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Interviews Heavy Metal, Gothic Metal, Black Metal Interview - Thousand Year War - From Solitude To Brutal Metal

Thousand Year War Interview

 

Interviewer – Phill Bruce

 

Interview Date – 10th November 2011


TYWlogo

Thousand Year War are a thunderous death metal band hailing from Alaska.  Hot off the press is their new album Tyrants and Men.  I got chance to catch up with Hiram Lohr from Thousand Year War and here is how it went.




GC – Thank you so much for Grave Concerns this interview.  First off can you tell us a little bit of a background about yourself and where in this beautiful world you are from?

 

Hiram – Well, I’m Hiram Lohr (Guitar, Vocals, and Lyrics) and started Thousand Year War in the winter of 2008 in a little town by the Canadian Border in Haines, Alaska.  As far as my background the last years in my life have been hitch hiking through the States, volunteering for Buffalo Field Campaign (Organisation working to protect Montana’s last wild buffalo herd), commercial fishing in Alaska, working tirelessly and endlessly for promotion and completion of Tyrants and Men and finally starting a little family of my own.  Right now I am back where I grew up in a little farm in Northern California for the holidays getting ready to make a move near Portland, Oregon.

 

GC – What was life like growing up in Alaska?

Hiram – I was a transplant there actually, moved up in ‘07.  I can say life is much different up there.  Your relationship to the earth/natural order is very real so to speak.  You learn to hunt/fish/gather real quick or face the outrageous prices for food there.  Of course it’s fun believe it or not being able to do subsistence fishing or killing the food you eat.  It’s a place of wild extremes and stunning beauty. People live very interesting lives there to say the least.

GC – How has it been getting Tyrants and Men out there, have you come across any stumbling blocks?

Hiram – It took a tremendous amount of work and sacrifice.  At one point me and form member Kellen were eating cottage cheese sandwiches being so broke from funding the recording.  I spent over a month at sea commercial fishing in Bristol Bay to fund the recording.  There were some teeth grinding raw effort put into it.  After it was recorded I can’t tell you how many countless hours I put into label shopping and promoting just on my own.  Fredrik helped tremendously by hooking us up with Fredrik Lunneborg of Primecut studios to master and referring us to Abyss Records.  It’s been a wild ride to say the least, but I’m sure readers won’t want to read 30 pages of the details ;)

TYWhiram

Thousand Year War's Main Man Hiram Lohr

GC – What is the meaning behind your name Thousand Year War?

Hiram – I thought of the name Thousand Year War after the world came out of the Tyrannical rule of President Bush.  I thought the wars he waged and others continue to wage as a seemingly religious battle paralleled those close to a thousand years ago by the Crusaders.  Thus thousand year war. My wife actually suggested we use the name of the song Thousand Year War when we were called Shadow of the Colossus and it made so much sense.

GC – At what point in your life did you decide to form your band and why?

Hiram – I think I was 26 and I had just got back from set netting in a remote area about 150 miles above Yakutat, Alaska (Only reachable by plane or boat) and I was at a point in my life where I wanted complete detachment from humanity and spent days to weeks in isolation writing music and deprogramming my mind from what seems like subliminally institutionalized by our modern world.  I realized that I wanted to write heavy hard hitting music in the melodic death metal vein that would reach out and inspire an audience.  I have been working on music for years since I was 19 that was much more primitive and archaic
black metal, but throughout that time I had a strong desire to delve into something that used more solid song writing and guitar talent while still centralizing a big focus onto making a powerful atmosphere.

 

GC – Did that isolation provide you with the inspiration you were looking for?

Hiram – Yeah definitely.  It helped me who I was as a person and discover what I wanted to achieve as a musician.  I have a heart for atmosphere and moving compositions but also a strong desire to get out live and write more structured songs.  It was a medium I was discovering and the solitary time was just what I needed.

GC – How did your early bands set you up for Thousand Year War?

Hiram – They all really helped with the foundation.  Some of the riffs that are used in this first album are from projects or ideas years before.  It took a lot of trial and error to get where I’m at as a songwriter and musician!  In my early days at around 19-20 I recorded a whole album without a metronome....ha ha ha I look back and wonder WTF was I thinking???  I really learned a lot about song writing and recording since then!!  But everything that I was a part of or did on my own was simply a foundation for my true heart and passion which is TYW.

GC – Who besides yourself is in the band and what background are they from?

Hiram – Right now I have as session musicians Fredrik Widigs-drums (Live Witchery, Live Demonical, ex-angrepp, the Ugly) and Pablo Magallanes-Guitar/Bass (Live Demonical, Live Internment).  Fredrik has been involved in numerous bands and projects that range from Death, Black, Slam, Thrash and even more indie rock on one recent project I have heard.  He is absolutely phenomenal, one of the most professional and outstanding metal musicians in the world in my opinion.  Working with him has helped TYW tremendously.  Pablo has been playing live for Demonical and Internment and I know he has been involved in several other bands too.  This is my first time working with him and I have nothing but good things to say and am very happy to be working with a guitarist with so much skill and dedication.

