Encyrcle – Embrace the NocturnalFriday, 12th June 2015
Galloping guitars, head banging mid-tempo changeups, soaring/ majestic melodies, and a sense of evil permeating the air. These are a few of the greatest things about the roots of heavy metal – and followers in today’s wide open scene are fortunate to not only embrace the forefathers alive or dead like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and the like, but gain a boatload of newcomers who wish to put their stake in the ground.
Three years into their career, Denmark’s Encyrcle are another youthful five-piece who conjure up memories of yesteryear while also adding a bit of the extreme scene to their sound when called for. Their self-titled debut album, recently released on Unspeakable Axe Records (what a label name!) will make you think of the color black, burning candles, and a hefty load of Maiden meets Mercyful Fate on speed. Occasionally breaking up the dynamics can be a doom part or a blast beat with frentic high guitar trills, but this group seriously love traditional heavy metal and give these songs an equally primitive, analog-oriented sonic outlook to match.
Firing off these questions to drummer/pianist Anders Edalis, you’ll see Encyrcle isn’t about settling on one style per se, but incorporating everything they can at their hands to establish their own brand of nocturnal speed metal.
Dead Rhetoric: How did Encyrcle come to be, and did you decide right from the start that you wanted to develop your own brand of ‘nocturnal speed metal’ or was this a natural evolution through rehearsals and getting to know one another?
Anders Edalis: While the “dark” heavy/speed metal style was pretty set from the beginning, the label, ‘nocturnal speed metal’, was coined by our lead guitar player, Klem, as a sort of last minute development when we had to come up with a proper term for what we were doing. No matter how much you want to avoid labelling your art, people are gonna do it, so there’s no way around it and you might as well do it yourself. While the label was obviously never thought of at the beginning, we have come to feel that it captures well what we aimed for with our debut album: adding our personal, twisted sense of darkness and mystique to an otherwise well-known formula. But ‘nocturnal’ is also a fitting term for the lyrics and aesthetics. People seem to really have caught onto the term.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell us about the development of your debut, self-titled album – how much time did you spend on the songwriting and recording, how do you feel about the outcome and were there any special stories/situations that happened that proved to be funny or stressful to get through?
Edalis: The band formed in 2012, but a few of the songs, for example ”Dizzy Me Deadly” and ”Evoke the Night”, had started life in an earlier, defunct band of mine. I continued, intensely, to write new stuff during rehearsals of the initial songs, and in little more than a year we had enough substance for a full-length. We began the drum recordings for the album in fall 2013. However, the entire recording process would eventually be plagued by some bad luck and got stretched out because, for one thing, we had to recruit a new guitarist along the way. Drums and vocals were recorded at Some Studio (that’s the name), a fine studio beneath our practice space, and guitars and bass were recorded by ourselves. The entire recording was done in late summer 2014, then came mixing and mastering which were done by Michael Buur Hansen at Some Studio.
Dead Rhetoric: The three interludes/instrumental songs “Chronoboros”, “En Trance”, and “Serpent’s Dream” give the 8 proper vocal-oriented tracks more room to breathe. Did you have band discussions regarding song order for this record and the importance of front to back dynamics to ensure full, enjoyable listening sessions each and every time?
Edalis: The song order was actually settled on at a pretty early stage, because the songs were intuitively written with a sort of thematic flow among them. They each represented a different aspect of a quite diverse sound I wanted to give shape. It was never a clearly calculated development process, but more of a feeling of diversity and complementary (that) I wanted to get across. Luckily, none of the members objected to the fundamental ideas, and things just seemed to develop naturally into place.
Dead Rhetoric: It seems like you are also not afraid to incorporate blast beats and black metal guitar trilling elements in certain songs – is the sky the limit as far as what works for Encyrcle?
Edalis: Encyrcle is about contrast and flexibility. We didn’t want and still don’t want to stagnate in some closed end of the spectrum. The artists I tend to enjoy the most and the longest are the flexible ones. And since I’m a fan of both classic heavy metal and black metal, I felt like bringing these extremes together in order for us to make a more unpredictable and perhaps “dangerous” heavy metal sound. “Nocturnal speed metal” is one way of phrasing this sound, but “blackened heavy metal” could just as well be another.
Dead Rhetoric: Your vocalist N. Hydra has a multi-faceted delivery, capable of hitting high screams but for the most part sticking to an epic style with his melodies and phrasing. Do you consider this part of a difference-maker for Encyrcle to separate itself from the new breed of traditional/power/speed metal acts?
Edalis: The instrumental side of the music is thought out in terms of diversity and opposition. So we were lucky to find Nik Hydra who had the proper range to mirror this in his vocals. A lot of the really eerie screams were improvised in the studio, but they felt like a natural counterpart to the music, always evolving between something melodic and accessible, and something really dark and unsettling. As said above, Encyrcle never intended to be purely either this or that, ugly or pretty, but rather a twisted combination. In this way we favor unpredictability over tradition, which might set us a bit apart from many of the “tradition revivalist” bands.
