ALIVE AND STINKING: DEATH BREATH

Death Breath, where are you? Is Scott Carlsson having too fun with those Repulsion gigs? Or is Imperial State Electric making so much money that Nicke Andersson has abandoned death metal (again!)? Or is this zombie just hibernating, ready to strike when we expect it least? Well, the reason can be this or that or maybe there aren’t any reasons to this season of silence, but this Swedish band’s debut Stinking Up the Night was an impressive effort in 2006. Retro – yes, but who cares if you get such rotting, rolling and stinking death metal as this album offers. Robert Pehrsson (guitars, vocals) wasn’t a man of many ,many, many words in this old interview, but I hope you find it a good read nevertheless.

deathbreath_logo(published in Imperiumi.net in 2007)

Well, let’s start from the recent news, which can be described – as on your homepage – as good and bad. First the bad ones: you lost your bass player Magnus Hedquist – how did this happen? You have found a replacement, right?

– We haven’t been searching really. In the studio Nicke can do the bass, that’s how we’re it doing now. And live we’ll have Scott Carlsson anytime when it’s possible. That’s where we are right now and that will work just fine.

And then the good news: you had your first gig some time ago. Could you tell some general feelings about it? Did all go well? Did you get those two other vocal musketeers (Scott Carlsson and Jörgen Sandström) to perform live also?

– Yeah, I was really blown away by the response, we had Scott coming over here to Sweden rehearsing for a week and we had Erik Wallin from Merciless/Harms Way on second guitar. It all worked really well. Jörgen came up and did two songs with us also, and he was superb of course.

What kind of set list did you have? Did you fill the list with some cover songs or was it enough to play songs from your debut album? If there weren’t any covers, what would be suitable songs for Death Breath and why?

– I guess we could have done only originals, but did a bunch of covers, ‘cause we think it’s fun and we like the songs. Here’s the set list:

Death Breath

Chopping Spree

Bodily Dismemberment (Repulsion)

Dragged through the Mud

Coffins of the Unembalmed Dead

Reduced to Ashes

Circle of the Tyrants (Celtic Frost)

Heading for Decapitation (w. Jörgen)

A Morbid Mind (w. Jörgen)

Lycantrophy (GBH)

Maimed and Slaughtered (Discharge)

Black Breath (Repulsion)

Christ All Fucking Mighty

Sacrifice (Bathory)

Well, then to your debut album Stinking Up the Night, which has been one of the year’s best albums for many, although the feelings were quite sceptical at first. So, I guess this kind of fame has been a big thing and an act of power to you?

– We did the album ‘cause we wanted to and didn’t think about expectations and such at all really. I was more concerned with just doing the best I can and that I would be proud of what we achieved at the end. And I am. Everything after that is a big bonus to me, and I’m very happy to see people digging it!

Could you describe how were the first, primal feelings when you were starting to nail down to those songs? Did you start from your old favourites, or from pure booze-laden hatred or just from 100% having fun? In the case of some songs like Dragged through the Mud you don’t have to dig the influences very deep (Autopsyyyy!!!), so there is a spirit of tribute present sometimes…

– We just wanted do a pure death metal album the way we like it. The songs aren’t very different from our first demos to what ended up on the album, that’s just the way we write for Death Breath so that wasn’t hard at all.  I draw influences from those old favourites that I always liked the best. I couldn’t really do it in another way to tell the truth.

Well, in my opinion you got covered quite well all the aspects that are important in death metal. I especially like those humorous moments in lyrics, Chopping Spree and Heading for Decapitation being the best examples. Death metal is not so serious thing to you, right? Does this sense of humour shine also in music (I can feel some ridiculously overflowing massiveness in Cthulhu Fhtagn!…)?

– Thanks! We’re a 100% serious with the band, but of course we want to have some humour in there. I also think some people mistake a good rhyme with humour sometimes.

On the other hand you attack on God in Christ All Fucking Mighty. Does Death Breath have still some serious message? Should the lyrics of that song be read in a Satanic way or as a burst of basic Christ-mocking anger?

– That one is Nicke’s lyric, but I would go for what you mention last.

I had a chat with Repugnant guys some years ago and they said that echo and rhymes are the most Satanic things in death metal. Well, you have at least that latter part in aces, so are you Satanic? What else does make death metal so harsh and gruesome in your opinion?

– They got a good point there. We have to have more echo on the next album! We like it simple and raw, no point in overdoing things.

And just keeping things in Satan: do you think that all extreme metal music has that Satanic vibe naturally, or is this all just result of that trio from Newcastle (Venom) and one hockey-crazy Swede (Bathory)?

– No not really, I’m not the one to say what’s evil or not. Bathory sounds evil to me, but I don’t think Quorthon was the least bit evil in person.

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One speciality in Stinking Up the Night is that aforementioned vocal threesome of Sandström, Carlsson and yourself. How did you share those songs together? And why didn’t Nicke (known of his great performance in Entombed’s Clandestine) join to you vocal orgies? 

– We discussed early on to have a couple of different screamers. We liked Scott’s and Jörgen’s work a lot so we decided to ask them. I think it makes the record better, and it’s a lot of fun working with them. Nicke did try it a few times but couldn’t get the sound right this time around. It was quite easy to hear whitch song suited Jörgen’s, Scott’s or my style the best in the studio.

