About Me

Interview with Blackguard

Formed in 2001 as a genuine Black Metal outfit, the sextet began as Profugus Mortis, made popular in their hometown of Montréal. Hungry for bigger stages, they fought to stand out amongst their international metal brethren, going through numerous line-up changes along the way. Now, almost two decades later, Blackguard stands strong, remaining the pride and joy of the French-Canadian metal scene. They have just unleashed their 4th full-length “Storm”, on the 3rd January 2020, and are ready to take the metal scene by storm. Metal Imperium Webzine had an interesting conversation with Paul.

M.I. - First off, many thanks for your time to answer some of our questions. What’s the best word to describe yourselves as a band?

“Epic “ (laughts) 

M.I. - The band has shifted its sound from Black Metal to Epic Metal and your Facebook page mentions your “Epic Death-Power metal sound”. What is the best description for your sound after all?

We call ourselves “Epic Metal” but if you wanted to break that down I’d say we’re Symphonic Melodic Death Metal.

M.I. - The band started off in 2001 under the name of Profugus Mortis and, in 2008, you changed it to Blackguard. What caused this change? A change in style?

Yes and no. There was a slight stylistic shift at that point where we were accentuating our Folk Metal influences but, ultimately, we just didn’t like the name Profugus Mortis all that much. So, when we signed with Nuclear Blast and Sumerian records in 09’ we felt it was a good opportunity to “rebrand”, so to speak. 

M.I. - Your first full-length was your demo “Profugus Mortis”… was this a way to say goodbye to that era?

Our first full-length was called “So It Begins” under the Profugus Mortis band name. Then after the name change and the signing, we named the record after our former band’s name as a sort of tribute to the past. 

M.I. - Supposedly, one of your main lyrical themes is philosophy. Why are you fascinated by it?

I think it’s important to contemplate life in philosophical terms. It allows us to examine ourselves and our surrounding more intensely and that self-reflection permits us to grow. 

M.I. - Your second album was released through Nuclear Blast/Sumerian, the third one through Victory Records and this one was released independently. Why? Were you tired of being “controlled” by record labels?

It’s not that we were being controlled by the labels but our goals, now, as a band, have changed since we were a full-time touring band looking to make a career out of music. Now since this is more for fun than anything else, there really wasn’t a need to go to a label to put this out. 

M.I. - “Storm” is the 4th full-length and it comes after a 7-year break… why the long wait?

Before we went on hiatus, we had every intention of putting out this album out through Victory Records either in 2014 or 2015. But we simply weren’t motivated to get back and do shows anymore and we weren’t sure in what capacity we even wanted to be a band anymore. So, ultimately, we just kept it on ice in a hard drive until we really felt like playing music together again. 

M.I. - The album was released on the very beginning of the new year, the 3rd January 2020… would you say this was the perfect kick for the year?

I’d say so… haha. We timed it for our hometown show with our friends in Epica and The Agonist so it was very fitting putting out the album and playing our first hometown show in 7 years with our old tour mates. 

M.I. - There are 10 songs featured on the new album… when were they written? 

Probably between 2012-2013.

M.I. - When did you come up with the concept for the new album? What inspired it?

Lyrically the whole album is a continuation of the story from the title track of our last album “Firefight”, and follows a character whose home was destroyed by an invading army and his turmoil making sense of the tragedy.

M.I. - The title of the new album “Storm” is some kind of warning of what one can expect when listening to it? Are Blackguard here to storm the underground scene?

I hope so to some degree, yes, haha. 

M.I. - Do you believe there is a track that will be a commercial hit and a potential radio/television success? If so, which one?

Nah. Unless they took all the vocals out… (laughts) We did have a track from “Firefight” on NHL 2010 or 11. I don’t see that happening again though. 

M.I. - The cover features an image of ruins and destruction… what’s the connection between the cover, the title and the songs?

As mentioned above, “Storm” follows a nameless character who’s searching for meaning after a devastating attack on his people. 

M.I. - The band has faced some line-up changes through the years… what’s the current line-up?

Right now, the band is myself (Paul), our rhythm guitarist Terry and drummer Justine. Our unofficial lead guitarist is our good friend Dave Gagne from the band Your Last Wish and Hollow. He’s played with us on a few tours so he’s practically in the band for all intents and purposes. 

M.I. - Musically, who are your biggest influences? 

Myself, personally I’d say Children of Bodom (first 3 albums), Zao and maybe Rhapsody (of fire). 

M.I. - If you could choose a band to share stages with… who would that be and why?

We did 4 shows with Insomium in 2012 and they’re still very good friends. I’d love to play more shows with them, they’re such an amazing band. 

M.I. - On the 3rd January, you played a show in your hometown supporting Epica and The Agonist. Plus, it was the day of the release of “Storm”. How was this day for you? Epic? 

Very! The show was sold out and it felt great to play with our old tour mates and friends again. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect hometown show.  

M.I. - The band has played live all over the world… can fans expect you to do a worldwide tour in order to promote “Storm”?

I don’t think so. We’re not quite set up for that anymore unfortunately, but if a great opportunity comes our way we’d be fools to not take advantage of it and bring the “Storm” where it leads us. 

M.I. - How’s the situation in the Canadian metal scene? Is there animosity or friendship between the bands?

There’s nothing but friendship and comradery as far as I’ve seen. A lot of the prominent international acts all know each other and have been helping each other and smaller bands out for as long as I can remember. We really have a great national community. 

M.I. - Any final words you’d like to say?

Just “thank you” to anyone who has supported us over the years and thanks for sticking with us. 

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Susana Galveia and Sónia Fonseca