Interview with Nordavinden Lien
Interview by Lord of The Wasteland
**All Pics Courtesy of Bloodaxe
Blistering cold, howling winds, Norse history?sounds like your standard theme for a Scandinavian Black Metal CD, right? Well, in the case of Thunder Bay, Ontario?s Bloodaxe, a one-man band featuring Nordavinden Lien, those themes populate the vicious sounds of the band?s music through and through. Lien, a Canadian of Norwegian descent, is the driving force behind Bloodaxe and has been steering the longship for the better part of five years. The release of RAPING THE ANCIENT in 2004 brought new attention to Bloodaxe and the upcoming, FOR THOSE WHO HUNT THE WOUNDED DOWN, will elevate the band to the next level of greatness amongst the realms of underground blackened thrash.
Lien is extremely frank and candid in this interview and offers no apologies for his thoughts, ideas or opinions?nor should he have to. ?The Force From The North? is here to bludgeon, pillage and dominate and NOTHING will stand in his way?
The latest Bloodaxe CD, RAPING THE ANCIENT, was delayed due to ?numerous setbacks? according to the promo sheet. Can you explain what these setbacks were? I read that you accidentally chopped off a finger?!?!?
Yeah fuck?a really bad cut to my right index finger, the one that I hold the pick with. Of course, with the great health care we have here in Northern Ontario, it got worse rather than better. First it was sewn up and then left to heal for two weeks. Then I had the surgery to fix the nerves?fucking ass backward fucking country. Yeah, socialized medicine DOESN?T work!! The other setbacks were caused by the drummer [Rati], whose studio we used to record this last album. After I had recorded my guitar tracks and then doubled them, he packed up all his studio shit and was selling it. The guy he was selling it to never wound up buying it, but for almost one year, I couldn?t get a hold of either of these fuckers. Then the drummer decides he?s keeping the studio and then fucking after all that time we finished the album. I wasn?t too fucking pleased. I had all the graphics done and the booklet set up and I had someone who was to help me format all that and they kept delaying it, for over seven months. So it was an endless fucking journey of bullshit and in the end, I completely hate the fucking album. It was written quickly and the guitars were done quickly, but the rest was bullshit. I can only stand a few tracks. I haven?t really had any control over my project at all until now. The only big change was the vokills. This time I had more control over the overall sound.
RAPING THE ANCIENT?who is the ?ancient? and who is doing the ?raping? of them?
The ?ancient? refers to our Scandinavian ancestors and the rape that is being perpetrated by archeologists. I know it?s something that helps us learn about their way of life and so on, but I?m looking at it from a different perspective.
The cover art for RAPING THE ANCIENT is as dark and ominous as the music itself. Where did you find the artist who did this?
Leilah Wendell from the Westgate Necromantic in New Orleans. A friend of mine gave me this book one night when we were getting fucking hammered at his place in Oslo. It was called ?The Necromantic Ritual Book?. When I got back to Canada, I was looking on the Internet for an artist and came across this fucking incredible artwork?real morbid fucking shit. I saw the work, ?The Final Voyage,? and looked down at the name of the artist, then looked at the book, which happened to be sitting next me and it was the same fucking person. The new CD, FOR THOSE WHO HUNT THE WOUNDED DOWN, features the artwork of a Canadian artist named Tony Mesiatowsky. I think I have spent more just on the artwork for this new CD as I spent on the entire last two CDs combined!
Viking history is rampant throughout the lyrics of RAPING THE ANCIENT. Is this something you have a vested interest in or is it just material that suits the music of Bloodaxe? In other words, are the lyrics used to teach?
Yeah, it?s a big part of Bloodaxe and my Norwegian heritage and, of course, fits the hammer-smashing rage of Bloodaxe. I?ve studied Viking life and ancient history for years.
Correct my flawed history but weren?t the Native Indians, and not the Vikings, the first people in what is now Canada? Please enlighten a wayward soul who grew up brainwashed by the Canadian public school system!
Actually the Inuit were the first peoples in what is now called Canada. The so-called ?Natives? were not even around when the Vikings landed here over 1,000 years ago. There is a huge similarity between the ?Indian? culture and the Scandinavian culture. Petroglyphs (rock paintings, carvings) from both cultures are almost exact. Paintings and rock carvings found here in Canada that were once thought to be Native are now being considered to be Norse/Viking. Also, the fact that the Vikings had a very early connection with the Inuit in the North is pretty interesting. Norway actually owned all of Canada?s north but because Norway was under Swedish rule, the Swedes sold the land to Canada. The Norse have been in Canada a lot longer then people realize.