In my opinion Jörgen has the toughest throat in this album. Was he like possessed in the studio or how did he manage to make those unholy guttural noises?

– He’s just being Jörgen. It comes natural to him.

How it was to work with Nicke? Did you write those songs separately and just gather for the studio sessions, or were there a deeper connection between you two?

– It’s really easy to work with him, he’s got lots of talent and has a lot of experience in every department. As soon as we had decided to do the album we immediately started writing songs, recording them at our home studios and then exchanged them when we met up. Some of the stuff we wrote together, just sitting down with guitars as usual.

People are talking about Death Breath as Nicke’s band but the things aren’t like this. Does it get on your nerves or are you all right with this?

– I’m all right with that, we both knew that would be the case he’s being so much more well-known than me. People who get the record will know there are two brains behind the band.

So, let’s turn the limelight to you then, heh! Tell something about your metal history. What was your first connection to metal music? When did you discover death metal and what were your first thought about it? Maybe Entombed/Nihilist was one of your heroes back then?

– On this record I got to work with a lot of my old heroes. Nicke, Scott, Jörgen and Fred (Estby from Dismember, producer on this one -ed.) are all from bands that I discovered and liked really early on so that is a blast for me no doubt. I went from bands as AC/DC, Maiden, Motörhead, Priest, Kiss etc. to thrash such as Sodom, Kreator and Metallica. Then I think one of the first really brutal bands I heard was Bathory, I immediately bought the record.  A long time ago I was in bands such as Masticator, Runemagick and Deathwitch.

Metal Archives says that Masticator was your first band and you released a demo tape in 1991. Can you recall those feelings having your own (death metal) band, doing that first demo tape etc.? Have you found some of those feelings again through Death Breath?

– Absolutely, I remember it like yesterday. Heavy, thrash, death and black metal were the reasons I picked up a guitar. I never stopped listening to death metal, I just stopped looking for new bands at some point. I have been returning to my old records all the time through the years. I love doing this again with Death Breath, I just never found anyone to do it with in the last couple of years.

Although you had your own role in Deathwitch and Runemagick, you dropped your metal armour and headed to Thunder Express to play some garage rock in 2004. Did you fed up with death metal or what happened? I guess you didn’t turn your back to death metal completely? What else have you done during these years in the music scene?

– I think I answered some of this in the question above. I moved to Stockholm and had started to not only listen to metal and wanted to do something else. I’ve been in a couple of rock bands here since then. Tomahawk, The Preachermen, Wrecks and now Thunder Express. I also write things on my own recording that whenever I have the time.

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And now straight to this moment. Death Breath is alive and kicking, and although couple of the greatest newer Swedish death metal bands (Repugnant and Kaamos, I guess you have heard of them!) have disbanded, good ol’ Dismember, Grave, Unleashed and of course Entombed are raging like 15 years earlier. But what new things will Death Breath give to death metal audience?

– We’ll supply a good healthy death metal injection in the old spirit.

And what about today’s scene, what do you think about it? In my opinion people have become speedfreaks and they just making blastbeats just for speed’s sake and they have forgotten chaotic, slimy atmosphere of Autopsy and likes. 

– I think you hit the nail on its head.

Well, your myspace site is saying that you are already doing Death Breath 10” containing seven songs. (This revealed to be Let It Stink, including four originals and three covers). Can you reveal any facts about it? Will the songs follow the path of your album or are there any surprises? One thing seems to be sure: Death Breath won’t be a one-album wonder, right?

– Yeah we do, doing vocals for it tomorrow. But that’s all I will say for now and you won’t be rid of us for some time that’s for sure.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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.

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(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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

KALEIDOSCOPE #15 OUT NOW.

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Yes, it has been silent. So silent that you’re unsure if there is beating at all in this wrecked heart. Well, when all is blooming and summer is leading your soul, the wonderful world of Internet fades away. Plus when you’re pushing a zine after a zine out and you’re always hungry for new treats, you don’t have so much energy to look back. But don’t worry, I’ll publish that third interview of #9 someday. Before that, read this: Kaleidoscope #15 is out. It has good bands. And the interviews are okay too. Here are the bands and a few clips of their answers. Aren’t they good. Now, order your copy from New Era Productions or Tour De Garde. Contact info below. As everything else. Below. Caress the heat.

Prices and contact:

NEW ERA: Five Euros / a piece including postages in Europe, six Euros / a piece including postages outside of Europe (Paypal: neweraproductions.nl@gmail.com)

TOUR DE GARDE: tdghq@t-d-g.net

 

COSMIC CHURCH

This is a long interview. Starting from the birth of Cosmic Church in 2004 and ending to the coming full-length Ylistys (coming out in this Autumn), Luxixul Sumering Auter really opens his heart in this chat.

   – When the all-seeing eye of Satan is watching you after your death during the cosmic trial, there is NOTHING which He doesn’t know or see. Are you truly ready to really look what is inside you and face all the consequences of your every single action, word, idea and thought you’ve ever had and take the judgment?

 

JUMALHÄMÄRÄ

This interview is something different – every questions starts with a word ‘why’… Sounds weird? Well, also Jumalhämärä sounds weird so the questions and answers took each other’s hands and danced into the sunset of Apocalypse.

   – It became so dark that the street lights went on and off and they were just waving in the strong wind. Really strong and strange atmosphere I can tell you! You can actually hear the ending part of the storm in the song. We put a couple of mics outside the temple to include the ambience on the song.

