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Interview conducted April 15 2008
Interview published May 04 2008

Spring ahead noble banger, and journey with me pagan man. I bid you wayward sons to come hither to this moment in time spent with the "Wittiest Man In The World". One Man is responsible for creating the genres we know as Pagan & Folk Metal, his name is Martin Walkyier. I had the honor and privilegde to spend an afternoon with this voracious soul, who has been my source of enduring inspiration.

Through the brutal intensity of A History Of Time To Come for Sabbat, he coined the term Pagan metal; later after his exodus, he and the brazen fool ensemble known as Skyclad laid the foundation for Folk Metal.

This humble, gentle, wise word spinning genie, still prince of the poverty line, kindly and compassionately allures the mind with his mythistory. His strident wails of lunacy beckon, as the dreamweaver's learnt offerings unfold, and I for an instant, fall prey to the vintage whine of rational anthems to the welkin; awaiting an answer, mission accomplished. Finally, I believe we have got a chance...to dream.

Nigh, three weeks have traversed since I was imbued in his presence. So many obstacles have delayed my sharing this vision with you. Thankfully, this weekend of celebrating the time of the Elemental Presence and the Feast of Beltaine have appropriated this message to a forclosure.

MettleAngel: Martin, thank you so much for agreeing to do this impromptu interview with me. My first question is quite honestly, which do you prefer: Sabbat or Skyclad?

  • Martin: I like both really. In regards to the individuals, I definitely prefer the members of Sabbat, as I always have had personal issues with the members of Skyclad. But, I'm proud of all the music I've written over the years, and I'm very proud of what I'm doing now. Coming back to this after all these years, and having some fun with the guys gives new meaning to it all. We're doing it for no other reason than to get out to places like this, and to meet all the fans that have never had the chance to meet us before, and try to play everywhere possible.

MettleAngel: So how come they only booked you guys for four dates in the States?

  • Martin: It's just kind of how it worked out, I'm not sure how these shows happened. A promoter just got in touch with Andy Sneap via My Space, and offered us these shows.

MettleAngel: Usually, promoters plan for about seven to twelve shows, you were booked for four confirmed dates, so you will have people scouring from one side of the United States to the other, making plans to attend.

  • Martin: We tried to cover as much ground as possible.

MettleAngel: I'll bet Canadian fans were crossing the border for the New York show, and the show tonight. Mexicans will attend the California show. Bear in mind this is North America, and obviously not as geographically laid out as Europe, as concerns the metal spectrum.

  • Martin: Really what we're trying to do, in a way is test the water. Obviously, if it works, then there's a market for us to come back here.

MettleAngel: Now didn't Skyclad tour briefly in the States?

  • Martin: No, all we came out for, it was a big mistake actually, was to mix the album Silent Whales Of Lunar Sea. We came out here so we could do press in the US. We never played here, we did a week of mixing near Providence in New England, then a few days press in New York. We spent a fortune doing that, and then the studio that mixed was a bit of a disaster, but that's an interview in itself!

MettleAngel: Really? Do continue...

  • Martin: Yeah, JFK airport closed about three hours after we landed, and the studio where we were mixing worked the opposite way around, and the engineer was actually crying by about day three, because he literally couldn't work it. The studio accommodations was like unto a bunk bed, a real rough place. It had one table in the kitchen, and one chair for six people. We would mix during the night to get the cheap studio time, and there was some guy who lived in an apartment below the studio accomodations, who was sand blasting his ceiling, listening to The Offspring on, like, eleven!

MettleAngel: Fuckin' Hell, so he wanted to keep 'em seperated! This is rather odd, because Silent Whales Of Lunar Sea turned out to be such a great album. I know a lot of people that discovered you during the Prince Of The Poverty Line/Silent Whales era.

  • Martin: Yeah, I think those were the ones to first get released in the US.

MettleAngel: There is also a strong dichotomy between Sabbat and Skyclad. Sabbat tends to be more focused on paganography themes, and leaning about the heathenistic ways; while Skyclad tends to be a more politically based mentality, with an attitude of "d.i.y.", and a "think for yourself" motif. How did the logical dynamic progression come about?