Getting to the tracks on RAPING THE ANCIENT, where did you find the fiddle sample used on ?Midvinterblod??
I can?t remember the exact website but it was just a sample of Hardanger Fiddle from an unknown artist which I manipulated a bit.
What is ?Gammelandet? about?
Gammellandet means the ?old land? in Norwegian. It?s about the area my grandparents came from. The middle of Norway called S?r Tr?ndelag.
Is ?While You Lie Bleeding? directed at anyone in particular or just towards Bloodaxe non-believers in general?
It?s about killing a man while in battle. Overall, it?s a song I fucking hate. I wasn?t going to include it on the album but its filler.
Can you explain some of the Norse references made on RAPING THE ANCIENT, in particular, who are Ull and Loki and what is the significance of ?Thirteen Oars??
Ull is the god of winter and hunting. Loki is the trickster, jester of the gods. He was also responsible for the death of Balder. ?Thirteen Oars? is just something I made up, an unlucky number. The song itself deals with being lost at sea. I mostly use aspects from Norse myths or from nature but I always add my own view.
?Haunting The Runes? and ?Superior Winds? are both as cold and grim as a witch?s tit. How exactly do you capture that ambience when putting a song together?
When I?m writing, I have nothing in mind whatsoever. I?m not even thinking?not even in this world, it seems. It?s almost like an out of body experience. Absolutely nothing about Bloodaxe is, or has ever been, planned.
How did you improve as a songwriter from the BLOODTHRONE release to RAPING THE ANCIENT? Will the next album?s songs bludgeon those on RAPING THE ANCIENT in terms of brutality and extremity?
RAPING THE ANCIENT was written a few weeks after BLOODTHRONE. I think the songs are more precise; the vokills are a lot better. The next album, FOR THOSE WHO HUNT THE WOUNDED DOWN, will be the most extreme release yet. All Bloodaxe material has been ?demo? material up until this new CD!
Since RAPING THE ANCIENT was written and recorded in 2002, is the follow-up going to be coming along soon? What sort of direction will the next Bloodaxe release take?
The direction of Bloodaxe has always been NORTH! FOR THOSE WHO HUNT THE WOUNDED DOWN has the best material to date. I?m actually not too suicidal about these songs. I have never considered Bloodaxe to be Black Metal, but more of a fast, raw, dark thrash and this new CD will have a lot more thrash on it.
Can you fill us in on song titles?
The songs are as follows: Gulveig (The Returning), I Am the North Winds, Sworn To Njord, Tears of The Elder, Bleeding Ymir, Draugr?s Barrow, Devastation Angel, Seidr, Upon The Fields of Vigrid, Seven Chains To Suffer, Return To The Throne, Vardhlokur (The Trancing).
Instrumentals have played a big role in both Bloodaxe CDs. Will FOR THOSE WHO HUNT THE WOUNDED DOWN carry on that tradition, as well?
Definitely. I?ve been hugely influenced by the ones who have paved the way for bands like Bloodaxe. Bands like Anvil, Sacrifice, Exciter and Razor always had instrumentals on their albums, it seemed.
RAPING THE ANCIENT showed up on the radar late in 2004 but generated good buzz. Have the various labels come sniffing around with pen in hand? What would it take for you to sign on the dotted line?
A label is just a big distribution company and a bank. I have distribution already on my own terms and as far as finances are concerned, that has never, nor will it ever be, a problem. I have heard nothing but fucking crying from bands, especially Canadian bands that have signed to labels.
Is White Legends a label that will be home to other bands besides Bloodaxe or is it just for your music?
White Legends is fucking KVULT?only home to Bloodaxe.
Is Death Hammer Studio your own home studio?
(Laughs) Well, I wouldn?t exactly call it a studio, but yeah.
How successful has the Internet been in marketing the music of Bloodaxe? I?ve seen the track on the Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles sampler but otherwise, word of Bloodaxe seems to be spreading online through the underground.
We have been in Metal Maniacs, Ancient Ceremonies, Scream, Metallian and many other metal magazines. As far as Brave Words and Bloody knuckles are concerned fuck them. They seem only concerned with bands that sell. I?m really fucking sick of them and other magazines catering to the old 80?s bands?these guys blew all their cash on hookers, cocaine and booze and now that its 20 years after the fact, their music is retro and it?s a good chance for them to make some cash. I?m really fucking sick of it. There are new bands out there, and even bands that have been around just as long, which deserve the publicity!
