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Geir Marius Halleland (Thunderbolt)

Interview with Geir ''Marius'' Halleland from Thunderbolt
by Grigoris Chronis at 02 November 2006, 2:40 AM

Love & Destruction; the perfect time machine for the glorious 80's this album may be. 'Smoking', ample and ruthless, Norwegian heroes Thuderbolt  are kickin' our asses with merciless force and some more info is essential from Geir Marius Halleland. Sir, be our guest…

Marius, Greetings from the Metal Temple mag!

Thanks, man!

Before we chat a little bit on your new album, some news was already spread really fast: Vegard, the band’s skinsman, has decided to leave the band. Really, what happened?

He works in a management firm in Oslo, and he has a lot of successful artists on his roster. The workload there became too big for him to continue with Thunderbolt as he was. It was a friendly departure and we still have a lot of contact with him, because he is still our little bobo.

Have you found the guy who will replace him behind the kit?

I think we got the one we were after last week, but we’ll have to try him out one more time to be sure. But as for now, it looks like a replacement is secured.

Now, on to Love & Destruction: a solid Heavy Metal album, all the way! Can you give us some details concerning the songwriting and recording period of the album?

It took a while to get it done. The songs were all arranged when we entered the studio but we took our time mixing it and correcting some ’leakage’ between the tracks. The songs were written by the band as a whole, while Frank and Tony were the ones who were most present during the mixing.

How would you judge your newest release compared to your debut album, Demons & Diamonds?

A bit ’darker’, I think. The sound is a bit experimental compared to Demons & Diamonds, with more atmospheric guitars etc.

I see you are keen on entitling your albums in the Good & Bad formula. Maybe your next album should be called Heaven & Hell?

We were thinking of Sugarcubes & Kerosene! Seriously, we have played around with the notion that we could make it a trilogy before we move on to another concept.

To get serious again: Love & Destruction has received good reviews all over the Metal world. How satisfied are you by this reaction?

It’s a bit of both, as far as I’m concerned, but it’s nice to see that the work is ’paid off’. The real ’pay off’ is in the audience’s reactions, however, and one should not be too occupied with what critics might say.

Do you feel an artist would pay full attention to what Metal fans and the Media have to say on his album?

The fans more than the Media, I think. But we are stubborn and we will do as we please anyway. It’s not to be ’cocky’, but life is too short to worry too much, right?

Thunderbolt’s music is clearly influenced by the ’legend’ of Iron Maiden. Which other bands would you refer to as ’motivating’ for Thunderbolt’s sound?

Lots of diverse bands. Our tastes cover Hard Rock, Prog, Hardcore, Blues and Country among other things. Maiden is cool enough but we don’t try to model ourselves after them, because the original can’t be beat. We are pretty tired of the comparison so watch out for some genre-dodging madness on the next album!

Isn’t it a sign of decadence for Metal music, to still be chattin’ about the (every time) new Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica or Slayer album, the same time that limited attention is given to tons of excellent ’young’ bands? Shouldn’t these bands retire, so as to have some new ones to put on top of the endless Metal music list? I think we need new heroes.

Nah, we can all coexist, I think. It’s way cool to see the older bands enjoy a renewed interest. Rock ’n’ Roll is timeless, and that should be reflected upon the people who play or enjoy it. Bring yer sister and grandma.

Back to Thunderbolt: I assume you seriously wouldn’t think of attaching ’new’ elements to your Metal sound (e.g. female vocals, tons of keyboards, complex progressive songs etc)…

I don’t think we’ll ever add those things, but people should nonetheless expect some new angles when we get to release a third album.

Marius, how come you were dedicated to the traditional Metal sound, even though you come from a country/region with countless Extreme Metal or female-fronted bands? Is it some sort of a reaction \[Laughs]?

None of us like extreme Metal that much, that’s all. We love the fact that people catch up on it, and we are proud to be different! Sometimes we almost get accused of being Norwegian and not into Black Metal.

As for Massacre Records: are you pleased by the label’s support so far?

They are OK, I guess.

In September 2005 you supported Masterplan and Paul Dianno in Norway. What was this experience like? A note for each one of those acts?

Me and Morten are featured in Paul’s Norwegian backing band, so we got to know him well and he’s a very cool guy. A bit mad but still a very nice man who we love to be associated with. I don’t remember much of Masterplan because they didn’t hang much around the venue and I was drunk as a sailor when they played. The guitar player had a nice Les Paul model and a cool German accent though…

Later on, in 2006, a support slot for King Diamond - along with fellow metallers Griffin - brought Thunderbolt to countries such as Greece, Hungary and Spain. How was that tour? How was the reaction of the Mediterranean fans in relation to the Scandinavian ones?

Awesome. Just awesome. All the eastern European countries as well as Greece and Spain kicked ass. The girls were hot, guys were cool, food & drinks was nice and everything came together perfectly. We love those audiences, man. Scandinavian (Norwegian) audiences seem completely ’petrified’ in comparison.

Marius, your opinion on King Diamond’s contribution to Heavy Metal?

I was not a big fan before the tour but quickly became one after seeing the first shows. The people in his crew and band were the coolest bunch and we ’connected’ really well on the trip. We never spent any time with King himself, but there is no denying about his important influence in Metal.

Are there any other touring plans for Thunderbolt? Or are you already in the process of writing material for your third album?

We have just recently replaced our drummer, so we’ll be working on new material later this fall. I know there’ll be some gigging in Scandinavia until December, so hopefully we’ll do some European dates early next year.

Thunderbolt were selected to represent Norway at the 3rd edition of the online unofficial fan-based contest Heavy Metal Eurovision, which aims to promote Heavy Metal bands from different European countries. Can you give us some details about that incident?

Shit, you know what? I have no clue as to what that stuff actually was and how it went down. I just saw a posting of it somewhere and heard no more of it. Anyone who knows how we fared in the contest \[Laughs]?

Thanks a lot for your spare time, Marius! Anything you’d like to add?

Nah, nice talking to ya. Keep on rockin’!


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