Monthly Archives: July 2013

HORROR THROUGH THE STAINED GLASS: NEGATIVE PLANE

We have reached the end of Kaleidoscope interviews. There’s no use to publish interviews from the issues 10-15 because they are still widely available, but fear not – I will kick this corpse onwards no matter what. That’s why I have dug up a few interviews I have made for the Finnish web media called Imperiumi during the last ten (?) years. Of course these interviews are in a Q&A format and the whole editing work was done only for the Finnish translations, but I guess you can get something from these texts. So not so brilliant and breath-taking than those journalistic gems of Kaleidoscope but worth of releasing, er?

The first pick is the interview with Negative Plane. As you all know, they released their second album called Stained Glass Revelations in 2011, and this piece of darkness lifted this US duo’s original black metal to even more original levels: ghastly guitars, rumbling drums, cries from the grave… to make it short, music from The Other Side.

Although Negative Plane has stayed more or less silent during the last two years – the only break was the split 7” with Rotting Christ – Nameless Void (guitars, vocals) has kept himself busy with his other band Occultation and also being some sort of a background man on Cultes Des Ghoule’s Henbane (another great album – check more here). But when do we get more Negative Plane? Soon I hope.

negativeplane_logo (published in Imperiumi.net in 2011)

I guess the one basic word is used quite often when people speak about your music: horror, or fear. Well, there’s nothing wrong with that; especially your latest album captures very murky and eerie feelings which aren’t from the shiny side of the street. So let’s talk about horror for a start. Does Negative Planes music create horror or is it born of horror, in your opinion?

– I’ve never actually heard anyone refer to our music as such, but it’s flattering to say the least. To answer this question, I think the music and lyrics are inspired by a lot of horror themes, but I also view Negative Plane’s music as a separate entity independent of its authors and it is certainly possible that it creates these themes as well as being inspired by them.

Of course the definition of horror in culture is quite varied nowadays: we have entertaining horror (b-grade movies etc.) but also real psychological horror which can be connected quite tightly to our everyday life. What kind of horror is your chosen flavour? Are you more interested in old stories (Edgar Allan Poe etc.) or real life mass murderers? Or are these maybe just different sides of the same coin – the dark side of the mind?

– I am interested in horror of all kinds, but the one I probably draw the most inspiration from is gothic horror. When I say gothic horror, I am referring to books like Melmoth the Wanderer and also the works of writers like Edgar Allen Poe which you mentioned above.  I do agree that you can find horror in different shapes and forms and in modern times as well, but there’s something within those 18th and 19th century stories that I feel a special connection to.

So what kind of things (music, movies, places, sounds, you name it!) send chills through your spine? Do you dodge situations of fear, or do you throw yourself to these situations to experience a catharsis?

– I have seen quite a lot of horror movies and read lots of books involving horror so I’m a little desensitized to certain things. However, I think a lot of the Japanese horror movies like Ringu and Ju-on still give me chills after repeated viewings of the films, since the Japanese seem to be masters at taking everyday settings and turning them into pure nightmare.  Also, there have been a few experiences in my life that have scared me so much that their memories are always lurking in the lower levels of my consciousness.  And they return when I least expect them to in my dreams and random flashes.  Regarding whether I avoid situations of fear, usually fear involves real danger being present so my natural instinct is to avoid a situation involving danger. However, sometimes I try to experience a situation involving fear so that way I can know it intimately and thus overcome it.

And talking about catharsis: is there ever a danger that you dive too deep into the world of horror and you can’t find your way back? History knows people who have lost their mind because of what they have experienced. I mean, we all know that if you stare long enough into the abyss, the abyss stares back…

– I think that there is definitely some kind of threshold that the human mind cannot cross and remain sane, and some things were not meant for us to comprehend. However, it’s hard to imagine making music that would cause me to reach that point, but I suppose that it’s possible, however unlikely for someone like myself.

Usually people say that if you fear something or feel yourself anxious, you are very responsive and ready to face any opposition. Without fear we couldn’t survive, like an animal trapped in a corner, a fear of death can make us superhumans and lift our instincts to another level. This idea gets me thinking about creating art: you have to bring yourself to the edge and feel yourself frightened in order to create something special and unique. Thoughts about this? 

