From Paso, Texas, we find instrumental rock/prog based artists SIGURD WALLSTEN, who have a new twelve track CD out called ‘Volcano Burst’. Volcano Burst is a superb blend of many influences that merges rock and metal genres into a unique instrumental creation. The project is led by Gregory Wallsten who handles all the instrumentation throughout the album with help from his son Zachariah.
Gregory Wallsten started playing electric guitar when he was ten years old in Boca Raton, Florida. His mom told the youngster that he must play an instrument. He chose the electric guitar believing his mom would force him to play a band instrument, which thankfully she did not. In fact, she bought him a Les Paul copy with practice amp and he was ready to go. After a slow start, Gregory just continued along with little progress until he was in his late teens. During his high school and college days, he joined local bands playing mostly cover tunes. When he joined the U.S. Army, he continued to jam and even formed a few bands with friends, but nothing that lasted due to frequent moves and numerous maneuver exercises.
Rock and metal music is what fundamentally motivates his own musical passion and he is addicted to music. “Music is the most important aspect of my life and maintaining true to my music mission I’ve organized the Sigurd Wallsten project to produce songs and publish them world-wide. Our goal is to rock the most fans with entertaining high energymusic. This crazy world of music has entertained me for years and now I want to contribute to the scene.” he explains to me. In 2015, he realized, “I have over 60 songs in my repertoire and none are finished.” That is when he decided to complete the job and started producing completed songs, “Basically, have a plan, empower yourself to reach higher, enjoy your music, and then go for it,” he adds.
Gregory’s all time guitar inspiration is Tony Iommi beginning when he first heard the ‘Paranoid’ album and was totally blown away. He then bought every Black Sabbath album released along with Ozzy albums Blizzard of Oz and Diary of a Madman. He was also influenced by Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Ronnie James Dio. As he evolved, Gregory found himself more immersed in his own song writing where his focus remains. “Even though I enjoy Sabaton, Breaking Benjamin, and my current favourite is HammerFall, I spend most of my time recording and editing in my project studio. With the new album ‘Volcano Burst’ the inspiration just entered my mind while I’m was free jamming on the guitar,” he adds. During jam sessions, Gregory would get creative and then hit record to capture the ideas by playing them into a laptop. “I translate my thoughts into ideas then into songs through my distinct creative process, for example ‘Very Far Away’ was inspired by a frustrating long-distance relationship that after two years resulted in my marriage. Each song I write has a meaning with a story behind it and for our readers who are musicians, just explore your creativity and capture it, then the rest of it will fall into place,” he tells me.
Outside of music, Gregory enjoys playing ice hockey and military history and he is a Christian family man. A few years back, he took an interest in studying ancient and then modern warfare. “No doubt due to my Army background, and I mainly study the tactics and strategy. Physical training and exercise is also important, in fact, the Roman Battle project has been developed into an exercise training program that works great for me. These days, most of my time outside of the Army is dedicated to family and Sigurd Wallsten,” he says.
Sigurd Wallsten features lead and rhythm guitar with driving bass and solid drums. Just being around music long enough allowed him to learn to play the bass guitar, basic keyboard and drums. “I love the bass; the deep tone just drives me and the drums also inspire me especially when I get a song idea I just start tapping out the beat.” he tells me. At the beginning, Gregory was just like most rock/metal musicians dreaming of success and fame. “We jammed because we wanted the other perks like the lifestyle, the ladies, the prestige of success and partying. Over time, these other things just faded away and I shifted focus 100% to song-writing and production. With Sigurd Wallsten, I am striving to make rock/metal instrumental music more popular, even mainstream. Though this has been tried before with limited success for only a select few, nonetheless, this is my focused objective and what differentiates Sigurd Wallsten,” he explains.
The new album ‘Volcano Burst’ is an all instrumental collection mostly hard rock/metal, but included are some lighter and diverse songs. The songs were written on the guitar with the accompanying instrument parts composed later in the creation process. Gregory is a person who strives for the positive in life, even though evil exists all around us. “We can’t let that dominate us like many people just sink into their own abyss,” he advises. All the ‘Volcano Burst’ songs are positive even though they are instrumentals. “I have many good relationships that strengthen me which gets reflected in my song writing,” he says. As for the songs, ‘Very Far Away’, ‘Fridays Here’, ‘Optimistic Fool’ (listen here) and ‘The Speculator’ are up-tempo songs that are intended to be driving and energetic.
“The songs ‘Perpetual Rule’, ‘Party Rock Song’ and ‘The Falcon’ are heavier and written for a stronger more powerful feel. ‘Perpetual Rule’ is a challenge to these song messages that glamorize evil. The Almighty God created all things and His reign is perpetual. The title track, Volcano Burst is a unique song with slower tempo and steady delivery. Passion and Mystery is the most diverse song of the twelve. This song is the only song not composed on the guitar; it was written on my synthesizer / keyboard.
The album was recorded at the Sigurd Wallsten project studio in El Paso, Texas USA and mastered by Colin Davis from Imperial Mastering. Gregory recorded and produced the album over a seven-month period. “Because I’m still serving in the military, it takes longer to accomplish projects, but progress is steady and I enjoy this now that my son Zachariah is participating,” he explains to me.
Continuing to promote ‘Volcano Burst’ is the priority focus for Gregory. “Adding a few videos and improving Sigurd Wallsten social media coverage is important. Also, I have begun the next Sigurd Wallsten project titled ‘The Valley of Decision’. The projected release for this follow-on project is August 2017,” he concludes.