“The Curse of von Wrathenstein”

By Theron Moore

Madison’s “Lords of the Trident” are tearing up Wisconsin in a big way and they’re not stopping there.  Minions and maidens across this nation are taking notice of the Lords who play a style of metal one can only refer to as…Power!  Having recently promoted their own successful “Mad with Power” fest in Madison and invited to the 2018 Spring NYDM bash in Milwaukee, Fang von Wrathenstein and company have sights set on global conquest.  Read beyond if you dare, mere mortals…

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Please introduce yourself.

FANG VON WRATHENSTEIN: Hello mortals and minions, I am Fang VonWrathenstein - lead singer of the most METAL band on earth, the Lords of the Trident. Over countless millennia I have traveled the lands searching for other unworthy bands to do battle with, and maidens to steal. I am currently residing in the Mohorovičić discontinuity 13 miles beneath the earth’s crust under Madison, WI where we practice and record. 

WC:Let’s open this conversation by talking about the festival you guys put together called “Mad With Power Fest.”  Who were the bands that appeared and how were they chosen?

FVW: Ah yes! The first annual “Mad With Power” festival was a resounding success! The bands that played this year were Steel Iron and Conniption from Milwaukee, WI, InnerSiege from Peoria, IL, Automaton from Cincinnati, OH, and finally Droids Attack and Lords of the Trident from Madison, WI. These are all bands that we’ve had the pleasure to do battle with in the past, and are strong enough warriors to have survived our sonic onslaught. I personally hand-picked these bands for our first year due to their incredible metal ability. 

WC: Same idea for next year re: “Mad With Power Fest” – maybe more bands, national headliners?

FVW: Exactly! Since this year was a success, and we unlocked the achievement of being financially solvent, we’re currently reaching out to some bigger names to headline next year. We’d love to continue to grow the fest and reach more and more people, all while continuing our goal of highlighting up and coming talent in the community. 

WC:Do you remember what got you into metal?  What got you listening to it? 

FVW:Metal has always been in my blood. The battle cries of my adoptive barbarian parents were something akin to proto-death metal, and as time went on and I honed my vocal abilities, I found that the aggressive, technically challenging aspects of metal music really spoke to me personally. Most musicians who are serious about their craft will find themselves doing classical, jazz, or metal, simply due to the technically prowess needed to enter the scene. And since it’s extremely expensive to set a stand-up bass on fire, I decided metal would be a better route. 

WC: Had you always wanted to be in a band?  When did it dawn on you that getting a band together was something you wanted to do? 

FVW: Yes, I have always had the yearning to perform in and start a band. I’ve been singing since before I could even form words, and my barbarian grandparents had a band that would attract tribes from all over to their shows. Hearing the tales of their musical conquest was far superior than the “tales of the hunt” that other warriors spoke of, and so I knew that this was to be my path. Even in the darkest of times - when the bars don’t pay and you’re sleeping on a dirty floor covered in gig sweat because you can’t find a shower - even then, I am content that we are still building, still striving for musical transcendence. There’s nothing quite like the feeling when you’re on the stage and you have the crowd in the palm of your hand. It’s intoxicating!

WC: Let’s shift to your band, Lords of the Trident.  Traditional metal / power metal.  Is that a good description?  How do you guys describe yourselves to metal fans who may have heard about the band but haven’t heard any music yet? 

FVW:As many metal fans out there know, putting a band in a specific subgenre of metal can be a tricky feat. Most have called us either “Heavy Metal”, “Power Metal”, or “Traditional Metal”, but a few have coined a new term for us - “Adventure Metal”. I rather like that description. However, I believe that - depending on your metal perspective - you could fit us into any of those genre buckets. 

When I describe the Lords to the unwashed, unworthy masses who haven’t yet heard our glory, I tell them: 

“We are the most metal band on earth. Our metal’s so pure that only diamonds can scratch it, and usually the diamonds are the ones that end up getting hurt in the end. Our amps are so loud, Manowar once knocked on our door and asked us to, “Please turn it down!” 
While you’re watching our sweet picking, wondering how we bend space-time to fit all the notes in, we’ll punch you right in the face without missing a beat. 
If you like battle, bloodshed, axes, fire, and losing limbs, then mosh your way to the front row and receive your free ticket to Valhalla. If you don’t like these things – too bad. We’re playing anyway, and we’ll make sure to steal your girlfriend in the process.”

WC: How did the band come together and what was the idea or concept behind it?  I ask that because with Lords, there’s strong fantasy themes and imagery.  How did that develop and can you talk about it a little bit?

FVW: Putting the band together was actually quite the gargantuan feat! I traveled the Earth for many years to gather the immortal warriors we’ve got in the band right now, and even so, we’re constantly followed by a shadowy multi-national group called SPIDR that wishes to capture or kill us in order to harness (or stop) our power. The entire story is published on our website (, and is quite long. I’ve heard that some universities give credit for making it through the entire thing.
In terms of your question about imagery - we get asked about our “costumes” a lot, and my answer is always the same: these are our battle gear! If you were being constantly hunted by trained assassins, you wouldn’t walk out of the house in jeans and a t-shirt either! The only time we’re in “normal” clothes is when we want to be able to pass by our throngs of fans incognito. Otherwise we get mobbed by all the ladies wishing to have carnal relations. 

WC: So the next question I need to ask, is, what bands really influenced you guys?  I know I hear some Iron Maiden…

FVW: Always a tricky subject, as since we’ve been around since the dawn of time, technically we pre-date a number of these bands. But if I were to list off the bands that all of us really enjoy and listen to quite often, it would be: Iron Maiden, Dio, Judas Priest, Savatage, and Dream Evil. We also listen to quite a lot of other styles of metal, and we especially enjoy bands like Scar Symmetry, Periphery, and Anthem. Since we’re constantly in the touring van, we’re constantly on the lookout for new music to digest.  

