Assemble The Chariot's Niklas Turunen Talks the Reflections Of Voids

Assemble The Chariots is a 5-piece metal assault from the northern Europe, Hellsinki-Finland. They combine Death- and Black metal with Symphonic elements. This Deathsquad was formed in 2008 and they have released 2 albums, a 5-song EP called "Reflections" in 2009 and a 3-song EP called "The Sulphur Voids" in 2012. Their new, more technical, more insane and more brutal album will be released in 2013. Guitarist Niklas Turunen took the time to discuss the latest release and how the band got it's start with it's various line-up changes.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Niklas: Well, Assemble the Chariots was formed in mid 2008 by me and Alexi Lehto (our drummer at that time). I had been jamming with Kevin in high school before ATC, so I asked him to join the band as a second guitarist.

Vocalist Ville Nordensved and Bassist Tapio Vapola (Both perfoming on Reflections EP) came soon after. We wrote a shitty demo in spring 2009 and got our first 'pianist' Elina at that time too. In December 2009 we released our first EP - Reflections. After that we had a lot of changes in the line-up, including 2 more keyboardists, a bass player and lost our drummer and vocalist.

In 2011 there were only me and Kevin left and we wrote The Sulphur Voids at that time. In 2012 Sami Mäntylä sent us a video of him playing False Promises of Salvation and we were blown away. We had a few rehearsals and Sami's friend Kristo Sundström came in Vocals, about the same time Juhana Heinonen came to play bass. We wen't into the studio and recorded The Sulphur Voids with that line up.

2. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there?Are there any local bands you could recommend?

We come from Finland, me and Kevin are from Helsinki, Sami and Kristo are from Järvenpää and Juhana is from all over, hehe. We'll I think Finnish music scene is quite big, first unsigned band that comes to my mind is our friends Until We Collapse. We actually had the Pre-Productions for The Sulphur Voids at Joni Koivus (Guitarist in Until We Collapse) apartment.

3. How did you guys get your band name and does it have a meaning behind it?

Niklas: Well, it's based on depictions of "god" riding from heaven in a chariot of fire. It is up to everyone to decide themselves what was it that the ancient people actually saw.

4. What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)

Niklas: The Sulphur Voids is mostly about the sickness of mass religions, with the human race being like cancer spreading like HIV between prostitutes and clients.

5. Do you write your own songs? (Discuss the songwriting process in detail.)

Niklas: Yea, all the music is pretty much written by me and Kevin. Most of the time we meet at my place and start writing or by ourselves at home and send the riffs and parts between each other until there's like 'version 12.64'. When the song is finished we start writing the orchestral instruments on the song.

6. Who are your musical influences?

Niklas: I guess we are mostly influenced by good old Norwegian Black Metal. Though the American music scene has influenced our style and sound too.

7. Is there any story or concept behind the The Sulphur Voids title?

Niklas: The Sulphur Voids was actually supposed to be a concept album with 6-7 songs. We decided it is better to release a 3 song EP at that time than a full length much later. The whole concept suffered a bit when we stripped 4 songs off, but it's basically a story of the sickness of mass religions and the so called "Holy Men'' and when the true creators of man wipe us off of this planet and bring forth a new breed of men.

8. Select two songs from The Sulphur Voids and what inspired the lyrics.

Niklas: I would probably have to choose Sanctuary and Infernal Towers Arise. Sanctuary because the story leads more towards our upcoming release and reveals a bit about how we came here and what brought us. Infernal Towers Arise, would be because of the sheer brutality of the lyrics. It was kind of a way to release the anger against this race of ours. The human race is a cancer and there is only very few of us, deserving to actually live on this planet. So the lyrics in a nut shell; everyone dies a horrible death.

9. Who produced The Sulphur Voids and what was it like working with them?

Niklas: The Sulphur Voids is produced by us but Jori Haukio from Ansa Studio was our studio engineer. Let's just say, we hope our next album comes out more easily.

10. Who did the cover art for The Sulphur Voids and how much input did you have on it?

Niklas: The cover art was done by me so it came out pretty much as we hoped. I believe it describes The Sulphur Voids quite well.

11. Where are you in the process of the follow-up release?

Niklas: Currently writing new songs, still a lot of work to do.

12. Where is this new material headed?

Niklas: We wen't to a bit more technical, more brutal and more orchestrated style while making the guitar leads more melodic.  We all have become better musicians and we hope that will show on the new release.  I think on The Sulphur Voids, all the songs have quite a different style, which we hope to avoid on the new release and make it more unified.

13. When can we expect to see this material to be released?

Niklas: Hopefully by the end of this year.

14. What are the plans you guys have for the rest of this year?

Niklas: We're throwing a few shows here and there and working hard on the new album.

15. Any last words?

Niklas: Get ready for our upcoming release!

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