Dear reader, we invite you on a journey. Fasten your seatbelts and get ready to travel to the future. It’s 2048 in a closely unspecified European country. The world is in a sorry state, apocalyptic even. And the final collision is coming up quickly. How the story ends? Listen to “Decision Code“, the new concept album from Russian industrial metallers Conflict. And, of course, read the following lines where we talk to their vocalist Anna Hel about the album, music videos, her stage name and more.
MG: Your stage name „Hel“, the ancient Norse god of the underworld… Where did the idea to choose this name come from?
Anna: Long time ago, I was fully into the Norse mythology, and the image of the most powerful goddess, wise and objective, looking after the dead, seemed very attractive. I decided to keep the stage name chosen in 2004; despite I had been thinking of changing it and could not find any inspiration for another one.
MG: Many people who have no idea about Norse mythology might think you misspelled „Hell“. What is their reaction when they learn about the true meaning of your stage name?
Anna: Yes, many people misspell the stage name thinking of hell all the time, right. Assuming a few people are into mythology, I do not have any inconvenience or get pissed off by this fact. If I have a dialogue with a person or it’s required to get it spelled correctly in collabs, interviews, etc., I let them know about the correct presentation.
MG: According to Encyclopaedia Metallum you have another band called Stentorian Voice. Is this band still active? Or do you focus solely on Conflict now?
Anna: That was the band I formed around 2004-2005, the great experience in all ways, including inspiration by Swedish melodic death metal until misunderstanding and disagreements between members. I am very grateful for such an experience. In Moscow, we were called Russian Arch Enemy act and I took it as a great compliment. Still, Angela remains my inspiration through the years. We hadn’t found harmony in the musical views and in the meantime, I got acquainted with Mikhail that led me to where I am now. In the end, I decided to stay with Conflict and disband Stentorian Voice.
MG: You’ve recently dropped a new album with Conflict titled “Decision Code”. Why a concept album?
Anna: The main reason is an experiment: to combine our views and thoughts, ideas into a story with related lyrics and new sound and approach. Human imperfection with blind ideas driven by fanaticism and readiness to destroy mankind is the foundation of the story. The futility of such views inside no winner fight. The story tells about a small state (nation) where there is a confrontation between different social groups and levels of the population. An artificial mind, placed into the plot, emotionlessly analyzed the history of mankind, then developed itself and calculated the algorithm of future actions; it realizes all the futility of human actions and the fact that man has not stepped to a new stage of evolution. The thoughtful look into the lyrics and the music will picture the consequences of ignorant behavior.
MG: The album is set in 2048 in an unnamed European country. How do you see the world in 2048? What would you like to see the world like in 2048?
Anna: I don’t see the future drawing a peaceful world with high-tech progress. The country in the story is a symbol and a place reflecting the nowadays or near future. People separated into countless groups are fighting each other on the Internet, in life, everywhere. Insatiable capitalism ruins ecology, the social insecurity, difference between poor and rich grows with every minute. It happens everywhere, in every country. The world’s economics are in such a huge decay. Most of the people are trying to avoid thinking of it, but the present situation shows that the individual mind should change and find the way out of this craziness. People must join to build a better future. Because we are all responsible for it.
MG: The cover art of the album shows a scene that looks as if it was taken straight out of a Terminator movie. Do you expect something similar to happen?
Anna: Actually, the cover art was not inspired by the Terminator movie. I assume it reminds it a bit because the vision of the future in many science fiction novelisations/scenarios are pretty much common. Unfortunately, few stories describe a beautiful and progressive future where people live in harmony and exploring space. However, the drama is a powerful instrument. The cover shows the final collision described in the story. In the center, you may see the sign resembling our logo and presenting the artificial colossus, the allegory interpreted in many ways, the main opponent.
MG: In a track called „Megapolis“ you use a saxophone which is quite unique and rare in metal, especially for an industrial metal band. Who came up with this idea? And why saxophone?
Anna: Every member of the band has a vast and versatile music taste. Each album is quintessential of all that we have been listening and are listening to now. You may hear even post-rock or dark jazz as Vangelis with a saxophone. If an instrument fits the mood of a song, why not using it? To my opinion, all these little arrangement moments attract listeners.
MG: Oftentimes metal bands go on tour when they release a new album. Is this a thing for Conflict? If financial concerns are a thing concerning touring: what about crowdfunding?
Anna: We would love to go on tour but now we keep our finances to speed up the video production. We work on several music videos and plan crowdfunding for the track “2048”. This video will be a short science fiction movie telling and describing Decision Code story. The grandiose work includes professional actors and graphics. The project is so colossal that we need huge fan support to implement it into life.