DRAKONIAN BEAUTY – Live Ritual

•April 18, 2015 • Comments Off on DRAKONIAN BEAUTY – Live Ritual

Date: March 15th, 2015

Location: Kyttaro Club

The special assembly that took place amidst last March has left fresh memories to those who honored it. Baring the name of Drakonian Beauty (how amazing is the antithesis arising when using the word “beauty” for a blackmetal event) this gathering took form in Kyttaro with the participation of four outstanding (each in their own way) domestic bands along with the great OFERMOD.

Septuagint @ Drakonian BeautyThe first calling of the evening was preached by SEPTUAGINT, who came to our attention (at least under that name, since they also have a promo as DECLARATION:HOLOCAUST) only last year with “Negative-Void-Trinity” EP. Having a remarkable set up on stage, clean sound and solid performance, they impressed those who arrived early at the venue, by presenting a very interesting combination of Scandinavian blackmetal and NIGHTBRINGER-ish mentality where the lead guitar carves Dionysian pathways through eerie fields.

Akrotheism @ Drakonian BeautyFollowing them, was AKROTHEISM, whom we had the chance to observe again, 1½ year after their appearance as support at the NECROS CHRISTOS show. Having a very strong full-length (“Behold The Son Of Plagues”) in their account, they exhibited from the very beginning of their act a much more tight sound, delivering in an excellent way an original mix –at least that’s how I interpret it– of Swedish orthodox, Norwegian disharmony as well as traditional Hellenic blackmetal. Even though there was no VED BUENS ENDE cover this time, songs like the title-track from the album were more than enough to intensify the vibes around the place.

Empire Of The Moon @ Drakonian BeautyShortly after, the time was drawing nigh for the band whose (re)appearance was destined to be engraved in the most emphatic manner upon my own black year 2014. EMPIRE OF THE MOON are maybe the most unique, in my ears, example among the recent revival of classic Hellenic blackmetal (of course this could hardly be different since all members are old mystics of the sound). Nothing more, nothing less, they played with extreme accuracy and devotion the “Panselinos” full-length in its entirety, an album not only among the best of last year’s records but also a piece of Art that will be discussed in the future as a milestone of this decade’s domestic releases. The devilish spirit of NECROMANTIA flooded Kyttaro, the mirror set on stage reflected each one’s inner self and the female triptych of Tiamat/Luna/Kali became the guide for the next 45 minutes of the evening; the highlight being –apart from my enthusiasm for the intro of “Lunar Apocalypse”– the elegy of “The Nine Skulls Of Kali”.

Ofermod @ Drakonian BeautyThe coming of OFERMOD to Greece was accompanied with the “loud” absence of Michayah Belfagor. I have to confess that I myself was somewhat doubtful as to how a live ritual from the Swedes could be performed without their spiritual leader. And I was totally disproved. While Ushatar took place for the guitar parts and did exactly what was expected of him, in the spiritual part the duet of Tehôm and Florian Hucek weaved a drakonian web, a passage for those intending to cross the Rubicon and communicate with their shadow side. If “Black Gate” was a small apocalypse for those synchronized, then “Mysterion Tes Anomias”, a song that became the epitome of the sound-words combination described as orthodox, was a true transcendence that we rarely have the chance to experience in similar events.

Acherontas @ Drakonian BeautyFor ACHERONTAS who closed the evening in all its glory, I have written so many times that I may start to become tiring. However it is one thing that matters. As much as one likes or dislikes their music/image/lyrics, they represent a band standing as a gem for our country and for the whole blackmetal subgenre because they were never afraid to evolve their sound and to spread their messages performing rituals wherever in the world they found it to be meaningful. For this event they had yet another small surprise, playing with three guitars, a choice that would normally lead to noise but not here where one instrument would complement and not overgrow the other; thus the sound was magnificent. Not having the chance yet to listen to their new album (“Ma-Ion: Formulas Of Reptilian Unification”), I enjoyed as always songs like “Legacy Of Tiamat” (in one of its best readings I’ve ever attendend) and “Blood Current Illumination”.

The night ended with a feeling of totality and unity. Such events, organized with faith, devotion and vision are written with permanent letters in the blackmetal chronicles and the notable response from the fans (people from abroad were also there) became another pleasant element of than Sunday. Until the next assembly, the energy resources were fully charged and the spirit ascended once again…

GOAT SYNAGOGUE “Inheritors Of The Morbid Arts”

•April 4, 2015 • Comments Off on GOAT SYNAGOGUE “Inheritors Of The Morbid Arts”

Release Date: November, 2014

Label: Goatmarch Distro

InheritorsThe return of the classic Hellenic blackmetal sound (see first half of the 90s) is well on its way. I don’t know how long it’ll last nor what will be left from this revival, yet I cannot but confess the attraction I feel towards releases that bear such devotion so that they seem to truly belong to that era.

