And then there was Nine… After the successful trip to death metal in the form of Serpentscope #1 I continued with Kaleidoscope, and like issue #8, also issue #9 had its own (quite loose) theme: national awareness. I gathered different bands from different countries – from Canada to Portugal, from Finland to Bangladesh – and tried to find out how their own nationality and cultural heritage show in their music. Many interviews worked out well, and that always important in-depth feeling flowed through the whole issue.
So it’s easy to pick interviews from this issue for this blog, and the first one is Weapon. Vetis Monarch has showed that his writing pen hasn’t gone dry after From the Devil’s Tomb –Emblems and Revelations (2012) was as challenging and fierce as its predecessor. Somehow I still like more of this more obscure and “vague” atmosphere on From the Devil’s Tomb but still, the fire is burning as high as always. Are you ready for some lefthandpathyoga?
(originally published in Kaleidoscope #9 2010)
From the welfare funland of Canada to the deprived streets of Bangladesh and back, the main man of Weapon, Vetis Monarch, has faced the both sides of this twisted world. Same time he has built his own belief system, where Kali and Lucifer walk side by side to the dark enlightenment. From the Devil’s Tomb, Weapon’s new full-length, is another step on this road, and it can be seen a great example of a symbiosis of tradition and new wisdom –musicwise, lyrically and ideologically. Like these journeys through the barren wastelands and faceless utopias would have swept away the shackles and the door to the inner sanctum of self-expression has been found.
So last year we were blessed with Weapon’s debut Drakonian Paradigm, which was a result of a long incubation… Maybe a good start is to give Vetis Monarch an opportunity to compare Drakonian Paradigm and From the Devil’s Tomb: how does this new album differ from your debut in your own words?
– Perhaps the biggest difference is that we are more focused as a band; that comes from having a lineup that is on the same page both spiritually and musically. Releases prior to Drakonian Paradigm had a little bit of everything, but Drakonian Paradigm itself was primarily focused on atmosphere above all else. On From the Devil’s Tomb we have shifted our attention towards pummeling brutality more than ever before.
Maybe this is the reason that From the Devil’s Tomb sounds more dynamic – I don’t mean that it is more straightforward or simpler, but somehow the whole musical flow is stronger and more natural, like the last obstacles have been removed from the way of the fiery stream… Comments?
– I would say it IS more straightforward; the album flows really well and it is seamless in its development. We are all getting better as songwriters and starting to understand our ‘own sound’, so the cohesiveness of the band’s chemistry is coming through tenfold.
I guess that one reason for this is the progress as a band which has four different individuals who know each other better now – especially your guitar work and The Disciple’s drumming flow together seamlessly and fluently. How would you describe Weapon’s growth as a band?
– The current incarnation of Weapon – Vetis Monarch, Apostle VIII, Kha Tumos and The Disciple – is the one that has lasted the longest. And that’s saying something, considering that both A.VIII. and K.T. have only played on one album, T.D. has played on two, and the band has been around for almost eight years!
– Since T.D. and I enlisted Apostle VIII and Kha Tumos the band has truly come together. I think we have grown more in the last one and half years alone than the last six years. As I explained in the first question, it really is a matter of everyone being on the same page and sharing the same vision.
And when we talk about From the Devil’s Tomb as an album, what kind of a whole are we dealing with? At least LEFTHANDPATHYOGA is a definite interlude and a calm moment between the storms, but how would you portray the first and last half of this album, for example the role of quite epic finale, Towards the Uncreated?
– This album presents a fine balance of very fast, blast-beat oriented, riff based attacks, and mid-paced, wrist cutting numbers. The Weapon sense of catchiness and melody is ever-present. LEFTHANDPATHYOGA, in my opinion, is what brings the whole thing together – as you said, a calm between the storms. Towards The Uncreated is the obvious closer – not for the lyrics alone, but for its climactic ending from a purely musical standpoint.
The usual comment is that the debut is always the best one: the band is usually full of energy and ideas, and when this all is bursting out, the result is something unique. However, the second album is described as a hard one, but sometimes the band’s vision is sharper on the second album. Well, in one interview you mentioned that Drakonian Paradigm “describes the beginning and the end of Weapon”, but what does From the Devil’s Tomb describe?
– From The Devil’s Tomb should be absorbed as the logical continuation of Drakonian Paradigm. We are further exploring the Satanic paradigm, the world of mystery and adversity, of strife and reward – as above, so below. This is just the next logical phase of our paradigm.
– But I don’t subscribe to the ‘first release is the best’ school of thought; Reign in Blood, Under The Sign…, Persecution Mania and Master of Puppets are some obvious examples bands releasing some of their strongest work after the debut.
I would see the trail of releases as a trail of progression for a band and individuals – every album is a step towards enlightenment and self-examination, be it something new and different musically every time or just same as other releases… How do you see the role and importance of Weapon releases for you as a musician, a magician and an individual?
– My persona can be divided into two parts – Satanist and musician. With every Weapon release I am developing my SELF. The two are so intertwined at this point that it’s only a matter of time that my SELF is the culmination of these two elements. This is not a weekend / hobby band and neither am I a weekend Satanist. Everything in my life – from short-term goals to long-term plans – is dependent on the functionality of Weapon. The deeper I delve into this, the more I have to improve myself as a Satanist and a musician. Stagnation and regression are not part of the Left Hand Path.
