Interview with Sturmtiger

Interview with Sturmtiger

- in Written interviews

Hi! Looking back at your origins in Denmark, how do you think your music and vision have evolved since your self-titled 10” LP release in 2004?
Our music has gone through several organic changes over the years. The band started off as thrashy black metal with a different vocalist, then we played raw and primitive war metal and gradually evolved into something even more violent and extreme once we had a full live lineup. The music is getting increasingly complex and sometimes abstract, but we still write straight ahead attack metal songs as well – we don’t really limit ourselves in terms of sticking to an orthodox way of playing a particular subgenre of extreme metal.

How does the historical context of the Sturmtiger assault gun inspire or influence your music and lyrical themes?
The Sturmtiger assault gun is a symbol of siege warfare and relentless onslaught, which is what we try to put into musical form. We do not actually have that many songs influenced by World War II, considering our name, as a lot of the lyrics are about the philosophy behind war and violence, while also attempting to convey the full horror of warfare, neither glorifying it, nor going off on insipid pacifist tirades.

Relocating to London in 2007 marked a significant change for the band. How did this move impact your sound and your approach to creating music?
There was no significant change initially, as it was still a studio project and it was VJ and myself, instead of the previous vocalist JS. The music VJ wrote started to change and there was a huge rise in intensity after the Tank Attack 7” and it sounded like something that absolutely had to be played live. Having the input of an extremely talented and original drummer like BL, who is also a great multi-instrumentalist obviously feeds a lot into the songwriting process, as we share the same ultimate vision, even though the bands we listen to are quite different, apart from the classics. While we used to program some basic drums that BL would significantly improve upon originally, the songs and arrangements are now worked on organically at the rehearsals.

How did the addition of new members influence the dynamics within the band and your live performances?
While VJ writes the riffs and I write the vocal parts, the other members have a huge influence on the arrangements and lyrics, mercilessly forcing us to keep up the high standards we expect of ourselves. Our live shows have significantly improved now that I don’t have to play bass while doing vocals and SB is free to make the bass parts as technical as he likes. I can also act like a proper frontman, instead of being glued to the standing mike as we have a lot of vocal parts. We also now wear masks when we play to convey the utterly inhuman nature of our lyrical themes and have far more of a stage show, although there was something extremely enjoyable about the Motorhead-style power trio concept.

Performing alongside renowned bands like Goatpenis, Vulcano, and Aura Noir must have been quite an experience. How have these experiences shaped your performances and the energy you bring to your live shows?
Playing with great bands is always very inspiring, as you always have a high level to aspire to if you want to make an impression that people remember after seeing those bands. There is also some vain hope that you can somehow outdo those masters or at least impress their fans, so you put everything into your performance.

The transition in roles, with PB moving to vocals and SB joining the band on bass, signifies a change in Sturmtiger’s landscape. How did this shift impact your creative process and the overall sound of your music?
The main impact has been the complete freedom in the complexity of the bass and vocal parts, without any compromises because of having to do vocals and play at the same time. SB also plays more technically and prefers a darker bass sound which has made our music even more ominous and disturbing. I also have free rein in my vocal arrangements now, which makes things more complex and interesting.

Can you elaborate on the conceptualization of Transcendent Warfare and how it represents the band’s philosophical views on war, conquest, and sacrifice?
I would not say that the album is a concept album as such where everything fits a specific theme or subject, or tells a specific tale. The songs are about various aspects of warfare and violence from different perspectives and the way they intersect with subjective and objective reality – like the views of the imperialist in “Imperium” and the rebirth of humanity through death in “Universal Eradicator”. The songs are told from specific The album is about war as a transcendent experience that is something beyond logic, like a force of nature that is unstoppable and ruthless. I prefer for the listeners to hear the music, read the lyrics and look at the art and come to their own conclusions and find their own meanings.

In what ways do you think your music serves as a commentary on the spiritual and instinctive aspects of warfare, as mentioned in the description of Transcendent Warfare?
It is about the cycle of violence being a transcendent human experience that is beyond the logic of modern man. Everyone seems to be against war, yet we have again entered and age of the sword, where the current chaotic state of international relations is used as an opportunity to settle various historical scores and claims for contested territory. Human groups act like competing biomasses driven by an instinct to grow and devour.
There seems to be a subconscious urge for violence and destruction as a spiritual act, veiled by philosophies that excuse it, as opposed to driving it. This instinctive drive transcends the bounds of our cognitive reality, which is why there have always been gods of war in human cultures, or the transformation of monotheist deities into gods of war to give an understandable form to the formless.

Having been active for two decades, how do you perceive the evolution of the metal genre during this time, and where do you see Sturmtiger fitting within this changing landscape?
For better or for worse, the technical skill of musicians has risen significantly because of endless training material available on the internet, as well as a respect for musical virtuosity among the mainstream of metal. However arrogant this may sound, I think that our music is timeless in the way it incorporates elements from all eras of underground metal and has never followed whatever the current trend is.
The biggest issue is that there are few things I hear that are truly groundbreaking and everything seems to be a rehash of things done before the mid-nineties in the underground, but with a better production. There are also too many bands which hide bad riffs under effects to create an attractive soundscape, while their music would sound incredibly boring otherwise. It just depends on whether you view music as simply a sonic experience or actually want to have interesting musical content that would stand up with minimal and primitive effects. Some of the best bands combine the two, like the latest Mystifyer album, but many seem happy to retread a soundscape which is currently in vogue without innovative originality.

How do you see Transcendent Warfare fitting into the overall narrative of Sturmtiger’s discography?
I think of this album as a fitting culmination of 20 years of Sturmtiger establishing its own idiosyncratic sound — it sounds like a unified whole, even though some songs have more of an influence from particular subgenres of metal. We have no set plan for developing our band, I think that whatever influences our newest creations is like a collective unconscious of us as a group, a natural evolution born of chaos.

How do the artwork visuals connect with your music, and what role do they play in conveying the band’s message to your audience?
Our artist Anastasia from Afvneral Morbidart was given free rein in the development of the artwork, with some general ideas coming from us. She studied the lyrics and spent a while listening to the music and had this to say about the cover art in particular: “The artwork uses the imagery of the world beyond interacting with the realities of war. War brings the death of all that lives, destruction and darkness. For instance, there is a dead soldier depicted on the cover, that which was once a human taking on its final appearance. The witness to this is a raven, that has often been associated with losses and bad omens as a result of its entirely black feathers, characteristic crowing and consumption of carrion. From ages past, carrion-eating ravens have symbolized dereliction, ill fortune and death.”
The idea was to have the music, lyrics and art come together to create a unified work, with all of the parts feeding into each other. We spent a long time making it all come together as organically as possible and even the band photo captured a uniquely atmospheric moment. Again, this is not something which I would want to describe in full with my own interpretation, as we want the listeners to understand it in their own ways, especially as there may be some subconscious influences of our own we are not aware of.

Looking ahead, what does the future hold for Sturmtiger? Thank you for your time!
We already have some new material written and we will definitely release some splits before recording the next full-length. Living in a time of chaos and violence is inspirational, and hopefully it will not consume us all in a nuclear conflagration or upon the battlefields of World War III. Nothing is certain in life, apart from death, but we are also working on some very special shows and festival appearances in the upcoming years. The band still feels fresh after two decades to us, so we have endless new lands to conquer! Thanks for the support!

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