Preachers of the ‘Apocalypse of the Civilized World’
Formed in 2015 in Lillehammer, Norway, WAIL offers classic Heavy Metal in the style of Dio, Maiden and Priest, but with a definitive twist of their own. All this while claiming to be responsible for calamities such as global warming, pandemics and commercial radio ???? ????. Quite frankly, this band is a breath of fresh air. Lead by an enigmatic individual known only as “The Singer”, they have released two albums. Resilient (2018) and their latest, “Civilization Maximus” was released just a few weeks ago.
Anders Nesset: Bass
Memet Ødegaard Cataltepe: Drums
Thor B. Gundersen: Guitars
Kim-Ruben Sletten: Guitars
The Singer: Vocals
Greetings from Metalheads Forever and from Colorado. How are things in your part of the world?
Good evening, and thanks for reaching out!
It’s no secret that the world has seen better days than these… It’s just sad to watch the news every day and get an update on how bad the things really are with the pandemic, both nationally here in Norway and the rest of the world. (The pandemic is on a very strong rise here in Lillehammer at the moment)
But if we set the pandemic aside, I have to say that things are going great with the music and all! We released a new record this year (Civilization Maximus), which has been well received across the board. So, in that way we are pretty happy!
In addition to the album, we are in a creative state of mind where the next album is in the making, so rehearsals will begin after everyone has put their touch on it.
Conclusion: We are alive and kicking!
Congratulations on the new album. As it contains themes of manipulation and brainwashing, how did you decide that this would be your subject matter? Any specific events that influenced you?
That’s a very good question, and since I am only a disciple of Mr. Singer, I have to tell you what he told me that one time I got to have a deep conversation with him.
That one time has a story to it that I want to share with you, it’s a hell of a story, because The Singer is one hell of a guy in all the ways you can imagine… something strangely inhuman about that guy.
So here goes…
We had (for a while) planned to take a trip out in the forest to start the writing on a new album. I didn’t have any expectations at all. I went out with my tent, my wine, my guitar and my open mind.
I spent the year before at home, working, being with my family and just taking care of everything a dad has to take care of.
The Singer did not…
He traveled the world, spent his nights in cheap motels, experiencing new cultures, and he was witnessing different things he to this day describes as amusing…
He went on that trip just to confirm his suspicions.
The day came when we packed our things and went out for a week in the woods.
The new product of WAIL was to be born!
When the tents had been set up, the campfire had been lit, and I had poured my wine, the night fell.
I sat there by the fire with my guitar, but Mr. Singer was still in his tent.. I don’t know what he whas doing, but I’m used to it. Mr. Singer has a lot of routines and rituals that I don’t even bother getting into.
After a while he came out of his tent, I remember I was thinking: “This man must have some kind of a depression”, he just sat there, staring into the flames with empty red eyes and a full glass of wine..
I tried to lighten the mood with every trick in the book.. I threw jokes, played awesome and funny songs, hell… I even asked him if something was wrong!
What I didn’t know is that he was focused… Extremely focused.
He didn’t go to the woods to have an awesome night by the fire, he went to create the next album, the next product of WAIL!
Finally, his empty eyes caught life, he came through and started to tell me about his visions!
“-You see Kim, hidden in all of you is the ability to listen, observe and do what we are told to do. Even the rebels, they just have to dig a little deeper. Humanity is beyond ripe, and this is how we shall harvest.”
And along came all the lyrics of Civilization Maximus record, the man had it all in his head the whole time… Endless tales on how to gain followers and prune them down into a fierce claw. A claw able to grasp the entire planet.
Mr. Singer told me in the past that he had a vision of a creature sent by the earth mother to cleanse this world and bring it back to its primal state where harmony can be achieved.
I personally don’t know what this creature is, maybe it’s within us all?
Maybe the beast is a change of hearts towards how we treat our planet, and each other?
I guess that is something for all of us to take a deep dive into, to decide for ourselves.
