To Muspelheim with Bagels: AleHorn Interviews Last Legion
We here at AleHorn recently discovered that the metal band Last Legion are big fans of ours. Which is awkward. Because it just so happens that we’re big fans of theirs. A beautiful, gory, violent partnership has been formed, and I was the one lucky enough to sit down with the band and ask them some deeply personal questions about their themes, dreams, and schemes in terms of all things Norse.
Look forward to more exclusive interviews with The Last Legion in the coming weeks!
Where did you get your love of the Norse mythos? Is it something that you grew up with? Why does it speak to you as artists?
Malharan the Skald: I loved fantasy as a youngster, and when I discovered Norse mythology, I dove right in. The stories are a great representation of good and evil, comedy and tragedy, order versus chaos.
Mollo on the War Hammer of Doom: I was drawn in by the music and melodies at first. I was a total noob on this topic until I joined the band. But I have definitely learned from Professor Jay (Malharan) and his lyrics.
Dubek wielding Sword ov Steel: When I joined this band I immediately found a connection with the music and lyrical themes. Tales of warfare, valor, courage, apocalypse, afterlife. It’s the perfect outlet for my playing.
Malharan the Skald: I find the gods of the Norse mythos to be more human-like than others. I think most people can find something in the stories to relate to.
I’ve been listening to Muspelheim on end since I found out about our partnership. Why did you choose to name your sophomore album after the realm of fire? How would this title affect the themes of this album?
Chris the Dark Elf: A few years back I had a dream where I woke up in the middle of the night, opened my eyes, and happened to look out my window. What I saw was FIRE. Everywhere. The landscape… everything… the mountains, the river, the forests… everything was aflame. I will never forget the sky… it was blood red. This sounds crazy, I know.
Dubek wielding Sword ov Steel: When I heard this story, I immediately called BS, but he swears on Odin’s ALEHORN that every word is true…
Chris the Dark Elf: Yes I know it makes no sense and I can’t explain it, I can only tell you what I experienced. I didn’t know when the dream ended and when reality began. I got out of bed, and I felt like I was in a trance. I walked across my bedroom and picked up my acoustic guitar and brought it back to the bed and sat down. I stared out the window and began strumming the chords which would later become the title track for ‘Muspelheim.’ The landscape got redder and redder and brighter and brighter until the whole sky looked like it was literally on fire. I have no idea how long I was sitting there staring at the world on fire and strumming chords, but it was a long time. Eventually, I passed out again until morning, and when I woke up the first thing I did was call Jay [Malharan.]
Malharan the Skald: As soon as I heard about his dream, I told him, “you were looking into the realm of fire. You saw MUSPELHEIM.” And right there, I knew we had the theme for our next album.
The bardic tradition in Norse mythology is really unique, and you are partaking in that tradition. How does it feel to have generations of skalds behind your work?
Malharan the Skald: Oh man, that is a tough one. To even think that Last Legion is helping to keep the gods alive through our music… man, that’s just an honor to be mentioned in that way.
Can you tell me more about your names?
Dubek wielding Sword ov Steel: Well, Jay [Malharan] is a massive RPG and tabletop gaming nerd. I think he secretly likes to pretend we’re characters in Dungeons & Dragons and he’s like the dungeon master or something and gets to give us these names…
Ameer the Beheader: Except for mine. My last name actually translates to “Beheader” in English, so that one was easy for the guys to come up with.
Mollo on the War Hammer of Doom: Jay [Malharan] assigned weapons to all our characters. I’m a big fan of mine. I like to think of my bass tones bludgeoning our foes into puddles of mead which we can then use to fill our ALEHORN drinking horns.
Malharan the Skald: Don’t read too much into the names, there’s no deep hidden meaning there or anything. I started using them to introduce the band members during an extended instrumental intro to one of the songs in our live set, and they just kind of stuck. You could maybe say it’s an homage to the band Manowar and my love for fantasy and metal theatrics in general. “Malharan, the king of the world, the lord of the sky, is the skald!” sounds way more over the top and epic than “Hey guys, I’m Jay, the singer.” Basically, it all came about out of me trying to keep myself and the guys entertained on stage, haha.
And finally, what is your favorite Norse story? How have you translated it into your art?
Malharan the Skald: Wow, there are way too many to count. I read a lot about mythology and Viking history. Pretty much every one of our songs is lyrically based on something I’ve read. The way our songwriting process goes, is Chris will come in with a riff, or a skeleton of a song, and show it to the guys. Then the guys will add their secret sauce and come up with their parts and they’ll jam it out while I sit in the corner and drink my beer…
Dubek wielding Sword ov Steel: … from your ALEHORN drinking horn…
Malharan the Skald: Yeah you know, drink my brew, take in the atmosphere and vibe of the room, and just sit there and sketch in my notebook. Words, ideas, phrases, drawings… anything that the music brings to mind.
Dubek wielding Sword ov Steel: We should plug our ‘God ov Chaos’ video and explain the story behind that because there seems to be a lot of confusion amongst the casual Viking metal fans about what is going on.
Mollo on the War Hammer of Doom: Oh yeah! MY FAVORITE NORSE STORY is the story of Loki being chained up beneath a poisonous snake, and his wife Sigyn remaining faithfully by his side to catch the venom dripping from its mouth. This just so happens to be the theme of our music video, “God ov Chaos.” It was a surreal experience trying to bring that story to life in the basement of a bagel shop in Jersey City, NJ. Shout out to our friends over there at Wonder Bagels!
Dubek wielding Sword ov Steel: Yes. And sorry about all the blood.