The Czech Legends Are Back With A
New Album! Franta Storm Answers Our
life of the metalhead is clearly marked by certain experiences.
For some, itís listening to Iron Maiden. For others is
discovering Metallica. Morbid Angel has been a rite of passage
for many others who move onto more brutal pastures. Etc, etc,
etc. For me, it
was discovering the strange sounds of Masterís Hammer back in my late teens. A
friend of mine owned some compilation that included two songs
from Ritual. The second I heard "Věčnż NŠvrat" I
was hooked. Master's Hammer is back with a new album after
fourteen years. To mark the occasion I contacted vocalist and
guitarist Frantisek Storm, who was kind enough to donate some
time to answer some of my questions.
Read on and spread the wordÖ
Masterís Hammer was formed in 1983. Back then, I am not sure
that the concept of what Ďblack metalí is was set in stone. When
the band started out, what was the motivation? Were you guys
consciously playing Ďblack metalí or was it just
No, it was
1987. Black metal was the only direction from the beginning and
stayed for a couple of years till The Jilemnice Occultist.
We were influenced by Bathory, Mercyful Fate, Root, Kryptor.
From the start, Masterís Hammer had a unique and eccentric
sound. Thatís what got me when I first listened to your music,
it was so distinctive. Were you guys consciously trying to be
We came up to
the unique sound rather by occasion, due to then poor technique
and budget. The only -pro- record is Ritual, but all our
demos and albums are somewhat neglected in terms of sound and
mixing quality. We used to benefit from the fact that we never
belonged to any sort of mainstream, even in a black metal style
in Czech, it delivered us much freedom of expression, so we
started experimenting then.
Do you think there has always been a big influence on Masterís
Hammer that comes from outside the metal realm? And I am talking
about the music in the first two albums.
operettas were mentioned already thousand times in this context.
Nowadays there are dozens of bizarre, bad-taste musical styles
which we love.
Your vocals were always a very important part of your sound. In
a way, they were far more emotional and theatrical than those of
other extreme metal bands. What can you say about your vocal
delivery? Any influences?
I like Lemmy's
and Quorthon's vocal approach, but I personally need the brutal
parts counterbalanced with feelingful spots, not much, just like
spice in a meal to stay away from a single-taste dish. King
Diamond is an example of over-spiced, even well-sung, mixture.
Masterís Hammer is usually classified as a black metal band. But
I donít think the band lyrics are about blasphemy. The
Jilemnice Occultist for instance has a whole story. Would
you say that the band is black metal? And if so, what is your
description of black metal? If you donít consider Masterís
Hammer black metal, how would you classify it?
Black metal was
never a goal, but just a path, an expression method. One of
many. You recognize a black metal band by its lyrics, music is
second. Our lyrics were more or less blasphemic every time, even
on Mantras, although we don't believe in Satan anymore. I
love the freedom to make a black metal album, or anything else,
barbecue party with the band or electronic project on my own.
Ritual and The Jilemnice Occultist are absolute
classics. Do you believe that time has made justice to your
efforts? It seems as if both records get better with time. And
the Nuclear War Now reissues have only brought them more
attention. Have you noticed a revived interest in the band over
the last few years? How would you compare the current view of
those albums with how they were received upon their original
can be answered rather by someone standing outside the band, I
can't see things from a distance being in the midst of creation.
Certainly, I'm aware of many reviews and critics, but it seldom
made any impact on my work. I focus on our upcoming records
only, I've never listened Mantras ever since their
release, I'm not a Masterís Hammer fan. I can judge other music,
but not mine.
With Slagry the band made a radical change. What was the
intention with this album? Was there disillusionment with the
metal scene or simply a will to move forward?
needed to get rid of black metal clichť and of a Ďlegendí
mislabeling, and we've made it. I love that album particularly
for its sarcasm and irony.
You are now a type designer and founder of the Storm Type
Foundry. First of all, I assume you created the awesome Masterís
Hemmer logo. Without a doubt one of the best in the history of
metal. How did you get into that?
expressed my naive idea on how a brutal band emblem should look
like, no deep idea behind it. The lettering is not very precise,
but it fits good to our image. Also the band name doesn't
reflect any clever philosophy.
Do you make a living being a type designer? Have you done any
work on other logos besides Masterís Hammerís?
I live from
font making for various clients and selling licenses to my
original designs. In early 90ís, I used to make many cover
designs for artists like Root and Karel Gott. Nowadays, I do
occasionally CD covers for my friends from various alternative
and underground realms.
Mantras is the first Masterís Hammer record in fourteen
years. What was the first reason for the reunion of the band?
Were the members always on good terms?
Yes, we met
occasionally in pubs. Monster (bassist TomŠö Vendl))
computers, one for me. Necrocock (guitarist TomŠö Kohout)
presented us his records whenever released, Vlasta (keyboardist)
makes his home brewed beer. We simply never split up, although
there were gaps in terms of couple of years or so.
Do you think this new album represents a progression in the
Masterís Hammer sound? What does Mantras bring to the
I like the
mixture of many different influences, you can hear certain
individual contributions on it, most significant is Necrocock's
tunes, among others. Mantra is for me a real story, a
word of truth, there is nothing fictionally-invented in lyrics,
How do you think Mantras fits in the current metal
scene? What do you hope Mantras does to the Masterís
We don't care.
My feeling on contemporary metal scene is perhaps a bit senile -
lonely in turmoil and overcrowded by ideas in solitude when I'm
in studio. In other words, I enjoy to work apart from any
cultural mainstream (or overvalued underground, so to say).
You put out Mantras on your own. Iíd think that there
would be plenty of interested labels. Why not sign with a label?
Is going the independent way more to your liking nowadays?
I have no boss,
no label contract, no obligation to nobody. It makes me free in
many ways, mostly in the creative one. Not bad, isn't it? We
don't live from music, but on the other hand, there's no reason
to let other people live from it. But I confess frankly, if I
was a label owner, I'd never signed a contract with such
unpredictable freaks as Masterís Hammer.
What albums are you currently listening to?
Insania - last
album is very good. Umbrtka - all albums.
Whatís next for Masterís Hammer? I know youíve said that
Masterís Hammer will not play live again. So no chance of that?
Still the same
story - as players, we're pretty incompetent. If we had time to
practice and money to live when practicing, then maybe. But the
other, real reason is that we don't like repeating. Each album
differs much from the previous and others, and that's what is
typical with Masterís Hammer. Live playing is nothing but
repeating, even in unmatching sound.
Thank you all
for accepting us.
Masterís Hammer Official Site
Storm Type Foundry