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Interview with Stiriah

Another blast from the twilight has been delivered by the German black metal squad Stiriah. On December 4th 2020, two years after the band's last full length album "Aurora", they released their brand new piece of black metal "Into The Depths". Stiriah's third release was written and recorded between 2018 - 2020 and symbolises the growth of the band, in technical and songwriting skills. This record is a perfect image of Stiriah’s style: Harmonic Black Chaos! Metal Imperium caught up with the band to find out more details about it all.

M.I. - First off, many thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. Secondly, congrats on the great new album! I wasn’t familiar with your sound and I totally love it now!

Thanks a lot for the support.

M.I. - Who is Stiriah? What’s its main purpose? Why did you feel the need to create it?

To us Stiriah is an opportunity to be creative and get wasted with friends (laught).

M.I. - The band is described as playing Harmonic Black Chaos. What does this mean exactly?

We think that this describes our sound and songwriting in the best way. Sometimes you have to be very focused to get all of the tracks work together on different harmony layers and sometimes it just has to be a simple kick in the face. So, the combination of these two is the harmonic chaos and keeps music interesting.

M.I. - The band is still unsigned. Why is that? I can’t believe no label has shown interest in your work!

At the moment we are very pleased to have everything in our own hands. That´s some great freedom, even if it gets expensive from time to time. Though, we are considering stepping it up and getting label support for the next album.

M.I. - The band was formed in 2007 but only in 2017 did you release the first album. What took you so long?

We started as a live band. Which means quick songwriting and hitting the stage as fast as possible. This works very well, for the party animal inside, but isn´t good for quality songwriting or releases, (laught). So, we took a break, focused on different projects and got back together in 2015 with a different motivation.

M.I. - Both of the band’s full-length include 5 tracks… will this be the norm for Stiriah?

Yes, because we think it fits best with the current listening habits.
In times of audio streaming, it´s more common to listen to single tracks, rather than taking the time to hear one album from the beginning to the last chord. So, a 5-track album with still 40-45 minutes running time, already scares many listeners. More songs would be hard to handle, (laught).

M.I. - The cover of your debut album “Aurora” (2017) is more colourful and less darker than the one of “Into the Depths” (2020)… who designed the new cover?

It was designed by our pal Poisondust, who did a great job displaying the album’s concept.

M.I. - The cover features what seems to be like a figure: half human, half cadaver… is it the way we’ll get once we all go “Into the Depths”, after our death?

In some way, yes. It shows what lies beneath the human surface.

M.I. - Apart from the covers, what are the main differences between both albums musically and lyrically speaking?

We put a lot more time and nerves into this album. The “AURORA” in some way is a collection of good song and “Into The Depths” has one concept to it, which makes the songs relate more to another. Also there are a lot more details for the listener to discover, like guitar effects, female choirs, and some overall progressed songwriting.

M.I. - "Into The Depths" is a free fall into the chaos of the human mind, guided by the sirens of the underworld, dissonant riffs and blastbeats. Basically, it seems to be the perfect soundtrack for this fucked up world these days, don’t you think? Was this the intention all along?

Yes, the concept was to show how fucked up the inside of the human mind looks and we think we did a great job with that, even if 2020 did its best to get more fucked up day by day, (laught).

M.I. - This release was written and recorded between 2018 - 2020 and symbolizes the growth of the band, in technical and songwriting skills. Have you exceeded your own expectations?

In some ways it worked out better, than we would have expected it and some great ideas came up, even late in the recording progress. But it took very long to get it finished, so that point was way worse than expected, (laught).

M.I. - The tracklist includes “The Water”; “The Sun”; “The Light Bearer”; “The Darkness” and “The Flesh”. What’s the main concept behind these 5 tracks? Why have you used the Earthly elements?

It symbolizes the controverse human behaviour. Where a flame can give warmth to everyone around, it can also extinguish. That´s how humans work.

