Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Hexenklad: The story of Hexenklad began with the planting of a seed, an idea: to create a Metal band that was as deep in meaning and feeling as it was heavy and aggressive in sound. Co-created by guitarist Michael Grund (SIG:AR:TYR, ex-Battlesoul) and drummer Sterling Dale, Hexenklad’s roots sunk down after Grund made the drastic decision to move to the forests of Bancroft, Ontario, Canada, leaving city life and materialism behind. With this mental shift in place, and with the first two Hexenklad songs composed in those very woods, Hexenklad was born: a melodic, Folk and Black Metal-inspired band with thematic leanings towards nature, a respect for Magick and ancient religions, and personal enlightenment and freedom.
Its branches spread in late 2015 with the addition of guitarist John “The Ancient One” Chalmers (Pagan Ritual), who helped round out the music. In 2016, after having recorded the drums for the new album “Spirit of the Stone”, Sterling Dale left Hexenklad and Timothy “Voldamares” Johnston (Eclipse Eternal) joined as vocalist, who expanded the sound still further. With the vision of the album and band now fully formed, comrades were called upon to complete the recordings. Alex Snape (Unbowed) did a guest appearance to add his signature bass sound, while guest cellist Raphael Weinroth-Browne (The Visit, Musk Ox) added his wizardry to several tracks. Now-permanent member Clare B. (Eclipse Eternal, ex-Operus) deepened the sound with keyboards to put the final touches to the tapestry. Having now completed the debut album “Spirit of the Stone”, Hexenklad branched out again, growing this time to include new permanent members Jon Kal (Pagan Ritual) on bass and Andrew C. (Pagan Ritual) on drums, once again reuniting father and son (John and Andrew).
In February 2017, Hexenklad was proud to sign with CDN Records and on July 28, 2017, their debut album “Spirit of the Stone” was released upon the world. The band supported the album through a variety of shows across Ontario and Quebec and at this time, founder Michael Grund made the difficult but practical decision to step back from live performances to focus on composition and creation, becoming a studio only member. Nick Sauter (Fallen Legion, Treats for Addicts), a long-time friend of the band, graciously stepped in to lend his guitar prowess to support Hexenklad’s live performances during the search for a full-time live guitarist.
As “Spirit of the Stone” was being supported, writing for the next Hexenklad album was also underway. The first album, “Spirit of the Stone”, was written almost entirely by Grund, but album number two was approached quite differently, with all members bringing in songs and a plethora of ideas while firmly cementing Timothy as the primary lyricist. Hexenklad entered Shiver sound studios in 2019 to commence recording of Hex 2, which would ultimately become “Heathenheart”. It was during this time that Clare B. made the hard but necessary decision to take a hiatus from the band but not before recording their signature keyboard orchestrations to grace the album. Bassist Jon Kal also departed the band to slap out musical endeavors more in line with his personal goals.
Recordings continued into 2020 with Mike, John, and special guest Emanuel Audet (Black Empire, Winterfog) completing many of the bass parts. Enter new bassist Matt “Cold Cuts” Collacott (Of Hatred Spawn) who finished off the bass recordings while bringing in a ravenous appetite to play gigs. Then it happened. The Great Fuckening. COVID hit and the world ground to a halt. All shows in Ontario stopped completely, and one of the longest lockdowns in the world meant that the band could no longer get together to rehearse or record. Fortunately, technology enabled progress even during those trying times and progress was made, albeit slowly. In early 2021 Hexenklad had a fully completed album with over 60 minutes of music. Just as things were looking up for the band, they got even better. Guitarist Steve Bowen (Karsia) answered a post for the open position of live guitarist, making such an impression on the band that he was instantly asked to become a full-time member.
On July 23, 2021, Hexenklad is unleashing their second album “Heathernheart”, once again via CDN Records. The record is an intense Black Metal-influenced Folk Metal album, full of heathen anthems to raise a horn to. The Heathenheart is full of chaos, creation through destruction, Hagalaz, and the journey into it.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
John: We like to call our music Black Metal-influenced Folk Metal. There are seven of us collaborating in the band so the list of bands that influenced us quite a long one. We all have a mutual love and respect for Dissection, Iron Maiden, and Moonsorrow.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
John: I’m happy if metalheads give our music a listen whether they buy it or not. If they can connect with it and enjoy it, then that is a beautiful thing. If it’s not for them, that’s okay too and we are genuinely grateful that they gave us a chance. If the folk find it within themselves to purchase our music, we absolutely appreciate that as it helps us cover production costs as we make more music.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
John: So far Hexenklad has released one album, “Spirit of the Stone” and our follow-up album “Heathenheart” is being released on July 23, 2021. We received many positive reviews on the first album and a couple of not so good ones, but overall it was well-received by fans and media alike. Somehow, we picked up a huge following in Indonesia which is exciting, although we’re not quite sure how that happened. The band is anxiously looking forward to seeing what the world thinks of “Heathenheart”!
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
John: Yes, we absolutely play live, and we love it. Thus far we have played in a variety of locations in Ontario and Quebec and are hoping to continue this as COVID restrictions lift and potentially extend our geographical reach one day soon. For the most part, our shows have gone smoothly and have been well-received. There has been the odd bump in the road where things like bar fights occurred and police presence has emptied the venue.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
Timothy : I don't think there is anyone who sounds quite like us. At least, none that I’ve heard. We are extremely proud of this. We have everything from the coldness and rawness found in Black Metal, to the uplifting and memorable melodies found in Folk Metal, to the hooks and choruses found in Heavy Metal. The songs we make are unique, uncompromising, and extremely varied. Every song is different and yet connected and identifiably ours. I would hope that would interest those who have heard a lot of music and are looking for something different.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
John: We are a simple folk. I for one am really looking forward to playing some shows again as well as continuing to write for our next album. Pretty sure all metal fans are anxious for metal shows to kick off again. Aspirationally speaking, it would be amazing to play some gigs and festivals in Europe but that is not likely to happen in the near future. It is a bucket list thing for us.
Timothy: European shows/festivals are a long term goal. Near future, local shows and pushing the new album in the hopes people give it a chance.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
John: Physical CDs can be purchased from our label CDN Records or from the band at shows. Digital downloads are available for purchase on our Bandcamp site and of course, the album can be streamed for all major streaming sites.
Music Video - Hetahen Heart - https://youtu.be/109-5f2P0N8