Arvas, formerly known as Örth, is a Norwegian black metal band formed in Bergen in 1993 by V-Rex.
The band’s first official full length album was “Blessed from Below – Ad Sathanas Noctum” released by Odium Rec in 2009, and re-issue by Satanic Art Media in 2016. Their second and third album “Into The Realm Of The Occult” and “Black Satanic Mysticism” was released November 2013 & March 2015 by Italian label ATMF Records.
The wait is over and Arvas is to release their new album „Black Path“ on March 24, 2017 and it is time for; uncompromising and unique black, death/thrash metal!
BRS - Since your band started with another name, in 1993 and the first release was in 2009, tell more about the history since the beginning?
V-Rex - I started up as Örth in around 1993 just as a solo thing to focus on other music than what I was doing in the other bands I was playing in at the time. After a while I had a lot of material and it was very fast black metal but at the same time somehow melodic. And I wanted to record an album, so I got hold of Grim and Ares and togheter we rehearsed all the material and recorded the ‘Nocturno Inferno’ album, we had a lot of offers from different labels but I kinda fucked it all up so we ended up releasing it ourselves and it got ok reviews here and there but then it all stopped due to Grim’s departure from this world so I kept on playing in various bands. After a few years I just quit playing and took a long break before I started up again in 2007/09 and got hold of Koldbranns drummer and we recorded ‘Blessed From Below… Ad Sathanas Noctum’. We released it ourselves and then it was re-released in 2010 by polish Odium Records. It is now gonna be re-released one more time by Satanic Art Media. The Örth CD will also be re-released by the same label.
Me and my drummer kept on going and released a second album : ‘ Into The Realm of The Occult’ which gained us little more attention and we did play gigs here and there both in Norway and in Europe. We also did a tour with Deicide in the east european regions which was a blast for us. I had to fire my drummer due to different internal conflicts and I had to search for another one. I found Snuff - X who I had known for a couple of years. He is a real interesting drummer with a touch of prog in his style and he is pretty versatile so it is not only metal on his ressyme which is pretty important in Arvas music. You kinda have to be able to play different styles and incorporate this into the formula so to speak. He came in while were preparing for our third album ’ Black Satanic Mysticism’. He was not at all prepared for this recording but he did a very good job after all.
After this album we did more concerts and we have been having a steady line up now for a couple of years so I hope it stays like this now. My guitarist Sturm is back as well and he kinda came in right after Snuff - X joined. He was with Arvas before but quit the band for a period and then luckily for me he returned. Our vocalist Coldbound is the newest member of the band and sings and has the lyrics credits on the new album ’Blackpath’.
Blackpath is a co-operation with all members so it sound more like a whole band now compared to previous albums. Everyone has had their own touch on the album as contributors. Even Sturm came up with three songs. I produced and mixed this album by myself in my studio and also did the bass. Live we have a session guy helping us out.
BRS - What were your major influences in 1993?
V-REX - hmmm I am not sure if I can remember actually, I guess I was very much in my own little world, there was a lot of alcohol, drugs etc.. the usual stuff you do when you are about to rock I guess. I don’t think I was having any inspirations really.
BRS - The new album will be released by Mighty Music. Why you’ve choosed this label to release this album?
V-Rex - It was a suggestion from my manager actually because he knew these guys and the job they do for their bands so he felt it might be a good opportunity for us to get the name spread better and get a different promotion and distribution package than we have had earlier. And for now it seems he was right, so we just have to see what’s happening.
BRS - Can you tell me a little about each song of this new album “Black Path”?
V-Rex - Ok well tittle track ‘Blackpath’ is one of Sturm’s compositions, it is very crispy black metal track that somehow also flirts with the roots of early thrash metal. It is catchy, and has a strong vibe to it and it will be great to perform this one live. I really like this one.
‘The Ferocious Stigma’ is number two and this one opens with a very classic thrash metalish riff, and the whole song is build up on mainly only two riffs that goes out through the whole song only interrupted by a lead in the middle section. This is also one of those songs that sticks to your mind when it comes to the catchy approach.
Number three is ‘Unhallowed Grace’ is a song that is written a couple of years ago, actually most of the songs on Blackpath were written some time ago. But yeah this one is slow and heavy and has a really vibrant riff going through out the whole song, this one is also very thrashy but has a lot of melodies and atmosphere.
