Corvus Corax has been bringing their unique neo-Medieval music to the world from Germany since 1989. This year, the band released the album Era Metallum, merging their sound with metal and featuring special guests such as Hansi Kürsch, Doro Pesch, and more. Metal Contraband’s Scott Sommer spoke with Norri of Corvus Corax about the project.
What drew you to medieval folk music?
Norri: Well, it was kind of an accident. Before I was a metalhead, 100% playing with metal bands, and then I was playing on a festival with some guys and then these crazy guys approached me and asked if I wanted to drum for them and then 22 years later here I am, I dived in and never came out.
Did this make it easier to create the Corvus Corax Era Metallum project?
Yeah, kind of. We are a medieval folk band, all with several side projects, and then you eventually start some new stuff. With our album from 2010, we went to the north of Europe with the Viking people and thought this should be in a metal version as well. For me, it was kind of easy with the metal background and it was great doing my own music in a different style.
How did you get Sami from Kreator involved in this project?
Well, it was kind of easy from the former metal times in the beginning of the 90s, he was a good friend of mine. It was a simple phone call and he came from Finland to Berlin to record.
You have a lot of guests on this new album. How did these some of these collaborations come about and what it was playing with artists such as Hansi Kürsch and Doro?
It was not so difficult since we already knew each other from touring and playing a lot of metal fests such as Wacken, Hellfest. And we just asked them and they said, “Of course, I’m in”.
Is there a chance you will do another Era Metallum album in the future with more collaborations?
Definitely, we just started to think about new songs, and there will be a new Era Metallum album for sure.
You guys are really at the forefront of the folk metal movement.
We kind of started this, with the medieval background, and we have now existed for 32 years and there is no reason to stop all of this. Everything is because we played all the time, and after all these years we are finally bringing in other instruments.
What is your thought of bands such as Heilung, since you are both old world folk music, but the roots of the music couldn’t be more different?
The funny thing about Heilung, there is one festival in the Netherlands called Castlefest which we play very often, I can remember the very first show of Heilung being at this festival and I was standing there in the crowd and I thought this was really cool. I had no idea that this would be such a boom into the theme.
Can you tell me the story behind the track “Sverker”?
This was the start of another idea – after doing East Europe, West Europe, South Europe, so we wanted to go to the North. It is scary about Sverker, the old king from Sweden who had a lot of trouble with the Danish kind. The story is telling about the Swedish King, warning the Danish King saying that it would be better not to fight the war, and the Danish king didn’t listen to him but at least he tried!
You always dive deep into the medieval manuscripts. What kind of research goes into a Corvus Corax album and how long does it usually take?
This does take forever. When you have a special scene, you are always looking. But we say forget the internet. All of these manuscripts are in old churches and castles and we go to these places and since you can’t rent them you have to sit there for hours and read it there.
Did you see any similarities to what we are going through now with this modern day plague to the ancient plagues were ravaging the people at the time this music was being created?
The differences aren’t as big as most of the people think. People do not change. 2000 years ago we have the same people. When you look at the lyrics of “Carmina Burana” people have had the same problems, and had the same fun.
(Metal Contraband thanks Norri for the interview!)