Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Slechtvalk was formed by Shamgar as a one-man project back in 1999. After the debut album "Falconry" (Fear Dark Records - 2000), a full band was formed consisting of: Shamgar (guitar/vocals), Ohtar (guitar/vocals), Premnath (bass), Sorgier (keys), Grimbold (drums) and Fionnghuala (soprano). With this formation we recorded our second album "The War that Plagues the Lands" (Fear Dark Records - 2002) and after replacing the keyboard-player by Hydrith we started playing shows. Slechtvalk was one of the first bands to incorporate medieval themed costumes and war-paint in their live-appearances, which sparked interest for a live-show recording, which was published in 2005 with our third album "At the Dawn of War" (Fear Dark Records - 2005). After the demise of Fear Dark Records in 2007 and some line-up changes, we shifted our style from symphonic blackmetal towards a more blackened deathmetal (Shamgar (guitar/vocals), Ohtar (bass/vocals), Seraph (guitar), Premnath (keys) and Grimbold (drums)) and signed with Whirlwind Records, with whom we released our fourth album "A Forlorn Throne" in 2010. "A Forlorn Throne" was recorded with Johan Örnborg and mixed/mastered by Jens Bogren (Fascination Street Studio) and was well acclaimed for its mature & solid compositions. However we were out of luck with our new-found label, because personal circumstances of the label's owners caused it to slowly collapse and it wasn't the success we hoped it would be. During 2011-2013 we were considering to self-publish our next album, but with the little finances we had at that time believed we were unable to achieve the quality level we set with "A Forlorn Throne", so we send out many promo's to various labels in search of a good record deal that would help us further. Unfortunately the labels that showed interest were either too small to convince us they could bring us further than the self-publishing-route and bigger labels that showed interested had high demands and required additional investments we were unable to commit to at that time.
However we didn't want to pull the plug and believed we were able to best "A Forlorn Throne", so we sought the aid of our fans through crowdfunding. Early 2015 we achieved the crowdfunding goal we set and were able to afford a very competent producer (Lasse Lammert) to record our new album with, which we think is superior to "A Forlorn Throne". Self-publishing an album proved to be alot of work though and we reluctantly had to break deadline after deadline to guarantee a similar or better quality on all aspects, but we're happy to anounce that our fifth album "Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide" will be released this december.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
Slechtvalk started out as melodic symphonic blackmetal, mostly inspired by bands like Dimmu Borgir, Legenda, Summoning, Dawn, Dark Funeral and a little Emperor, but gradually we shifted slightly to a more viking-sound (Enslaved, Moonsorrow) with our third album "At the Dawn of War". With the departure of Fionnghuala (soprano) and Hydrith (keys) in 2007, who played an important role in the overall sound, we were forced to re-define our style. Most of us rarely listened to symphonic blackmetal anymore, but rather to melodic deathmetal (Amon Amarth), melodic blackmetal (Immortal, Dawn, Borknagar), blackened deathmetal (Behemoth, Crimson Moonlight), death/doommetal (Draconian, Swallow the Sun, Vision Bleak) and some metalcore (Austrian Death Machine, As I lay Dying) and this combination of various styles helped us to redefine what kind of music we wanted to make. Slechtvalk has always been known for it's versatile albums and nowadays one song may be more fast raw-blackmetal, while another is very doommetal-like, yet we believe we are able to create a consistent atmosphere on our albums.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
If they know us and like our work, they should buy our albums, because likes don't pay the bills, but purchases do and we can tell you it's very expensive to create and publish a high quality album without any label-support. Those who don't know us yet and are looking for quality music with a mature evolved sound, we encourage to definately check out our last album "A Forlorn Throne" and our upcoming "Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide".
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
Until now we have released 4 full-length albums (and a new one about to be released), 1 dvd, a split-cd with the Indonesian Avantgarde metalband Kekal and a compilation album of our first decade (the initial three albums were no longer available physically). All albums were generally well received by the media and we've got a modest yet loyal fanbase.
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
We do play live, but the past couple of years rather sporadically due to work/family obligations and the fact we didn't have someone that could actively initiate opportunities for us, but this month we'll be doing a 5-show mini-tour with Nightland (ITA) and Morgarten (CH) and have several leads for shows next year.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
We have a proven record of creating high quality metal and fans like our stage-performance where we combine the usual intimidating black/death-appearance with a healthy dose of self-mockery. There are too many bands that take themselves too seriously, we know, because we've been there too, but we enjoy what we do and we like the interaction with fans, so why not show it?
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
This month (december 2016) we'll be releasing our fifth album "Where Wandering Shadows and Mists Collide" and will be doing a mini-tour through the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. In 2017 we're planning to do several more shows and then think about a 6th album and perhaps another video recording of one of our live-shows.
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
All of our albums are digitally available on various e-stores/streaming services like i-Tunes, Amazon, Spotify and GooglePlay. Due to running out of luck with record/distribution-deals the physical version of our previous and upcoming albums are available on our own webshop www.slechtvalkmerch.com and a handfull of independent mail-orders across the globe, but we hope to initiate more contacts the following months.