Crannk Interviews Black Royal

Formed in 2013 and hailing out of Finland are Black Royal a band that I thoroughly enjoy and has really warmed my blackened heart. With a vocal styling that reminds me of one of my favorite vocalists LG from Entombed and Entombed AD. Musically the band is heavily influenced by Death, Black, and Sludge Metal but incorporates elements of rock and blues to create a unique “Death Blues” style that had me wanting more. Black Royal has released Two EPs The Summoning Part 1(2015) and Part 2(2016), “Lightbringer” LP was released in 2018 and next month Black Royal is set to release its second full-length album”Firebride” February 14, 2020 through Suicide Records. I really enjoyed the heck out of this album and all of Black Royal’s work to date and recently caught up with Riku (vocals) and Toni (guitars) to talk all things Black Royal.

Black Royal thank you so much for taking some time and going through a few questions for Crannk, our readers and myself Jai That Aussie Metal Guy I really appreciate and congratulations on yet another great album in “FireBride” I am absolutely loving it.
Q;First off for those who haven’t heard of Black Royal can you tell us who are Black Royal and how would you describe your sound and style?
Riku: We are a sweaty, fat and hairy four piece metal band of too old and senile men from Finland and our style is what we call “Death-Blues”. It’s a mixture of Scandinavian 90’s death metal, classic 70’s heavy rock and modern sludge. It’s like putting Black Sabbath into one ear and Entombed through another and as a result you vomit Black Royal!

Q: How and when did Black Royal form?
Riku: It was in 2013 when we got together for the first time and it was basicly about that we all shared the same idea of a music style we wanted to start playing. Right from the beginning we wanted to combine our own favourite aspects of heavy music and build something powerful from it. Focusing on the same mutual interest of what this band is all about, has been the most important thing for us.
Q; Who do you feel have helped inspire and influence you as a musician?
Toni: My earliest influences were Scorpions, Dio, Iron Maiden and Accept. Typical eighties metal. My first guitar hero was Wolf Hoffman of Accept who is still a great player with fantastic tone. I like a lot of players, and I admire talented shredders, even though I don´t have a desire to play like that. Not that I could even if I wanted. Ha! My top-3 players at the moment are probably Adam Jones of Tool, Tim Sult of Clutch and Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains.
Riku: And for a vocal inspiration I hail LG Petrov (Entombed), Martin van Drunen (Pestilence/Hail of Bullets etc.) and Tomas Lindberg (Disfear, At the Gates etc.)
Q; How and when did you first start playing (Guitars/Bass/Drums)?
Toni: I started at age ten with my fathers (quite crap) acoustic and by the age of twelve I had bugged my parents enough to buy me a starter guitar and amp.

Q:What was the first instrument you bought ?
Toni: The first real instrument I bought with my own money was Ibanez RG-550. Fairly nice guitar actually.
Q: What Guitars/Bass/Drumkit are you sing now?
Toni: I currently use ESP/LTD/Edwards guitars, I have a few of them that I really like. I have used ESP´s for almost twenty years now. They are great, ESP, LTD Edwards, they all work and sound great.
Q: When and how did you get into heavy metal?
Riku: At very young age I listened to rockabilly bands such as Stray Cats, Crazy Cavan and Matchbox but when I heard my older brother listening to AC/DC and Motörhead I loved it immediately! This happened around – ’83 so I was eleven years old (yes, we are old farts, hah!). He had all the classic albums also from Black Sabbath but he liked Deep Purple the most. I guess from that point on I made my choice on metal music and that has kept me going for the past 35 years now!
Q:What was your first Metal Album?
Riku: The first one that I bought was a 12″ep “Fuck like a beast” from W.A.S.P. and right after that their first self titled album. It was my favourite only for a short time because the next LP’s were “Show No Mercy”and “Hell awaits” from SLAYER and after that I was a different boy, hah!