– To be honest, I don’t ever think I was actually frightened while writing music especially since the individual parts of the songs by themselves are not very impressive. However, I think that when I tried certain combinations of riffs and sections began to come together I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome of the song as a whole. I do agree that with any creative endeavor you should definitely not take the safe route and that most of the great music that I can think of was somewhat of a risk at the time it was written.

One basic fear is the fear of death. Does this have a role in your life or in Negative Plane? Maybe music gives you tools to deal with this fear and become familiar with it? Or maybe we should always fear death, at least a little bit. Again, comments please!

– No one really knows what awaits us after we die, and whether it’s blissful oblivion or a fall into an endless abyss, the idea is terrifying if you think about it for long enough.  The idea of death has fascinated me ever since I was told what it was at a young age so it is only natural that I write about it with Negative Plane. I think music helps me keep the subject in my mind but it’s hard to say how I will handle my own death until it actually happens.

Horror is one sort of an emotion which creates a certain atmosphere, but when you start to write music for Negative Plane, do you begin from the atmosphere or the music (riffs etc.) itself? Or does it make a difference where you start from? Or does it matter what the process is like, if the end result fulfills your expectations? In Negative Plane, how important is the journey/the process for you, so to speak?

– When coming up with a song I usually start with a riff or a section and then build from there. Sometimes it’s hard to tell whether a part is atmospheric or not until it fits with another riff, but everything is written to be as dark and atmospheric as possible. The process really doesn’t matter to me as long as the end result is good.

How would you describe the emotional palette of your latest album, Stained Glass Revelations? There aren’t any rays of light piercing through the musical canvas, but is the world of Stained Glass Revelations totally dark in your opinion?                                      

– As much as I would like to say that, yes, it’s completely dark, I don’t believe absolutes exist in the physical world so I don’t feel that the music is totally dark.  I think the image of a stained glass window in a dimly lit chapel is the best possible way to describe the sound of our music and why the title of the album is so appropriate.

negativeplane_cover

One interesting thing in your music is that you manage to make weird and difficult/technical stuff sound very natural and flowing – it’s smooth complexity or something… One band made this back then, and I’m referring to Celtic Frost: their music was aggressive and attacking but still there were many things going on behind the curtains. So, how important for you is it to make technical material but not lose the natural flow of the music?

– As long the music sounds good I don’t care whether the music is extremely simple or complicated. Usually with more complex riffs, there’s less of a chance that the riff has been used by someone else already, but I never try to write a riff to be a technical. I personally can’t stand music that is technical just for the sake of being technical; there has to be some kind purpose to it. For me, the purpose of a complex riff is to keep the song interesting and maximize the atmosphere, and if it doesn’t serve that purpose there is no reason to use it in a song.

I would guess that these compositions take lots of time, but of course I might be wrong? You are not the most prolific band around but how much do you spend time to make things click?

– The music takes forever to compose and we spend years on an album before finalizing it. Most of the songs are already old by the time we record them. For example, Staring into the Abyss, A Church in Ruin, and The Chaos Before the Light were all written in 2003 but they weren’t recorded for the album until 2005 due to needing more material for the album still.  Sometimes we spend years trying to find just the right part to fit into one song as was the case with Angels of Veiled Bone, but I much prefer it this way as opposed to just putting out mediocre albums with disposable riffs and songs only partially thought out.

And in general, how big role does Negative Plane have in your life? Does it lurk in the back of your mind from day to day, or is it more like a certain mood you put on when you start to work with things connected to Negative Plane?

– The past ten years of my life have been based around Negative Plane and they will most likely continue to be based around it for a long time. Of course, just like most people I have to work at a regular job and do other mundane things in order to survive, and also now and then I take breaks from music in order to make sure I don’t get burned out. However, the vast majority of my free time involves Negative Plane and everything else associated with it and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Alright, let’s get back to our first theme, horror. It is easy to say that this is horror music, but how do you see this in Negative Planes music – which musical elements do include this horror factor, or should we just talk about the general atmosphere? I would say that the use of tempos is one thing – you don’t rush forward blindfolded and with full speed, but there is an element of slow torture in these sizzling drums, like a slow but still emotional twist of a knife in your guts. Any comments on this?

– I think that the music needs to be viewed as a whole instead of individual parts in order to properly see it for what it is. However, I can say that the reverb and the delay effects that we use significantly add to the atmosphere, since these are sounds that are naturally found in places like old tunnels and large cathedrals.  We also like the bass guitar to be very prominent and we add a chorus effect to it as well to give it a sort of low end shimmering sound. And while I am on the topic of effects, I would like to state once and for all that these effects were only intended to enhance the dark atmosphere and they were not added to give some sort of “psychedelic” or “surf rock” vibe to our music like everyone seems to think.

