Folk metal has landed in Havana. The sons of Ragnar laid aside the swords to fight in the musical battlefield. HELGRIND invokes to raise the Ale and toast on the excellent work achieved in "The Tragedy of Turin Turambar". Ernesto Rios (vocal), Daniel Lameiro (bass), and Jordy Fuentes (guitar) sat around the fire and came up with these words. SKOL!
If you had to apply the meaning of Helgrind and contextualize it in the capital city, where would you locate the doors of death? Could we talk about points of contact with Cuban society?
Greetings first and foremost and we are very happy for this space on your pages, know that SCRIPTORIUM played an important role in our growth as metalheads and we owe it a lot. Getting into the question, then, start by saying that there is a common origin in human beings, a kind of matrix that dictates how to think and act. For example, it does not matter in the society that you live or the language that you speak (including our island) the idea that there is a spiritual world in addition to ours is repeated over and over again. Logically there is also a connection between the two, call it a door or portal. This does not mean that this access is a solid structure, sometimes it can be located within us as Hinduism clarifies. Therefore, each one has its own version or their metaphors, whether they are the gates of the Columbus Cemetery, the Tartarus pit, or the sixth Chakra.
When I think of the quality of Cuban metal bands, the words of Luis “Dakkar” come to mind: “… We just take for granted the quality of a band that comes from a region with more metal tradition than if it comes off more exotic places. The same as if they bring you a Japanese meringue band... "
In Cuba, we have and have had over the years bands and musicians of the highest quality and talent even to rival top-notch foreign bands within their respective genres. But we feel that Cuban metal bands and musicians lack experience and knowledge as a result of ostracism and the system's lack of openness to the world. Due to this, there is no well-established scene, there are shortages of quality instruments and equipment, factors necessary for Cuban metal to develop its potential to the maximum ... There is still a long way to go but an improvement in terms of variety and quality is being noticed. in young bands, independent labels, and recordings ... etc
Why not develop a pagan metal band with Afro-Cuban folk influences and speak to the deities of the Yoruba pantheon?
This is a sensitive issue, it is not our intention to offend anyone in these "politically correct" times but our point of view is that Cuba is not only African roots, there are also European, Asian, and Arab roots. Each one as important and valuable as the other. Consciously, state policy has imposed African traditions above the rest (we do not know for what purposes ... Perhaps propagandistic?) To the point that today no one talks about other cultural heritages and giving rise to opportunism and the deterioration that it brings. We did not choose to develop these Afro-Cuban themes simply because we do not feel represented, those who are truly attracted applaud and encourage them ... The dog has four legs but they all have to go in the same direction.
Despite the short time spent on the scene, they have been able to record two albums and have done more than many long-established bands on the scene. How did you conceive the band from the beginning?
Thank you for your good opinion and your vision of the band. We think that not so much having done more as having done differently. We have always paid special attention to ensuring that our influences are well reflected in our work; We try to make our music as faithful to the sound and style we choose as possible. We are also proud on an individual level to collaborate with bands and projects of diverse styles that have enriched our scene (Infector, Dark Naberus, We Bite !!!, Folklórica, Aventi, From the Graves) When we started in 2012 it was a dream come true Having started a band, at that time we were totally inexperienced as musicians and instrumentalists and we didn't have a vision beyond playing and doing what we liked. But there is something that we always had very clear from the beginning and that is that we wanted to do things well, take the band seriously and strive to make a quality proposal.
If you were allowed to travel and play in another country, as part of the cultural exchange, which one would you choose and with which band would you be honored to share the stage?
It was a dream to share the stage with the greatest exponents of our genre but unfortunately, they are no longer active or do not give live presentations, for example, Bathory, Falkenbach, Forefather, Folkheart or Windir. We would still choose excellent bands like Graveland, Moonsorrow, King of Asgard, Nocturnal Mortum, Thyrfing, Primordial, Manegarm, or Heidevolk. If we could choose a destination to play, we would prefer a country with a great metal tradition such as Finland, Germany, Sweden, Brazil, Mexico, or the United States, although that matter is of less importance, what we really would like is for the political situation to be different and It was the aforementioned bands that visited the island, met and shared with the national scene.
What about Cuba? Is it still an inhospitable place for the proliferation and development of rock or metal?
That is usually the first thought when talking about rock or metal in modern times, but Cuba in the 50s was not an inhospitable place for rock at all, quite the opposite. That style began to flourish on the island with great force and if it had not been sensed, prohibited, and persecuted after 1959, Cuba today would be very different compared to the current situation. Even so, there has always been a movement (clandestine before and now not so much) of these styles. Nowadays, the product of this persecution are not genres with an exuberant number of followers, but we can be proud that they exist and did not die thanks to those “youngsters with Elvispreslian attitudes” who had the courage to keep them alive to this day.
Do you consider yourself admirers of the Viking theme, its history, and transcendence and of the Scandinavian bands related to this trend? From the Vikings series with whom do you identify the most: Ragnar Lothbrok or Bjorn Ironside?
We are admirers of the Celtic, Hellenic, Roman, Finnish, Baltic, Slavic, and of course Germanic themes that include the Vikings. Choosing just one was never an option for us. We honor all of these ancestral roots since the band's origins and we will continue to do so. With respect to the History Channel series, there is a curious phenomenon and that is that after its premiere in March 2013 it became fashionable to be "Viking". Helgrind has not been influenced by her since we had more than a year of life when it was released but if we had to choose a character in the series it would definitely be Floki the shipbuilder for his loyalty to his traditions and his rejection of an invasive religion like Christianity.
A message for those who still do not know the Cuban scene, for the followers of the group, and for our readers.
Thanks to Scriptorium for this interview, it's great to have the fanzine back. For those who do not know the Cuban scene, we invite you to enter it, we assure you that you will be surprised because Cuba is not only Salsa, Son, and Rumba. We want to tell readers that we are working on a new EP with which we also want to take the opportunity to introduce Ramsés Limonte as our new guitarist. Many thanks to our fans and even more to the detractors who encourage us to be better every day ... We Hail you all !!!
“The Tragedy of Túrin Turambar” is an Ep made by HELGRIND with the intention of showing the world that the band was active in Covid 19 times and also welcoming its new guitar player Ramses Limonte Moreno. This Ep counts with a new song: “The Tragedy of Túrin Turambar” which is based on the famous tale by J.R.R. Tolkien, this song is a little bit different to what was previously done by HELGRIND. It is an epic but melancholic song narrating what happened to the Lord of Destiny (Túrin Turambar); it also counts with two covers “Theodish Belief” by FOREFATHER and “A Pagan Storm” by WOLFCHANT, two bands which are in a certain way a great influence for HELGRIND. And least but no less important a live performance of the most popular song of the band named “Time to Conquer” at the best concert hall for metal in Cuba (Máxim Rock) showing the band’s potential on stage.