They've been away from the scene for quite a few years, but Norwegian black metal act Troll are back with a hot new release titled Neo-Satanic Supremacy that is sure to propel them into the genre spotlight. Led by former Dimmu Borgir/The Kovenant guitarist & vocalist Nagash, Troll are set to once again prove their mettle to the black metal faithful with this powerful new release. Sea of Tranquility's Scott Jessup caught up with Troll drummer Ygg to talk about the new album, live plans, and the genre known as Black Metal.
SoT: Hello there! Neo-Satanic Supremacy is a great release- is it similar to your previous material?
Ygg: Thank you. The record is not equal to the Last Predators and Universal. The idea was that, Troll was to return to a more 'pure' black metal format, like "Trollstorm Over Nidingjuv" and "Drep De Kristne". This is the Troll 2010 so we have modernized the sound, but tried to keep the magic from the 90's in the production of the album. A lot of people have told me that we have managed to do so with Neo-Satanic Supremacy.
SoT: Any touring plans? How hard will it be to reproduce your new songs in a live situation?
Ygg: The plan has been to tour as much as possible in 2010. Troll is working to get in touch with good managers and booking agents at the moment. So I hope that there will be some concerts this year.
Most of the songs that are on the Neo-Satanic Supremacy album we have already tested on the stage, and they work great live. The music on the album was made in the rehearsal room, so they are not a studio product. It is intended that all music we make should be played live. It is the new Troll. This is The Age Of Satan! (laughs)
SoT: How would you describe the music and lyrics of Troll?
Ygg: The music may well be called 'old school' black metal. Melodic perhaps? We try to stick to the more primitive, banal way to write lyrics, like it was on the first two releases of Troll.
SoT: What inspires you?
Ygg: What inspires us...difficult to say. We are religion-critical. We also bring in the myths about the Troll and Christians, from the anti-pagan fairy tales that were common in Norway in the old days. Plus, it's a lot of bad taste humor and self irony.
SoT: What first attracted you to the black metal genre?
Ygg: I can only answer for myself there. Black metal is not "just play as fast as possible and scream all you possibly can in the face of the people who listen to it. Black metal is also a protest. The music has a nice mix of major and minor sheet in music, classical, folk music, and also influenced by punk, early thrash and death metal. And the music genre has its own ability to retrieve a more "easy listening" moods despite the genre's aggressive nature.
SoT: What ingredients do you need to make a great black metal song?
Ygg: It is almost impossible to answer that. Black metal has broken out in many different sub genres since its inception, and most of acts involved in Black Metal believe that their type of black metal is the most appropriate. I think the whole thing is about understanding black metal's nature, and work from there.
SoT: Has the popularity of black metal continued to grow?
Ygg: Yes indeed, though I do not know how good it is for the genre. You see "Black Metal" bands from all over the world popping up these days. It seems like black metal for many of the bands is "just a show, a black metal theatre" and does not have a deeper meaning for many of these bands. For me it is strange that people only do it for fun in a way, Like: " We are a pagan/viking, makeup, kiss coverish, leather and nails band, that play our own songs. All members are Gene Simmons and Alice Cooper, and we are only in it for the money. And maby, yeah females, you know" !
One thing that surprised me, and that is positive, is that many learn Norwegian, because of black metal. That one, we did not see coming.
SoT: How much has the internet helped in getting exposure? Sites like MySpace must be great tools for bands?
Ygg: Troll came on the market before the Internet. So I do not know how much influence it has had for Troll as a band. But in the recent past I would think that Troll has had help from the Internet in promoting the band. Pages like Myspace has many traps to walk in to. I experience on my private myspace page that a lot of bands, at all times, try to sell me their stuff and invite me to a concert, for example, in places like New York. Well, I live in Oslo! I think there's no point in looking at the example of myspace as a market place for demos and their own publications. One has to maybe think of other ways to promote bands, other than one to fill the inbox of people with garbage. Bands like that are simply irritating and not very interesting. There must be a smarter strategy behind the marketing, something that arouses people's interest. The creative bands will win on the net, not the anoying.
SoT: Wouldn't the controversy that has surrounded the genre at times just help to create more interest?
Ygg: Media, has much of the blame for Black metal, the growth that's clear. Fears about fires, murders, and even murders of the early 90's speeded up the emergence of the genre, but that black metal is still growing as a genre has something to do with the music still being very good and constantly evolving.
SoT: Do you think the music has changed much over the years? There seems to be a lot of crossing over between metal genres these days.
Ygg: That black metal, and bands that belong to the genre, is changing all the time is actually part of what made black metal to begin with. In the underground time it was a hard competition between the bands. All worked under the same flag, namely, Black metal. But all would have their own sound on the genre. This to be constantly under development is something that is still with us today, at least in the Norwegian Black Metal. Troll has chosen to return to a more classic black metal sound, and the reason is that we simply missed the type of black metal.
SoT: For someone new to black metal, what releases would you recommend they check out?
Ygg: Darktrone's Under A funeral Moon. Khold's Hundre Śr gammal. Troll's Trollstorm over Nidingjuv and Neo-Satanic, of course. Windir's Likferd. Mayhem's De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas. And both of the Isengard records. They can start with those, and ask me for more after that.
SoT: Who are some of you favorite bands?
Ygg: Don't have any favorites, though there are a lot of bands that I like. So I'll stay away from this one! (laughs)
SoT: Fair enough! What are the future plans for Troll?
Ygg: Continue what we are doing and play live as much as possible.
SoT: Thanks for your time; I hope Neo-Satanic Supremacy is a big success for the band.
Ygg: Thank you Scott!
(Click here to read our review of Neo-Satanic Supremacy