GOAT SYNAGOGUE, in our case, aren’t a totally new entry in this scene. Three years ago, they had given us a glimpse with their first demo tape, drenched in the mist and opaqueness of an Athenian winter night full of smog. Now (last November, to be more accurate) they return with “Inheritors Of The Morbid Arts”, a new demo tape, sharper and more aggressive, as the riffology of early NECROMANTIA and THOU ART LORD (but also other more underground acts such as CTHONIUM or OSUCULUM INFAME) prevails; and since this done in the right way –which is not a flat copy of that sound but a conscious unification with the spirit of that era– then as soon as “My Will” begins, we start spinning around space and time, going 20-25 years back in some dark rehearsal place. It is that wicked transformation of then classic metal (and thrash) sound –through CELTIC FROST and very early SODOM– to something dark and threatening, sometimes mid-tempo, other times more stepping on the gas (as in this demo, for the most part), yet always making the fear of the unknown and the unfathomable to emerge.

Standing by the unstoppable guitars with the marvelous changes in pace and rhythm (listen to the title track with the excellent guitar leads and rhythm switching in the 3:45 minutes it lasts), we have the crushing drums of Divine Desecrator, whose monolithic technique provides a war tone to the tracks. The background keys as well as the ghoulish vocals from the crypt intensify the horrific atmosphere making the 10-plus-something minutes of the demo so full of substance that one wonders whether such short yet emphatic releases are more preferable that 45-min LPs full of pointless parts.

Anyway, the above question probably has little (if any) importance. The true matter is that GOAT SYNAGOUE are here, aiming to bring in today’s Hellenic blackmetal scene the aura of older times; and they succeed in such a way that if someone presented this tape to me as a “lost diamond” of that era, I wouldn’t have any reason not to believe them. Besides, how different could it be, when the cover artwork comes from Panos Sounas, a.k.a. responsible –among others- for certain touchstones called “Crossing The Fiery Path” and “Scarlet Evil, Witching Black”?

DEUS IGNOTUS “Procession Of An Old Religion”

•March 14, 2015 • Comments Off on DEUS IGNOTUS “Procession Of An Old Religion”

Release Date: June, 2014

Label: Forever Plagued Records

Procession of an Old ReligionHowever quietly DEUS IGNOTUS act among the blasphemous catacombs of greek extreme sound, it comes to a total contrast with the multiplied noise produced from the speakers, when their releases find their way into our players. The duet of Reshep (also in tremendous AIMA) and Xolferoth, assisted by chameleon Spoonman in vocals, in this recent EP takes us for a small infernal walk that lasts about a quarter of an hour.

After an intro where the compelling recitation of Apocalypse’s chapters 19:11-19:20 prevails, “Dogmatheist” begins wickedly for a few seconds before the blasting outbreak sweeps everything and inclines us towards an always embraced yet somewhat cliché black/death din. Yet very soon one realizes that things aren’t exactly like that; and this is because “Procession Of An Old Religion”, in contrast to most releases of such kind has the RIFFS. Well-crafted, perilous, dressed with poisonous guitar leads of past eras like those of “Seven Tongue Encapturement”. And this is the simple secret that provides the four tracks of the EP with personality and dynamics, while the drums soon come to maximum speed which they almost never give up until the speakers quiet down. Although, to be totally honest, at some points this constant blastbeat maybe drowns parts of the horrific sounds unleashed by the guitar. As for Spoonman, words are pretty unnecessary (we already know him from his other projects); here he transforms to a death swamp equal to the most acknowledged ones and spits the abyss from his mouth.

Last but not least, I have left the excellent black’n’white cover, faithful to the band’s tradition. As DEUS IGNOTUS, from what I am learning, are preparing their next full-length, this EP comes to fill the void and provide a marvelous injection of blackness and antichristianity.

EMPIRE OF THE MOON “Πανσέληνος”

•October 26, 2014 • Comments Off on EMPIRE OF THE MOON “Πανσέληνος”

Release Date: May, 2014

Label: Acherontas Promotions (CD) / Floga Records & Ill Damnation Productions (LP/Tape)

Full MoonThere are times when simplicity and straightforwardness of some people and situations creates the strongest bonds. In our case, bonds between listener/receiver and an artistic creation. EMPIRE OF THE MOON (re-)appeared in the forefront and, without noise and big words, they offered us a foretaste with the magnificent “Psychomanteion” track; then they worked with patience for the completion of their full length album. They gave it the minimal yet sublime name “Panselinos” (= full moon) and released it through Acherontas Promotions label (CD version, the other two are coming in December).

