Monday, 18 July 2011

Heiden - black metal revelation from Czech Republic

At the time of making PANZERFAUST #6(66), I discovered this Czech black metal band called HEIDEN. I was really impressed by their first two albums, "Tinne" and "Era 2". Also the third CD, "Obsidian", was even better than the two previous ones and it trully kills. Musically the band developed into very original and atmospheric black metal, one which you shouldn't miss, especially at the time when post black metal is getting so popular. Here's this old interview with HEIDEN then... Man, I definitely recommend them to you... Soon I'll publish some reviews of HEIDEN music!
Hellooo HEIDEN! Nice to see all of you answering this interview! OK., let’s start with a question about the band’s name, which intrigued me a little to be honest. HEIDEN – hmm, I’ve found out that Erhard Heiden was a name of SS Reichsführer, who died in 1933. Tell me, is there any connection to this person, speaking of your bandname? To be honest I really hope there isn’t ha, ha... What did you have in your mind while taking such?
Kverd: Hi, hehehe no there is not any connection between our band name and SS Reichsführer. We chose this name because it was very good word to reflect our musical impression in our beginnings, not more not less.

But I think it has a German origin? I had a pleasure to listen to two of your albums. And I have to admit that there’s great progression between "Tinne" and “Era 2”. The arrangements are much better, songs’ structures much improved and basically the music is more interesting. Tell me, how do you see the differences between both albums? Did they happen because of line up changes or maybe it was just a matter of taking different influences what caused a slight change of your style and its general improvement? You also clearly divide your discography / band’s history on two eras, the new, second era starting with the new album. So, should we call “Era 2” as a new beginning for HEIDEN then?
Kverd: Yes, totally. We have recorded two Pagan/black metal albums and now we don’t feel any motivation to continue in this musical impression. “Era 2” is more close and decent without typical pagan cliché. Now we feel ourselves more inspired by our own feelings and we are going to reflect this fact into our music as best as we can. We are in whirls of understanding.

In that case, would you call your music black metal? Personally I can find – along with the influences from Norwegian scene – also some almost rock riffs in the album (in its calmer parts), similar even to the bands like KATATONIA, while in other parts I can hear similarities to the recent works of ENSLAVED. What do you think of these comparisons? Is BATHORY also one of your influences?
Varnag: Heh, it‘s very difficult to call or to describe our style. We are listening to many and many music without barriers and when we compose new song everybody add some his own idea, then look like as we want. But some influences from KATATONIA and ENSLAVED .. hmm hmm .. Yes, we hear it too!
Kverd: We call our music style „Blackened metal“.

One of the best things about “Era 2” is its catchiness. This music really sticks in listener’s mind, makes me bang my head but is also quite melodic, but without use of keyboards, etc. “Tinne” had loads of keyboard / acoustic / folk parts, so tell me when did you feel tired of these instruments?
Kverd: I think that we wanted to create different atmosphere. On older albums there was typical pagan feeling and for „Era 2“ we wanted something different, more closed and maybe little bit psychedelic. „Era 2“ isn´t album about ancient times, it is about our actual feelings.

Could you give me a quick overview of “Era 2” lyrics? I know there are translations of them in the booklet, but I always like to know the idea author had when creating the lyrics…
Kverd: I really don´t like exact  explanation of my lyrics, because the words can create many pictures. For me it´s stupid to give „the only one picture“ to our listeners, but I will write down some short associations:
„Ledarium“: This song is about something that we left behind.
„Blame“: As the title says, it´s about feelings of person who suffer under the pressure of her own conscience.
„People of north“: My vision of end of a nation from the north,
„Proxima Centauri“: Very personal lyric about craving for something unattainable, craving for „my star“.
„Under the iron wings of stars“: It´s about fear of destiny.
„Everyone´s fate“: Einsk´s lyric about „journey to the second riverbank“.
„Night wandering“: It´s something like prayer for uderstanding. It´s about flying through silence of night as something ethereal.
„Land of tears“: It´s a story telling by a land (of tears). Story about person who found a destiny on the bottom of cold, dark water.

Thankx! I find the front cover for “Era 2” as quite interesting. It shows a burning symbol, which in the end doesn’t turn into ash, but actually survives the fire and becomes more visible. What’s the meaning of it? Is there any connection of it to the strength and ability to self-rebuild of the nature?
Kverd: The meanings of the cover is “rebirth” in flames of fire. Now we are different, but we don’t negate our roots. Connection to self-rebuilt of the nature is very good idea, it really makes me glad that you are so attentive!

