Photo: Peter Anderson
SLUG Magazine celebrates 22 years at this month’s Localized music showcase! Join the SLUG Mag crew as we celebrate over two decades of Utah subculture on Friday, February 18 at the Urban Lounge! We’ve handpicked a stellar, local line-up just for you! We’ll see the blues influenced rock of Max Pain and the Groovies, metal rockers Speitre and the sickest guy in town on the ones and twos, DJ Knucklz. $6 gets you in.
Manchester - Vocals/Bard
Hölger - Lead Guitar
Grög - Guitar
Prybar - Bass
Sürt - Drums
When I first lay mine eyes upon the music video for Speitre’s “Eternal Konkwest,” I mused: How many legions of warriors hath Speitre smote in one battle? “It’s hard to say a precise number … There’s so damned many, it’s hard to count,” says Hölger, the band’s lead guitar player. “We can’t say how many, but we can say, ‘It was a lot.’”
Speitre (pronounced ‘spider’) is a heavy metal band comprised of warrior peasants from the medieval ages who now reside in Salt Lake City. Onstage, they proudly don the garb of the plebeian underclass: brown vests with spikes, spike-adorned gauntlets and potato-sack-like tunics—Grög describes it as “Rob Halford meets a peasant.” Speitre began with Manchester and Grög’s mutual taste for Dio and their recognition of the lack of classic heavy metal bands in Salt Lake and abroad. They forged their initial material in 2006 for the sake of mere merry-making, but kicked their horses into high gear in 2008 when they began playing shows. The lineup executes a style of metal in the vein of Dio, Iron Maiden, Mercyful Fate and Judas Priest, but they also draw from various other influences such as black and death metal, thrash and punk. Grög attests, “The nice thing about Speitre is we all have a pretty eclectic taste in music … It’s a little bit more thrashy [with] some deathy things in there.” All in all, though, the band does not delve too deeply into genre semantics. “I’d just say it’s metal,” says Manchester.
Speitre relates tales of medieval warfare and knights ‘round tables—“Nightmare Woman” is an anecdote of a man who stays at a haunted inn and has a sexual encounter with a woman, only to wake up in the middle of the street with no hotel in sight, pining for his ghostly maiden. Essentially, they generate an ambience of “fantasy and violence,” as Grög puts it. Do not, however, misconstrue the era from which the band hails: “We’ve never been into that viking shit. We’re into the knight shit,” Hölger says. This simple mistake could cost you—Grög says, “I prefer bludgeoning over slicing, personally.” Their irascible disposition has led them to pump out two demos that consist of 10 songs full of ice trolls, dragons and other “altered beasts.” Though Grög deems their releases as “nothing official, homemade stuff,” Speitre has become renown from the courts to the crags for the amount of work they have produced and the popularity they have garnered for themselves. They have recently ventured to the depths of a recording dungeon in the name of an upcoming Raunch Records compilation. They will also test their metal wits once again come springtime: They plan to ally with the eminent recording-smith, Andy Patterson, to hammer out their first official full-length. Manchester proclaims, “Speitre: We put metal on top of your plate.”
Once these musical blacksmiths complete their album, they will spread its flavor across the land: “We’ll be trying to get that out and it’d be cool to hit some out-of-state places with that in tow,” Grög says. “Probably when it warms up, do some weekend warrior … weekend pillager-type things, if you will.” In the meantime, you can hearken to Manchester’s accounts around the city. Speitre usually performs in the jovial atmosphere of Burt’s or Club Vegas, and they have been known to join forces with the likes of Oldtimer, Desolate and Killbot. Of course, ‘twill be Urban Lounge on Feb. 18 where you will see them next for SLUG’s Anniversary Party. Expect to raise a clenched fist to their spirited chanteys and to holler along with the catchy “Damned.” But be forewarned: It is not uncommon for fans to fall victim to Speitre’s intense performances. Hölger elucidates, “We will kill them. We like fans, we hope they come out, but we will kill them.” Manchester adds, “Know that Speitre is something to be reckoned with.” These messages support one of the band’s central messages, “Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t. Damned if I will. Damned if I won’t.” Thus, I implore you, my liege: Thou shalt be more damned if you don’t attend this show more so than if you do. Once you’re there, feel free to engage in the mirthful sentiment of the tavern with Speitre before they bludgeon you through the sonic forces of their metal axes. Grög invites you as well: “Come out and buy us a frothy ale.”