And what about the content? It could not differ of course. The coven of Ravenlord Wampyri Draconium (CHAOSBAPHOMET, formerly TATIR), Ouroboros and S. V. Mantus (WAMPYRINACHT) -with the help of Nick Yngve on drums- brings forward once again the version of old Hellenic blackmetal sound, namely the one that filtered its 80s metal roots, only keeping its robust form, the dark side and the uncanny feeling. It does not necessarily take for one to chaotically scratch the guitar strings or pound the drums mercilessly in order to produce extreme and morbid music. Sometimes the shadowy lyricism, like the one that surfaces during the intro of “Lunar Apocalypse” and soaks the whole song flowing with exalting mid-tempo riffing, is the aspect that gifts EMPIRE OF THE MOON’s blackmetal with a multi-level transcendental meditation.

The magnificent fact of these (not common) releases is that to try to define them, one searches for a reference point (“they sound like…”) yet he or she hardly finds any. If I could provide something to begin with, I would say that it is a creation whose spirit (beware! the spirit…) is among the closest I’ve heard to that of old NECROMANTIA. And since NECROMANTIA are –for me at least– one of the most serious acts ever to emerge in the international music map, this is a medal of honor among the elite. “Panselinos” is the love for old metal sound, without showoffs, caricatures and easy fun (we have to understand at some point that not everything has to be about fun). It is the consolidation of a distinctive flow between songs within a record that transforms it to a unity, a vortex which intensifies the listening experience (how brilliant is the transition from the acoustic outro of “Psychomanteion” to the infernal intro of “Nine Skulls Of Kali” –a special mention here for the subtle yet perfectly embedded keys from Mantus). It is the quest and the success for grandiosity as the 15 minutes of the above mentioned “Nine Skulls…” opus pass like a moment in time.

Finally, it is the texts that accompany the music of this release (which, if there is any justice, should be considered as one of the most important among the domestic scene in recent years), where the worship towards the primordial female nature prevails with the invocations of the triptych Tiamat/Kali/Luna. In plain words, with subtlety and far away from trendy, wannabe-occult philippics. If the term “majestic” hadn’t known such a decline from bands that used it to describe their flamboyant garbage, I would say that “Panselinos” is the definition of majestic straightforwardness (contradictory but true). In any case, it is the current year’s record that should involve all those who argue that Hellenic blackmetal of the early 90s was (and indeed it was) one of the best things that happened to this music.

IMPURE WORSHIP – Interview with Fallen Angel Of Fornication

•September 14, 2014 • Comments Off on IMPURE WORSHIP – Interview with Fallen Angel Of Fornication

IMPURE WORSHIP are the proof that for one to find devastating as well as firmly executed bestial black/death metal, they don’t have to look exclusively into Canadian or Finnish releases. Especially now, that IW’s new “Chthonic Litanies”  tape overcome by far the bounds of a sterile pounding by embedding various dynamics and changes into their songs, I think that they deserve the attention of an audience broader than the fans of BLASPHEMY copycats (however good or bad they are). Guitarist Fallen Angel Of Fornication responds to the call of the Anti-Flesh Nimbus and further explains…

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I) My respect to you Fallen Angel Of Fornication and welcome to our dungeon. If one were to visit your page at Metal Archives, they would find that you began as HELVETE many years before, back in 2001-02, yet you stopped after one demo, only to return in 2010 (in terms of new material release) with the new form of IMPURE WORSHIP. What happened during all these years and what was the motive to become active again?

Good evening. You are welcome and good luck to your new effort (editor’s note: he means the printed version of the Anti Flesh Nimbus ‘zine).

About 3-4 months after the HELVETE demo, I went in to serve my time in the army so there never was any serious promotion of that release. When I returned to Athens, our then drummer had no interest anymore so the band became on-hold but always on the back of my mind (the tracks of the first IMPURE WORSHIP demo were rehearsed from the HELVETE era). So, after some years, when I met Vassilis (Black Priest of Impurity) I knew I’d found the right person to continue what I had started back then.

Chthonic_LitaniesII) The new promo tape “Chthonic Litanies” was unleashed a few weeks before 2013 waved goodbye through one of the most serious European labels, Iron Bonehead. How was the deal done and what feedback have you received so far?

The tape was initially to be released through Nuclear Winter Records (hails!) like the 7’’. But the label is on hold now for the last few months and the material was already created some time ago, so after communication with Anastasis we were “granted the approval” to search for another label.  

Patrick and Iron Bonehead were our first choice, since he’s created a really strong roster of band and does great work on distribution. He was already familiar with us since he had distributed the demo tape and the 7’’ EP so after listening to the new tracks he immediately accepted. We’ve got some very good reviews and the demand for the tape has been surprisingly high.

III) The two new songs of the promo are fantastic, a natural evolution I’d say from your self-titled EP. Should we expect a full-length any time soon? Although from what I know you have some other plans going on in parallel.

The way we approach our songs has not changed, neither we try intentionally to move forward, so that natural evolution is a product of the more collective work now done in the band. There some tracks completed but we don’t push ourselves, ideas arise on their own. For the time being, the “Monomaniac vol.4” compilation will soon be released where we participate with one song, and sometime in the next few months we’ll probably have a split with NECROHOLOCAUST (Canada), NECROBLOOD (France), WEREGOAT (USA) and OGDRU JAHAD (Denmark) out there.

