MELODY LANE had a great interview with BJÖRN LARSSON, singer of the Swedish Viking Metal band HAVAMAL!
Viking Metal, with powerful orchestrations, epic riffs and a explosive blend of genres, a band highly recommended to fans of ENSIFERUM, AMON AMARTH, EQUILIBRIUM and WINTERSUN. Don't miss their new album "The Shadow Chapter" that will be released next  May 21st  via Art Gates Records.


MELODY LANE: First of all, also if it can sound a bit expectedCan you tell us where does the name HAVAMAL come from?
BJÖRN LARSSON: The name Havamal is founded in a text collection that describes Odins wisdom of an everyday life. In short you can say it's a guide on the way of life for a viking. 

MELODY LANE: The line-up of the band is confirmed, is it the same from the beginning of the bandor have you had changes in the last years? Can you tell us anything about the roots of HAVAMAL? And where the band was born?
BJÖRN LARSSON:The band was born from long-time collaborators and guitar-wielders Lennie and Kjell that have played together for quite some time. They wanted something more epic and grand in a band. Shortly after drummer Rodriguez and myself joined the band, and finally Pontus on bass. We all agreed on the viking concept through common interest and the rich heritage and tales to draw from, and Havamal was born. Rodriguez left shortly, and in came our reigning drum master Andreas, and Pontus left for Canada and Sandra took up his role. When she left We stood without a bass player a while until Tino quite recently completed the hymn-weavers once again.

MELODY LANE: Can you list us 5 songs, from HAVAMAL s discography (including new material), that can define the sound of the band 5 songs that can help our readers to know HAVAMAL at the best.
BJÖRN LARSSON: Wow, that's hard, haha! We've redefined our sound for every record while still maintaining our roots. It´s also something that changes all the time, depending on the mood of the day. But we will give it a try!

Jotun War from our first EP, it has that fast-paced beat combined with the epic keyboards that we love.

Berserker, from Tales from Yggdrasil. We love this one partly because its heavier, but also gets you in the mood for a good old plunder and raiding.

Nidhoggr, from the latest album The Shadow Chapter. It has a more folkmetal feel, and melodic yet groovy.

Kraken, also from the latest album, has an epicness that we really like.

Nornirs Call, The Shadow Chapter, is once again a bit more fast-paced, but with lots of melodies and epic keyboards.

MELODY LANE: Tell us something about the creative process of your music. Is there a main composer or we can talk about a team work?
The songs come from ideas of a single member and then the band works on these ideas in the studio jamming together, or your songs are written in the studio and all the members compose together?
BJÖRN LARSSON: The music is composed through ideas from all the members and We record the demo ideas at Kjells place. Often someone have a great melody and We work around it until a completed song emerges. That is what makes one of Havamals strong foundations and also gives us the definitive "Havamal sound and vibe" that our wonderful fans across the world enjoys. We definitely see the whole creative process as a team work!

MELODY LANE: Can you tell us something about contents and messages of your new album The Shadow Chapter? Can you tell us anything about the whole concept behind The Shadow Chapter? And please tell us where does this title come from?
BJÖRN LARSSON: The title derived from the message that in its turn derived from the concept that runs throughout the whole album. Hope you got that rundown, haha! The concept is the constant battle between the humanity and the monstrosity within every person and that it's never black or white, nor is it good or evil, but grey-scaled. The message is entwined with deep-rhyme lore from the nordic mythology which you will notice once the album is released. To say more would spoil the overall album introduction. Depths are to be found in the lyrics if one looks. The title is founded in both the concept of a dark side of a theoretical "Viking holy script" if one would exist. Sort of a rebellious black sheep amongst the pure and known good. In short; What is truly given facts and what dirt can you find beneath the polished surface?

MELODY LANE: After time, are you totally satisfied with your choices about sound and the writing of your previous album TALES FROM GGDRASIL? If you couldwould you change anything? What did you focus on to make the sound better and perfectly consistent with the musical ideas you had in mind?
BJÖRN LARSSON: Tales from Yggdrasil is a peak for all the members and defined our sound more solidified and direct, so We are extremely proud of that album. Looking back you always notice things that you wondered how it would sound like if you'd done it differently, but no. The album is a pillar in Havamals history and will remain so proudly. Simplicity inthe grandeur, I think. Going back to change things almost never make it better. I think each instrument strives to exceed itself and the rest follow that concept which in return just improves everything musically and the sound image becomes better with each accepted change in a song. The music grows from a core idea and We just follow our preferred flow.