    – The track turned out as we had planned and as you can finally hear it on the vinyl. Slow, simple, oppressing and organ-based song that stands on its own.

 

KNOKKELKLANG

Norwegian black metal – does it have anything new to offer? Well, if you’re looking for depressive sides of life and metal, check out Knokkelklang. Avgrunnens Klangverk is a 23-minute long journey through ghosts and other visions of nothing, and the main rattler of bones, E. was very open in this interview.

   – Ghosts as I have learned to know them are those who after death are unable to let go of all this that is personal, those who for some reason resist the engulfing of the void, who still seek something of personal importance in our world. With this in mind it is interesting to note how ghosts are one of the most fundamental symbols of horror to us, a symbol I guess you can find in most cultures.

 

SUMMONING

Legends singing about legends… Although this Austrian duo haven’t ever released bad albums, Old Mornings Dawn is a very strong work which carries all the trademarks of Summoning at their best: wailing guitar mountains, epic synths and eagle-like screaming vocals. This great album created this good interview.

   – There also was a point when I thought it would be better to stop Summoning, and there was also a discussion that Protector should make a mini CD on his own. Then came the point when I had a serious heart infarct, which took a long time for me to recover from. During this time I realized that Summoning had a big importance for me and from that time on I started to compose again, but this time from a complete beginner’s point: that means I had no fully composed songs but just a couple of very basic riffs and it took a long time to realize in which direction the new music is going.

 

THOU ART LORD

More legends… Take a good dose of Greek black metal, take a guy (Magus Vampyr Daoloth) from the inner circle of all the action and let it go.

   – Lucifer. He is the main persona hidden in most of the lyrics of the album. The many faces of Lucifer: handsome, brave, tricky, cruel, evil, intelligent, just, light bearer, abyss dweller, etc. Actually, Lucifer bears all the characteristics of Man. Like the Gods of the Old. The Greek Pantheon or the Scandinavian… but here all are concentrated on one entity, like Man himself. A man can be all of these things together, so can his God.

THE CHOSEN THREE: MAY 2013

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These months and pictures from our yard give these articles a strong seasonal feeling, but it’s interesting to see that the albums themselves aren’t so much connected to seasons. For example now, when all is blossoming, my ears are infested by doom metal, black metal… Well, I guess these new releases just take their place, no matter what is happening around them. Good music nevertheless. Actually I’m a bit surprised how I manage to find three releases for these articles every month. Blessed or cursed?

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CATHEDRAL: The Last Spire (Rise Above 2013)

I have many fond memories about Cathedral: getting my brains splattered with Picture of Beauty & Innocence Commiserating the Celebration, maybe first real contact with true doom metal. Then, seeing the wicked dance moves of Lee Dorrian in Cosmic Funeral music video. Again, Dorrian, strangling himself with a microphone wire at Lepakko, Helsinki during Cathedral/Orange Goblin/Terra Firma tour. And so on…

But now the party’s over and Cathedral has flown into oblivion. But it’s a cheerful funeral: The Last Spire is an amazing doom metal album, returning to the roots of the band but still having all these flavours and spices that these unmerry men have gathered during over twenty years. You get lots of marvelous riffs and leads and acoustic interludes from the majikal fingers of Gaz Jennings, and the backup fire of Brian Dixon and Scott Carlsson is impressing too. Strong, groovy and epic doom metal with a twist. Total mourning, but still there is a devilish smirk in the corner of the mouth. No more words needed. You know Cathedral and this is one of their best works. Respect the band and buy this.

I interviewed Dorrian when the double album The Guessing Game was released in 2010 and this is how the main wizard described how much Cathedral has worn him:

– The honest answer would be “fucking too much” but I have chosen this road. I could even talk about some sort of a mission, because you always have to chew more than you can swallow. We have never become a big, popular band so we have been forced to pinch time from our daily jobs and family time for the band. But we are possessed by an urge to show to this trendy music world. I wouldn’t say that we are the saviours of music, but yeah, we want to show to the people that this kind of a flame is still burning even today.

Tower of Silence music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7v8KZZBeKE

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AKITSA / ASH POOL: Split LP (Tour De Garde 2013)

I guess it was just a matter of time when these two bands unite their forces. But my instincts are not tied to their music or even to their lyrical themes – actually Akitsa and Ash Pool are quite far away from each other musically. While Akitsa is stomping through the battlefield with simple, even rocking tunes, Ash Pool is more dismal and abstract, while still being a quite traditional black metal band. But the attitude is what counts here. Both bands don’t give even an inch without a fight, and with this attitude they turn their music to strong statements of individuality and honesty. Akitsa’s side, for example, includes these catchy black metal singalongs but also harsh but atmospheric interludes. Then you flip the vinyl over, and Ash Pool welcomes you with an intensive melody of Death Has No Mother, occasional old school synths and amateurish but still so effective clean vocals on De-Stoning of the Ephesus House.

And I think that one side of a vinyl is a perfect measure for both bands: you get into the mood and a band gets a chance to show its variety but nothing turns to a dull, repetitive marathon. This is one of those splits that just force you to switch side time after time – a raging and hypnotic maelstrom that swallows your soul.

But what is the common ground between Akitsa and Ash Pool in OT’s (Akitsa) opinion? Here is the answer:

– Years of comradeship and a fascination for Death.

