Hailing from the Emerald Isle and based in the hills of Co.Donegal these Irish Viking Metal/Norse Pagan Rockers, REN MARABOU AND THE BERSERKERS, deliver their own take on this powerful genre with a high energy stage show and anthemic, contemporary stylings. Endorsed by Cassidy Guitars, Skull Strings, Fishsticks drum sticks and Iron Age Guitar Accessories. Signed to United Music Mafia and Managed by Split Screen Management. The band’s new album ‘Tales Of Rune’ was released on July 1st, 2022. In September REN MARABOU AND THE BERSERKERS joined 2022 “Final Declaration: Northern Tour 2022” with Polish titans VADER and HATE all across Scandinavia! Just recently, the band announced their special “Odin (Songs for the All Father)” Compilation, coming out on November 16th through United Music Mafia.
When we started Metal Jacket Magazine, we wanted to somehow bring our readers closer to bands that might have a harder time breaking through to listeners in the sea of bands and music.
To begin with, please introduce yourselves.
Michael: We are Ren Marabou and the Berserkers, a Viking Metal/Norse Pagan Rock band based in Donegal, Ireland. Our songs are based on Norse Mythology and we put on an energetic live show. We’re signed up to United Music Mafia Metal (UMMM) record label and Split Screen Management, and have released 4 albums to date. We have just supported Vader and Hate on their recent Scandinavian tour.
What made you start playing metal music? Who were your role models in the beginning and has that changed over time?
Terence: I had been listening to rock and metal from a very early age. My older sister was a metalhead and had a great, eclectic vinyl collection – Rory Gallagher, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Rainbow, UFO – and these artists all had great drummers. When my dad bought me my kit it was inevitable that I would veer towards metal as a drummer. Metal drumming is just so kinetic and it allows for a lot of different groove spaces, which I love. Ren has just written a tune for the new album which allows me to play three different grooves in the first minute and a half. That’s a drummer’s dream.
Early models would certainly have been Cozy Powell (Cozy just looked cool behind a kit), Ted McKenna (his Rory Gallagher ‘Photo-Finish’ perfromance is still one of my favourite), Ian Paice and Brian Downey. Later ispirations, just so many – Kirk Arrington, Stefan Kaufmann, Tim Alexander, Brann Dailor, and Gavin Harrison.
Is it hard to find a publisher or is it better to self publish considering the internet?
Ren: Today musicians have easy access to alot of great companies who provide Publishing services. We work with Sentric Publishing and have worked with Song Trust. Another great independent Irish Publishers is Sticky Songs. I highly recommended bands check these companies out.
How do you create songs, how do you record them?
Ren: We are very proactive when it comes to song writing. New material comes from a spark of inspiration, either a riff, a drum beat or a melody. We build on the initial idea like a jigsaw. With the bones of a song we start to lay down the tracks in Ren’s studio, Meadowbank Studios.
Where do you get inspiration for the lyrics?
Ren: All our songs are based on and inspired by Norse Mythology, the old Nordic Sagas and tales of the Norse Gods.
What is your favorite song you’ve made so far and why?
Terence: The Wanderer (Odin) from Valhall Waits was my favourite for a long time – such an emotive chorus! and the harp just plays with my heart every time I hear it. Ren’s solo in this too is just sensational, really is. However, I’m a dog-lover and love our canine families so I’d have to go with Fenrir from the last album, Tales of Rune. There’s nothing more distressing to me than the thought of an animal bound, chained for eternity and I find Fenrir a very moving song. Although the wolf Fenrir is identified as the huge beast who brings about Ragnarök (the end of the world), he does so only because of his maltreatment at the hands of Odin and the other gods. And if the end of the world did come, what’s the last thing I’d like to see – a huge wolf? Hell yes!!
Where can readers listen to you and maybe buy your material?
Michael: The best place to listen is search Ren Marabou on Spotify and if you want to support our music you can buy the albums and merch on our Bandcamp page.
How do you organize concerts, is it difficult for you?
Michael: Our Management, Split Screen Management, are doing an excellent job helping us organize our tours and festival slots abroad. Here in Ireland it can be difficult as most venues won’t host metal bands and we are limited to where we can play, there are some great local venues but you’ll often have to travel to one of the cities to play.
In which countries have you played and where did you have the best time, where is the crowd the craziest?
Terence: I’ve played mainly in Ireland and Great Britain over the years but I’d have to say that the best experience I’ve had gigging was our recent Scandinavian tour in support of Thy Disease, Hate and Vader. The gig at Kansas City, Odense in Denmark was particularly memorable – great bloody audience!
What do you think about the digital release and is it serious like CD or LP?
Michael: Digital releases are great that you can have your whole record collection on an mp3 player or Spotify, but it’s great having the physical copy, with the album art.
How do you comment on this bunch of sub-genres in metal and is it good for metal or is it destroying it?
Terence: I quite like the idea of all the sub-genres because they all have something different to say, different sounds, different song structure emphasis, different politics and importantly, different audiences. We have to remember that what we do – Viking Metal, if you want to call it that – is itself a sub-genre that comes from other main branches of the metal family tree. Mainstream metal itself came out of a reaction to 70s psychadelia/prog and punk – so at one point IT was a sub-genre. I like the idea of all these different voices writing about their own truths.
Do you support this commercialization of metal music and how about the wearing of metal t-shirts by some “exposed” people who do not belong to this philosophy of metal music?
Terence: The commercialization of metal does not bother me in the slightest. It will not have a lasting impact on metal music itself. Metal was commercialized in the 80s with the ‘hair bands’, grunge was co-opted by the music and fashion industry into a mainstream lineage and there have been other commercializations since then, but they are all cyclical – they begin and end, while metal continues. And if someone wants to wear one of our t-shirts without having heard us, I’ll send them one. 🙂 Seriously, if you start down the path of railing against commercialization – like, metal is only for metal fans – then you start to run the risk of sounding elitist, like Art with as capital ‘A’. Metal was never elitist and I don’t think it should be. Its for everyone.
How important is supporting the local scene and can you single out a band from your area that you would recommend to our readers?
Michael: Its very important to support the local scene, we should help each other and not see each other as rivals. Some local bands I would recommend are Expedition if you like Thrash, Cherym if you like Pop Punk and Kessler Effect if you like Prog.
Finally, what would you say to our readers and why should they listen to you in the sea of bands that are offered to them every day?
Terence: Firstly I would like to thank them for reading this and hope they found it interesting because that’s what I think we are. We’re writing about Norse mythology, the characters, the stories, the tradegies, but increasingly we’re also writing about the Norse influence here in Ireland and the Norse-Gael lineage that exists here in our country. Our music is very lyrical, melodic, anthemic, accessible, almost classic metal in some cases and if you don’t believe me, listen to Tales of Rune on Spotify.
Remember also to check out REN MARABOU AND THE BERSERKERS’ weekly segments for fans and Heathen Tribe lovers at https://www.facebook.com/renmarabou!
REN MARABOU AND THE BERSERKERS are:
Ren Marabou (Vocals and Guitar)
Terence McCann (Drums)
Michael Casserly (Bass)
Online merch store: https://renmarabou.bandcamp.com/merch
More information at
MANAGEMENT: https://www.facebook.com/SplitScreenManagement | http://www.splitscreenproduction.com