EXELOUME – Bon appétit
- by Rune Grande
- Posted on 31-05-2011
EXELOUME is a death / thrash metal band from Trondheim, Norway. The band is mostly influenced by American thrash metal from the ’85–’89 and old-school death metal from the ’89–’92. Exeloume consists of people with experience from Sexy Police, Manifest, Bethzaida, Antidepressive Delivery, Atrox, Pica Fierce and Griffin. Their debut album "Fairy Tale of perversion" was released on Friday 13 May, it has received good reviews across the board and the band celebrated the album release with a release party the same day in front of a Sold out Fru Lundgreen in Trondheim. Naturally we had to contact the band’s founder Tom "Welhaven" Wahl for a chat, and here is the result of our communications.
We need to get some band history first. I understand that you spent quite a long time to find the right band constellation. What were the biggest challenges there and how many "tried" before you were satisfied?
Well, long and complex story short. I was tired of playing bass. Sold my equipment in 2005 and started to play guitar again, so I started in a rock band. After a while I felt like forming a new project playing thrash/death-metal. I was at that time talking to Tor-Arne from Atrox about playing together, maybe as Mist Enticer or under another name. Nothing much happened, so then I ended up asking Alessandro to do the drums. I also asked Andrè and Dag Ole Huseby to join me. This line-up ended up recording the music for what was to become our first demo nine months later. At the time when The Longest Shadow was complete, both Johnny and Øystein had already joined the band, even though Harald did the session vocals on the first demo. A month later we completed our second demo with the ‘correct’ line-up. So we didn’t try that many. We kind of headhunted Øystein though. He was just told that he was our vocalist.
How did the five maniacs you are become what now is Exeloume?
Well, I knew I wanted Alessandro since he is a great drummer. Andrè was more a lucky find. His band joined our rehearsal room, but within weeks he’d lost both the drummer and the singer to other bands, so I kind of felt sorry for him and asked if he wanted to join, ha-ha. He turned out to be a brilliant guitarist. Then when the first bassist moved, Alessandro suggested Johnny since they’ve played together in both Griffin and Manifest. When it comes to Øystein, he was just the right man for this band. We met him one evening we’re celebrating Alessandro’s birthday and we just introduced him as our new singer. He never got the chance to say ‘no’, ha-ha. Now ‘we’ are Exeloume.
"The Longest Shadow" is the title of your first demo and it was recorded over a fairly long period and before the current lineup was in place. Was this the recordings used to "test out" music and musicians?
In my mind this was to be just one of my projects. Record some songs and lay it to rest. But it took only a few rehearsals before we felt that this was going to be a proper band. The recording itself didn’t take long, but we had a few problems with the vocals, and in the end we just asked Harald Eilertsen. After nine months we had a new line-up, new songs and a new recording, so it was kind of strange promoting it, but it got some positive feedback.
What challenges do you feel was the biggest to overcome when you wrote "Fairytale of Perversion"?
Personally it was the fact that I’m in a band with people who are technically superior to me. So there was times when I thought that I would never be able to play some of the stuff. I actually had to *gasp* rehearse my guitar! But writing my share of the material was fairly easy. I had a lot of music laying around so there was more a question of enough time. We booked the studio like six months ahead, and the last couple of months were quite hectic. We wrote and rehearsed new stuff until days before we started the recording. Luckily we are making pre-recordings of everything we do, so we knew the songs well, even though they were new to us.
To play in a thrash metal band in Norway unless your name is Equinox, Witchhammer, Aura Noir or Blood Tsunami, has never been easy. I will not ignore the bands Imbalance, Vesen, Audio Pain or Inferno … nor Manifest, Nocturnal Breed and Susperia. Have Exeloume what it takes to survive?
We’ll see. It’s a difficult question, ‘because I don’t think that way. I just want to play in a band and have fun, even though I’ve never worked as hard ever before as I have on this album and in this band. We’ve been playing together for three years now and released an album, that’s more than many bands around. We’re also writing and rehearsing songs for the second album now, so Exeloume are at least going to be around for a few more years.
Music reviewers tend to put all bands in genre, but let’s do a twist this time. What genre do you feel you belong to?
Deathrash? People tell us we’re too soft to be death and too hard to be thrash, hehe.
The cover art is designed by the famous Ed Repka, a man who has provided album covers for bands like Death, Nuclear Assault, Megadeth, Hirax, Municipal Waste and Possessed. It’s pretty big names and Exeloume will, by having an artwork by Ed Repka, get some "free" boost, if ya know what I mean. Was this something you thought of when this was arranged?
Both yes and no. At first Repka was just a guideline to explain the kind of style I wanted the artwork to be. Then we started to think about actually tracing Repka down, at least for a pricelist. Then when Repka responded, we started talking and dream became reality. These days, when we’re promoting the band, we do tend to mention the fact that it’s the legendary Repka who’ve made our brilliant artwork, that’s true. Of course, hehe!
One can read in the press sheet that Dan Swanö and the King Diamond guitarist Andy Larocque has contributed on the album. Swanö has also mixed the album. How did you fix that these two legends contributed with guest vocals respectively on "Poisonous Our Creation" and a guitar solo on "Ignorance is Bliss"?
The easy answer is; we asked and they said yes. Alessandro and Johnny both toured and recorded with Andy when they were in Griffin. Andy being one of my Top 5 guitarist, it was a no-brainer to get Johnny to ask Andy if he was interested to do a lead. He heard the song and said ‘yes’. My first recording ever was with Dan Swanö back in ’94, and I knew he would be the right man for the mixing/mastering job, as he shares my taste in old metal. I thought it would be cool to get Dan to do a few lines, and he said ‘sure’. I really love their contributions, so I’m pretty satisfied how things work out sometimes.
Album reviews have begun to come in and it seems like the world likes this album. Have the album title lived up to its name? Has this been a fairytale of the perverse kind so far or is this something Asbjørnsen & Moe could have written?
Exeloume dreams of getting the princess and half the kingdom in the end, of course. Or maybe living out the filthier version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, ha-ha. So far it’s been mostly hard work, but releasing an album featuring contribution from some of my favorite artist is kind of a fairytale, so to speak.
Thrash metal has always been divided into regions (the Bay Area, East Coast, Canada, Brazil, Teutonic (Germany), Scandinavia, etc.). Which scene does Exeloume feel that they have the greatest sense of belonging to and why? From which of these scenes have you picked most inspiration from?
Recipe for Exeloume
35% Tampa, Florida
35% Bay Area
Add 10% herbs and spices like Pestilence, Torture, Coroner, Slayer, Ripping Corpse to the mix…