  • Martin: It was kind of a natural thing really. I think the two are closely linked together. A love of nature, really, when you start thinking about it, causes you to look at the mess we are making of the planet. The way things are going wrong, the way governments behave, and treat the general population; not to mention social problems. It's sort of my lifetime philosophy to open people's minds to what's really going off. The desert religions as I call them (Judaism, Christianity, Islam), all kind of preach that this planet, and everything was made for our benefit, and belongs to us. This leads to the capitalist outlook on life, you know, take, take, take!

MettleAngel: You mean the Monotheistic religions? It is true that Monotheism leads to consumerism, that very capitalistic/ Darwinian notion of survival of the fittest. I believe in unity, not the illusion of separation. Martin, your lyrics have inspired me to change my life. I've undergone a true metanoia, or change of heart. When I first discovered Sabbat, I was involved in the Christological milieu. Through the words and works of Skyclad, I found deeper meaning in the universe.

  • Martin: Absolutely, whatever divine creator that's up there; then, not he, or she, even it, is in everyone of us.
    Another thing with these desert religions is that there is no kind of female aspect in the deity at all, when you only have to look at nature to see that isn't true.

MettleAngel: That's right, in all the Pagan religions there was always the fertility goddess; the notion of the Sacred Feminine.

  • Martin: Well, you know the Virgin Mary, take it back and look at Isis, Diana, and Astarte; it's all in there. Emperor Constantine was a very shrewd, very evil man and ambitious.

MettleAngel: He was the first emperor to make Catholicism the known religion in the world. Catholic means - of the one or universal. The original Christans were followers of the way, in essence wayward sons of Mother Earth. Constantine was a typical politician who based upon a dream, did what was in Rome's best interest. Namely, making Christianity (Catholicism/Orthodox) the world religion. Had his vision been of another God, say Mithras, we might all have different beliefs today. In retrospect, his dream was not really of Christ, but of the Greek letters "Chi" and "Rho", which symbolized victory. Rome is Rome, and even today they have a Nazi in charge. Getting back to basics, With the concept of Dreamweaver, how did you discover Brian Bates?

  • Martin: Through a friend of mine who had lent me the book, and I read it in an afternoon, I couldn't put it down. It's the best thing I've read, it's easy going, not heavy duty. It puts all the theories across in an easy way, and it's simple to absorb, and almost says to you, "you go on your quest".

MettleAngel: Yeah, I concur with the notion: "Seek, and ye will find yourself on the journey". Then, did you decide after History Of A Time To Come, that the next Sabbat album would be based on the writings of The Way Of The Wyrd.

  • Martin: It just kind of happened. I don't normally plan what I'm going to do, ideas just kind of come to me.

MettleAngel: Expect the unexpected! As soon as I got the Dreamweaver cassette, and realized that it was based on a book, I went to the local library and secured a copy of The Way Of The Wyrd. In the early '90s, I dwelt in the Pacific Northwest. When you drive down Highway 101, you view the ocean on one side, while gazing upon coniferous trees on the other. So I'm reading this book, which I found to be extremely subjective; immediately, enthralled in the essence, beauty, and majesty of nature, I begin identifying with the main character, thinking that based on my superior education it was my mission to change the world; when in reality, I was the one who was experiencing real transformation within. I was the one who rediscovered my soul's love for me, and my true mission, not to inculcate and force my beliefs upon others; but, to educate and teach by example. This was my mission of mercy.

  • Martin: Yes indeed, and if you notice with things like Catholicism, they've kind of forgotten or detached themselves from all that ancient wisdom. Which now, when you become aware of cutting edge scientific theory, thus, discovering quantum physics and modern science; you realize that what they're recognizing now was true then, namely that what our ancestors knew thousands of years ago is still very much true. It has just been forgotten over the years.

MettleAngel: Or corrupted by faith in all powerful God, and not in service to mankind. Hence, the reason for our journey, to remember who we really are, and why we are here. It's like with anything, with all these corporations, they know that if you give the power back to people, they will intuit the fact that we are all one, and there is no separation. That's why racism, poverty, crime, etc. exists because of the illusion of separation and need.