Dead Rhetoric: You hail from the land of the mighty Mercyful Fate – tell us about your first encounter(s) with this act, have you met any of the members of the band through the years and are you familiar with Michael Denner’s Beat Bop record shop (if so, what have been your favorite purchases there)?
Edalis: I don’t remember exactly when I first heard Mercyful Fate. My favorite album is Don’t Break the Oath, but I also have a thing for the overlooked album Time. We all love this legendary band, but haven’t had the fortune of meeting any of them, except for seeing them on stage.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Encyrcle as a live act? What have some of your favorite shows been like in your career?
Edalis: Our live shows are evokations of the nocturnal energies, the energies of the “nightside.” The cover and lyrics of our album allude to these powers: the lunacy of the moon, the inversion of the Apolline structures, the destructive and yet creative powers of night and dissolution etc. The members of the cyrcle becomes sort of “possessed” by these energies on stage. In this way the player is as much an instrument as his instrument. The real player is the raw energy. It is difficult to name the best show, though, since I believe they are constantly evolving at this moment.
Dead Rhetoric: Where do you see the state of heavy metal today? What changes would you like to see (if any) to make things even stronger?
Edalis: I would like to see more actual singers in the metal scene. Since the 70s and the 80s, the vocal trends have progressed away from proper singing into all sorts of distorted expressions. While the aggressive or “distorted” style can be creative and expressive (thinking of Atilla of Mayhem, John Tardy of Obituary, Dagon of Inquisition, Famine of Peste Noire etc.), nothing has more expression and nuance than a proper fucking singer, in my opinion. Clean vocals can be just as “evil” or eerie, if not more, thinking of people like King Diamond, David Bower of Hell, Devin Townsend, or Pelle Åhman of In Solitude. It might take more natural talent or gut to “sing” your heart out rather than bark, but to me it’s more interesting in the long run. With all this “revival” of the 80s and 70s going on, of course we’ve seen a rise of these vocalists, but it still seems to kinda “belong” to the past. I think this is a mistake. Still I shouldn’t really bitch about it, since the lack of clean singers maybe makes our sound stand out more.
Dead Rhetoric: If you had the chance to assemble your own one day heavy metal festival of any bands current or deceased, who would you pick to be on this lineup (please name the eras if a particular band does not exist anymore)?
Edalis: I would probably assemble some spooky “phantom-like” lineup with a bunch of “impossible to see live” bands. Each of those below have either disbanded, don’t play live, or rarely at all:
00: Rainbow with Dio (1978-era) (outdoor)
23 PM: Mercyful Fate (on hold) (indoor)
22 PM: Darkthrone (don’t play live) (outdoor)
21 PM: The Devil’s Blood (disbanded) (indoor)
20 PM: Dissection (disbanded) (outdoor)
19 PM: In Solitude (disbanded) (indoor)
18 PM: Exodus w. Paul Baloff (1985-era) (outdoor)
17 PM: Thy Darkened Shade (don’t play live, yet) (indoor)
16 PM: Sabbat (jp) (outdoor)
Dead Rhetoric: What hobbies or activities do the members of Encyrcle like to do when you aren’t dealing with music? At this point do you have to have day jobs to support yourselves, and would you love to make a living from your craft?
Edalis: While music is a passionate “hobby” (though I passionately hate this word) now, we would surely not hate to make the band a “job” someday. We all enjoy intoxication, too. Klem is studying philosophy and religion at this moment; Koldby has a full time job when he’s not passed out from drinking or playing the bass, Rose mostly geeks out over movies, games and music, as well as learning to build guitars and create websites; Hydra enjoys video games and getting fit. I have a master degree in philosophy and much of my time is dedicated to reading all sorts of literature that inspires and expands my perspective. I’m also planning the release of my debut novel this year.
Dead Rhetoric: Where would you like to see Encyrcle as far as popularity in the next few years? And do you think at this point that the quality of your audience matters more than necessarily the quantity?
Edalis: Maybe quality and quantity can go hand in hand? I believe that true, condensed passion for our stuff will go a long way in bringing it to a wider audience. Time – as well as forthcoming material, of course – will tell if we will “penetrate” the scene in any way. But at any cost it must first spread in the underground if it should have any chance of “surfacing” (quantifying).
Dead Rhetoric: What does the rest of 2015 look like for Encyrcle in terms of promotional/live touring plans? Are you already working on follow up material for the next record?
Edalis: We have shows coming up in different areas of Denmark. In September we’re going to Athens, Greece, and it seems possible to do more in Southern Europe around that time, if circumstances will agree to it. Our debut album has been a done deal for us for quite a while now and a lot of new stuff has been taking shape in the meantime. At this moment we actually have a pretty good idea of how the second album and the evolution of Encyrcle will sound and look like.