 

GC – Both musicians sound amazing guys, what do you feel they have truly brought to Thousand Year War?

Hiram – Well, Pablo has yet to play on a TYW release.  He will be soon but the dynamic between me and former member Kellen really brought around and sculpted the solid sound for Tyrants and Men, Fredrik was the icing on the cake.  Between the three of us there was a real solid song writing, melody and brutality.  Now of course there will be a different element as it will be just me writing the songs maybe with another permanent member, I’m not sure yet.

GC – What are your musical influences?

Hiram – My musical influences range from Amon Amarth, Astriaal, Rotting Christ, Twin Obscenity, Phillip Glass, Satyricon, Satariel and Skeleton Witch to name a few.  More importantly are my natural surroundings.  Nature has a huge impact upon my soul and school of thought from the moment I wake to sleep.  Rebellion and opposition to our leaders and governments, social injustice and ecological tragedy also have a huge influence on my music and lyrics.  Specific band influences are having less and less of an effect on my song writing nowadays. You can see that musical influences did affect my song writing in Tyrants and Men, but in this new EP Vulture Eyes you will hardly notice that and the next full length after this EP TYW will have developed its very own sound.

 

GC – Is there any one thing about the world today be it a certain disaster or event that has really influenced you to write?

Hiram – I think the question is there anything in the world that DOESN’T influence me to write ;)  In short, my main influence is the corruption and overall deception that is led by world leaders and governments.  It’s sickening and if you’re not enraged, you’re not paying attention and a lot of people aren’t.   Nature is a huge influence on me, I love it. Who doesn’t?  There is nothing like breathing clean air, drinking clean water and just being in the woods and feeling that peace like no other.

GC – For those who haven’t yet heard Tyrants and Men, what is the main theme to the album?

Hiram – Essentially.....LIVE FREE OR DIE!  Yeah I know it’s on a license plate and pretty generic but that’s what I want to inspire into people’s minds.  Challenge the general consensus and sheep way of thinking.  Revolt against the nonsense, food/garbage, media, and general filth trappings being piled down our throats.  Someone tells you it’s normal to slave 40 plus hours a week at some soul sucking job and come home to a box in a suburban shit street named after what was destroyed to make it.  Ask them, WHAT THE FUCK FOR? Fist the face of all who try and imprison you to that sort of hell!!

GC – How would you describe the music you make?

Hiram – The music I make is crushing melodic death metal with open fast picking riffs that get into your head with memorable and meaningful lyrics that are written to inspire and help question this sort of subliminal reality nightmarish dream scape we are presented with in life.  Although material I am writing on now tends to be on the darker side and more in the black metal vein. I’m slowly warping and transforming TYW into a band with very unique riffing and more black metal sounding.  Straying from the traditional Swedish death metal
while still circling around it.

TYWfredrik

On Drums Fredrik Widigs

GC – In 3 words describe Thousand Year War?

Hiram – Angry Crushing Metal

GC – How much of an effect do you think that the Swedish metal bands have had on the world’s metal scene?

Hiram – Hails the Swedes, seriously!  Well all the Scandinavians have so much vision, heart, and passion out of the northern European scenes.  They took the great riffage and song writing of American Metal and pumped it full of feeling and expression. Not to say there were not American bands that did that but the Scandinavian approach to metal was a game changer.

GC – Where do you see your band in five years and what are your hopes for the future?

Hiram – I hope to be doing a full length every year, so hopefully 6 albums deep with every one of them better and more creative than the last.  Hopefully we will have made a name for ourselves and contending with the major acts in metal!  I would like to establish a touring line up for a yearly US Tour and European tour.  My hope is to get out on tour twice a year or every 5 to 6 months.  I’m really hoping to focus on touring and making more albums rather than keeping up with the drama and cliques of a local band.

 

GC – Is there any country in Europe that you would truly like to play?

Hiram – HELL yeah!!  Every single one of them.  I wish I lived in Europe! Sweden of course, number 1 Sweden. Then all of the other northern countries and work my way throughout all of Europe.  Very interested in Europe and getting live there!

GC – If you could share the bill with 4 other bands who would you like to share the bill with?

Hiram – Good question.  Any band on Abyss Records!  Finntroll, they are something else!!  Immortal, Amorphis, Ceremonial Castings and Kampar!

GC – Is there any place or venue you would like to play at and why?

Hiram – One place I would really like to play is Hawthorne Theatre in Portland, OR.  They get really good quality big shows there.  My short term goal is for a mini tour in the U.S. and that is definitely a place I would really like to play!  Another place is Wacken for sure.  I mean that is just a dream to play there of course.  And anywhere in Europe would be ideal. It seems like the fan base is phenomenal for metal!   Another area is South America too. Fans there also seem very dedicated to the metal.