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THOU ART LORD: The Regal Pulse of Lucifer (Nuclear War Now! 2013)

A Greek love affair pt. 666. Although the previous two full-lengths of Thou Art Lord (2002’s DV8 and 2005’s Orgia Daemonicum) didn’t impress me totally, this band has always possessed something very fascinating. You could say that they have kept the flame of old Greek black metal very well, being same time quite traditional but still original.

Years have passed, and different changes have been made: Necromayhem and Magus Vampyr Daoloth have teamed up with a new guitarist El (from Soulskinner) and drummer Maelstrom, and even good ol’ belly growler Gothmog has been recruited. Most of the songs on The Regal Pulse of Lucifer has been composed by El, and this has lifted Thou Art Lord to another level: these songs have everything you could dream and desire of: fast and hectic pounding, slower epic moments, symphonic touches and those always loveable guitar melodies (check out Justicia Profana and just cry in joy). Old Rotting Christ is one reference point, but it’s easier to say that The Regal Pulse of Lucifer sounds pure Greek black metal.

Also the production is perfect with clear, natural and striking soundscape, something that Rotting Christ could borrow for their future releases. The synths are supporting the guitars beautifully, and there is some sort of a noble feeling in everything. And if this isn’t enough, the trio Necromayhem – Magus – Gothmog takes care of effectively multilayered vocals that make the whole thing a sharp but diverse mosaic.

Of course The Regal Pulse of Lucifer doesn’t offer anything totally new but that’s not the point. The point is that this is an ageless piece of art, which hopefully will be remembered in the future when talking about the highlights of Greek black metal.

But how does a guy from Minnesota end up to give a title for an album of Greek black metal legends? Tanner Anderson, a musician from Celestiial and Obsequiae, tells us a story and a meaning of The Regal Pulse of Lucifer.

– I actually never intended to give the album a title. George (Magus Wampyr Daoloth) and I were corresponding and I had mentioned my feelings regarding Necromantia. I was describing the experience of listening to his work. So the description I gave to George was a bit personal and it was in that description where the title was born. I was surprised when I saw the title of the album announced. I’m incredibly honored as a fan.

– To answer your question about what the title means to me is difficult though. Because it obviously had a different context altogether than what it likely inspired for those gentlemen. I can only tell you my own impression in hindsight now. And that answer lies in a simple explanation. There is a reason why so many people adore the “Hellenic sound” as well as why these pioneers are celebrated. From both a listeners perspective as well as anyone who has followed these bands over the years, the varied and admitted influences that collectively shaped and balanced their sound are incredible — from the earliest era of black metal and speed/heavy metal to the sort of bizarre orchestral nature of darkwave or, I’d even argue (hopefully not being too assuming), the earlier dark industrial bands. These pioneers selectively adopted and attributed everything that fucking ruled about those styles and made it their own pure expression and explored it from an honest perspective. That’s what a great artist does. And they all managed to find their own style from one another while maintaining commonality as a small collective. They know this more than we do, obviously.

– But the point is this: The Hellenic sound is itself regal and majestic. And George and Sakis equally had a huge hand in that from the very beginning. To hear an album like this one in 2013 is fantastic. Considering how many of the “greats” have abandoned their paths, allowed their craft to be compromised by submitting to the will of others or trends or, worse, completely losing inspiration. This is not the case here. And this is where Thou Art Lord triumphs. This is an album that sounds timeless from the moment you hear it. And this album, like those timeless works before it, show that great works are still achieved. They’re not some relic of a time before the present. They exist in people like George and Sakis who keep the heart of this sound inspired and alive. To me, that is the regal pulse of Lucifer. The mark of true inspiration and will. Persevere!

Justicia Profanahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HvTv01VlD8

ILLUMINATING THE DARKNESS – LANTERN

– The spiral on the cover is maybe the greatest symbol for the name ’Below’. The album is a whirlpool into the common soulscape of Lantern, this album and myself. And to throw oneself into this soulscape requires some sort of a mental spin from a listener, says Cruciatus while I asked him about the symbolic objects on the cover of Below a few weeks ago. Big words, but it’s a big spiral, and a big album. Below is definitely a spiral, or a maze, which has insane logic – cold thoughts under a fiery passion. This character has been present in Lantern’s black/death metal from a start, and that’s why I chose to dig deeper the world of Lantern after I was swallowed by the band’s Doom-scrawls demo which later transformed to Subterranean Effulgence EP in 2011. This is a good interview, so please continue reading.

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(originally published in Kaleidoscope #9 2010)

Europe has spawned many obscure death metal bands lately. Gone is the most obvious Swedish death metal plagiarism, and the fast and professional approach has never been the most precious thing in the realm of death metal. What is left is a monster of mysticism and mutilation: bands with swampy guitar riffs, tempo changes and, most importantly, a dark aura which is usually connected to black metal.

Germany has Necros Christos, United Kingdom has Grave Miasma, and now from Finland we can present Lantern. This darkened duo includes the multitalented guitarist/drummer Cruciatus, who has shown his talent in many bands like in the now-deceased Cacodaemon, and the more mysterious blood-gurgler Necrophilos. Although Lantern released their debut Virgin Taste of Damnation in 2008 already, it was their latest effort that turned heads like in the movie Exorcist. Doom-scrawls is a black trip to the dungeons of death, thrash and black metal, and it can touch the hearts of Aussie metal maniacs or fans of above-mentioned Grave Miasma – no wonder that a newcomer label from New Zealand called Internecion Productions will release Doom-scrawls again under the name Subterranean Effulgence with a mastering and a more professional layout.