Why is the ?Hall of Bilskirnir? video not available on the Bloodaxe website? It seems like as good a place as any, since I?m guessing Much Music won?t be airing it any time soon!
It?s a terrible video done by a local guy, filmed entirely in nature. Once I figure out how to get it up on the site, then we’ll see.
Rati plays drums on both Bloodaxe releases and is credited with co-founding the band but is never shown. Why?
He?s too fucking hideous looking and would probably scare away our three female fans! That bio needs to be rewritten as he was not co-founder of the band at all. He was actually the second choice drummer.
Will he be on FOR THOSE WHO HUNT THE WOUNDED DOWN?
He might make an appearance on the next CD. Everything is up in the air right now.
Given your obvious musical aptitude, why not pick up the drums as well and make Bloodaxe an unstoppable one-man army?
I have no fucking rhythm whatsoever. I?m fucking silly that way. I?m really interested in learning Hardanger fiddle and becoming a lot better on the piano.
Since you take care of everything in Bloodaxe with the exception of drums, do you ever foresee the band playing any gigs? How would you reproduce the feel of Bloodaxe?s music in the live setting?
I get tons of mail from pretty big promoters that want Bloodaxe to play festivals and tours. Up until now, it was never an option but things are changing rather quickly here, so it just might happen. The feel of Bloodaxe is just me?the way I feel. My emotions are in the music, so it won?t be difficult.
Since it is so prevalent in the lyrics of Bloodaxe, what connection do you have with nature?
Man, I was born and grew up in fucking Geraldton in northwestern Ontario?the land of fucking muskeg and mosquitoes! We don?t have ?woods? or ?forests?; we have fucking BUSH! I have stood in places where no man has ever stood?on a daily basis. I was raised by the wolves!
I know that Northern Ontario is probably just as harsh (if not harsher) weather-wise as Scandinavia is, so does that that grimness come into play when staring out your window and penning lyrics?
No. I don?t think about what I?m writing. It just all comes out like automatic writing. Norway has the Gulf Stream, it?s like the fucking Barbados compared to Northern Ontario. People from Northern Ontario are the toughest motherfuckers in the world!
Do you use Bloodaxe as a musical outlet for your views or is the music just a secondary thing that you have fun with?a ?hobby,? for lack of a better word?
I am Bloodaxe, Bloodaxe is my life! My views and opinions only come out when I?m asked to do interviews?I?m an honest person and tell it the way it fucking is. Don?t like it? Go eat a bag of fuck!
You have been very vocal in your criticism of Christianity and the problems it has caused over the course of history. What is it about the Christian faith that you have such contempt for?
Religion is the main cause of the extinction of most cultures. It?s hypocrisy. It?s evolving into a massive liberal disease. I think if it had stayed in it?s very early EXTREME form, there would be a lot more substance to it.
One song off RAPING THE ANCIENT (?The Burning Season?) deals with the burning of Christian churches. The Vikings and Christians were enemies, so is this something that you advocate or, again, is this just subject matter for a song?
As the booklet in the BLOODTHRONE CD states, ?The burning of churches is no longer accepted?.Explosives are the future!!!? FUCK all Catholics and Christians?fuck all religions!! You are the SHEEP and I am the WOLF!
Bloodaxe is occasionally linked to white supremacist groups and the belief that ?white is right.? Is this merely a coincidence that they have embraced Bloodaxe or is there something about these groups that you share a parallel with?
Well, Jews are white; some are even blonde-haired and blue-eyed. So the white is right attitude is retarded. But of course, my views and way of living are ultra conservative. I believe in conservatism, yet unlike most, I don?t hide behind the mask of Christianity or the mask of National Socialism.
What drew you to the playing such extreme metal in the first place?
I don?t consider it that extreme, but it?s the way I have always played. I tried like most to sit down and learn other guys? riffs and shit but I always got bored and I always played too fucking fast. Just the way it is.
Have you received any negative feedback from people asking, ?What does a Canadian know about Black Metal??
