INTERVIEW: Darkest Era

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The Celtic metallers Darkest Era recently supported Amon Amarth in the Limelight this August.

Originally hailing from Enniskillen under the name Nemesis in 2004,  they set up taking influences from Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Irish folk metal releasing material mid 2005 and subsequently started drawing attention from the true European metal underground.

Now, years on, the band’s well respected discography boosts many fans from country to country. Ahead of their support show with Amon Amarth, we chatted to them about the show and all things Darkest Era.

You’re supporting Amon Amarth later this month in Belfast and Dublin respectively. I understand this isn’t your first time in Belfast?

“Although Belfast isn’t where we’re originally from, three of us live there and it’s kind of an adopted home town for the band. We’ve been playing Belfast since we started out, so we’ve played almost every venue in the city at one stage or another. It’s nice to get such a great support slot and to play the new Limelight though, we’re very excited about it. It’s been over a year since we last played here so we’re hoping for a killer show.”

We’ve read that the band started out as Ade and Sarah writing music together in 2005. That’s nearly ten years now. How do you feel the band has progressed?

“We’ve come a long way, both in terms of the music we’re writing and the people paying attention I think. We were still in school at the time and hadn’t really been in a proper band before. Now we’ve had 3 record deals, had 3 releases distributed worldwide and done numerous tours of the UK and Europe. It’s been a slow build but we’re really seeing some momentum now I think. It’s been rough and tumble with plenty of highs and lows; but we’ve learned a lot along the way. We’re very proud of our latest record and we’re looking forward to playing the songs to as many people as possible.”

Has there been any defining moments when you thought ‘I’m gonna remember this as a highlight for the band?

“Signing our first record deal was a defining moment I think. It was just a small deal for an EP but the label were well respected and it was the first time we really seen someone else put the same faith and belief in our music as we did. Our first UK tour was also a turning point. We were supporting Alestorm on a very successful run of 14 show, almost all of which sold out. It was a turning point for the band as some of us realised it was what we wanted to do with our lives, and for others they realised it wasn’t for them and subsequently left. So we’ve emerged stronger out of all these things. I guess our last European tour was quite special too; visiting places like Hungary, Poland, France, Spain and having people scream your songs back to you was quite a feeling!”

Tell us your perfect lineup for a festival. Who’s your heroes and who would you like to play alongside?

“Personally speaking I’m just going to have to pick my favourite bands here; Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, AC/DC, Depeche Mode, Rammstein, I’d use it as an excuse to meet my heroes essentially!”

You’ve played some festivals to date. What has been your favourites and why?

“I think Up the Hammers in Athens has been a favourite. The band was still in it’s early days at that stage but to travel so far and meet so many people supportive of the band was amazing. The fans there live and breathe heavy metal culture as well, walking into some of the shops in the city was like stepping back into the 80s or something. The recession has the country on it’s knees still which is such a shame. The people there have a lot in common with us over here, we found.”

‘Severance’ was released earlier this year – how would you describe the album and what was it like creating it?

“It is dark, a epic and emotional heavy metal album. Atmosphere, glory and tragedy brought to you with searing twin guitars and mighty vocals.It was written and recorded during a very unstable period for the band..we didn’t have full lineup and our drummer was in the process of leaving the band. Added to this we had just 12weeks to write it because of touring schedules and various other factors. It was an incredibly tense and stressful period but we emerged all the stronger for it and the atmosphere at the time is etched into the sound in a way.”

Describe yourselves in five words for the Belfast audience.

“We are heavy fucking metal!”