IV) How do tracks of IMPURE WORSHIP come out? Is composition your own business or is it a shared job with Black Priest of Impurity?

The demo tracks were a more personal situation since as I already mentioned they existed from many years before. But from that point and onwards we work completely as a team. I go to the rehearsals with some ready riffs and we find everything as we are playing. Structures changes, riffs go away so everything is liquid until we’re all satisfied. Also, the addition of a third permanent member in the band (bass) has made things even easier in terms of composing.

Fallen_Angel_02V) In the way I perceive your course starting with the raw brutality of “Goathorns”, you have now proceeded to a more structured treatment of your songs, while a suffocating, claustrophobic feeling emerges. Has your way of approaching how an IMPURE WORSHIP song should sound like become any different?

As I already stated, we are now working as team so it’s a natural result for the material to sound more cohesive. Our approach is always the same; we write songs we would like to listen to in our homes. Some parts may lean more to death metal while others are blacker but we don’t restrain ourselves. If we like something and it’s compatible with the song’s aesthetic we keep it.  

VI) In my opinion, there are three elements in your music that distinguish you from many other similar sounding bands in the last decade. These elements are: a) The crawling doomy parts (like “Praise The Goat” or the ending of “Impurity Prevails”); b) The occasional nicker solos we once loved in SLAYER and other thrash bands; and c) the emphatic sound of bass, especially in the tracks of “Chthonic Litanies”. What sonic background and influences made you incorporate each of these in the band creative logic?

The doomy parts come mainly from the inspiration we’ve drawn from the Finnish death/black scene (BEHERIT/BLACK CRUCIFIXION/ARCHGOAT etc) as well as bands like early SAMAEL, AlASTIS and more. I hold the slow parts as an integral part of our sound and they are (almost) necessary in order to create a climax in each track.

The SLAYER solos, I believe are best for band in our style. This is where we were influenced by BESTIAL WARLUST who, for me, are and of the top bands of their genre yet unfortunately only few have given them the attention they deserve.

As for bass guitar, we have no specific influence on that part. We just want it high on the mix in order to provide the necessary volume and an extra filth.

VII) You are only two people in the band! Shall I assume that the duet function better in terms of understanding and decision making regarding your next moves? If I’m not mistaken you two are good friends also.

We began as a two-member band and that’s how we recorded our first demo (with the help of UNHOLY ARCHANGEL’s Iapetos in vocals). In our 7’’ I took control of the vocals too and so that release as well as the new tape was recorded solely by the two of us.

As of now, we have a permanent member on bass and thus the band consists of three people. Vaggelis (Festering Ghoul from the Beyond) initially began a session member for live performances but apart from being a good friend he also showed great interest in the band, had some very nice ideas and has the right listening preferences so his addition in our lineup became necessary.

Black_PriestVIII) What did you acquire from your first two live gigs you gave last year? Especially for Goatlust Festival, I must say to you I was very impressed that given the nature of your sound and the technical issues often present at 7 Sins club, you appeared not simply but with an aura of an experienced band on stage. There was heavy work in rehearsals I’m guessing, right?

For me, our first gig was really stressful since apart from being the first, I would play with IMPURE WORSHIP as well as EMBRACE OF THORNS too. As you said, we did a great deal of rehearing so from the moment we entered the stage the stress disappeared and we were able to perform our material very well. In our second gig we were even more comfortable and bonded so everything went great. There is more to come!

IX) Well, we have in order: demo tape – 7’’ EP – promo tape! Why are CD followers left out until now? Only analog is real, huh? I’m kidding of course but I would like you to tell me how you view this whole analog revival with vinyl and tapes (especially in some cases like the Crepusculo Negro phenomenon) having achieved a huge fetish status.

The reason is simple enough. I grew up with the vinyl records of my parents and the tapes we copied for each other in our circle of friends. CDs I never held them as something special and I never had an interest in them; and since I wanted to have my band’s releases, even when we had an offer for a CD, we declined, haha. It has nothing to do with any trend or “underground” attitude; I just don’t like the CD format.

Now as far the whole vinyl revival is concerned there are positive and negative aspects. To state the positives first, we see old and out-of-print material rereleased, which previously would be an utopia to even think acquiring. Important releases, which were available to very few people, now can be obtained by those with a desire to search for them. Also there are still lost diamonds of the past exhumed and as a result, we can have a better view of what happened in the beginnings of the underground scene.  

Now the negatives; the existence of a larger shopping target group of people has pushed many labels to unnecessary exaggerations. Labels that didn’t give the slightest attention to vinyl (Century Media, Napalm etc) now release 10 different versions of a record. 5xLP box sets are sold for bands with 2 demos and one 7’’ (i.e. TREBLINKA). A 40-minute album is rereleased in the form of a 3 vinyl box-set (i.e. ABSU) and so on.