M.I. - Who is responsible for the lyrics? What topics are addressed?

Tyrann and me, Cryst, wrote the lyrics. Each of them about a different human misbehaviour.

M.I. - The structure and the progression are well planned and executed, everything is performed in the best tradition of the Black metal genre. It is all part of the band’s evolution. How proud are you of this release?

It´s great to hear, that it works for other people, too. That means we managed to transport our ideas into listenable songs. So yes, we are very proud.

M.I. - Even though “Into the depths” doesn’t offer us anything new when it comes to sound and production, it is a refreshing and powerful album for Black metal fans such as myself. What were you hoping to achieve initially? Did you stick to your original idea or has it evolved along with the recording process?

The plan was to make it a good mix between traditional straight forward elements and some theatrical parts with trumpets and lots of guitar layers. It worked, even if it wasn´t fun all the way, (laught).

M.I. - The vocal styles are quite varied… Esgaroth and Tyrann must be proud of their skills! How do you manage to do all these styles? Have you got any singing lessons or special tricks you use?

Esgaroth did focus more on the guitars and effect tracks on this album. So Tyrann and I did most of the vocals and I can tell you that, for me, screaming in the Berlin traffic is an excellent training, (laught). But to be honest, we both didn´t take lessons. Just rehearse and find what works best for your vocal range.

M.I. - According to the press release, the album is “A true bliss for all fans of early Emperor”. That’s quite a compliment. How does it make you feel when you are compared to these black metal legends? Have they influenced you somehow?

It´s a great honour to be mentioned with Emperor. They and Immortal have been my ticket into black metal. That was at least 15 years ago and I still listen to their timeless classics.

M.I. - You already had a confirmed concert “The Walpurgis Nacht” but, due to the pandemic, it will be postponed to April 2022. Has it happened to more concerts or are you taking it easy with the bookings?

We have been in the middle of the writing process for “Into The Depths”, when the guys from De Mortem Et Diabolum asked us to play at Walpurgis Nacht. We were excited to get some distance between us and the new material and perform some older stuff, but then the pandemic kicked in and we had to get back to songwriting. That sucked in a way, but on the other hand, the pandemic helped writing this album, (laught). We are still looking forward to Walpurigs Nacht 2022, but are keeping everything else on standby, when it comes for booking. Corona makes things hard to schedule.

M.I. - What do Stiriah expect of 2021?

We are, at the moment, talking with some video directors, so there will be a professional official video this year. Also, thanks to the lack of distractions thanks to the lockdown, we have been very productive writing new material...so better keep your eyes open!

M.I. - How’s the album being received by the media and fans in general? Do you plan on being very active live, if not in 2021, in 2022?

We would love to take the new material to stage, but time will tell when this will be possible again, that´s why the activities are more couch related, (laught). For now, we are glad about the mostly positive critics and interview requests.

M.I. - Despite being unsigned and releasing albums independently, Stiriah are now promoted by All Noir. What will change for Stiriah?

We are good at the musical side of being a band, but suck at the promotion, which is a very big part. So, with the help of AllNoir, everything beyond the music gets a better structure. It works very great so far!

M.I. - Lately, there are quite a few German Black Metal bands, most of them from Berlin, and you all are extremely good at what you do. How is German Black Metal regarded by the metal scene in general? Do you think people still consider Scandinavian Black Metal to be better? What attracted you to Black Metal in the first place?

Scandinavia has its special status, since they are the pioneers, but the French, Polish, Hellenic, German and US scene all have their own sound and should be checked out, if you are into black metal. A general metal guy probably won´t hear much of a difference, just fuzz and shrieking without dragon lyrics, (laught). But if you love blasts and dissonance, like us, then you will find great stuff if you stay open minded!

M.I. - Any final words you’d like to add? All the best for Stiriah!

Thanks a lot for the interest and the support, enjoy the album and make sure to support clubs and artists you like to exist beyond the pandemic.

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Sónia Fonseca