Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, I’m Keith Clement the editorial head, how are you guys doing?
Hey Keith, I’m Mike Manslaughter, Hellsword’s bassman. We’re doing great, super excited about the release of our album this upcoming Friday!
Cold is the Grave is scheduled to be released on 24 September 2021, can you tell me a bit about the songwriting and production behind the album?
The songwriting basically sums up the first ten years of Hellsword’s existence: basically the album includes songs from three different periods: first you have the songs from the Blasphemy Unchained demo which good a new treatment, then you have songs from around 2015/2016 when we began writing new material for the album, which have a bit of a heavy metal vibe to them and last you have the songs written shortly before the release, which sound like a combination of the first two in my opinion.
Production was all done by our good friend Andrej Čuk (frontman of Ensanguinate with whom we share both the label and the bass player). I think it captures the old school vibe while still having a modern edge.
Being the first full length album and after a long break since 2014 EP Sounding The Seventh Bell, must have been a lot of work behind the scene, how do you feel about the new release, and how as a band do you feel about the outcome?
We are very pleased with the outcome, I think the album includes the best material we’ve written so far. Songwriting took a long time so the one thing I want is for us to speed things up a bit for the second album.
What is the concept you have put behind the album?
The album revolves around death, devil worship, mortality and the absurdity of human existence – our goal was to explore the darkest, most wretched parts of the human soul.
The album is one amazing Black Metal product you have made, amazing vocals, powerful music, great songwriting and can’t stop listening and headbang towards it, thanks a million for this album, It sure has a blend of the early iconic black metal perfectly mixed into this album, brilliant work again, can you tell me about the making and thought process you put behind this?
Thank you very much; I am very happy that you dig it! The album is a sort of a blend of our influences: Ironfist is into NWHOBM a lot and Mark and I bring a lot of black metal to the table. When one of us brings a riff or an idea to the rehearsal, we often hear it in a different way and that produces very interesting results and a quite unique blend of the aforementioned genres.
What would be some of the topics that you will be covering, Will it be the regular Black Metal ones, or you will be exploring more into the darkness?
As I mentioned before we like exploring death and the futility of life which both play a big role throughout the album. But you cannot go wrong with more classic black metal themes which are also still there.
Can you tell me how Hellsword started, a bit of history of the band would be nice?
In 2009 the band where Mark and I played fell apart, so we decided we were going to start our own thing. And so we started rehearsing with another guy on the guitar who couldn’t really play. The band really kicked off when Ironfist joined in early 2010 when we also chose the name Hellsword. We wrote our first real song in late 2010 and released the Blasphemy Unchained demo in May next year which was the first big milestone. Ten years later we are still here, still worshipping old school black/speed metal.
How is the Slovenian metal scene and how is the support that you receive from your homeland fans?
We have some of the most diehard fans here at home. The problem with the Slovenian scene is that it is very small so everybody basically knows everybody, which means it is quite difficult to get real feedback.
Being the first records with Emanzipation records, how do you feel to work with them?
So far so good. I have to point out Fernando who is really making an effort, always listening to our comments and suggestions. We appreciate that very much.
What would be your next plans?
To play live as much as we can after a hiatus because of the pandemic. And to play abroad again!
Would you like to share some great moments you had over the years?
In 2012 we played the first gig in a series of gigs entitled “The Return of Darkness and Evil” (two more followed) which was a complete madness with too much alcohol and fake blood all over the backstage. During the third one, I borrowed a bass for the last song I played together with the guys from Vigilance. When I noticed that the bass had five strings my first reaction was to use a microphone as a pick!
Finally what would be the message for the new fans and the old fans?
Cold is the grave – so bang your head, listen to old school black/speed metal and worship death to the bitter end!
- Cold Is The Grave
- Call Of The Sepulchre
- Satan, Death And Fear
- Riders Of Wrath
- Cursed Blood
- Unholy Reich
- Baphomet’s Shrine
- Chains Of Mortality
- Evil’s Rebirth
Mike Manslaughter: bass
Mark Massakre: drums
Ironfist: guitars, vocals