 I don’t want to analyze the lyrics of Stained Glass Revelations too much, but I sense the same growth in them: the tension tightens slowly and the crescendo waits until the last song. Did you have this kind of thoughts in your mind while writing the lyrics?

– I just fit the lyrics to the music of each song. The music builds up to the very end so it’s only fitting that the lyrics do the same thing.

Then again, for various reasons – the labyrinthine riffs, for one, the metaphor-filled lyrics, for second – the album doesn’t seem to follow an ordinary linear sort of curve. Rather, it goes to different directions all at once. It is the logical in the illogical, the wrong in the right, the life abloom in death. How important is it for you NOT to treat black metal as a museum piece?

– I think that if we ever reach the point that we start viewing it that way we should start doing something else. Modern black metal bands with boring high tremolo riffs and non-stop blast beats sound  a lot more stale to me than timeless albums like Beherit Drawing Down the Moon, Martyrium L.V.X. Occulta, Necromantia Crossing the Fiery Path , Master’s Hammer Ritual and Darkthrone Ablaze in the Northern Sky.  I am always trying to find a fresh approach to our music and the idea of black metal as a museum piece never even crosses my mind when working on music.

negativeplane_band
There are certainly many different ways to approach black metal, and one isn’t necessarily better than the other, but in my opinion there’s a certain extraordinary depth and complexity in the way you approach it. In your opinion, to what extent does the complexity of your music reflect the complexity of the ideas you want to portray conceptually/lyrically?

– I think the music is almost better at conveying the ideas than the lyrics are. There are certain ideas that I find it easier to articulate with music instead of words so I think it is very important to listen to what is happening within music instead of just reading the lyrics by themselves.

And in general, is storytelling a natural characteristic in you, or do you even consider your lyrics stories? Maybe a poem, a verbal still-life or a lyrical form of an apparition would be a better description?

– I don’t really view the lyrics as stories; they are more like guides for the music if that makes any sense. Each song is a journey and, like I said above, the music is what dictates what lyrics are  going to be about.

Horror is usually connected to our subconsciousness: a certain happening, form or detail can be a trigger that brings hidden and blocked nightmares back to the surface. Have you noticed that this has happened to you while writing lyrics/songs or playing them?

– Some lyrical inspiration has come from dreams, but so far I haven’t had any random flashes while writing or performing our music.

To conclude, I’ve got a question that’s a little more, well, out there… Horror can certainly spice up our lives, but then again, we might think that there’s more spirit and life in the remains of a mummified corpse than any modern interpretation of living. So what makes life worth living for you, at the end of the day?

– Music, the enjoyment of my current life and surroundings, and the knowledge that it’s not my time just yet.

THE CHOSEN THREE: JUNE 2013

20130707_214736

Already in June? Time flies when you have good time… And just when I mentioned in my last foreword that it’s so easy to find bands and albums for these The Chosen Three articles, I found it a bit difficult to fill this July’s trio. Well, the truth is that I haven’t purchased so many (good?) albums lately but invested in sausages, beer, malts etc. Metal is life but you have to eat and drink too sometimes, right?

summoning_old

SUMMONING: Old Mornings Dawn (Napalm Records 2013)

Usually when speaking of Summoning people are using words like “epic” and “symphonic”. But the band’s tools to achieve these words aren’t the most common ones. While other bands use orchestrations, synth layers over synth layers and classical spices, the duo Protector-Silenius trusts on echoes, field recordings and distant voices. Their style is majestic but same time harsh, more concrete than just imaginary hymns taken from a songbook of a fantasy world.

This element is present in their latest full-length too. Protector’s guitarwork is in a more visible and more important role, creating a web of ice storms and howling winds. And there are real riffs among the buzzing waves of noise, as The White Tower proves. Also the slow but pulsating rhythms are something that is unique in Summoning: already the real opener Flammifer uses almost oriental drum patterns to make its way through this wavy song.

To throw harsh critique, you could say that when Summoning tries to be really epic and symphonic (by using orchestrations etc.) they tend to be a bit plastic but in Old Mornings Dawn’s case these moments are few. This album is a monumental piece of ageless music, combining their latest albums’ nuances to an enjoyable amalgam.