Q: Firebride is the second full-length album from Black Royal and is set for release on the 14th of February and follows on from the Lightbringer album in 2018, and The Summoning Eps. If you had to pick three tracks for someone who hasn’t had the pleasure of hearing Black Royal yet to crannk up before they dive into “FireBride” which 3 would you choose?
Riku: Oh, this is a tough one!.. Hmm, my choices are “Scorn the Saint” (Summoning pt.2), “Dying star”(Lightbringer) and “Reformation” (Summoning pt.1). These all are quite epic songs and now looking back, they all have turned out to be the key songs when it comes to our own style and trademark. Still, every song that we have is a great example of our band and people can just pick whatever they want to listen. – If they like fast and brutal or slow and heavy, we got them all!

Q: Pagan Saviour is the first single released off Firebride can you tell us what that track means for you and why you went with that track as the first release off the album?
Riku: This was one of the first songs done on the album and it immediately sounded very potential single. And I guess it also founded a solid strong base, in which was easier building other songs on to. It has all the best components of our style with powerful verses, dramatic epic middle part and a crushing chorus. By this song we got the courage to stay on the chosen path and to follow the idea what was decided. We felt that this would serve us perfectly as a first single because of its raw, uncompromising feel and straight-forward kind of approach. And comparing it to material on “Lightbringer”, it adds some new edge to our sound but has still a recognizable Black Royal mark in it.

Q: How did you approach the song writing and song composition for the Firebride album?
Riku: Actually we started to plan the schedule for the second album almost right after the release of “Lightbringer” in March/April 2018. Toni and Pete were making riffs and building songs and we decided on what kind of feeling the songs should have and what to do differently this time or how the songs should be composed. We decided to build the riffs into songs together, jamming at our rehearsal place aiming to get a more live feeling into them with more organic, honest groove. In between tours and gigs we were playing and composing new tunes and without any rush testing how they sound and to see that we were on the right track. The overall mood came also from the decision of the lyrical content on the album. We figured out that as “Lightbringer” was a space-related story from planets to universes and a higher intelligent beings, this time we should focus on nature, pagans, mystic and occult. And from that it was related to witch hunt and the cause behind it. In total of twelve songs were written and from which we took eight tracks that made on the album. After all, we are very pleased of how the new album turned out!

Q: Can you tell us about the recording and production process for “Firebride”?
Toni: The basic tracks for the album were cut live in Studio Watercastle, located in Punkalaidun, a small town in rural part of Pirkanmaa region in Finland where we resided for a week in early August. The recordings were completed in early September in band´s own Armless HQ -studio and were mixed by Jussi Kulomaa at The tracks was mastered by great Jaakko Viitalähde at Virtalähde Mastering . It took about 3 ½ months to get everything ready with all things considered – including album cover art, lay-out and the first video etc.

Q;Have you got any gigs coming up to celebrate the release of “Firebride”?
Riku: Yes we do! After the album release show in our hometown we will travel to Central Europe with Diabolical(Swe) and Devilish Impressions(PL) on their European Eclipse Tour for ten shows. And a following Baltic tour in April with Re-Armed(FIN). We are currently looking for more shows, especially at summer metal festivals. Here are the confirmed dates;
14.02 TAMPERE (Finland) – “Dog’s Home”
15.02 COTTBUS (Germany) – “Muggefug”
16.02 CHEMNITZ (Germany) – “TBA”
17.02 JAROMER (Czech Republic) – “Narodak”
18.02 SALZBURG (Austria) – “Rockhouse”
19.02 BRNO (Czech Republic) – “Melodka”
20.02 TIMISOARA (Romania) – “Capcana”
21.02 VIENNA (Austria) – “Escape Metalcorner”
22.02 GRAZ (Austria) – “Club Q”
23.02 BIELSKO-BIALA (Poland) – “Rudeboy”
24.02 WARSAW (Poland) – “Voodoo”
27.03 TAMPERE (Finland) – “Yo-talo”
22.04 VILNIUS (Lithuania) – “Narauti”
23.04 KAUNAS (Lithuania)- “Lemmy”
24.04 RIGA (Latvia) – “Depo”
25.04 JELGAVA (Latvia) – “MCB”

Black Royal sincerely thank you again so much for taking the time to do this for myself and crannk. And congratulations on another amazing album I am so glad that I have come across Black Royal and will be crannking the album as loud as I can. Cheers \m/

Thank you! – Cheers!

Jukka – Drums, Percussion
Pete – Bass, Backing Vocals
Riku – Vocals
Toni – Guitars, Backing Vocals


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