THE KING OF FIRE AND ICE: IC REX

I haven’t embraced Finnish black metal with all of my heart. I appreciate a few bands like Satanic Warmaster, Beherit or Horna, but I don’t feel that their majestic nature has opened to me totally – although it would be just natural to feel cohesiveness with the bands that come from the same country than me.

IC Rex has always been one of these better bands. From Lunar Possession demo, this band has followed its own star and created quite “non-Finnish” black metal although the band’s roots are deep in the Finnish ground. But same time IC Rex’s mind wanders among stars and Satanic dimensions, and this contradiction is one of the band’s triumphs. It’s majestic but same you can smell the mould and the moss. After the brilliantly chaotic debut Sielun kadotuksen sinfonia (2005) IC Rex made a good regeneration with more organic Valonkantajan alkemia (2008), but the third point of this triangle, Vedenjakaja (2009) didn’t impress me so much than its predecessors. Or maybe I just haven’t listened to it enough.

However, although IC Rex’s musical journey is not complete (there will be a documentary and a music video in the works), the mastermind IC hasn’t buried his Luciferian torch – he plays in a promising new outfit called Pantheon Of Blood, and also IC’s talent in visual arts have been in a heavy use – you can find more from his blog .

IC has also been a man of many words from the start, and this early interview from the January of 2006 proves it again.

Remember the days when Black Metal went astral, melodic and symphonic, and bands like Limbonic Art and Arcturus were hailed as new kings? Now this kind of extraterrestial atmosphere has been forced to step aside, but Finnish IC Rex seems to be the first wave of the new Renaissance of this genre. But don’t compare this band to those aforementioned groups too hastily, because IC Rex has created its own harsh but interesting world. The thoughtful soul behind the band, C, gave us something to think about in the coldest times of January.

Well, your debut album Sielun kadotuksen sinfonia has been released. What kind of process the making of the album was, and what do you feel now when all is said and done?

– The process was very intensive, and it took very much of my energy in all levels. I did everything in my home from scratch, and many times I spent ~10 hour days composing and arranging the music & writing lyrics. Now when the album is ready and released, I’m quite calm and satisfied about the result. Of course there are many things that could have been done better, but that’s always the case.

You’re known as your profound words and lyrics, but who and what does give you a spark of inspiration?

– Everything around and in me, usually quite little things actually. It’s quite hard to say what things especially give me those sparks of inspiration, but if I had to mention a few things from the outer world, I’d say that nature is my source of inspiration number one (quite a cliché, but it’s true). Lyrics are almost always the end result of intense introspection and meditation, but the methods differ from each other from time to time.

At least you have quoted one of the greatest Finnish poets, Eino Leino, on some metal forum. What’s your connection to this man responsible for such classics as Helkavirsiä (Whitsongs)? Do you have some certain poem or verse from him, which is very special to you?

– I think he has managed to portrait the depths of the “Finnish soul” better than any other artist, although in some of his poems the Christian influence is little too strong for myself. I can’t really name a personal favourite since the amount of his work is so great, but the overtly pathetic heroic melancholy that is present in his works in general is something I can certainly relate myself. If I’d have to name a few texts, Ja vuodet ne käy yhä vaikeammiks, and also Lapin kesä, the text that I’ve quoted (in bm.fi forum?) are very important for myself personally.

How about being Finnish and the Finnish culture in general? You changed the language of IC Rex from English to Finnish, so there must be some kind of devotion to Finland…

– Although I don’t affiliate myself with any culture or people especially, there’s of course always a ‘natural’ connection to the Finnish culture and language. The reason why I chose to change the language from English to Finnish was first and foremost practical, and a sort of experiment to see whether I could write lyrics in Finnish without sounding stupid. Anyone who has written poetry in Finnish must know what I mean by this.

What I have read your lyrics, you paint a picture of Satan in a quite positive light; this picture is far away typical “Satan analpenetrates saints” -stereotyped lyrics. What’s your comment about this?

– As my world view and my view about Satan is first and foremost spiritual & transcendental, it is clear that there was no room for the “goats raping nuns & massacring Christians” type of themes. I wanted to make a totally new approach and to present a profound view about the matter, something that can actually be taken seriously in real life. The picture I portray about Satan & Lucifer is quite neutral actually, one must certainly know that it’s not a force to play with or something that should/could be taken lightly. It’s not like “Satan is my friend” or anything idiotic like that, but of course as a Satanist in the lyrics there is a positive vibration in them due to my personal veneration for “Him”.

You call your music ‘madness’ and Sielun kadotuksen sinfonia is a very chaotic album, but it still opens doors to other places and spaces. How well does IC Rex’s music correspond to yourself and your view of world?

– IC Rex is my view of the world, it is the result of my explorations in the fringes of madness. But I also try to elaborate on the matter in such way that the result would be something more that “just my point of view”, if you know what I mean. The listener is the ultimate judge whether I’ve managed to do that or not.

Before IC Rex you were known from Finnish BM band called Tunrida. What happened to Tunrida? How much of IC Rex’s songs were written for Tunrida or is everything made just for IC Rex?

– Tunrida split up because of many difficulties, things I don’t want to get into them in here. Two songs of Lunar Possession (IC Rex’s first and only demo) were written for Tunrida in the first place, but after we split up I decided to focus all my creativity into IC Rex.