And to not forget the most important thing: you can read a good Summoning interview from the latest Kaleidoscope.

The White Tower: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMQyeise1Ic

thevein_scouring

THE VEIN: Scouring the Wreckage of Time (Shadow Kingdom Records 2013)

I think Shadow Kingdom tried too much when marketing this as a unique “double EP” – actually this is just their debut demo Born into Grey Domains (re-recorded?) and a bunch of new songs. But these little tricks don’t take away the fact that this Danish band is a living time machine to the glory days of the nineties’ death/doom metal! Sounding miserable, heavy, dramatic and totally riff-oriented, The Vein proves that being nostalgic and almost cheesy isn’t always a bad thing.

So you get tons of good riffs, epic lead melodies, occasional synths and growls beyond the grave. Nothing totally unique (well hey, if we are talking about nostalgia how to be unique) but The Vein’s compositions are sharp and somehow they manage to make even crappy riffs sound good – actually the best part of this album is The Poisoned Chalice’s main riff which is very crappy!

Only blames go to a few aimless moments which don’t get you anywhere – maybe this is the cost of this “double EP” character or mixing old and new material together. Anyhow, if you have lived your puberty being miserable while listening to My Dying Bride, Pyogenesis etc. here is a chance to live those pretty moments again.

The Poisoned Chalice: http://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/track/the-poisoned-chalice

IMG_2407

witchcraft_logo

WITCHCRAFT

The year 2012 was a battle between two Swedish bands, at least for me. In one corner there was Witchcraft, a veteran heavy rock band which had existed from 2000 and released good albums like brilliant The Alchemist in 2007. In the second corner there was  Graveyard waiting, a seven year old “newcomer” who blasted its way to the fame with Hisingen Blues (2011), a perfectly hazy but still solid rock album. In 2012 Witchcraft released Legend, and Graveyard released Lights Out, and where the rookie could keep their haziness and good boogie, Witchcraft tried to be something else (=modern) and failed quite miserably. Okay, the production was the biggest flaw but it was enough: it distanced me from the songs themselves.

But lo! Things change: I witnessed Witchcraft in Provinssirock festival in June, and there was an intense and rocking band on stage. The new songs worked perfectly, and although it’s a bit obvious and shallow to compare Witchcraft to Black Sabbath, the band showed that they have same kind of variation and wit in their compositions as those legends from Birmingham. The songs worked, the band was in fire, and the main composer Magnus Perlander showed great stylistic wideness in his vocals (although you can say a word or two about his spastic/hysterical/agonized stage moves…).

I was sold, blown away, impressed. And when I got back from the festival, I listened to Legend again and I found the songs. Okay, all of ten songs aren’t perfect but there are enough hits to make this album a good one.

So this last place in this article goes to Witchcraft. Hell yeah!

Witchcraft in Provinssirock 2013: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RbyqoLcs2ko

METAL IN BLACK METAL: SATANIC WARMASTER

Last pick from issue #9 is Satanic Warmaster. Although this Finnish wolfpack didn’t fit totally this issue’s themes about cultural awareness, I found it interesting to see how Satanic Tyrant Werwolf thinks about his heritage. Also their latest album at that time, Nachzehrer, was interesting enough to raise many questions and opinions: walking on the triangle edge of aggression, Finnish melancholy and the legacy of the raw first strike of Norwegian black metal, this album was a good follower to Carelian Satanist Madness.

But what next? Three years have passed, and during this time S.T. Werwolf has treated us with a primitive 7″ trilogy. However, the next album will be – again – totally something else – “It is going to fuck many of you up”, as the Meister himself puts it. You can have a sneak peek behind this link while you’re reading where Satanic Warmaster was standing in 2010.

sw_logo

(originally published in Kaleidoscope #9 2010)

Warmaster returns… It’s quite surprising to notice that five long years have passed since Satanic Warmaster’s previous full-length Satanic Carelian Madness, which still visits my record player regularly. It feels that herr Satanic Tyrant Werwolf hasn’t been in the shadows after all – maybe the reason for this can be found from those numerous news articles and problems with the all too sensitive Antifa groups which have always been where Satanic Warmaster has played and spread its strong and controversial propaganda. Through albums or live performances, there is some kind of ageless fire burning in Satanic Warmaster’s aura, and therefore years can’t lay their dust on it.