  • Martin: It's in the interest of the people who hold power and knowledge to control those who don't. The more we argue about who's God to worship, whether it be Christ or Allah, the less we worry about the real bullshit that's going on in the world, and the way the planet is heading.

So, have you found that through the years people have claimed that your lyrics served as a rude awakening and overall unique source of inspiration?

  • Martin: Indeed I have, and just by talking to people and doing interviews, with people like yourself, I've learned a lot as well. You know that's how it goes.

MettleAngel: We are servants to a higher cause spreading the knowlege and wisdom. I consider you to be very educated, you have obviously read several known philosiphers, and you are truly versed in Shakespeare. Ironically, I know people that love Skyclad, but are quite ignorant when it comes to knowing the works of Shakespeare.

  • Martin: The problem with enjoying Shakespeare is discerning the manner in which it was written. Once you explain to people what the words actually mean, then the reader will begin to understand the real passion of the narrative: a brutal, down to earth story; which is more violently conveying insidious tales of betrayal, that's why the tales endure. Those themes are still being used today in modern movies, and that's the test of a great story, really.

MettleAngel: Obviously, you are very engrossed in epistemology, and the theories of man.

  • Martin: Not really, I've found that I cheat and dabble a bit here and there, and through careful scrutiny, I have come to my own conclusions. I read a lot of diverse things, and in everything I peruse, there are bits that stand out to me, and really everyone, and that is the universal truth.

MettleAngel: While reading Skyclad lyrics, I've noticed that in one chorus you can easily jump from Voltaire to Aristotle, back to Gene Roddenberry and that's utterly brilliant! So, you have learned that people view you as their sedulous sage.

  • Martin: I guess, but I've learned off of them as well, it's a reciprocal effect. That's why I enjoy doing this so much. You meet a lot of interesting people, you get to hang out, talk to them, and get drunk with them. After six or say beers, you feel more comfortable, willing to divulge more, entrusting in them.

MettleAngel: It's the same for us life is for celebrating, not excoriating. Damn, I love you British lyricists, is there something in the tea you drink? Take for example, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, Jeff Walker, you get the point. Another one of your mates is Dani Filth, he also has a tremendous grasp on culture and world politics, and he manages to mangle his art into a sort of macabre poetry. How was it working with him on the Sabbat cover?

  • Martin: It was good really, all we did was go down to the studio and put the vocals down. There wasn't a lot of collaborating.

MettleAngel: He approached you, correct?

  • Martin: Yeah, he invited me and a friend out to the studio and said, "Hey, let's do a cover version of For Those Who Died", and that's how my whole Sabbat thing started; it was Andy Sneap's birthday, and he was having a barbecue in his garden, while we were in the studio. We all got steaming drunk, and Dani had got us to agree to put the band back together. By the time we'd all woken up, in the morning with hang overs, he had already called the Cradle management, and we were on the tour. So, we had to find the rest of the band. Andy had some trouble tracking people down, after all those years, you know.

MettleAngel: History's time had finally come. Andy Sneap has actually remained quite active in metal, having just produced new albums by Exodus, Megadeth and Testament. Everyone wants to work with him! People who don't know Sabbat still know Andy Sneap. So, given the influx of Pagan Metal, and the recent Pagan Fest Tour; not to mention the succes of such acts as Cruachan, Skiltron, Mägo De Oz, and obviously Elvenking, do you feel Skyclad set the precedent for what they now call Pagan Folk Power Metal?

  • Martin: I think definitely. When we started with Skyclad there was really no one else doing it. The first few shows we did in Europe, we came on stage with a female violinist, and people just went, "what the Hell?", and now, you tell me, what band doesn't have a either a female member, or a member playing a folk instrument. Things take a long time to catch on, sometimes. Like with Sabbat, people said, What the Hell is that, and what are those vocals doing? That's not natural!" Now, this sort of thing, it's common.

MettleAngel: I am impressed with how your legacy has endured, and how your vocal style has served as a unique constant. Were you ever called Death Metal?