Tell me something about SVARDENVYRD, your previous band. What was its history, is this band still active? Band’s name sounds strangely… Scandinavian I dare to say, so I guess musically your were into Norwegian black metal a lot, am I right? Why did you decide to leave this band and form HEIDEN?
Einsk: SVARDENVYRD was found in 2003 and it was our first band. We have recorded demo “Zmrzle plameny nenavisti” – it was primitive undergound black metal with keyboards. After this act Kverd and Varnag left the band and founded HEIDEN. They wanted to play different music so this is the reason for their departure. For some years had SVARDENVYRD only two members – me and Typhon. We have recorded debut album “Obycej slunovratu” in 2005 – it was pagan black metal with acoustic guitars in eastern vein. This was my last stuff with SVARDENVYRD. Now I am HEIDEN member only. SVARDENVYRD is still active but I don’t know more information.

HEIDEN’s first album was titled "Potomkům pozemského soumraku", released for ECLIPSE Rec. Tell me something more about this CD and also about those beginnings of the band. I remember ECLIPSE was also releasing quite interesting black metal magazine, but do they still exist?
Kverd: This CD is our first long-playing album. It was recorded in a Forest studio in Brno in the vein of straight-lined melodic pagan black metal. Album contains vast bulk of typical natural atmosphere or “pagan feeling”, songs are fast and raw. Lyrics are based on fascination of natural laws. ECLIPSE prod. still exists, but they changed a name, actual name is LONG AGO RECORDS.

What does the sentence from this CD’s booklet mean: “HEIDEN jest ideove spriznen s myslenkovou podstatou Noveho Usvitu”? I heard it’s kind of brotherhood or something between few Czech bands?
Einsk: “Nový Úsvit” means “New Dawn”...It was some kind of brotherhood. Founding bands were HEIDEN, HYPERBOREAN DESIRE, KORIUM, STVOR, SVARDENVYRD. These bands were formed in same year. We have decided to contact another young bands and try to join. The goal was support and friendship. Now it’s broken and every band goes on its own way. Nový Úsvit doesn’t exist anymore.

OK., let’s change the subject now… How would you estimate the Czech scene, especially black metal bands from your country (Czech Rep is rather known thanks to many death / grind acts!)? I personally like MASTER’S HAMMER and AGMEN, but except of these two acts, rest is just a crap, like INFERNO, MANIAC BUTCHER, TROLLECH… Have you seen TROLLECH’s pathetic and unbelievably funny videoclip?? Where’s the point in making something like that? How can anyone treat them seriously after watching such a crap? How was it received in Czech scene, do you know? I know you were about to release a split CD with TROLLECH?
Einsk: Czech black metal scene is not rich, you’re right. There are lot of grind and death metal bands and only few black metal bands. It’s hard to find really good black metal band here. As you said MASTER’S HAMMER – its worldwide known band. But it’s not my taste… But I respect their work. AGMEN, MANIAC BUTCHER, INFERNO – I don’t listen  their music. But these bands are popular in foreign countries, especially INFERNO. TROLLECH isn’t crap in my opinion. Yes videoclip was funny you right, but music is happy, catching and heartful. TROLLECH are neither evil nor “true”. It’s like pagan metal bands. They have their own image and I must say you that TROLLECH is cult in Czech republic. Its most popular BM band here. For me is their work more sympathic than all these evil poses and “grim” suicide guys. TROLLECH are our friends and when we were younger, they were our favourite band, so for us is satisfaction to release split CD with them.

Oh yeah, this split CD is reallt great, I know that now! I always wanted to ask someone from Czech Republic about that chapel made of human bones in Kutna Hora… Have you ever been there? I never had any opportunity to visit it, but I guess it is quite outstanding experience to be in such place. Do you know anything about the history of this chapel, why did they decorate it using bones, skulls, etc?
dalias qelhma: Yes, I have been there two times. It’s really fascinating place if you don’t meet here hundreds of Russian or Japanese tourists, hehe. It’s much-frequented relic. For information about this place you can visit

Czech and Poles are rather similar countries, speaking of history and culture. Definitely both nations like beer a lot ha ha. But what I like in Czech Republic is the fact, that your country wasn’t enslaved by any religions, especially christianity and nowadays remains atheistic. Every metalhead in Poland is jealous because of that ha, ha. How does it really look like from inside, are there any influences from Church on the politics, etc? Which point in the history of your country was most important for stopping the domination of the Church and religion?
Einsk: Yes you’re right absolutely. Our country and government is mostly atheistic, thanks GOD, hehe! Yes, there is Church faction in government, but it is weakest faction in government. Sometimes they have stupid ideas about abortion prohibition, but that’s all. We don’t have problems with satanic gigs and anything similar. I am very glad that Church doesn’t have huge might here. It is horrible to watch TV and listen to news from Poland where Church rules, and prohibited abortion etc.. (Oh, I wish abortion was the only problem we have with fuckin church… but it’s not! – P666) Maybe will be more useful to concern political extremism. I am not historian, but in my opinion this atheistic sentiment came from Socialistic age of Czechoslovakia. Hard to say...

