks! Despite self-releasing of the EP, it spread out pretty fast, and the reviews are very positive.”
We do use some folk instruments in our music but also a death/trash/black/etc. metal elements
There was quite a long span in between this release and your full length (5 years)….what was going on in the Achsar world that caused such a delay?
Milan: “The band went through significant changes. Martin Sivák replaced me behind the drums, thus I do only the vocals since then. So the band has grown to six members. The post of guitarist was changed later and was cast by Peter Patai. Bass guitar was taken by Matej Brtko. Keyboards didn’t go unchanged either and were cast by Marián Potocký. The second guitar remains the same with Michal Ag behind. However as you wrote, these changes took place within five years timeline. We kept working and playing, doing gigs and all these personal changes might cause some creative stagnation. Anyway, we are over it, and new material is piling up.”
Has the time in between releases changed or altered your sound/style on any level?
Milan: “The major difference is that the band itself changed a lot since the last CD, hence new influencer can be heard, but the workflow remains more or less untouched. We work all together.“
There are a multitude of different styles on display on the EP……do you feel you are still defining your sound, or do you have the ability to jump into different styles easily?
Peter: “Each one of us is influenced by different bands and everyone gives something unique for him into a new song. Although the production is more varied, from my point of view you can still hear our unique “Achsar” style.“
How would you describe your music in the folk metal world? Are there a couple of specific sub genres that work for you?
Peter: “We do not consider ourselves as a pure folk metal band. We do use some folk instruments in our music but also a death/trash/black/etc. metal elements. I dare to say that most of our song has a different vibe or atmosphere.“
Who are your biggest influences musically?
Peter: “As I mentioned, each one is shaped by different bands. from AC/DC, Rhapsody of Fire, Ensiferum, Amon Amarth to Dream Theater and many many more.“
What other influences do you have whether it be books, movies, tv etc?
Milan: It is a fantasy themed books and movies for sure. But for our new production which we work on right now, we focus on Slovak tales and myths.
Live and Death
What sort of metal scene is there in Slovakia?
Peter:” I’d say that majority of bands in Slovakia is on death metal scene or some sort of combination of death and other subgenre, but you can of course find black-metal, doom-metal or pagan bands etc.“
How do you feel about playing live? Do you have any upcoming tour plans?
Peter: “Every one of us enjoys the live gigs a big time. That energy and support which we receive from our fans is unbelievable. Then you know that your work make sense and keeps us to continue to create a new things. We don’t plan the tour such as but this and next year we do plan few shows and to attend some festivals in Slovakia, Czech Republic, Austria and Poland.“
Any favorite music from 2019 so far?
Peter: “For me it is Dream Theater – Distance Over Time and of course our “In Battle I Was Born” :)“
Milan: “For me Rhapsody Of Fire – The Eight Mountain for sure.“
“Thank you for the interview, we are glad that our production is known abroad. We hope that our full-length album will be completed soon, and we’ll offer you something new from our production again.“