  • Martin: We were called all kinds of things, really. People don't accept new things straight-away. In my career it seems to take about 20 years (laughs). So, by the time I'm dead my records will be selling. "When I'm dead, I'll be made for life!"

MettleAngel: I know that quote to which you are referring. It's the case of the dead artist syndrome! Pagan times permeate, and in a recent pole statistic which I read, over 70% of todays youth who call themselves Christians, in America, could not even name the four Gospels.

  • Martin: That's absolutely frightening. I'm sure that when Jesus was teaching in Nazareth, whether he was the son of God or not, I'm sure he didn't say his words with the purpose that, for thoushands of years people will be arguing about the gospels. He just wanted everyone to love one another. It was a simple thing at the end of the day.

MettleAngel: Rome is Rome. It's imperial, it's governed, it's a struggle for power. The more things change, the more they remain the same.

  • Martin: I actually think that's why Christianity was welcomed back into the British Isles, even though it had to fight to get there. People remembered the old days of the Romans, when the people where taken care of. The feeling that somehow they could have a little bit, a taste of that old Rome, that their ancestor's had.

MettleAngel: Yes, a return to the "Pax Romana" a time of wine, women, and song. To a certain extent Jesus' teachings have influenced me, as well as the writings of the early father's of the Church. I consider myself as being what they called in Antiquity - a gnostic. That is I am always searching for the meaning of life. Your very words have summed up my raison de 'etre. Namely, "Who am I, what am I, why am I here?". Your very words, although witty and inciteful, have a very profound meaning, and strike at the very nerve of my being, and true essence. This is why I consider you my favorite lyricist of all time. Take a song like Worn Out Sole To Heel, how long does it take you come up with puns such as those.

  • Martin: Actually, that was realtively easy for me to write. Some songs come rather easy, some I really struggle with creating. Let me point out I really enjoy the way this interview is going. We are actually having a conversation, and I feel as though I am speaking with someone who finally understands me. This beats the hell out of interviews which are like a drill of 20 questions, and I feel like I'm filling out a Social Security form, and there is no eye contact or personal reparte'.

MettleAngel: Well, we do this because we love to, we are fans ourselves. Plus one thing I've learned is I don't judge, I observe, I don't excoriate, I celebrate.

  • Martin: Me neither, I only have one prejudice, in that I am a stupidist - I hate stupid people regardless of their background. I just take people on face value.

MettleAngel: You mean people who are inanely stupid? People who hear a vocabulary word and have no desire to know it's meaning, or those lethargic ingrates who are so lazy that they see The Lord Of The Rings movie, or read the cliff notes, in lieu of reading the actual text itself, in order to do a report on it for school! How could you not want to ensconse yourself in what that's about? There is wisdom in everything!

  • Martin: Whoever or whatever created us, whoever the divine being is, I do believe there is a purpose behind the universe. We're not meant to spend all our time praying and repenting. Instead of praying five times a day go out and do five good things, that's prayer isn't it? Help somebody who can't help themselves.

MettleAngel: The Black Metal ideology is one of "non-serviam", or I will not serve, and they're missing the point. It's all about master in servitude. When you get nervous focus on service.

  • Martin: The problem with this Black Metal stuff like Satanism is it's a revolt against reality. Instead of going back into their old roots, and origins, they've taken this Satanic thing too far. Satan does not belong there any more than the Christian or Judaic God does.

MettleAngel: Or the Horned God of the hunt, who becomes linked with Lucifer. All this mythology becomes comingled, and people condemn what they most fear. That's why I've coined your word mythistory. There's such a rubric which people follow, feeling it always has to be by the book. People essentially miss the point when saying it's history. I say, well it's really the myth of his story. The Greek word "mythos" means storytelling. To the victors go the spoils, and winners of war,commonly men, record the events which we call history.

  • Martin: Like the New Testament, the parts that got in, they were just editors, there were so many different gospels, at that time. It was censored, so how can that be taken as the Word of God?

MettleAngel: Tell me about it, between the Pseudoepigraphical and Apocryphal texts, rich, land-owning male supremists made the ultimate decision for what we call the Bible today.

  • Martin: It's a third of the word of God, or half of the word of God, or the best case scenario.