The guys that belong to the Crepusculo Negro circle, even though they’re in bands I like a lot (ARIZMENDA, VOLAHN, DOLORVOTRE and more) are total clowns. While they are aware of the existing demand for their releases, they put out editions of one hundred copied and have already announced the second press even before the first one is released. They actually promote their records not for the music itself but for the limitation fetish. Also the way they continue to sell like crazy while they rip-off almost everyone is something beyond my understanding.

7EPX) What’s going on with cover songs? You obviously like them, but if we consider those on IMPALED NAZARENE, BESTIAL SUMMONING and PROFANATICA somewhat expected, how did the ones on CHAOTIC END and ANTIDRASI came up? Is it true after all that the energy lines of punk (part of it at least) and those of black metal cross paths on certain occasions?

I love covers! I always like to listen to a good cover song but even more I like to do them myself. One of my first (if not THE first) tapes as well as the first vinyl I ever bought was a PANX ROMANA album. As a student, in every excursion, apart from “Kill ‘Em All”, the record “Enantia” by ANTIDRASI was always on the playlist.

So, my/our black metal roots aside, we have grown up with greek punk/hardcore as well. I always believed that punk, aesthetically (album covers, collage artwork etc) has much in common with black metal. As for the music aspect of that, you can easily track the punk inheritance in the bands that influenced black metal the most. For me, early BATHORY, HELLHAMMER/CELTIC FROST, SODOM, ONSLAUGHT etc sound more punk than metal (when we take metal of that era –IRON MAIDEN, PRIEST, SAXON into account).

XI) In continuation of the above, which are your influences as a musician but also you preferences as a listener in general?

I can’t state my influences exactly, because on some level all the bands I listen to have played, more or less, a role in my personal perception of “melody”. Mainly, I listen to black metal, as well as some death metal bands (the majority of them coming from Finland) and a lot of –mostly greek– punk. BEHERIT, SAMAEL, ANCIENT RITES, BLASPHEMY, EMPEROR, ROTTING CHRIST, NECROMANTIA, DEMIGOD, ALASTIS (“Just The Law” is a huge black opus), IMPALED NAZARENE, ROOT, ABIGOR, ARCHGOAT, AETERNUS (another underrated band), MASTER’S HAMMER, PURTENANCE, DISSECTION, SIGH, THERION, ABSU, DEMONCY, PROFANATICA/HAVOHEJ, CONVULSE, SUMMONING, BURZUM, BESTIAL WARLUST, MAYHEM, CARNAGE, SENTENCED (OLD), TIAMAT and many more, but also newer acts such as MGLA, CULTES DES GHOULES, THE RUINS OF BEVERAST, URFAUST, MARE, BLACK CILICE, RIDE FOR REVENGE and many others.

XII) Expecting only the best from IMPURE WORSHIP (and also EMBRACE OF THORNS of which you have been a member lately), I thank you for your participation in this new Anti-Flesh Nimbus effort (editor’s note: again referring to the printed fanzine). The last unholy words are yours.

Thank you very much for your interest in IMPURE WORSHIP. You can expect our new tracks in “Monomaniac IV” and the 5-way split. As for EMBRACE OF THORNS, this autumn will see the releases of our 4th full-length album through Nuclear War Now! and a 12’’ split with MAVETH through Dark Descent (editor’s note: this is out already). Both IW and EoT material is recorded so when the layouts are finished, they will be out there.

Support the underground!

SATURNALIA TEMPLE – Interview with Tommie Eriksson

•June 19, 2014 • Comments Off on SATURNALIA TEMPLE – Interview with Tommie Eriksson

Long before the occult themes in rock and metal became a trend, Tommie Eriksson had left a huge mark in the metal scene with his contributions to THERION as well as the semi-hidden treasure named SHADOWSEEDS back in the 90s. Then came SATURNALIA TEMPLE, the vessel though which archetypal doom sounds are being channeled to higher spiritual paths. The Anti-Flesh Nimbus tunes in to their vibrations and summons Golachab along with mr. Eriksson.

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I) How are things with SATURNALIA TEMPLE as we speak, has stability returned to the band after the unexpected loss of Jens?

That was of course a very hard thing to get through. With him, it finally seemed as if we now had the perfect line up for the band. We have had some problems finding the perfect drummer, so when he appeared all things seemed to align. After his demise, we felt very strongly that we would never find another guy like him again, so I decided to become the studio drummer for the band, and then we will have session guys playing with us live. In the US we have Tim Call, who is an amazing guy and a great drummer, and here in Europe we have our friend Kennet drumming live. So, yes, we are now firmly a duo and the new album is about to be recorded. We fight on, through all diversity.

