Interview with The Wolves of Avalon

The Wolves of Avalon Logo

Recently released; The Wolves of Avalon’s second album Boudicca’s Last Stand is an hour of interesting, captivating and unique Metal that everyone should ideally have the privilege of hearing. A strong contender for the album of the year slot, it uses history as its muse to create something powerful and compelling. I wanted to find out more about this special band, and got to ask Metatron a few pertinent questions…

For those who are unfamiliar with your band – introduce yourself!

I am Metatron of UK band , The Meads of Asphodel, and also the pagan folk metal band, Wolves of Avalon. With the Wolves, new album, Boudicca’s Last Stand, I have attempted to create the last days of the great British war Queen. She is a proud image of my land’s ancient past, a lost symbol of freedom and hope before a great oppressive power.

Give us a bit of history to The Wolves of Avalon

The band was formed many moons ago with myself and James Marinos who is the master song-smith. The first album, Carrion Crows over Camlan, is about the Celtic Arthurian legends that tell of a Romano-Celtic war leader who fought against the onslaught of the Germanic Saxon invaders. On this album we had Rob Darken [Graveland] on guest vocals and this gave us some shit in Germany due to the NSBM label we were branded with. Just because we are proud of the past and speak of forsaken family values and cultural bonds, this does not make us racist. I get frustrated with ignorance in this scene.

The Wolves of Avalon Band 1What are your influences?

James tries not to aspire to any of the bands he likes to listen to but to enjoy what they do independently of anything creatively he works on. For my part, I have many from Bathory, Sabbat, Hawkwind, Venom and the list goes on and on.

What are you listening to at the moment that you would like to recommend?

I just listen to all forms of black pagan metal and some good ones at the moment are: I am playing a polish band called, Wedrujacy Wiatr, which is very much like the great Russian bands, Walknut, and Forest. The new Finsterforst album is also one of the best Viking related albums I have ever heard.

James was recently listening to ‘Ceremonials’ by Florence and the Machine maybe some Alcest, Gary Numan or Killing Joke. Depends on his mood.
How would you compare your experience with The Wolves of Avalon to that of The Meads of Asphodel?

I find both bands similar in the way I work with the song-smiths J.D Tait [Meads] and James Marinos [Wolves]. Both bands exist in similar working mechanisms where guests appear and add their own dynamics to the basic structures of the songs. Lyrically the bands are different, as the Meads concentrates on world religious insanity and genocide, whereas the Wolves, is centralized on British ancient history.

For James Marinos, who writes the music for the Wolves, This time round he was extremely thorough and rather than just working on one song at a time, he wrote perhaps thirty tracks of varying stages. Some were just too weak and others ended up being split in half to become a whole. He wanted the album to be far more ethereal and yet more driving in its approach, while also not trying too hard to set a precedent.

What did you want to achieve with your new album?

An album that will be remembered and to sit alongside the great British pagan metal band, Sabbat. To have your music touch others in a positive way is all anyone who is in a band can hope for. We have strived to create something that cannot be made any better, so it is the best result we can achieve.

Are you happy with how it turned out?

I am very proud of this album, as is James. We spent many, many months crafting the music and the lyrics, and everything about the release is just how we wanted it to be. I hope others will enjoy the album.

The Wolves of Avalon Band 2What can you tell us about the themes/story of the album?

They are all woven around the British tribal quoin Boudicca who lived around 2000 years ago and this land was under Roman domination. It was a time when the great druid sanctuary of Anglesey was destroyed, and also when Boudicca fought back with other tribes of Britain by her side. This is a very tragic tale of a woman and her people who fought against the mighty war machine of Rome and was defeated completely, but not before burning to the ground many Roman settlements and slaughtering the inhabitants. Blood, violence and sorrow is what this album is all about.

Give us a bit of information on the song-writing process.

James spent over a year piecing together the music that would work within the confines of the lyrical themes.

It sounds like a lot of time, care and attention went into these songs – was that the case?

It most certainly was, James will appreciate you alluding to that. For James personally there wasn’t a point where he thought ‘That will do’, He really wanted the album to be what was conceived in his mind before he could move on. We are very happy with the album as a whole and can only hope that others enjoy it as much as we do.

How do you see your songs/direction developing in the future?

We wonder that too, but it’s too early to say but we will tailor the feel of the album to the core subject of the story at hand i.e. Boudicca, Arthur, next time… I don’t know!

What’s next for you?

To wait and see what happens with this release cast into the sea of uncertainty that is this new digital age that I loathe. If I could go back to the tape trading days I would, but we must walk with progress or be left in its merciless wake. I hope we will do another album, but only time will tell.

Watch this space.

The Wolves of Avalon – Boudicca’s Last Stand (Review)

The Wolves of AvalonThe Wolves of Avalon are from the UK and this is their second album. The band play Pagan/Folk Metal.

The Wolves of Avalon are the latest incarnation of Metatron from The Meads of Asphodel, who will always hold a special place in my heart; one of the most unique and underrated UK Metal bands out there.

I was looking forward to hearing this album due to this and I haven’t been disappointed. This is as impressive and ambitious as anything he’s done before, (his work that I’ve heard, at least), more so in some respects. Sounding like early Meads only with a heavy Folk/Pagan slant, this is pure ear candy.

The album starts with a light, classical instrumental, at least that’s what I think it’s going to be until Metatron’s inimitable vocals kick in halfway through and then guitars and drums come in shortly after.

The album is heavily orchestrated and features wonderfully diverse instrumentation and female accompaniment. These are hugely impressive and extremely well-done. The band don’t neglect the Metal component of their sound, however.

The dynamics and sense of energy given off by the tracks is strong, and the whole album is a veritable treasure trove of gems and delights. The songwriting is impeccable and Metatron’s voice seems to be getting better with age. Some of the vocal harmonies used, especially when twinned with the female vocals, are just hair-raising.

Some of the best bits are extremely subtle but do wonders for the songs. The barely audible female sighs/noises on Bonded by Blood and Sword is just one example of many; you can only just hear them in the background but for such a small addition the song is enhanced so much.

There are pulse-raising sections, slower atmosphere-building parts, Black Metal rage, Progressive Metal explorations, huge choruses and sublime melodies – there is so much here to enjoy and be spellbound by.

This is an hour of interesting, captivating and unique Metal that everyone should ideally have the privilege of hearing. Do yourself a favour and go and listen to this.

Final thoughts? Fantastic album. This is a contender for the Album of the Year slot.

Favourite Track: Iceni Queen Unfurl’d In A Tempest Of Crows. Fucking Hell!