All I know is that after three bottles of wine, you have a special ability to take in information that is digging deep into the more serious topics in life. And since I had four bottles that night, I woke up as a religious man, ready to bring the visions of WAIL to the world through heavy metal!
And so, we did.
Tell us about your evolution as a band, from 2007, when you were Mental Shutdown, to present-day Wail.
It is very important for us to point out that Mental Shutdown and WAIL is two completely different bands. We are not the same members, we do not write the songs the same way, and the boys that once had a band called Mental Shutdown don’t exist anymore.
But the evolution is quite simple. We are two members in WAIL that once were members in Mental Shutdown, and we went from being high-school boys trying to write the same music as our heroes to grow up and starting to write melodies from our hearts and our own brains instead.
Mr. Singer came along one day when we were out in the woods for a photoshoot. He dropped down on us in the most mysterious way. Often, I lay thinking about it for quite a long time before I fall to sleep, but that’s a story for another day.
Anyway… Mr. Singer brought with him his vision and agenda, and we started to create heavy metal around his lyrics, trying to capture the soul in his writings, and wander off to unexplored directions in composing songs, all in the matter of creating something that lightens the spark of Heavy Metal again!
And… BOOOM!! – Civilization Maximus was born!
One of the standout tracks to me is “Down the Mountain.” Can you elaborate on this song and please explain what an “ættestup” is?
“Ættestup” directly translates to “honor jump” which is a concept from the old Icelandic sagas. Someone that was unable to pull their weight in a harsh reality due to old age or disability did this to unburden their families. So yeah, they basically went down the mountain.
In the song we have somewhat the same thing going on, and we even sweeten the deal by offering eternal life. Keep in mind that both eternal and life are relative things in the wail universe. It is a sweet deal indeed, everybody wins, especially wail.
The idea of the “apocalypse of the civilized world” is quite intriguing. Can you explain to our readers what this is, how it fits into your music, and who decides what is civilized in the first place?
Oh, you’re thinking about civilized as in how you treat one another? We meant civilized as in land occupied by the human race.
The most intriguing thing is that we live in it. Every day.
Again, I have to paraphrase Mr. Singer
He told me that we are merely here to achieve a controlled detonation of the human self-destruction sequence. If we did not interfere, it would consume the entire planet and all we hold dear. As the force of good that we are, we offer different alternatives to those willing to adapt to the current situation, such as transitioning into other biological organisms or embracing their feral heritage.
Lyrically I have the impression that each song has a theme of its own with a lot of hidden / not so hidden references to pop culture, political scenes and so on. Still, every single song has some sort of link back to the agenda, which is again, the apocalypse of the civilized world.
What is your greatest non-musical achievement?
For me personally it is my two beautiful sons, wouldn’t be without them for a single day!
For the uninitiated, which song (past or present) would be the best introduction to your music?
Oh, what a delightful question!
I believe the easiest song to listen to, just to get a preview of WAIL and that we stand for is to put on the song “Down the Mountain” or “Never no more” they both contain a ton of melody, big choirs and all.
Just remember to turn the speakers to eleven, it’s important to feel the music on a level where the rest of the world is far away! When you put on a record from WAIL, it is all about diving into the music with all the melodies and the lyrics!
If I were to visit Norway (I have a friend there so it just may happen), what is the one thing I simply must see?
To choose one thing in Norway that you must see, is impossible. You need a whole summer and a car, ha ha!
But in order to answer your question, I will recommend you to travel to Jotunheimen to experience one of Norway’s most famous mountain areas. Jotunheimen has a ton of history, wild mountains and the famous route over Besseggen. That is really something for you to have on your bucket-list!!!
We appreciate your time and wish you all the best with the new album. Any parting words for our readers?
Thank you so much for reaching out to us with this interview! We appreciate it one million times!
To all your readers (and hopefully our “soon to be listeners”:)
We encourage you to take a deep dive into the world of WAIL
I personally wish you a very warm welcome into the WAIL-i-verse
Stay safe everyone, and hopefully I’ll see you on the road some day!