MELODY LANE: So apart from the covid/pandemic situationwill you tour in the next future? Have you already a touring schedule? Any chance for us to see HAVAMAL playing live here in Italy/Europe in the next months/year?
BJÖRN LARSSON: The covid situation has surely halted touring unfortunately, and We had several local and international proposals planned, which got cancelled. But rest assured that our musical raid will tremble the nine realms yet again when this pandemic has reach its end! And We would love to send our musical drakkars to the Italian shores of course! We wish to partake in Odins hymns together with our mighty warriors across all realms of our global World-Tree!

MELODY LANE: Could you tell us two bands, from the actual international scene, youd like HAVAMAL to tour with?... Two bands that would represent a perfect line-up for HAVAMAL to play with and that would be a good opportunity to introduce your music to the fans of these bands in a way that could help you reach a wider audienceBJÖRN LARSSON: As a band, two great acts that We would like to tour with is Ensiferum and Equilibrium. Both bands are masters in their crafts, and we would feel that it would suit our music and stage presence to share a tour with them. Also we are great fans of both bands, so it would be such an honor for us, and great fun as well!

MELODY LANE: We know that to define is to limit’… but how do you define HAVAMALsound? Are you a DEATH METAL banda VIKING METAL banda MELODIC DEATH METAL band…Or…?
BJÖRN LARSSON: We have found it really difficult ourselves to define our genre, but We've ended up with the name powerdeath to define our sound. Epic, foreboding, brutal, symphonic, folky melodeathian tales born from the myths from viking culture and heirtage. Labels limits, but that would define our sound I'd say.

MELODY LANE: Which musicians are/have been your main musical inspirations? And which are your favorite bands nowadays?
BJÖRN LARSSON: There are just so many amazing musicians out there so its really difficult to narrow it down, but to mention a few that we look up to: Guitarists Tipton and Downing of Judas Priests. Holopainen of Nightwish is a great inspiration when it comes to keyboards and songwriting. For drums we have to go with Lechner from Septic Flesh. We also finds great inspiration in Älvestam of Scar Symmetry, great vocalist! Steve DiGiorgio of Death (and much more) is another great musician. As we said, its really hard to pick just a few, there are so many haha!

MELODY LANE: As a musician, what has been your biggest achievement to date and what do you want to achieve in the near future?
BJÖRN LARSSON: I think it's that We've actually created and taken the Havamal concept to where it is today and where thousands of fans across the world listen to us daily! It's both humbling and hard to imagine, but the response is amazing and We can't underline how important our loyal fans are for the Havamal saga! A thousand thanks and Odins blessings upon you all! In the future, as mentioned, We wish to meet up with and party with each and everyone of our grand Havamal horde! So a headlining world-tour would be epic and a dream come true!

MELODY LANE: Until today...What was the most important concert for HAVAMALcareer? And why?
BJÖRN LARSSON: There will always be some shows that sticks in the memory, and everyone has different reasons of course. But something we all can agree on actually a small local gig in Stockholm a few years back. The reason is that this was the gig where we truly defined our sound live, as well as the first time we went nuts with our stage show, image and outfits. Without that small gig we wouldn't be where we are today! We love club gigs, as it really brings you close to the fans and family!

MELODY LANE: In the endA message from you to all MELODY LANE readers.
BJÖRN LARSSON: We, the hymn-weavers, give Odins eternal gratitude to all that reads this and that gives us the spirit and motivation to continue create The musical stories of Havamal! You are the stalwart horde the aesirs themselves would stand proudly next to in a shield-wall against the enemies of Asgaard and Miklagaard! Hail our fearsome paganists across Yggdrasils branches! Hail the aesir legacy that gave us the stories to create our concept from! Hail my bandmates that is my second family and closest friends! Hail Odins infinite wisdom! Hail Havamal!



Article by MIKE MATTY