WC:How long has Lords of the Trident been around and who’s in the band? 

FVW: Technically, we’ve been around since the dawn of time. The original lineup was active until we decided to take a break after our disastrous 1342 European tour (many metal historians have called this the “black plague tour” due to our ex-promoter’s decision to include a free rat with every ticket purchased). 
We reformed and started playing shows again in late 2008, and our lineup has fluctuated due to the aforementioned SPIDR issues. The current lineup is: myself (Fang VonWrathenstein) on lead vocals, Baron Taurean Helleshaar on lead guitar, Asian Metal on lead guitar, Pontifex Mortis on lead bass, and Master Hercule “Herc” Schlagzeuger on lead drums.

WC:Has there been any label interest in the band, from say, Century Media or Metal Blade?  Anyone other record companies? 

FVW:We’re currently signed in Germany on Killer Metal Records, but we haven’t received any messages from any of the larger labels like Century Media or Metal Blade. To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure we want to be involved in a major label contract. The Baron was signed to Century Media in his old band, Luna Mortis, and it sounded like it wasn’t a very supportive situation. Nowadays - and especially with 360 deals that most labels offer - the labels offer almost nothing that a resourceful band manager couldn’t secure himself. If a label offer were to come along, it would have to be an offer that benefits both parties equally. Unfortunately, that’s just not happening nowadays.
WC:The band hails from Madison.  Have you guys played shows outside of Wisconsin, any plans to tour outside of Wisconsin any time soon?

FVW: Oh yes, TONS of shows all over the United States (and internationally)! We try to limit our local shows to at the most once a month, and focus on touring and making new connections. Once the new album is done, we would like to sign to a Japanese label and play Japan as well. That’s the current plan, at least! 
WC:Madison’s metal scene seems really strong and only growing bigger.   How long has this been building and who are the bands really responsible for laying the foundation for it?

FVW: Madison’s music scene in general has been growing strong for the last 6-8 years or so. Quite honestly, it’s one of the best scenes in the country to be a part of currently. Mostly everyone does their best to help out the other bands in the scene, and it feels much like a large “family”. There are very few scenes in the country that have this sort of comradery (Fort Collins, CO being one of the very few others I can think of), and we’re incredibly lucky to be part of it. 

I’m not sure if I can speak to “foundational” bands, since with our baked-in sense of Midwestern niceness, we hate to boast, but I’d say that we’re definitely one of the more important bands in the metal scene as of late. There are a number of great punk bands like Government Zero, Masked Intruder, and Help Desk that also contribute quite a bit. Honestly, if I were to pin it on anything, it would be the support of the local venues that make the most difference. The Frequency in Madison is run by Darwin Sampson, a veteran of the scene, so he does his best to support and grow the scene in a way that only a working musician would understand and appreciate. This is just one of the examples of the great support network we have at our disposal.

The local venues and managers of those venues are incredibly important in keeping the scene growing. There’s also the fact that Madison is home to Frank Productions, one of the (if not THE) biggest concert promotion companies in the United States. And of course, there are a number of local promoters that work their butts off to make sure that we get some amazing talent coming through the city. 

I wouldn’t say that Madison has always been metal friendly - 10+ years ago it seemed more like a jam band mecca. I still wouldn’t say that we’re a “hub” for the metal community, but there are definitely some great up and coming acts that are getting a lot of national attention. 

There’s still a great punk scene, and a thriving indie scene with bands like Phox getting signed and touring the globe. I think a lot of it comes back to the health of the scene. If there are bands that are supportive of newer talent, and venues that give the music a place to live, there’s more chance of an amazing new band gaining traction. 
WC:Besides you guys, who are the Madison metal bands and venues and maybe promoters we need to know about.  Who needs to be mentioned?

FVW: In terms of venues: The Frequency, The Red Zone, The High Noon Saloon, and the Willy St. Pub definitely deserve a mention. Those are the “hot spots” for punk, hard rock, and metal in our community (and in some cases, just live music in general). In terms of promoters, Midwest Mix-up does great work with the hardcore and djent scenes, and there’s always yours truly putting on some awesome power metal and heavy metal shows!

WC:  Who were the local bands you were into and maybe you were going to see before Lords of the Trident became a band? 

FVW:Before the Lords reformation in 2008, I saw a number of great acts that sadly are no longer: Mirror Black, Cealed Kasket, Secondhand, and a few others. Believe it or not, I saw the Baron incognito in Luna Mortis WAY before he joined the band! However, at the time I returned to college to finish my degree in barbarian studies, and was more focused on my studies than the local scene.  
WC:So.  What does the rest of 2017 and into 2018 hold for Lords of the Trident?

FVW: Now that our fest has concluded, we’re headed into the studio to record our next full-length album! We’ve got a few additional shows set up for the rest of the year, but we’re keeping those few and far between to allow us time to really focus on recording. We also recently reached one of our stretch goals on Patreon, and we’ll be re-recording some Lords classics in acoustic form! Other than that, we’re planning a Patreon party, a tour to North Carolina in early 2018, and a CD release!
WC:Any parting words?  Final thoughts?

FVW: Those who wish to test their might may join the greatest and strongest army on the internet by visiting If that’s too much for your weak constitution, you may survive a visit to our main website, We’ve got a ton of music videos, podcasts, and other fun stuff on YouTube as well. And as my barbarian grandma always said, “You can’t be true if you’re listening to Nickelback.” Take all your unworthy albums, burn them in a pit in your backyard, and replace them with CDs from your Lords! If you do this, the next time we pillage your village, we may just skip your hut.