"My humble little project"
One couldn't find a more improper description of WALLACHIA than the words Norwegian mastermind Lars Stavdal chooses himself. Ten long years of silence follow the debut album "From Behind The Light", a time well spent as there are too few albums like "Ceremony Of Ascension", expressing itself lush in colours equally in notes, words and artwork.
The idea of founding WALLACHIA haunts Lars
since the early 90s but only takes form in 1995 when Eystein Garberg - nowadays guitarist with Lumsk - joins the project.
The first release "Demo 1996" sells well and attracts the attention of the French label Impure Creation Records who
recognize WALLACHIA's potential and offer to press the demo on CD format. When the French label, now acting under the
name of Velvet Music International, release the MCD "Wallachia" in 1997 and two years later the debut album the great
setback for WALLACHIA is already emerging. "We signed a contract with them and the "Wallachia" MCD
was released in July 1997. The label had a few other interesting artists such as Blut Aus Nord, Mundanus Imperium,
Zephyrous, Necrophagist, Yyrkoon, etc. The "Wallachia" MCD was one of their most successful releases alongside the two
first Blut Aus Nord albums. After this they signed WALLACHIA for the release of a full-length album as well, and "From
Behind The Light" was released in September 1999. On this album I played all the instruments myself, only hiring two
drummers to play on four songs each. Unfortunately VMI went down with an economic crisis at the time my album was
released, so the first and only pressing of 1000 copies was sold out right away to distributors worldwide and the album
didn't get too much attention due to this. Even the hardcore fans weren't aware it was out. VMI had by that time signed
too many bands and had more expenses with pressings and artwork than sales figures on their releases. So it was sad to
see this happen so sudden. And this event alone put WALLACHIA back to scratch with everything, and this time around it
felt harder to get things rolling again. It was never the intention that it would take thaaaat long before I was back
with this band." Still, in some aspects, the timing of these events turns out to be for the better. 2005 sees the
rerelease of "From Behind The Light" by American Dark Horizon Records who also include the demo tracks as a bonus. This
edition is still available in their webshop on Dark Horizon.
It's time for more things to happen and once again myspace plays a considerable part. "During the
winter of 2007 I made a full instrumental pre-production for the second WALLACHIA album with some help of my friend and
neighbour Polly from the death metal band No Dawn. We spent a few evenings at his place programming drums, recording
keys and adding my guitars on top of it in the end. After putting my pre-prods on myspace I was contacted by Stefan
Traunmüller from the Austrian bands Golden Dawn and Sternenstaub who offered his help to produce/record my new
album and also to find a drummer to step in. The drumtracks were recorded by the Austrian Thomas Kocher during a couple
of days in fall 2007, using the pre-prods as guiding tracks. After this we scheduled me going down to Salzburg and
nailing the rest of the instruments and vocals in the summer of 2008. And during ten extremely hot August days we
completed "Ceremony Of Ascension" in Stefan's studio-bunker in Freilassing (Germany). A great new experience that
marked the return of WALLACHIA."
It may seem adventurous to some that Lars combines wide influences such as melodic riffs inspired by Windir and song
structures reminding one of bands like Deicide and Morbid Angel with a proper dose of melancholy but the result speaks for
itself. It's an inartificially growing process and stands for much more than merely integrating heard and favoured
sources of inspiration. "I've always put all my influences into the soundscape of WALLACHIA, and
also on the debut you have this mix of death and black metal influences. Though they come forth stronger on the new
opus. The bands you mentioned are some of my key influences since starting out with WALLACHIA so in indirect ways they
have their effect on my songwriting. The Windir styled lead and harmony guitars were done on purpose as a tribute to
Valfar and Windir as he left a big impact on me as a great composer. How he weaved melancholy and folktunes into his
savage black metal so naturally. ´Refusalvation´ has those types of guitars all the way during the first half of the
song, and it started as a coincidence that I had some of the basic rhythm things completed and I started hearing Windir
inspired melodies on top of them in my head. So it naturally became this way even years before Terje/Valfar passed away
so sudden. The sound of WALLACHIA became by nature caught up in between death and black metal since I grew up with the
wave of Earache Records related bands and the whole Tampa death metal scene while there was a new thing on the rise here
in Scandinavia with many great black metal bands taking shape. I like the rawness and energy of death metal as much as
the chilly and majestic feel black metal gives. I want WALLACHIA to be the best of both worlds, really. I just let the
songs shape themselves without having many restrictions so you'll find some more pure death metal influences in a few
songs on my new album while others have more of that epic driven black metal touch." An epic atmosphere is first
and foremost present in ´Genesis Enigma´ which could also be seen as a little tribute to Bathory with Lars' clean vocals.
"Yes, there is a little truth in it, especially after I did my first ever attempt of clean vocals
it naturally got that Bathory viking era touch. The song itself also has that floating structure all the way through.
I always liked the mid era Bathroy stuff ("Under The Sign Of The Black Mark", "Blood Fire Death" and "Hammerheart").
Those were albums that inspired my more epic style of arranging the songs, including acoustic guitars, additional
effects, etc. There were a few years in which we lost a lot of great and important songwriters within extreme music
such as Quorthon (Bathory), Valfar (Windir), Jon Nödtveidt (Dissection) or Jared Anderson (Inernecine, Hate Eternal),
and I think you'll find traces of inspiration from them all within my music for sure."
Also ´Kamikaze Christian´ carries the message of religious delusion when Lars obviously deals with the escalade of
David Koresh's headquarters in Waco. "These events occured in 1993 at a time when the whole
black metal thing and related crimes were at a high peak here in Scandinavia, and this only showed that things went
on just as extreme, if not more, on the other side of matters. The scary thing is that this event only was exposed
with this particular happening and storming of their headquarters but it was a case that went on for years behind
curtains. For some reason we remain quite numb and oblivious to things that happen in the sake of goodness so to
speak. Maybe because we're so used to it by now. Two months after I had written this song the 11th September attacks
took place in New York City and it really gave my song a new meaning. This goes again back to the totalitarian views
of how the world is seen through a martyr's eyes and the glorification of a seppuku way of dying. And it's due to
these totalitarian aspects of religions that we also see how split up religion and the church are. Add to it the lust
for power and greed of mankind and you have hundreds of sects with their each and own unique way to God and away from
sanity." The lyrics of ´Void Expansion´ are just as much close to the wind for the gray matter and sound like
a species gone wrong, living for the wrong (materialistic) values and neglecting the essence of existence and the
knowledge of what a wonderful place we actually live in... and which we will probably destroy until it's ´void´...
"The song focuses on how shallow and empty the world has become and how mankind only decays
generation after (de)generation, how materialistic values and consumerism have a focus rather than, let's say
spiritual fulfillment. Population increases year by year and it affects the planet itself as much as ourselves as
beings, how we in the end aren't able to care and share things. As we spread out over the world thus also the void
expands and feeds itself. Mankind has no reverence for nature and is only devoured by its own ego. And it seems we
will only learn when it's too late. This song is a wrathful provocation to the mtv-culture, exterior ´values´ and
plastic ideals, in general what refers to the x-generation in some aspects. We're served the ´fast food´ version
of anything artistic, spiritual and it's all about taking without giving something back. Not having the feeling of
sacrificing something in order to achieve and reach a goal. When kids' perception of reality is through ´reality-tv´
rather than experiencing things and dreams on their own this state of emptiness that I tell about in the song will