 And if this new album, Nachzehrer, doesn’t contain such lyrical embers like SCM’s My Dreams of 8, it surely keeps Satanic Warmaster on the map of black metal with its raw and emotional offerings. This album is like a gathering of all the relevant elements in raw true black metal; be it the berserk rage from South America or the freezing grandeur of Norwegian legends. It’s the whole legacy of black metal that has been given to Satanic Tyrant Werwolf, who has chewed and brooded it and now gives it back to us in a traditional but striking form.

 As said, a lot of time has passed since Satanic Carelian Madness, but as we all know, Satanic Tyrant Werwolf hasn’t just sat in his chair during these years but there has been action on many fronts. But let’s concentrate on Satanic Warmaster – how have these years gone by from Satanic Tyrant Werwolf’s view?

– Those five years that passed since the release of Carelian Satanist Madness have been, as they always have been, a struggle to rejuvenate my art and creation to make it worthy of existing in the first place. Most of the material that came out under the banner of Satanic Warmaster during those five years was more or less old material, and on those approximately ten releases there were only perhaps a half a dozen new songs. I was considering and rewriting a lot of material that was meant to be on Nachzehrer, which was even left off from C.S.M. because of various reasons, and also some material was still left unreleased, because of not fitting the atmosphere or the concept or other reasons important only to myself to be honest. Looking at the overload of useless “black” metal that the “underground” is pushing out like a leaking abscess it was more than justified to prepare Nachzehrer for that half of a decade.

As you mentioned, these years haven’t been barren release-wise – Satanic Warmaster has shared space on vinyl with many bands. How have all these split releases affected your music? Maybe you have learned a lesson or two?

– Yes, I’ve learned enough to be even more selective when it comes to split releases in the future.

Although this interview will concentrate on Satanic Warmaster mostly, I’d like to ask the effect of these other projects on SW (no names needed, you know if you know) – do you keep these separate from Satanic Warmaster, or do you just let the ideas and riffs feed each of these other projects?

– I’ve been trying to make it extremely clear that I want all my musical creations to stand on their own – there is no justification for a musical creation of a different nature to be acknowledged just because of “someone’s” participation. Of course between my black metal projects there are some similar influences, but conceptually I still make very clear separation (at least for myself).

So, now Satanic Warmaster has returned, and your new album, too, is some sort of a return to the old days of black metal. Or could we say that you have returned to the old – maybe your music has always existed in the “old” realm?

– I have always sought for something new in the past, and never in the future as the only thing that will surely meet expectations in the future are the gates of the majesty death. I see myself as a lonesome creature wandering an old forest night after another, and always discovering something that wasn’t there the night before. The nature doesn’t change much in its basic essence during a man’s lifetime, and neither does my creation. Even in the bark of the most aged tree there can be found patterns never seen before.

 

sw_live

When I read through the lyrics of Warmaster Returns for example, I get a feeling that you’re fed up with all the multileveled tricksters and pseudo-intellectualism and now you’re back with a vengeance and a clear message. So do you think that the black metal scene has recently alienated itself from the essence of black metal, and if so, why has it happened?

– What can you expect from a mass of people who (at best) took their “ideologies” straight from the aesthetics of the music that was only something that was able to light an ember to seek out something hidden? Black metal has become trivialized by people who have no interest in it other than musically, and people who think they have something to contribute to it have even further perverted the unchained spirit of black metal with their “subgenres” which almost without an exception have nothing to do with the satanic essence that used to be the only vague factor that defined black metal. The underground has become a disgusting business opportunity for many, who then again inflate the value of the music with undeserving bands being released, sold cheap and repeated a million times to ensure there will not be a generation of bands who actually would have to work for their CD deals or who would learn how to craft their music and present it on their own to get acknowledged, and follow the path of creating a destiny for yourself.

I also think that primitive and very brutal songs like Vampires and Bestial Darkness could be taken as statements musically – how would you comment the role of these songs on your new album?

– I sought to incorporate something much more morbid and wolfish in my music, and through acknowledging more certain influences and attitudes I reached levels of power I had not explored before. There was a much more intense aura of darkness around bands like Necrodeath, Morbid, Tormentor (Hun), Treblinka, Sarcofago, Parabellum and Exterminator than many who are more widely considered to be musical paragons of most bands existing now. In a certain sense it was also simply to re-emphasize the fact that black metal to me is also, to a high extent, METAL.  Black metal still isn’t some artistic crossover platform for any random hippie faggot to mess with.