But it’s true that this journey never ends – we are never complete and we are always collecting pieces and finding new territories from the worlds and from ourselves. And this journey is made in many different levels. One of these levels for you seems to be this mystic lefthandpathyoga… Could you open this term a bit for us – does it include both spiritual and physical sides like ordinary yoga? “Your body is your temple” kinda way?
– LEFTHANDPATHYOGA is my work on Satanism from a global standpoint, if you will. My one true god has been around since the beginning of it all, and His stamp – sometimes profound, often subtle – can be found in every corner of the globe. LHPY is a doctrine where I analyze different satanic traditions, and apply them to the development of my mind and body. The application is done in the way that yoga works – in the form of bhakti. That is as clear as I can be regarding something that is quite personal.
Your new album is entitled From the Devil’s Tomb. This interesting name plays games with death and reincarnation in my mind, but what kind of meanings does it have for you? What is coming from the devil’s tomb?
– We are! The mongrels, criminals, degenerates, outlaws, outcasts, sociopaths perverts, terrorists, radicals and fanatics – all of us who embrace the predatory instinct. All who take their murder weapon from the Devil.
The devil is usually understood as an embodiment of all evil in Christian world, but same time it is only one form and name for the entity which is present in many religions and belief systems. And we can’t forget a viewpoint where the devil is a dark side of a man – a side which is usually denied but is still very important to achieve the total harmony inside of us. But of course what does interest us most is your view – what does the devil mean to you?
– A combination of enlightenment and adversity; Satan is Lucifer is the Devil. Many other names can be anointed to Lord of Evil. Point being, ‘it’ is a force and ‘it’ is physical reality – the embodiment of power, knowledge, chaos and revolution, not limited by the duality of Western thought; shapeless yet concrete, mystical but manifest.
The devil is a personification, like angels or demons in general. But do you take them as more realistic characters, not just symbols of evil, good etc.? And how about music, can it be a ritualistic tool or door to get contact with these spirits?
– Absolutely it goes much further than mere symbolism. I believe in the existence of actual daemons – the Qliphoth – and the seals and sigils associated with them are of great benefit in the pursuit of gnosis. Music can be the ultimate ritualistic gateway; music has the power to take you to that grotesque, carven portal that leads to the world beyond. Music as bhakti can do that!
One important theme for this issue of Kaleidoscope is cultural awareness; the question about the importance to understand your own cultural roots and their role in your life. I think that with your life story you could be a right person to say a word or two about this topic. But first could you tell something about your life between Canada and Bangladesh and how have these two cultures affected to you?
– These are two very different places we are talking about here. Canada: developed, vast, wealthy, cold and ‘tolerant’, Bangladesh: poor, small, densely populated, hot and ‘conservative’.
– I do believe that Bangladesh still has some it’s own culture left – I won’t go into detail as to what those cultural traits are (you can Google that), but for one of the most populated regions on this shithole of a planet, there is still something of a ‘Bengali culture’. Does Canada even have its own culture? I don’t see how it could, since the foundation of this whole continent are immigrants from every corner of the world who are more interested in bringing their own customs across the border than to adapting to whatever has already been established.
– It is important to know where one comes from, and to have an awareness of the country one resides in. Aside from that, my interest in borders and heritage is quite non-existent.
So can you say that you even have your own culture, or does this become unimportant – maybe spiritual and Satanic belief and rituals have replaced it?
– At this point in my life things like culture and background are very uninteresting to me, except from a musical and religious standpoint. I am not some humanitarian, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there are people of high intelligence and intellect from all ethnic backgrounds, just as there are morons and idiots from all places. When it comes to social interactions of any sort I’m interested in the merit of the individual, not his/her people.
As you already hinted, you have seen places and people who live under the laws of very strict belief systems and religions. But can we say that this kind of a pressure can also create the strongest opposition? For example a black metal band in Iraq must be very strong in their belief while it’s easy to play black metal and shout – usually hollow – Satanic statements here in Finland…
– I don’t think it’s fair to generalize that just because a band is from Iraq or Bahrain or whatever, they must be 100% genuine in their conviction. Yes, logic does suggest that individuals who grow up around immense hostility and conflict will walk the talk, but this is a musical subculture we are talking about… a very watered down, mutilated and trendy musical sub-culture. Finnish or Iraqi, British or Chilean, Canadian or Bengali – my blade will be merciless and vehement upon ALL.
For me Weapon mixes different cultures and ways of evil together – like this Kali / Jesus duo on the cover of From the Devil’s Tomb – so it makes me think that maybe nationalities aren’t the most important element after all; maybe we can find the common ground from our spiritual point of view – for example Satanism as a new connecting factor?
– That’s the principle tenet of LHPY – Satanism as the ultimate connecting factor, connecting the dots and reaping the rewards.
– Weapon isn’t here as some wake-up call to some “patch-vested, bullet-belted infernal, satanic horde” or other such nonsense. We find that sort of mentality plebian at worst and juvenile at best. Crowley’s words are very applicable here – DO WHAT THOU WILT. Satan’s fire, nation, empire – is something that has to dwell inside of you, the SELF. All else is irrelevant. Jai Bhairava!