Before this we have time to dig up some bones from Lantern’s graveyard. The first good catch is the band name, which sounds more like a doom band to me, but what got Cruciatus to choose it for his brutal and sinister band?

– First off, I must tell you that I’m quite fond of aesthetics and prefer certain cryptic minimalism in all approach. I dislike overly massive and brutal expressions, you know, I’d go with Mortuary Drape instead of Atomizer, old ‘n cheap horror films instead of splatter movies. Somewhere between my thoughts while taking a walk – I remember the exact moment and location – I came up with the name Lantern and even the primary vision of the logo at the time, heh. I decided to go with that without further hesitating, letting the name live its own life. I had already a few songs in stock, and this doom metal like vibe, like you said, supported what had been written and what I was about to write. So your doom comparison isn’t all wrong. The name makes you think at best, with quite a lot of potential burning within, even combustive nature and occult symbolism.

One idea I have about this name is a man as a lantern – how we all burn inside of us (or something burns inside of us?) and the world sees this flame through the different lenses of this lantern – that we can never see other person purely and without obstacles but everything is changed and embellished in one way or another… Or the flame is the occult force that we all see through our own lenses… Ah, too many different ideas! Comments about them?

– Interesting words. Burning inside, changing constantly, reaching for higher potential (as for fire) surely are elements that apply to all forward-aspiring life-forms. The lantern and man can be also seen as something containing potential, passion that must be restrained properly, illuminating the darkness instead of spreading and torching creations with its wild nature. What keeps the flame convicted is merely a transparent, fragile and thin sheet. Lanterns are also used in dark places exclusively, and with that burning we venture toward the unexplained, surrounded by the lightlessness that frightens and fascinates us, giving face to all the obscurities we later attempt to describe. Life and its mysteries, in my opinion, do not stand full illumination, no matter how science tries to gnaw all the nuts and bolts of existence. There is only small, lantern-like illumination for all of that, with these senses we have been given. Be that flame an occult force, lust to know what is beyond the veil of darkness, what ever you call it, it is something that is strictly bound to what defines humanity itself.

This lantern metaphor can also be seen in the creation process, where you usually try to forward the vision inside of you as pure as possible onwards, but there are always physical, social and mental obstacles… The long way from a feeling/idea to a riff and to a listener is full of stones… How personal is Lantern in the light of this metaphor? Can a listener see into your mind by listening Lantern’s music?

– The metaphors concerning potential I gave in the past section allows us to ramble on: the fire of inspiration is burning in there constantly as the source whence to fetch, yet it needs a bit of guidance to illuminate what it needs to illuminate. I’ve been said to be always on fire, and lantern can be thought as a tool of not only lighting up but ignition as well. The small spark that may be harnessed into further benevolence or demolition may also be reflected my own self. My passion is the key to much innovation but also to many problems, and it takes a steady hand to create proper balance, guiding me through that rocky road. It takes patience and discipline. And as much as there is fire burning in our music, a listener surely can see into my mind, although that long way sure as hell is full of stones. There still is this small thin glass in between that can be called crypticism and poetic approach in my lyrics, something that prevents you from directly touching the fire and just making you fingertips go numb. And I’m sure you can hear clearly the fire twist and dance in our music, when you hear our future time signature and old pattern ravishing songs, haha.

How about these morbid and cryptic lyrics – do they come from your own experiences (transferred to a more lyrical form) or are they more just stories from your own imagination?

– Both, and sometimes a mixture the mentioned elements. Some examples: Manifesting Shambolic Aura from the first demo describes a goodly share of my agenda, emotions toward occultism, my personality and henceforth. It is also kind of a theme song to Lantern and what the band is about deep inside, as the chorus mentions the band name and so forth. Now that I think of it, the same song actually has almost all of the various elements Lantern is about musically… Revert the Living into Death from Subterranean Effulgence (and Doom-scrawls) instead follows one’s return from life to death, progressing toward the finish rather poetically, compiling visions of life and death. That song is also quite charged with personal experiences, as I will explain farther in this interview. Ritual Unearthing on the other hand seems like a very typical graveyard-themed metal song, but there’s a “sublyric” written between the lines, dealing with “unearthing rituals” in another way: the effects of tinkering with grave matters, breaking the thin border with excessive enthusiasm and foolishness et cetera.

– So, although some songs are good to read text over describing most intimate personal experiences, much philosophy, attitude and message may lie included in the lyrics. I also believe that there’s a metaphysical side to aesthetics: some “stories” written by instinct to sound dark and fascinating can end up taking forms that even the song-maker could not imagine. Something unexplained, faceless had after all been behind the fascination that the artist later tried to reconstruct.

It’s obvious to this point that these lyrics differ from typical guts-and-gore death metal approach, that’s for sure. Nowadays many death metal bands have absorbed occult and ritualistic elements to their lyrics: Grave Miasma, Ignivomous and of course Necros Christos. How do these two things – occult and death metal – work together if you compare this mixture to occult and black metal? Or is the form (music style) indifferent, it’s just a shell which the real content (lyrics etc.) chooses?