Impossibilum-frontcoverII) How did you come up with the almost drunk main riff of “Golachab”? When I first heard the song, it kind of seemed awkward but I ended up getting addicted to it!

I tend to exit from thoughts when I compose songs, so I have no idea. It arrived, it was powerful and it was recorded. Glad you like it. So do we.

III) What is the story behind the strange yet beautiful choice of EXUMA’s “Dhamballa” for a cover?

I have been a great fan of Tony Mckay “Exuma” for a long time. He was a unique singer and did some really fantastic albums in the early seventies. These days, he is a truly lost gem, and I have been introducing all my friends to his work. I felt we deserved the honour to play one of his songs. And of course there were no pressure, only Nina Simone had covered it before……

IV) Where do you draw inspiration from? I know that you are actively involved with esotericism. Do you transcend into a certain spiritual state during the process of creating music?

Like I said, this is a band that avoids theorizing and intellectualizing around our work. Since I am also a writer of occult and occult fiction, there you can find my intellectual ideas. The arena of music to me is where you let the spirit and soul speak freely and avoid being too smart. I find the logical and intellectual things hamper the energy in music. So, this art is what it is. You won’t get much explaining from me. The power and focus is in the deed itself.

V) When will the era come for weak materialistic robots to fall and the fire to burn us all? I’m asking because, for the time being, we seem to live under severe materialistic dictatorship!

Lyrics are lyrics and I don’t believe in explaining them.

IMG_20140301_183049VI) Although you started SATURNALIA TEMPLE some years before the whole “occult rock” explosion (when suddenly everybody seemed to have found the holy grail by mixing the 70s with mystical verses), you haven’t claimed any throne of this genre, while you could rightfully do so. Instead you insist on walking your own solitary path by cooperating with selective labels like The Ajna Offensive and Nuclear Winter and generally by keeping your distance from publicity’s bright lights. Is that a conscious decision by the band? On the other hand wouldn’t you want to spread your music and messages to broader audiences?

I never wanted this band to be a corporate economical machine, like many bands become. I wanted to have total freedom to work when and where and how I want. I must say everything has proceeded just like I planned and hoped. I find we are big enough now, I work with two good labels, Ajna and Listenable, I have been able to build my own studio and have perfect control of all aspects, I am working with the best artists for design (Ketola, Dennis Dread, Manuel Tinnemans etc). Basically, we never ever sought commercial success at all. We never sent out any review copies (besides the old UR cd-r in 2006), or did press-releases or promotion or anything. Word of mouth and some sparse gigging seems to have taken us where we are. And that is a firm stable ground to stand on. What rises fast, may also fall fast.

VII) I think the last few years have brought closer the audiences of doom and heavy rock bands and with those of more extreme genres like black and death metal. Do you believe this has to do solely with the occult themes which are common in both cases or have people started to remove some “barriers” when listening to music?

Possibly, but I think it’s just common sense since many people who like good metal also like good rock. I mean, genres is mainly for those who like to talk about other people’s music anyway, or for pin-pointing something when trying to sell it. I find both genres and comparisons boring and a short cut to thinking. I love reviews (which we have been happy to get) where the writer actually conjures up interesting and original analyses and themes, talking about the music truly, rather than just babbling about whatever records he listened to yesterday.

ST 2013VIII) Back to SATURNALIA TEMPLE, what made you start this band in the first hand? What kinds of forces needed to be channeled through this musical act?

Long story, but being into rock and metal since the early eighties, following this music as it got harder in thrash and death metal, then playing in different bands on different levels….guess you could say that ST was just a natural reaction to my life in music and Left Hand Path magic.

IX) You generally incorporate various types of effects in your songs. The highlight for me would be that discontinuous riff that runs throughout the whole “Aion Of Drakon” title track. Do you feel these effects add an extra depth to the music?

I notice that people often use the term “effects” when talking about our music. We actually use very little effects compared to many other bands. I only have some delay on the vocals, and sometimes some delay on the guitar, besides a wah for the guitar. That’s it. Though I try to make the production original and interesting, and I think the production is what people mistake for effects. The loose way we play things, and the way we use sounds. So it is more a matter of how we play, and how we produce. Just to stomp on a few boxes would be boring.

X) What does the future hold for the band, are you in the process of writing new material? If yes, does it follow the more rock-oriented direction of “Golachab” or will it return to the lo-fi tones of “Aion Of Drakon” and the previous releases?

Yes, we are in the middle of channeling and recording the new album. I have no idea how it will finally become, which is why I find it stimulating making it. I suppose it will have some links to past works. If I can say something, it is that I feel it may be harder and bleaker and more hypnotic.

XI) Speaking of previous releases is there any chance that the “Ur” demo and the 7’’ will see a repress in the near future?

Yes, that may very well be. The EP had two original songs that have not appeared anywhere else ever, so I think they deserve a re-release. UR as well.

