Viktor Gullichsen, singer and songwriter of the Finnish Melodic Death Metal band Brymir, answered my questions about their new album, Voices In The Sky.
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Hello and first of all, thank you very much for your time! Could you please introduce yourself and the band Brymir without using the usual “Metal” labels?
Viktor Gullichsen (vocals): Hi! I’m Viktor and I am the singer and primary songwriter for Brymir. We are a jolly group of guys who have played together for 16 years and our style of Melodic Death Metal just seems to get heavier with each album. We are currently preparing to set out on our greatest adventure yet with Napalm Records at our side!
Where does the name Brymir come from, and what is its link with the music you play?
Viktor: We wanted to have a strong association with the ancient Nordic myths and the name is a combination of two concepts from Norse mythology that together could be thought of as Alpha & Omega. Brimir is a hall or table in Valhalla where the heroes of Ragnarök feast for all eternity (after the end) and Ymir is the frost giant from whose flesh the world was formed (before the beginning).
Your new album, Voices In The Sky, is about to come out, how do you feel about it?
Viktor: We are very proud to present this new album and we feel it is our strongest and boldest record yet.
How would you sum the album Voices In The Sky with only three words?
Viktor: Relentless euphoric aggression
How does the composition process happen? Was it different from your previous releases?
Viktor: The process usually starts in my head with a melody or two. I sit in my home studio and start working on the ideas with synths and soundscapes. Once I feel there is an angle to make metal music out of it I start programming drums, bass and record guitars. Our process has changed a bit – I used to send the keyboard demos to Joona Björkroth (guitars) for him to record riffs but recently I started making simple guitar demos myself. This is the reason why this record has a more guitar-heavy sound compared to our previous synth-oriented style.
Is there a concept behind this album?
Viktor: This is not a concept album but the strongest theme is travel, or the longing to get back to traveling and performing. Other themes are human cruelty, environmental issues and the pressures of a life dictated by social media.
As always, you managed to melt seizing Melodic Death Metal and majestic keyboards with different types of vocals. How do you let a place to all your influences?
Viktor: Our sound is a mixture of all the different styles that inspire us. We mix Melodic Death, Power and Black Metal with hints of Classical and even Electronic music.
Voices In The Sky, the title track, is the first one you unveiled. Why did you pick this one?
Viktor: Of all the suitable candidates for first single we felt that Voices In The Sky best represents a good mixture of the new, matured styles of Brymir.
I also love the song Rift Between Us, which is a bit more haunting and melancholic, is there a special story behind it?
Viktor: I wrote that song when I went through turmoil in the relationships with several people close to me at the same time. The song tells of friendship or romance falling apart. In my case, everything turned out fine but the song is very dark as it was made when it felt as if there is no hope of reconciliation.
How do you decide which voice, or voices, to use for each part? What are your influences to write lyrics?
Viktor: We like to try and adapt the vocal style accordingly to the style of the song and tone of the lyrics. Vocals are the strongest tool to convey emotion, so the vocal style for a song or a part seems to embrace the message of the lyrics quite naturally.
You also decided to cover Diabolis Interium, a song originally written by Dark Funeral. What led you to choose this track?
Viktor: We’ve been trying to find a suitable song to cover for years and this one just felt right. Me and our drummer Patrik Fält have been talking about covering Dark Funeral, just for fun, for a long time and it also felt nice to cover a band whose music was such a strong boning factor when Patrik joined the band in 2012.
Since 2020, Covid-19 crisis fucked a lot of things up, how did you face the situation as a band? Did it have an impact on the album?
Viktor: As 2019 was our best year ever, we had a bad psychological crash when the crisis closed venues and put a pause to almost all band operations. We had already planned to spend 2020 writing new music but when we had unlimited time at home during the lockdowns we simply couldn’t find any inspiration – the future looked so bleak and disappointments came one after another. It took almost a year to get back on the horse and get into full writing mode. The fuel for writing the album was the frustration and longing to get back to touring!
Do you have plans for the band’s future, after the album release?
Viktor: Tour, tour and tour – and we’re already getting inspired to write new music! We feel as if our journey has only just started and with our new partnerships we finally have the resources to reach further than ever before.
Do you think you still improve yourselves as musicians?
Viktor: We improve with every new song and with every show played. It’s important to always strive to, if not improve, at least evolve as an artist.
You recently announced your signing at Napalm Records, how is the collaboration with them?
Viktor: It’s great! It feels really good to have such a strong ally on our side for this new chapter in our journey.
What led you to the Metal universe back in time? What was the very first album you ever bought?
Viktor: As a child, my father played me Rock and some Metal. One day at the age of 11 years old I demanded to hear something “faster than Metallica”. My father brought me to a record store and when the shopkeep showed me Dimmu Borgir’s album Puritanical Euphoric Misanthrophy I was immediately addicted – and I still am.
What do you know about the French Metal scene? Which French bands do you know and like?
Viktor: We haven’t had the chance to visit France yet, so we only know what we’ve heard. I’m personally very fond of Gojira and Alcest and I can’t wait to visit some of your amazing festivals!
What if I ask you to compare Brymir’s music with a dish? Which one and why?
Viktor: Fish tacos, drenched in habanero salsa – fresh and very spicy!
Are there any musicians or bands you would like to collaborate with? Whether it is for one song, an album…
Viktor: It would be amazing to invite guest vocalists for our choir parts, especially some killer names from Power Metal! (Can’t really say which particular ones)
Last question: which bands would you love to tour with? I let you create a tour with Brymir as opener and three other bands!
Viktor: Well, if I could chose a dream lineup that I myself would truly headbang to every single night it would be Dimmu Borgir, Wintersun, Decapitated with us as opener.
That was the last question for me, so thank you very much for your time and your music, last words are yours!
Viktor: Thanks for the interview! We hope to see you on tour later this year, I’ve heard rumors of some upcoming French dates… Stay tuned!