I’m curious does black metal music – its lyrics, hateful message – have any controversial feedback among the Czech society? I mean here in Poland every year we have some catholic politicians who want to “free the enslaved youth from this satanic music” (quote), they try to forbid this music from selling it… and if there’s black metal gig in of the cities, they write to city’s mayor to cancel the show… Ha, everyone has heard about GORGOROTH’s gig in Krakow from few years ago. How does it look like in Czech Rep then?
Einsk: In Czech Republic politics don’t know what black metal is, hehe. As your politics would like to fight against black metal, here is the same situation with nazi gigs and shows. This guys (nazis) are very hated by majority society, so politics cant risk to neglect anything. In Czech Rep. nobody cares about black metal gigs and bands here.

Tell me what do you listen to nowadays, what recent albums did you like most? Also I would like to know your opinion about the popularity of new wave of black metal bands, playing either so called religious BM (bands like WATAIN, DEATHSPELL OMEGA, KRIEGSMASCHINE, ONDSKAPT) or suicidal / funeral doom BM (SHINING, XASTHUR, etc). These genres are really popular now, even if sometimes one may have hard time to understand what are these bands really about seeing this rat race for “which band is most hateful of all” ha!
Einsk: At this time I listen to: ENSLAVED their last albums are amazing! SATYRICON, ARCTURUS, SOLEFALD, MAYHEM, LOITS, EMPEROR, KATATONIA, TAAKE, DHG, KEEP OF KALESSIN, last CELTIC FROST, NEGURA BUNGET... and many many more. Few years ago was popular folk and pagan BM, now its suicide BM and religious... I think that most important is fact that this stream brings band like SHINING, I think that next (for example) “cyber” stream brings another great bands.
WATAIN – last album isn’t bad, but boring for me. DEATHSPELL OMEGA – interesting band with nontraditional work. KRIEGSMACHINE – I never heard CD but I saw them live in Katovice as support on NOKTURNAL MORTUM gig – they are not bad. ONDSKAPT – sorry, I have never heard about that. SHINING last album is for me absolutely brilliant, music is great! Respect! XASTHUR etc. Its not for me :-)

Member’s profile on your website says that one of your main interests is Celtic mythology. Tell me, what does intrigues you in it especially? Is it its close relationship with nature or something more? Did you study any books about it recently? How about the Czech’s pagan culture / Slavs?
Kverd: I thing that most important for me is close relationship with our own land and spirituality. I feel an old Boiohaemum under my steps, I feel it in the air, water, fire, earth. It doesn’t matter if we play pagan metal or death metal or pop. I feel this spirituality inside me and I´m so pride for this. Yes I have read historical studies and facts about Celtic civilisation, about old Boiohaemum, but most important is a finding a personal connection with history.

How often does HEIDEN play live? Did you manage to play memorable gigs, maybe opening to some well known bands? Everyone knows that Czech have got some of best summer festivals, tell me do you visit them as a fan or maybe sometimes also with the band to play?
Varnag:We have about 10 live shows per year and it’s enough. It’s hard divide our spare time between live shows, play in rehearsal room, because we don’t earn money by music … It’s beautiful dream for us, hehe. For next year we hope to manage our mini-tour across nearly foreign countries, but for now it’s only idea.
Kverd: It would be also very nice to visit Poland for performance and come to know some information about you and your metal background. Maybe this idea comes true.

If HEIDEN was a great historic figure, what figure would you be and why?
Kverd: We are that we are. I really don’t want to be a great historic figure. I think that rest of the band approve of me.

Don’t want to play?? Tell me at the end what are HEIDEN’s plans for the nearest future! Did you start working on the new album? How do you imagine the future development of your music?
Varnag: Yeah, now we’re thinking and working about new material for new long-play CD and we’ll want bring to listeners new and fresh energy, which is inside HEIDEN now!
Kverd: We are going to concentrate our minds of creating a new album. We also going to realize some merchandise and live shows. For actual informations check

OK., that’s it man! Thanks a lot for this interview, hope to see some more killer tunes from HEIDEN soon!
Kverd: Many thanks to you for your interest, time, support, observation. Hope to meet you sometimes. SALUTE to all metal fans in Poland. Keep your hearts open, when your eyes are closed.
News from HEIDEN camp are:
"We are going to visit Shaark recording studio to create our new album. After successful OBSIDIAN we are preparing new stuff with mysterious name DOLORES, which will contain eight new songs. Release date hasn't been set yet, but just now you can see front cover artwork created by talented painter Luděk Řezáč. We also prepared short preproduction video to show you a background of our new stuff. More informations, photos and videos will follow soon, stay tuned."
Preproduction video link :

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