Besides these aggressive and raw elements I find lots of Norwegian influences here and there – echoed shrieks similar to Forgotten Woods, Emperor-like fast riffing etc. Well, you have been addicted to Norwegian black metal already in your early years, but how do you see these legendary bands and albums and the whole phenomenon today?

– It has been also a part of my personal development as a person to learn the hard way that the only truth you can find in black metal’s aesthetics and spirit is the illusion and the flame it enlightens within yourself. Nothing is more certain that the actual reality behind all that can guide your mind into beyond is still just reality, and can never meet the expectations the visions the music can create in you. Yet, it is my choice not to let things like these diminish the feelings I experience.

– It is a known fact that most the bands that created those brilliant albums in the early/mid ‘90s in Norway weren’t so deep into what they preached and/or were corrupted and evolved into musical directions that were nothing alike their early works anymore. Still, despite the obvious disappointments it might have caused a decade ago, it doesn’t matter, as we all create our own reality and to me matters only the illusion and visions of something that no music business can ever corrupt. I’ve been listening lately to albums such as The Shadowthrone and Nemesis Divina by Satyricon, In Times Before the Light by Covenant, Born of the Flickering by Old Man’s Child, Kronet Till Konge by Dodheimsgard etc. and I must say some of these albums turn out to be even better now than they were when they were released, when compared to the mass of inane crap that gets released now.

sw_cover

Although many good bands and quality releases were coming from Finland during the early 90’s, Finland was overstepped by Norway somehow. You weren’t there to witness the progress of Finnish black metal back then, but do you have any idea why black metal didn’t grow into such a powerful and notorious movement in Finland as it did in Norway?

– I don’t know if there’s much point in speculating the reasons why the first guard of Finnish black metal didn’t create similar hype around itself as the bands from Norway did. Still the reasons are evident: The first generation bands from Finland, no matter how great they were musically, did not identify themselves by anything more than being a step towards darkness compared to the dominant death metal scene, whereas the Norwegian/Swedish/Polish bands took the most visible step away from being just a music scene to be synonymous to utterly evil and Satanic behaviour through fire, death and hostility.

– When I became more profoundly initiated by the mid ‘90s, things started to escalate in terms of black metal terror in Finland as well. Those things never gained such attention in the eyes of the wider public or music media, but for me there was (and still is) similar mayhemic force to Finnish black metal, as we all saw with the persecution of death (read: life) metal wimps, grave desecration, church arson (attempts) and even in some occasions suicide and homicide. Also bands like Azazel, Wanderer, Vornat, Nidhoggr, (Sigillum) Diaboli, Thy Serpent, Darkwoods My Betrothed, Wintermoon, Curse etc. might not have been the most acknowledged ones in the underground when they emerged, but they still had an impact on people, and I still consider their works to be important, even though they’re now forgotten by many.

On the other hand it seems that Finland didn’t go through depreciation in this: black metal and the old kings have become media’s pets in Norway nowadays, and only a few bands have kept their integrity and seriousness – a terrifying beast has been turned into a circus bear. Finland has kept its edge, be it even old bands (Impaled Nazarene, Beherit). Comments?

– As said before, the attention Norwegian Black Metal gained at its peak also attracted opportunists (just as it still does), and was bound to corrupt the whole magickal scape there used to be around many of the bands.  There is no doubt about the fact that most of their integrity is gone. It’s true that f.ex. the mentioned Finnish bands have kept their act much better together, even though Beherit was gone for many years, but still did a fairly convincing return. I must say I hail Impaled Nazarene for taking their own nihilistic path and keeping it true the way it was meant to be.

At the same time a legion of bands strongly connected together has spawned from the Finnish soil, bands like Behexen, Sargeist, Baptism, Horna and of course Satanic Warmaster. For an outsider there are obvious differences between these bands but a clear common ground is also shared, be it music or views. How would you describe this “movement” and its ideology (if there even is any)?

– I wouldn’t speak of a “movement” or a common ideology as I hardly think there exists any in that sense.

Satanic Warmaster has declared its national pride many times, but how Finnish is your creation in your opinion? Or is this national awareness only an interphase, and the pagan roots can be found deeper?