Never. I only get negative feedback regarding the ?Viking? aspects. ?What the fuck is this guy from Canada doing trying to be a Viking? and the never ending bullshit. Even though I’m more Norwegian then the majority of those being born in Norway, it?s funny. Like fucking Mayhem?Euronymous was a Sami and Dead was a Swede. Attila is what…Hungarian? TRUE NORWEGIAN BLACK METAL, my ass. I actually had this fucking retard from a ?zine called Metal Coven (not the original German zine but American) who said I pretended to be Norwegian and was ashamed to be Canadian. He just bashed the fuck out of me and my heritage, so I write this little fucker and tell him he?s a fucking retard and that his ?writing? was unprofessional. He writes back and says a bunch of shit about Canada and Canadians and tells me to come and ?meet him.? I wrote him back and said, ?Sure no problem. Once I get my pardon, I?ll come and visit you.? This little bitch writes back and says that if I write him again, he?s contacting the Michigan State Police?fucking hilarious! These little fucking keyboard warriors think they can get away with saying shit and there will be no repercussions. There is nothing I like more then getting bashed by a 35-year old who lives in his parents? basement. And an American who says someone else ?pretends? to be another nationality when they ALL pass themselves off as CANADIAN when they travel outside of their asses.
Have you ever visited Norway?
Of course. I try and visit my relatives there at least once a year. I will be there for the next two months. Both BLOODTHRONE and RAPING THE ANCIENT were written entirely in Norway.
Why did you choose the name Bloodaxe for the band?
The Viking killer. The most ruthless of all…I am a descendant.
What is the motto or ?reason for being? of Bloodaxe?
Violence, Hatred, War and Death!
You have written that Bloodaxe represents the ?true instinct of mankind.? Can you explain what this ?instinct? is?
Hatred and rage. I?m guided by my emotions. I?m really fucking primitive in my ways, which is why I have been arrested so many times, why I react before I think. The original way of man?PRIMITIVE!
What should someone expect from Bloodaxe if they were to go in blindly and purchase a CD?
Underground Black Metal stripped to the bone. It will twist your insides out.
Is there still a place for old-school Black Metal in 2005 given that the peak was in the early to mid-1990s?
Well my friend, I don?t consider Bloodaxe to be Black Metal?well, complete black metal?I would prefer ?VIKING BLACK THRASH ATTACK! I?ve been playing the same style since the 80?s. I don?t really give a fuck about peaks or fucking trends. I get compared to Bathory and that makes me fucking laugh.
Many young metalheads today think Black Metal is Dimmu Borgir and Cradle of Filth and if they heard the brutality of Bloodaxe, they would probably run screaming. Of the people who have given you feedback on your music?fans, not reviewers?what would you say is the demographic? Is the music of Bloodaxe over the head of a 14-year old kid or do you see that same kid as being ripe for corruption?
Bloodaxe fans are all ages, male and female, from every country. Pretty surprising, actually.
Unlike many Black Metal bands, Satan never rears His head in the lyrics of Bloodaxe, nor do you wear corpse paint, etc.. Do you feel that by staying away from these tired archetypes, Bloodaxe is able separate itself from what many now see as cartoonish rather than shocking?
Hmm?well personally, I was a Satanist for many years, until I grew up and discovered my heritage. I support the satanic aspects of extreme metal as long as those involved are serious, but unfortunately most aren?t. I was pretty fucking na?ve when I started this project. I had never even been on the Internet, never even knew there was such a thing as Viking Metal. I knew nothing about Black Metal at all. I simply wanted the music, the whole entity of Bloodaxe to be me, an extension of myself. My nickname has always been ?Satan.? People say I?m a real fucking scary guy and that I emit a huge presence. I wanted all these elements in Bloodaxe. I think PEOPLE are a lot scarier than some ?Satanic? make-believe shit.
Besides another band I?ve heard called Frozen Shadows out of Quebec, Bloodaxe seems to be standing alone on the Canadian Black Metal circuit. Local legends Conqueror also stand out but since they packed it in, are there more bands out there or are you truly holding the throne of the Canadian Black Metal hordes?
I?m sure there are others but we aren?t here to talk about them now, are we?
Is Bloodaxe known around the Thunder Bay area?
I put this fucking city on the map?.I AM A FUCKING LEGEND!
What is it about the Thunder Bay area that keeps you there? I?ve read in places that you hate the city, the people, etc.?!
I LOVE the punishment and I hate most people no matter where they are from. It?s true there are more fucking retards and inbreeds and cripples here then probably anywhere in the world. Around the time of the winter solstice, Bloodaxe will be relocating further north to the biggest northern-most city. The Force from the North will be fucking unstoppable!!!