Number four is ‘I am Thy Grief’. This one was written around 1993/94. It is a very black metalish song with intense tempo changes and obscure riffing, there is also a lot of thrash elements here as well. We brought this one to life because I wanted to see if we could pull it off and if it was a strong enough song. And it really is. This one was originally meant to be on “Black Satanic Mysticism” but ended up on “Black Path” instead.
Number five is ‘Hellhunts’ and this is another one of Sturms contributions. This is Black Metal Supreme, sombre, fast and eerie as can be, smooth tempo changes and killer riffing all the way through. Love this one too. This one is also a homage to the Omen movies, hence the intro…
Number six is ‘In Solitude I dwell’. This is also a song dated back in the mid-nineties, I changed it a little bit and made it more Arvas and here it is. It is a slow one but still heavy indeed.
Number seven is ‘This Scarred Soul’. Here we are into the more atmospheric material. Synths keep the background going steadily and the main riff pounds in the background. It has different moods and is a strong song. I think we did a great job everyone here.
Number eight: ‘Murder Is Patience’ this also has the synth intro, pretty cliché but I don’t really mind about that, it is all about the feel. I like the fast phase in this song and how it just keeps hammering over you. The intensity here is awesome. This one was also meant to be on the “Black Satanic Mysticism” album but somehow ended up here.
Number nine is ‘Bergdjaevul’. The last of Sturms compositions here, this one is also kinda alike the Hellhunts, fast and intense with elements of thrash. It has a nice eerie melody throughout the songs and Sturm even has a lead here as well, impressive and splendid guitar work from Sturm here.
Number ten is ‘…For The Fallen Shall Arise’ . Opens with a beautiful acoustic intro and a lead, and then we just hit it off. Fast and thrashy and very straight edged in many ways.
And the last one is ‘EVIL’ by Mercyful Fate. I have been wanting to do this one for a long time and now was the time to get it done. We all love Mercyful Fate, especially me and Sturm so we just did this one as a tribute to the band. Sturm sings here as well, because none of us can do this kind of vocal except him. We play it pretty much close to the original but we do it a bit more heavier. A little fuller guitar sound etc…
Hank Sherman actually wrote us and said he liked this version so that kinda made the day you know.
BRS - Is this “Black Path” the best way to describe the path of the band?
V-Rex - Yes I would say so, this is the direction we are heading for.
BRS - You’ve choosed to make a cover of Mercyful Fate’s “Evil”. Why?
V-Rex - As mentioned before, we are all great fans of Mercyful Fate and this song in particular is extremely interesting to me. It was also the first song I ever heard from them. So to me it is an important piece of Music that just need to get a tribute. So we did. I am not a fan of doing covers or tributes at all but exceptions can be made of course. And as mentioned, it is all worth it when Hank Sherman himself writes us and tell us he liked our version a lot. Stuff like that is cool.
BRS - Although Norway is a country with 5 million inhabitants, there are many musicians. Music education is part of normal education, from what age until what age? Does the government give any support to the musicians?
V-Rex - In my time we had music education from around first grade and upwards, mainly flute and and tambourine, when you get older you can have music classes in a more advanced setting which is pretty cool and you can specialize in whatever instrument you like the most. I didn’t do that cause I skipped school long before that.
The government supports some musicians yes, and there is a long list of different applications you have to fill in but it is all doable. Tour support, studio budget support etc...
BRS - You already have some gigs scheduled for this year. Do you plan to play more live after the release of the new album?
V-Rex - Yes we will, there is a gig this upcoming March in Wienna, and in May we are going to the UK for the first time headlining and then we will do a gig in Bergen here in Norway in September I guess and maybe a tour in November in europe so we will see.
BRS - Tell me a little about your signature guitar, V-Rex?
V-Rex - It is a guitar built for me at Grosman Guitars in Romania. It is a bit smaller than ordinary guitars so it fits me better, and the shape is a modern type RRV, it has mirrored inlays what I think looks pretty cool . The pickups are standard active EMG’s . I am not on top of all the specs in this guitar, I just use it and when it comes to all these technical stuff I am pretty lost, hahaha