Hailing from Vancouver Canada Boreal Hymn is a 2 piece that defy normal definition, A sound earthen based with guitars and chants that reach to the heavens. Elements of extreme metal and diverse soundscapes. They have released their now hard sought after Tundra demo and are emerging as a unique original entity that combines the talents of vocalist Bronson L Norton and instrumentalist Colby Hink.
What is the definition of Boreal Hymn? Is it the literal ode to long winters with small bouts of light?
Colby “We picked the name because it fit the sound that we wanted to express. Our music is inspired by the northern forests of Canada, so the name Boreal Hymn seemed to set the stage. So yeah, you aren’t far off at all.””
How did the band come together? And what inspired the project?
“The band started as a side project for Bronson and me. His band and mine (Seer and Wormwitch respectively) have played a bunch of shows together, so we’ve known each other for a while. We were originally planning on doing a melodic death metal band together, but that didn’t pan out for a handful of reasons. We actually wrote some songs for that band and then scrapped them. We spent a fair bit of time discussing what we wanted to do before writing anything for Boreal Hymn.... we would meet up in the woods and have a fire and mull over ideas. I think it was the spring of 2019 when we started writing the demo.”
Was it a merging of like-minded ideals and mythology?
Is the song writing shared?
“Yeah, I handle most of the instrumental stuff and Bronson takes care of the vocals. The song structures often end up changing when we get to writing vocals, so the final songs end up having a lot of both of us in them.
What goes into creating a Boreal Hymn track?
“It usually either starts with a guitar riff or a percussion idea. I write a lot of the guitar parts on an acoustic guitar and then translate it to electric when I put down some demo tracks. From that point we usually expand on it chronologically, forming the song from beginning to end. Writing a song for me is a weirdly automatic process. I often feels like I’m uncovering the song more than I am determining it.”
“You’ll have to talk to Bronson about the lyrics. I don’t want to put words in his mouth, but to me the lyrics having a lot to do with power, self-affirmation, the spirit, and facing/overcoming struggle. I know the story of the Donner party was a specific piece of inspiration for lyrics on the demo.”
Your music is more than the easily tagged pagan metal. With soundscapes and Drone/Ambience it is much more. How would you describe it to the untrained ear?
“That’s something I’m always wrestling with. I don’t really know how to describe this band. Dark folk metal tends to be my go-to but I’m mostly waiting for someone else to come by and give me a descriptor I like.”
Does being from Vancouver make it easier to create a unique sound compared to European Peers?
“I don’t think so, there’s beauty and inspiration everywhere. If anything (this type of music being influenced by history and tradition), it might be more difficult living in such a young country. Canada is only about 150 years old.”
Your sigil is taken from Elder FutharkAnd Runic alphabet?
“It actually isn’t taken from the elder Futhark. It’s a Latin B and H woven together, but design is definitely inspired by the runes. We wanted a sigil to visually represent the band for spiritual purposes and to “stand in” on a symbolic level. Sigils have a lot of power to represent more nebulous ideas and concepts, like a musical project.”
Your Cover of Bathory's Man Of Iron is not the typical Bathory cover?
“Yeah, we thought it would be cool to reimagine one of Bathory’s more folk songs but with the core sound of Boreal Hymn, which is very much inspired by Bathory’s early 90s sound. Deciding on the perfect song to cover is always a long ordeal.”
Was its significance recorded especially for the Intention to raise funds for the Canadian Mental health Association?
“It was a later decision to be honest. We don’t want to profit off of a song that we didn’t write and spent almost nothing recording, so we figured that we wanted to give any Bandcamp donations to a group that we felt was a relevant and important cause.’
Tundra was a demo released in the traditional cassette format. Was this important to do it the original way?
“We are just fans of old school physical formats. All the bands that both of us are in are always doing small tape releases. It is a cool, cheap piece of merch and there’s a ton of small underground labels that deal in cassette tapes. We ended up connecting with Sacrificial Sounds from the USA and they did the first physical release of our demo on tape.”
the debut album is on its way?!
“We’re about to enter the studio to record our next release. It is not a full length in the traditional sense but there IS a new batch of songs on its way. Should materialize later in the year.”
“We are knee deep in the preparations for recording our next release, and I imagine we’ll be busy with that until the fall. We have partnered with an awesome label for the next release, and if all goes according to plan, we should have a new record out before the end of the year. We’re taking it day by day.”
What inspired you to play extreme music?
“Going to shows as a kid definitely planted the seeds. When I started playing guitar it was with the intention of starting a band as soon as possible. Everything about playing music appealed to me, and it still does in a weird elusive way that I have a hard time pinning down. “
Your favourite bands?
“It is constantly changing, but at this exact moment my favourite band is probably Katatonia.”
what influences you in terms of music, art, literature, and history?
“Everything, man. History is an endless well of inspiration for us, and of course all the other music and art we consume. Film is a big inspiration for me. The burgeoning genre of folk-horror is a huge inspiration for this band.”
A different top 6. the 6 releases that we need to hear but have not heard of.
Árstíðir Lifsins - Saga á tveim tungum II: Eigi fjǫll né firðir
Ungfell - Mythen, Mären, Pestilenz
Kill County - Broken Glass in The Sun
Ulvik - Isolation Motifs
Cormorant - Metazoa
Secrets of The Moon - Black House
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