Monthly Archives: September 2013

THROUGH THE CURRENTS OF EVOLUTION: ACHERONTAS

Acherontas has really been active during the last years. We were about to recover from the impact of Vamachara (2011) but now these Greeks are kicking our esoteric butts again with split albums and this year’s Amenti full-length. However, I’m quite surprised that I haven’t checked this latest offering yet, because Vamachara was a stellar piece of work (and one of my favourites from that year): quite traditional black metal but still veiled with mysticism and a strong aura of magick and incenses. Actually the trick was to make music that it’s so traditional that it sounds original – if you get my point.

But this interview… Well, I guess there was a language barrier between us so please forgive the “too mystic” vibe of this conversation. Or then I’m just not deep enough in the dark arts than I thought to be. Still, this all indicates how penetrating the world of Acherontas is.

Before the actual interview, here’s a sneak peek to the current situation of Acherontas. If progression is one of the key elements of Acherontas, what kind of a step is Amenti? A fresh answer from Acherontas V. Priest:

   – The lack of evolution is regarded as stagnation for us. A form of Death. Every step we take with our creations in musical and spiritual level is a very important goal that we set and strive to succeed. Every work of Acherontas is an expression of Esotericism. Thus, Amenti was a step deeper and closer to the very quintessence of our art and spirituality. We are most satisfied with the musical and philosophical work that took place and manifested through the final result of Amenti. It was a challenge for us or better, a test of will to manage and ”give flesh” to our spiritual experience through art… We never create without the need of expression of our inner void… Our mission is one and clear for those with eyes to see behind the veil of matter…

   – The upcoming album is entitled Amenti. By this name we wanted to charge the release with the vibrations of a glorious Egyptian symbolism , to denote the route of the work and reveal one more element of the coven’s quintessence. The Halls of Amenti were a vortex of unlimited energy according to the Papyrus of Ani , the center of the world. A place of judgement and deliverance.

   – The Drakkonian Force reigns supreme to offer to those with the potential a touch of initiation in her waters.. The catacombs bare a strong symbolism, the great spiritual ascension, the forging of a God. The halls are judging, allowing only to those spiritually ascended to proceed and unite with the omniscience of the Ancient Gods. Within this meaning we can find the essence of Amenti, as this album crowned an ascension for the coven and a huge step, a passage to a higher level which is baptized and celebrated with this opus of musical, lyrical and philosophical work. I will reveal no more though, as this album should be regarded as a journey that the listener should make and discover the essence of the album, to dive into the Stygian waters and witness the mysteries. The halls of Amenti are now open for Those of the Blood… A call for the Individual to be Initiated or a poison to the ignorant.

acherontas_logo(originally published in Imperiumi.net 2011)

So, Acherontas V. Priest, your latest album is called Vamachara, which can be translated as ”a left hand path”. What kind of a step is this new album on your own path? Are you achieving some goals already with this full-length, or are there still many miles to go?

– The creation of an Acherontas album is a rather spiritual process. It is a creation evolving from raw fragments which mature as it is being fed with our own poison.  The first step into the Abyss was to establish the lyrical concept and the Acausal Current upon which Vamachara with emerge from. Then we gave a skeletal form to the album with the addition of the sonic element, to emerge its dissolving beingness after the production was completed. An Offering to the Dark Gods! Evolution is very important for us in our lives in all the ways..

Acherontas’ lyrics always get me thinking about the differences between poetry and sermons. How much of your writings are pure liturgies of magick and how much your own personal views and figments of the imagination?

– Imagination has strong links with magical activities, but our lyrics are not based in theory. Theory without practice is nothing. The philosophical background of Acherontas deals with our experience in sorcery.

Well, at least there have been many different gods mentioned in Acherontas’ lyrics during these years. Do you see them as separate entities or are they just embodiments of the same force and power? And what could this power be?

– Our philosophy deals with the Draconian current. Many archetypes and forces are mentioned in our lyrics.

– Occultism for us is the knowledge, the weapon and the Way to uncover the “Higher Self”, to become vessels of Acausal Drakkonian energy. We, as separate individuals, explore occultism in a different way since the whole alchemical advancement differs among practitioners as the elements differ from each other. Whereas when it comes to Acherontas we all unify into one; one All-consuming  Δρακονιαν flame!

If you think about yourself, what is your and your band’s role in this big scheme? Is Acherontas a vessel or a gate for magickal powers, or do you understand yourselves as more independent actors? I guess Acherontas isn’t “just a band” which makes “just good music”, right?

