Splintered Halo – Interview with Evilyn Van Der Hyden & ‘My Deck Is Bigger Than Yours’ Single Review

Every kind of art is wonderful in a way and touches a group of people emotionally. Whether in literature or music, I tend to prefer works of fantasy and fiction as well as history. These books or songs or albums are an escape from the world that myself as well as many other fans have to endure the whole day at an office or a classroom or any sorts of workplace, into a whole other world. This is why I am always excited when I listen to songs like the single Splintered Halo has recently released.

The Alternative Metal band, hailing from Glasgow, Scotland, explores a wide range of concepts in their music. ‘My Deck Is Bigger Than Yours’, the song we’re covering today, for instance, is an exploration of the story of Anne Bonny, one of the most famous female pirates of all time. How did Splintered Halo change the tale and history into lyrics and music? Well… hear the song below and see for yourself.

We wrote a short review about the single and had the chance to chat with Evilyn, Splintered Halo‘s vocalist to talk about her music and different ideas. We hope you enjoy reading our review and interview.


Review

‘My Deck Is Bigger Than Yours’ begins with a dark tune, that is soon joined by harsher and more melodic one accompanied by a beat, and then a melody that sets us right into the mood the band wants us to be in. This carries on all through the song, with an enthusiastic chorus and a wonderful melody.

The band manages to successfully create the mood and feel of that era’s music fused into Metal. That was achieved through the arrangement of their music and the vocals. We’ve mentioned the chorus that brings out the feeling of pirates chanting on a deck of a ship. However Evilyn’s vocals through all the song were as if Anne Bonny’s soul has possessed her.

We recommend ‘My Deck Is Bigger Than Yours’ to all Metal fans who love conceptual music. We also advise our readers to check Splintered Halo‘s discography.


Interview

Hello Evilyn. It’s really nice to chat with you. How are you the rest of the members of Splintered Halo?
We’re pretty good, all healthy and well! We’re all missing band practice and being on stage now, we can’t wait to get back to it, but we’re staying musically productive behind the scenes to make sure it isn’t wasted time. We’ve written new tracks, done a lockdown edition music video for our Vikings song, and we’re in the middle of filming a video for our latest single.
That’s good to hear.
First, for FemMetal readers who haven’t yet heard of Splintered Halo, would you like to introduce them to us? Who are the members and what is your common goal?
Well, we’re definitely on the odder side of metal, and we call our particular brand of weirdness ‘Character Metal’. We take a character and build a song to suit them. We tell their tale, from the musical style, to the way the song is sang, but the end result is always dark and twisted in some way. We’ve got songs for Regan from the The Exorcist, Harley Quinn, Pennywise and Lagertha from Vikings to name a few. Our music is probably akin to dark and heavy musical theatre, because I fully play the part of the characters in the story, and the stage show carries on that theatrical theme. There are five of us in Halo, including me, and the others wear masks that fit their own weirdness. Pumpkinhead, and The Jabberwocky are our guitarists, and we have two ladies in the rhythm section; The Harbinger is on bass, and Hellequin is our stick demoness. I guess our common bond is that we love the musical freedom that this band brings. If we want to write a song that feels like a metal ballet, we can! If we want to write circus music, we can! There’s no boundaries or set way of doing things, other than that it has to feel like it fits the character we’ve picked.
We’ll talk about your newly released single ‘My Deck Is Bigger Than Yours’, but first I’d like to ask you, how are you feeling about the reception the song got from the fans and audience so far?
We actually played this live for a few months before lockdown hit, and before it was released as a single, and it goes down very well with our audiences! When we start a set with this one, I’m in full pirate gear, and it’s a lot of fun to play. 
What I actually loved about your singing is that your voice in a way falls into the song’s mood and lyrics. For example, when you’re singing about Elizabeth Bathory in ‘I Bathe In Blood’ and about Anne Bonny in ‘My Deck Is Bigger Than Yours’, you seem like two different people at some instances. How do you develop this ability to connect to the character in the song? Do you read about it and maybe try to imagine yourself as them maybe doing some method acting? Or does it come naturally with the lyrics?
Yes, to really get in character, it’s a lot of hours of research into them, so I can get the vibe and style of the music, and lyrics right to really do them justice, and also a lot of practice to make sure I sound as much like them from a dialect and word choice point of view as I possibly can. For Elizabeth Bathory, I had to get her Hungarian accent right, so I spent hours watching Youtube of Hungarian people speaking English so I could pick up on the little quirks and mistakes they make so that I could put that into my performance. Little things like how they pronounce Ws like they are Vs, or TH like a Z. The change of persona, and singing style means that every song is a new challenge for me, and it really keeps thing interesting for me. 
Another thing I love about your music is how you shed light on badass women in some of your songs. I sure hope your answer to that won’t be Elizabeth Bathory, but who is a woman that you’d consider as your role model? 
Haha, Bathory is inspirational in her own way I guess; she was certainly a very powerful lady at a time when it was almost unheard of for a woman to be so large and in charge. I personally believe that Bathory was set up by the King and her cousin too because they both stood to profit from her downfall, but that angle doesn’t make for quite as dark a song as the bathing in the blood of virgins angle!
To answer the question though, my role model has got to be my mama bear who is honestly the strongest woman I know or have ever known. She is a single parent, and she brought four of us up on her own on a shoe string budget. She has such a get up and get on with it type attitude, she’s absolutely forged of steel, but she’s very loving and caring too. I’m very lucky to have her.
Since your last song is about a pirate, we’ll play a pirate game. For a moment you’ll be a captain of a pirate ship and I’ll tell you some actions that usually are bad. And you’ll have to decide the punishment they’ll receive. You can either:
Forgive them for their share of the loot
Maroon them on an island
Make them walk the plank

