Ukrainian melodic modern metal band Ignea has released their latest album, “Dreams of Lands Unseen,” via Napalm Records. The concept album is inspired by the travels of Sofia Yablonska, a Ukrainian explorer, and aims to spread Ukrainian heritage and culture. In a recent interview I did with Helle Bohdanova, the band’s vocalist, she shared insights into the creation of the album, the challenges faced during its production, and the importance of sharing Sofia Yablonska’s story with the world.
During the early days of the pandemic, when travel was difficult for everyone, Ignea began working on the album. The idea for a concept album based on different travelers from various regions emerged after listening to a few demos with various folk elements. However, after researching Sofia Yablonska’s life and reading her travelogues, Helle decided to base the entire record around her fascinating story.
The band then adjusted the album’s tracks based on the sound of the demos. If a track had Chinese vibes, for example, the song would be based on Sofia’s travels to China. Helle mentioned how enjoyable it was to write the rest of the album using these stories as a foundation.
Helle says Ignea’s diverse sound and style have always been a blessing and a curse for the band. Helle describes their approach to music as trying to write a soundtrack for a movie, with each track creating a unique atmosphere. This fusion of genres and elements is part of what makes Ignea’s sound so distinct.
The process of recording the album was fraught with challenges. A portion of the record was completed before the war began, but the ensuing conflict made it difficult to continue. However, once their region was deemed safe, Ignea felt it was important to create something for their country, particularly because the album is based on the story of a famous Ukrainian figure.
During the recording process, they faced difficulties with checkpoints and had to work in between air raid sirens. The album’s release was further delayed due to the inability to take band photos or shoot music videos. At present, the most significant challenge for Ignea is promoting the album through touring, as men are currently unable to leave the country.
When asked how Sofia Yablonska would feel about the album if she were here today, Helle admits it’s a question she has pondered. She hopes that Sofia would be pleased because the band is not only sharing her story but also helping to spread Ukrainian culture. In a way, IGNEA’s “Dreams of Lands Unseen” serves as a continuation of Sofia’s work.
Check out the full video now on our YouTube channel.