-- Sythera gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
At FireFest 2016 I had a couple of interviews. In addition to John L and the Judas Priest cover band the Hell Patrol I also had a chat with the six-piece French power metal guild known as Sythera! So after their show, me and the gang entered the cave of illusions to discuss the band's origins, their love for role playing games, their upcoming EP and their love for our beer! Usual stuff for an unusual band! Well worth checking out, I'd say!

BMS: Good evening! Please tell me the origins of the Sythera adventurer's guild.
Celias: Sythera began in 2012 as an offspring of a three-piece power metal band called Maze of Shadow. The group's lineup consisted of Mairin and me but eventually disbanded when our third band member left. We had the idea to form a band in which all band members did vocals. We wanted to make our next band feel unique and spectacular.

Laememis: The idea of every band member singing creates great diversity. It allows Sythera to provide vocals based on various metal subgenres such as power, symphonic, death and black metal. Those who are exploring our discography will always be surprised as to how certain songs are played out.

Mairin: That sort of role playing is a vital part of Sythera's image. All six of us play a different character based on high fantasy franchises such as the Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. Typical stuff like sorcerers, travelers and noble warriors. And our songs, or tales for a more accurate term, describe our endeavors. We also dress up as our respective characters during gigs so we can properly achieve a heroic sword-and-sorcery atmosphere.

BMS: Do all six of you help in writing these epic stories?
Celias: It depends on the composition. But most of the time all members can add an element of their own to the sound. It's not very difficult for us to come up with new material as we've got a lot of common ground in terms of musical influences. We all just sit around the table and let our ideas flow into each other.

Laememis: Since we share some similar musical interests it brings a strong connection among everyone in Sythera. Little stuff is left on the cutting room floor and both on and off stage we stand as one force to be reckoned with!
BMS: So I'd say your main inspirations are high fantasy and power metal?
Celias: Yes they are. We always enjoyed playing RPGs such as Baldur's Gate and the Elder Scrolls.
Mairin: As for music we dig bands like Helloween, Avantasia and Therion a lot!

Laememis: However, we do allow elements unrelated to power metal or fantasy into our sound. Some of the guys here enjoy black metal and that also plays a part in the songwriting. An excellent example of our musical flexibility is the song Valek's Last March, which is the final track on our latest album Beyond Infinity. It's a thirteen minute epic with plenty of variety in tone, pace and vocals.
BMS: Speaking of Beyond Infinity, share with me your memories about the album's production.
Celias: We produced the album in the Lock Groove studio, located near Lille. We spent two weeks recording Beyond Infinity and we had a great time doing it. We produced and financed the album ourselves and we're very grateful for Nicolas Balduyck for the professional working conditions during our time in his studio. We're also happy for the artwork that Belgian illustrator Jean Michel Degoedt made for us. It's colorful, detailed and action-packed.
BMS: Do you have a successor to Beyond Infinity in the works?
Celias: We're currently working on an EP. Ironic, isn't it? Sythera's first release was full-length and now we go to a shorter album!
BMS: I enjoy bands that prefer doing things a bit differently.
Celias: Anyway, the EP will consist of five tracks each telling a different story. We want to make a worthy sequel to Beyond Infinity that feels fresh yet familiar to the aforementioned album. The recordings are completed and we hope to get this EP released around December this year.
BMS: That's a nice holiday gift! You can provide me one once it's finished.
Celias: Just message us via mail or facebook and we'll gladly send one for you to shred!
BMS: Thanks! I'll admit, I'm not that deep into power metal, I personally prefer more extreme metal subgenres like thrash and death metal. But I'll admit that Sythera did leave a positive impression on me.

BMS: Since you enjoy turning your shows into true spectacles, I'm curious to know what a dream Sythera show would look like.
Celias: We certainly won't go overboard on special effects as we consider them optional extras compared to the music we play and the characters we portray during our gigs.

Mairin: I'd say that we would add a couple of props on stage such as mirrors or trees in order to replicate the locations in which our stories take place.
BMS: Personally, I'd suggest something familiar to what Iron Maiden did during their show at GMM this year, which I attended. After every song the background banner changed to reflect the next song they would be playing. I think that would also work very well in a Sythera show.
Celias: That's a nice idea to consider.
BMS: Can you tell where you got the name Sythera from?
Celias: Sythera is in fact an entity in the fictional universe that we describe in our songs. At the moment we won't be revealing who Sythera is or what his/her/its purpose is to the story, but you'll find out in due time.
BMS: Now for something else. Are there countries in our universe that you want to travel to?
Celias: We would love to fight the forces of evil across the entire European continent. From Spain to the UK to Sweden and beyond! Who knows, we might even end up in Japan if we've got fans out there! Our album Beyond Infinity was well received by fans and critics and it already helped us get several shows both in France and its neighboring countries. We really enjoy the positive feedback and hope to reach even more people!
BMS: Was this your first time in Belgium?
Mairin: In fact we've currently had more shows here in Belgium than we did in our own country! Your country is very welcoming to metal bands from all over the world.

Celias: Belgium is more or less our home away from home! Especially when we get our hands on your beer!
BMS: Ah yes! Beers like Adrian Brouwer, La Chouffe and Orval are my favorites!
BMS: Do you folks have anything else to add before I let you embark on your next quest for glory?
Celias: It was great talking to you. You gave us the chance to go into much detail about Sythera and what we stand for as a band.
Laememis: I'm glad you enjoyed the show and we hope to see you again very soon.
Mairin: Thanks for doing the interview in French. Our Dutch isn't all that good.
BMS: Aucun problème ! Le plaisir est de ma part ! (No problem! The pleasure is all mine!)

Sythera - Valek's Last March