– Right. As I explain before the members of Acherontas are vessels of Acausal Drakkonian energy…  Our music is a gate for some…. We are real to those with eyes to see… We open links to higher levels for individuals with the potential to embrace the serpent divinity.

acherontas_band

But how well does (black) metal serve these themes and purposes? What are the similarities between the music of Acherontas and occultism in the case of Vamachara for example?

Vamachara streches back to the buried past, regressing back when the female archetype was worshipped through the Cult of Vama, the falsely so-called excremental, cast-out, leftovers of spiritual practice, labeled as such by unaccomplished followers of the Solar Gods. The lunar waters shall possess the Soul essence with the blood current of Immortality, pushing the Adept towards self excellence through the imbibition of the nectar of Salvation that is Amrita, through ordeals of black Al-Khemy. The vultures on infertile grounds of the desert cry LA ILAHA ILA ANA, and you shall kneel to drink from the cup of the fornications of the priestess-either dust or Fire. Enter the Womb of the Black Moon and be reborn… Let the feathers of Abraxas reflect the function of Samsara.

Vamachara is a very strong album in my opinion. It isn’t the most original album but maybe this is its strength: it bows to the canon of black metal (especially the early nineties’ era) and uses old tricks effectively. Everything flows naturally and every note is in a right place. I guess the originality isn’t the main thing to you, and you are making music that is coming naturally from you, but how aware are you of the music that exists already and you have listened / are listening?

– We create only when we feel the need to express our thoughts and experience through our art… So when purity is the law of creation then you can create something original straight through your soul. Black metal is art. When you are true with yourself, then only art you can create.

One difference between the old albums of Acherontas and Vamachara is that the music and its spices are drifting away from its Greek roots, in my opinion at least. Is there any “Greek factor” in your music (what for example Kawir uses very strong)? And how about Greek gods or pagan rituals, do they have any room in Acherontas?

– Every release of Acherontas as you see has many systems of magick and concept behind. There are no limits in spirituality. In past I was into rune magick and paganism to explore some sides of this system. I don’t know if in future I will write something under a pagan view… It depends from what I practice each period. I am studying the ancient Greek religion till now. There is strong philosophy behind it. I believe ancient Greece and Sumerians were the source of all…

And like said before, the album is like a sermon or a mass, so how would you describe Vamachara’s structure (a song order etc.) from this point of a view? Is it telling a story or is it more like a journey or something else?

– It is a dream-like experience…

I guess everybody has noticed that this is the fifteenth year of Acherontas. The compilation called 15 Years Anniversary of Left Hand Path Esoterica was released and you mention this 15 years anniversary also in the booklet of Vamachara. Why is this so important thing to you? It is the number or this specific moment?

– A feast of our existence – nothing more, nothing less…

If you look back now, what have been the highest peaks and the darkest moments of despair in Acherontas’ career? Have you risen higher and higher with every step, or has the ride been bumpier, so to speak?

– I think evolution is our goal. Many difficult states we had passed but all are experiences. Everything in life, even good or bad, depends from the side you see it. Even the most worst experiences – if you embrace them as a challenge and not as a problem then you will get stronger.

And if you think yourself as a person, has your own spiritual growth gone hand in hand with Acherontas? How much Acherontas is you and vice versa?

– There is an invisible web that unites all our experiences in microcosmos outside to macrocosmos… Evolution inside brings challenges and exaltation in all the ways of your living. From Yesod to Malkuth, from Malkuth to Yesod… As above so below my friend…

So this is the end… Let’s close this interview with a high-flying question – if Acherontas ended its path today, how would you like to people to remember Acherontas? What would be written in Acherontas’ obituary?

– Very interesting question! As a link to the astral plane… Our music is not just music for entertainment, but a bridge to connect your ego with your higher self…

acherontas_pic

THE CHOSEN THREE: AUGUST 2013

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This time I use my magical editorial skills and give you a glimpse from the future: three coming releases that I have been listening beforehand as promos. Great things on the horizon… Like this latest issue of Kaleidoscope, sweet sixteen it is, out now already… How about a mish-mash consisting of Danava’s heavy rock, Excalibur’s vintage heavy metal, Horna’s raw Finnish black metal, S’s avant-garde clarinet-oriented art experiments and White Medal’s heathen black metal? Yeah, everything is possible in Kaleidoscope! Buy it!

gehenna_unravel

GEHENNA: Unravel (Indie Recordings 2013)

Gehenna is one of the black metal veterans who have managed to change their style successfully. From the synth-oriented and bombastic black metal of the mid-nineties to the more straight-forward, colder and aggressive punishment, Gehenna has delivered goods every time (okay, Murder was a bit so-so). That’s why it was disappointing to see how the veils of darkness (eh) and silence fell over the band after raging WW (2005), but now Dolgar and Sanrabb are here again to raise the flames.

