The Wolves of Avalon-Interview With Metatron by Steve Earles

The Wolves of Avalon-Interview With Metatron by Steve Earles

Metatron has long been a positive fixture on the British metal scene. With The Meads of Asphodel, he has created a variety of acclaimed releases. Wishing to explore different areas and emotions to The Meads of Asphodel , Metatron also formed The Wolves of Avalon, who released a fine album in 2011, ‘Carrion Crows Over Camlan’. With the recent release of their second album, ‘Boudicca’s Last Stand’, Metatron met me to tell me of his latest release and other matters…

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Metatron, looking back over your debut album, ‘Carrion Crows Over Camlan’, what are your thoughts about it now? Both musically and in relation to the reaction it received in the press?’

Musically it was the best we could have done and the whole concept was created to convey an era lost in Dark Age myth. We as a band are extremely at peace with this album and the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.”

I’m glad to hear that. That is as it should be! What drew you to Boudicca as the subject matter for your new album?’

Looking at great British events in history that pre-date the invasive Saxon hordes can be fraught with uncertainty. The Roman occupation being the most historically recorded, and the rest having its foundation in the spoken word or distant memories. This is a time period rich with Celtic myth and shrouded in mystery. The first album, ‘Carrion Crows Over Camlan’, dealt with the more myth-veiled Arthur that we tried to drag into a historical time frame. Boudicca is more of a real person in that we know for a fact she existed and lived and died in a wholly oppressive Roman occupation. Her emergence into the pages of history was blazing with violence and retribution and in a brief moment cemented her name for all time…Well, as long as there are humans to remember!”

Which won’t always be the case, judging by the way so-called ‘humanity’ behaves, Metatron. Did you have to do a great deal of research?’

Both albums were extensively researched as I try to be extremely thorough with any of the albums that I create lyrics for. It is very important that the content reflects the album’s theme. As we deal with actual events, there is little room for error. I know that the fans rarely delve into the lyrics and try to unravel each song, but for those who do, it’s all there.’

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Indeed it is. What do you feel are the similarities between Boudicca’s world and ours, and what are the differences?’

Like any ancient world, the comparisons to ours are immense. The corrupt religions of Christianity and Islam have demolished the more nature orientated religions of the many cultures they have swallowed up. It is a paradox when you look at the reclusive Judaism that these monster religions spawned from. Judaism is relatively exclusive to Jews, and does not wish to devour the Earth, unlike Christianity/Islam that are obsessed with indoctrination of whoever and whatever lays in their cancerous paths.”

Most ancient cultures did not wish to conquer the world, nor impose their beliefs on anyone else. They existed within the confines of a tribal law and that was that.”

What never changes is the violence, greed and wholesale discrimination that still remains, as does the oppressive nature of the human race.’

Indeed, Metatron, mankind’s cruelty, materialism and intolerance seem sadly constant. As Tom Waits memorably wrote: ‘The One Thing About Mankind Is/There’s Nothing Kind About Man.’ Do you feel Boudicca has something to teach us?

Nothing we can learn from as we do now pretty much…although it’s not pretty…what we did then, only the shoes have changed as they say…Cultural identity was very much part of her diatribe, as it was to most peoples of the time. I suppose this has been lost in the cosmopolitan world we seem to indulge in today, and to criticise the modern way of life can cause the politically correct brigade to scream racist…”

I feel sad our land is losing its identity in this age, and to try to reach out and hold onto it can be deemed racist as well. I say fuck ‘em, as The Wolves of Avalon are very much tied to our land’s past and that is that.”

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Do you feel Boudicca is a feminist icon? Interestingly, she was much loved of her namesake Queen Victoria!’

I suppose any female who has made a name for herself is looked on as a feminist icon. Boudicca is the ultimate female icon and a rare reflection of womanhood that is more universally appreciated. Her story is tragic and like most freedom fighters throughout history, her death was not a natural one.”

‘Can you tell us something about the guest musicians on ‘Boudicca’s Last Stand’?’

We have some very specific pagan-orientated guests that we asked for from bands we all admire, such as Thurios from Drudkh, Cargoth from Nokturnal Mortem, and Hildare Valkrie. These add so much depth to the songs they appear on and bring together a certain brotherhood as we all share a deep reverence for our countries’ past. We also have a flute player from Russia, and all the usual mandolin and violin players that hold our sound together.”

The album’s artwork is truly spectacular!’

The artwork was very important to really give you an insight to the music. The cover art was specifically created for this release and it is just how I imagined this warrior queen to be. Sometimes you look at artwork for an album and when you listen to the music it is not what you imagined. I like artwork that says what it is. A good example are Motorhead albums, they are very reflective of the content.”

Do you feel you musically and lyrically progressed with ‘Boudicca’s Last Stand’?

The new album is far more polished and less abrasive. We have definitely progressed and honed the band’s sound with the new songs. The core instruments and mid-paced nature of the music remains with the pagan atmosphere we try to weave into the music.”

I feel the production of the album is just right.’

James Marinos produced the album and he really has done a fine job. We tried to maintain a clean sound as opposed to the more raw and primitive sounds of the genre. We did not want to dive into the Napalm Records pond of sweet and nice sounding metal, as we have kept the roughness of how we feel a good pagan metal album should sound like, but everyone has their own perspective on this. Like with The Meads of Asphodel, this band tries not to emulate, nor absorb another band’s sound. We do what we do and hope people will enjoy it.”

What are your feelings on the current state of the music industry?’

The music industry is in a state of confusion, suffocating band pollution and chronic financial suicide for the bands that create the music in the first place. The internet is a two-sided coin of good and bad. The good being the access of information, instant conversation, but the bad is an easy access to filth, greed and the cancerous sharing of music that will ultimately destroy the underground scene as we know it. I loathe Spotify, as it just gives people cheap access to music…to music they would never pay to listen to otherwise. And when I say cheap I mean criminally cheap. The bands at an underground level will get fuck all from it, though the record labels will stick it on them any. Facebook is a another good medium for communication but the countless bands who can only exist here are two a penny, and have their twenty or so fans to feed their egos and that will be that.”

‘And another thing, the great personalities like Dio and Quorthon that inspired so many, and all gone or not too far off it.’

You’re sadly all too right there, Steve. This modern age is full of faceless nonentities and the music will suffer terribly from it. If you like your music for free then the internet is for you. Beyond that statement is the embracing of this medium without relinquishing a fan’s duty to support the bands that they claim to love. Without the music, where would the music-loves be? It is a conundrum within a conundrum.”

‘Your Bathory cover was superb, very heartfelt, are there plans for any more covers?’

We have just done a Nokturnal Mortem cover for a tribute coming out next year.”

We are also releasing an MCD that will feature the Venom track Die Hard, and this will have a few guests doing the verses, so that will be raw black metal.”

Do you have a concept for your third album?

James has come up with the idea of doing an album of the Sabbats of our lands past. The songs will deal with the climates and themes surrounding each one. We are working on that idea now.”

Finally, Metatron, is there anything you’d like to add?

Support the underground by buying stuff from the small labels. Fuck the bigger ones as they will survive whatever. If you want your underground to survive, support the labels, distros and mags that exist within it.”

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