Megaton Sword burst onto the scene seemingly out of nowhere in 2019 with the release of Niralet. This EP gave us a glimpse into a new, young band inspired by epic metal champions like Manowar and Manilla Road. With a run time of twenty five minutes, Niralet was more than enough material to know that this was a band to keep an eye on. Just one year later and Megaton Sword are ready to unsheathe their debut album Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire.
While “Songs of Victory”, the first single released from Blood Hails Steel…, showcases Megaton Sword’s ability to play up-tempo epics, the exclusive song we have for you here today on Ride into Glory is a bit different. “Verene” demonstrates the band’s flexibility with a slow burning epic. Having heard the album in its entirety, I can assure you all that there’s plenty of variety and quality to be had on this debut as Megaton Sword carve out a sound of their own. Blood Hails Steel… is undoubtedly one of 2020’s finest traditional metal offerings.
Release date: November 13th via Dying Victims Productions
Niralet… I feel like it is worth talking about the world you created (or the world that created your music?) before all else. Could you maybe take us to a quick tour? Is it somewhere you escape the real world that is often even crazier than a place with rivers of beer down the mountain and dicks of steel that kill?
Unchained: If one could truly escape the real world, I’d rather go to Cockaigne. Niralet’s rivers of beer might give a paradisiac impression, however, the foggy lines between good and evil are as shady and contradictory as elsewhere. Several moderately intelligent species live on Niralet. The most powerful individuals and political players among them waste most of their time construing justifications for warfare based on cultural, geographical, and religious differences. No matter how small, negligible, or even completely invented these differences might be. As an observer, it all seems pretty insane to me. Who would want to live in such a place? Now, I did not give you a tour exactly. Maybe I could give you some hints to the story underlying the cover art: The burning city is Kerszh. It is the cultural and economic hub of the south-western Neekog League. Notably, there’s a huge library called the Torch, which literally became just that. On the back side you find the corresponding arsonist: Zadro Koren raises a torch into the night sky. Reputedly, he is the liberator of the Vynn and has forged an alliance with Naelle (aka “the Vulva of the Nightfall” in Neekog propaganda). “In the Black of Night” is the song that inspired the cover art.
On both “Niralet” EP and the new album you have great pieces of art by Adam Burke for the covers. Immediately seen is that the peacefulness of the previous art has gone and now we have a war scene where a city by the sea is up in flames. Has the peace been disturbed after you unleashed their stories? Do you feel responsibility for the war with the release of “Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire” or do you simply observe and tell the tales? In terms of the artist – what has drawn you to Adam Burke in particular?
Unchained: Adam Burke had already painted many great covers when we decided to start as a band. We were extremely impressed and knew that we could send him some descriptions of the artwork we imagined and that he probably would do a great job realizing it.
Ironically, the cover of the “Niralet” EP shows the preliminary end scene of the current plot and the cover on “Blood Hails Steel – Steel Hails Fire” is a pretty early scene. So, will it all end well in Niralet after all? I’m not entirely convinced yet.
Luckily, we did not cause any war. We just innocently capitalize on these scurrilous, blood-soaked stories the gods of Niralet transmit to us. Alright, maybe we slightly overdid it by excessively adding even more nonsensical scenes of violence.
The vocal style of MEGATON SWORD is admittedly somewhat unique. Unique and passionate vocals have been an integral part of heavy metal since the 80s, so I think vocals not only fit your music well but also give it a “character”. But I also heard of people who were put off by vocals, do you have any suggestions for people who could have been into the music but are driven away by vocals?
Unchained: If you want to make the music that everybody likes then you can stop making music right away.
If I am not mistaken, MEGATON SWORD is the first band for all of your members, correct? Were you active in any previous acts of heavy metal – or have you kept the silence until the day you heard Niralet’s call (or until the day you shared some beers and said “we have our own music to offer to the world, let’s go”, depending on the story you want to go with)?
Thundersteel: No, this actually isn’t true. We’ve all been in, or currently are in other bands. Uzzy Unchained has been floating through the galaxy with his Space Rock outfit Viaticum for quite some time now, while Dan Thundersteel roams the hellfires by hammering out blast beats for the Black Metal combo Forlet Sires, who’s been around since 2013. Simon the Sorcerer and Chris the Axe have been playing together in bands for a long time as well. So no, we aren’t actually new to the scene. But indeed, the Heavy Metal gods heeded a call to battle, which we heard when me, Simon, and Uzzy all met at an Obituary show in Summer 2017 and drowned massive amounts of the Giver’s Embrace while philosophizing about old school Metal and the lack of Bands in Switzerland….eeehm, I mean Niralet. That’s how this thing got started…
Do you think the tales of Niralet lend themselves better to studio or live settings? I hope it’s the former because given the current situation of the world, it is hard to tell when the next time you’ll be able to go on stage, draw your sword (can Megaton Sword even be drawn or is it stationary?), and play loud. In any case, how are you looking forward to getting back on stage with your new songs when it is possible again eventually? Have you been able to practice and play together throughout quarantines, lockdowns, etc.?
Thundersteel: We absolutely can’t wait to get back on stage and conquer every realm on this planet. But both settings are equally important. We planned to go to the studio in April to record the new record long before COVID-19 hit anyway, so the extra time at hand during the lockdown was even quite favorable for us. It allowed us to do a proper pre-production of the album and also made the recordings in the studio a bit less stressful, as we had more time. We started practicing weekly again shortly after the studio which kind of sucked though, as also Niralet was in lockdown mode and all our favorite bars were closed where we usually hang out after practice and drown some beers. As for liveshows; we have some shows lined up in November and December where we’ll play some of the new songs live for the very first time and we’re quite optimistic that we’re able to play those, while adhering to local safety policies of course.
Based on the whole concept of the band (and the love for epic heavy metal…), I will assume you are into fantasy literature or role playing games like D&D? Any important and direct non- musical influences on your music, or the creation of Niralet? Other universes, book series, movies, or any other kind of art?
Unchained: I read a lot of science-fiction and fantasy novels and series. There are many extremely elaborated worlds out there but Niralet is unconnected to them. The story, all names, characters, and incidents portrayed in our lyrics are fictitious. No identification with actual persons (living or deceased), places, buildings, and products is intended or should be inferred.
What does the future hold for you and for Niralet as far as you can see from where you stand? Will the peace reign over the land again, and if so, will you have more tales to tell in future albums? If a peaceful future for Niralet means you’ll have to release acoustic folk albums instead of epic heavy metal, I hope the unrest over the land will be permanent…
Unchained: One thing’s for sure, whether in the studio, the rehearsal or on stage: THERE … WILL … BE … METAL! As for Niralet: The cover of the EP suggests time for a cool beer at the sunny banks of the Giver. But if you could zoom in, you’d find that the seed of war has fallen on fertile soil again. Too many wrongs remain unanswered, fools scream for vengeance, and flourishing realms await their blood horny conquerors! Sorry guys, you’d better save your lutes, flutes, and tambourines for the next bonfire.
Any final words about the band, album, song, or otherwise for Ride Into Glory readers?
Thundersteel: We’d like to thank each and everyone who supported us in any way. We’re absolutely overwhelmed with the feedback we’ve received for Niralet and the announcement of Blood Hails Steel. A big shout out to Flo of Dying Victims, who is doing a tremendous job of getting the word of Niralet out across the globe. It’s great to see that classic Heavy Metal is still alive and as strong as ever! We can’t wait to meet some of you maniacs at upcoming shows! Until then; CHEERS!