– I do not think that the style of music is important at all when it comes to dealing with the occult. Styles are like materials, one crafts wood, another forges steel, what suits them best. Death metal, to me, has the most dynamics to work with, having a deep scale of heavy and demonic sounds, seasoning them with a bit of doom metal every now and then, serving me best to put my inner darkness on canvas.

This occult atmosphere is usually considered to be more serious and “true” if you compare it to basic death metal lyrics. The same thing could be said about your previous band, Cacodaemon, which had a more primitive and straightforward approach compared to Lantern musicwise and lyricwise. How would you describe your own personal evolution between these two bands?

– Even though Lantern may sound much more complex than Cacodaemon, I’ve become more straightforward and also aware of what I can do best. My mind is more open, and I’ve certainly developed some pride and relentless attitude toward making art. I dealt with a lot of unbelievable shit, badmouthing, rumours and such in the Cacodaemon years, which only taught me to keep on pushing straight ahead. I have stronger faith in my own works. And when moving from Cacodaemon’s grave to work with Lantern, I gained massive amounts of professionalism: Cacodaemon was always about raw energy, youth’s rage and so forth, even a bit too much sometimes. Although the old days and old songs had a truly dark aura that still fascinates me even more than what I have made in the recent years, it had withered through time due to certain recklessness, suffered from decreased motivation of the group and so forth.

– With Lantern taking its first steps, I tried to get rid of the very negative effects of the mentioned elements, while still being able to see the good old state of mind that made me start composing metal and try to reconstruct that with the present knowhow and willpower. After all, what has once been can never fully disappear, now there’s new kind of raw energy involved.

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If we go back to Lantern’s lyrics… You write them but you don’t sing them – another part of Lantern is the growling throat called Necrophilos. Because Lantern is about strong emotions and, as previously said, very personal-sounding feelings, I guess the communion between you two must be very tense and trustful to keep all the energy?

– I and Necrophilos have known each other from our teenage years, and we’ve always shared our quite unobsctructed musical and thought-wise interests. We have spent much time talking about deeper things throughout the years, so he, if someone, is the one I can rely on him with handling even the most personal lyrics. The fact that he’s very enthusiastic about the band improves his output and the strength of my texts overall. He does occasionally come and suggest some own ideas, and we’ve agreed that he can bring his own lyrics and themes to me if he comes up with something good. Hopefully there’ll be even more synergy in the future days of Lantern.

You are also heading to conquer stages in the future, so what new dimensions would this bring to Lantern’s music? What things will be the most important ones in order for you to reach the perfect Lantern atmosphere on stage?

– The live situation, in my opinion, will most likely emphasize the primitive energy in the songs, if we only manage to harness the technical side and are able to concentrate on just playing on instead of trying to remember how the riffs and structures go. That would create the proper flux to the music, making it hypnotic and psyhcedelic at best. Combining that to some visual elements that would be easy to perform would encourage unique atmosphere for sure. Producing extra audio material with lots of stereo effects to be played in between certain tracks would also be quite fascinating and potential for making the experience more unique, but that shall be left into the future to be thought about. However, mastering our instruments considering the difficulty of some song material is the most vital thing, no matter how boring that sounds.

And which instrument will you choose for the live situation and why?

– I myself would have to choose guitar, because that is the instrument I’d most define as my own. And because Ischanius (Cruciatus’ comrade in Cacodaemon and Death Thrashers Kuopio) says so, ha. He told me that although I might be hard to replace on drums, because of my loose, nearly brainless style, I’d still be so much harder to replace on guitar.

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Many of your lyrics deal with death – how the human soul travels to the great unknown, and how in some circumstances, like in a dream, one can almost touch these other realms. Maybe I come too close with my next question, but what kind of supernatural experiences have you lived through and how have they affected on you?

– My near-death experience in 2000 is the best answer I can give to you while talking death here. I have sort of been at death’s gates and returned, be it a dream or not, but it bears a strong influence on how I see life and death nowadays. Of course there are a couple of more essential ones, a few strong ones, and some that I can only call morbid or odd nowadays. But you know, those are experiences not to be chattered about, ha…

And what is Lantern’s – and music’s in general – role in these experiences – is it a tool to deal with them or maybe a tool to strengthen and even create them in a ritualistic way? We all know the power of mantras and shamanistic drumming, which can help people to sink into a trance or to concentrate on their inner self and beyond…

– I’d have to go with the latter option: ritual reconstruction of the aura that created the song, finding new aspects by unearthing the occurred. In that ritual the growling demonic vocals, deeply roaring and reverbated guitars, pulsating bass and animalistic drums join to convey the experience to another level, give it new life.

At this point it would be nice to hear your scariest/gloomiest moments with (metal) music – what songs/albums/artists have given you the chills and why?

– The scariest ones surely are concerning the ones from my own pen: the unreleased Inferno sessions from the Cacodaemon days had a few parts that were very strong and could not be listened to with “lower focus”. The “I played this?” vibes hit me quite furiously. On the other hand, some may know that I’ve worked with some rather regular non-heavy music projects. I’ve written some lyrics by the instinct and later come to understand their rather strange symbolism while undergoing certain phases in my life. I can tell you that is really something able to chill you from head to toes, when symbolism unfolds in a very decipherable form.