– As much as I acknowledge the soil my roots are in and the lineage I come from, I guess you can also refer to some certain statements where I would’ve declared my “national pride” as I hardly recall any? What straightforward pride is there to take for a nation that prioritizes everything but its own sons and daughters than its own survival? Yet, I was given this land half a millenium ago, and cherish it as my own and don’t want to see it destroyed by the corrupt ways of the modern world.

Are you interested in Finnish culture/literature/mythology in general?

– The gods that live in the tales of the “Finnish” samoyedic people are not the gods of my blood.

How about Finnish touch and tone in Satanic Warmaster’s music and lyrics – for example I could find When Eternity Awaits somehow Finnish-sounding, or are we talking about more personal and universal melancholy here?

– I wouldn’t see Satanic Warmaster as anything that is “Finnish” essence, firstly because of the obvious distance I have taken from the Finnish “culture” as most people see it, and also for the fact that I feel that all the emotions I channel into my music are much more primal and originate from things buried much deeper within my heart and blood than this country. For me, there exists a much deeper emotion for Where Eternity Awaits than some melancholy which could be superficially labeled as something that would be inherent for “Finns”. This song is like a long spiritual stare into a snowfall, a vision that travels deeper and deeper into the night for hours, in search for the final silent throne. Almost like a reflection of life itself.

This melancholic side of Satanic Warmaster goes quite well with the aggressive and war-like side. Do you try to find opposites this way, or do they play together as the different sides of the same emotional coin?

– Contrast is one of the most crucial aspects of that which constitutes us and drives us to be what we’re meant to be. Without contrast, there is no motion that would shape us into a direction our will and dreams push us to. Anxiety and terror walk hand in hand with strife, and the more you feast on blood, the more hungry you become, and thus the cycle continues on an on. Only for people not being able to even understand their own emotions and actions, strong contrasts like the self-evident truths like the ability/necessity to feel immense joy in a life of anguish and hostility are never unveiled.

sw_forest

But back to the culture… The usual paradigm is to perceive that there is a common source for Western culture, which is based on different pagan myths and beliefs. Do you believe that the cultural branches of Scandinavia, Greece, Germany etc. have sprung from the same trunk and this could also be a fertile ground for the new world order?

– The archetypes that were presented under various names and faces are what is one of the most vital things for the European tribes. Unlike those who never had the need to evolve and to look into the future to survive, we were given gods that would reflect what we were as men. Not only creative, but also destructive. Not only kind, but also cruel. Not only fair, but also abhorrent. All that we are now as well. Once we return back into a tribal state, the horns and the runes shall return to guide us.

Besides melancholy, war has also been one strong theme in Satanic Warmaster from the very start, for example you shouted your rage over the world with Raging Winter about ten years ago. But how has the world changed and how have your views on war changed in all these years?

– The reality and necessity of conflict has been in my blood for hundreds of years already, and I am not here to change something that has forged the men of my family into what we are now. My ancestors were given their land for the virtues in war, and so did my grandfather give me a much deeper insight on war he and his coevals fought to keep what was theirs. The nature of the conflict always changes, and it is certain, that the next one we will fight will be on our own streets, against those who love the world rather than those they should be taking care of. I felt the same ten years ago, and if anything, I feel even stronger about that now as I have more to defend than back then.

“I don’t want to change the world, and I don’t want the world to change me”, sang Ozzy back in the day. What is the situation with you, are you here to change the world with your music, and if the answer is yes, do you think there has been any progression?

– In a very small scale, I guess you could say that I’ve made an impact with my music, but I’ve learned the hard way to build any imaginary schemes of a future that would be different only because of the art I’ve created.

How about you personally, do you still think you’re the same guy you were ten years earlier – what has remained, and what has changed the most (as a musician and as a person)?

– I am not the same person I was last week, so sure as fuck I am not the same person I was ten years ago. I might not be the right person to say anything about this… You tell me?

Well, maybe this question will be answered some other time, and we can conclude this loooong talk with a look into the future… Nachzehrer is out, and another chapter – again more complete and confident than the other chapters – starts to live its life. Do you think that you have achieved a stable state with Satanic Warmaster, or is transforming an obligatory factor in your music?

– As I’ve always done, I will lay down the S.W. banner unless I am able to rejuvenate its spirit over and over again and to see a point in its existence. If I’d reach a “stable state”, there would be no reason to continue any more, as the hunt for something new and the secrets to be found would have no driving force anymore. I have no need to continue something in which could be superseded by something completely new.