Helge Stang, lead singer for Israel-based Arafel, took some time to answer a few questions for us.
What inspired this album, lyrically and musically?
The musical background of "For Battles Once Fought" is old death metal combined with slavonian folk music. One might expect some middle eastern or arabic stuff since most of the band lives in Israel, but you won't find that. The lyrics on this album are mostly about old russian history and sagas ... which have quite often something to do with war.
In the US, very few Israeli bands are truly well known. Orphaned Land seems to be one of the biggest. So, what is the metal scene like in Israel? Is metal a growing genre?
I wouldn't say "growing". It's there and it gets neighter smaller nor bigger. But like almost everywhere Metal is not well accepted by "normal" people. Talking about the band scene, there is a huge potential of extreme death & grind bands there. Dammit, if they would start playing here in Europe they would conquer the whole continent within a night.
Your style is so varied and eclectic. Would you say that geography and your roots helped to mold your style?
Naa, geography does not help anybody. Its your roots, your family and friends, the people and their mentality that influence you. No matter weather it's next to a palm tree or a snow man. And of course a big part
goes to all the bands we listend to, when we started ... and what we listen to today of course. Never stop learning, never stop playing!
How did you come to join forces with the band? And how has working with Arafel differed from your work with Equilibrium?
In fall 2008 I got an email from our violin player Nasha, which I knew before, she told me that Arafel is looking for a singer. I said by myself "hmm, why not, sounds cool, sounds like adventure:" I'm on board!
The work inside the band is similar to Equilibrium, but not that dictatorship like. The music comes much more from the all people, not like the Equilibrium One Man Army. I like that very much.
Do you have plans on touring in America?
Hmm, not yet. The jump over the big lake is always kind of ... expensive. But we will see!!
Do you have any bands (big or small) that you would want to tour with?
Of course: Spinal Tap!! All the other bands have a "checked" next to their name already!
What are your thoughts on the downloading of music? Do you see it as a problem, or is it helping to spread great music across the world?
Good question: I think if you wanna hear a song more than once than you should buy it instead of loop it on youtube or just download it. I mean, in the old days we checked out new records at the store (the player only had a Forward button, no pause, no backwards). Why not bring that system into a modern shape? If I like a song I mostly buy the whole record. But I also "tried" stuff I really did not like.
BUT: What people should know: it barely helps a band to sell records. If you wanna support a band: buy a t-shirt!!
What does the future hold for Arafel?
Chicks & beer I hope!!! (you see ... I have no clue!!)