It’s all in the name – and that’s especially true for Norwegian black-thrash hopefuls Condor. The three-piece from Kolbotn, the town where nowadays Gylve Fenris Nagell serves as a Councilman, started out in 2009. Guitarist Magnus recalls those early days of Condor: “The band was formed by me (Magnus, guitars) and our previous drummer, Herman Holen. We had already played together in another band at an earlier stage, so we already knew each other. At the time, the only good band around that was our age was Repellent. We needed a bass player and a singer, so in early 2010 we asked Christoffer to join Condor. Three years later Herman quit, and in 2014, Øyvind, who we knew from his other band, Purple Hill Witch, took his place. We met Øyvind through our former live-guitarist, Kribb, who is the singer in PHW.” As the three Norwegians are still quite young, they must have started Condor at a really young age, right? Magnus confirms: “Me and Herman were both 15 when we started the band in the summer of 2009, and Chris was 16 when he joined.”
What were the young men’s goals when they started Condor? Re-inventing black thrash or rather staying true to the traditions of the genre? “When we formed the band we really just wanted to play like the bands we liked, which were primarily old thrash and black metal bands. We never tried to re-invent anything, but I hope and believe that we have created, at least to some extent, a sound of our own.”
And what’s in that name? It reeks of black-thrash veterans Aura Noir, is that right? “Yeah, that’s correct. When we started out, our main influence was Aura Noir, but also Darkthrone, Death, Obliteration, Bathory and a lot of the old classic death/black/thrash bands. It hasn’t really changed much, but for the last few years, we have gotten more inspiration from German and South American bands, such as Sodom, Sarcófago, Sepultura, Violent Force, Kreator and especially Destruction.”
Condor’s first demo “Facing the First Winter” came out in 2010 and was followed by the EP “Speedwagon”, before Condor released their self-titled debut in 2013. How does Magnus remember the reactions to the debut? “I think it was received fairly well, however, not as well as our previous releases. Our debut was not as inspired as our demo and EP, and we rushed the whole process a bit when writing and recording the album. I do think that people will get a different impression when hearing the new record.”
In its review, German Rock Hard assumed that „everything which came out after 1986 had NO influence AT ALL on Condor’s debut.” What does Magnus think about this quote?
“Hehe, we were obviously inspired by 90’s death and black metal, which I think you can hear quite clearly, but I take that as a compliment though!”
The debut was followed by a split with Norwegian compatriots Töxik Death that was released in 2014, and now, the time has came for their second full-length album, aptly named “Unstoppable Power”: “I feel that this record is way more inspired, better thought-through and better written and recorded than the previous one. We did not rush anything this time, and we took our time recording and writing the material. We had a clearer vision of what we wanted our music to sound like, and we did not play it safe in regard to riffs and arrangements. We also went to a proper studio to record this album, which obviously resulted in a way better production and sound. Another thing we did differently on this record was that we simply used all the riffs we thought sounded good, without caring as much if it fitted with the previous sound of the band. This is also the first time I wrote most of the lyrics.”
Some people say that albeit having a very black vibe, musically Condor lean more towards the thrash side of things. That is also true for “Unstoppable Power, right? “I think we had more of a black metal vibe when we started out, and now it’s really just the vocals that have anything to do with black metal. I think, if people hear this new record without having listened to Condor before, it will sound like thrash to them, not so much like black thrash.”
“Unstoppable Power” was recorded in early February 2016 at Berserker Ninja Studios in Eidsvoll, Norway. The album was recorded by the band, together with Salvador Armijo (the guy who sings in Black Viper, actually), and Tom Erik Hansen. Mixing was done by the band and Tom Erik. “A huge thanks to both Salvador and Tom Erik!!” adds Magnus before he tells us who is responsible for the sick cover artwork: “The album artwork was done by the master of fukked up art himself: ROK from Sadistik Exekution!”
Metal Archives count Condor as „part of the Kolbotn thrashers union along with Darkthrone, Infernö, Repellent, Nekromantheon, and Obliteration.“ Does Magnus agree on that, and do they actually have close bonds with any of these bands? “Well, I guess we are, but this is not really a ‘thing’. It’s just kind of a collective term for the bands from our town. Yeah, I’d say we know most of those dudes pretty well, especially Repellent, as Christoffer used to be the band’s guitarist, hehe.”
And how does he see the present stage of the scene? “To me, the scene seems to be better than it has been in a long time! I don’t really care for many of these new avant-garde bands emerging lately, but there are lots of good bands around. Even in our little country of Norway, there are heaps of both new and old bands that are really worth checking out. For the most part it seems like there are fewer bands wimping out lately (with some dreadful exceptions of course). The latest addition from Oslo is a band called Evoke. Killer thrash with a South American feel to it.”
Asked about the most memorable episode from the band history, Magnus comes up with a story that nicely illustrates the downside of being that young: “I guess it must have been the first time we played a proper concert. This was in 2010 I think, with Deathhammer in Oslo. We were all underage at the time, and we were not allowed to drink. We had to stay in our own backstage room, listening to everything that was going on in the room next door while sipping beer we’d sneaked in in McDonalds cups. I also remember Daniel (Sergeant Salsten of Deathhammer) saying that he thought we were like 12 at the time, haha.” Definitely a good story. And in the end, Magnus has a last important detail to share about “Unstoppable Power”:“The title is actually NOT inspired by Agent Steel’s ‘Unstoppable Force!’” Remember that!