ST 2013XII) From what I understand, you are again activating the LAPIS NIGER experimental project of yours. Is the new material in the veins of “At The Throne Of Melek-Taus” or will there be a new perspective to it?

Yes indeed I have also started my own label and publishing house called Lapis Niger Productions. This will be the outlet of Lapis Niger ritual ambient and my occult books. I have a trilogy of occult fiction coming up in both English and Swedish, and a re-release of the “At The Throne of Melek Taus” album. After that I release a new album with Lapis Niger, and parts of that were composed around the same time as that album, so it may have similarities. But other tracks may be different.

XIII) Will we ever hear anything new from SHADOWSEEDS in the future or my hopes are too high?

Shadowseeds was a purely magical output, based on certain workings. When the time is right, it may happen again. For now, I am finally releasing the last 33 copies of Der Mitternacht Löwe cd, handmade and designed by Timo Ketola. Keep your eyes on http://facebook.com/lapisniger616

XIV) This is all from me, thank you for the conversation and lay down your final words until next time!

Thank you for well-researched questions!

SPEYER GREY MASS – Memories

•May 25, 2014 • Comments Off on SPEYER GREY MASS – Memories

Date: March 14 & 15, 2014

Location: Halle 101, Speyer, Germany

This text took some time to be completed, so it’s mostly about a memory journal of the short trip to beautiful Speyer on the bank of Rhein. There, in Halle 101 one of the strongest line-ups of the broader blackmetal underground coexisted for 2 days and nights, with NIGHTBRINGER from the US of course being probably the main attraction since bands from the other side of the Atlantic do not visit us very often. But let the memories slowly unfold…

Grey Mass Poster

Friday, March 14th:

NawaharjanAfter a few real weizen biers (and not the soap-waters that are exported to Greece) in the hotel, we arrive at the club, wait a few minutes in the entrance queue and upon entering, Berliners NAWAHARJAN are about to open the celebrations for the dark side. Without having heard anything about them before, they functioned appropriately as an introduction to the two-day ritual with occult atmosphere, relatively good sound and a contrabass (I think) decorating their raw tracks. But the first great shock came with Irkallian OracleIRKALLIAN ORACLE. It’s not that I had no clue about them and had the vinyl already ordered, but the fact that their live performance would become a life experience was beyond imagination. Of course Carl Tiburtius (or ar-Ra’d al-Iblis – see also MATRICIDE, NIGHTBRINGER, ACRIMONIOUS) is no random artist and here he sculpted low-tempo esoteric death metal, causing a swirling in the air and absorbing those that that chose to be in tune with his sounds. The special percussion used to accompany his abysmal hymns left us by the end of the set to try and figure out what we had exactly experienced.

RavencultThankfully, the small break helped us reorganize our minds as RAVENCULT who would follow, had no intention to joke. Without any corpsepaints (as always), without any distinguishable arrangements on stage but with a megaton force, they gave nothing less than a blackthrashing orgy spat out of hell, just to make our necks violently unscrewed. Although the demos and “Despise…” are perfect releases too, personally I cannot possibly resist the mania caused by the Ofermodrabid tracks from “Morbid Blood”. All the energy collected during IRKALLIAN’s set, was here unleashed towards all directions. In that manner, the time of OFERMOD’s performance was mostly used to regain powers than to consciously watch what Michayah had to manifest. Although I am opposed to the opinion that their releases follow a declining course, as I find “Thaumiel” excellent for the purposes it serves, on stage they seemed a bit “confused”, while the second guitar was choking the sound coming out of the speaker rather than giving an extra dimension to the tracks.

DiabolicumTheir compatriots DIABOLICUM that followed, were a good memory injection in order for us to remember the late ‘90s/early ‘00s era, when the industrial sound had made its raid into blackmetal. And contrary to some “purist” beliefs, this idiom had given certain gems back in those times, but faded out quickly. In any case, the Swedes gave a respected live show, yet without driving many people crazy. Anyhow, I was gathering my physical and mental powers for yet another ritual by AcherontasACHERONTAS, the seventh one among my personal concert experiences. And what a road they have walked during all these years until the recent “Amenti” masterpiece. So it was in Speyer after all where I was destined to undergo the most intense experience by them, despite all the adversities with electric power suddenly cut amidst the staggering “Legacy Of Tiamat”. But they did not give up for any reason; they left for a while, regrouped and came back to finish it in the proper way which was a glorious ending of their performance, which also included special vocal appearances from ar-Ra’d al-Iblis and Scorpios. Blackmetal is fortunate and honored that such bands, devoted to their vision, continue with their ways and reach their goals, despite any difficulties they may encounter.