MettleAngel: I totally agree, and that's why I love metal, because when musicians write lyrics they explore these very topics, or what I like to call vile hypocrisy.

  • Martin: The kind of trendy people think of metalheads as being stupid, and ill-educated; because, it's loud, thrashy music where you grow you're hair long, and you bang your head at the front of the stage. These people don't realize...

MettleAngel: We're the biggest geeks on the planet!

  • Martin: Yeah, every person I know with hair down to here (points to floor) is a computer engineer, or school teacher...

MettleAngel: Lawyer, doctor, cop...

  • Martin: Exactly, the only reason we don't go out fighting and brawling in the streets, is because all your aggression is taken out there (points to the stage). Is that not a better kind of way?

MettleAngel: That is just like what Piggy of Voi Vod said when I saw them in '86 with Kreator. Namely to expel all your aggression at the show, and then go home and sleep it off. This is what Soothsayer means by free violence, or Exodus' good, clean, friendly, violent fun. Face it we're metalheads: we're geeks, let's mosh it up!

  • Martin: The most intelligent people I know are metalheads.

MettleAngel: Let us not forget how important the mothers of metal have become (points to MettleMaiden). They are shaping our destiny...

  • Martin: If you've got children in this day and age, you have to think about the future, and where it's going. I do worry about the world, unless people can learn to get along. I'm properly fearful of what will happen in the next 30, 40, 50 years. Seems like when I was a kid, Britain was very secular. Nobody really talked about religion. Nowadays, it's like we're back to the days of the crusades. The front page news is talking about whether an airline worker can wear a crucifix. This kind of thing should have been dumped along with the black death. In a world that's dying, we have a lot more to worry about.

MettleAngel: This is why we are the teachers of the New Age. We are that very remnant who repudiate the penny dreadful drollery. Even though we are caught up in another fine mess and we find ourselves in trouble sometimes, we persevere in a never ending quest for the truth. Alright, switching gears, I'm curious to know how you got Gizz to play bass for Sabbat, as I'm a huge fan of English Dogs?

  • Martin: He's a good mate, and he was part of our road crew. Andy assisted with this, Gizz even helps me in my T-shirt printing business.

MettleAngel: Speaking of T-shirts, I noticed your merch man Johnny is wearing a Clan Destined design. Would you care to talk about this, many people have been inquiring as to what is going on with The Clan Destined.

  • Martin: Good things are happening, I honestly feel that this is the best work I have ever done. The CD is finally completed. The bullshit with Iscariah claiming to be my number one fan, his moving to the UK, and all the frustration hence, has been very difficult for me. I'm happy to say Andy has produced an excellent album.

MettleAngel: That asshole from Immortal sure did cast aspersion on your sanity. I'm glad to hear that you continued with The Clan Destined.

  • Martin: Yes indeed, the project is very much still active, and we have a new video in the works. So many nice people went above and beyond the call of duty, lending their time and energy, to ensure that this project would reach it's fruition. When Andy had to take a break to work with Nevermore, James Murphy stepped in and even laid down some solos. I am very pleased with the overall video concept, a cyber World War II Nazi meets Schindler's List vibe. It has taken nine months to film, but we have been able to shoot in actual prison locations, and even create authentic costumes from the era, with a symbol that is essentially the dollar sign ($) replacing where the swastika would be. I might add there is even a Dr. Who element thrown in for good measure. All the past bullshit aside, this means so much to me; because, finally I am having fun writing and creating the music I so enjoy.

MettleAngel: This sounds amazing. In my eyes you will always be a shining star, illuminating inequality street. You are a true prince of the poverty line, my greatest inspiration. Thank you for the wisdom of Sabbat and the wit of Skyclad. Thank you for the music, the melody, and the message. Most of all thank you for indulging me this afternoon, tax day in the USA. Meeting you has been the measure of my success. It has taken 17 years to reach this very point, and with you, Wendy, and all the metal brothers gathered here tonight to see Sabbat, let's truly celebrate the moribund dance.

  • Martin: Michael, thank you so much, it has been a real pleasure and wonderful experience sharing this moment with you.

See also: review of the gig the same night

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