If WW was like a vision of merciless and blasting war, now we are standing on the grave. The first track is like Neurosis playing black metal: slow, hard and grievous, with Sanrabb’s vocals more hollow than before. Unravel has still blastbeats and aggressive elements but even these are shown in a stale light. Someone could say that Unravel is a boring album but I say that it takes guts to make music like this: no compromises, just simple and primitive bludgeon but not falling into the pathetic “necro” try-hard scene. Actually the production is very plain, without any tricks played. Just the riffs, the songs, the atmosphere – it’s enough. The same careless attitude shows in song titles too, mainly in Nothing Deserves Worship.

What else to say? Unravel’s power is in its simplistic nature: simple riffs, simple drum beats, no any gimmicks (albeit the perfectly timed organ in End Ritual) – this band knows what they’re doing and they do it well.

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THE RUINS OF BEVERAST: Blood Vaults – The Blazing Gospel of Heinrich Kramer (Ván Records 2013)

Is it exaggerating to say that The Ruins Of Beverast has created the style of its own? Monolithic, epic, church-like (you know what I mean) black metal that works well both in slow rumblings and fast attacks, riffs that don’t seem to get you anywhere but still they are building spirals and towers around you… During ten years of existence, Alexander von Meilenwald, the sole member of this band, has showed his talent, and Blood Vaults doesn’t leave you cold either. Mainly breathless.

Again, the songs are massive and long, and the charm lies in slow, repetitive parts that are closer to doom/death metal than black metal. If you spotted that My Dying Bride cover song on Enchanted on Gravemould compilation, you know what to expect. Drum patterns weave their own web, and riffs are floating everywhere hypnotically. Choirs, background voices and echoing vocals create an image of mass where every twisted truth is shouted loud. The Ruins Of Beverast also shines in one thing that I’m always craving for: the quiet parts are really quiet and tranquil but still they hide a seed of ugly things to come.

So Blood Vaults is an album of extremities, and all the parts play well together. It takes time and concentration to dive deep into the world of Meilenwald, but when you reach it, you don’t want to leave.

But was the creative process  of Blood Vaults empowering or destructive for von Meilenwald?

   – It was like it always is, creating music is the most empowering AND destructive process I am able to imagine. Music with a soul and spirit always has a destructive intention, it’s a life essence, it is music’s blood. And the more I have the feeling that a creation of mine can cause collapses, the more empowering that is. But that is something natural and something which I feel since I started TROB, and nothing I detected during the Blood Vaults period.
 
   – The process of creating Blood Vaults is tightly connected to the intensive studies on the Malleus Maleficarum. And despite being a sarcastic mockery, the lyrics – that is the perception of Kramer’s ideas and their transferring into TROBesque lyrics – made me learn a lot about fears, animosities and secrets of the psyche during the medieval isolation, which I take as an enormous enrichment for my way of thinking. Might sound a bit pathetic, but still every TROB-album requires an in-depth occupation with obscure “marginal” issues that have a lot in store for me, for TROB.

Malefica: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtkiAfB1oLk

twilightofthegods_fire

TWILIGHT OF THE GODS: Fire on the Mountain (Season Of Mist Records 2013)

Let’s face it: everybody wants to play heavy metal in some point of their life. Now the time has come for members of Einherjer, Primordial, Aura Noir et cetera, so Twilight Of The Gods has risen. As many of you already know, this outfit started as a Bathory tribute band but now they are heading more to the shores of traditional heavy metal. Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Manowar… you know.

Luckily we are not talking about faceless and irrelevant heavy metal idiotism here. The songs on this debut album are enjoyable slow and heavy, although the almost mandatory faster beats burst out now and then. This is pure heavy metal feast: you can raise your hand and glass, pump the air and shout to the night – but still there is a darker and bitterer taste in your ale. Maybe it’s the recognizable voice of Alan Averill Nemtheanga that adds that more serious shade into everything – even while singing about metal phalluses and sons of hammer.

And that Bathory factor? Well, it lies there, in these epic and slow moments that are dragging themselves through the mountains and battles. Also honesty is what both Quorthon and the guys of Twilight Of The Gods share. It’s justified to argue if Twilight Of The Gods is playing too safe with these simple riffs and solutions, but so what – heavy metal is simple, it doesn’t need anything else than flames, spirit and attitude, and Fire on the Mountain can deliver those essential components very well.

The title track, kicks like a war drum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HmtBeUA8cTA