One of your crew members mansplains to you how to read a map and direct the ship.
I’d probably just punch them in the dick and remind him who is boss, if he’s that good, why doesn’t he have his own ship? But since that’s not an option in the game, I’d take his share of the loot.
I should have added that option.
One of your crew members says a racist comment towards another crew member.
I’d make him walk the plank so the others know that shit isn’t acceptable on my ship.
One of your crew members says Metal is just noise and is not real music.
I’d maroon them on them on an island to educate themselves on the way of the metal.
One of your crew members says women belong in the kitchen not at the workplace. 
He obviously hasn’t seen me in the kitchen, I’m useless! I am like the anti-housewife haha. For this silly manfolk, I’d let him choose between walking the plank and getting the Hell off my ship, or going to make me sandwich. 
Thank you for playing Evilyn!
Have you ever been treated with sexism in real life? How do you face sexism and what advice would you give to girls around the world who are being suppressed by their culture and society? 
I think most women have experienced some form of sexism in their lives, and, unfortunately, it’s not entirely stamped out of the metal world yet. There can be an assumption when you take to the stage that your music will somehow be less metal or less worthy because you’re a girl, or I’ll sometimes see the eyebrows raise when I scream in a song because it’s not expected that a girl will do that. “That’s impressive for a girl” is a line I, and my bandmates have heard in this industry. We’ve had the girls in the band mistaken for being someone’s girlfriend just tagging along at soundcheck because they couldn’t possibly be doing the man jobs like bass or drums. You get all that sort of passive sexism happening as standard, where the guys that are doing this stuff probably don’t even realise they’re being offensive. I write a lot of the music in Halo, not just the vocals, and we once did a competition where the judge, an older guy, told me as his feedback about the performance that I should let the boys in the band write the music. He said that I obviously only enjoyed the theatrics, and didn’t really care about the music. The ironic thing was that that was the same week I’d been up until 3 or 4 in the morning, agonising over getting the music right for the last few songs to finish our first album, so it was extra offensive!
         When I encounter sexism it just makes me angry, and more determined to prove myself to be honest. That sort of stuff drives me. And I guess that’s my advice, show them they’re wrong by doing what they say you can’t. 
If you had the power to get rid of one of the problems the world is facing, which problem would you choose and why?
I think money is one of the biggest problems right now, and the fact that such a huge percentage of the world’s wealth sits with so few individuals. With their money, they could fix a whole host of problems if they really wanted to, like hunger, or, they could pile their cash into medical research for cancer. And let’s face it, money is power, and I don’t think any individual should have that much power. I think if we could fix that, limit an individual’s wealth, it would sort a lot of things out. I saw a meme saying that when you hit $999 million dollars that’s your cap, you get an certificate saying you’ve won at life and that’s that, I think that’s an amazing idea and the rest could then go to helping others. What more would you need in life, right, you’d have more money than you could spend, and you’d have the satisfaction of knowing you’re doing good in the world.
Aside from music, what other interests and hobbies do you have?
Well, I’m pretty busy with Halo, and I’m in another band called Heart of Hecate so most of my time goes into music. Aside from that though, I love drawing and art. We keep all of the Halo artwork in house, so I’ve got a great outlet for that in the band. I’m a gamer, a lot of my downtime is spent gaming, especially on RPGs or horrors; my girlfriend and I just completed the Resident Evil 2 Remake. I love horror movies and comic books. Come to think of it, most of my hobbies are all based indoors so I’m absolutely built for this lockdown!
Thank you for the interview Evilyn! It was a real pleasure to have you.
Thanks for having me Jad. 

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