ArchgoatWith the first day of the festival coming to an end, the time of the great ARCHGOAT was here. The European equivalent to BLACK WITCHERY (or probably the other way round since the Fins are present for more than two decades) in terms of volume a power-trio can produce, tore Halle 101 down showing no mercy and without any compromises. Bestial black/death sonic wall, rhythm section pounding right upon our chests and hymns in the likes of “Penis Perversor” raping our ears! After the Finnish attack, the club was emptied in a disappointing was. Or not? The scenery of the 50 of us Nefandusremaining on spot, waiting for the NEFANDUS show combined the pure paranoia possessing Belfagor, synthesized one of the most special live situations I have attended. The maniac Swede gave an act of madness, during which he would throw things to the crowd, fall down on the floor, produced some of the most insane shrieks and generally the feeling was that anything could happen causing a note of fear on the whole situation. Although “Your God Is A Ghost” EP was in no way equal to the grandness of the transcendental “Death, Holy Death” album, this experience in Speyer was truly unique and probably the ideal closing of Grey Mass’s first night.

 

Saturday, March 15th:

Fides InversaAfter the last moment cancellation by VERBUM VERUS (a shame because I wanted to watch them again after last September in Holland) the evening started with Italians FIDES INVERSA. Without being bad or anything, I cannot say that their blackmetal, based on the Swedish forms of ONDSKAPT etc., won my attention in great degree. On the other hand, Temple Of BaalTEMPLE OF BAAL with their crushing style were much more riveting, although some problems with sound would not allow them to unfold in perfection the virtues of French blackmetal they represent. However, the first great thrills of the night were true upon the start of SVARTIDAUÐI’s Icelandic invasion. I dare to say that as we speak, they are one of the most quickly upcoming forces of this Svartidaudisubgenre; especially after “Those Who Crawl…” demo back in 2010 and onwards they have rapidly accelerated and are ready for take-off. It’s not only the realization that they have achieved to create a distinct personal sound (something apparent in “Flesh Cathedral” and the upcoming “Synthesis Of Whore And The Beast” EP) by mixing the orthodox approach by DSO with the most interesting parts of the post-metal idiom), but also the fact they when they perform on stage, it’s done with such intensity that an aura of horror emerges in the air.

PseudogodPSEUDOGOD that followed were definitely better than the last time I’d seen them in Berlin (NWN! Fest 2012). Solid death metal with a blackened atmosphere, however we were still living into the abyss created by SVARTIDAUÐI earlier. Dutch Funeral WindsFUNERAL WINDS brought an old school Norwegian aura to the festival, with their DARKTHRONE-meets-GORGOROTH compositions, however they seem to be too much of a cliché. It’s OK though because the relaxing during their set would prove overly beneficial. The reason is that One Tail, One HeadONE TAIL, ONE HEAD contrast to their not so strong performance last year in Prague Death Mass I had attended, this time were de-va-sta-ting! Their passionate black’n’roll whose roots go back to the 80s, to BATHORY, CELTIC FROST, but also to VENOM and SODOM and MOTORHEAD (and and and…) gift to our ears and a channel of energy release as frontman Luctus draws us to a satanic, dionysian feast by the end of which we simply gather our pieces.

SargeistIn total contrast with the above situation, SARGEIST did not seem to be on form that evening. The sound was terrible, and this probably annoyed Shatraug and the others to a level that resulted in a typical and thus disappointing set. However, it was now time for the event’s main attraction and this is no other than the entrance of NIGHTBRINGER on stage, whose magnificent “Hierophany Of The NightbringerOpen Grave” (along with the fine split releases with ACHERONTAS and DØDSENGEL) influenced –in my opinion– a huge part of today’s blackmetal with the strong presence of lead guitars guiding the songs to unknown paths. An impressive scenery was being assembled in front of us, worthy of the ideological and philosophical approach of the Americans and as soon as the ritual begun we found ourselves bathed in red lighting on another dimension where the illusion of time is almost eliminated; a truly one-of-a-kind experience that demanded our full attention in order to Mglakeep up with the constant changes of rhythms and states of mind. By the end of their show, physical and mental fatigue was creating a huge discomfort to me but there was no chance of course to miss even a second of the performance of mighty MGLA, the band which gives a true substance to words such as “passion” and “faith”. This time the shock wasn’t equal to that in Prague, the sound definitely didn’t do justice to them and they seemed somewhat tired, maybe because they were on the end of the tour with SVARTIDAUÐI and ONE TAIL, ONE HEAD. Even so, with the familiar blue illumination of the stage, the Polish looked almost invincible in what they do, which is nothing less than the real essence of blackmetal itself.

As their set was ending, exhaustion was more than remorseless while on the following morning, the equally tiring trip back home awaited us. Give these facts, the return to the hotel for a few hours of rest became a necessity. I apologize to SEKTARISM and OSCULUM INFAME and look forward to a future meeting between us. Apart from that, the feeling of fullness we acquired from this two-day quest on Speyer and the Grey Mass festival was more than present. Auf wiedersehen to everyone…

 
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