One band that has really been on the rise over the past few years are Brazilian band Armored Dawn. Inspired by Viking mythology the band have wowed audiences and critics alike with their first two albums. Tours across Europe have seen them tour with the likes of Saxon, Megadeth and Sabaton. All of that has seen the band develop a legion of fans – so many that their video clips on Youtube now regular score over one million viewers.
Now Armored Dawn have just released their third album, Viking Zombie, while the first two singles off it – “Ragnarok” and “Animal Uncaged” have already reached the independent charts and received radio play in the United States. It is no wonder with all of that already happening that guitarist Timo Kaarkoski is so relaxed when I get a chance to talk to him.
Despite the success of the last two albums Kaarkoski says the band wanted to do things a little differently this time. “We wanted to be a little bit different this time because we thought our last album, Barbarians In Black, was a little bit heavy,” he explains. “We changed our drummers between the first album and that one and we brought in Rodrigo who had been playing thrash metal his whole life and as a result the second album was a little heavier than we thought it would be. So the new album we tried to make it a little bit lighter so we could expand our audience a little bit.”
“That is because if you only write music for heavy metal fans your audience is extremely limited,” he explains. “That happens right across the world so we decided that with this album we would try to expand our audience a little bit. It is still pretty heavy but there are a few pop melodies in there – basically we just tried to keep it a little bit light.”
The fact that the first two singles did get radio play in the USA suggest that the goal was achieved, that is something that Kaarkoski agrees with. “I think so, yes,” he says as we discuss whether the goals worked. “Here in Brazil we have a few songs we have done acoustic versions of and they have even played them on radio stations that don’t play rock music at all. It really has been a bit of a test to see how it goes, but people that don’t even normally listen to rock music have been listening which is cool. The cool thing about that is that if they like it they might start to check out more music from our band and then in the end they might start to listen to listen to more heavy music in general.”
I start to talk to Kaarkoski about the success of Barbarians In Black and we chat about whether or not that added pressure to them working on Viking Zombie. “Yes and no,” he says as he thinks about it. “Whenever you do something new you do start to worry, you always have that feeling that you need to do something better this time, if you don’t then you are only going to go downwards and you never want to do that. It is not good to think about though because otherwise you just get really stressed so we ended up spending a year to do this album. We wrote a lot while we were doing the Barbarians In Black tour, by the time we had finished the tour so we were able to do everything without much stress.”
While some bands say they can’t write when they are on the road that certainly isn’t the case for Armored Dawn and Kaarkoski says that for this album the lyrics go a little bit deeper and give the listener something to think about. “When it comes to lyrics we are really interested in all kinds of literature and all kinds of stories about wars and conquests in Europe,” he explains. “We always look at Scandinavia and all the Viking stories. We are always inspired by them but we also try get some kind of positive message into the lyrics as well. We like to help people believe that they can conquer anything they like in their lives they just need to work hard for it. Basically everything we write is about that – everybody has their own personal conquest.”
Viking Zombie is out now.