– From material by others, the first place is taken by Darkthrone’s Natassja In Eternal Sleep; it’s a pretty standard song and a standard album, but the way the riff goes and vocals growl is something that cannot be replicated. Dark art, simple as that. Barathrum’s Infernal is another one that comes to mind: the atmosphere on that album is very powerful compared to wide array of black metal albums. The whole opus just speaks late summer thunderstorms that devour the light from the skies.

And so we have reached the end and we can turn our interest to something of utmost importance – the listeners! If music gives a lot of, er, everything to its creator, what kind of feelings would you like the listener to experience while listening to Lantern?

– It would be ideal that the listener felt like reading a good leather-cover book (aesthetics do matter!) that could captivate them and lure them back to it to discover new elements. It would be ideal that the listener could for a while feel they are elsewhere, in another time or no time at all. It would be ideal that the listener could just take it as it comes, without reservations or restrictions, the way it is made.

THE CHOSEN THREE: APRIL 2013

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Finally the Spring has reached the shores of Finland and my mind is wandering in the next Summer… Festivals, barbeque, sun, warm nights, trips there and back… Also there will be a few issues of Kaleidoscope out sooner or later, so no totally rest for this wicked one. Again this trio is quite varied but hey, something for everyone! Enjoy!

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SOKEA PISTE: Välikäsi (Tuska & Ahdistus / Karkia Mistika / Ektro 2013)

Although punk music doesn’t have any rules at least in theory, many bands and even genres play it safe: d-beat bands sound similar, ´82 HC bands follow same patterns and so on. Therefore it’s refreshing to drown your mind into something totally different and even dangerously sounding. I’m speaking of Välikäsi, a second full-length of this Finnish band called Sokea Piste (Blind Spot), which really goes in places: apocalyptic mournings a’la Amebix, screeching and raging noise rock, rolling dark hardcore and even a few silent moments too. This band takes risks and they manage to make it all well: no messiness but not too logical solutions either. The songs can be heavy or hectic, and the “sweating blood” type playing just adds more adrenaline.

– I understand if some bands want to play music that fits a certain genre. But personally I feel myself very anguished when I see that punk music is following a certain formula. I get a feeling that I have to step away of that, just as a “fuck off” statement if nothing else. Influences are another thing, you can’t deny – or be ashamed and hide – them, says guitarist Juhana.

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LANTERN: Below (Dark Descent 2013)

Death metal is extreme music (for extreme people), but when you’re trying to reach extremities you can end up being a clown. Think all these “100% blood, guts and gore” bands that loose all that real brutality and extremity along the way. Well, Lantern isn’t one of those bands. Now we are talking about real dark death metal, which takes its listener with a perfect combination of the most evil influences of old black and death metal and insanely genious technicality (think nightmarish spirals and labyrinths, not instrument wankery). Although Below isn’t a long album (“only” 39 minutes) it has so much to chew and swallow – long songs full of primitive blasting, twisted melodies and ghastly atmosphere. No use for namedropping in this case; Lantern has so many things going on that this Finnish band’s light is totally its own. Add eerie, flowing solos of multi-instrumentalist Cruciatus and one of the most personal and convincing vocal torments by Necrophilos, and you have reached the bottom of Hell. In a positive way.

Also Cruciatus met the pits of hell and torture more than twice during the long process of creating Below. The man himself tells us the most challenging tasks:

– The most challenging part of making Below was perfecting it into the seamless, fluent entity it now is. While it’s not an actual concept album, the songs compliment each other in a way that makes Below sound like a single, close to 40 minutes long anthem. I would consider Rites of Descent – with its complex lyrical structure – the toughest compositional nut I had to crack. Although the song is from the mean and catchy end of the album, it ended up supporting a surprisingly big part of the album’s thematic weight. And I cannot skip From the Ruins, when considering plain physical strain. I can still picture myself nailing the drum parts for that song on the final day in studio; tired, just woken up from the concrete floor, literally beating the skins with the famous “don’t play them – attack them!” attitude.

Revenant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awMk7BZuokM

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V8: Luchando por el Metal (Umbras Discos & Cintas 1983 / Beat Generation 2012)

With a help of my friends, I have grown an interest to exotic heavy metal – bands from old Yugoslavia, Hungary, Venezuela, doing their own thing, singing their own language… These bands possess honesty which is rare nowadays. V8 is from Argentina and this debut album was released originally in 1983. Now this rarity is available again, and if you want your heavy metal/rock sweaty, aggressive and clumsily sympathetic, I recommend Luchando por el Metal. The enthusiastic drive of V8 leaves you armless, and also they have simple but catchy riffs here and there. And they aren’t afraid of taking little sidesteps either like a bit progressive (with a hint of Black Sabbath) Si Puedes Vencer al Temor shows. Damn, I think these guys aren’t afraid of anything! At least their singer Alberto Zamarbide sounds like that. Listen to the song below, Brigadas Metálicas, and after you have stopped headbanging, order this vinyl somewhere.

Brigadas Metálicas: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENc40SGKJ3E

KALEIDOSCOPE #14 & THE RESURRECTION OF THE OLD ISSUES

Number fourteen… Full of death and metal. Gladly the good people in New Era Productions and Tour De Garde took the heavy weight of printing, packing and marketing off my back, so I can just concentrate on what I love to do most. So read my descriptions of these bands in #14 and make an order. Or two.

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Kaleidoscope #14. This means 20 A4 pages in a well-known rip-and-paste layout.