In a previous interview, you mentioned that a band despised you so much that they recorded a song about you. Can you explain who it was, how this all happened and your thoughts on it?
I just want to thank them for all the great publicity. When you?re as good looking and talented as me, you?re going to get those who hate you and are jealous!
What happened to your former band, Black Chapel? Was the music vastly different from that of Bloodaxe? Was it yourself and Rati as well?
Very thrash/black oriented. Some early tastes of Bloodaxe were in there.
Care to explain exactly what happened with the debacle around Bloodaxe?s IN BATTLE demo from 2000?
Well, living here has always been a very limited existence. The recording turned into shit and the sad thing was that I never had anything to do with any of the ?production? or ?mix?. Just fucking horrible?
How did you come up with the magic number of producing 793 copies of that demo?
793 was the first year of the Viking Raids that started at the monastery at Lindisfarne in England.
Since you play so many different instruments (guitar, bass, piano?did I miss any???), which did you begin with and why?
I always wanted to play guitar but never picked one up until I was 18 years old. I just loved fucking Metal so much, I was always drawn to the guitar. I remember reading about Yngwie Malmsteen and I wanted to be like him. Being in a place like Geraldton, Ontario, I wasn?t able to take lessons, so I learned shit on my own?guitar books. I learned scales and played sometimes 14 hours straight for years. I knew complete theory and had great skill after about a year then I learned how to tune it and things sounded a lot better (laughs)!
Your singing voice is perfectly suited to the music of Bloodaxe but I understand singing came late in life for you. Are you pleased with your voice or is it just a necessary evil to have to deal with?
I completely fucking can’t stand my voice. I hate playing bass and singing, but I have to do it.
The acoustic folk-inspired passages have been a part of both Bloodaxe full-length releases. Is there a soft spot deep down in Nordavinden Lien or are they used simply to give the listener from all that evil???
I believe the acoustic tracks are a bit more emotional then the rest of the songs. They have a definite cold, lonely, sad feeling to them.
On that note, are you ?all metal, all the time? or do your musical tastes expand beyond metal?
There?s something else besides METAL?
Why did you choose the alias of ?Nordavinden??
It?s a name I have been using since the late 80?s. It?s a Norwegian word which translates into English as ?THE NORTH WINDS.? Growing up in the north, the wind from the north was always something I dreaded and it was always the wind that brought the bad weather.
Where do you see Bloodaxe in ten years? Will you still be recording crushing music or will you soften in your old age?
I?m already in my thirties and there?s no fucking way I will slow down! Bloodaxe will continue to destroy for fucking years!
Have you received your pardon to travel out of Canada freely yet?
Yes I received it a few months ago.
Care to mention what it was that you were convicted of?
I have more then a few assault charges, the last one being kicking in a man?s door and then beating him with the door frame, plus concealed weapons, conspiracy to commit assault and other weapons offences.
You have mentioned your love for Bolt Thrower. Are you pretty excited to hear that they finally have a new album coming out and that Karl Willets is back behind the mic again?
For sure! Bolt Thrower is fucking supreme. Funny that through all of their line up changes, they always sounded the same.
What did you do on Canada Day?
Well, after I made the necessary repairs to my IGLOO, I ate some beaver and molested a few seals. Then I drank a LOT of CARLSBERG and ALEXANDER KEITH?S and listened to MAX WEBSTER, RAZOR and THOR and a bit of CONEY HATCH!
If someone wanted to explore Viking history or culture further, could you recommend a few texts that tell the story well?
Search on the Internet. There?s a lot of good links out there but try this http://www.bloodaxe.net/chains.htm.
If you care to send hails out to the many Norwegians and Scandinavians who read our site, feel free to do so!
Bare Skandinaviere et ekte!!!
Any parting thoughts or last words to the readers of Metal-Rules.com?
1,000 hails to you, my friend, for this interview and the hope that nothing here is censored, unlike the interview I did with another Canadian ?zine!! I would like to say the charges against the HELL?S ANGELS in B.C. are outrageous and we should all take heed of this. If the government can take away THEIR freedom, the rest of us WILL surely be next!!! SUPPORT the NORTHERN FORCE and SUPPORT FREEDOM!!!!!
Visit Bloodaxe’s official site
**Read my review of RAPING THE ANCIENT here