STURMGEIST, the Norwegian solo project of SOLEFALD mastermind Cornelius Jakhelln Brastad, recently released their debut album, "Meister Mephisto", via Season of Mist. STURMGEIST's touring lineup consists of drummer Asgeir Mickelson (BORKNAGAR, LUNARIS, SPIRAL ARCHITECT), and guitarists Henrik Strømme and John E. Jacobsen. Brastad has issued a statement explaining his reasoning behind the project:
"A few people have asked me why I would want to choose another vehicle for musical expression than SOLEFALD. Sometimes, I also ask myself why I'd contribute to saturating the world with even more noise, rich as it is in products of the utmost indifference... The answer is, and must be, that where there is a musical vision and an inner feeling of necessity, everything else than realizing that vision becomes unimportant. No surprise, thus, that that is how I feel about STURMGEIST.
At the time I'm writing this, Norwegian black metal has been around for quite some time. I can feel it in others, and also in myself, that the great genre is not new anymore. Still, it continues to be an enduring source of inspiration to those of us who have always operated in its margins. But as with every genre, one may ask, how will all those albums sound in ten years' time? The shit is washed away by the rain of time, I guess, and only the solid rock remains.
"With SOLEFALD, we arrived a couple of years after the acts that created the genre. In retrospect, this might not be only a bad thing, as we filled the so-called 'avantgarde' gap in the scene, that seemed quite empty before ARCTURUS and those other weirdos. But also experiment can become convention; also the avantgarde can be surpassed by the forces marching behind. As any artist with a few albums in the backpack will acknowledge, the perception of what you did first will haunt you forever. If people thought of the young Henrik as a playwright, so the bugger will remain until consumed by the maggots! Some initial reviews of STURMGEIST do suggest, in the same manner, that the critics would expect something 'strange' or 'avantgarde' coming at them from this address; obviously, they will be disappointed, as dark and industrial party music is what STURMGEIST has to offer.
"I think every musician asks him-/herself about where to go after a few albums. There is a great number of names in the music business that appear once, twice, then pop! and they are gone, swallowed down into the bowels of oblivion. There are many artists and labels competing for a specialized market that undergoes some tough times as we speak. As one matures, bragging about just how good one is and finding the most spectacular denomination for the music becomes less important. What seems crucial to me is expressing emotion with the available instruments and technologies; more precisely, engineering hearts and minds by musical means. This is the closest I get to a reason for making music, i.e. create emotions and experiences in others with tiny pixels on a cheap compact disc, wrapped in plastic and sold at the price of digital gold.
"'Meister Mephisto' was written in Weimar, Germany, in 2003. Living in the town where Goethe lived and died had a considerable impact on the making of the album. In Weimar, Goethe is God. And you might guess that if I could create God, I would most definitely make him a scientist and poet, instead of a slaughterer of children...
"During my years living in Paris, I have often been confronted with people of other cultural origins than my own. This might sound like something of a tautology to most, but it is actually both disturbing and equally impressive to realize how confident and proud many minority groups can be in their vindicative attitude. While living in Norway, I was infected with some bad habits common in intellectual circles, i.e. thinking of my own cultural origins as secondary, uninteresting, maybe even morally suspect. After the fatal events in 2001, that qualified and unqualified commentators have written miles about, something has happend to Western culture — a shift has taken place, in the way people talk and think, how they write and read. Also so for me. More than ever before, it feels appropriate to get to know where I come from; hence, to feed the music with lived feeling, not only with cold knowledge.
"Thus, it is no coincidence if 'Meister Mephisto' has Germanic culture as its scene and source: The poetry of said Goethe; skaldic poetry from the saga of Harold Fairhair; martial rhythms; black metal-style guitar work; industrial rhythms; the inevitable RAMMSTEIN airbase influence and rrrrolling r's; there is a hymn to Jägermeister; a cowboy song; a Viking song; atmospheres from the Alps and the Black Forest of the Grimm Brothers.
"If on some weird Day of Judgment, a bearded evil being asked me who I am and what I've done, I would most likely hand him a copy of 'Meister Mephisto', and the let the music speak against me. Have you been patient enough to read this through, I congratulate you. If you are interested in knowing more about STURMGEIST, doing interviews or organizing shows, you are invited to reply to this mail. There might be some Jägermeister around, as well, along with that great cat in cape, hat and boots!"