The story of Alvenrad

Alvenrad band picture 2016

ALVENRAD hails from the Veluwe and is conceived as a folk metal band. In retrospective the formative years were the time Mark Kwint and Jasper Strik created Faelwa and Stormsterk. Faelwa intended to be the Dutch succession of bands like Empyrium and Tenhi. With Stormsterk the duo played nostalgic songs rooted in North-European folk music.

With the EP Farewell Sun (’09) from Faelwa and the full-length Wild en Bijster Land (’10) from Stormsterk the two enthused Thor Joakimsson, known as talent scout for Prophecy Productions. He re-established his own record label Trollmusic at the time. While the guys informed Thor about the plan to do a metal project, the label owner offered them a record deal immediately – without hearing a single note. ALVENRAD signed a two album deal with Trollmusic in ’13. After listening to the demo’s the record company expanded the contract to four albums in ’14.

Entitled Habitat the debut album saw the light as noble digipak in both Europe and the United States on the 4th and 15th of April ’14 respectively. The band’s wayward approach to folk metal left no one indifferent. Reviewers referred to various bands like Jethro Tull, Vintersorg, Skyclad and Uriah Heep. The heavy romantic lyrics dealt with nature mystics and the nobility of spirit. Special guest Erik Sprooten (Ancient Rites, Inquisitor) contributed with two guitar solo’s and Hanna (ex-Stormsterk, session Heidevolk) sung on one song.

Drummer Ingmar Regeling and bass player Arjan Hoekstra joined the duo to enter the stage in ’16. Also Koen de Graaf played a role by doing some vocals. Thus the world premiere was in Balve (Germany) on the 28th of July in ’16, the eve of the Prophecy Fest. Then Arjan quit and Mark’s younger brother Thijs took his place. Mark and Jasper took all the vocals on their behalf from now on. With the new line-up ALVENRAD supported Empyrium and Les Discrets in Oberhausen on the 28th of April in ’17.

The band released their second album entitled Heer as a luxury box set on the 8th of December ’17. The album showed a different approach to folk metal once more and leaned heavily on 70s rock. Thus keyboardist Jasper focussed on Hammond this time. Arrow Classic Rock loved it, Aardschok hated it! Markus Stock (Empyrium, Noekk, The Vision Bleak), who did the mixing and mastering at Klangschmiede Studio E, anticipated with “glueing the low-ends”. Thus the overall sound turned out organic and darker.

Being a concept album, the lyrics together formed a free and personal adaption of the old Icelandic poem Skírnismál. Trollmusic owner Thor connected the band to David Thiérrée, who’s artwork gave a brilliant perspective on the story. Lyricist Mark used the old Germanic verse form for a great part of the lyrics. Since this wasn’t done in rock music before, it made the album even more unique.

ALVENRAD organized a release party in Apeldoorn (their first show in their homeland) on the 10th of December in ´17. But Mother Nature put a crimp in the plans by sending a snow storm over the Veluwe – so, almost no crowd because a Code Red was promulgated. Meanwhile Hanna van Gorcum joined the band on nyckelharpa. They found a much bigger audience on their festival debut at Dong Open Air on the 14th of July in ’18. Then ALVENRAD joined Heidevolk on their tour through the 12 provinces of the Netherlands in ’19. Meanwhile they parted ways with Ingmar Regeling on drums and welcomed Nathanael Taekema on board.

Then, due to COVID-19 measures the band left the stage and turned introspective from ’20. They worked out ideas about regionalism, folklore and nature mystics. So, the founding fathers went into Luidheim Studio to write and record a new album on these themes. To record the drums they booked E-Sound Studio’s with Thomas Cochrane at the helm (Hologram Earth, Ancient Rites) at the end of ’20.

ALVENRAD finished the recordings of their third full-length entitled “Veluws IJzer (iron from the Veluwe)” in ´21. The band draws musical inspiration from 90s nature inspired metal like originators Vintersorg, Borknagar and old Ulver. With majestic vocals, alliterative verse, blackened guitars, pastoral keys, thundering drums and growling bass ALVENRAD conjures the Veluwe landscape in splendor and isolation.

Look out for “Veluws IJzer” in the nearby future!