As said, this time I don’t take care of distributing, so individuals, distros and demons, feel free to harass these henchmen:

TOUR DE GARDE (that side of Atlantic)

NEW ERA PRODUCTIONS (this side of Atlantic)

Prices and contact:

NEW ERA: Five Euros / a piece including postages in Europe, six Euros / a piece including postages outside of Europe (Paypal: neweraproductions.nl@gmail.com)

TOUR DE GARDE: tdghq@t-d-g.net

Trades are also negotiable.

 And the bands…

ANHEDONIST

Although death metal is getting just darker and more sinister nowadays, only few bands have dared to make the same thing with classic death/doom combo. Well, Anhedonist has enough courage and vision to do this, and they really know how to inject that certain blackness into their slow rumblings. Also their lyrics aren’t just stories about the tears of a melancholic vampire but symbolic and hopeless journeys into the mind of a lost man. Therefore I tried something else with this interview and made every question based on Anhedonist’s lyrics. Check out how it went.

Estrangement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvVFnj2MB3I

BEYOND

Beyond… Aargh! More brutality, but this time it’s in the form of primitive death metal which doesn’t make any compromises. If you own this German band’s demo or 7”, you know what to expect, but if you haven’t ever heard about them, why not check the teaser song from their coming album? Here’s the link, then you can die.

A new album track (rough mix): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ss95FdULOeU

CONVENT GUILT

Convent Guilt was a quick replacement for this issue and I’m glad I took this chance. No death metal but rocking and grooving heavy metal with an Australian feeling. Tears, sweat and blood (and beer too!), slow epic moments and totally brilliant guitar solo duels. You know you like it.

http://www.aurora-australis.com.au/releases/AAR_009.htm

SUOMI KUOLEE – THE RISE OF FINNISH DEATH METAL

You must be blind and deaf if you haven’t noticed all these new and not so new Finnish death metal bands around the scene. We Finns aren’t just shy losers in the shadows of our brave and extrovert Swedish cousins anymore, but Finland can throw a legion of good death metal bands into the battle anytime. How the hell has this happened? Well, three bands – Corpsessed, Ghastly and Stench Of Decay – and a Dark Descent main man Matt give some ideas and explanations.

TRIBULATION

And then a real treat. Tribulation’s The Formulas of Death is maybe the best death metal album of 2013 so far, and I must say that this interview is one of the best ones I have made. Enough said.

More about this album: https://kaleidoscopemag.wordpress.com/2013/03/02/the-chosen-three-february-2013/

And then digging a few graves…

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This was just an idea I haven’t thought, but now it’s visible and happening. Almost all the old issues of Kaleidoscope will be available again, in print. There are some small changes and refining present but otherwise they look as they were, with flaws and all. However, the size of the zine can be different than before, mostly A4 to A5 to save your money. Only issue #7 was left out of this because of its extraordinary layout.

Again, New Era Productions and Tour De Garde will handle orders and possible wholesales. Do what you have to do.

TOUR DE GARDE: tdghq@t-d-g.net

NEW ERA PRODUCTIONS: all five euros each including postages in Europe, or three issues for 12 euros. Six euros / a piece including postages outside of Europe.
Distros can contact for trades and wholesale prices. (Paypal: new.era.productions.nl@gmail.com)

#1 (2005): AGALLOCH, THE GAULT, PEST, VERGE, CONJURATION, TODESSTOSS, MEPHISTO & NUIT NOIRE – 48 pages

#2 (2006): KILL, NOCTURNAL GRAVES, IC REX, THESYRE, IRELAND UNDERGROUND, BONE AWL, MORBOSIDAD & NECROS CHRISTOS – 44 pages

#3(2006): FORGOTTEN WOODS, TOIL, HATEFUL ABANDON, SLIDHR, PRIMAL DAWN & THRALLDOM – 40 pages

#4 (2007): AMESOEURS/ALCEST, CURRENT 93, BLASPHEMOPHAGER, HYPOTHERMIA, ARKHA SVA, GRIPPIUD, RIDE FOR REVENGE, SECRETS OF THE MOON & PRIMORDIAL – 40 pages

#5 (2008): TRELLDOM, DROWNED, INCANTATION, ASH POOL, SOL, RAMESSES, COFFINS, DENOUNCEMENT PYRE, ARVET, PROFETUS, IGNIVOMOUS & EXORCISM – 64 pages

#6 (2008): FOSSBRENNA PRODUCTIONS, THE RUINS OF BEVERAST, EMPIRE OF THARAPHITA, CELESTIAL BLOODSHED, DROWNING THE LIGHT, SATURNIAN MIST, VASSAFOR, DEFUNTOS, LÖNNDOM & MANES – 56 pages

#8 (2010): ALTAR OF PLAGUES, AUSTERE, COLDWORLD, CROOKED NECKS, CRYSTAL DARKNESS, FLEURETY, BLACK MAJESTY, TRIPTYKON, SAROS, ALCEST, IN THE WOODS… & HATEFUL ABANDON – 48 pages

#9 (2010): ARCKANUM, SATANIC WARMASTER, WEAPON, CRIPTA OCULTA, VETALA, AKITSA, TERVAHÄÄT, LANTERN, ANU, DøDSENGEL & BLOOD REVOLT – 60 pages

SATAN’S FIRE! – WEAPON

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?

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(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.

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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!

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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!

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