 

GC – How do you feel the metal scene has changed since you started listening to metal?

Hiram – It’s gotten really trendy and popular lately.  I don’t really think that’s a great thing because I would trade 12 trendy scensters for 1 real metal fan!  A lot of this dumbass death core shit that these fake metal posers love so much.  Used to be 10 years ago you told someone you were into death or black metal they would do a back flip and run screaming from you!  But hey, that was kind of nice because we were untouched by the same lame douchebags that were jumping on the punk rock train and turning it into a travelling circus. Mail ordering CD’s/Records and reading about bands in obscure zines was the shit! It was all so mysterious and cult.

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GC – What was the band that got you into metal?

Hiram- Rigor Mortis! I remember watching a video of some thrash bands when I was 8 or 9 on TV at my mom’s friend’s house and the bassist cut his hand open bleeding all over the place.  I didn’t know what was going on, but I knew what I was seeing was bad to the ass!  My aunt Connie (RIP) sent me a Rigor Mortis cassette in the mail a little later and it was all over.  It was singing CATTLE MUTILATION over and over. Such a bad ass band!

GC – Without giving too much away is there any instrument or program you wouldn’t be without and why?

 

Hiram – Guitar of course, so many songs are very guitar riff oriented in TYW.  But Guitar, bass, and drums in this band all have an extremely important part in the music of TYW...so I couldn’t go on without any of them.  Program?  Guitar Pro!!!  We are endorsed by this program, but we would not be where we are at now without the help of Guitar Pro.  It made getting musicians from other parts of the world a reality and to us it was a necessity.  We could not find someone to fill the spot on drums in Alaska and with guitar pro we were able to get all the songs transcribed to Guitar Pro and drums recorded.  I will be transcribing all songs this way for here on out. Invaluable resource.

GC – What is the guitar you like to play at the moment?

Hiram – I was playing a ESP EC-1000 with EMG 81/85’s. Dream guitar!  It was my baby and I loved it!!!!!  Now, believe it or not, I’m playing a Takamine acoustic.  I sold my pride and joy to fund TYW’s new recording and I’m heartbroken over it.  Know how hard it is to learn Iron Maiden solos on a damned infernal acoustic!?!?!?!?

GC – Ok a little fun now.  Desert Island MP3s lol.  What album, movie and book would you like to be stranded with on a desert island?

Hiram – Oh shiiiitttt.  Ok, Album- yikes what a question. Ok I know....A Death Is Only the
Beginning Compilation! They have what, close to 30 songs of different bands? That’ll do ;)
That’s kind of cheating though. How about Summoning-Dol Guldur
Movie-The Big Lebowski, I don’t think that movie ever gets old!
Book- For obvious reasons any Military survival book.


GC – If you could sum up Thousand Year War as a comic super hero or villain who would it be and why?

Hiram – I honestly don’t know how to answer that one hahaha.  I’m really not sure. Let me thing on that one ;)

GC – What is your favourite snack?

Hiram – Alder smoked sockeye salmon bellies, so sweet and delicious.  Sounds gross I know, but trust me they are the best.  Reindeer sticks are my favourite too!

GC – What is your true inspiration for life at the moment?

Hiram – Spending time with my two kids and wife, being at the farm we live at.  Nice and peaceful!  Playing the guitar and learning as many new songs and techniques as I can. Working on new music and practicing/writing lyrics for the new EP Vulture Eyes.  I really want people to be inspired by my words and encouraged to break away from this mind controlled society.  Also trying hard to get live session members in Northern California!! Want to get TYW out live badly!  Concentrating on working as little as possible and getting myself and family self-reliant and able to live without stores, shitty jobs, horrible media and all the other trappings of the modern day world.  Also playing a lot of disc golf, love that sport!!

GC – What band or bands are you listening to the most at the moment?

Hiram – Amorphis, they really improved drastically after kind of a lull.  Awesome band.  Always tuning into Abyss Records bands.  A lot of doom metal.  Iron Maiden.
Rotting Christ. Always have loved them.  AELO, great album!  Ceremonial Castings and some of Nordman and Wardruna.  Waking up to Wardruna is always nice in the country. And some Diabolical (rapper), not that into rap but I love the lyrics.

GC – Thank you so much for giving Grave Concerns this interview, is there anything you would like to add?

Hiram –Thank you and hails to Grave Concerns!!!!  Thanks to all of TYW’s loyal fans out there download our demo for free on the TYW site and like our Facebook

http://www.facebook.com/tyrantsandmen

Please support us and our great label Abyss Records....  Question everything, rebel, and live free!

http://www.officialabyssrecords.com

http://www.thousandyearwar.com

Thanks so much and good luck with Tyrants and Men

TYWAlbum


Hear Thousand Year War 

 

Thousand Year War

 



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