Swiss/Serbian symphonic metal band EVOLUCIJA is just a week away from dropping their fourth album The World Is Full Of Wrath, their second English full-length (Hunt in 2018 was the first). It’s crazy how right they are with the album title, given the hotbeds in the world (Ukraine, Gaza, Yemen) and anti-semitism rearing its ugly head again. So, high time we have a conversation with EVOLUCIJA‘s singer Ilana Von Arx about some matters.

Interview by: Henk van Nieuwenhoven


EVOLUCIJA means ‘evolution’ in Serbian. Not surprising knowing that original member, bassist Dragiša Marinjes, was born there. So it was evidently his idea to call the band EVOLUCIJA.
“Yes, Dragiša was born in Serbia, and his idea for the name EVOLUCIJA (Evolution) is to express our dedication to progress and positive changes. The concept of evolution resonates within all of us, especially in a world where progress sometimes seems to regress. Through our musical creativity and mission we strive to be an example, hoping to inspire others or encourage positive thinking.”

The whole band was a family event in the beginning, as from the start in 2007 sons Boban (guitar) and Miloš (drums) were also there and your full name is Ilana Marinjes-von Arx, wife of Dragiša. But since 2011, both sons are gone. Obviously, something happened along the way.
“Yes, at the beginning it was somewhat of a family band. I am not the mother of Boban and Miloš, though. Dragiša played with his sons before I joined the band, and when we were all together we were like one family. We are still a family, but since our departure from Switzerland, Boban and Miloš are no longer members of the band. However, we always exchange ideas with them!”EVOLUCIJA Ilana1EVOLUCIJA started in Switzerland, but then moved to Serbia. The first full-length album was still with vocalist Tanja Apostolović. In 2009 you replaced her and recorded “Igra Počinje” with EVOLUCIJA. All songs are in Serbian, so you spoke the language fluently already.
EVOLUCIJA started in Zürich, Switzerland. In 2008 they released their first album with Tanja, titled “Baklja Slobode” (Torch Of Freedom). Tanja left the band in 2009 and that same year EVOLUCIJA received an offer to record a song for the film “Die Templerherren,” which is when I joined the band. Shortly after that, we moved to Serbia. We had a short break before releasing an album in Serbian in 2016 called “Igra Počinje” (The Game Begins). I wasn’t fluent in Serbian, but the language is spoken as written, which made singing in Serbian easier for me.”

Strangely enough, the next album is called “Hunt” (2018) and has only English song titles on it. Looks like a clever tactic from your new label Pure Steel Publishing trying to put EVOLUCIJA on the international metal map.
“Yes, it happened spontaneously during the recording process. I don’t know exactly whose idea it was to immediately write lyrics in English and record vocals in both languages. Everything started off well, our English album was released by Pure Steel Publishing and the album “Hunt” was declared Album Of The Year by readers’ choice (the Innocent Award for “Best Album Of The Year” from the Cute & Dangerous magazine in Germany). We started performing as the opening act for bands like Doro, Paradise Lost, Children Of Bodom, Tyr and Pestilence. We even signed a contract for a tour in China, but then the Coronavirus pandemic halted everything.”

Time for EVOLUCIJA’s new album “The World Is Full Of Wrath”. No doubt a big part of humanity would agree to the title. What concerns me, though, is that wrath is never a solution. So please, tell us your motivation for the title.


“When we were thinking about the title of the album, “The World Is Full Of Wrath”, we deeply reflected on the current state of the world and the emotions shaping our society. We understand that the world is often enveloped in anger, conflicts, and negativity. However, our intention is not to glorify or support wrath. Instead, we want to use this title as a reminder of how important it is to confront the challenges we face as human beings. Through our music, we want to highlight the importance of love, understanding, and positive change, offering hope and inspiration in a world that can be better if we work together towards it.”

On the cover there’s a girl sitting on the floor with a globe chained to her arm. Have we become slaves of those in power or are politicians calling the shots nowadays?
“We feel that politicians, those in power, and some invisible forces behind them decide everything, and perhaps we are not even aware that we have become their slaves in a way. The image of a girl with a globe chained to her wrist on our front cover clearly indicates the feeling of limitation and helplessness that many of us may experience in today’s world. I believe it is important to confront these challenges and work together to free ourselves from limiting systems and ideas. Through our music, we call for solidarity, activism, and the fight for a more just society where everyone can live freely and autonomously.”