Being alone in a band is a quite regular phenomenon in Black Metal genre. What does it gives to you, what are the advantages and what are the disadvantages being the lone wolf with the music?

– The only disadvantage is maybe the lack of reflection from the other members in song and lyric writing, one must make all the decisions by himself, but that’s also a advantage many times. Other advantages are countless from the easiness of practice to the lack of quarrels, and since I’m many times quite a hard person I must say that this is the best method of working for myself. Being my own boss and all that…

You still got lyrical help from Johannes Nefastos, who has also written lyrics to Baptism. How did you ended up to ask him to contribute on Sielun kadotuksen sinfonia? Was it easy or hard to let someone to your personal area of thoughts, art and ideology?

– We’re friends with J.N., and I thought that I’d like to pay a little homage to him since his Great Work, Fosforos made an ineffaceable impression on me a few years ago. I could have written the Asura lyrics myself also (I presented the basics of the idea behind the lyrics to N and then gave him complete artistic freedom), but I wanted to have a little different view about the matter from someone who knows what he’s talking about. It was quite easy a decision, actually, since the (al-) chemistry resonates quite well between us.

I found the visual side of Sielun kadotuksen sinfonia very appealing: there are hints of rituals, traditional illustrations (Dore for example) and also this Finnish side with the pictures from forests, barns etc. What can the listener find from this amalgam of pictures?

– I tried to portray the atmosphere of the music in visual context as well as I could, and to give the listener a complete package, not just faceless music. Just like Black Metal is not just music but also an art form and a tool to channel ones world view, I think that the albums should be like personal grimoires. Personally I like to read the lyrics and look the art from the booklet while I’m listening the music, that is why I included English lyrics and made the booklet also to reflect the feelings and real life situations in which the album was made. All of the albums photography that is my own, is from the time I was making the album. There is also A LOT of symbolism and corresponding ideas in the visual outlook of the album in connection with the lyrics, as the intelligent listener can easily see.

You have a long statement about the origins of the band name on your homepage, but is there a double meaning behind those runes I (ice) and C (fire), because you can easily connect those letters to ’eye’ and ’see’?

– There are numerous meanings between the band name. You are right, there is the Eye/See connection, but there is also a connection to Leviathan (I, Sea Rex) and also to the master of the frozen hell (Icy Rex), if you look just into the pronunciation connections. There are also lots more meanings between the name (my personal name and my pseudonym connected), an astrological & astronomical meaning (Iota Cancer is a double star emitting blue and yellow light in the constellation crab, my personal star sign), Iesus Christus Rex meaning (reflecting the idea of the Satanist being ones own saviour instead of an outer godhead in which to affiliate). If interested, one might also want to do a search about the meanings of the rest of the runes in the band name, not just I & C, since they are maybe as important as the ice and fire runes. The band name is like a five letter rune stone that has a magical meaning.
– Other than this, I think there are also meanings between the name that I’m not aware of myself, since I keep seeing new meanings that make sense between the name all the time…

In your lyrics you declare this union of fire and ice. What do you find from the different opposites, contradictions or harmony?

– I find both harmony and contradictions. Contradictions are essential for growth and evolution. I see Satan as the ‘Master of disharmony’, and that is why in Black Metal contradiction is maybe more important in the sense of suffering, pain and negativity. If there would be constant harmony there would be nothing, both the personal and collective world would sunk into some kind state of pointless inertia.
– Of course this is the case only for any finite being. Since I am a pantheist and believe (quotation marks) in the unity of everything, I think that the universe as a whole, “the macrocosmos”, is in a constant state of harmony, but nothing inside of it cannot be since everything is in a constant state of flux in order for the world to be existent. This point of view is present in such lyrics as …Of Divinity (in Lunar Possession), and Kasvotusten absoluutin kanssa (in Sielun kadotuksen sinfonia).

It’s interesting to play with thoughts about two opposites, light and darkness. For example when there is light, there are always also shadows, but shadows always need light to be existent – but we can also say that darkness is the natural state and light is just an exception. What do you think about these thoughts?

– In my view (visible) light is actually just a collection of shadows, and darkness (in the sense of deep, limitless space) needs not light to be existent. Following this thought it could be stated that pure darkness is actually the very source of light and illumination. Just like in personal psychology one must plunge into the depths of the ‘dark’ unconscious in order to be able to truly individuate and grow, in the same sense it could be said that darkness is the natural state of chaos, the only place from where the ‘jewels of illumination’ can be found. I do find the play of opposites interesting also, but I think that they are opposites only in the world of separation and crude matter.

How about light and darkness in Black Metal? Some people declare just negative feelings and generally negative side of life in Black Metal, but is there room for positivism in Black Metal?

– There is room for both, but the positive side in Black Metal must be conducted with precision and intellect, otherwise the result will be too corny. There shouldn’t be any stupid artificial rules what kind of Black Metal can be made, but of course there are things that are just too far from the essence of Black Metal. My view about this matter is that if Satan is the dark and negative aspect in Black Metal, Lucifer is the illuminate, positive aspect of it. A little like a deep space probe, if you allow for such a metaphor.

And now, the end. If you want to lay the last words for this chat, the stage is yours.

– Thank you for an interesting interview Mr. Klemi.

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