Been focusing on local heavy music lately? Well, good! But don’t forget about a little continent called South America which has a metal scene like no other. Brazilian power metal band Armored Dawn have been taking not only their own continent by storm, but several others too.
Having toured extensively and released a number of LPs, the band, consisting of Eduardo Parras (Vocals), Timo Kaarkoski (Guitar), Heros Trench (Guitar), Tiago de Moura (Guitar), Fernando Quesada – (Bass), Rafael Agostino (Keyboard) and Rodrigo Oliveira (Drums) are well-established in certain corners of the globe, however it seems like they’re just getting started in Australia.
The almighty six-piece band are influenced by a whole range of different music, but some of the more classic metal bands to note. Their latest record Viking Zombie (our review here) contains massive singles and music videos that are worth checking it. And guys, this band have clocked some massive hits on YouTube. Songs like ‘Ragnarok’ and ‘Beware of The Dragon’ have literally millions of views.
These guys are different, and in an awesome way. They fuse together so many different metal sub-genre elements, and as you’ll discover shortly, they appreciate contemporary and more old school-metal. Without further ado, here’s the chat I had with guitarist Timo Kaarkoski (TK) all the way from Sao Paulo.
Armored Dawn has been taking over South America with huge success from your latest album Viking Zombie. To take a step back, how would you describe yourself to Australian metalheads?
(TK): First of all, cheers to all our metal brothers and sisters from down under. I’ve been there a few times for holidays and have met some of you metal fans out there. It’s always cool to know that people from around the globe share a love for the same things, like loud music in this case.
So, back to your question. We’re a metal band from Sao Paulo, born around 7 years ago. We have 3 albums out and have toured around South America and Europe many times, and can’t wait to be able to hit the road again, as soon as all this damn COVID shit is over.
Musically, well, I think it’s kind of a mix of all our influences, so there’s some thrash, some hard rock and even some pop influences. We try to keep things melodic, but still heavy.
When listening to you guys, I’m hearing some really strong Bullet for My Valentine influences, but who are your true musical influences?
TK: Basically, everything we’ve ever heard. We are old-school musicians, so we grew up listening to bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Deep Purple, Lynyrd Skynyrd, lots of classical music. You know, a mix of everything. However, in the last few years we started to check out a bit more modern bands like Five Finger Death Punch and, yes, Bullet for my Valentine and got influenced by them as well.
Viking Zombie seems like it was huge in Brazil and South America, has this been your biggest record to date, and if so – why?
TK: Considering radio play, surely. But to me, the best way to know would have been from shows. Unfortunately, as we all know, the damn COVID stopped us and the world from touring, so we only had time to do around twenty shows in support of Viking Zombie before we had to lock up in our homes.
Anyway, I think the songs on Viking Zombie were a lot more Radio-friendly than in Barbarians in Black, which was a lot heavier. There are some songs that even people who normally would never listen to a metal band could listen and that worked great for us. We gained a lot of fans from outside our traditional fanbase and hopefully brought some of those people to listen to other metal bands as well.
You know, lots of musicians get jealous when another band gets noticed, but they are missing the important thing. Success of one band opens up the doors for many others to follow. Let’s think about my homeland, Finland. There were a lot of great bands in the 70s and 80s but they never really got their music outside Finland. All this changed, after a little band called Stratovarius, started playing around the world and gained a relatively big popularity. That showed to others that it is possible to take your band and music outside your homeland, and play anywhere in the world. All other Finnish metal bands can thank Stratovarius for opening the doors for them. Who knows, without them, nobody would have heard of Nightwish, the most successful Finnish metal band ever.
When people hear Australian bands they often wonder if they are influenced by iconic Aussie bands like AC/DC, however there’s so many unique bands in our scene, do you get the same questions when being compared to Sepultura or Max Cavalera?
TK: Yes, surely. Those are the artists from Brazil everyone around the metal world knows. There’s a lot of other great bands over here, but most of them only manage to play locally. Myself, I also don’t know so much about Australian music scene. Of course, everyone and their grandmother knows AC/DC, and the Bee Gees (hey, huge Bee Gees fan here. don’t tell anyone, lol) and I’m also a huge Jon English fan.
From what I can tell, neighbouring countries to Brazil have some of the largest groups of Metal fans in the world, has this made touring lots of fun around South America before COVID?
TK: Touring is always a lot of fun, wherever we go. Whether it’s Argentina, Germany, Poland or Slovenia. But in South America the metal fans are a LOT louder than in Europe. It must have something to do with that Latino way of life.
We don’t get to chat to a lot of Brazilian bands, how has COVID impacted you guys?
TK: Basically we spent last year stuck at home and in the studio. We had a lot of shows booked and we were busily booking a lot more for 2020 when the world ended and everything got cancelled. We are still more or less on stand-by, waiting to be able to continue touring.
So, 2021 is a new year and I’m sure you have a lot on the horizon, what can you share with us for later this year?
TK: As we could not tour last year, we spent our time composing and recording a new album. Not sure when it will be out, but that’s something to wait for. We should get back on the road in the second semester of the year, with few tours around South America. Curiously, both with bands from my homeland. First with Sonata Arctica, and then with Nightwish. That should be a LOT of fun!
You guys have a lot of awesome music videos, many of them with millions of views! What an awesome achievement! Do you have a favourite music video or two?
TK: My favorite must be ‘Animal Uncaged’ which was shot at a football stadium in Sao Paulo, in front of a few close friends. Another favourite is ‘Beware of the Dragon’, shot in an actual cave here in Brazil.
Which bands would you most like to tour with?
TK: I’d love to tour again with Hammerfall. Really cool guys and a lot of fun to tour with. Iron Maiden would be freaking awesome as well, as that would take us to play at bigger venues.
Any final words to your soon-to-be Australian fans?
TK: Keep supporting local bands. The next Iron Maiden or Metallica is somewhere out there and who knows, they might be that small, local band playing in a local bar next to you. Hoping to see you guys and ladies somewhere on tour and really hoping to get the band to tour Australia someday.
Interview by Ricky Aarons @rickysaul90
Listen to Armored Dawn’s Viking Zombie here.
Armored Dawn – Viking Zombie (Deluxe) tracklisting
2. Animal Uncaged
3. Zombie Viking
4. Fire in Flames
5. The Eyes Of The Wolves
6. Face to Face
8. Heads Are Rolling
9. Blood on Blood
10. Embrace the Silence
11. Rain on Fire
12. Skydiver of the Light
13. Ragnarok – Unplugged
14. Animal Uncaged – Live