Let’s not dwell on every single track on “The World Is Full Of Wrath”, as the release date, April 5th, is fast approaching. First one I want to talk about is “The Earth Is Full Of Rats”. It’s a metaphor, of course, but in your eyes the real rats are…
“The song “The Earth Is Full Of Rats” expresses criticism towards leaders and social injustices. The song questions how to recognize the real thing in a world full of problems and lies. The gap between the rich and ordinary people is growing larger. Through lines like “TO ARISE WITH THE CROWN – AND KEEP US ALL DOWN,” it suggests that leaders want to maintain power and control. The song touches on the theme of injustice in society, where people work hard for basic needs while leaders enjoy wealth. The song urges us to think about the future. It’s easy to recognize the real rats.”EVOLUCIJA bandpic“Soul For Sale” has a funny intro where somebody asks “what’s the price tag on my soul, you piece of…”. Then you start to sing about New York City and halfway, the song moves to Barcelona. But there’s more to it than just city trips, so please explain the true meaning behind “Soul For Sale”.
“The song “Soul For Sale” criticizes consumerist society, highlighting the loss of personal values and mental health in the pursuit of material success. It describes the contrast between the glamour and allure of big cities and the reality hidden behind the facade of happiness, especially for workers whose dreams are unattainable and filled with sorrow. The song raises the question of the price people pay while chasing after things that money can buy.”

The next song is “Am I The One” that has a slower pace with folk metal touches. But it’s the one after that, the beautiful ballad “Shame On You”. In the video we see you in duet with Žanil Tataj-Žak, a Croatian singer who does a lot of guest vocals for other bands as well. What made you decide to ask him for this ballad?
“It wasn’t difficult for us to decide on a duet with Žanil Tataj-Žak. He is a singer with exceptional vocal abilities and, for us, one of the best from our region. He sang on “Divlje Jagode” and now sings in the Slovenian band Mary Rose and the German band Ravenstine. Our vocals blended perfectly, and this ballad was very well received by those who listened to it.”

And as befits a good ballad, “Shame On You” has a wonderful guitar solo and ends dramatically with just piano and cello. So if this is an autobiographical piece, maybe “shame on you” should be “good for you”, as I haven’t heard such a beautiful, sensitive song for a long time, maybe not since Askara’s “Broken Wing”.
“Thank you for the kind words about the ballad. We know that the ballad touched many people – it brought some older generations back to their youth and we receive emotional messages, some of which even brought tears to my eyes. While it’s not autobiographical, we encounter painful separations everywhere around us. In short, this song combines emotional elements, expresses vulnerability, and at the same time places responsibility on both sides of the relationship. The song talks about the loss of love, emotional pain, and nostalgia. The last line, “SO SHAME ON YOU,” adds a sharp tone, pointing to the responsibility of both partners for the relationship’s failure.”EVOLUCIJA Ilana2

After that, you rock on with “Seven Days Of The Weak” (nice pun, by the way) and “Storm” and then subsequently you squash me with a very good cover of The Cranberries hit “Zombie”. Excellent choice.
“”Zombie” has always been a special song for us. We played it at every concert, and I remember in St. Peters- burg and Kiev, there were tears in the front rows. It simply became a part of us, and we decided to include it on our album.”

Closer “One Dime” reminds of the Simple Minds song “Belfast Child” in the beginning, but then turns into a rock song with lots of folk metal elements. Is that something that is interwoven in Serbian music overall?
“You are right, “One Dime” does have folk metal elements, and these elements are somehow woven into Balkan music, perhaps most notably in Serbian, Bulgarian, and Macedonian music.”

Hopefully there are plans to go on tour with “The World Is Full Of Wrath” in your back pocket, perhaps with one or two other Serbian/Swiss bands.
“We can’t wait for the CD release in early April and the vinyl in May, and after that we will start discussions for potential tours. So far, we have four shows scheduled: one in July, a festival in Serbia, and on November 9th in Bologna, Italy, on November 28th in Zagreb, Croatia, and on November 30th in Lenzburg, Switzerland. It’s always great to share the stage with another band – our last two concerts were with David Laugelli‘s band from Italy, and saying goodbye was tough for us.”

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to introduce ourselves to your readers, who I believe will also become our fans!