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Morgul Blade's Klauf: "I don’t need to include trite moral fortitudes, because I think that the beauty of heavy metal is escapism…"

Interview with Klauf from Morgul Blade
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 12 January 2022, 10:34 PM

At times, to look for deeper messages, as if leaving every stone unturned, is not really needed. Simply, sit down, listen to the music, let your imagination run wild and that is it. Not every Metal band out there wishes to change things, hint of the false ongoing affairs that have been on the minds of its creators. There are those that venture beyond the public scrutiny and more into universes that would remain in songs. Talking with Klauf, of the US Morgul Blade, which recently released its new album, “Fell Sorcery Abounds”, had Steinmetal strengthen his understanding that stories are told not always due to crucial reasoning.   

Hello Klauf, it is a pleasure to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how are things going on your side of the world sir?

Hey thanks for having me. The USA is kind of a weird place to be in right now, but my Philadelphia Eagles just made the playoffs so life is good for now!

It was only recently, actually three years ago, when your band Morgul Blade was founded, with a purpose to attend to the mythical, and historical, side of Metal, covered by a cloak of black. What can you tell in regards to what Morgul Blade stands for? What is the nature of the band’s image?

We initially just got together to record a few songs for fun, never thought that people would love it so much. What I try to translate with my music is the refocus on the evil emphasis and a theatric immersion that is often so overlooked within true metal.

It seems that you are also a Lord Of The Rings fan, other than merely implementing the Tolkien universe within your songs. Since 2021 marked two decades since the first made movie of Lord Of The Rings: The Fellowship Of The Ring, on your end, was it a cause for celebration? I can assume that you watched it due to its anniversary?

Yeah of course. The movie trilogy had a profound impact on my imagination and upbringing, of course I first read the books when I was 8 years old, so by that time the movies came out I was already deeply enamoured.

Following a debut EP in 2019, you made your next step going forward as a band by signing with the home for Traditional Metal, No Remorse Records. How does it feel to be signed to such a label that its core is as old school as it gets? What are your future goals through this signing with No Remorse?

Yeah it’s really an honour to be a part of the No Remorse Family. So many talented bands. We are going to be releasing more stuff under the banner for sure.

Recently, you released your debut full-length album, “Fell Sorcery Abounds”, conveying your shared admiration for folklore, imagination and history. What can you tell about the narrative of the record? Even if it is not a concept per se, what is the shared element that binds the songs together?

Think of the record as sort of an anthology of stories that discuss the nature of evil and humanity’s decisions regarding wickedness therein.

In regards to the title, I must say that it is pretty majestic, and quite mystical in its own special way. What does it mean and how does it represent the album?

If you were to use a thesaurus and choose similar words that are in the title, it would roughly be broken down to “evil magic is everywhere”—and like I mentioned above is an overarching description of the theme of the album.

Apparently, you found your way to escape reality, and the hardships that have become part of people’s lives in the past two years. Nevertheless, in every story, whether fictional or historical, there is an inclination to portray morals, or perhaps even criticism, that are part of the present, our real world. Would you say that “Fell Sorcery Abounds” harbors such metaphors or other ways that capture reality but from the backdoor?

Actually, no. I tried very hard to keep this record 100% immersive. I don’t need to include trite moral fortitudes, because I think that the beauty of heavy metal IS escapism. Sometimes people just need to turn on some tracks and forget, not be reminded of the shitty state of the current world. In my mind, I succeeded.

The integration between Traditional Heavy Metal, consumed by Epic proportions, along with fiery 2nd wave Black Metal is quite astonishing. Your ability to feature warm melodies and 80s driven classic Metal styled riffs hand in hand with frosty blackened vocals is notable. In your version of how it came to be, what can you tell about the musical vision that made Morgul Blade, and its gradual evolution up until the record?

Morgul Blade is basically a microcosm of my music tastes. I write what I like, and if people like it too, then that’s great. I listen to a very hefty amount of 80s classics and 90s melodic Black Metal, so I always knew that it would be an amalgamation of that, so in that regard it didn’t really evolve until the recording process when myself and the producer went heavy on the harmonies and dreamy leads.

In overall, how do you find this mixture between the classic driven Metal and its extreme early 90s counterpart? In your view, what makes this blending unique and motivating to follow?

Well if you’re like me and you like both of those genres, I would hope you would get excited about the music. There’s not many projects that exist in the same realm, and I believe the 90s second wave influence I write with captures the undercurrent of wickedness I’m trying to convey.

What can you tell about the influences that made an impact on the songwriting of the record, including your approach towards the arrangement of the material, forming the rawness into fully fledged songs?

I wanted to capture the rawness of 80s production, in tandem with the atmospheric conventions of melodic black metal.

The guitar work on “Fell Sorcery Abounds” is exceptional. There is the playing of the traditional riffs, yet swinging in twin guitar harmonies in such a tremendous British oriented form. What can you tell about the riff writing process of the record? Were you also trying to experiment a bit in order to find something new within the traditional vibe?

We just drank beers and played combinations of chords and rhythms until they sounded good. I wish I could act like it’s a deep creative process but it’s really not, not for me at least.

We talked about melodies earlier on, and I believe that one of the main engines that takes “Fell Sorcery Abounds” forward are those melodies. How do you find the importance of melodies as part of the Morgul Blade formed legacy, and in particular on the new record?

I’m not a particularly adept guitarist as far as shredding or soloing, so I opted for simple Melodies to keep people focused on the bigger picture of immersion rather than technical prowess.

I believe that every songwriting process is a means of learning, understanding how to perfect one’s ways in order to come up with greater results. What did “Fell Sorcery Abounds” teach you as a musician and a songwriter?

Insane amounts of patience hahahahaha

 “A Last Waltz of Gevaudan” is one of the album’s most varied songs, sonically illustrating your mentioned incorporation of the 80s and early 90s. From what I could fathom, it is formulated as a story with powerful musical moments. What can you tell about the song as you view it?

It is absolutely framed as a story, shifting from sinister when discussing the beast at the beginning all the way up to the heroic at the end where it shifts its viewpoint to the ensuing hunt for the beast.

There is no doubt that “The Five Will Ride at Dawn” is about riding, and it is as if being told by a troubadour, a Folkish and icy one I might add. The melodies featured are also enchanters, bursting like heat seekers in the snow. What can you tell about the song’s creative process? How did the song come to be?

It is our first song, I wrote it in 3 hours and it really just came together a lot easier than the rest of them. The opening riff was written first and everything else fell into place very quickly after.

When you sat down and listened to the record, plugging in the headphones, what went through your mind? What sort of experience, as the album’s composer, did you go through while listening?

Satisfaction, because I’ve been playing music since I was around 10 years old and this is really the first thing that I’ve ever been proud of.

Looking forward, as I believe that you are trying to plant seeds in the live scene in Europe, what are the plans for the band to support its new record?

We will be touring the US and hopefully as soon as possible make our way to Europe to do the same.

Klauf, thank you for the opportunity for this conversation, and also plenty of thanks for releasing a profound piece of music that I see going forward.

All the best, Lior Stein


 



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